Carter USM

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine were formed in 1987 by singer Jim Bob and guitar hero Fruitbat. Playing along to tapes, samples, sequenced basses and drum machines as well as rock 'n' roll guitars they would be referred to as 'The Punk Pet Shop Boys', and travelled around Europe in a small hire car playing for petrol money on the pub and club circuit, where they built up a small but loyal following.


Starting out

The debut single A Sheltered Life was released in 1988 on the Big Cat label, but it wasn't until the classic second single Sheriff Fatman in 1989 that the band began to receive real recognition. The song was written about a South London slumlord and was followed by the album 101 Damnations - a critical account of life South of the river, full of black humour, cynicism and clever puns - the album went straight to the top of the Indie charts.

Rough Trade

In 1991 - having moved label to Rough Trade - Carter released the album 30 Something which through non stop touring went into the big boys top ten at number eight. One of the singles released from the album, Bloodsport For All, an attack on racism and bullying in the army, was released at the start of the Gulf War and consequently banned by the BBC. Spurred on by infamy, Jim Bob and Fruitbat toured Japan, Yugoslavia and the U.S.A. (with E.M.F) and made their famous show-stealing Reading Festival appearance. There was also the first Top Of The Pops appearance with the single After the Watershed (Early Learning The Hard Way), a song about child abuse that would sadly be more famous for its subsequent legal battle with The Rolling Stones' publisher over the use of the lyrics 'Goodbye Ruby Tuesday' in the chorus. The band also hit the headlines with Fruitbat physically attacking a famous television presenter in front of 13 million viewers on kid's T.V.

Top of the charts

The demise of Rough Trade records necessitated a change of label, and they made the switch to Chrysalis Records to work on their third album. That album, 1992 The Love Album, went straight to number one in the pop charts, instantly propelling the band to pop stardom. The band were unhappy through and this came across in their next record, Post Historic Monsters, an incredibly angry and cynical album which no doubt stopped the group ever achieving top boy band status.

In 1994, Carter's friend and top geezer Wez joined the band on drums and the newly inspired and highly excited power trio played America, Japan, Europe and a major concert in Croatia which was recorded and later released on video. It was also given away as a free live album with Carter's fifth studio L.P. Worry Bomb - a fantastic punk pop album with up 'n' at 'em anthems like Let's Get Tattoos and slow poignant acoustic songs like My Defeatist Attitude

The band expands

In 1996 Carter left Chrysalis Records, changed their name back to 'Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine' from the acronym Carter USM and started playing live as a 'proper' 6 man band. With Salv from the band S*M*A*S*H on bass, Wez's brother Steve on guitar and Ben - who was very young - on keyboards.

After signing to Cooking Vinyl they released A World Without Dave the mini album, the band 'nicest' record so far and started their longest ever UK tour. The band then went back to Canada and the US for what would turn out to be their final beano - they decided to split shortly after their 10th anniversary.

The end...?

The final Carter studio album I Blame The Government was released in January 1998 and is a glorious album, a fitting curtain drop to ten wonderful years in show business. Two further albums, Live! and BBC Sessions, were released in the same year, in June and October respectively. Les Carter now plays with new band Abdoujaparov as well as appearing as a presenter on Brentwood radio station Phoenix FM.

Posthumous releases

EMI records released Anytime Anyplace Anywhere, a Best Of record featuring tracks from the band's birth until their switch to Cooking Vinyl. This annoyed the band somewhat as they weren't consulted or even made aware of the release of the record. In 2004 two new Carter CDs were released, a live album of BBC concerts from the early 1990s and Brixton Mortars, a compilation album of tracks from their final two studio albums.



  • 101 Damnations
  • 30 Something
  • 1992 The Love Album
  • Post Historic Monsters
  • Starry Eyed And Bollock Naked (A Collection Of B-Sides)
  • Worry Bomb (including Doma Sportova... Live At Zagreb May 20 1994)
  • Straw Donkey - The Singles
  • A World Without Dave
  • I Blame The Government
  • Live!
  • Sessions
  • Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere - The Best Of Carter USM
  • BBC Live In Concert 1991-1994
  • Brixton Mortars

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