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Band name and Members

The group had a particular trait of giving new names to the people and things around them, stemming from the Lypton Village ethos of providing an alternative space for self-expression away from the norm of mid-1970s Dublin life.

The group’s name and its members’ names have been explained in various interviews. Other names given by the group include Jigsawmentallama (a character from the Dublin meat packers) and Ulakanakulot (a similar concept to nirvana – a place of beauty and tranquility).

Name

The band’s name baffled me at first. It seemed so completely bizarre and meaningless. The discovery of the following explanations was enlightening. And I still live in hope of finding a tin of virgin prunes in the local supermarket, somewhere between the olive oil and the canned fruit…

“When we were much younger we used to call a certain type of person a ‘Virgin Prune’. We saw a true and simple beauty in these people – but others classed them as freaks – other people were afraid and ignorant of these people – they called them ‘mental’, ‘spaz’, ‘deformed’ – we used to befriend them and in doing this get to see the real beauty they have… ‘Virgin Prunes’ are the true, beautiful people, they see the world with the eyes of a child but unlike children they are adults – adults who unlike you or me live exactly what they are – UNTOUCHED.”
— Gavin, in “The Faculties of a Broken Heart”, Rolf Vasellari.
“The name Virgin Prunes is from when we were younger, we called certain people Virgin Prunes. If we saw people who were freaks, as in people who are – not COOL and different – but people who are called ugly, but we saw in them a character that was very strong. And we’d call them Virgin Prunes, people who are usually ignored.”
— Gavin, in “Quest for Fire”, a interview with Paul Du Noyer in New Musical Express, 3 July 1982.
“Gavin: At school we used ‘to prune yourself’ for wanking, but that’s not really where it comes from.
“Guggi: Well… I think a virgin prune is… it’s hard to explain what a virgin prune is… but… a virgin prune is a certain type of person. Our manager is a virgin prune and we’re working on a book in which you’ll find a lot of photos of prunes, that’ll give you a good idea. The book will clear up a lot of things we can’t say.
“Gavin: There is a certain kind of mentality, a type of behaviour. It’s probably very common but it stands out in Dublin. A way of approaching sex that is very hmmmppffrr! (Produces series of strange noises.) Like animals, he- and she-animals. That struck us and we related to it in our performances, especially the early ones.”
— Vinyl Magazine interview, 1981.
“Virgin, thee immaculate conception, thee Catholic faith, thee earth mother and fertility stolen from thee old religions, from paganism, and made Holy and oppressive… Prunes, to me evocative of thee Electric Prunes, thee open, collaborative, boundless sixties. Thee best psychedelia. And of course thee silliness and awkwardness of thee ridiculous, and cathartic. Like a shrivelled genitalia thee prune exudes lack of chic.”
— Genesis P Orridge, in “The Faculties of a Broken Heart”, Rolf Vasellari.
“The Virgin Prunes? Has anyone ever heard of a prune that’s been violated?”
— Unidentified middle-aged man in TV feature on the Virgin Prunes, possibly 1983.

Members

Gavin Friday

Vocals/performance – 1977-86
also on: Dave Ball’s “In Strict Tempo” LP
The Fall’s “Call for Escape Route” EP & “The Wonderful & Frightening World of…” LP
Coil’s “Scatology” LP
Various “A Dollar For Your Dreams” LP (with The Radiators)
Aidan Walsh & The Masterplan’s “A Life Story of My Life”
Gavin Friday & Simon Carmody
Gavin Friday & The Man Seezer
U2’s “One” EP
“Short Cuts” film soundtrack with The Man Seezer
“In The Name of the Father” film soundtrack with Bono & Maurice Seezer
Jah Wobble’s “Take Me to God” LP
Naomi Campbell’s “Babywoman”
One track on the “Batman Forever” soundtrack with Michael Hutchence
website:
www.gavinfriday.com

Guggi

Vocals/performance – 1977-84
also on:
Aidan Walsh & The Masterplan’s “A Life Story of My Life”
Dave-id’s collaboration With Toshiyuki Hiraoka, Bushy Luxuries (The Whole Story)
Guggi went on to be an artist (painter).
website:
www.guggi.com

Dik

Guitar – 1977-84
also on:
The Prunes’ “Lite Fantastik” LP
Stano’s “Only” EP
The Screech Owls’ “Desert” EP
Daniel Figgis’ “Skipper” LP

Haa-Lacka Binttii

Keyboards & percussion – 1981
“Haa-lacka” wasn’t a reference to hair lacquer (old-fashioned name for hair spray), but apparently an indication that he lacked humour. “Bintii” means “queen” in Swahili.
also records as:
(Princess Tinymeat, Daniel Bintii)

Mary D’Nellon

Percussion – 1981-84, guitar – 1984-86
also on:
The Prunes’ “Lite Fantastik” LP
The Prunes’ “Nada” LP
The Prunes’ “Blossoms & Blood” EP
Mary now works and lives in France.

Strongman

Bass – 1977-86
also on:
The Prunes’ “Lite Fantastik” LP
The Prunes’ “Nada” LP
The Prunes’ “Blossoms & Blood” EP
In the late 90’s Strongman managed his brother Johnny’s band ‘Pelvis’ who were signed to Setanta.

Dave-id Busaras Scott

Vocals/performance – 1977-86 (sporadic)
also on:
The Prunes’ “Lite Fantastik” LP
The Prunes’ “Nada” LP
The Prunes’ “Blossoms & Blood” EP
“Smegma ‘Structions Don’t Rhyme” LP
Collaboration With Toshiyuki Hiraoka: Bushy Luxuries (The Whole Story) LP
website:
www.dave-id.com

Pod

Drums – 1977-80, 1984-86