I’M A MESS – The story behind the badge


– The story behind the badge

If we told you that Sid Vicious had something to do with these lyrics you would believe us. It’s true but not in the way you might expect

I’m A Mess
I always go out drinking
On a Friday night
After a week of coming down
I’m bustin’ for a fight
My brother gives me pills
And me mother gives me ice
’cause every Saturday morning
My head don’t feel so nice

I’m a mess
But don’t tell me
I’ll beat you
Don’t need no friends see

My doctor says I’m down
And I need a two-week rest
So I take it down in Soho
‘Cause I fight down there best
And the man from down the “dilly”
Sells me bombers and hash
And I’m always found in Wardour Street,
Where the junkies all crash

Three o’clock on Friday night
A copper comes along
And after kicking me around
I started to run
But the law was all around me
So I just hit out
Now they’ve thrown me in the nick
Where I can scream and loon about

You’re a dirty mess
I’m a dirty mess


The story starts in the Isle of Wight in 1975 with the band Stormtrooper. The members Neil Hutchings (vocals) John Pilka (Guitar), Mike Lee (drums) and Jeff Piccinini (Bass) had put together a demo tape that was rejected by the record companies. Stormtrooper true to their name soldiered on, and by default, they ended up headlining at the Bath Pavilion in October ’85. They were supposed to have been supporting Bop Deluxe but as they didn’t turn up it left Stormtrooper topping the bill, in what was to be their one and only major gig. Things went from bad to worse and by December ’75, with finances running out and the record company rejections ending any hope for their future, they split.

That wasn’t the end. Two years later with Punk on a role the band pulled out the track I’m a Mess. It had been written in 1973 and was part of the four-track demo tape that had been doing the rounds unsuccessfully in 1975. Not written as a Punk track, they were a hard rock band after all, it just seems to possess all the right ingredients needed at that time. It was noisy, and the lyrics were right on course for punkdom. In 1977 the band put together the money to self-finance the release on Solent Records with an A side “I’m a Mess” and “ Its not Me” on the B side. It sold a few thousand copies and included a pin badge “I’m a Mess “as part of the promo. The band reformed in ’78 and recorded a couple more tracks, “I’m on Fire” and “Coming my Way”. In the way that history repeats itself, they never made the cut to vinyl and the band split again. I’m On Fire ended up as a single for Chelsea after Jeff Piccinini ended up with the band.

The badge? Well that ended up on the lapel of Sid Vicious on the infamous and ill-fated ’78 tour of America. It was fitting that it was his wearing the badge that gave the track a new lease of life. The track was ahead of its time and still resonates today. Just read the lyrics.

Thanks to Stormtrooper for this legacy and an underground story of Punk that we like here at Underground