Thee Headcoats | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Thee Headcoats 


In 1978 a disgruntled teenage dockworker in Chatham, England, took to heart the advice in Mark Perry's fanzine Sniffin' Glue: he learned three chords and formed a band. Bill Hamper quit his job to become punk rocker Billy Childish, and nearly two decades later he's still gainfully unemployed. He's published more than two dozen books of dyslexic poetry, exhibited his oil paintings and woodcuts in London galleries, and released 60-odd albums with a surfeit of groups, including the Pop Rivets, the Milkshakes, Thee Mighty Caesars, and Thee Headcoats. All those bands share a commitment to stealing freely from great primitivists like Bo Diddley, Link Wray, and the Sonics, but Thee Headcoats is the rawest of the raw. Childish's lyrics vent a raging misanthropy that over time has become increasingly self-directed--representative song titles from last year's In Tweed We Trust include "I'm Hurting," "Too Afraid," and "I Was Weak"--but Thee Headcoats obliterate all traces of self-pity in a convulsion of unfeigned catharsis. The Makers and Chinese Millionaires open. The show is sold out except for 100 tickets that will be made available when the doors open, at 9 PM. Friday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. BILL MEYER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Uncredited photo of Thee Headcoats.

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