Incredible Hog

Incredible Hog was an English hard-rock power trio that released the album Volume 1 on RCA-subsidiary Dart in 1973.

Members: Ken Gordon (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Jim Holmes (bass), Tony Awin (drums)


Formation

Incredible Hog escaped from the wreckage of Speed Auction, a school band that included guitarist/singer Ken Gordon and bassist Jim Holmes. Inspired by late ’60s blues-rock power trios, they auditioned multiple drummers before drafting South African expat Tony Awin. Their name was a play on the Marvel Comics superhero the Incredible Hulk.

They jammed throughout 1972 but had difficulty scoring gigs. Undeterred, they opened the thematically named Pig Sty, a club for their live events, which they publicized with ads in Melody Maker. Incredible Hog first ran the club in Ilford, then in Forest Gate. While they generated local buzz with their decibel-laden sound, A&Rs didn’t take notice.

Gordon went to the offices of Dart Records, a subsidiary of RCA, and demanded they listen to his band’s demo. Despite resistance and threats from security, he prevailed and Dart signed Incredible Hog.


Volume 1

Incredible Hog released Volume 1 in mid-1973 on Dart. The album features 10 Gordon originals, all in the three-minute range apart from the lengthier “Wreck My Soul.” Each song is succinctly named with 1–3 words, such as the evocatively titled cuts “Execution,” “Warning,” “Losing Myself,” and “To the Sea.”

Volume 1 was produced by Roger Watson, who worked on 1970/71 mystery albums by G.F. Fitz-Gerald and Zakarrias. Sessions took place at Mayfair Sound Studios at on/off intervals over several weeks during downtime between bookings by glam rock superstar Gary Glitter. The album was engineered by studio rookie Trevor Vallis, who went on to work with John St. Field, the Bowles Brothers, the Europeans, and Nazareth frontman Dan McCafferty.

Volume 1 was the first of only a few LPs released on Dart, which mostly issued singles (pink/white polka dot label) by MOR and glitter rock one-offs during its 1971–76 existence.

The original UK pressing of Volume 1 (cat# ARTS 65372) sports an off-white cover with simple graphics and a drip-tongue hog face inside the letter O. The back shows the band peeking into a dark, cavernous space with liner notes that read: “Warning, this is Incredible Hog rock — mean, hard, evil driving sounds from London’s east side. Keep it loud — if you can take it.”

In Germany, the album appeared on Telefunken, titled Incredible Hog with an illustration of a pink hog/lady hybrid with six breasts, posed with sunglasses in hand, wearing nothing but green pearls and matching heels. The back shows a color pic of the hirsute trio blowing smoke. In France, the album appeared on Columbia with another pink hog illustration. This image shows the creature perched with her six lactating breasts above two gap-mouthed men.

Dart paired the tracks “Lame” and “Tadpole” onto a single. The sleeve on French copies sport the same image as the Columbia LP.

In 1976, Volume 1 appeared on the Spanish Carnaby label with a different cover that shows the trio spread about in a rocky, foggy forest setting near a run-down ancient structure. This version appropriates the drip-tongue hog logo (upper right) from the original Dart release.

Gordon would later lament his inability to use his Marshall 100 watt amp at full blast in the studio, thus diminishing the band’s live impact on record.


Later Activity

Incredible Hog toured their album and prepared a followup. However, Dart’s limited funds stunted any growth potential for the band, which folded in late 1973.

Gordon became a session musician and offered uncredited studio help to the Heavy Metal Kids, The Rubettes, and latter-day formations of The Tremeloes and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Holmes later opened Scarf Studios on Furze Street, the recording site of late-’80s albums by The Outfield, That Petrol Emotion, and Momus.

Volume 1 was first reissued on CD in 1994 on Repertoire Records. In 2011, Rise Above Relics reissued the album as Volume 1 + 4 with four previously unissued songs from their aborted second album: “Burnout,” “Finger Fish,” “Going Down,” and “Stumble.”


Discography:

  • Volume 1 (1973)

Sources:

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