Funboy Five

the story of the 1980 single

'Life After Death'/'Compulsive Eater'


funboy five

behind the legend

  Although the John Peel session had engendered some record company interest, no declarations of intent resulted in any commitment to finance, record or release anything by the group.

Feeling the momentum created by the Peel session and few snippets in the music press ebbing away, the Funboy Five decided the next step should be an independently-released single. This became ’Life After Death’/’Compulsive Eater’.

However, before the single was recorded significant changes occurred in the group’s personnel.

Having already lost a bass player, the group now lost a drummer, Robert, leaving just the two founder members, Mick Sinclair and John McRae.

A bass player, Dave Tyler, aged 17 and still at school, joined the group. A drummer, Paul Ingram, previously in the Anal Surgeons was persuaded to fill the vacant drum stool. Another ex-Anal Surgeon, John Goddard, played bass with the band at several gigs before the arrival of Mr Tyler, including one where the other band on the bill had a guitarist who looked like a toby jug.


Funboy Five plus Carole, live at Hemel Hempstead Arts Center, late 1979/early 1980


Above, the Funboy Five at Hemel Hempstead Arts Centre, featuring the line-up that recorded the 'Life After Death' single, including Carole, who provided the eerie backing vocals. Note headless audience member to the right, unfortunately decapitated just at this moment by a falling roof beam. The same line-up, minus Carole, made one of the band's two appearances at London's Rock Garden, below.

funboy five at the rockgarden

The cost of recording the single, on January 6, 1980, and its pressing, left no money available for the sleeve.

As a result, the disc was clothed in a plain white inner sleeve with a stapled fold-over piece of A4 paper with hand- and type-written info on the band. But it was available in a choice of colours:


the yellow sleeve

the green sleeve
the blue sleeve

the pink sleeve

  Greatly influenced by – or possibly under the influence of – the recently-released film, Phantasm, Mick was cast as ‘The Tall Man’.

While often, and understandably, taken at face value as a humourous song about a haunted house, ’Life After Death’ is actually a warning on how the ’haunted house’ of religion can, with the promise of life after death, steadily consume the human soul (no really, it is, listen to it).

‘Compulsive Eater’ meanwhile was inspired by a tabloid newspaper story of a prisoner who did, or attempted to, eat everything in his cell: ‘No respect for the legal system’.

The first release on the Cool-Cat-Daddy-O label, the single received the expected plays on the John Peel Show, various other radio spins, a few reviews, and sold a greatly encouraging 650 copies within a week of its release. Much less encouraging was the fact that it sold hardly any thereafter. Nonetheless, the band only to wait until 2011 before Talya Cooper celebrated Halloween with a clever and innovative version of ‘Life After Death’.






The John Peel Session


Early Recordings


Recent singles (2014 to 2016)


The Label


Last Days and the 21st Century Revival


Before and After


Buy Stuff


Funboy Five digital downloads at bandcamp


Funboy Five Youtube channel