A brief guide to forgotten late 90s rock acts that appeared in shitty comic strip Pandora
I may have spent most of my teenage years wearing a band t-shirt over a black longsleeve, and I may have stomped to my room on at least one occasion because my parents wouldn’t let me wear black nail varnish, but don’t get it twisted, I was never really a dyed-in-the-wool mosher. I think I only bought a copy of Kerrang! three times during my adolescence, and one of those was just so I could find out how “Nimrod” would sound (man that album drags in the middle).
Still, one place where Kerrang! had the dukes over the indie press I was reading was that it had much more notable shit unfunny cartoon strips. The NME may have had that history of pop thing that was still making jokes about Pilot in 1999, the NME had that “lol random” thing about two badly drawn DJs, but Kerrang! had two: Continuum, where nothing happened at all but it had a really accurate depiction of what fat mosher broads look like, and Pandora.
Pandora started… some time in the 80s, I don’t really care enough about this subject to research it. Back then, she was a sassy, wisecracking hair metal afficionado who had breasts that indicated her artist, Ray Zell (you can do the Roots gag here I cannae be fucked), had never seen a woman naked. The strip was flipped in the mid 90s to be about her niece, who had smaller breasts but looked a bit more like she could have at least fitted in at an Apes Pigs and Spacemen concert.
The breakdown of the average Pandora strip went as follows: Pandora would make a sassy comment about a then-vogue rock act, said rock act would then appear in second panel, and then no joke would be in the third one. Still, being as they were putting out 51 of these strips a year, some of the artists featured were slightly less famous than yr KoRns and yr Slipknots. Here’s a brief tribute to some of those acts, with links to their unfunny cartoons:
Who were they: She may have had Louise Wener’s haircut four years too late, but throughout 1999 Cay’s Anet Mook seemed like a legitimate star in waiting, being annointed by both the rock and indie presses as the designated standard bearer for Women In Rock going into the new milennium. However, amid all the band fashion shoots and worthy feminist rhetoric, she forgot to write any actual tunes, and being as this was before we’d invented Beth Ditto, that was a significant holdback to any career.
Where are they now: Absolutely every single fucking mention of Anet Mook on the internet is preceeded with “whatever happened to…?” She’s the Sonny Pike of shitty rock singers.
Is this comic strip funny?: “Starsky and Bitch”… does that even work as a pun? Also, surely a solid-chocolate Kerrang award wouldn’t be that much chocolate at all? Probably less than five KitKat Chunkies arranged, if you ask me. Still, women do be eatin’ chocolate, so we’ll give Ray Ray some credit for that one.
Who were they: Irish bloke with ginger dreadlocks in a PVC catsuits does glam powerpop. Absolutely fucking awful. They sounded kinda German, tbh.
Where are they now: Thankfully they fell victim to record company politics and had their career killed before they could have been as big as, say, Groop Dogdrill. Lead singer is now in a band called Mako where they do acoustic numbers while he looks every bit like every other single aged 90s glam tard who still desperately tries to fit into their old leather trousers at Stay Beautiful once a month.
Is this comic strip funny?: I get David Ryder-Prangley confused with The Divine David every now and then, but neither of them I get confused with David Devant. Why is that?
Who were they: Kettering’s fifth most famous sons, behind John Profumo, Peter Ebdon, Hugh Dennis and one of the Communards. A more “serious” version of Sugarcoma, being as that was what the world was clearly crying out for in 2001.
Where are they now: With crushing inevitability, one of them joined Raging Speedhorn.
Is this comic strip funny?: I’ve been watching a load of WWF Monday Night Raws from 1995, 1996 recently. They’re absolutely awful, Ahmed Johnson vs Rad Radford (who was meant to be Courtney Love’s boyfriend, remember) is as bad a three-minute match as you could put together with a major federation roster at any point in history, and having Mabel from Men On A Mission as the mystery opponent for anyone isn’t a good look. Still, one thing that makes you go “hmmm” is when Vince McMahon will interrupt his commentary for a piece of pop culture dropping. Something like “Alundra Blayze, unlike Princess Diana, unlikely to be in any Norwegian adverts for condoms any time soon”. And you just sit there and stare at the screen because 14 years on, you have no idea that Di was in an advert for prophylactics, because all you can remember about her is she was a simpleton who died in a car accident. So, yeah, I have no idea what the personality traits of Defenestration’s lead singer were that this is making fun of. I doubt her mother could either, to be fair to me.
Who were they: I went through a period of my life maybe 18 months back of buying old Peter Bagge “Hate” comics of eBay and reading them religiously in order. Famous Monsters were exactly the sort of band who had adverts for them in “Hate”. Even if they weren’t, they were.
Where are they now: One of these chicks was in White Zombie. So that’s something.
Is this comic strip funny?: Always nice to get a fart gag in early, especially when followed up with a joke wherein a teenage girl is implicated in sexual fantasies about being gangraped by three middle-aged women dressed as the Powerpuff Girls. Ray Zell’s finest work, apart from when he did the “Children’s Story” beat on that Everlast album (OK, two jokes).
Who were they: Skanked-out version of Lush, Select Magazine liked them. Used to perform in fetish bars before making it big, as if the Torture Garden crowd wants to hear anything other than “Pin Ups” on non-stop repeat play.
Where are they now: Somehow utterly vanished, although if you go to Wikipedia’s entry for the band you’re only two clicks away from a cartoon featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alyson Hannigan drawn as children playing with a wooden vibrator. So that’s something.
Is this comic strip funny: I honestly have no idea what’s going on here. Or why Lauren Laverne is in panel five.
Human Waste Project
Who were they: At one point in the 90s, 12% of the American population was in a band that had supported My Ruin on tour
Where are they now: I dunno, The Murderdolls or something? Do you really care what the bassist from Human Waste Project is doing in 2009?
Is this comic strip funny?: Pandora does seem to spend most of her time wearing t-shirts that contain band logos with random words changed to “bitch” on them, so at least this is charmingly self-depracating.
Who were they: Long-time punk no-hopers who had a brief moment in the sun when one of them played live with The Prodigy circa “Fat of the Land”
Where are they now: Presumably sitting high-and-happy on that “Smack My Bitch Up” royalty cash.
Is this comic strip funny: lol public indecency
Who were they: Chicks (as in the band who did “Let Me Go”) with dicks.
Where are they now: One of them produces The Pigeon Detectives. Congratulations.
Is this comic strip funny: Vomit is pretty funny, I suppose, plus any time you get a harumphing dude in glasses in the middle of a frame you’ll get some approval from me.
Who were they: Completely-wiped-from-history Kenickie for girls who had boyfriends that read Terrorizer
Where are they now:
Sadly we didn’t really form other bands. I jammed with a hardcore band a few times after Tampasm but didn’t play bass in any other bands. Charlotte formed a few bands afterwards. We had such an amazing time,we were 17, such a tight gang, hung out in the same clubs, I never had as much fun jamming with other bands as i did with the girls. We’re still in touch, Cat works for the BBC, Charlotte’s still in the industry, Oli works in TV in OZ and I train concierges (random I know!)Jen x