30 March 2005

Intaferon - Steamhammer Sam

Chrysalis Records
7 inch CHS2750
1983





(I've included the back of the cover so you get a decent picture of the band)

Having picked up a fair bit of airplay for the debut Get Out Of London but sold sod all copies, the commercially smart thing to do would be to put out another record with the same energy and sound, but different hooks.

But not Intaferon. They went back into the studio and recorded Steamhammer Sam.

They kept the principle of their first single - to merge disparate threads of musical styles into something intriguing, catchy and contemporarily relevant - but stylistically it's another world.

Where Get Out Of London's lyrics were a ratatat of paranoid imagery, Steamhammer Sam is a straightforward narrative story.

It was 1983, Thatcher's talons were tearing deep into the social fabric of the UK, and mass unemployment was a prime symptom. Steamhammer Sam was a topical story of a man who'd worked his whole life in heavy industry, got made redundant and became hopeless, directionless and alcoholic, ending his days alone in prison. Cheery surefire radio-friendly hit there.

Musically, the electropunk drive of Get Out Of London is nowhere to be seen, as Steamhammer Sam is driven by a piano-based sort of rhythm that could be termed The Madness Two-Step, the kind of thing that provides tha basis for tracks like The Size Of A Cow by The Wonder Stuff, or Grimly Fiendish by The Damned.

There are snatches of Glam Rock guitar (as I've said elsewhere, by 'Glam Rock' I mean the 70s stuff, not 80s poodle-metal), but the peculiarity really kicks in with the addition of a full colliery style brass band, and towards the end a choir of children do a sprightly singalong chorus, in stark contrast to the mood of the lyric.

As if to underline the bizarrity, the B-side is The Continuing Story of Steamhammer Sam, an instrumental version played entirely by that brass band.

The 7 inch came shrinkwrapped with a free 3-track cassette and sticker. I still have the sticker, but the cassette disappeared years ago and I can't even remember what was on it. It must've contained something not on the Get Out Of London and Steamhammer Sam singles, though.

As with its predecsssor, the single sold next to nothing, and after the subsequent Baby Pain they were never heard of again.

[downloads removed due to needing the server space for new postings]

40 comments:

dubversion said...

My God. reading this has just made me shiver. I've been looking for this track for so long. I've still got the video - taped off Max Headroom ,naturally - in a box somewhere. Headroom was great for these sorts of tunes: see also Bill Nelson's Do You Dream In Colour.

thanks so much!

dubversion said...

by the way, i always figured Steamhammer Sam owed a lot to Keith West's Excerpt From A Teenage Opera ("grocer jack, grocer jack") :)

Komputamuso said...

Oh you effin brute, I love ya. I've been looking for this song for years! I echo dubversion as I too still have the video from Max Headroom! Thanks a mill for this, coooolllll!

Julie said...

Bless you, bless you, bless you! I have searched for YEARS to find this track, along with another of Intaferon's - Get Out of London. Both excallent and so different - there was a lot of talent there. Come back!

Julie said...

And naturally I have the Max Headrom tapes too - it's beginning to sound like an illness!

merrick said...

For those of you desperate for records you can't find, try Netsounds
http://www.netsoundsmusic.com/
where there are over 40 copies of Steamhammer Sam for sale, or ebay where it comes up a lot too. One went for a quid the other week.

Anonymous said...

Ok ... It is truly amazing to hear this again ... I'm one of the kids who sang on it!!! My father is Mr Rushent and I remember the Intaferon sessions with much clarity! Anyone who wants questions answered should post on here and I'll check back. The Get Out Of London remix is unreal ... today you could knock it up in a few hours ... but back then it would have taken days ... if not a week. Even though I haven't spoken to my father for over 13 years (!) ... it still amazes me to hear how far ahead of his time he was and what a great producer he really was.

Thanks.

Another Mr Rushent!

Anonymous said...

For years I'd been telling people about Intaferon, but no one had ever heard of them. I live in the Western US, and while Baby Pain is STILL played on the radio here, I've never heard anything else by the duo. Thanks for making something available that I've searched for for years.

Mark in Phoenix said...

I use to live in Salt Lake City UT during the late 80's. KJQ use to play Baby Pain and the remix all the time. They also played this song at Club DV8 and another club that is next to a bowling alley. I also use to go to a club in Provo that was an old church and they use to play it as well. I have 2 copies of the vinyl album Gun by Simon F (this is the name he used before he became Intaferon). These have the original version of Baby Pain and I also have the Steamhammer slam 12 inch single. Good memories, good music!

iain said...

I've loved intaferon for years, i've got everything they ever did (not much, I know!)Thanks so much for putting "Sam" online.....

Anonymous said...

What a great song...I too have been searching for years to find this song. Only problem is that I am too late, as the link to the mp3 has been taken down. Any chance that you might repost these 3 fine songs from Intaferon? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your hard work.

merrick said...

Hey last Anonymous,

the only way I can repost tracks is by taking down others. I do leave things up for as long as possible, but sadly they have to be cleared to give some server space to put the new tracks into.

All three Intaferon songles come up on eBay frequently, usually pretty cheap.

Ian Francis said...

Noooo, please can you make the intaferon mp3's available, I only have steamhammerslam and I would love to here what else they produced.

Please?

Anonymous said...

gutted ! i finally found someone with these amazing intaferon tracks like many others i've been in search of them for ever , but the links have been removed doh !!!
i was fortunate to meet martin rushent the producer and went to his studio (genetic) in streatley berkshire brilliant place there was a plaque on the studio door which was from the stranglers no more heroes lp sleeve and the concrete steps outside had just been laid and tenpole tudor who were recording their let the four winds blow lp had vandalised them by leaving footprints in the mix. please please re-instate the intaferon links if possible i still have the 7" of steamhammer sam but not the the other two singles sadly...all the best sparky

Anonymous said...

Will you ever post Simon F's Gun album??? TIA.

merrick said...

Anonyperson, I'll not be posting Simon F's album as a) I haven't got server space to post a whole album and b) I don't have a copy anyway!

Denny said...

Can you repost Steamhammer Sam? Dying to get it and it's gone!!! boohoo.

Anonymous said...

GAH!! Missed 'em!!

No one knows who these guys are, and here you are, hiding out in your (DISTANT) corner of cyberspace...I followed 3 links to get to ya!! Been a Simon F fan since 86, and want to hear these songs!! Also, for you rest, he released two other albums and some techno/house single as well : NEVER NEVER LAND and HERE COMES THE 21st CENTURY (both available on ebay frequently) and the singles SHE'S ALL OVER ME and LOST IN AMERICA and CHILD BRIDE. There was an unreleased B-Side on the I WANT YOU BACK single that I have on cassette somewhere, but I can't even remember the name of the song!!
BTW, whatever happened to the guy after the late 90's?
Anyway, if you'd be so kind, please email me the songs to Jimmie.harp ATSIGN comcast.net
Thanks a ton!!!

Anonymous said...

Followup for those of you wanting more SIMON F

Here's the full album for GUN available for DL:

http://apollozerojukebox.multiply.com/music/item/373

merrick said...

Hi Jimmie,

sorry, I haven't got Baby Pain.

It comes up on ebay fairly frequently though, try there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Merrick!!

Actually found a guy who was selling remastered version of ALL of Intaferon's songs :
Baby pain
Get out of london
Elvis
SHS
Hold the bunker
and the remixes all on one cd on Ebay, so I bought one. Anyone else interested he has more, email me at jimmieDOT harpATSIGN comcast DOTnet and I can hook you up : )

Two days ago I found a guy online with a copy of the I WANT YOU BACK single 45 with BREATHLESS on the other side!! I am awaiting his reply with his papal so I can send the money!
Finally, I think I have all of Simon f's/Intaferon's stuff!! Whoo!!

Anonymous said...

Who is the "old man" in the video...I guess he is Sam, but I can't remember the actors name. To me his face is more memorable than the song (which I do like).

If I am not mistaken he is also the actor in a Hipsway video for Ask the Lord.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

"Breathless" and "Hold The Bunker" are on the UK version of GUN, which is called GUN CONTROL....front cover is larger version of GUN's back cover shot. "I Want You Back" and "Baby Pain" not on GUN CONTROL.

Anonymous said...

I too would love to have steamhammer sam on cd ,its 2008 now, surely somebody knows of this eighties holy grail.

Clarkbar said...

Just got the links, thanks a bunch!

David said...

i still have 'steamhammer sam' on 7" and still have the free cassette too somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Baby Pain was ever played in a movie? I know it was not credited.

SlugHead said...

um the record skipped at the verse with the lyrics "Steamhammer sam sits in the park all day and he gets drunk, watching the children play he's very sad"

skipped from park to play, approximately. Don't know if that's fixable but thought you should know

merrick said...

Slughead,

thanks a lot for flagging that up. I've re-encoded the song and am resending it to you. Let me know if there's any problem.

SlugHead said...

One last problem. You had the gain set a bit too high which causes the louder parts to clip rather severely. Have a listen and I think you'll notice what I mean. If you could do another transfer with the gain turned down on the input that should take care of the clipping issue.

merrick said...

Slughead, I admire your optimism in calling it one last problem.

I've re-encoded it and sent it to ya. How's it this time?

Anonymous said...

Any chance you could send Intaferon's Steamhammer Sam to kortcomponent at yahoo dot com please? I've only been able to find a weird remixed version and I'm hoping you have the "Max Headroom" version with the story lyrics.

Piet Z said...

Funny I'm not the only one still searching for the priginal,only a horrible 12" is online....

merrick said...

Piet, leave your email address and I'll send you the original 7" and B-side

Piet Z said...

Steamhammer Sam is impossible to find in the original version, what a shame....

Piet Z said...

Mailed it Paul, hope you got it.
I did found the original track after a lot searching in a Dutch forum about pirate radio stations.

Richard said...

Get Out Of London was one of my favourite songs for years, but since my records are now in storage 3000 miles away I haven't heard it for a looong time. Would you, could you, in the dark, please send me a copy of GooL and any other Intaferon stuff you have?! (you gotta love the internets! :) )

Cheers
Richard

Johnson said...

Hi I really need the b-side "The Continuing story of" for my radio show. Is there any chance you could email me a mp3 of this. I will totally mention you on my blog etc...
Thanks for the great site

Jonathan V said...

Hi - would it be at all possible for you to email the steamhammer sam mp3's to "j.vaux77@btinternet.com" - thanks so much
Jonathan

dsl said...

Brilliant - thanks for the link. Not sure if this is still useful info, but the cassette was ZCHS 2750 and contained:
A1 Steamhammer Sam [3.55]
A2 Get Out of London [3.23]
B Get Out Of London (intercontinentalbalistic mix) [7.56]

There was also the 12" single CHS 12 2750
A1 Steamhammer Sam [3.56]
A2 The Continuing Adventures of Steamhammer Sam [3.04]
B Steamhammer Slam [4.43]

Alongside the Continuing Adventures of SHS, have you come across the free single given away with early vinyl copies of the Pale Saints 1992 LP "In Ribbons" on 4AD. It had the Tintwistle Brass Band doing versions of "A Thousand Stars Burst Open" and "Revelation2 from the LP. Well worth tracking down, but never appeared in any other form or on the CD.

cheers

David