I, Ludicrous is perhaps the only band who copied the Fall and remained popular with that band's fans. This probably comes from the duo having owned up to their inspiration, and that Fall leader Mark E. Smith booked them to support his band once he heard an early four-track cassette. Formed by John Procter and Will Hung (David Rippingale) in Brixton, South London, England in 1986, I, Ludicrous satirize insular British society while remaining provincial and in-jokey themselves. The approach has seen them through three decades of sporadic activity.
Initially restricted to a bedroom studio set-up, Procter and Hung recorded their first single, "Preposterous Tales," and released it first as a free flexi-single in Blah Blah Blah magazine. A comical observation of a self-aggrandizing man regaling a pub with his exploits, backed by a drum machine and a distorted guitar, the song set the tone for what was to come. Tailor-made for British college students, it became a bigger hit when played by the BBC's John Peel and made the DJ's listener-determined Festive 50. An album on Kaleidoscope Sound, It's Like Everything Else, followed, and the debt to the Fall was more apparent. Hung's limited vocals and delivery sounded like those of a London-born Mark E. Smith, while the music restricted itself to repetitive riffs. Their self-deprecating humor and limited scope never really threatened the work of their idols, but existed alongside it.
A follow-up was in the works in 1988 when Kaleidoscope Sound folded and took the master tapes with them. A Warning to the Curious continued the mockery in 1989, taking aim, albeit a bit easily, at yuppies and television personalities. It also marked the start of a short relationship with the Rodney Rodney! label. Light and Bitter followed a year later and salvaged some of the songs from the lost 1988 album. Another label switch, this time to Old King Lud, occurred with 1992's Idiots Savants, a more accomplished set with better production and arrangements, and a lighter tone. They occasionally supported the Fall on tour in Britain and kept a low profile. As time allowed, they released the occasional EP and album, including The Museum of Installation (Old King Lud, 2003), the retrospective 20 Years in Show Business (Sanctuary, 2007), and Dull Is the New Interesting (Cherry Red, 2015), the last of which featured bassist Martin Brett, who had joined the band several years earlier. ~ Ted Mills & Andy Kellman