Following the pandemic lockdown, gigs have been very much back on the table throughout 2022, but for some people, there still seems to be an unease about returning to the fold and sweating it out with others in very close proximity. That might account for tonight’s Abdoujaparov show feeling a little…undersold. It might also be down to the fact that bandleader Leslie George Carter doesn’t always seem keen to trade off his Carter USM past, often preferring to let this band attract people on their own merits, and relying on fan knowledge to attract a crowd. You’d think between the presence of an indie/punk legend and it not being a school night, Ramsgate Music Hall would be packed, but whatever happens, those who’ve come out tonight know they’re in for a great time.
After Carter USM called it a day in the late nineties, James “Jim Bob” Morrison and Les “Fruitbat” Carter went their separate ways. Jim formed the short-lived Jim’s Super Stereoworld before embarking on a dual career as a solo artist and writer of novels, and Fruity formed Abdoujaparov, an indie rock band with punky undertones. Having parted on amicable terms, the USM men actually shared stages together just a couple of years later with their respective new outfits, on a double header tour that pulled in the fans. Looking back, it was an interesting time for both performers looking to forge new paths. At the 2001 gigs, Jim seemed uninspired, often delivering music that sounded like a shadow of his former punning self. For Les, the opposite seemed true and opportunity to explore new musical ideas with different people seemed to invigorate him. With energetic live performances and a very matey stage presence, Abdoujaparov were definitely going to be a band that the old Carter fans would take to their hearts.
The label “cult hero” gets used a lot, but for Les “Fruitbat” Carter, it’s one that certainly applies. After a spell playing London pubs as a member of Jamie Wednesday, Les found fame as one half of Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, a band loved and hated by the music press in equal measure. He became infamous for rugby tackling national treasure Phillip Scofield live on telly and for a time, was a regular face staring out from the pages of NME. After Carter USM split, he formed Abdoujaparov, an indie punk labour of love, which maintained his cult status. In September 2021, Les stopped by at Real Gone to talk about Abdoujaparov’s long overdue return, their new album, and more besides…