The ever-reliable Urban Dictionary defines a “dingus khan” as a person whose actions call into question their mental capacity and/or a monstrously large penis… A description so apt, it almost renders obsolete any need for a press release.
Dingus Khan are sweaty, swan-bothering border folk from the Stour, who play the kind of inbred, Neanderthal indie rock that could only evolve in the cultural isolation of Britain’s undisputed smallest town – Manningtree in Essex.
It hardly seems like 38 years since the band first crashed on to the scene, with their show-stopping debut at the 1979 Eurovision Song Contest. Their dress-sense and choreography may have barely evolved in almost four decades, but the band rock as hard today as they ever did in their Seventies heyday.
The band rocketed from Eurovision obscurity in to less obscurity in 2012, when they signed to Fierce Panda Records, who saw the opportunity to repeat their international success with Keane and Coldplay.
Steve Lamacq immediately endorsed their debut single Knifey Spoony and invited the band to Maida Vale to record a session for his 6 Music show. Their radio-friendly combination of grinding dissonance and murderous revenge fantasies earned them further sessions with BBC Introducing and Mary Anne Hobbs, who declared second single Made a List one of her all-time favourite songs.
Fierce Panda released the band’s debut album Support Mistley Swans in 2012. The record drew national attention to the plight of wildfowl in the small Essex village bordering their hometown and became an instant hit with fans, but divided critics. Artrocker named it album of the month, describing the band as “not so much breaking the mould as using post-modern theory to deconstruct it and remake it in their own image.” However, one reviewer commented that the album “sounds like drunken pub karaoke shouted over a jam session from the cast of Stomp – if this is appealing to you, you probably don’t deserve ears.”
The band toured extensively to promote the album, with festival appearances at Leeds, Reading, Bestival and Latitude, where their performance was described by BBC Introducing as “a master class in how to perform at a festival.”
The band’s history has not been without controversy. In 2014, they were banned from Latitude, after vocalist Mick Squalor’s arrest and expulsion from the festival for a series of alleged misdemeanours (inciting a stage invasion during their set, invading the stage during a set by Parquet Courts, impersonating a security guard, swimming across the lake in Henham Park to avoid arrest). To add insult to injury, the singer found himself fat-shamed in Mojo after the festival: “A roly-poly ginger man in a blue velvet robe invades the stage, provides the bassist with a folding chair, frots himself suggestively and goads the audience into paroxysms of frenzy. For the first time this weekend, primal rock’n’roll chaos reigns.”
The controversy only fuelled their reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting and unpredictable live acts and they were invited to tour with Future of the Left and to perform as guests of Wolf Alice, who proved they have never taken drugs by describing them as “like watching a carnival on LSD or speed or something.”
In 2015, Mick Squalor and Ben Ward took time out from Dingus Khan to focus on their musical careers and formed SuperGlu.
But now, the Stour valley reverberates once more with the distant sound of a mongrel horde…
“Everything that’s wrong with modern day pre-packaged music isn’t wrong with Dingus Khan.” – Nitrospective