Friday, December 10, 2004



This was a long, wondrous and horrific 24 hours. Rarely have I squeezed so much into that period of time. The first band I saw, by surprise, was Fridge in the Rough Trade shop. I just thought they were some melodic Mogwai-esqe rip off band. Looking in disappointment, I smacked my head on the stairs railings stupidly, looking up to see some skater smirking.

From there it was to Greek Street to interview Bobby Conn but not before getting lost in Soho ("mummy!"). The scheduled venue of the interview was the most packed cafe in London history it seems. The owner reminded me of Ma Gianni's from Eastenders. We were thrown out pretty politely, a surprise for the big smoke. In the end the interview took place in some dingey pub around the corner, where old people with dogs shared space with hipsters, as we talked with the angel of death.

After over an hour of pounding with Mr Conn we returned to Matt's illegally parked car, which sat behind the venue (where Hirameka were playing), only inches from the Astoria, dead in the centre of London. We expected to find everything and anything there from it being torched, towed, clamped or ticketed. Upon our return though it sat content and happy, full of health. Gringo Conglomerate 1 London Clampers 0.

Inside the venue, Plastic People in Oxford Street, the band were soundchecking. Inside there was no stage but to the left of me was two hollowed out washing machines with decks atop of them and a Bros 12 inch ready to go. To the right were some tense Bratpoppers awaiting a soundcheck. Flittering about was the ghost of Peter Cook. Freaky deaky. I took a piss in the girls toilets but not before scribbling on the door at eye level "Jason Graham has a really neat penis", like a bored desperate shithead does. We left the venue out the back entrance and it was completely surreal, pitch black save for muffled lightbulbs from inside buildings and the giant neon Centre Point light miles above. Hiding In the dead centre of London it was like the Gotham City of the noir original Batman movie instead of the childish, gloss sequels. We amscrayed before we could be killed, raped or robbed.

After eating we returned to the club (Pornstar), us hangers on barely getting in without paying. We positioned ourselves in which was obviously was the make out corner. I dreaded (predicted) being swamped and suffocated later in the night (see below). Still the seats were comfy. And white. Out came the pen again and My Shit was forever (hopefully) emblazoned across the comfy chair.

The first band on were called Role Models. I remember little, other than them playing an adjusted Elastica song with personalised vocals and lyrics, thus making it their own. Bravo Bratpoppers. I would guess they had had the best soundcheck so as a result they had the best sound. Their guitars sounded heavier than Elastica's so I guess they may have been into Hole as well or something. Nothing to get gooey over really I guess.

Mouthwash punked next. They had punk drums and punk bass. The singer started out doing a chicken dance and a chicken rap. The drum and bass reminded me a little of late Minor Threat (aka not the choicest MT cuts). Towards the end I suggested that it might be better had they got a guitarist in and then I had it pointed out to me that they had one. Ewww. I hope it wasn't meant to be so no-show. With effort and concentration (and probably imagination) I was just about able to hear something. The weedy guitar rendered them little more than some hyperactive ska band.

Thirdo was Product, which in my opinion is a very good name for a band. Certain parties in this band were instantly recognisable. Fortunately this band did not sound like der Orchestra. The reference point here seemed to be Placebo and their fizzy guitars, watered down. Unfortunately by this point I had lost interest. The bands were running late and I was panicking as we had to haul arse across London immediately after the show.

Hirameka Hi Fi weren't really, really.....neat. I have no idea what happened. I was left to look after our shit (my shit) in the make out corner all on my own. And the inevitable happened. I guess it is an endearing site imagining a bunch of drunken teenagers bobbing about as I go out of my mind trying to save our personal items. It's funny now but I'll tell you (in a voice like Dougal's) it sure wasn't at the time. I ended up mailing a hate note to Melody Maker the next morning, which when they printed several weeks after I had forgotten I'd posted the fucker. Well they were dancing atop what feebly was the Gringo stall (ie some records sprawled over a table). Fucked off I poured a bottle of water over the most annoying drunken teenager and it turned out she was in a band called Cheetara (no me neither), she told me, and her rosey red cheeks appeared in MM weeks later (I add this because she now denies the incident. Funny what memories (underage) drinking will evaporate).

It turned out though that there were bigger arseholes in the house in the form of the ****er security men. Seconds after Hirameka ended their set they set about throwing every living organism out as if the shithole venue was on fire. Fuck them, I hope they die. Outside, in Gotham City, confronted by big arse rock trucks we waddled past the Astoria crew of the headliners there that night. Holy fuck it was HELLOWEEN from Germany! Well, their instruments and crew. We also think Cleopatra may have been in that particular house (or else that is the name of a club there but I'd like to think we were mere inches away from three exploited teenagers).

The mission was to now get to some loft in Stoke Newington (fuck knows where that is) before 11pm. Matt got us to a place with a similar address to the loft and he ran round like a dedicated trooper as the remainder of us remained in horror as it looked like some Saturday night gang warfare was about to kick off. Frozen with fear, we were soon snapped out of it as Matt said he had found the place. We made comically pathetic attempts to run the whole way to the place, the smart realising the suckers running ahead would keep the door open for us slackers.

Inside Bobby was on. And not just on the stage, he was on in the way NME suggests but never achieves. We were in and immediately, BAM! on stage he was rocking the place. I couldn't believe we were watching a show in a place where someone lives. I realise now I am unlikely to ever be anywhere so hip again (Diego Maradona was spotted in attendance). On stage was a band with character as opposed to some convenient retro punk band. To both sides of the stage were girls hula hooping (as featured in Hudsucker Proxy). Stage right the renamed Dr Weasel Walter rocked out in a fake moustache and Slayer shirt, lurching about metal fashion as stage left Monica Bou Bou, bewigged, played her violin from inside a catsuit. Centre stage Bobby Conn was acting larger than life. He reached for heaven and pulled down a pipe. All to an FM classic waiting to happen. The band (and its music) tasted so fresh. Much should be made of Monica Bou Bou's electric violin. In order to be of quality more bands should employ them. Here is a basic string section with full effect. Unlike the previous evening's entertainment these songs were devoid of worthless aggression and irrational angst. The sound is mature with amazing lyrics adding a sinister twist (edge). Baby Man sounded great and United Nations moved the room (loft). The undisputed highlight was Never Get Ahead (unsurprisingly). Without fear the showman grabbed the beam above the stage and began climbing revealing a similar stature and hunger to prime rib Iggy Pop. Dangling, monkey style, a gracious audience member held his mike in place as Bobby sang the song upside down. Upon returning upright the baying crowd began tugging at his jumpsuit slacks. Out came his arse, then pubes and then the inevitable which he promptly grabbed to completely insinuate the meaning behind the song. To really emphasise, push the point, he had popped out his ween. Dedication (that's what you need to be a record breaker). Here was a man suffering for his art. The place was into him.

On the way home some mad fucker deer came running out of nowhere into the road and all the way home we enjoyed spooking and fucking with the driver's head, claiming that he was imagining the fine beast that either he had almost been taken or that had almost taken him out. We then stopped at a 24 hour Tesco Superstore to stock up which was inexplicably closed. Shan't be late night shopping there again in a hurry. Fucking corporations.

Bobby Conn: You have "hi how are you" already listed on there (my question sheet)
Jason Graham: Yeah.
BC: We've already gotten that one down. I like that, that's preparation! You know, I've noticed that the English interviewers, the press, seems to pride themselves on having the questions typed out. Not just handwritten but typed out.
Alun Shepherd: The Dutch would just handwrite them out.
BC: Yeah, if they even had questions, which the Dutch don't have, questions. They just go like (in mondo Dutch accent, slowly) "well Bobby, tell us.....something".
JG: Do they? I dunno. How about the English? Do you like England?
BC: Oh, like? Yes, yes.
JG: What about the food? Do you like the food?
BC: Yes.
JG: Well, its like, whenever Americans come over to this country they just bitch about the food.
BC: The food? I mean, in America you can get really bad food, without trying very hard.
JG: They're not overly gourmet in this country, Americans say how everything gets boiled in this country so....
BC: Well you know, we had mixed grill today.
JG: Did you enjoy it?
BC: I did actually. It was very odd, an odd assortment of meats. Liver, steak, some kind of weird bacon. Like all on one plate. It was odd. So is this two different fanzines or one fanzine?
JG: We're mates.
BC: Ah, now that looks like a fanzine.
JG: So what do you make of Soho then?
BC: Here? Why are we doing this here? Mr Prinsloo has odd concepts. So far I've been in a little like boutiquey shop to eat and then a tea shop and then here. Here is the most comfortable but its like odd. Why he picks Soho? Is it centrally located or something?
JG: It's centrally located.
AS: This is Soho? So it is like 42nd Street.
BC: Yeah, I mean this is Broadway. This is like the theatre district.
AS: This is precisely like the type of location you deliberately avoid when we're in New York.
BC: Yeah.
JG: Yeah, well I guess you know that. Sorry I didn't catch your name?
BC: This is Alun Shepherd.
JG: Alun Shepherd?
AS: Yeah, its A L U N. Alright.
JG: Oh, like the Welsh!
BC: Yes (?)
JG: So, how did last night go?
BC: Very good, very good. It was full of people and it sounded...... I think it was very affective.
JG: Really? What sort of reaction did you get?
BC: Er, "yay", (claps). "Yes!". "I like you very much sir". I got "we love you Bobby". I got "thanks for a great show".
JG: Did you get a "wooo!"?
BC: I got a "wooo!". I got several "Wooos!".
AS: A man in Hamburg proposed to him.
JG: Really?
BC: Yeah.
AS: He told him he thought now that he loved him and he wanted to live in a glass dome with him.
JG: Are you going to take him up on it?
BC: I can't marry everyone that wants to marry me.
JG: I wish I had that problem. How many interviews have you done today?
BC: This is my fifth.
JG: Are you getting tired of them?
BC: Just a little (screams with frustration).
MN: We caught you at a bad time then?
BC: No, not at a bad time (grabs my questions). "How about the weather?". The weather is beautiful.
JG: Its turned out nice now. So what has been the most asked question?
BC: Basically, probably the most asked question is about the anti-Christ. That's generally the angle that people wanna start with. And that’s like an hour right there. To explain that is like an hour so....
JG: We'll have to fragment that question.
BC: You're gonna have to lead me round to that one. The last guy, oh my god, what a doubting Thomas he was.
JG: Really?
BC: Yeah, he did not, he would not budge an inch. He was tough, tough guy. Hard. Hard boiled hard ball. He just asked "so what's this about you being the anti-Christ?".
JG: But you are, aren't you?
BC: Yeah, yeah, yeah I explained it but its like.......lets lead up to that one. Lets not start with that.
JG: Yeah, some people are like so cynical
(Bobby looks up, breathing like Darth Vader as if possessed by, say, the force).
JG: Have you done the erm......OK?
BC: Fine.
JG: Have you done the MTV VJing yet (on M2)?
BC: No, that's tomorrow. No, Monday.
JG: What are you going to play?
BC: You know, I don't know. This is something that is very interesting, they gave, they said that I'll be able to look in their library and pick all of my favourite videos, seven of them. You know, the last time I watched MTV was in 1984, I think, so.....
JG: Dire Straits!
BC: Actually that’s one of them.
JG: That's the only video they had back then.
BC: (Bobby sings) "Money for nothing and chicks for free". I might pick that. I think I might pick Dance Hall Days by Wayne Chung (?). (more singing).
AS: You don't even know these tunes do you?
JG: Not that one.
BC: Or the Karma Song (?) (more singing)
AS: Do you know that one?
JG: No.
AS: How old are you?
Matt: 20
BC: You're 20? Oh!
JG: 22
AS: How old were you in 1984?
BC: He was a tot.
JG: I was in school.
MN: I was seven.
AS: You were seven years old!
BC: The same year. So that's going to be tough to pick videos. Maybe you could give me some videos that you might like to see.
JG: Pick your own. I really enjoyed your video.
BC: Well thank you. I mean that’s, I guess I should explain since people are thinking that that video was deliberate. Like that’s just, that video, is an excert from a children's dance party show on Chicago Cable Access. And I dunno if you're familiar how cable works in America, you know they, the cable companies, are granted the franchise they have to allocate a certain number of channels for local programming.
JG: Public Access.
BC: Yeah, Public Access, and then you can just have shows and a friend of ours has got this show called Chic-A-Go-Go which is a children's dance show.
JG: How do you spell that?
Weasel Walter: Its like saying Chicago.
JG: Oh yeah.
BC: So he asked me to be on the show that day and I was there with this other character called The Lord Of Lightning who is this kind of washed up, R n B guitarist, sort of in the Hendrix mold. This guy from the south side of Chicago and he released a single in 1985 or 1986 called "I want To Get To Know You", it was like this sort of psychedelic Hendrix riff thing. That was his only single, he comes with this Macramay guitar swing, lip synchs his song and then I come out lip synch my song for an audience of like 8 children and a few adults but the video is like, just that excert, is just like so strange. Hello, how are you?
Monica Bou Bou: I went shopping and then a Ju Jitsu Class
BC: You took a Ju Jitsu Class?
MBB: I took a Ju Jitsu Class.
BC: Oh, yay!!!! (Bobby clapping and cheering). So, er, yeah, so that's the video. So its not like a, we didn't, er, its just the way it turned out.
JG: I saw the video, it was on MTV and.....
BC: We need Chic-A-Go-Go. They need to have a show like Chic-A-Go-Go on MTV. I think.
JG: It could happen now with it (TV) going digital in this country, so the telly channels have expanded to about a thousand channels. Why did you release Never Get Ahead as a single?
BC: Why did I release that as a single?
JG: I mean as opposed to, you could have done something from the new album but you chose that one.
BC: Ah, well actually, yeah Never Get Ahead actually was done, its off the first album and it just got released as a single here because Southern decided to do that. I would have liked to release a single off the new record but no one has been forthcoming with an offer.
JG: We'll do it!
BC: You'd do it? You would release a single?
JG: We do a label but yeah. There’s some good songs on the new album.
BC: Yeah, I'd give you one of those songs of the new album and I'd give you a b-side too. It'd be great. I would love to see United Nations as a single, I think it would be a great single.
JG: Steve the bassist in our band, that's his favourite. Its a great song. The opening lines of Never Get Ahead on! You're talking about compromise... Have you seen the Bobby Conn Official Unofficial Lovepad website?
BC: That's not the one from Chicago?
WW: The one from Chicago. The kid.....
BC: It's a lovepad?
WW: It's got a page on it that's like sort of his message board that's attached to it and he has a picture of him on.
BC: Yeah, I met the guy that, I think I know what you're talking about, I've seen or I've met that guy. That guy is... You know my idea is that ideally that people who would be making fan clubs or websites would be young, attractive boys or young attractive girls but this fellow is someone who has lived with his mother and dropped out of school because he is so frightened of other people that he stays at home all the time and plays with his computer. So, it's not really....
JG: It's a sort of stereotype.
BC: Yeah, a stereotype fanboy. The ultimate fanboy but I'm trying to get him out of his shell just for my own purposes because if he is going to be doing the fan club without any money I want him to be more presentable so I'm trying to get him like a suit, like an Armani suit or something to sort of dress him up a little bit and then I think people will respond to him, I don't think he needs to be so shy. You know if you look good, then you're gonna feel good. Right?
JG: Yeah, right, I got a haircut for today. Does he subscribe to the Continuous Cash Flow System then?
BC: Do I still?
JG: Does he?
BC: Does he? Oh, I don't..... yeah, I guess he does because he lives with his mom, so yeah. So I guess, you know, money is irrelevant to him. Yeah.
JG: Did you used to be an accountant then?
BC: No, no. I never was an accountant. I used to sell real estate via phone out of New York and, er, yes that was a very unsuccessful venture ultimately in that it lead to a short conviction for mail fraud, back when I was in my early twenties, 21.
JG: Pleasantville yeah?
MBB: (butting in) did you get a chord for your computer?
(in background some cockney geezer repeatedly saying Tesco)
BC: It was impossible.
WW: He wasn't able to have time to.
JG: Did you see the description of yourself as "Beck-style pop rock" in the local listings?
BC: As a what style?
JG: A "Beck-style pop rock".
BC: Oh well, let's see the comparisons I've had. The worst one, or the one that's most unappealing, was our last show in Holland, the billboard said "Hendrix versus McCartney". It's a battle between a corpse and an old knight of the realm.
WW: A fuddy duddy.
BC: A fuddy duddy. Very unappealing. Also "the Make Up on acid". That's another one I find perplexing.
WW: "The Allman Brothers versus Oz Mabarach (?)".
BC: That's a very tenuous reference. I don't know, are you familiar with the work of Oz Mabarach?
JG: No.
WW: And neither is he.
BC: Anyway, also "the Tortoise combined with Captain Beefheart". Pretty unappealing brew there. "Bobby Conn is better than David Bowie", that's also a Dutch one. It's awful. So "Beck-style" is like one. "Ween like" also "Ween like". "Zappa". People compared the first record, they seemed to think it was a Zappa album. The irony is that I don't own a single Tortoise, Beck, Oz Mabarach, I do own some David Bowie records, I'll grant you that, Allman Brothers, Captain Beefheart, I never even heard these bands. Zappa, I've never heard this stuff. So....its because I don't listen to music.
JG: You don't?
BC: No, I listen to, I mean my head is filled with all the popular music that was first fed to me during my childhood and then I buy a lot of singles at the thrift store which I like, R n B and stuff from the seventies.
JG: You have a very pop sound, its very....its like the sort of music that people usually buying Southern stuff don't usually buy, the stuff that you're playing and its a really nice release so say like that you're into that sort of music. Have you heard of Robbie Williams?
BC: Robbie Williams? No.
JG: Cliff Richard?
BC: Keith Richard....
JG: Cliff Richard!
BC: Cliff Richard? No.
JG: GG Allin?
BC: Heard of him, don't have much time for him.
MBB: Good thing cos he's dead.
BC: That's true, he is dead isn't he.
JG: So is Hendrix.
BC: Yeah, that's true, Hendrix is also dead. The same way too.
MBB: Someone gave me some funny money today.
BC: What, fake money?
MBB: Not fake, out of date....
JG: 50p?
MBB: ...and I cannot get rid of it. I tried and no one would take this stuff.
AS: What the fuck is this?
JG: A 50p.
AS: Wow, I have one of those too.
MBB: Yeah, well the smaller ones are good but not the big ones.
BC: Why won't they redeem this? What the hell?
Matt: You can take it to a bank.
BC: You can take it to a bank?
MBB: (in sarcastic English accent) "I'm sorry ma'am, we can't take this".
JG: You should hold onto it, it'll become a collectors piece.
BC: This was made from 1977.
JG: Yeah, that's what I mean. It'll be a collectors piece.
MBB: In fact I have a mind to go back to that restaurant and demand her give me a proper one.
JG: It's kind of typically English.
BC: They spotted your American accent and thought "oh, we can get rid of this old 50p".
AS: I'm gonna run out and try and find an adapter.
MBB: And you know what else happened to me today? Some children, not children, teenagers said "you're not in Moscow now".
BC: Yes. Well that hat has drawn much criticism in Europe.
WW: Tsk tsk.
MBB: "Go back to fucking Moscow!"
WW: You should turn the page really, the most interesting subjects.
JG: The other side?
WW: Ah, this side!
JG: I was building up to those ones.
WW: Oh I see.
JG: These are the motherfuckers these ones.
BC: Oh wait, I've seen these questions before.
JG: Isn't this a whole set of new questions?
BC: No, I've seen these before. I was supposed to answer these questions months ago via e-mail, that’s how I recognise them. You know why I didn't answer these questions?
JG: Because they're a bit personal?
BC: No, just because I kept putting it off and putting it off.
JG: Jeff had mentioned you'd spoken to you about them.
BC: I have been thinking about them a lot. You're the accountant.
JG: You got my e-mails then....
BC: Yeah.
JG: ...where I said my label's making money and should I put it into a new record or buy a motor bike.
BC: Yeah. No, I remember all this stuff. Let's see (grabs questions and doesn't give them back).
JG: You're cheating, I wasn't prepared, I just went into the PC and took a copy.
BC: The thing is also, you didn't have the new record on this one.
JG: I've listened to the records, hooks on it.
BC: Now this is a funny one, I can't believe people actually believe it. Do I look like someone that would actually cut off their own finger?
JG: I was going to check it without asking (looks) oh no.
BC: That would be insane!
JG: That would be painful.
BC: Cross that one off. "Was I an accountant?". No. "Starsign". Gemini.
MBB: Gemini is the best!
BC: You?
JG: Leo.
Matt: Virgo.
WW: Taurus.
BC & MBB: Gemini!
BC: "The happiest event I have ever witnessed". Someone else asked me a question like this. These are hard questions, like the happiest! I'm trying to think of a happy event. Er, what's your happiest event? Let me just see what the standard is.
JG: Happiest event?
BC: Yeah.
MBB: The day you got released!?
BC: Errrr (reluctance) yeah, I mean that was a good event, it was a relief but it was not a.....
MBB: The day you met me!
BC: That wasn't an event. That was very nice though.
JG: First kiss.
BC: First kiss?
JG: No, that's mine.
BC: That was yours.
JG: That was more spontaneous than the other thing.
BC: Let me think, my first kiss. Hmm, that was nice.
JG: When was that then?
BC: Er, I was at a movie, with a girl watching Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
MBB: Wow! (starts der der dering Indiana Jones theme).
JG: What part of the film?
BC: That wasn't my first kiss, that was my first protracted sexual grope session. We were like, the entire movie was like..... (squirty noises and failing arm gestures).
MBB: My first kiss was like a sweet Madonna kinda thing, passion game.
BC: Mmmm.
MBB: Post office.
BC: No?
MBB: You didn't play those games?
BC: No! First kiss, we'll put that down.
JG: Yeah, Raiders! Good film.
MBB: First grope session.
BC: First make out session (writes it down). Actually it was humiliating, it was also a really sad event because my friends at the time, it was when I was fourteen, my friends at the time were like "I cannot believe you're making out with her, she is so gross!" and what did I do?
MBB: Dumped her?
BC: I dumped her like a hot piece of shit.
MBB: Ahhh! Like the shit you were.
BC: Yes. And then for years afterwards, for years, I would have very powerful sexual, masturbatory fantasies about having sex with her.
MBB: Who was it? Somebody you shacked up with?
BC: This is actually a pretty awful story, so I'm glad I dumped her, they did me a favour but I should have.... I could have had sex with her!
MBB: Or you could have figured it out for yourself.
BC: Yeah.
MBB: Following the crowd!
BC: (next question) "Do you believe in putting subliminals in your music?". Of course not, he said with a knowing wink. "Are jokers more interesting than winners?". I thought this was a really good question. This is really good. I almost made a song out of this, I was thinking "there's gotta be a lyric in here". I may use this.
JG: It's a great first line.
BC: I'll copyright that. But that's a hard one. I think losers are winners you know. When you're a joker you get it both ways. That's what I'm always, you see I'm a Gemini, I like to have it both ways.
MBB: That's a goddamn question (in distance a whippet yelps).
BC: "Are you lonesome tonight?". You know, I started to write this interview when I was in a really bad mood and it wasn't coming out very funny and then I thought I don't wanna give it a bummer. It wasn't like no but... And I won't be because I'm gonna rock tonight!
JG: Do you know the band who are supporting you? Penthouse?
BC: No I don't but I hear they sound like Jesus Lizard.
JG: Yeah, mixed with the Birthday Party. Stonking and really good.
BC: "Does Jim O'Rourke play in the band often?". Pretty often.
MBB: Sometimes.
BC: He's done it like four or five times, played in the band in Chicago. But you know, he's very busy, like he's always busy, like right now he's on like three months of travels and he's gonna do the Stereolab record and all this shit. So he's like, he's the hardest working man in the music business. Probably. ("what significant about 13 June 2000?). It's my birthday!
MBB: It's my birthday?
BC: You see, what's gonna happen is that if I am the antichrist, which is not certain but is just a gut instinct I feel very strongly about it, if I'm the antichrist that’s when I, I mean that’s when its going to all come together for me. If you think about it; Jesus. From age one to age thirty three; carpenter! That's it! Just a carpenter and then when he hit thirty three he goes, he gets baptised by John the Baptist, he goes to Israel, he goes to Jerusalem, he gathers his disciples by the side of the mountain, does all the Jesus stuff, he does in like the last six weeks of his life, its like a very short time. All the other time he's just hanging out, making stuff, carpentry. So, his career as Messiah is a very short one. So that's what I'm hoping and then I'm hoping when I'm 33 I'll really come into my own as an antichrist because I'm really, I'm terribly far behind in terms of unifying the nations of the world and that sort of thing. I'm really way behind. The first record was supposed to sell like a 100,000 copies and now its only sold like 800 so....
JG: This question here certainly links to that one really ("do you believe in the live fast, die young philosophy?").
BC: Er, live fast die young? (pauses and contemplates) I've been living pretty fast and I'm not dead yet.
JG: But Jesus died at 33.
BC: Is it young? You know I'm 31 now. I don't feel that young, I feel pretty old.
JG: What was 30 like?
BC: Was it a barrier? Yeah, actually it was a very depressing year. I had recorded my first fucking solo record and I'm 30. You know, 800 copies! Not very auspicious. Its like "why am I doing this? This is ridiculous, I'm getting nowhere fast". So....but this year I am feeling much better. So, no no no. "Should people called Paul be avoided?". No, its not so much the name Paul, its more the connotation of the Pauls.
JG: Its not the name its the....
BC: Yeah, and you understand that?
JG: Its just me and Matthew have known people called Paul in the past and...
BC: Really?
JG: Someone called Paul Buck but with a name like that...
BC: Paul Buck?
JG: I grew up with him.
BC: Is he an ass?
JG: He was mad.
BC: Insane?
JG: Pretty much.
BC: I find the Pauls I am thinking about are very talented but sneaky and manipulative like the Apostle Paul or Sir Paul.
JG: Did you ever look into the Paul Stanley thing?
BC: Paul Stanley also, I mean he's a real sleezeball but the thing about Paul Stanley is he's not particularly talented really. Would you say he is particularly talented?
WW: No.
BC: But compared to say Gene Simmons.... (sees teethy picture of himself) that is not pleasant. That's rather unpleasant.
JG: That picture, when I first saw it, scared me to death. You look so angry and hungry.
BC: Yes. Well I am hungry. "Who is Dr Weasel Walter?" (points at the man)
WW: I'm not really a Dr. I think I know what you're talking about. The young man who interviewed me, I was sort of, before I was in the band, I was sort of working as Bobby's press agent. Bobby didn't feel like he was ready to talk to anybody so we would sit around having long discussions and you know , about what he was thinking, and I would sort of inform people about what he was talking about and this person mistook it that I was a doctor. Its really messed up.
JG: What shirt are you wearing?
WW: This is an old Slayer t-shirt, Satanic Grimoth.
JG: They're not the best thing but at least you know they mean it.
WW: Yeah, yeah, its a hate of love.
BC: Erm, "what pisses me off?". These anger questions are really hard. I'm just not feeling that hot headed today. What pisses you off?
JG: The small things. The things that get to you most, like when you're driving along and someone cuts you up. There’s this thing in England, Road Rage, that I don't think you get in America.
BC: Road Rage? People shoot each other’s cars in our country. Actually, that keeps Road Rage down because people feel like it can escalate to a point, like in Los Angeles its very common for people to like cut you off, someone cuts you off and you have a gun, you shoot them. It happens quite a lot (starts laughing).
JG: Do they do that in Chicago?
BC: Not so much because Chicago isn't such a driving city as L.A. is but.... I guess the rats in my front yard piss me off.
MBB: The deer problem in Humble Park.
BC: The deer problem is excessive which pisses me off. People shooting each other for no good reason in my neighbourhood pisses me off.
WW: Damn!
BC: "What do I do about it?". I put my head under the pillow. "Describe Short And Sweet and did they put out any records?"......
MBB: (reading Sleaze Nation article) Monica Bobo?!
BC: Bobo? Are you Bobo?
MBB: Misspelling.
BC: Fuck!
MBB: Did you do this interview?
BC: I did this interview.
MBB: You did! You said then......
BC: I said Bou Bou, I didn't say Bobo.
MBB: It's verbatim, right?
BC: I didn't write it out.
WW: There will be other mistakes. You're talking to Weasel Walter instead Walter Weasel here.
MBB: Oh well, I'll expect it many many times then.
BC: OK, I'll talk about Condeucent. Condeucent was my first favourite band I was in. And we were like an experiment? I don't know. We were like just four hippy freaks that lived in an apartment and slept with each other and made improvisational music together.
JG: When you mean sleeping together, is that like in the same bed or....
BC: Both same bed and inside of each other’s bodies. And then usually when inside each other, we were actually not sleeping at that time, we'd be awake, but an early incestuous band. And we all got a group tattoo, we were very.....
JG: What was that tattoo?
BC: Our logo. Isolated, very isolated. Very out of step (draws it).
JG: It's like the Now Wave thing (logo).
BC: Oh yeah, that's right. Here, Weasel, look.
WW: Wow, that’s kind of weird.
MBB: What is that?
BC: This is the logo, this is Now Wave, this Condeucent.
JG: Where have you got your tattoo?
BC: Where did I get my tattoo? On my arm, right here. I showed it to the Swedish woman but I'm not going to show it to you.
JG: I won't show you mine then.
BC: Do you have one?
WW: Oh yes?
BC: So anyway, we anticipated, we played for a long time and people would say stuff like "you know you guys really sound like Can" and then we got a Can record and it turned out we kind of did sound like Can but then that Post Rock explosion happened in Chicago about that Kraut Rock shit and we were long broken up by that point, so we were unable to bask in the glory...
WW: ...of being so lame.
BC: Of being so lame. But we did put out two records that are pretty good, they're quite good, two singles.
JG: What label was that on?
BC: We just put them out ourselves. One of the records will be for sale tonight.
JG: Really?
BC: I'll give it to you. You deserve a single.
JG: Please.
BC: Short And Sweet was a collaboration between me recording under the name of Shorty Roughneck. This is a true story. I live in Humble Park, which is a part of Chicago, for like ten years and these little kids would be like "Yo! Look at that, it's Shorty Roughneck. Look at him, it's Shorty Roughneck over there, look at him. You think you're so tough Shorty Roughneck". So its my street name. I was like, I was so happy. "I got a street name given to me by real little black children gave me a street name. I'm like street now, I have street credibility because I am Shorty Roughneck". And then Johnny Sweet, who lived a few houses away, he got his street name the same way, like six months later, because he was wearing a like really nice silky shirt. "Oh yeah, look at that, it's Johnny Sweet. Look at Johnny Sweet". So we decided to be Short And Sweet. And it was premium super hard rock. Two guitars and a drum machine. And anthems like "My Love Landed On You", "It's Too Hard!", all sexual songs. Songs about sexual ecstasy in a hard rock vein. And we later added the drummer from Condeucent, Ray Shawn, who is now living in Frankfurt Germany and it was a very nice band. We weren't able to record, Johnny Sweet and I had a falling out in that he's..... well, we're both difficult to work with, let's just put it that way. "Will I be using MTV?". Well yes, on Monday.
JG: How about VH-1 though?
BC: I don't know about VH-1. I think VH-1 would be more suitable because they would probably have the vintage videos that I would like to see. "Are you the first Edutainer". No, edutainer is something, there are many edutainers, they generally have....
JG: Richard Simmons, is he one?
BC: Richard Simmons?
WW: Richard Simmons, yup, yes he is.
BC: Yeah, he is an edutainer.
WW: He's made records.
JG: Has he?
BC: They're..... (breaks down laughing)
WW: You can only imagine, let's put it that way. If you can make it through that whole record, you're a pretty damn hard person.
BC: They're anti-music. Imagine the thinnest, like thinnest most trebly irritating disco music and then Richard Simmons is like "OK! Come on! Wake up, it's a really great morning!". Its insane, its really psychotic. Richard Simmons is an edutainer.
JG: He cracks me up, every time he's on Oprah or Ricki.
BC: I love him, he's great. He's fantastic. He understands that, some people are born with only one thing, their personality. You know who else I really like who is British? You know Leo Sayer? "I know I can dance! I know I can dance!".
MBB: What's the beers?
BC: I got that bitter beer. Its really good.
JG: Get Carlsberg.
MBB: Carlsberg. And you got the bitter?
BC: "Can using the CCFS lead to alcoholism or drug abuse?". Yes. It does, it does.
JG: I would imagine so as they are very expensive items and they can be consumed on mixed levels.
BC: And they also, alcohol and drugs, generally take you out of a sense of thinking about the future because you're into immediate please then. They're actually, its almost, its very hard to contain the CCFS without drinking heavily because otherwise you start worrying about all the people that hate you.
JG: What do you think of people that are straight edge?
BC: Straight edge? Well. No, fine, excellent. Good for them!
JG: It's just I've got a friend who's gone straight edge and he just seems to be denying himself.
BC: Well I mean, its like any other kind of fanaticism, you know, whether its being a junkie or being a teetotaller, if you're an ass about it, it's irritating. I personally like to sample all of life's pleasures in amounts that I can control. So I love heroin, it's a fun drug but you can't really do it more than a few times a year without, er, having problems.
MBB: How much do you tip?
JG: We don't in this country.
WW: That 50 pence piece.
MBB: I tried to give it to them already. It failed.
BC: He said "this is not useful". Yeah, I don't recommend people do heroin but its a good drug if you do want to try it.
JG: You can have some real good times I've heard.
BC: Yeah but some people vomit when they take it. I don't, I love it.
JG: There's a whole problem, there’s a whole stigma attached to it, you don't really want to get involved in that scene.
BC: Right, whatever. You know its just like anything else. I mean its just like potato chips or anything else. It's like.....pursuing a heroin lifestyle is very boring. LSD also, I did a lot of that and I don't need to do that anymore. Marijuana, useful but again gets very boring. Alcohol, I can't really get drunk anymore, it takes too much effort, I get too sleepy. Speed, very hard on the body. Quaaludes, who can find them? I can't find Quaaludes. You know, like Barbiturate pills.
JG: Have you tried Prozac?
BC: Er, a drug that just makes you feel like good?
JG: It makes you fart too.
BC: It makes you fart? It makes you not want to have sex. Cocaine, I don't like, it makes me feel like a bug. I don't like that. You know I'm already extroverted enough so the idea of me being more extroverted sounds like an arsehole. Actually when I did try it I wasn't in a very talkative mood, I just felt kind of like I hated people. There was nasty shit running down my throat and I felt like an insect. And then when I woke up I started crying. Yeah, that's a great drug.
MBB: What drug was that?
BC: Cocaine. Remember the morning after? I was in tears. "Will I be pursuing multinational corporations?".
JG: Yeah, you actually offered to do a seminar at my firm I work at.
BC: Yeah, I would. I would love to do that, it would be so funny but I would have to do it in like the cafeteria but it seems you don't have a cafeteria. I had visions of like a big office block. Yeah, but that's like the kind of thing I'd like to do, seminars in cafeterias.
JG: Especially as I was thinking that in my line of work, the accountants are influential with clients, it would be a really good way of targeting people.
BC: You see, you do realise that that will land you in jail.
JG: I personally would not subscribe to it, it would harm my reputation.
BC: You've got to have ethics. I don't but you should. (next question regarding Bill Hicks and the Waco incident). Um, Bill Hicks is a genius. "Do I fear the FBI?". Well the FBI, actually no what is scary is that on that website, that fanboy website, he is telling me who hits that website, he says that the Justice Department of the United States visited it five times. That’s not a good sign for Bobby. So, do I fear the FBI? Yes I do now. I'm not worried about the FBI rubbing me out ala David Koresh but I'm worried more about people like Koresh rubbing me out. I worry about assassination at the hands of Right Wing fanatics.
JG: What did you make of Koresh and what he did?
BC: Well he was a nut along the same lines as Marshall Applewhite of the Heaven's Gate thing and Jim Jones. He's a nut along those lines, a very American style nut. But the FBI. They assassinated him and they killed 80 innocent people. That attack was one of the most heinous crimes of our government. What makes it so heinous is that they could have easily arrested Koresh in the years prior to that but for some reason they would rather eliminate like 60 children. "Do I think I'll be reincarnated?" Reincarnated, maybe. Reincarcerated, not if I can possibly help it. I will move to Brazil before I go back to jail. "How does touching people assist my cause?". Because it feels good and its warm! "Do I trust the music press?" No, why should I? Why should I trust anyone? Why should you trust me? We don't know each other. We're not really friends, we're just meeting over this talk. It's not personal...
JG: You're trying to get your message across, we're trying to get something interesting to read.
BC: We're using each other, in the friendliest way. In the nicest way, right? "Have I seen 'Brewster's Millions'?" No I haven't, but I see your point - he's trying to spend all his money.
JG: You should, it's very.
BC: I love Richard Pryor.
JG: And John Candy?
BC: John Candy? I feel very sorry about him. I feel very bad for him. Did you ever see Second City Television? It was a TV show he had in Canada and later in the
US. Amazing show, really fucking funny. He was incredible on that, but his movie career was like (dive-bomb whistles). Just cheesier and cheesier shit.
WW: He generally played the bumbling uncle. Your relative that is a little clumsy!
BC: Right. Are you familiar with Chris Farley?
JG: Yeah.
BC: John Candy didn't have it as bad as Chris Farley did. Chris Farley really got fucked. The amount of self-loathing that that man was encouraged to partake
in was...
JG: When John Candy died he had newspaper coverage but when Chris Farley died, nothing. Chris Farley was never recognised in this country. Tommy Boy and his Saturday Night Live stuff was great.
BC: He was great but they encouraged him to feel about as bad about himself as possible. Hollywood is very cruel to the misfits.
JG: Have you considered acting?
BC: (smiles) Yes but I haven't had any offers.
MBB: You've been asked to be in a couple of movies.
BC: Not Hollywood movies. "Musical influences?" Isn't it obvious? You've heard the record, you can tell what I listen to. The classics. Classic nouveau. (as Shepherd reappears from buying his computer stuff). "What effect will the year 2000 computer bug have?" I think they're going to work that one out frankly.
MBB: I'm a little worried about the phone company.
BC: Utility bills may be confused.
MBB: They have so much trouble right now before the computers have even done anything.
BC: I actually think the world wide depression and economic crisis are going to be a bigger problem than this bug. What is my idea of the perfect Continuous Cash Flow System? To borrow $100 dollars from you and then take her (points to Monica) out to dinner, assuming that she was a complete stranger, do you know what I mean? So it's like, who loses? Okay, you lose $100, but she gains and I'm just a catalyst. I figured morally that would allow me to have the excitement of the lifestyle that I craze, without any of the guilt or obligation of having, like, a Porsche. But anyway, I've abandoned the CCFS because I can't maintain a network of friends and other humans. When you have the CCFS going people avoid you. You have to constantly meet new people. That's the sad thing about being a parasite, you always end up killing the host. That's what the song Baby Man is about. Women are easy to sponge off of. That men do it is depressing. "Is it true that I'm 5 foot 1?" Actually I'm 5 foot 4.
JG: You're 5 foot 4! So am I! (then I remember I'm actually 5 foot 6).
BC: Congratulations, we're the same height (Bobby and Jason high-five). There we go!
JG: Male bonding!
BC: (Starts reading the mailout about Bobby written by Southern press person Jeff Prinsloo, upon which my questions are typed). This is a good point from Jeff "Vanilla was like a cross between Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Lake of Dracula, they were awful!". "After just saying hi to Monica Bou Bou she accused me of giving her shit. I like her". Jeff Prinsloo is the most paranoid man in the world! (Bobby starts laughing) This is good (of Coldman, Bobby's drummer) "I guess he used to play drums in Rome. Not much to say about him other than he reminds me of the biker guy in the Village People. Sunglasses and leather".
JG: Have you been managing to get satisfactory changing rooms and riders?
AS: For the most part . It's interesting that people's attitudes to crack in the parts of Europe we've been to so far seem to be way out of whack with the way things are in real life. I don't know if people don't have any access to crack here or if the crack is different here or something like that. You mention that here and people freak out. You have the conception that it's an alley-sweeper of a drug right? I don't understand it all, it's totally different in the US. It would be nice if you could get crack on your rider but people don't seem to want to do that.
BC: (still laughing and reading Jeff's press release) "Self-amputated ring finger". That guy!
JG: It's a strange rumour, who started it?
BC: I was telling Weasel that I wanted to cut my finger off and then Weasel extended it to that I already had done it. I'm gonna have to tape this finger down tonight cos this guy's coming to the show and he's going to be really upset. He actually very directly asked, "So you're not lying about this ring finger?", and when a guy's on the phone I'm
not gonna say, "Yes, I’m lying". I'm gonna say, "No, of course not!"
JG: I just remembered a really frightening thing. When I was at school this boy, Lee Patrick, had his ring finger chewed off by his pet weasel (I remember now, it was actually a Ferret called Freddy. Vicious, vicious little fella). That's a bit of a coincidence. So is the Chicago scene really good then?
BC: We never think of it as being good but when we look at what else is out there it seems like it, well, can't be that bad. It's better than L.A., I dunno, it's been very good to me.
JG: So is England living up to your preconceptions?
BC: Actually it's turned out a lot better. The show last night was really a lot of fun. It was packed.
JG: What's in your set at the moment? Is it a mixture of the two albums?
BC: Yeah, it's a mixture of the two albums and we've got some new songs which haven't been released. Basically I wanted to include more covers but we weren't able to work those out. We've got a repertoire of around 23 songs right now so we alternate.
JG: What covers are you out to do then?
BC: I do a really nice version of Without You, which was made famous by Harry Nilsson (and Mariah Carey's version didn't hurt it), but it's actually written by the guys in Badfinger. (Quietly sings) "I can't live if living is without you". It's a classic song. My version is very touching. I like the really desperate love songs.
JG: Do you think they make songs like that these days?
BC: (sighs) No, they don't. That's the next thing I want to do, go into that territory of painfully embarrassing desperate love songs. Stuff that makes you just... drop. I'm interested in shock music, y'know? Noise is not shocking any more. What I'm trying to do is use the melody and harmony in song writing to surprise people. Cos I've already done all the noise shit. Maybe I'll get back to it later or something.
JG: How far do you hope to take this music then?
BC: To the top. To the toppermost of the poppermost. Why not? I mean, I've got to go as far as I can go.
JG: What's the major ambition then?
BC: To be able to do this all the time and not having to worry about other things. I've done a lot of different things, some of them have pretty unpleasant. I've wasted a lot of time working. You understand.
JG: I do, yeah.

(originally featured in NO PICTURES issue 10)


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