I first heard of the Sheep Fiends back in '92, though they had no name at
that point, they were just a couple of friends jamming in their Sheridan
Road apartment. They were making songs up and playing them. They invited
me to come over but I declined, maybe because my guitar playing was so
But they wore me down. They told me: if you come over, you can play
the guitar and sing and we've got chips and salsa! They really didn't
mind that I couldn't sing that well and they were very friendly. What a
great bunch of guys "Plays well with others" it probably said
on their report card.
My third or fourth time I really had a blast. I sang a song, off the
top of my head, about Chocolate; unfortunately the tape wasn't rolling.
I went back for more. The concept was (and is) pretty simple. Bunch of
people bring their instruments, set up and play. Usually one or two have
songs or riffs they're eager to try out. These serve as rough scaffolding
for the improvised ramblings and tangents of all shape and variety. The
group is very open and welcomes new people and new ideas. Sometimes
this makes for the most wonderful happy accidents, oftentimes a sort of
low, gurgling rumble, somewhere between bad hangover and good orgasm.
A lot of musicians played with the band in those early years and many
more since. Most played just once or twice and a few have been sort
of a nucleus for this experiment. Somewhere along the way this loose assemblage
of transient and steady musicians took the name Sheep Fiends. People
never know quite what to say when I tell them that; they always look somewhat
disturbed. "Makes you wonder, eh?" I say to them. But I am not a
Sheep Shagger. I've played with the Sheep Fiends a lot since the early 90s and
I can assure you there is no bestiality involved.
I like playing with The Sheep Fiends. They give me a microphone and let me
croon and are very discreet when I go flat (which is extremely
rare, especially if you start out flat). They don't seem to mind when I try out
very personal material which I like to do and it's always exciting to see how
this song, carefully brought to life in your bedroom, is transformed by the
musicians around you.
At the moment only four or five people come to the monthly jams so you
should come if you can. We've got chips and salsa!