Scour the footnotes of that well-thumbed copy of The History of Rock ‘n Roll and you might – might – find reference to The Hollywood Brats, but more likely not. These early 70s ne’er-do-wells were all things to all men: proto-punk, proto-glam, the illegitimate offspring of Jagger and Richards, like a Dean Street version of The New York Dolls; it still seems rather bizarre that they even existed – and a shame they remain largely unheralded.
Why? Because Sick On You is huge fun; not one of those ‘lost classics’ (that really aren’t) but nevertheless a swagger through the Glimmer Twins’ back catalogue, a snotty strut of down-the-docks rock, complete with a (scandalous at the time) cover of ‘Then He Kissed Me.’ Pit the title track against ‘Personality Crisis’ (“I’m gonna be sick on you / Down your face and your dress and your legs and your shoes”) and watch the mascara run. With one eye on the USA (‘Southern Belles’) and the other on local audiences (“You think I’m worried / Heartbreak in Surrey” – ‘Tumble With Me’), they never found an audience, although Keith Moon was a fan. Frontman Andrew Matheson punching Freddie Mercury in the mouth in a dispute over the use of ‘Queen’ as a band name probably counts as a career highlight.
This, their one and only album was recorded in 1973 but didn’t see the light of day until two years later – and then only in Norway for reasons lost in time. Cherry Red have thrown in a second disc of demos and rarities (although the sleevenotes frustratingly forget to detail where the last four tracks come from) but it’s the main course that proves most satisfying. Tear up the history books – time to give the Brats their dues.