“Rascalize” By The Rascals Reviewed

“Rascalize” By The Rascals

There will of course, be many who will approach “Rascalize” with no small amount of anticipation after becoming enraptured with the majestic stylised strutting of Alex Turner and Miles Kane’s side project The Last Shadow Puppets. Their album “The Age Of The Understatement” has been the surprise hit of the year with its sophisticated take on George Formby playing at James Bond fused with The Walker Brothers on a spaghetti western set. It also has the added bonus of conveniently building a head of steam for the lesser known half of The Last Shadow Puppets, Miles Kane and his band, The Rascals. Surely Arctic Monkey  Turner’s chief alchemist will provide more evidence that there’s a new song writing tour de force in town. So let this review serve as a warning, “Rascalize’s” greatest achievement is the fact that it aptly demonstrates just how good Alex Turner and Miles Kane are together.

So where do the problems lie? Well, even the title “Rascalize” is pompously uninspired; as if it’s a natural extension of the band’s (not very) well established “brand.” So move over Ant n’ Dec and Dame Vera Lynn, as the Rascals appear to be labouring under the delusion that their “brand” already occupies a very special place deep within the psyche of the Great British public. Naturally their scampish behaviour is greeted with an indulgent,  exasperated shake of the head and a wry smile, as we as a nation, tousle their hair and say “go on be off with you, you young scamps. The Rascals eh? What do you do with’em? ..Tsk ! ” Truth is, the  album title combined with the cover art work, whilst craving to be atomospheric, hip and urbane, sadly  only  conjures up images of skinny, cocky, oak-headed scousers, thieving hub caps, throwing their chips at pensioners and generally behaving in an anti-social manner. To be succinct, more moronic than Byronic.

The album is a typically bland “Merseyside- by- numbers” affair, a troublesome state which seems to afflict an alarming number of bands from the area, which inevitabley, sees them incarcerated in some sort of hellish Merseybeat time warp. (Yes the album contains that coma inducing trademark “twanging Mersey -beat guitar sound” a-plenty.) It even, on occasion, conspires to make bafflingly popular bands like The Coral seem less boring than say, Alan Shearer deciding what footwear to use before creosoting his fence…on a Tuesday…. Possibly duller than Gary Lineker playing a sports themed edition of Scrabulous on- line with Birmingham’s very own version of Quasimodo, Adrian Chiles, or even the fatuous Ray Stubbs, showing colleagues a photo albums worth of snaps, detailing the progress of his newly erected conservatory ….. “See That? That’s got a two inch hardwood surround that has….completely impervious….

The Rascals don’t even have the visual distraction of Abbey Zuton’s remarkably shapely legs to make us forget just how dull and insipid the music actually is. Songs such as “Freakbeat Phantom” start off promisingly, but lose their way and wander off aimlessly like a late night drunk who ends up p*ssing all over his neighbour’s prize petunias , “People Watching” huffs, puffs and gets utterly nowhere whilst managing to say absolutely nothing, were as “How Do I End This” would surely have been rejected by Gerry And The Pacemakers for being a little “too pedestrian and conservative.” “Bond Girl” is quite, quite dreadful, I had to listen to this repeatedly in order to try and form the words that would best convey its sheer awfulness, I then realised such words do not yet exist in the English language, and therefore the only way I can sum it up, is thus, “imagine a lobotomised version of The Zutons.” What rankles most, is not Kane’s vocals, which on the whole, save the album from disaster, but the needless overproduction, (which may have been used as a tool to mask the thinness of the material on hand) and the show-off guitar effects which bring to mind Hank Marvin, if he’d have gone through an “experimental drug phase.” They twang, they wah-wah, they judder they whine and within minutes become a major irritant, if the inmates of Guantanamo Bay were streamed this on a regular basis, they would surely confess to absolutely anything !

Of course my harshness may be due to the fact that I expected so much more, and to be fair it’s not all tedium “I’ll Give You Sympathy” is a wonderful affair, all attitude and grinding guitars which more than hints at past Shadow Puppet glories. You could actually imagine, Dame Shirley Bassey giving her all to this number and belting out a real showstopper. “Out Of Dreams” should maybe, in context of the album, have been called “Out Of Ideas” but is actually, a decent enough tune and  “Does Your Husband Know That You’re On The Run” whilst boasting a title that sounds like some sort of bizarre, UK Comedy Film Noir, featuring Robin Askquith and Sid James, clatters along with some style.

Sadly the lingering impression one is left with, is one of bitter disappointment, at times the album conveys all the charm, eloquence and grace of a scally from Seacombe supping special brew whilst demanding a morning after pill at the Brook Advisory Clinic. In a nutshell, it’s quite a disheartening affair, rather like a toddler throwing an enormous tantrum; it makes a lot of noise, it expends a lot of energy, but ultimately achieves very little, other than ending up sullenly sitting on the naughty step with a smacked bottom.

If Merseyside is looking for new heroes maybe new kids on the block, The Grants will step up to the plate because on this evidence it won’t be The Rascals. Where as The Last Shadow Puppets served up a sumptuous feast, the Rascals have provided thinly strained gruel, which will only provide sustenance for those who surrounded themselves in a miasma of Merseybeat nostalgia and sub Zutons bombast. It’s a shame because Miles is, without doubt, somebody who has great potential, and has a wonderfully expressive voice, but at present, he just hasn’t quite cut the mustard here. If I were him, I’d keep a tight hold of Alex Turners coat tails a while yet…sometimes reflected glory is better than no glory….for now..

3.5 Alex Turners out of 10

Video

“I’ll Give You Sympathy” By The Rascals (live)

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“A Bit Complicated!”…The Eddie Argos Interview

“Direct Hit” By Art Brut

“G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N (You Know I’ve Got A”) By Everybody Was In The French Resistance..Now

If we discount the unlikely scenario that Scouting for Girls might consider changing their name to something rather more suitable like “Upbeat Inane Radio Friendly Sh*te” then surely it is Art Brut who have one of the most appropriate names in pop. The translation from French means “raw art” and the term was first used by French artist Jean Dubuffet. This was art created by people with no formal artistic training, and includes graffiti, children’s drawings and the work of the insane. Dubuffet saw that this material contained a raw unfettered expression of feelings and visions that had not been constrained by rules and convention; it was in essence, art in its purest form. This description, it could be said, aptly sums up Art Brut and their front man Eddie Argos, Art Brut (the band) are not your average pop group and their songs don’t really conform to the “norm” (whatever that is.)

Their first single “Formed A Band” is about, um..well…, forming a band, its genius lies in its simplicity and surely only the stoniest of hearts could not find such enthusiasm endearing “formed a band! We formed a band! Look at us, we formed a band!” as Eddie goes on to tell us he’s going to “write a song as universal as Happy Birthday” and furthermore he wants to be “the boy, the man who writes the song /that makes Israel and Palestine get along.” Eddie’s songs are full of observational wit, and subjects covered include everyday tales from the urban prairie, to the slightly more surreal, and it’s the honesty within these narratives that makes the humour so engaging. The situations detailed within an Art Brut song never feels contrived, there is no sense that they are being written for a cheap laugh, and Eddie, like Nigel Blackwell, of Half man Half biscuit (one of Ed’s fave bands) can take the obscure and the absurd from modern day life and somehow make the subjects universal. Come on, we’ve all heard a great song on the radio, mid –snog and thought, “This is a jolly good tune, I wonder who performs it, and, would it be appropriate to break from this passionate clinch in order for me to turn the radio up, just a jot, thus enabling me to catch the name of the song/band/listen to the lyrics? “ … “I know I shouldn’t/ Is it so wrong/To break from your kiss/To turn up a pop song “(Pump Up the Volume.)

Not only have they released two critically acclaimed albums (Bang, Bang Rock n’Roll” and “It’s A Bit Complicated”) but recently to Eddie’s surprise, he became the darling of the New York Bo-ho art scene. Of course with great power comes great responsibility and you’d never find Eddie posing naked on the cover of a magazine, or fighting in public with other bands like that rather narky chap ( Kele Okereke ) from Bloc Party. Eddie has long since put the (rather entertaining) feud with Kele behind him; he’s been far too busy to be bothered with such nonsense. Alas Kele’s “alleged” anger management/ADD issues have recently come to the fore yet again, and, amusingly have seen the hapless chap recently used as a punch bag by John Lyndon’s entourage. Strange behaviour for a fellow who was once quoted as saying “Public feuding between bands is completely pointless.” Eddie meanwhile has been spending his time in a much more productive fashion, working on his innumerable side projects, which must indeed get “a bit complicated.” In fact he’s just returned from LA after working on his latest venture. We spoke to the great man to find out more

VP: Your first band was The Art Goblins, and legend has it your live shows used to involve you escaping from a sack. What was all that about?

EDDIE: “I maintain the Art Goblins were a Dadaist Art band playing with peoples perceptions of what a band should be, drawing inspiration from the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah band and David Deviant and his Spirit Wife. Jasper says we were just showing off, thinking about it now, Jasper is probably right! I escaped from a sack and also played the vacuum cleaner to distract from my terrible singing voice.”

VP: Tell us about how Art Brut came about, how you all met?

EDDIE: “I was at a party looking for people to form a band with and Chris was there and thought this sounded like a plan –he thought it was a good way to impress the ladies. Chris talked his flatmate Frederica into playing bass, and we got a bass guitar for her off eBay. I had a friend Ian from Bournemouth who’d also just moved to London he used to be in a heavy rock band called Orco and he agreed to join the new band. Then a friend overheard a German man on a bus telling someone how he played drums and worked in “Merc,” on Carnaby Street . So we tracked him (Mike) down and asked him to join the band. He did, fate played the straight man and we never looked back. Chris left a couple of years ago and was replaced by my friend Jasper from the Art Goblins.”

VP: You’ve recently been working on a new project “Everybody Was in the French Resistance ..Now” How’s that been going and what’s it all about?

EDDIE: “Everybody Was In The French Resistance Now” is a side project of mine with Dylan Valdes from Blood Red Arm. We’re recording a pop album in which we reply to and defend characters from other peoples songs (for example we’ve just written a song in which the son of Billie Jean has tracked down his estranged father, referencing and a continuation of , the Michael Jackson song . The album is called “Fixing The Chart Part I” and will be out by the end of the year I hope. Most of it was recorded in Joshua Tree, California, all of it’s being produced by Dave Newton from the Mighty Lemondrops, I think he’s a genius pop producer, I’m very proud of it.”

VP: You’ve gone down very well in America did this surprise you as some consider you a quintessentially English band,

EDDIE: “A little yes.”

VP: I’ve always found your lyrics very honest, which is where the best humour often comes from, but there are some that think your being deliberately funny. How would you describe your lyrics and what you try and convey?

EDDIE : “ I’m just telling true stories about my life(or occasionally things I’m interested in , for example the Gatti Gang , who are rather inept Italian Terrorists that robbed a bank , I’ve never robbed a bank.”

VP: Who are your favourite bands at the moment and do you have any album/albums of the year thus far?

EDDIE: “My favourite band at the moment is The Mountain Goats; I’m playing their new album “Heretic Pride” a lot. I think a lot of British Indie (if that term still exists ) has dropped to an all new unimaginative low but there are still some very good British bands, Future Of The Left and the 1990’s I think are fantastic, I’m looking forward to both of their albums. Of course I’m still a massive fan of the Indelicates; I’m still playing their album “American Demo” at least three times a week.”

VP: I’m very fond of my pencil thin tache, but why did yours go?

EDDIE: “People kept thinking I was in my 40’s!! “

VP: The now legendary “Beth Ditto” style NME cover made quite a splash, how did that come about?

EDDIE: “It was originally and Art Rockers idea put to me to do a cover in the same pose as Beth Ditto. In true Artrocker style they didn’t get around to it and the NME pinched their idea, although I did get ArtRockers blessing first.”

VP: Have you attended or played at any big festivals this year, or have spats with certain bands put you off?

EDDIE: “I don’t “spat”anymore, well not in public. We played a few festivals which were loads of fun and we got to try out our new songs, and we’ve a lot! So it made it even more fun for us!”

VP: What five things are essential when you go on tour?

EDDIE: “Lots of underwear, Comic Books Mobile Phone, I pod.”

VP: What’s the last thing that made you laugh?

EDDIE: “The glam revival band I’m in “Glam Chops” played in Weymouth a couple of weekends ago and Paul the bass player was telling someone about it , when they asked “ Weymouth in Dorset ?” And he replied “Yeah I would definitely, it was really good!!!”

Links

Everybody Was In The French Resistance Now

Art Brut Myspace

Art Brut Official Site

The Black Arts Myspace

Glam Chops Myspace

The Eddie Argos Resource

Wallpapers (Click Thumbnail For Large Version)

Videos

“Pump Up The Volume ” By Art Brut

“Emily Kane” By Art Brut

“Direct Hit” By Art Brut

“Christmas Number One” By The Black Arts

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The Interrogation Of John Moore

“The Art Of Driving” By Black Box Recorder.

“Something About You Girl” By John Moore & The Expressway.

When Pete Wylie heard of plans to erect a statue in Liverpool as a tribute to John Moore I’d imagine he flew into an apoplectic rage. “What’s he ever done for de music scene in de Poool eh lah ? And worra about me like ? Where’s my bleedin’ statue eh, like !?” Much to Pete’s relief the John Moore statue in question was of Littlewoods Pools magnet Sir John Moores , not John Moore (deep breath) former Jesus and Mary Chain drummer/guitarist, solo artist, founding member of Black Box Recorder, journalist , importer of absinthe, musical saw player,  sometime studio member of Art Brut, Guardian columnist and all round bon viveur.(Phew!) John Moore has had what one might call a very interesting musical career, and in his youth had the sort of self belief that at times made the aforementioned Mr Wylie appear to be a modest, retiring, even shy, shrinking violet. John’s career started around 1985 when he dropped out of college to take the place of Bobby Gillespie as drummer with the legendary Jesus and Mary Chain. When the Mary Chain used a drum machine for “Darklands” Moore switched to rhythm guitar, but in 1988 after a few years with the Reid brothers he left the band, ready to make his own way and take on the world, armed with his guitar, huge hair and alarmingly tight leather trousers “John Moore And The Expressway” was born…..

This was the big time, with a major label and no expense spared as John was to be launched as the “Next Big Thing” and become a global brand, people around the world from Brighton to Bombay would weep with joy at the mention of his name…..well, that was the plan.  His first two albums were “Massive budget, shareholders nightmares” the first recorded at Electric Ladyland studios in New York when John was based in England , the second recorded at Air Studios in England when John had moved to New York ! As John recalls;” I would have had to sell millions just to recoup the hotel bills. I had the same backing singers as the Rolling Stones, top of the range session players, a string quartet, and Polygram executives flying in and out to check on progress and swoon at playbacks. Somewhere amongst this perfect boys own rock’n’roll fantasy, there were supposed to be some hit songs – great big smashes that would justify the expense and propel me into the super-league. Well there weren’t. Not one. Not even a sniff!” Sadly for the record label the musical landscape was a changing and Acid House was about to cause a mini revolution within the industry, “Acid House Killed Rock N Roll” as the Space Monkeys once sang or to quote John “a man dressed like Edward Scissorhands, sounding like a prototype Robbie Williams impersonating Alan Vega was surplus to requirements.”

John is refreshingly honest about his early output and warns it should be approached with extreme caution. He describes the recent decision to put his back catalogue on I-tunes thus “–”What to do with these…um…documents? Bin them and hope nobody ever mentions them again…or re-visit the past, post them on I-Tunes and perch upon the village fete ducking stool for any curious late-night drunks to knock me into the water…at 79p a throw. (Like the consummate whore I am) I’ve plumped for the I-Tunes option. Even though many of the songs are cringe-worthy, there are a few diamonds among the car crashes, and perhaps the odd semi-precious stone- you could do worse than downloading my early back catalogue…not sure how much worse though.”

Moore on University Challenge!

After managing to avoid global superstardom John returned to England and formed the minimalist trio Revolution 9 unfortunately minimalist trios were about as popular as Michael Jackson at a crèche, as something called “grunge” was doing battle with “Britpop.“ They released an album “You Might As Well Live” which was popular with the critics but pretty much ignored by a public who seemed intent on either speaking in “mockney” (the official language of “Britpop”)  or  growing facial hair, washing infrequently and listening to tortured American “poets” spew their inner demons across the airwaves.  Whilst touring in The Czech Republic, Moore discovered Absinthe. It certainly hit the spot and when he had rediscovered his sight he convinced the distiller that he be allowed to import it, Moore set up a company called Green Bohemia, on this occasion his timing was spot on and he did rather well out of the Millennium Absinthe craze. Meanwhile back on planet pop the amazing  Black Box Recorder – the group he founded with Luke Haines and (his now ex-wife) Sarah Nixey, went top twenty with “The Facts Of Life.” In 2006, twenty years after appearing on Top of the Pops, Moore was back there again, becoming possibly the only person who has appeared on TOTP’s, Newsnight and University Challenge. There is talk of Black Box recorder doing more work in the future, meanwhile Moore has played saw on both Art Brut albums most notably on “Direct Hit” he also writes for the Guardian newspaper and is sports editor for “The Idler.” His latest album “Floral Tributes” is available on I-Tunes. I spoke to John and tried to get him to overcome his shyness and gently coaxed him into speaking about his career…

VP: How did you meet the Reid Brothers and thereby become a member of the JAMC?  Was joining a band always an ambition?

JM: It was certain that I’d waste my life in a band from a very early age – perhaps it was seeing Peter Noone in Pantomime at the age six, Muddy Waters at thirteen…you get the picture. I used to send away for the now defunct Bells Guitar catalogue, and salivate – I was too young for anything more than salivation, over electric guitars…black and white pages of early nineteen seventies six string porn. By the time I met the Reid Brothers and Douglas Hart – whose importance to the Mary Chain must not be underestimated, I’d moved up to London – on the pretext of studying for a degree in Social Sciences – which I had no intention of pursuing. We first came face to face at the Scala Cinema at King’s Cross, at a screening of “Entertaining Mr Sloane.” Sloane is Orton’s finest creation, an amoral, leather-clad murderer who inveigles his way into a household, seduces the brother and sister, kills the father, then ends up trapped and owned by them. I’m not drawing any parallels here except to say that although from opposite ends of the country, we shared some rather specialist cinematic and musical tastes.

VP: Despite what “wikipedia” might say, you’ve said you didn’t actually play on “Some Candy Talking”; do you feature on any recorded Mary Chain material?

JM: If Wikepedia says I played on it, then I must have…except I didn’t. My drumming was strictly a live affair…and I was bloody awful at it. I only became a drummer because my favourite band needed a drummer. I would have become a trombone player had there been a vacancy.

VP: What was behind your decision to leave the band and how did the huge “Expressway” record deal transpire?

JM: Very cleverly, you have answered part one of this question with part two. Being in the JAMC was great, but my role was utterly limited – a fifth wheel. They did not need any more songwriters. Once I’d seen how it all worked, I was extremely eager to try it out myself, but was a bit shocked to be taken so seriously and so quickly. Perhaps the postal service was more efficient back then, but within twenty-four hours of sending out a three song demo, EMI and Island were in touch, and so began a six month feeding frenzy of majors, managers, more demoing, lawyers, limos and yes, a rather generous recording and publishing deal.

VP: So where did the Expressway go wrong? Any big regrets about this period of your career? (The faux American accent perhaps?)

JM: Well, dropping Fist-F*ck from the name might have been seen as the beginning of a long series of compromises. Going with a rawk producer rather than Man Parrish who I’d originally wanted – he produced Male Stripper by Man To Man. I’d wanted a noisy hi NRG record, but then again, I quite like the way the first album sounded…and I got to do it at Electric Lady In NY and live at the Chelsea Hotel, so apart from the fact that it didn’t sell and was panned by our revered musical hackerati, it was something of a personal wish fulfilment.  Another big mistake…in terms of career advancement, was announcing to Polydor that I had no intention of coming back to England – not a great way to treat your paymasters. Luckily, Polygram US took over my contract so I had a couple more years of utter indulgence.

The faux American accent – unfortunate though it was, was actually not faux – just not quite resisted enough. I lived in NYC for three years, had American girlfriends, an American wife ( not at the same time ), manager, band…it slipped in, and of course, surrounded by Uncle Sam’s speech impaired citizens, there was no one to correct me. Also, at the time, I was quite convinced that it was only a matter of time before I’d be playing shows on other planets, so to be so parochial about vowel sounds seemed a little short-sighted. Of course, since those dreadful sound crimes, I have gone to extraordinary lengths to make amends…my vowels are so sharp these days that they could slice a man in two…which is quite useful with all this knife crime.

VP: In the past it could be said that you’ve fallen victim to the transient, fickle nature of the music bizz and its fads, did you bear any animosity towards the likes of acid house and grunge? For example did you have any dark thoughts involving a wish to wipe that vacuous grin off the acid house simile?

JM: I certainly was wrong place wrong time – I might as well have started a band of Rockin’ Rabbis  in 1939 Germany . Of course, I managed to do it again with my next band Revolution 9. As grunge gave way to Brit Pop, we were a three-piece, guitar, cello, percussion, performing the saddest quietest songs…Somewhere, an Expressway B-Side to the single “Meltdown,” is an ultra expensive acid house remix – utter unbelievable bollocks, with all the dumb acid house trimmings, and the only part from the original track, a girl backing singer, saying the word ‘Meltdown’.

VP: On to the Absinthe  years  I’ve actually never  tried  it myself, I was frightened off after hearing  hysterical stories that a single solitary drop could render me unconscious or that such would be my vulnerability , I may fall victim to predatory females. What was it you liked about absinthe and is there a safe way to drink it. ?

JM: I wouldn’t touch it now – even aniseed toothpaste gives me a hangover.  The Absinthe years were very messy, but coincided with BBR’s success, so messy with very good suits. My dry cleaning bills were enormous. At the time, I loved absinthe for its sense of doomed grandeur, the luxury of life wilfully tossed away…I’ve just remembered a dream I had while drinking it, involving Leonard Cohen, an elderly paraplegic lady and some chickens. No, there is no safe way to drink it.

VP: As you’ve mentioned Black Box Recorder , the group you formed with Luke Haines and Sarah Nixey, how did that set up come about, had you known each other prior to setting up the group?

JM: We all met up while helping out a mutual friend’s band. Somehow, Luke and I had been roped in to help out, and Sarah was the backing singer – her voice was unbelievable. The three of us all got along splendidly. Luke and I were a couple of cynical misfits, and soon became good friends. Then like the c*nts we are, we stole Sarah and formed our own band.

VP: Black Box Recorder teamed up with Eddie Argos and Keith Totps last year and released a Christmas single “Christmas No 1” are there any plans for more Black Box Recorder activity in the future?

JM: When it’s time to pay for our nursing home fees we’ll probably do something. We met up recently to discus a new record – I’d written a song about a middle aged woman with cancer – sort of female seasons in the sun, except she was celebrating having an outdoor Jacuzzi. Luke had written something about the Russian revolution, We changed the subject pretty quickly and got hammered instead.

VP: The saw?  I can’t pretend to know much about it…. is this actually a saw similar to one used for woodwork? What prompted you to start playing it and indeed how is it played?

JM: It is a humble wood severing appliance. I think I’ll make a how to play video and post it on youtube…unless I can milk a DVD out of it. Perhaps I should produce gardening and cookery book and a range of clothing as well. You grasp it between your knees, teeth facing inward, you push it with finger and thumb into an S shape, and then you bow it – preferably with a cello bow.

VP: Given you’re own ambivalence to your early output, what would you say was your favourite John Moore and The Expressway tune, and which one, if any, do you wish you could disown?

JM: I couldn’t disown any of them. The very worst of them can be quite therapeutic – either as a tool to induce laughter, or to diminish the ego. I was quite embarrassed by them for years, the big hair… the rock’n’roll posturing, etc. Now I’ve come to enjoy them again, or at least accept them – and I like the 23 year old John Moore who was having the time of his life making them. I might have advised him to tone it down a little, get a haircut and perhaps write some better songs, but he’d have wrapped his guitar around my head…and apologized of course. There is one video of The Expressway on YouTube, but two more exist – which I don’t have. A video for “Something About You Girl”, complete with a supermodel in a wedding dress, and “Meltdown,” which has a naked lady in a gas mask.

VP: You’ve recently released “Floral Tributes”. How would you describe your music today?

JM: Released is too strong a word. Made available on iTunes, but there is no CD or vinyl. Floral Tributes is pretty much -although not quite everything except BBR, Revolution 9 and The Expressway. Nearly all done at home, just me, solitary, very quiet, very late, very damaged. I would describe my music today as evolving.

VP: Finally how would you sum up your career in succinct media friendly sound bites?

JM: The Road Of Excess Leads To The Palace Of Wisdom, Too Much Too Soon, There’s No Place Like Home Toto, There’s No Place Like Home.

At the conclusion of the interview I mentioned in passing to John, that in ’89 I thought he was definately going to be the next big thing, to which he replied “I’m still convinced I’m going to be the next big thing…it is taking a while though.” All hail Moore!

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

John Moore in “The  Guardian “

Black Box Recorder Unofficial Site

The Black Arts Myspace

Sarah Nixey Website

Luke Haines Website

The Jesus & Mary Chain Myspace

Black Box Recorder on Last FM

Itunes Links to John’s Albums

Half Awake by John Moore

You Might as Well Live by Revolution9

Now that your lover has gone by Revolution9

Distortion by John Moore

Expressway Rising by John Moore and the Expressway

Wallpapers (Click Thumbnails For Large Versions)

Videos

“Out Of My Mind” By John Moore & The Expressway

“The Art Of Driving” By Black Box Recorder

“The Facts Of Life ” By Black Box Recorder

“England Made Me” By Black Box Recorder

“Child Psychology” By Black Box Recorder

Thanks To Robb Dobbs

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Coming Up For Air- Pauline Murray Interview

“Dream Sequence I” By Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls.

“Shout Above The Noise” By Penetration

“I’m always aware that people see a girl singer as an obvious attraction . It’s up to me to show it isn’t like that…I don’t think I flaunt myself for instance”- Pauline Muray, 1978.

“They brought to Punk something nobody else had managed or dared to attempt: Compassion…they brought a naked emotion and undeniably trustworthy fury. In refusing to adhere to a strict, severe musical policy, striving for the expansion of their ideals…they came up with the most advanced debut album to come out of the initial punk period”Mick Mercer.

Sadly I missed out on first onslaught of punk, so in the early 80’s when Punk was sliding into the insidious fascistic morass that was “Oi” and many other bands appeared to have lost their way via the fancy dress shop finally emerging as pirates, french clowns, foppish matadors and “dandy” highwaymen. I was excitedly rediscovering classic punk albums with an almost religious fervour. I’d never heard anything like it !! Before Punk I was vaguely aware of flaccid prog rock , with millionaire rock stars dressed in satin capes playing 45 minute keyboard “centrepieces.” As a child I remember thinking this was, well, a bit rubbish really, (I was apparently quite partial to a bit of Chic/Nile Rodgers though) but it was only when I heard Punk that my love of music really kicked off. Maybe because I felt I could relate to the people producing it , maybe because it seemed more relevant than a 6 hour space opera about an alien horse man from Shambalala or endless pompous concept album about Arthurian legends. These po-faced “Rock Operas” and “concept albums” were the sort of bloated egotistical baloney that made Punk such a breath of fresh air and cleansed the festering musical sinusitis that had been blocking the nose of pop for far too long. It was refreshing to know you didn’t have to be classically trained, talk drivel about Zen or be best mates with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to make a record. As Rick Wakeman said “ People forget just how seismic Punk actually was , it meant musicians like me were out of work practically overnight.” Getting rid of ELP /Genesis/ Rick Wakeman and the like is certainly a feather in Punks mowhawk, but one of the most fascinating things about the whole movement was the fact that , a genre that is retrospectively viewed as aggressive, laddish and confrontational , actually produced more female musicians/Singers than any other musical genre . Fact.

One band I adored were from Newcastle and called Penetration, they were fronted by the enigmatic Pauline Murray, whose crystal clear vocals were like a peel of bells. Pauline was by all accounts, a quiet, softly spoken lass off stage but on stage she became a punk warrior princess , whose heavily made up eyes were full of passion and menace and who hurled her self around the stage in a quite frightening fashion. I for one was enraptured, in fact I resolved to marry Pauline, but regrettably, I realised with a heavy heart, that my youth would make this impossible unless we moved to Little Rock, Arkansas . Another problem was by the time I’d become a huge fan, Penetration had already split, tragically after only two albums!! Oh but what albums “Moving Targets” has to be one of my favourite albums of all time , whilst the more expansive sound on the Steve Lilywhite produced “Coming Up For Air” isn’t too far behind . Whenever I hear songs like “Life’s A Gamble“Don’t Dictate”“Danger Signs”“Come Into The Open” and the best Buzzcocks cover ever “Nostalgia” I still get the sense of excitement that Punk generated, an adrenaline rush full of possibilities when anything seemed likely. (Alas like everything else, eventually big business took over and marketed a watered down punk pastiche, which had, in its original conception burned so brightly and given the pop world a rocket up the backside) .

Every musical genre has its fair share of snobbery and punk was no different, there where scenesters within the punk sphere who didn’t consider Penetration “punk” enough (long haired guitarist Fred Purser later joined the Tygers of Pan Tang ) Maybe one of the problems with Penetration was the fact that they were actually rather too proficient musically, that their sound was too polished, and the fact that Pauline could clearly sing. After Penetration split, Pauline continued to work with bassist Robert Balmire and the fruits of their labours produced the classic “Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls.” An album so far ahead of its time in terms of sound and production (from Joy Divisions legendary producer Martin Hannett) that it appeared to languish in a sort of post-punk limbo.  Some old fans found it “too pop”, whilst new fans didn’t quite know what to make of this dark, brooding “Electro pop.”   This album clearly demonstrated what the 1980’s could have been, this was the sort of electronic music, with a menacing pop underbelly that should have ruled the airwaves in the early 80’s. Criminally the album sunk and we got “Einstein-A-“Bloody”-Go-Go” instead, it does however, remain a lost pop classic. After the albums release Pauline really did appear to have become an “Invisible Girl” and disappeared completely but in 1990 released material under the name Pauline Murray and The Storm. She would pop up again sporadically over the next decade (which in the days before the internet was impossible to track) until in 2003 Penetration reformed. We caught up with a very busy Pauline down and asked her some not too penetrating questions

VP: How did the idea for Penetration initially come together?

PAULINE: It was just four teenagers who got together purely to play music for fun. There was no great master plan.

VP: What are your happiest memories or your time in the band in the early days?

PAULINE : The happiest times were definatley when we were playing the music – those were really exiting times.

VP: And what’s the weirdest thing that happened to you during the Punk revolution?

PAULINE :Giving Sid and Nancy a lift in our van. Sid smashing bottles on the road at Marble Arch and gobbing on the roof of the van. Another maybe, could be a man who was brandishing a gun at a bar in Chicago!

VP: What are your favorite Penetration songs and why?

PAULINE : I always  liked “Come Into The Open” I haven’t got a reason I just like it. I like them all really. They all have their quirks

“Come Into The Open” By Penetration

VP: After releasing “Coming Up For Air, ” and 3 years after forming you called it a day. What were the reasons for that?

PAULINE : There was a lot of pressure and it was no fun anymore. We were also very, very tired from constant touring. (Quotes arond the time – “I never wanted to be in Penetration and to be worrying all the time. I wanted it to be fun, not to be always thinking of hit singles and cracking America and writing for the next LP.Why am I doing this ?..Why am I miserable ? ..What’s the point ?..it brings it down to the level of having a job.” )

VP : You then “became” Pauline Murray and The Invisible Girls with Robert , released a classic debut album and worked with various people  including  producer Martian Hannet, Vini Reilly, Wayne Hussey New Order’s  Bernard Sumner and John Maher From The Buzzcocks. This music was totally different from Penetration’s. Was this a case of you wanting to do something completely different after 3 years at the forefront of punk?

PAULINE : The songs were written as normal, not intending to be any different but the Invisible Girls set up was very much a studio project with a different style of musician, more keyboard than guitar based.

VP: You disappeared then turned up in 1989 with Pauline Murray and The Storm. Then disappeared again. What did you get up to in the years away from music?

PAULINE: After the Invisible Girls I got very depressed and walked out of music and had to deal with many personal life changes. I eventually started to write songs again and play live which lead to the Storm album. In 1990 I set up Polestar Rehearsal and Recording studios in Newcastle, and it’s still going strong today!

VP: After 23 years in 2000 Penetration came back. How did that come about?

PAULINE: Various members of the band contacted me in the same week from out of the blue. I always said I would never reform the band but it just wouldn’t go away so I thought OK! Let’s  give it a try!

VP: What sort of music do you listen to these days?

PAULINE : I listen to old stuff like Curtis Mayfield, Love and I have even listened to a bit of Cockney Rebel recently. I do hear the new stuff but nothing really particularly hits the spot.

VP: Any advice to young musicians starting out in the bizz?

PAULINE: Make music for the love, not for the money. Cause there is none!

“Nostalgia” By Penetration

Download an interview with Pauline and Robert from 1979 on Radio Newcastle about the split. As with many bands past and present it appears touring America was the begining of the end (Interview -Right click, save as)

Links

Penetration on myspace

Penetration Website

Polestar Studios myspace

Polestar Website

VIDEOS

“Life’s A Gamble” (Live Reading 1978 ) By Penetration

“Dream Sequence I” By Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls

“Lovers Of Outrage” By Penetration

“Dont Dictate” (live Manchester 1977) By Penetration

“Mr X” By Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls

Wallpapers

(click thumbnail for large version)

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Fatal Distraction…Hemme Fatale Interview

“Peryglus Lucifier” By Hemme Fatale.

I mean it shouldn’t work should it? A band that claims to be influenced by R.Kelly, Faith No More and American wrestling with a penchant for Prince, Judas Priest, Jay -Z and Saxon? It just sounds a bit wrong doesn’t it? Personally that list doesn’t do a lot for me. I did have quite a liking for “Epic” By Faith No More as a lad, whilst Judas Priest’s “Breakin’ The Law” was quite funny as a bit of “oh golly aren’t I naughty” pre-school rebellion, but the rest , well I can’t say they push my musical buttons. So who the devil would happily list the above as sources of musical inspiration ? Well, the band in question are called Hemme Fatale, and to be honest they do seem, for want of a better word, a little bit “crackers,” their song titles alone would score quite highly on anybody’s Mad- As- A- March- Hare- Cuckoo-O-Meter” (“Hag In A Black Leather” “Baby Witch” and “Peryglus Lucifer.” ) Hemme Fatale don’t exactly give you straight answers either, one day they’ll tell you that their name is a tribute to Christy Hemme of WWE fame, the next day they’ll say “actually we picked it because it sounds like a really naff 1970’s aftershave by YSL” . So maybe I should treat everything they say with a large pinch of salt. Hemme Fatale’s man with the plan, Luke Taylor is also the songwriter/ guitarist for the remarkable Hot Puppies, so this seems quite a departure for him, but when questioned about this he merely states “People are fed up with songs about bus stops and every band sounding like The Jam, I know, I’ve spoken to them.”

So what sort of music do they produce? Well that’s a tricky one , my initial reaction to it was “funky uber sleaze” which seems to fit, for example if “Gavin and Stacy” ever went a bit porno, I’d imagine Hemme Fatale would provide the soundtrack, its sexy and sweaty with a Welsh twist- a bit like Katherine Jenkins at the gym or “Ivor The Engine, freshly oiled, and glistening with fresh morning dew before a day of work with Jones the Steam at the Merioneth and Llantisilly Rail Traction Company ….. Dafydd Wigley has allegedly described them thus “These young mo’fo’s get me all of a lather boyo.” Whilst Rhodri Morgan is rumoured to have “shaken his tail feather” to Hemme Fatale on more than one occasion after a hard day being Welsh at the Welsh Assembly. I spoke with Luke to see if I could get some definitive answers…..

VP: Who are Hemme Fatale, how did you meet and what is your mission

LUKE : We’re a lover boy pop group from Cardiff: sex city. We met in the uniformally dull and uncinematic way that bands meet, out and about. I knew Jen, she worked at a rehearsal studio, I asked if she knew anyone who looked like a pop star, she said “I know a girl called Ellie”. Then we all lived happily ever after.We aren’t on a mission, we just want to entertain ourselves and others.

VP: How would you describe your music?

LUKE: Content, it exists.

VP: Do you have plans to release a single or an album ?

LUKE : We’ve done an e.p that we recorded in my home. It’s free to download on myspace and countless blogs. At some point we’ll make music that people have top pay for, but not yet. When we are ready people will be happy to pay for it.

VP: Did you watch Glastonbury this year ? Was it any good ?

LUKE : Well the current crop of British bands are just awful, even the ones who’s records I like were bad. Jay Z was amazing, and rocked harder than all the indie bands, and the only big name artist I saw who could handle a crowd of that size. I’m glad Leonard Cohen asked not to be broadcast cos he’s my all time hero and I’m seeing him this month and didn’t want to spoil it.

VP: Which artists have had the biggest influence on Hemme Fatale?

LUKE: Prince, real Prince not just “Kiss”. It’s cool to like Prince now. But we like all the old stuff like “The Black Album” and “Dirty Mind”. Everyone laughs but we like the dynamic of De La Soul a lot, that’s what we’re aiming for, but in white, south Glamorgan sort of way.

VP: These days you pop types aren’t happy being in one band, you have to be in a few. Why? Is it partly due to the financial side of the music industry these days , or are your purely following your artistic muse? Is the desire to express your inner pain so compulsive, that you feel you must commence this cathartic journey of self discovery, and ultimately arrive at your own personal nirvana? Or not?

LUKE: Not. It’s when everyone in your other band can’t be arsed and the manager has completely fucked things up. It’s nice to do something motivated purely by fun, sex and dancing. People forget that, that is what rock n roll was born from.

VP: I think the eighties generally were a bit rubbish, why is everyone trying to revive it and why is everything ironic these days??

LUKE: No decade of music is rubbish. The 80’s had shit like Simple Minds but also had Black Flag, Husker Du, Prince, Art Of Noise, Devo and loads more. We play mainly electronic music with synthesisers, this music was born out of the late 70’s/80’s. But it’s progressing, like all forms of pop. But that doesn’t mean it’s pastiche or ironic. Maybe you percieve music that you yourself don’t get as Ironic, but other people care deeply about it. When you go to the Dublin Castle and see 10 bands who sound like Sleeper or My Life Story, are they being ironic?

VP: I don’t consider music I don’t get, ironic, more like a bit…..rubbish. Each to their own  but its frightening to think that there are huge swathes of people who care deeply about the music of, say, Rick Astley or Dollar, and who may not be in some sort of secure  mental institution..these people need our help. I suppose I just find it difficult to sit in complicit silence whilst such artists are now marketed as “hugely influential” and best forgotten cabaret bands are having the title “legendary” erroneously thrust upon them….Ahem… Anyway before it goes a bit Bill Grundy lets press on 😉 …..If  you were really “King Of England” who would you lock up in the tower of London ?

LUKE: I would lock you up for getting my bands mixed up, that’s a Hot Puppies song! Ha! Not really, I would lock up everyone on Cardiff highstreet who walks slowly on a saturday afternoon.

VP: Radio play lists? Should they be banned ? Are they a just another tool of manipulation, a not so secret between arrangement big business and radio stations?

LUKE: Well..radio, press and labels are all spunking themselves to death, so who cares. It seems that we don’t get to hear the music we deserve to hear, and bands don’t get any money, and everyone at labels is in a constant state of panic over going bankrupt or being fired. Basically it’s awful, unless, they play us. In which case it’s still awful, but we’re momentarily profiting.

VP: What was the last thing that made you laugh like this “Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha, ha,”

LUKE: That man in Swansea who got stuck in a hole, still drinking a can of Stella. It really made me proud to be Welsh. So so funny. Youtube it. Also I put a hardcore 90’s gay club anthem on my dads phone as a ringtone, and kept ringing him whilst he was watching “Heroes”, that was amazing.

Links

On myspace

The Hot Puppies

Wallpaper

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Ace Of Bass …Phil King Interview

“Undertow” By Lush.

We conclude our Lush trilogy with an interview with Phil King, former bassist with Lush and  member of the Jesus and Mary Chain.  Phil  replaced original Lush  bassist Steve Rippon, who left the band in 1992 after developing a phobia of sitting in inordinately  large  trees playing “air bass” for video shoots.    We asked Phil about his time in Lush, life with the Mary Chain, and found to our surprise that Ricky Gervais may well  have based elements of “Extras” on Phil’s own life 😉

VP : Looking back what were your personal highlights of your time in Lush ?

PHIL: For me I guess it would have been the Spooky world tour in 1992: Over 120 shows in a year. Ireland, the UK, the USA, the Continent, Japan, Israel and Australia. In the past I´d played around the UK with various bands  – The Servants, Felt, Biff BangPow!, See See Rider – and even been to the Continent on various Creation package tours, albeit crammed in a minibus and occasionally sharing beds; but this was on a whole different level..

Touring America that year was the most amazing thing for me. We had a tour bus, great audiences, and drove the length and breadth of the country. I could see why Lush had built up such a good following in such a short time as we worked hard doing any press,TV, radio or in-stores that came our way and always made a point of being friendly to the fans.

VP:  The Story goes that your interview/meeting to join Lush was held in a pub. What were your first impressions of the band, and did an ability to drink copious amonts of alcohol play an factor in you joining ? 😉

PHIL: Miki called me up at work. I was a picture researcher at the NME at the time. I remember having read in the paper the story that Steve was leaving. The band had been recommended me by a mutual friend, Polly. I vaguely knew Emma as she used to come into the NME office delivering records when she was a press officer for Jeff Barrett and I had seen Lush play a few times. The first was quite early on at The Sausage Factory at The White Horse, West Hampstead. I just remember a darkened basement and lots of giggling in between songs. I then saw them again supporting Felt and The House Of Love and headline in Ladbroke Grove – when they played shows in North, South, West & East London – not long before I joined. We arranged to meet up in the not-that-famous-at-the-time pre-Britpop “The Good Mixer” in Camden Town. I lived just round the corner.  At that time it was frequented by 50s rockers and their beehived girlfriends – who all hung around the pool table – and had a well stocked jukebox. I remember Miki and Chris being there – not sure where Emma was.- and a friend of theirs called, Johnny. He´d played in the first line-up of the band and had a memorable Link Wray tattoo on his arm. They were both very friendly and had no airs and graces about being in a pretty successful band. We of course all got very drunk ….and I was in the band. It was a bit of an eyebrow raiser – but also a bit of a relief really – that they didn´t even want me to do an audition. In retrospect it made sense, as the most important thing when you´re stuck together with someone 16 hours a day is that you get on pretty well.

VP:  What was the first Lush song you played?

PHIL: The first song I ever played – well mimed – was for the video for “For Love. “It was so soon after I joined I didn´t even know where my fingers should go. Not that it mattered at that stage of course. I´ve checked with Emma about what was the first song I actually played in our first rehearsal and she seem to think it was “Tiny Smiles.” Prior to it I´d tried to work out some of the basslines. Miki´s weren’t so difficult, but I found that apart from “Sweetness & Light” and “Nothing Natural,” that Emma´s songs weren´t as easy as I´d first thought. She had a habit of not using root notes to make things a little more interesting. For example in “Monochrome” the guitar chords are the same for every verse, whereas the bass notes change each time round. She told me that when they recorded it in the studio, Robin Guthrie had asked how anybody was expected to be able to learn it. I had to have it all written down on a couple of sheets of paper, which I would have next to my set list onstage. We would play it for the encore. I remember at one show on the “Spooky” UK tour we came back onstage and somebody has stolen them and we had to ask for them back, which was pretty embarrassing. Luckily, after a few months of playing it every night I managed to memorise it.

VP: What are  your favourite Lush songs?

PHIL: Sweetness & Light/Thoughtforms/Nothing Natural/For Love/Monochrome/Light From A Dead Star/Kiss Chase/Undertow/Lit Up/500/Ciao!

Cover versions:

I’d Like to Walk Around In Your Mind/I Have The Moon/Love At First Sight

Remixes:

Undertow

VP: What was your view of the music press’s treatment of Lush . I know Miki got a bit pissed off with them and said “We couldn’t do right for doing wrong”

PHIL: I think that maybe because we lived in London and would be seen at a lot of shows, the press kind of took us for granted. There was no mystery because we were so ubiquitous. Also because we were seen out I think they felt we never worked. I always found it funny in the US as the press there seemed fascinated by the English music press and would always quiz us on it.

VP:  Did the final U.S. tour really take it out of you as a band. Emmas been quoted as saying she was fed up feeling like a “product”

PHIL: Yes, it did. After the initial thrill of the 1992 tour of the first album – not counting Gala of course – we then hit the difficult 2nd album syndrome with Split.and didn´t recover till our success in England with Single Girl, Hypocrite and 500 in 1996. By this time we had new management, who couldn´t believe the amount of goodwill we had in the US and decided that we needed to break into a new market there by supporting unsuitable acts like The Gin Blossoms and The Goo Goo Dolls. Unfortunately The Gin Blossoms had just released their difficult 2nd album and whereas their first had sold millions, the newest was a comparative flop in most markets in the US. We ended up either playing in large venues to audiences more interested in their popcorn and soft drinks than us, or the very same venues that we´d played a few months before, but now as a support act.. Also, because of the success of Lollapalooza a lot of the radio stations now hosted their own festivals. Part of the deal was that you played their festival and they would play your record – or else they might not. We would end up on unsuitable bills playing to audiences in the middle of nowhere. We also did radio sponsored shows on our own. We played one in Raleigh, Carolina to almost nobody and the next day while waiting for our plane, met some Lush fans who asked us what we were doing in Raleigh and when we told them, said they knew nothing about the show as it hadn´t been advertised.

The most frustrating thing was that we were having success in the UK – and thing were looking very positive – but had only played a warm-up tour of small clubs earlier on in the year. We also missed out on nearly all the UK festivals as we were in the US on inappropriate tours. There was a homecoming tour of the UK booked in the autumn, but that was not to be. Blur & Pulp had complained about the US being an alien place. For us in the past this had not being the case, but on our last tour there it certainly was.

VP:  There are rumours you filmed a lot of behind the scenes video during the Lush years . Will it ever see the light of day ?

PHIL: Yes, it´s in the pipeline. I took my Super 8 camera on the 1994 Split tour and filmed a couple of hours of footage. Nearly all black and white – and all silent. The Split recording sessions; the UK, the Continent and the USA tours. I would have filmed our trip to Japan, but unfortunately my camera was broken in transit on a trip to Israel, although I did manage to film the 1992 trip there. On the 1996 tour I tried out a Russian clockwork camera, but the results were patchy, although I did manage to capture Chris´30th at The Fillmore when we hired a male and a female Elvis impersonator to both serenade him before the encore.

VP: When the decision was made for Lush to call it day, did you have plans in terms of what you wanted to do next ?

PHIL: I don´t think any of us had any plans as Chris´death took the wind out of all our sails. After six month – when the money ran out – I signed on, which as you can imagine was pretty demoralising. I did do a bit of office work here and there –  Q, Vox, NME –  and was even a film extra for a short period of time. The stand in for a singer in Sliding Doors, an IRA man in Titanic Town, a Paparazzi photographer in What Rat´s Won´t Do (bit nervous about that one as it was filmed at Heathrow Airport the Monday morning after Princess Di had died). I turned down more than I was offered. Hung, drawn and quartered for Elizabeth (They wanted to shave my head too) One of many jesters in Shakespeare In Love (don´t look good in tights). There was even talk of a part in Stanley Kubrick´s ´Eyes Wide Open, but he of course cancelled. ´The final straw was standing around in 70s man made fibres in the freezing cold at Pinewood Studios, waiting to do a scene as a photographer (getting typecast now too) for the British Spinal Tap film Still Crazy. I took refuge from the cold on the Albert R Brocolli soundstage and watched them film a scene where a storm hits a festival the band Bad Fruit are playing at and all their equipment gets blown over. I just remember a couple of poor extras standing behind a mountain of Marshall stacks trying to keep them from toppling over as two giant industrial sized fans created typhoon wind conditions. Another extra told me that he´d filmed a battle scene for Merlin on the soundstage a couple of weeks before and that it´d been horrible. Covered in mud, brandishing plastic swords, wet, bruised and frozen to the bone – all for £60 a day .When I got a call later on in the day from the NME saying did I want to come into their nice warm offices and work on the gig guide I jumped at the chance. It was while I was there that The Jesus & Mary Chain´s management rang asking if I wanted to play bass for them. I turned it down the first time, so disillusioned was I with the music industry; but then thought, “Don´t be stupid, it´s the Jesus & Mary Chain!” and called back.

VP:  Have the Mary Chain’s famously feuding Reid brothers mellowed over the years. I hear they spent much of 1992’s Lollapalooza  locked in a room arguing and fighting  !

PHIL: Yes, but who could blame them. They had the worst spot on the bill – after Pearl Jam, who´d just sold a few million copies of their album – and played in the middle of the day. The audience came, went crazy for Pearl Jam and then dispersed to the sideshows. By comparison, being the opening act, we had an eager crowd ready and waiting.

Nowadays, with The Jesus & Mary Chain we fly in,do the show and then leave. No beer is spilt or tempers frayed. Jim & William are both now parents, don´t drink, or do drugs and also no longer have to endure weeks stuck on a tourbus together. Therefore it is all a lot more relaxed. It´s a lot of fun to be playing all the Mary Chain favourites.

VP :  What sort of music do you listen to yourself, these days ?

PHIL: At the moment I´m into French space synth music from the 1970´s – Droids, Milkways, Space – and releases on Mike Always´s El reissues label – such as Hungarian jazz guitarist Gabor Szabo – and Johnny Trunk´s library and soundtrack label. I also like that Vampire Weekend album.

VP:  Finally as somebody who has played in some of the finest bands from thelast 20 years such as Felt, See-See Rider Lush, Loop(?), Biff Bang Pow and The Servants (which featured Luke Haines) have you any “Spinal Tap moments to share?

PHIL: I saw that Loop mention in Wikepedia. Never did play with them, although I did work with the bass player from the band Neil in a sandwich bar in London Bridge in the late ‘80s and their drummer was in The Servants.

Here are a couple of  Spinal Tap´moments.

Lush:

We did only ever did one Radio One Roadshow, in Hunstanton in Norfolk. A rainy seaside town that Emma used to go to with her parents for her holidays. We were on the bill with Dodgy, Baby Bird, Ultra Nate and some long forgotten boy band, whose name escapes me It was in a local park down near the seafront and we played to an audience that seemed to be predominately mothers, with their babies positioned in front of them in pushchairs. I remember looking round and seeing DJ Simon Mayo on Emma´s side of the stage dancing to Single Girl – in a fat suit. Miki may have told him to fuck off. To add insult to injury we had to drive back the same day to London and sit waiting in a BBC dressing room for five hours for as Emma puts, it “30 seconds of humiliation” on All Rise For Julian Clary. He played a judge in a mock-courtroom setting doling out pithy putdowns. We had to come out holding a stack of music papers for a young Lush fan whose mother had thrown them away. Julian made some remark about Miki´s roots and we were ushered offstage again. No wonder everyone was so vague about what we would be doing. Ah, the magical world of light entertainment.

On the 1996 tour, on one of the before mentioned radio sponsored festival shows, we played on the same bill as Kiss. It was at Irvine Meadows in California and was the 4th Annual KROQ Weenie Roast. Each band – apart from the headliners – were only allowed to play four songs. We were on after The Fugees. For some reason they were 40 minutes late getting to the stage and when they did, launched into a jam which they didn´t seem to count as being a song per se. So when they launched into what they thought was their last song –which was at that time No. 1 in the US charts, ´Killing Me Softly With Your Song´– the stagehands looked at their watches and decided to rotate the revolving stage with us on the back of it. As The Fugees disappeared from view we appeared to a barrage of booing with Miki shouting “Give us a fuckin´chance!”. They didn´t.

Links

Light From A Dead Star

The Jesus And Mary Chain

Miki Fan Site

Emma Anderson Interview 2008

Miki Berenyi Interview 2008

See-See Rider On Myspace

Video

“Undertow (Spooky Remix)” By Lush

“Between Planets” By The Jesus And Mary Chain   Live 2007

Wallpaper

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

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