Rip Rig + Panic

Rip Rig + Panic was an English post-punk and avant-funk band that released the 1981–83 albums God, I Am Cold, and Attitude on Virgin. Original vocalist Neneh Cherry later gained fame as a solo artist.

Members: Gareth Sager (piano), Neneh Cherry (vocals), Bruce Smith (drums), Mark Springer (piano), Sean Oliver (bass), Andrea Oliver (vocals, 1982), Louis Moholo (drums, 1982-?)

Rip Rig + Panic formed in 1980 when two ex-members of Bristol post-punks The Pop Group, drummer Bruce Smith and guitarist–saxophonist Gareth Sager, teamed with pianist Mark Springer. With The Pop Group, Smith and Sager cut the 1979–80 albums Y and For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? and the singles “She Is Beyond Good and Evil” and “We Are All Prostitutes.” Springer plays on a name-sake interlude found on the Pop Group outtakes album We Are Time.

Conceived as a fusion of funk and free jazz, Rip Rig + Panic took their name from a 1965 album by Rahsaan Roland Kirk. They hired African-Swedish singer Neneh Cherry (daughter of American jazz trumpeter Don Cherry) and Antiguan bassist Sean Oliver, both participants in the New Age Steppers dub collective with members of The Slits, Raincoats, PIL, and Pop Group singer Mark Stewart.

On August 13, 1981, Rip Rig + Panic released their furst single: “Go! Go! Go! This Is It” backed with “The Ultimate in Fun,” both self-produced group originals.

A. “Go! Go! Go! This Is It” (2:18)
B. “The Ultimate in Fun (Is Going to the Disco with My Baby)” (2:31)

“Go! Go! Go!” is housed in a sleeve designed by Jill Mumford, whose visuals appear on 1970s Polydor titles by Planxty, The Bothy Band, The Jam, and recent Virgin releases by Culture, Skids, and XTC.


Rip Rig + Panic released their debut album, God, on September 3, 1981, on Virgin. It’s a standard-length album (41:45) spread across two 12″ records with sides 1–4 titled Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue.

Red Side
1. “Constant Drudgery Is Harmful to SOUL, SPIRIT & HEALTH” (3:24) Neneh 
2. “WILHELM Show Me the Diagram (Function of the Orgasm)” (1:10)
3. “Through Nomad Eyeballs” (3:28) Mark Springer 
4. “Change Your Life” (3:01) Ari Up

Yellow Side
1. “Knee Deep in Shit” (3:29) Gareth Sager 
2. “Totally Naked (Without Lock or Key)” (1:53)
3. “Try Box Out of This Box” Rip Rig + Panic, Dave “Flash” Wright Dave “Flash” (2:33) Dave “Flash” Wright
4. “Need (De School You)” (1:32) Neneh

Green Side
1. “HOWL! Caged Bird” (3:30)
2. “Those Eskimo Women Speak Frankly” (
3:13) Neneh 
3. “The Blue Blue Third” (5:25)

Blue Side
1. “Shadows Only There Because of the Sun” (3:00) Ari Up
2. “BEWARE (Our Leaders Love the Smell of Napalm)” (1:50)
3. “Miss Pib” (1:34) Sager 
4. “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Brrod” (2:57) Springer 

Sean Oliver – bass guitar, backing vocals (A1)
Gareth Sager – guitar (A1, B1, B2, B4, D1, D2), clarinet (A1, A3, C1, D2), alto saxophone (D1, D4, 17), keyboards (B1, B3, C1), organ (B1, B3, C1), lead vocals (B1, D3), backing vocals (A1), Japanese marimba (C3), violin (C2)
Bruce Smith – drums, percussion
Mark Springer – piano (A1-A4, B1-B4, C2, D2, D4), lead vocals (A3, D4), bass clarinet (C1, D2), trumpet (B4), soprano saxophone (C1), tenor saxophone (C2), backing vocals (C2, D3)

Neneh Cherry – lead vocals (A1, B4, C2)
Ari Up – backing vocals (A3, B1), lead vocals (A4, D1),
Dave “Flash” Wright – tenor saxophone (A1, B2, B3), lead vocals (B3)

John Dominis – photography
Howard Gray – engineering
Dave Hunt – engineering
Adam Kidron – engineering
Jill Mumford – sleeve design
Rip Rig + Panic – production, sleeve design
John Walker – engineering

On November 27, 1981, Rip Rig + Panic released the non-album single “Bob Hope Takes Risks” backed with “Hey Mr. E!”

A. “Bob Hope Takes Risks” (3:53) 12″ version (7:01)
B. “Hey Mr. E! A Gran Grin With a Shake of Smile” (5:11)

I Am Cold

Rip Rig + Panic released their second album, I Am Cold, on June 18, 1982, on Virgin. It consists of two EP-length 12″ records (60:11) with sides 1–4 titled North, East, South, and West.

North Side
1. “Hunger (The Ocean Roars It Bites)” (3:47)
2. “Epi Epi Arp Woosh!” (4:36)
3. “Another Tampon Up the Arse of Humanity” (4:20)
4. “Misa Luba (Lone Wolf)” (2:10)

East Side
1. “Storm the Reality Asylum” (7:17)
2. “Here Gathers Nameless Energy (Volcanoes Covered by Snow)” (4:55)
3. “A Dog’s Secret” (3:53)
4. “Liars Shape Up or Ship Out” (2:06)

South Side
1. “Warm; To the If in Life” (4:46)
2. “Nurse Increase the Sedatives (The Torment’s No Better)” (4:29)
3. “Take a Don Key to Mystery” (3:23)

West Side
1. “Tax Sex” (5:51)
2. “Subversive Wisdom” (5:27)
3. “Fire Eyes Joyful Silent Tears” (2:55)

Neneh Cherry – vocals (A2, B1, C3, D1)
Sean Oliver – bass guitar
Gareth Sager – piano (A4, B1, B3, C1, D3), guitar (A3, B2, D1), clarinet (B2, B4, C3), alto saxophone (A3, C2), string arrangement (B1, B4), bass clarinet (A3), vocals (C3)
Bruce Smith – drums, percussion
Mark Springer – piano (A1-A3, B2, B4, C2, C3, D1, D2), vocals (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2, D2), tenor saxophone (A3, B1), soprano saxophone (B3, C1, D3), bass clarinet (B3), clavinet (C2)

Don Cherry – trumpet (A2, B2, B3, C1, C3, D4), melodica (A2, C1), vocals (B2, C3)
David Defries – trumpet (B1, C2, D1), horn arrangement (B3)
Debbie Holmes – cello (B1)
Woo Honeymoon – violin (B1, B4)
Giles Leaman – additional drums and percussion
Jez Parfitt – baritone saxophone (D1)
Steve Noble – additional drums and percussion
Andrea Oliver – backing vocals (B1, D1)
Sarah Sarahandi – viola (A1, B1, B4)
Dave “Flash” Wright – tenor saxophone (B1, B3, C1, C2), flute (B3)

Anna Arnoe – photography
David Corrio – photography
Howard Gray – engineering
Dave Hunt – engineering
Lester Johnston – engineering
Adam Kidron – engineering
Jill Mumford – design
Sally Orsono – photography
Pablo Picasso – cover art

On the same day as I Am Cold, Rip Rig + Panic released the non-album single “You’re My Kind of Climate.”

A. “You’re My Kind of Climate” (2:50) 12″ version (6:05)
B. “She Gets So Hungry At Night She Eats Her Jewellery” (5:54)

Rip Rig + Panic (with Andrea Oliver) perform “You’re My Kind of Climate” on the Season 1, fifth episode (“Interesting” — aired December 7, 1982) of the BBC Two sitcom The Young Ones.

In late August, Rip lifted “Storm the Reality Asylum” as an a-side backed with the non-album “Leave Your Spittle In the Pot.”

B. “Leave Your Spittle In the Pot


Rip Rig + Panic released their third album, Attitude, in 1983 on Virgin.

1. “Keep the Sharks From Your Heart” (3:49)
2. “Sunken Love” (2:55)
3. “Rip Open, But Oh So Long Thy Wounds Take to Heal” (3:09)
4. “Do the Tightrope” (3:19)
5. “Intimacy, Just Gently Shimmer” (3:17)
6. “How That Spark Sets Me Aglow” (3:26)

7. “Alchemy in This Cemetry” (3:19)
8. “Beat the Beast” (2:07)
9. “The Birth Pangs of Spring” (3:24)
10. “Eros; What Brings Colour Up the Stem?” (4:07)
11. “Push Your Tiny Body as High as Your Desire Can Take You” (1:27)
12. “Viva X Dreams” (7:02)

Neneh Cherry – vocals (A1, A2, A6, B1, B2, B4)
Sean Oliver – bass guitar
Gareth Sager – guitar (A4, A6, B1, B3), vocals (B1, B2, B6), alto saxophone (B3, B6), clarinet (A1, A2), piano (A5), horn and string arrangement (A1, A2, A4, A6, B4, B5), production, design
Bruce Smith – drums (A1-A3, B1, B3, B4)
Mark Springer – piano (A1-A3, A6, B1, B4-B6), vocals (A4, B4, B6), soprano saxophone (B2), harmonica (B4)

David Defries – trumpet (A1, A4, B1, B2, B4)
Woo Honeymoon – violin (A2, A4, A6, B1, B4)
Giles Leaman – additional drums and percussion
Steve Noble – drums (A4, A6, B2, B6)
Andrea Oliver – vocals (A4, B6)
Sarah Sarahandi – viola (A2, A4-A6, B1, B2, B4, B5)
Dave “Flash” Wright – tenor saxophone (A1, A3, A4, A5, B1, B2, B4-B6)

T. Charrington – photography
Tim Hunt – engineering
Adam Kidron – production
Jill Mumford – design
Mark Stewart – engineering
Ken Thomas – engineering

On February 25, 1983, Rip Rig + Panic released “Beat the Beast” as the first of two Attitude a-sides backed with non-album b-sides.

B. “1619, A Dutch Vessel Docks In the USA With 20 Humans for Sale” (7:21)

In May, “Do the Tightrope” became the album’s second single.

B. “Blip This Jig It’s Shamanic” (3:00)


  • God (1981)
  • I Am Cold (2LP, 1982)
  • Attitude (1983)


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