Lawnmower Deth's biggest claim to fame was having a sense of humor in the dead-serious world of heavy metal, and, not surprisingly, that same quality also proved their ultimate undoing. Based in Mansfield, England, the band was founded in 1987, at the height of the thrash metal movement, which already seemed to take itself less seriously than most metallic subgenres (most notably, Bermuda shorts-sporting New Yorkers Anthrax). Lawnmower Deth's members decided to adopt silly stage names, to boot: singer Peter Lee became Qualcast "Koffee" Mutilator, guitarists Steve Nesfield and Gavin O'Malley became Concord Face Ripper and Scitzophrenic Rotary Sprintmaster, respectively, bassist Chris Parkes became Mightymo Destructimo, and drummer Chris Flint became Explodin' Dr. Jaggers Flymo. Two demos and two years later, Lawnmower Deth made their official debut via a split release with the equally comical Metal Duck, then signed with Earache Records for 1990's full-length, Ooh Crikey! It's Lawnmower Deth!, featuring a whopping 26, slapstick thrash tunes. These were embraced for their novelty value by many critics and fans, eager for a fresh and fun variety of their favorite musical genre; but Lawnmower Deth barely got a chance to capitalize on tour, before the inevitable backlash began rearing its ugly head. 1991's Kids in America EP was probably their first tactical mistake, but then, covering ‘80s new wave hits was all the rage among UK metal bands at the time, so maybe it was simply a case of jokes that were only funny the first time, because ‘92's second full album, The Return of the Fabulous Metal Bozo Clowns, seemed more pathetic than amusing. New guitarist Kevin Papworth (ex-Acid Reign) probably spent more time figuring out his stage name (Baron Kev Von Thresh Meister Silo Stench Chisel Marbels), than ideas for Lawnmower Deth's next album, which this time was sparingly entitled Billy. The band broke up almost immediately after its releases in 1994, with singer Peter Lee subsequently taking a job behind the scenes with Earache. Lawnmower Deth did reunite in order to perform a proper farewell London gig the next year, but even that hardly gave them the last laugh, and the band's name has slipped into obscure footnote status since.
Share this page