"(Get a) Grip (On Yourself)" - STRANGLERS cover by JF WHITNEY featuring BEN HELL
"What a fine mutilation!"- JELLO BIAFRA
"This is COOL!" - JESSE TOWNLEY - ALTERNATIVE TENTACLES
"The last of the true English bohemians"- GREG FOAT (Author of "GIGOLO")
"The best beatnik in the world" - YVAN SERRANO FONTOVA
"The Eric Ambler of the drums" - JAKE VEGAS
"Amazing musical scientist and experimenter of genres" JAMBOREE
"A very talented artist and musician with strong tendencies to the surrealist" DAVID PIPER
"PAS CATHOLIQUE" Short film by JF WHITNEY
"Nakedly surrealistic....a witty meditation on Catholicism, repression and sadomasochism, draws on the 1920s French surrealist tradition; its dominant motif is the disembodied head of a man (Cyril Roy) who may or may not be a monk.” GRAHAM FULLER - NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE - theculturetrip.com
"Expressionist look at religion somewhere between Ingmar Bergman and Jean-Luc Godard." CHUCK FOSTER - FILM THREAT, LOS ANGELES
"Joe Whitney is an all-round friggin genius. The One Man Cinema Band has to be seen to be believed."
PETER THOMAS - EXPLODING CINEMA
"As an artist Joe moves in his own way to his own drumbeat and through his music, leads us into a mysterious underworld."
"No one makes films like Joe Whitney" ELLA GURU
"Mysterious and intriguing" WAKE UP SCREAMING E-ZINE.
were impressed by your work and particularly enjoyed your mixing of
live music and film. We were also very impressed by the quality of your
short films, such as ‘All the World’s a Cage’."
SARAH GROCHALA - HEADLONG DIGITAL ARTIST AWARD 2016
"Your work is really great and very interesting"
SAMANTHA GRAY - THE INK & PAINT CLUB
"The Dapper Duke of Drums and Daguerrotypery"
STEPHEN PRINCE - AFTERHOURS SLEAZE AND DIGNITY
"The multi-tasking artist, musician and photographer launches his month-long show at the gallery/salon with a party tonight
Now this is a good one. The legendary Kentish Town gallery-cum-salon have a major exhibition kicking off for a month from tonight, with a show entitled 50/50 by Joe Whitney.
Whitney is an artist, musician and photographer with work published, performed and exhibited across the globe. “My artwork (drawn, painted or digitally rendered) is entirely inspired by fleeting random ideas,” he says, perhaps not entirely helpfully. But we forgive him.
And he’s a busy bee too, with recent shows across the capital everywhere from Hackney Picturehouse to Proud. Check out his website for a full display of his Renaissance-man style multi-tasking (a roll call of everything from movie soundtracks to magazine photography).
And – of course – no-one needs an excuse to swing by Michael Ptootch’s iconic second Thursday-of-the-month soirées, with cocktail bar, secret garden, live music and eclectic K-Town crowd. And if that’s not enough, there’ll be a performance from – who else – Whitney’s band The Flaming Stars, too.
50/50 runs at Flaxon Ptootch, 237 Kentish Town Road, until October 9. Launch party tonight from 7pm."
KEITH LEVENE on "POPTONES" "by THE TROPICS OF CANCER: "Very nice..like the vocals-interesting version.. I'm flattered..""
"I really loved your improvised sound performance with films…Unique strong cool visuals with humour""
MAKIKO WATANABE - FUTURE SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL TOKYO
"Your set was magic! Very energetic and clever"
JOWE HEAD on JOE LE TROPIC & HIS ONE-MAN CINEMA BAND
"We really did like yer films and thanks for a grand set, I'm a fan!" CHARLIE FINKE-THE CESARIANS
"Compelling interactive cabaret..!" SADIE MURDOCH
Hero of the week : Joe Whitney
"Got talking to drummer, multi-instrumentalist, artisan (don't know what that
means, but it seems to fit) and film-maker Joe after a night's gear and gig
with Adventures of Parsley and his band Tropics of Cancer. 20 years ago he
moved from Birmingham to London, hearing that drummers were like gold dust
here. Answering an ad in Sounds he ended up in the Stingrays. While in
London he has been native to Camden Town, but hasn't lost the disarming
Brummy friendliness, and he has an infectious grin. These days he has
several musical projects on the go, including sultans of cool and Vinyl
Japan stalwarts, The Flaming Stars (or F-ing Stars, as he playfully calls
them). A 6-foot Goliath of a man with shaved head and sometimes a flat cap,
and all dressed in black on the night in question. You couldn't fail to
notice him. In hot sweaty gigs he occasionally strips to the waist, at which
point he resembles the guy that beats the massive gong at the start of old
'Rank Organisation' films. He wow-ed Pashana Bedhi and myself, when in
response to the traditional soundcheck request of 'can you try the whole
kit?' he blitzed out the most wonderful 1-man extreme drum chaos solo,
whilst looking totally everyday about doing it. Over a late night cup of tea
(without the tea in my case) he turned out to be refreshingly thoughtful and
discerning about music and musical projects he took part in. Drummers are
not like gold dust, Joe, but cool people like yourself certainly are."
PARSLEY’S COMMLOCK, ARTROCKER May 2003
RECORD COLLECTOR Sept 1997
"Klo-Dean"/Sister Flora" (Kooky)
Unusually for a solo record by a drummer (think of Ringo, Charlie or Moon), "Klo-Dean" is virtually all drumming. Whitney is the sticksman with the dashingly cool Flaming Stars, but it's not all skins-and-rims: there are some wild acoustic guitars here, too. But what makes this a killer 7" is "Sister Flora"- a frenzy of percussion punctuated by an easy-listening chorus reminiscent of the Pearl & Dean theme. Check out the handmade sleeves and the very limited pressing too.
A remake of PIL's classic "Poptones" – and done on a funky 45 label, too! The track is a lot trippier than most of the rest of the Stark Reality catalog – with a slow hypnotic groove that's very much in keeping with PIL's original, but also more of a fuzzy psych approach to the cut – one that takes it into some mighty nice spaced out territory! "Sylvia's Gate" starts with a catchy piano riff – grooving along at a bubbling pace, kind of madly skipping as some wordless female vocals come into the track and scat along – sounding almost like a mad number by Doris or Karin Krog, but even weirder overall! © 1996-2011, DUSTY GROOVE AMERICA, INC.
Under The Covers – The Tropics of Cancer featuring She Rocola
(RIM CD 18)
Jazzy, quirky and thoroughly bohemian.
The Flaming Stars' expressive sticksman Joe Whitney provides his own
unique brand of hi-class lo-fi with the Tropics of Cancer on "Under The
His Rim Records debut, "Introduction To A Rumour" sold out its initial pressing in record time, and featured a mesmerising overhaul of Diana Ross' "Upside Down" that prompted Andrew Weatherall to feature it on his Soma Records compilation "SciFi-Lo Fi". For this follow-up release he concedes lead vocals to the sultry, smooth, beguiling She Rocola, reigniting their previous incarnation as Minxus.
Opening with the film noir of "Shelia's Dream", the album progresses to Whitney and Rocola equally at home conquering the Julie London standard "Cry Me A River", as subverting The Buzzcocks' "Get On Our Own" with toy piano and recorders – Rocola's sensuous tones ever-present throughout.
The Tropics of Cancer are renowned for their playfulness. "An Easy Addiction" tricks you into believing you're listening to a sixties underground classic, but is one of several self-penned songs by Whitney and Rocola holding their own amongst the stellar cover versions.
A seemingly incongruous blend of assured melodies and arrangements bordering on the anarchic, "Under The Covers" has the uncanny knack of arousing the curiosity and raising the eyebrows whilst simultaneously snaring the listener into its ten tumultuous tracks.
THE TROPICS OF CANCER FEAT. SHE ROCOLA : UNDER THE COVERS (Rim)
The vampish Ms Rocola has been prowling the capital's garage rock underground these past few years, bringing more than a touch of sultry sophistication to the party, whether fronting Joe Whitney's trash-exotica project The Tropics of Cancer or the swing-jazz ensemble Lady And The Tramps. The Tropics' Under The Covers, as the title suggests, throws together originals like the bewitching Sylvia's Gate with class takes on such classics as Cry Me A River, plus a take on The Buzzcocks' Get On Our Own that's pure Wicker Man in execution.
HUGH GULLAND - VIVE LE PUNK 29/07/08
Tropics Of Cancer featuring She Rocola, “Get On Your Own” (from the Rim
album Under The Covers). It’s the Buzzcocks – Love Bites, right? –
given some absolutely crazed but beautiful Kurt Weill-style torch song
EVERETT TRUE - VILLAGE VOICE 27/10/07
Segovian, silver screen solemnities of the swoon-some flamenco fairytale "Get On Our Own" are iridescently cinematic
STU GIBSON - MAVERICK
Thats a fantastic version, really great!
STEVE DIGGLE on 'GET ON OUR OWN"
"UPSIDE DOWN" by THE TROPICS OF CANCER :SCI-FI LO-FI (ANDREW WEATHERALL COMPILATION - SOMA RECORDS)
"The Tropics of Cancer's spooky take on Diana Ross' "Upside Down" is ace"
TIM CHESTER - NME
"The Tropics of Cancer turn Diana Ross' disco-lite "Upside Down" into a brooding, bass-heavy death-surf ballad"
A frankly bizarre cover of Diana Ross' "Upside Down" by Tropics of
Cancer that features a rumbling, echoey bassline and a disturbingly
"Sci-fi Lo-fi offers some crazy interpretation of Diana Ross' 80's track "Upside Down" by The Tropics of Cancer"
An excerpt from "Medicine" Stu Gibson's "Rumour" review in "Sleazegrinder"....."Fittingly for such a master-class in midnight mores our first sip is a surreal shiver through 'Upside Down'...yarse, Ms Ross' disco diva classic magicked into an exquisite mambo jive, hot under the collar vocals whispered like incantations and curses by a private eye straight outta Chandler as the indigenous poison administered by his lap-dancing Laotian goddess takes full effect...."
THE TROPICS OF CANCER: INTRODUCTION TO A RUMOUR (Rim Records)
The Tropics are Flaming Star Joe Whitney and a gathering of London's kitsch cats and gangster chic underground gutter hounds (including Jake Vegas, Urbane Voodoo Machine P.R. Angel and brother Flamer Huck). This here is a collection of recordings from various speakeasies, cellar casinos and upstairs back-rooms of east-end back-alley boozers from 1992 to 2004. A low-key affair conducted appropriately at street ends so dark everyday folk are wary and speak only hearsay about what goes in the house on the corner...if it's occupied at all. Restlessly inventive...intoxicatingly hypnotic...a sultry stew flambé-ing the Flaming Stars further into flamenco flavoured Latino bordellos and sweaty oriental opium dens (the rather wondrous and beautifully sung 'Ue O Muite Aruko' which sounds like Geisha girls dancing on rose petals while levitating on flute and xylophone mists)...rounds of cards played, deals shook...suckers shook down in experimental folk lounges of Eno ethereal swinging rags and raging voodoo vibes.
Fittingly for such a master-class in midnight mores our first sip is a surreal shiver through 'Upside Down'... Ms Ross' disco diva classic magicked into an exquisite mambo jive, hot under the collar vocals whispered like incantations and curses by a private eye straight outta Chandler as the indigenous poison administered by his lap-dancing Laotian goddess takes full effect and heaves-ho the anchor on his hallucinogenic express taking in coconut growing hip-hop from Middle Eastern bazoukis ('The Ghost Of Baghdad'), Schnapps soused Germans grimacing in shell-shocked delirium between murderous mortar blasts and nightmare nursery rhymes from a flatlining Brothers Grimm ('Trollmors Vuggesang'), sassily sardonic put-down 'Balls To Call' .. surface sweet as Rosemary Clooney singing a 1950's TV ad for domestic products whilst delivering an earthy riposte to her handsome chap for not calling .. and myriad mordant folk tunes plucked from hillsides, vineyards and decaying farmhouses. Oh, and Bauhaus' 'Honeymoon Croon' spit-roasting (in the traditional tribal sense) Alien Sex Fiend on 'Angie!'
Moreso than the Stars this is evocative, unceasingly creative and cinematic soundscapery that'd perfectly accompany arthouse noir, Spillane style slick dickery and nocturnal 'Nosferatu' wanderings (see the twitching 'Tricoteuse'). Highly and heartily recommended.
STU GIBSON - SLEAZEGRINDER
THE TROPICS OF CANCER:
Are an organism that has grown fungally from the bowels of the London underground, and hence damned hard to pin down. This probably started in some Soho cellar bar, very late one night. They might include luminaries such as Joe Whitney, She Rocola, Jake Vegas, Sexton Ming, and a host of others. They might veer wildly from louche exotica and hardcore cha-cha to Mondo film-noir swing and classic torch songs. They do a confusing, achingly beautiful version of 'Get On Our Own' by The Buzzcocks. With bells on. And recorders.
When pressed quite hard to attempt to explain this, Joe claimed that it 'exists in order to do what the Hell it likes...
"Absolutely crazed but beautiful" - THE VILLAGE VOICE
"Sultry, seductive and entrancing" - MAVERICK
"Ace" - NME
"Slinky and sophisticated" -BIZARRE, March 2009
"Beatnick surf guitar, jazz punk and solid solid grooves. Cool vibes and never the same line up twice." - ENTS 24
"Ultra cool surf blues rock and roll n swing" STRANGER THAN PARADISE
THE FLAMING STARS:
“Yes, believers, you can play raucous garage blues, feel the devil-dogs of rockan-RAAHHWWLL nibbling at your parts and still have tunes... Top class.” NME
“The band can sound as evil as Nick Cave’s Birthday Party or as tragic as the Tindersticks.” CHICAGO.CITYSEARCH.COM
“Fuses garage punk and spaghetti western twang with a bit of Tom Waits thrown in for good measure – a mix which has gained them a sizeable cult following both at home and in Europe.” MUSIC WEEK
“The singer gives the impression of being drunk” ISAAC HAYES - guest singles reviewer - TIME OUT
"But it’s rascally drummer Joe Whitney who flexes his democratic muscles most demonstratively with “Baby Steps” and “The Long Walk Home” – which both sound like rather fine outtakes from the Get Carter soundtrack, albeit played by a drunken jazz band falling down a spiral staircase." ADRIAN P. - DOA 18/11/02
"Drummer Joe Whitney, a vital member of the band’s sound, produces a series of fascinating rhythms throughout, barely pausing for breath. Hulked over his drum kit, like a wolf protecting her young, he lays the foundations on which Décharné’s keyboard solos explode, punctuating each song with meticulous timing and execution." BBC TYNE 02/06/05
"Drummer Joe Whitney has always been on the verge of seizure behind the drumkit; with this number he proves that his passionate mania hasn't abated in the slightest." (WILL LERNER on "Only Tonight" ALLMUSIC.COM
"Like a fistfight between Jerry Lee Lewis and the Voidoids" MELODY MAKER
"In their native England, The Flaming Stars are garage rock royalty with a six-year string of albums, singles and Peel sessions beloved of folks as far away as Japan's Michelle Gun Elephant." THE BOSTON PHOENIX
"Forget the Kray Twins, it doesn't get much more suave than this. The Flaming Stars combine searing melodic guitar, trashy drums, and smooth crooning that'll work you over like a good batch of martinis at an after-hours pad; the band can sound as evil as Nick Cave's Birthday Party or as tragic as the Tindersticks."CHICAGOCITYSEARCH.COM (USA)
"L'ambience 3V (Velvets /Vega / Vegas)" DIG IT (France)
"Simply cool" ROLLING STONE
THE FLAMING STARS “NAMED AND SHAMED” (CD/LP)
"The Flaming Stars return with all guns blazing. It cocoons itself in a lurid
atmosphere of reverb'd guitars and dulcet baritone punctuated by slick
drumwork and a bevy of handclaps. Themes of inebriation and small-time
melodrama float over trashy garage rock with a hint of vaguely tropical
rhythms or spaghetti western twang. it was recorded at toe rag. on Vinyl
ARTROCKER October 2004
THE CHARITY CASE:
"SAFE IN THE MIND" (FISHDISC 7" SINGLE)
"…featuring a tremendous vocal line from a lady with maximum throat control...sounds as if Keith Moon is risen, while that darn guitarist rolls out another of those classic riffs", "A cherishable item indeed, buy two for posterity" - UNDERGROUND June 1988
"HOW TO FALL" (TRASHWAX LP)
"On some tracks such as "Victory Gin" there is a slightly off-kilter and occasionally unsettling battle going on between the shards of angular guitar riffing and some quite remarkable drumming that teeters on the edge of control."
RETRO MAN February 2016