Unified user’s guide - Floyd L. breaks it down

Unit’s In Da House

The Unit’s theme tune, a perfect example of a song that grows from the bass upwards. Bustyaleep rocks the verse vocals, with BTV getting silky on the bridge. Sted flexes the wah, Floyd L. takes the clean picking and riffology.

Plenty of references to other Unit songs in the lyrics (“Warriors of mental grooves” – Warriors Of Metal, “Outing all the whores” – Suck Satan’s Cock) and a respectful tip-of-the-hat to Funkadelic ( “Move your ass and your mind will soon be free” – Free Your Ass And Your Mind Will Follow). By the way, a “Raven deuce deuce” is a gun.

( To be ) Number one

This one is all about how music is judged and valued. The title was “borrowed” from a Hong King film. I think Robbie Williams was number one with “Rock DJ” when this was written – draw your own conclusions.
Mongoose And Snake

This was based on a poem written by Man Wid Mission, originally subtitled “Bully Boy” (click here to see the original) and set in prison. If you don’t know, a mongoose is a kind of Indian ferret which is renowned for outwitting and killing highly poisonous cobras. Floyd L. takes the lead vocal on this one, as Benny’s tones were felt too dulcet to give the track the attitude required, and also rips out the first solo, Stedman hot on his heels with the wah-wah wah. Bustyaleep brings the “one lick” beatdown.

Incidentally, this was the first song we recorded for the album – the initial sessions taking place in October 2001. Boston-esque timescales, we know.
Jaguar Wong Is Afraid Of Nothing

The samples and concept for this come from a film called “Ninja Terminator” – you can get hold of it fairly easily and cheaply and I suggest you do, you’ll never have seen anything like it. It’s two completely different films cut together and over-dubbed to make one story. One half of the film concerns some highly dubious Ninja activities, such as Ninjitsu melon-slicing, the other half revolves around the antics of a super slick Interpol agent called Jaguar Wong and his gold wig-wearing arch rival, Tiger Chan (played by legendary Korean super kicker Hwang Jang Lee). The drums are based on various beats by super-heavy funk legend Bernard “Pretty” Purdie.

Benny sings the verse, the Professor busts the chorus and the “Undercover Daddy” rap.
Are You There, Moriarty ?

Stedman’s dad used to be in the Royal Navy and told him about a game they played called “Are You There, Moriarty ?”. You have two players, who lay face down on the floor, head-to-head, blindfolded, with a rolled-up newspaper in one hand. They have to ask “Are you there, Moriarty ?” and then attempt to hit their opponent with the newspaper. See here for further evidence

This contains some of Stedman’s more oblique lyrical musings - anyone one remember the Star Trek: Next Gen episode with Data’s Sherlock Holmes trip ? Bustyaleep makes you feel the force of his news-slap, you bitch.
The Eagle Has Landed

So you’re in a funk metal hiphop band, full of stoners who love sitting around Chonging out to laid back funk grooves, and you realise you haven’t got any laid back stoned funk tunes of your own that you can chong to. What do you do ? Answer : The Eagle Has Landed.

The title used to be our code word for the arrival of aforementioned contraband, although in hindsight, writing a song about it maybe isn’t the best way to keep the code secret.

Floyd provides the nodding rhythm for Sted to float over on the trademark wah-wah. Mr. Cool gets you lifted with the dreamy first solo, Floyd brings the slick jazz vibe for the second. Apparently, as revealed by Nick Frost on “Never Mind The Buzzcocks”, this is a more universal term than previously realised, which means that at least some of you knew what we were on about.
Northampton Rocks

This was inspired by a series of exchanges on an old Northampton local music website message board. People were constantly slagging off the local music scene (not much has changed there then), saying how crap the bands were and how apathetic the audiences were. We’d just done a rocking gig at the Racehorse, to a brilliant crowd who were all screaming along to the songs, moshing, dancing , bellowing “METAL” and making Dio hand signs whenever prompted. Hardly the docile disinterest these people were purporting, so this is our tribute to the fans.

At least that’s how it started. It soon grew into a description of what it’s like being in a local band, not just in Northampton, but everywhere, and a testament to the people who keep the torch of local music burning.

Magical Monkey Juice

Imagine a monkey being pumped full of hallucinogens to test their psychological and biological effects. Imagine blasting a monkey into space to measure the physiological stresses of extreme g-forces, weightlessness and cosmic radiation. Imagine a monkey being pumped full of hallucinogens AND blasted into space. Now imagine you're that monkey.

The first song Floyd L. and Stedman wrote together, MMJ was originally conceived back in August 96, inspired by Brass Eye. Updated for the 21st century with a slamming Bernard Purdie break and Bustyaleep's mind twisting lyrical beatdown, Floyd L. takes the lead riff and the solo. Stedman brings the funk.

Re-recorded for Unified, this is the definitive Juicing of the Monkey - we even found the original article from The Onion which inspired it all - check the Daily Yoon, just a pixel or three to your right.

Fu Manchu

The mosh-pit anthem. Floyd wrote this Boxing Day '99..." I'd had a yoghurt of truth and watched Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai", so I was kind of in an oriental vibe anyway. Benny's about and he's talking to someone about something completely unrelated and he says "D'you like Cat Stevens ?"....

I'm totally monged and I hear this and I just start word-associating - "D'you like Henry's Cat ? D'you like Katmandu ? D'you like Fu Manchu Manchu Manchu ?" (now you know what the middle 8 is on about) - and as soon as I said it, I thought "There's a song in there". As it was a cheesy oriental song, I ripped off a Japanese scale and based the riff on that."

Originally recorded for the first Unit CD, another tune benefitting from time, technology and the slutty Professor.

Funny Monkey Tested On

DAYTON, OH—Captain Bananas, a funny little monkey whose simian shenanigans never fail to crack up everyone he meets, was strenuously and repeatedly tested on at ViviTech Consumer Products Research Laboratory last week.

The irrepressible Captain Bananas has won the hearts of ViviTech Consumer Products Research Laboratory employees with his hilarious, non-stop monkey antics. The delightful Captain Bananas, a four-year-old rhesus monkey, is a source of never-ending amusement for the people lucky enough to work with him in ViviTech's Irritability And Toxicity Testing Division.

"I just love the Captain. He's always doing something crazy to make me laugh!" effused subcutaneous/ocular-irritant trauma technician Sarah Downing. "Yesterday morning, when he saw me coming, he jumped around his cage and squealed with glee. Then he spun around and did a handstand! I was laughing so hard, I was barely able to strap him to a table, drill a hole in his skull, insert electrical probes into his cerebral cortex to monitor pain responses, sew his anus shut, cut his left eyelid off with shears, seal his tear ducts with a cauterizing iron, and inject a concentrated mixture of cadmium chlorate directly into his exposed eyeball."

"Aren't you a silly little fellow? Aren't you?" Downing said to Captain Bananas, patting him lovingly but carefully on the head to avoid dislodging the high-amperage electrodes in his cranium. "Yes, you are! Yes, you are!"

Downing said that after yesterday's experiment, designed to measure the time necessary for cadmium chloride to completely dissolve an eyeball, Captain Bananas was given "the cutest little eyepatch."

"Who's a little pirate? Who's a liddle widdle pirate?" she asked Captain Bananas as he scratched meekly at the square of cloth sewn over his now-empty socket. "You are! Yes, you are! Ahoy, Captain!"

Downing is by no means Captain Bananas' only fan at ViviTech. "I never get tired of that crazy little guy. Every time I see him, he always puts a smile on my face," said Dwayne Stebbins, a chloroxylene chemist who has enjoyed plenty of the monkey's hilarious antics during his study of the long-term effects of stove-cleaner ingestion on primates. "I remember this one time, we forced 2.7 liters of flammable lighter-fluid/paint-thinner mixture down his throat—oh, the look on his face! A few hours later, he really cracked us up when he defecated the entire volume of undigested chemicals onto a lit bunsen burner. I tell you, you haven't truly seen 'monkeyshines' until you've seen liquid flame pour from Captain Bananas' anus."

Admittedly, after years of having his skin shaved off with experimental razorblades, limbs broken and rebroken to test playground equipment, and mucus membranes injected with new industrial solvents, Captain Bananas is a bit worse for wear. But ViviTech spokespersons say his remaining eye is as bright as ever.

"We've got lots of animals here in the lab, but Captain Bananas is still everyone's favorite—not just for his bottomless bag of crazy tricks, but also for his phenomenally high pain threshold," Downing said.

As beloved as he is, though, Captain Bananas will soon have to move on. "Unfortunately, even an irrepressible critter like The Captain has only so many tests in him," Downing said. "So next month, after Captain Bananas helps us determine how much tub-and-tile spray it takes to remove a monkey's skin, it's off to 'Monkey Retirement Camp' for him."

Officials at ViviTech's Monkey Retirement Camp, a motorcycle-helmet testing range, said they are "very much looking forward" to discovering Captain Bananas' unique sense of humor, as well as his skull's elastic and tensile limits, for themselves.

(c) Reprinted from The Onion April 29, 1998
Ape Shit

Right, you’ll have to bear with me with this one. Bustyaleep told us one time about this dream he had where a mate of his was showing him his brand new shiny car and a bird flies overhead and drops a payload all over the bonnet. To their surprise, the faecal matter forms the perfect shape of a cartoon gorilla’s head. Apeshit.

So that brought up the word Apeshit, and I thought that would be a pretty cool title for a song. Some kind of mosh pit anthem type affair. Anyway weeks later, we’re just jamming out a riff in rehearsal, and Fist starts playing along on his bass drums, and before you know it, we’ve got the verse for a song. A couple of weeks after that, Boabus is noodling around and comes up with this killer bassline. Couple of weeks after that, Sted comes up with a snarling, sliding riff, which a few tweaks later becomes the chorus. We stick the whole lot together, get Bustyaleep to cook up some arse-kicking lyrics, and hey presto, a song is born. Well, more like evolved.

Beaver's Mountain

Ah, Beaver’s Mountain – where to begin with this one ?The Unit’s Skynyrd-inspired southern rock homage to Northampton legend. One time me and Boab were watching TV and something came on which sparked me to say “Beaver’s Mountain”. I don’t know what it was, but take my word, something on the TV prompted it. We decided that would be a great name for a Skynyrd/Hatchet etc. style southern rock band. Fast forward a bit and I decided I’d like to try a southern rock tune, I’d been listening to some Skynyrd, Black Crowes, Blind Melon, that type of thing. Boab suggested why not use “Beaver’s Mountain” as a title.

Originally, I think I’d seen some local news programme with a bunch of geezers from Norwich doing country and all wearing cowboy hats and stuff, so the vibe was going to be some guys from Northampton, talking about local stuff but tarting it up so it sounded like some way out west place.

So then we had to think “What would these deluded guys think that Beaver’s Mountain was ?”. It would have to be the least mountain-like mountain in existence. Well, in Abington Park in Northampton, near the bandstand, there’s a small mound which goes by the nickname of Tank Hill. It’s about 20 foot high by 40 ft long and we thought “Yes. That is Beaver’s Mountain”. It’s called Tank Hill because local legend had it that there was a tank buried in the mound.

Anyway, we were talking about this with our mate Chas one day, and he says “Tank Hill ? There used to be a tank on that hill. My granddad lived opposite the park when he was kid and he can remember seeing it there, pointing out over the road. It was one of those WWI pillbox type tanks”. So, it turns out the tank was on the hill, not in it – hence the lyric “More beavers than tanks in that hill”. Then, in coincidence of coincidence, I was clearing out an old desk at work the next week and I find a “History of Northampton” calendar, where each day has some local historical fact. I check the date for my birthday (October 27th) and it says “Souvenir W.W.I. tank arrives at Abington Park (1919)”. No way. Then I check through the rest of it and on February 6th it says “W.W.I. tank scrapped from Abington Park (1935)” – hence the lyric “In nineteen hundred and thirty five, the bastards stole my dream”.

This was not the only piece of serendipitous legend concerning this tune. “ I heard C. Pryor is fat” refers to a legendary piece of Northampton graffiti that read, simply “C.Pryor is fat”. It’s on the corner of Balfour and Barrack Road in Kingsthorpe Hollow. It became legendary because someone scrubbed it off, only for it to be replaced shortly with “C. Pryor is fat II”. I was explaining the lyrics to my friend Jen Coles and she said “ C.Pryor is fat – Sparky wrote that. It was about Charlie Pryor who used to drink in our local. And he was indeed a fat bastard”. More crazy coincidence from the Unit. It’s like the Twilight Zone being in this band sometimes.

B. V. Toledo croons you all the way back home, Cool Hand Sted peels the first solo out with the Scaramanga Kid in hot pursuit.

Just A Unit Thang

The inspiration for this tune came from a comment someone made about the Unit. They’d said we didn’t know what style we were and that we didn’t know who we wanted to be. Not the first time we’ve come across this type of feeling before. Some people just find it hard to deal with a band that won’t sit firmly in one particular genre, or that refuses to take itself seriously. Just look at how many Coldplay fans there are.

Anyway, this was composed as an answer to such comments, and pretty much expresses our thoughts on the matter. Another lyrical reference to Funkadelic “a rock band can’t play funk ?” . Originally, the guitar in the chorus which follows the bassline was a clean funky chank kinda tone but Sted suggested we rock it up. He takes the wah-wah solo and Floyd follows with the wailing bends.

This was the last tune written for the Unified sessions, and Benny “The Voice” left the band before he had a chance to record it, hence Floyd’s appearance on lead vocal alongside Prof B.

 The intro comes from the album “Here And Now” by Richard Pryor, which if you don’t own, should go out and buy instantly. In fact, you should go out and buy EVERY Richard Pryor album instantly. It’s a cool quote and a chance to offer a tribute of sorts to one of the greatest stand up comedians ever.

Released Jan 05 | Recorded Jan 02 - Aug 04 using Korg D1600 16 Track | Mastered using Sony Sound Forge 7