“The mid-eighties electronic landscape was quite limited: you either faced the gloom, latex and gas masks of the industrial scene or had to endure the cheese of bubblegum electro-pop,” remembers musician Jean-Marc Lederman. This jaded discontent led him to create The Weathermen in 1985, an unlikely Belgo-American two-piece that began as a complete joke.
With their preposterous aliases, sarcastic lyrics (“Put on a George Bush mask, go disguised as trash, to kill the party”) and ludicrous motocross stage outfits, Jimmy-Joe Snark III (Lederman) and Chuck B (Bruce Geduldig, of Tuxedomoon fame) introduced a much-welcomed breath of fresh air in a scene that took itself far too seriously. Filled with surreal stories and insane fictional characters, their career path definitely reads more like a well-rounded Coen brothers script than your average VH1 Behind the Music. Riding on the wave of their catchy hit Poison, which was heavily rotated on MTV, their Black Album would be their finest recording. “In 1987, two artists had the entire world at their feet,” Jean-Marc recounts. “Prince, with his mysterious Black Album, and then someone who desperately wanted to be Prince: Terence Trent d’Arby, who released Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby. Coming up with The Black Album According to The Weathermen was a no-brainer.” The band’s ensuing releases never quite equalled its success and after a 12-year hiatus, The Weathermen called it a day in 2006. “There’s no nostalgia. We said what we had to say and released good records.” The Chemical Brothers cite them as a strong influence, but that’s nothing compared to two of their tracks finding their way onto Baywatch – “the achievement of the ultimate fantasy: Pamela Anderson running in slow motion to a tune you wrote”.
The Weathermen’s hit single Poison
Punishment Park, somewhat inspired by Peter Watkins’ movie of the same name
Don’t Drink And Drive, The Weathermen’s social message
The Last Communique from The Weathermen