If the ‘80s BBC kid’s show What’s That Noise? has been extensively archived somewhere online, I haven’t been able to find it. And that’s a bummer, since from what I have found, the show took some daring chances, presenting kids with a pretty amazing variety of musical styles. (They also had Gary Glitter on once, which in retrospect has to be KidVid faux pas numero fucking uno.) The show was hosted by Craig Charles, who’s better known for his role in Red Dwarf, but here he can be seen introducing England’s malleable young minds to the music of grindcore pioneers Napalm Death.
So, for the uninitiated, that bit at about 1:20 where they play all of three notes is in fact the entire song “You Suffer,” from the album Scum. When shit gets real hectic again at 2:45ish, that’s the title track from 1988’s From Enslavement to Obliteration.
Though Napalm Death’s loooooong history is full of constant lineup changes—no original members have been in the band since the mid-‘80s—this footage happens to be from an important crossroads era for them. The singer here is Lee Dorrian, who, not long after this appearance, would leave Napalm Death to form the doom band Cathedral, clearing the spot for the singer most closely associated with the band, Barney Greenway. The guitarist is Bill Steer, then and still of Carcass. The drummer is Mick Harris, who went on to a distinguished career exploring industrial, experimental electronics, and dub in Scorn, and forming an astounding free-jazz/metal trio called Pain Killer with John Zorn and Bill Laswell. The bassist, Shane Embury, clearly recognizing a sweet gig when it’s his to keep, is the only member from the What’s That Noise appearance who’s still in Napalm Death.
The 2006 documentary Napalm Death—The Scum Story is great viewing for those who’d like to know more about the band’s early years. And you can watch it right here.