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Rudimentary Peni are a British anarcho-punk/deathrock band formed in 1980, emerging from the London anarcho-punk scene. Lead singer/guitarist Nick Blinko is notorious for his witty macabre lyrics and dark pen-and-ink artwork, prominently featured on all of Rudimentary Peni's albums. Blinko is also rumored to have written the band's Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric album while resident in a psychiatric hospital. Bassist Grant Matthews has also written a number of songs for the band, though his lyrics primarily focus on sociopolitical themes. Very few photos exist of the band, as their albums feature Blinko's drawings instead, but Pushead published a few in an early edition of his magazine.
|Origin||London, England, United Kingdom|
|Genres||Anarcho-punk, hardcore punk, deathrock, art punk, gothic rock|
|Labels||Outer Himalayan Records, Crass Records, Corpus Christi Records, Southern Records|
|Associated acts||The Magits|
Blinko and Greville had met years prior in Langleybury Comprehensive secondary school. Greville had been playing drums since he was young, beginning lessons at the age of 10, and slowly became interested in punk rock around the time Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols by the Sex Pistols was released  After meeting Blinko through a mutual friend, the pair began the experimental electronic duo the Magits, formed in 1977 and dissolved around 1980. The Magits released their first and only EP, Fully Coherent, in 1979 on Blinko's newly formed Outer Himalayan Records; it was the label's first release. In his 2006 book The Day the Country Died: A History of Anarcho Punk 1980–1984, punk historian Ian Glasper referred to the sound of the Magits' EP as a "meandering collection of keyboard torture".
Blinko, Greville, and Matthews subsequently formed Rudimentary Peni. In Maximum RocknRoll issue No. 237 (February 2003), Matthews explained how he came up with the name of the band: "When I was at school studying biology, we were told that in the fetal stage the clitoris is a rudimentary penis". By 1981, the band had played their first show, along with the S-Haters and Soft Drinks in Watford, Hertfortshire. Greville later characterized the first show, as well as the ones following it, as fairly disappointing, setting a precedent for the band's distaste for playing live. While they were inspired by punk rock, the band did not adopt the look of the day, as Greville noted: "The majority of people [were] clearly disappointed that we didn't have green mohicans and multiple piercings...if you were the sort of person to be put off by what we looked like, you were never going to understand or appreciate the songs anyway".
They recorded their first EP, an eponymous 12-song 7", in 1981 at Street Level Studios in London and released it on Outer Himalayan. It was fast, loud, and often described as "demented" due to the sound, as well as Blinko's lyrics and artwork, which adorned the cover and inner sleeves. After the release of the EP, the band played their first London show on 18 September 1981 along with anarcho-punk bands Flux of Pink Indians and the Subhumans.
Early on, Rudimentary Peni had connections with fellow anarcho-punkers Crass, and their second 7" EP, Farce, was issued by Crass Records. Up through the band's first studio album, Death Church (1983), their records were packaged in fold-out paper sleeves full of artwork, lyrics and poster graphics characteristic of Crass and many other bands in the anarcho-punk scene.
Rudimentary Peni stopped performing in the mid-1980s after bassist Matthews was diagnosed with cancer. After a four-year hiatus, they recorded Cacophony (1988), a sonic tribute to seminal New England horror author H. P. Lovecraft. Mark Ferelli of Part 1, a contemporary English deathrock band, introduced Blinko to Lovecraft; the pair also pushed each other's pen-and-ink artwork forward via friendly competition.
The band continued to record and release material into the 21st century, including the album Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric (1995) and the EPs Echoes of Anguish (1998), The Underclass (2000), Archaic (2004) and No More Pain (2008), and have maintained a diverse cult following in the United States punk scene. Most reissues of their 1980s albums are now out of print.
Blinko authored a semi-autobiographical novel called The Primal Screamer, originally published in 1995 by Spare Change Books (his bandmates and Ferelli appear under false names), as well as the more recent The Haunted Head (2009, Coptic Cat) and Visions of Pope Adrian 37th (2011, Coptic Cat). Blinko has also become increasingly popular in the outsider art scene.
- Death Church LP (Corpus Christi Records, 1983) (No. 3)
- Cacophony LP (Outer Himalayan, 1988) (No. 7)
- Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric CD (Outer Himalayan, 1995)
- Rudimentary Peni 7" EP (1981, Outer Himalayan)
- Farce 7" EP (1982, Crass Records) (#7)
- Echoes of Anguish 12" EP/CD EP (1998, Outer Himalayan)
- The Underclass 7" EP/CD EP (2000, Outer Himalayan)
- Archaic 10" EP/CD EP (2004, Outer Himalayan)
- No More Pain 12" EP/CD EP (2008, Southern Records)
- "Wilfred Owen the Chances" CD (2009, Coptic Cat/Outer Himalayan)
- Derby 1993 (2015, Sheffield Tape Archive)
- The EPs of RP LP (1987, Corpus Christi Records)
- SCARE-RIFF-EYEING Vol. 3: Rudimentary Peni
- Glasper, Ian (2014). The Day the Country Died. PM Press. ISBN 978-1-60486-516-5.
- Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1999. Cherry Red Books. ISBN 0-9517206-9-4.