Heavy metal band Berserk Orange Juice should have dominated the 1980s. Their biggest hits included Seductive Scurvy, Shiver Me Splinters, and Lumps of Love.
With over 100 million records sales worldwide, success and global fame was squandered by selling out, controversy, and legal consequences.
This is the extraordinary tale of excess, tragedy, corporate wranglings, and orange juice.
Berserk Orange Juice was formed in 1982 by singer Shane Bracegirdle and guitarist Shane Cobbledick. The latter told the famed Trundling Pebbles Magazine in January 1992:
“Bracegirdle had scurvy because he was only eating donuts at the time, but downed three litres of orange juice to recover. He overdosed on vitamin C and went on a rampage, smashing up his rented flat. That experience inspired the band name.”
After that great day, Bracegirdle put an ad out for a bassist and drummer. The former was hired rapidly in the form of Shane Cornfoot.
However, a drummer proved somewhat more difficult to find. Bracegirdle told The New York Times in August 1988:
“We auditioned ten drummers, but they were all called Shane. Because everyone else was called Shane we thought that was just going to be confusing. You can’t have a band where everyone’s got the same first name, you know what I mean? It’s a shame, and I mean shame… not Shane. It’s not a pun, right? See, that’s where the confusion starts.
Anyway, it was a shame because one of them was a genius drummer. I’d have killed to have him in my band. But we booted him out and said unless he changed his name, he could take a goddamn hike.”
To solve the issue, the band put a new ad out for a female drummer. They soon hired cocaine enthusiast Shayna Dankworth, fresh out of a spell in prison for alleged attempted murder.
With Dankworth in the band, the scene was set for Berserk Orange Juice to grind out hit after hit after hit.
Immediate Success Curtailed By Bitter and Pulpy Contentions
The band’s debut album, Orange Juice With Bits, launched in July of 1984. It was an immediate sensation with heavy metal fans, except for the ones who liked orange juice without bits.
Drummer Dankworth told the BBC at an August 1984 gig in Shoreditch, London.
“I know a lot of those scumbags will be out there in the audience tonight with their precious cartons of orange juice without bits. They’re doing it to spite us. I’m telling them right now. Don’t turn up if you’re pulling that shit. I’ll personally jump into the mosh pit and headbutt your precious goddamn bastard face in!”
Berserk Orange Juice was steadfast in its orange juice with bits manifesto.
But in mid-1986, to combat orange juice without bits dissenters, the band hosted a televised live event to promote global awareness about the orange juice with bits cause.
Guitarist Cobbledick told the BBC in early 1986, prior to the landmark event:
“Let’s face it. Live Aid was shit and a massive failure. Our event will be miles better and will stop the disgusting production of orange juice without bits in its tracks. Mark my words.”
Playing to an audience of 700 million people, Piledriver Aid went live at Wembley Stadium on August 23rd, 1986.
Berserk Orange Juice refused to allow any other bands to perform (unbeknownst to those in attendance), other than an opening tribute act to ’70s prog rock band PretenShush.
Piledriver Aid proved an enormous success, even though bassist Shane Cornfoot keeled over and died of scurvy during the live set. Famously, singer Shane Bracegirdle grabbed the microphone and informed the grieving crowd.
“Shane’s death is because of orange juice without bits. Secretly, he’d been battling his inner demons for years and turned to without bits to get him through the tough times. We tried to help him. We did our best. But without those pulpy bits he just… just wasn’t getting enough vitamin C to see him through… I…”
At this point, Bracegirdle stopped due to the emotion of the moment.
He performed a farmer’s blow to get out all the mucus clogged in his nose, leaving 700 million viewers in awe as snot and gunk splattered onto the watching camera lens.
This was voted the #13 most important moment of the ’80s.
After the event, outraged revellers tore through the streets of London smashing the city up in a fury.
Supermarkets were raided and orange juice without bits cartons were piled in the streets, set ablaze, and smashed to pieces with passionate fists.
Only when the British Army was called in did some semblance of order return.
The Difficult Second Album
Due to significant lobbying and pressure from orange juice without bits manufacturers, Berserk Orange Juice was forced to change its tune.
With the weight of massive legal ramifications looming, the band took a total about-face and sold out.
The sophomore album took the controversial title: We Love Orange Juice Without Bits.
It launched in September of 1988, but included nothing but covers of popular early ’80s pop songs:
- Girls Just Want to Have Orange Juice Without Bits
- Sweet Dreams (Are Made of Orange Juice Without Bits)
- Never Gonna Give Orange Juice Without Bits Up
- Wake Me Up Before You Drink Orange Juice Without Bits
- Don’t You (Forget About Orange Juice Without Bits)
In 1989, Cobbledick defended the band’s actions with another Trundling Pebbles Magazine interview.
“What are you gonna do? We had these company execs saying we were costing them billions of dollars in revenue and we could have a significant cut of that if we just took a pro-without bits stance. We had no problem with that. Thanks to that decision I’ve got more money than I know how to spend. Drink orange juice without bits, kids! It’s smoother and tastier. And gross orange juice pulp doesn’t get stuck in your teeth, rendering you completely unattractive to members of the opposite sex.”
To this day, Berserk Orange Juice continues to perform.
The band members have denounced the Orange Juice With Bits album and have disowned it. They now only perform songs with a pro-without bits stance, playing small venues with disappointing attendance figures.
Bracegirdle told the BBC in July of 2022.
“The members of Berserk Orange Juice drink nothing but the finest orange juice without bits. It is a superb drink. One that has kept me healthy and ensured I do not die horribly from scurvy.”
And in August 2022, the band announced its 35th studio album will launch in time for Christmas of 2022. Drummer Dankworth confirmed on social media.
“It’s called Berserk Orange Juice: The Greatest Bits. If you buy a physical copy, you also get a completely free carton of orange juice without bits! Order now and banish disgusting pulp from your existence, or I’ll personally headbutt your goddamn face in!”