I still believe that one of the most powerful of the original, self-penned rock songs the old six-piece electric format BPS did was "Brutus." It was a song written on several levels. It was about betrayal, and was largely inspired by a theatrical production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," which two of us had taken part in. We'd also studied the text for "A" levels and it had a sublime effect on us.
Whilst the play is essentially about conspirators who plot to assassinate Caesar, featuring Brutus as one of the dodgiest characters, my lyrics were about broken friendships, about people who conspire to get under your skin and then let you down. About the uncertainty of some relationships, and how benign images can suddenly become sinister. I'm still quite proud of it.
Someone asked me what happened to it, the other day. Well I still have a very rough recording of it, but at a guess I'd say it will never be performed anywhere again. A pity, for it was (for me) one of the best things the 6-piece rock format ever did. Audiences seemed to think so, too. The words were very dark, although there was a deceptively gentle acoustic beginning. The vocal followed, with memorable power chords between the verses, to reinforce the accelerating gloom of the content. At the end of the vocal, a second "heavy" riff featuring descending power chords, tumbled into a free-flowing guitar solo. Returning eventually to end the song with the five notes of the central theme. Personally, I still cannot listen to it without the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end.
A friend in the house is a fire in the hearth
The sun slowly rising:the magician's laugh
The flowers in a garden: a faraway train
The mist in a morning: the fragrance of rain
But if you're not careful, and you tread on a crack,
A friend in the house can be a knife in the back!
Brutus, you were the Judas in the garden
Brutus, you were the corner in the lane
Brutus, you were the Lenders in The Temple
Brutus you were the friendly teacher's cane.
Ah, Brutus: here you come again!
Brutus just plays chess with people's passions
Brutus seeks the weak link in the chain
Brutus takes relationships and kills them:
Brutus thrives on misery and strain
C'mon Brutus -here you come again!
Brutus hides in sheepskins in the meadow
Brutus waits in corners of your brain
Brutus puts the poison in your whisky
Brutus spits out friendship down the drain
Ah,c'mon Brutus: here you come again.
Brutus put the knife behind in Caesar
Brutus feeds on other people's pain
Brutus weaves a tapestry of magic
Brutus likes to see a good man slain
Yeah, c'mon Brutus: here you come again!
On The Forum steps see the crimson run
In the eyes of others, see what you have done
Say farewell to trust, say goodbye to fame
Who's that stranger coming? Brutus is his name.
The line-up on the recording I have was myself and the late Graham Caldicott sharing vocals,Vance Anderson on drums, Martin Smalldon on bass, Arnie on lead guitar and Mick on keyboards. Very atmospheric. It was recorded in an (empty) school hall in Coventry, where we used to hire rehearsal rooms. The final verse was never performed. No-one but me, not even the rest of the band, has ever seen it before.