The Cyanide Slugs Story

Cyanide Slugs started out as a retro punk band in the Southeast of England, terrorising the countryside with their wild stage antics and songs of defiance and disdain. Led by vocalist/guitarist Cassandra Castle, they cut a swathe through the club and pub scene between 2013 and 2016 until there was hardly any venue left that had not banned them. Joining Castle were guitarist Tony Roko, bassist Catriona Flamenghi and drummer, Howard Storkman Jr. Together they created a wall of sound that was both overwhelming and cathartic, but it was Castle's outrageous performances that ignited crowds into riotous mayhem.

Castle was known to sometimes strip completely naked on stage and perform entire sets in such state, often grabbing an audience member's beer and dowsing her body with it. At least once per gig, she would pull an audience member on to the stage, force them onto their hands and knees and ride them like a stallion for the duration of a song. And driving all of this the band laid down a visceral wall of incandescent high energy rock n' roll that simultaneously begged you to rush the stage, while slamming you against the back wall of the club with its power.

It should be noted that Cyanide Slugs was strictly a live band. There are no recordings of them in this incarnation, other than poor-quality phone recordings from a number of gigs. As bassist Cat told me recently, "We just never got around to recording. It wasn't important. It was all about the live show and how much impact we could make at every gig. We were always trying to top ourselves and it was always exciting. At that time, recording our songs just seemed like a boring idea to us. It just couldn't top the buzz we got from playing live."

Alas, the party ended suddenly when Castle discovered she was pregnant and decided to leave the band and settle down with the child's father. She promptly did so, moved to Norfolk and lives there to this day, happily mothering. Meanwhile, the rest of the band, having lost their main songwriter, front person and only vocalist, was aimless, deflated and depressed, having no idea whether to try to keep going or pack it all in.

In an effort to remain positive, and because they had no other prospects, the three remaining members moved to Lushwood Hills in the hopes that the rich music scene there might invigorate the band. For months all three of them slept on Cat's sister's floor in Jamestown, at the infamous Fir Tree building (formerly a nursing home). This was a fortuitous place to be because Jamestown is the beating heart of the Lushwood Hills music scene and Fir Tree is an Edwardian block of flats inhabited entirely by musicians.

Fir Tree - The musician's home in Jamestown.
Fir Tree - A musicians-only block of flats in Jamestown. The "common room" in the left foreground is the location of regular jam sessions attended not just by residents, but by musicians from all over town. Incidentally, that is Tony's van parked in front while the band were recording Garden of Edith at the studio behind the main building.

Tony, Cat and Howie soon became integrated into the local scene, in no small part due to their regular attendance at the legendary Thursday and Sunday night jam sessions at the Fir Tree common room (formerly a conservatory). There they met singer/songwriter/composer Todd Brunner, and after many a conversation at Coco's and The Western, they decided to try to make some music together.

Todd liked the name Cyanide Slugs, and because the group had never before recorded under that name, they decided to continue as they had started, but in a completely different direction.

Thus began the modern incarnation of Cyanide Slugs which you see represented by the releases here at Sublamental. Although the lineup has expanded and Howard has since moved on, the spirit of the band remains the same. And even though the band's punk rock days are over they can still pack a punch, because they have become one of the premiere live acts in Lushwood Hills. We hope you love them as much as we do!

– Aubergina Cucumbas (rewritten 2022, from a 2020 article)