Mick Farren (left) with Patrick Boissel at the signing of the Bomp! book at Freakbeat Records in Sherman Oaks, California
|Michael Anthony Farren|
3 September 1943|
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom
27 July 2013 (aged 69)|
London, England, United Kingdom
Farren was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and after moving to Sussex he attended Worthing High School for Boys which was a state grammar school. In 1963 he moved to London where he studied at Saint Martin's School of Art.
Farren was the singer with the proto-punk band The Deviants between 1967 and 1969, releasing three albums. During 1970 he released the solo album Mona - The Carnivorous Circus which also featured Steve Peregrin Took, John Gustafson and Paul Buckmaster, before ending his music business to concentrate on writing.
During the mid-1970s, he briefly revived his musical career, releasing the single Play With Fire featuring Marky (soon-to-be Ramone) Bell, Jon Tiven, and Doug Snyder, the EP Screwed Up, album Vampires Stole My Lunch Money and single "Broken Statue". The album featured fellow New Musical Express (NME) journalist Chrissie Hynde and Dr. Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson. He also contributed song ideas and music for short-lived Ladbroke Grove ensemble Warsaw Pakt's 1977 "Needle Time" LP.
He sporadically did musical work after that, collaborating with Wayne Kramer on Who Shot You Dutch? and Death Tongue, Jack Lancaster on The Deathray Tapes and Andy Colquhoun on The Deviants albums Eating Jello With a Heated Fork and Dr. Crow.
Aside from his own work, he provided lyrics for various musician friends over the years. He collaborated with Lemmy, co-writing "Lost Johnny" for Hawkwind, and "Keep Us on the Road" and "Damage Case" for Motörhead. With Larry Wallis, he co-wrote "When's the Fun Begin?" for the Pink Fairies and several tracks on Wallis' solo album Death in the Guitafternoon. He provided lyrics for the Wayne Kramer single "Get Some" during the mid-1970s, and continued to work with and for him during the 1990s.
During the early 1970s he contributed to the UK Underground press such as the International Times, also establishing Nasty Tales which he successfully defended from an obscenity charge. He later wrote for the mainstream New Musical Express, for which he wrote the article The Titanic Sails At Dawn, an analysis of what he considered the malaise afflicting then-contemporary rock music and which described the conditions that subsequently resulted in punk.
He wrote 23 novels, including the Victor Renquist novels and the DNA Cowboys sequence. His 1989 novel The Armageddon Crazy dealt with a post-2000 United States dominated by fundamentalists who subvert the Constitution. He began writing fantasy literature in the 70s.
From 2003 to 2008, he was a columnist for the weekly newspaper Los Angeles CityBeat.
In his 3 May 2010 Doc40 blog, Farren announced that he was writing another Victor Renquist novel, with the working title of Renquist V.
In 2013 he worked with digital imprint Ink Monkey Books on audio inserts (with Andy Colquhoun of The Deviants) for reissues of The Texts of Festival and the DNA Cowboys sequence.
Also known as The DNA Cowboys Trilogy.
Farren organised the Phun City Festival in 1970. He has long been associated with the Hells Angels (UK) who provided security at Phun City; they even awarded Farren an "approval patch" in 1970 for use on his first solo album Mona.
Farren died at age 69 in 2013, after collapsing while performing with the Deviants at the Borderline Club in London.