In 1989 a phenomena began that had the potential to rock the world, a
blending of music and technology like no other before it, yet only scant few
ever heard about it and even fewer saw the implications for the music
When the Napster revolution came along with it's inevitable court cases, people in the know began to see the parallels between the two.
Johnny Belch and The Burpettes lost their battle with technology. They were
forced to go it alone, wrenched from their niche and hurled into the wider
mainstream of the music industry where they shone brightly and then imploded
like a supernova, vanishing from a world that wasn't ready for them.
We're not talking about the music here. We're talking about the way that it was distributed.
Johnny Belch and The Burpettes were the first group to distribute their music
electronically. They preceded the internet, MP3's and the whole can of worms that came along with it.
Using a voice mail system they would broadcast their latest releases and even
concerts to to the mailboxes of their multitude of fans. All the fans had to
do was pick up the phone dial in their PIN code and Johnny and the boys would
be there, rocking.
Johnny Belch and The Burpettes proved to be innovative in more ways than
one and when the powers that be forced them to abandon their home among the
wires, they began to produce their own independent releases on cassette.
What can you say about a band that incorporates burps and farts into their music?
Some find it disgusting, some find it hilarious, some find it just plain weird and those who are considered weird say that it rocks!
We'll let you make you own decision - visit their MP3 page and sample the fruits of their labours for yourself.
There are numerous rumours in the music industry about Johnny Belch, who he really is, where he came from, where he disappeared to, and why he came back.
Very few of them have any substance. The man himself remains tight-lipped. He continues to refuse all attempts to gain an interview from him now, as he also did at the peak of his popularity, preferring to remain an enigma and destined to vanish into the annals of obscurity.
The Burpettes are an eclectic group of mismatched over-rated under-achievers. They ranged from classically trained refined artistes, to rank amateurs with a belly full of wind.
There was never really a stable line up of The Burpettes and it is doubtful that at any one time they were ever in the same room together. Many of them were simply plucked from nowhere, dragged into the studio and then promptly discarded.
Some of the better known names included Salty, Davo, Ian Boy and the effervescent John Nicholson, but there were many others who chose to remain uncredited for their performances on Johnny Belch's recordings. Word around that traps is that members of The Racing Tadpoles
and even The JunkYard Gods, just to name a few, had some involvement with The Burpettes.
During the mid 1990's it was rumoured that The Burpettes would release an album without Johnny Belch, but a record deal failed to eventuate and they drifted off onto various side projects.
The Come Back
In 2001 Johnny Belch and The Burpettes found themselves in the studio together for the first time in almost 10 years. The reason was that the tapes that they had recorded their original material on were deteriorating and with the advent of more advanced recording techniques they had the opportunity to remaster the recordings and transfer them into digital format.
During these sessions they began to mess around with their instruments and ended up recording a new version of their first hit "Regards". It wasn't long before they realised that the passion had been rekindled. The remastered songs were complied onto a new CD and released as Burpster.
A few weeks later Johnny called the Burpettes back into the studio again and they recorded a new song "Whistle While You Burp". Suddenly they were back in demand. In 2002 a Burp-free mix of their 1991 song "Star Burps" was included in the soundtrack to the independant film "Dial 9 for Outer Space" and they found themselves more popular than ever.
It took them a while to tie up their personal projects, but in February 2003 they finally went into the studio with a full list of new songs and the result is their finest release to date - Fart in a Bottle.
The story didn't end there though. Before the CD was even released tensions flared up once again and the proposed tour was cancelled. The band members all tried to sue each other and their management. As a result, the CD never found its way onto music store shelves.
After another 5 years the old wounds are beginning to heal and the guys have reconciled enough to allow the tracks to be released for digital download. Negotiations are underway and we are hopefully that the songs will finally be aired in the first half of 2008.