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Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

The Mission
Joy Division

THE CURE Southern Death Cult


Cocteau Twins

SIOUXSIE &
THE BANSHEES
SISTERS
OF MERCY
All About Eve

& THE GORY YEARS OF GOTHIC ROCK 1976-1992 RIP


Bauhaus

VOLUME 1 ISSUE 17 us $10.95 uk 5.99 PRINTED IN THE UK


07

0 70992 30039 6

Fields Of The Nephilim The Creatures The Birthday Party


The Best Of
OUT NOW
19 songs including Tainted Love, Disposable Teens, mOBSCENE,
The Beautiful People, Personal Jesus & two bonus tracks
Special CD/DVD set available featuring
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i
www.marilynmanson.com
TLFeBOOK
Contents
Chapter 1 1976-79
9-20
Chapter 2 1980
21-32
Chapter 3 1981
33-40
Chapter 4 1982
41-54
Chapter 5 1983
55-68
Chapter 6 1984
69-76
Chapter 7 1985
77-90
Chapter 8 1986
91-98
Chapter 9 1987
99-114
Chapter 10 1988
115-124
Chapter 11 1989
COVER SHOT: STEVE DOUBLE. THIS PAGE: DEREK RIDGERS

125-134
Chapter 12 1990-92
135-145
TLFeBOOK
Editors Letter

The children of the


night, what sweet
music they make
Count Dracula
w
hile research was underway were all going to die. Goth wallows in this Children werent. Killing Joke? Some
on this edition of NME eternally darkest of jokes and provides said yea and some nay. Psychedelic Furs?
Originals, the estimable a suitably doom-laden soundtrack to Mostly nay. And so on it raged until it was
DJ and cool music this monumental morbidity. As we grow decided, for sanity and spaces sake, to deal
connoisseur Mr Sean older and closer to the inevitable, we with the species that I guess we might term
Rowley was busy compiling an album understandably tend to ll our time with Stadium Goth. In other words, the big,
called Guilty Pleasures full of songs stuff to avoid such thoughts and slough inuential bands that, for better or worse,
generally considered naff. The phenomenal off Goth as a ridiculous phase we grew have inuence on and can claim some
response to Mr Rowleys project through. Well, that and the fact that if responsibility for all of todays dark stuff,
celebrities and fans alike swamping youre still wearing the widows weeds and from Marilyn Manson through Mortis to
his radio shows with calls confessing bogbrush hair as you exit your thirties, Dashboard Confessional.
previously hidden affections for the likes of youre either a treasured rich eccentric like So, a quick apology to those faithful few
Barry Manilow and Boston begged only Robert Smith or you tend to look like some who hung around the Batcave and to those
one question: where was all the Goth?! sad kind of escapee from the nuthouse. wholl throw a hissy t because Virgin
If the experience of creating NME That said, like most things rooted in our Prunes, Danse Society or Red Lorry Yellow
Originals: Goth has taught me anything its adolescence, we are ercely protective of its Lorry just didnt make the cut. And a big
that, although we seldom dare mention its memory. Hence the incredible arguments welcome to the rest of you. Goth, it seems
name, theres a little bit of Goth in all of us. that ensued over the compilation of the to me, is in the ascendancy just now. The
Cranking up the soundtrack to the months volume youre now reading. There was Cure are being honoured by MTV and
of research the Sisters This Corrosion, no dissent over the roots of Goth. The name-dropped by The Strokes et al, while
Siouxsies Happy House and, of course, rst usage of the term referred to a tribe Interpol are reinventing Joy Division for
the Bauhaus classic Bela Lugosis Dead of ancient Germans that the civilised a new generation. Gloom is back big time.
booming off the CD in our tiny ofce Romans regarded as barbaric. Later the So time to climb out of the closet. Buy this
caused many a passer-by to stop at the term was applied to a particularly brutish issue go on, you know you want to! wrap
doorway and sheepishly grin, Fuck me, form of medieval architecture. And then, it inside your copy of NME if you must,
I havent heard that in ages. You aint got in the early 1980s, it was used by music hurry it home, dim the lights, spark up the
a copy of Dawnrazor have you? critics to describe the emerging black-clad candles and, as the great Nick Cave once so
Why, of all musical genres, Goth should movement of bands and their fans who, gruesomely hollered, release the bats!
be among the last to be rehabilitated by out of the ashes of punk, were determined
history probably has something to do with to revel in the misery of human mortality.
the fact that it is a determinedly adolescent So far so good. But when it came to
pleasure. Goth makes all the sense its actually deciding who was Goth enough
ever going to make almost exclusively in to feature in this magazine and who was
those teenage years when you suddenly merely Peripheral Goth, all hell broke
realise that everything youre being taught, loose. Numerous phone calls ended with
everything youre being groomed for, colleagues or acquaintances (ex-Goths
everything about everything, in fact, is all) vowing not to buy the issue if Echo & Steve Sutherland
an utter waste of time and effort because The Bunnymen were in it or if Sex Gang Editor

4 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
MIKE MORTON

NME ORIGINALS 5
TLFeBOOK
6 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
NME ORIGINALS 7
TLFeBOOK
three imaginary boys
THE LEGENDARY 1979 DEBUT ALBUM
2 CD DELUXE EDITION

2 CD SET COMPILED BY ROBERT SMITH


Digitally Remastered from the Original Master Tapes
Features 6 previously unreleased songs and 17 tracks on CD for the very first time
Deluxe package contains a 16 page booklet including sleevenotes with rare and
previously unseen photographs
982 182-8

TLFeBOOK
Chapter 1
1976-79
DEREK RIDGERS

TLFeBOOK
Bromley Contingent

Siouxsie &
The Banshees
100 Club, London MM, 2 October 1976, p26

I ts never the same at a Pistols Apart from Suzi, it wasnt Deliver us from
evil: Siouxsie, Steve
gig nowadays (in London, decided who would actually end
Havoc, Marco Pirroni
anyway) if what is known as up doing the 100 Club festival until and Sid Vicious at
the Bromley Contingent isnt there. the day. Everyone thought though the 100 Club
This inseparable unit is Steve (21), that theyd carry out their much-
Bill (22) and Simon (19) he sells hot advertised plan to sing Goldnger. had one rehearsal. And a mature gent
dogs off a mobile stand during the It was not to be. At the last called Marco was the lead guitarist.
day raspberry-haired Debbie and moment, in an orgy of rock The prayer begins. Its a wild
Suzi [sic], of Suzi & The Banshees. iconoclasm, they decided on The improvisation, a bizarre stage fantasy
They rst heard the Pistols at their Lords Prayer spiced with the most acted out for real. The sound is what
local tech in January and theyve ridiculous rock songs ever written. youd expect from, er, novices.
been faithful followers ever since. Two-tone Steve (his hair is black But Sid, with miraculous
They made the trip to Paris, in a on top, white at the sides) was on the command, starts his minimal thud
ropey old car, to see their heroes rst bass he picked up for the rst time and the beat doesnt uctuate from
overseas performance, and Siouxsie,
shocking in her semi-nudity, got
punched on the nose.
She is nothing if not m agnicent.
The Lords Prayer begins. Its wild wonders how much more it can take.
Twenty minutes later, on the nod
Her short hair, which she sweeps in
great waves over her head, is streaked
a bizarre stage fantasy acted out for real from Marco, Sid just stops.
The enthusiastic cheering is
with red, like ames. Shell wear the night before. Sid Vicious, Johnny the start to the nish of the, er, set. just recognition of their success.
black plastic non-existent bras, one Rottens friend and inventor of the Against this knobbly sound, Siouxsie, If the punk rock scene has anything
mesh and one rubber stocking, and pogo dance, was on drums. He has with the grace of a redeemed ghoul, to offer then its the opportunity
suspender belts (various colours), ries the senses with an unnerving, for anyone who wants to get up
all covered by a polka-dotted, screeching recital of Twist And and experience the reality of their
transparent plastic mac. Shout and Knocking On Heavens wildest, stage-struck dreams. The
Over the weeks the Bromley Door. Sids smile ickers. Marco, bar-ies are horried.
Contingents parade of inventive his guitar feeding back, rolls up his God, it was awful, says Howard
dress (its rarely the same two weeks sleeves, and two-tone Steve two- Thompson, an A&R man from Island.
running) has set the fashion pace of tones. But Suzi is not interested in contracts.
the scene. It was only a matter of time The audience, enjoying the bands The ending was a mistake, she
before they took their street theatre nerve and audacity, eggs them on, says. I thought wed go on until they
to the stage. gets bored, has a laugh, and then pulled us off.

Too many Jews for NME, 29 October 1977, p3


MM, 29 October 1977, p17
my liking, sang
Sioux. Ironically,
of course
RAY STEVENSON/RETNA/REX FEATURES

10 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
This is Siouxsie
& The Banshees.
They are
patient.
They will win.
In the end.
A World Domination By 1984 Special
by Paul Morley NME, 14 January 1978, p7

s
iouxsie is the frail-faced, tough-minded, Calm down and reect on a looking different, dancing
strange-light-in-her-eyes voice/ bewildering reputation. Its now around, on drums, PP
performer of Siouxsie & The Banshees. 15 months since the Banshees, Barnum on guitar. They were
When she was a little girl I was in a spirited, impulsive shot of unformulated, but intense.
very lonely. The few friends I had were gypsies. audience participation, went From there, the growth has
When I was eight I tried to commit suicide to get on stage at the 100 Club and been subdued and careful,
noticed by my parents. I used to do things like set their unique, shocking, PP Barnum left (hes now
fall on the oor upstairs so that theyd think Id honest precedent. Thats a dark, formed Heroes); Martin
fallen downstairs, and Id have bottles of pills in distant past, perhaps the only was brought in. The group,
my hands. Ive always felt on the outside, really. period that the Banshees have as would be expected, have
She, like the rest of the group, admits to being actually felt that they belonged touched controversy. Theres
a loner. They dont really like people. Their to something. A movement been a farcical fracas with the
reason for existing is to perform noise with that pressed self-destruct police, resulting in a 20 ne
meaning for people to share and benet from. early on, a movement whose for Siouxsie, and the infamous
They could be the last rock group. The only successful ones were, with odd spraying incident, Sign
rock group. They are not a rock group. Siouxsie & The Banshees.
They are twentieth century performers. No record deal, except the
Friday night at The Nashville. An
incongruously traditional venue, it would
When I was eight I tried to commit occasional futile one-off, and its only in
the last few months that they gelled as a
suicide to get noticed by my parents
DEREK RIDGERS, ADRIAN BOOT/URBANIMAGE.TV

seem, for the Banshees. Isnt anywhere? It considered, permanent group. And now?
is an occasion. Names/faces are scattered, Their development has happened away
perhaps admiring the path of individualism. exceptions, the shrewdest, the most adaptable from the subcultural acceleration. There is no
Wayne County, Billy Idol, Marianne Faithfull, to the business, as opposed to the most creative, rush. They are patient.
Jordan and on. It is a sell-out. People straggle challenging and committed. Now were starting to do interviews, weve
outside, hoping for admission. Some, absurdly, In March/April of 77 a new Banshees just begun to understand what were doing,
produce ve pound notes in vain attempts at appeared, playing their rst real gig at the Roxy, whereas before without doing interviews we

bribing the doorman. What is this? with Siouxsie singing, Steve on bass, Kenny never really thought about motives.

NME ORIGINALS 11
TLFeBOOK
Southern
The New Trend
DeAth Cult


For a group who leave such a huge question Whatever the reasons for their popularity, it emotion that comes up, youre not realising it.
mark after their work, it is hard for the Banshees exists, and their audience intuitively grasps the Emotion? Passion its just emotion full stop.
to take being so readily wrapped and dismissed fact that theyre not absorbing run-of-the-mill Theres no other words. Its just one thing.
in the rock press, often as either oh-a-girl, the- music/noise. It is unconventional in form, but no
future-is-female. Great. Next or ooh-Nazism- way inaccessible. Structured noise. Do they view If the emotions of the group have toughened/
nasty-destroy. Next. themselves as musicians? owered over the last few months, then so has
They had indeed been misinterpreted, though As non-musicians. Sound innovators. A their intensity as performers.
admittedly, as regards Nazism, as a result of comprehensible term? Its making different Now, we seem to have some sense of
their lack of forethought. They wore swastikas. sounds with what youve got. We go out of our direction. We havent just gone out and done
There were stiff-armed salutes. Their lushly way not to be musicians we dont rehearse every gig that weve been offered. The best things
subversive, brutally sensual words and the till our ngers bleed. We can play rocknroll, are those when you go down really badly but
rhythmic/anthemic noise they create to form an but we ignore it, shove it in a corner. We dont you know youve done a good set we dont
undoubted Teutonic heaviness didnt help. see ourselves in the same context as rocknroll really need audience approval were putting
But always with any sort of politics, which is groups. Were out on a limb. It is dangerous, but on a show for ourselves and if anyone wants to
why we havent got any, you get extremists, and it excites us, makes it worthwhile. take something from it its up to them. Were
once you get extremists you get people doing Visually, Siouxsie is harsh, asexual. She wears not going to impose anything on anyone. Its
great things and terrible things for every shorts/short skirts for freedom of movement. entertainment for some people but its not
following of some sort you get followers who She is nicknamed Android by the group. mainstream entertainment.
distort things.

And yet, despite all this, Siouxsie & The Banshees Siouxsie is harsh, asexual. She wears short skirts for
nd themselves in an almost enviable position.
Siouxsie is, according to the NME poll, the
fourteenth most popular female singer in the
freedom of movement. She is nicknamed Android
world. They hold the house record at the Vortex. Her make-up, which eerily transforms her The Banshees words are of a strange
They sold out The Nashville two nights running. nervous, wistful, pale face into the hard-lined language, derived from experience and
They have made no commitment sacrices, no clown-tragedian, is the one concession to the observation, chilling vignettes of minor
compromises, and they feel comfortable that audience. Her voice is staggered. No orthodox atrocities and gruesome indulgences, of
what theyre saying is necessary. uid melodies, but clipped, forced lines, sharply frustration, of unrequited love. From the dark
Things have to go on. Were trying to show falling and rising. side of life, grinning, perverted, subversive;
that it does not have to be pop-punk next, it She displays no exhaustion, euphoria and depression, vision and
doesnt have to be the same old rocknroll riffs. exhilaration, amusement, pessimism mysteriously co-exist. The truth
We dont like trends. We formed initially because frustration or any of those in ugliness. Striving to manufacture
we felt we had something of our own to say. other colourful sideshows some semblance of order, or
Is it this different way of doing things/saying that performers often nd in purposefulness, set against the
things/playing things that has attracted this themselves. In the early days there absurdity and pointlessness of life.
curious following? Or is it just hip to like them? was little nervousness when she Their realism is vital, snatches of
Are they the new trend? got on stage. Now, she gets everyday life exaggerated for effect:
Well, theres the girl thing theres a lot of very nervous. People live in a dreamworld.
people whove latched on to us because of the Maybe its because
because theyve understood things that arent theres a lot more emotion Their abrasive, uncompromising
there like being labelled Nazis many of the put into what were doing language, and the way that its
audience dont understand we probably dont now when you just get presented, is not of the type that is
understand ourselves completely. up there like we used to, the liable to entice record companies to
propose lucrative deals. The group
realises this is important.
(Right) Put your We want to become successful because
left leg in, your left
leg out: Sioux it would mean that people are confronting
invents the punk what were putting down on vinyl and
hokey-cokey paper but if we are, wed probably be
successful for the wrong reasons.
Every day theres a problem about
having to compromise everyday theres
a reporter wanting to interview just
Siouxsie, getting across that its a backing
band for Siouxsie. Its not that at all. Its
a four-piece band. In the end you have to
explain yourself in the most basic, moronic
way and that takes something away. Record
companies arent there to help a band
progress, thats bullshit. That theyre to make
money for themselves. They dont care if a
band falls by the wayside as long as theyve
made enough money out of them. We want
commitments from a record company so
that we can do what we want to do.
ADRIAN BOOT/DAVID MUSCROFT

Well win in the end. If we dont let


people get the better of us, inuence us,
like the establishment.
As long as we can resist I think
well win in the end.

12 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
(L to r) Siouxsie,
John McKay,
Kenny Morris and
Steve Severin

jigsaw pieces tra la la) with


NME, 18 November 1978, p45
unpleasant but truthful sociology

SIOUXSIE & topics (going mental, self-


mutilation, Fascism, cancer):
THE BANSHEES subjects which have only been
The Scream dealt with in any number by punk.
(Polydor) I quite enjoyed singing along
Good-day, second-class of 78! to Helter Skelter (the least awful
And now, for the last goddam effort here, and even that was
time in my life I ask you, who written elsewhere), and Carcass
wants to be David Bowie when they got me a bit jittery until I saw the
graduate? Hands up! Siouxsie ah, joke, giggled and yawned. The rest
Siouxsie, come up the front here a song called Love In A Void. This wont you beat up that nasty girl (barely) struck me as endless plain
and show the boys and girls how it song featured the line Too many and make her fade away? She hurts noise totally bereft of melody.
should be done. Jews for my liking. my ears and she bores me and the Her words for Switch and
One: must be This, says Siouxsie, only reason she hasnt been written Nicotine Stain (she should write
skinny, wear a mass was a metaphor off yet as a corny art-rock act is more lyrics alone) contain a certain
of make-up and look for too many fat that she once used to hang around germ, which is rendered totally
asexual enough to businessmen waiting some, ah, punk band. ineffectual via drone, pretension
accommodate every to pounce, suck the Standing alone, the Banshee and conceit. Her words for the
closets ambivalent youth from and cast sound is a self-important threshing stunning Suburban Relapse are
fantasies. Two: blind aside new talent. machine thrashing all stringed awed only in the tune that John
the critics with words I do not see the instruments down onto the same McKay sets it to and, naturally, by
and silence and all but connection. I consider
a few ungrateful hack swine
will lick your soles for the privilege
of an interview from you. Three:
this to be the most
disgusting and unforgivable lyric
ever written. Siouxsie is well into
She must be either evil or retarded. Stick
irt with the all-time contraband
coquette that is Fascism, and it will
her twenties, so ignorant youth is
no excuse. Therefore she must be
your shocking song up your ass, Siouxsie
still get that ridiculously uncool yet either evil or retarded. low level alongside that draggy the singularly awful Banshee sound.
controversial minority going. Four: I am disgusted by the way sub-voice as it attempts futile Ah well, kid, hear it for yourself
get out of your depth. Jewish writers (Viv Goldman) and swoops around the mono-beat. and examine your subconscious.
Things I like about Siouxsie: otherwise extremely moral writers Their sound is certainly different Maybe youll love it. Me, I keep
Hong Kong Garden; the way she (Chris Brazier) have drooled over the from the normal guitar-bass- seeing Siouxsie up there in her
treats her audience like muck, silly cow, letting her get away with drums-voice set-up. But its radically swastika armband making nothing
knowing why the gross majority of that line. Well, take your shocking stodgy, as opposed to that light- but a fashion accessory out of the
them come to gape at her; I even song and stick it up your rude white fantastic Public Image trip. Its loud, death of millions of people.
kind of liked the way she danced on ass, Sioux, because heres a review heavy and levelling, the sound of And I honestly dont think that a
Top Of The Pops. that dont believe in running with suet pudding. rilly sensitive person like myself can
Fact: until recently, Siouxsie & The the pack. The Banshees unite sub-glam ever see beyond that.
RETNA

Banshees included in their stage set Oh daddy please, pretty please, owering poesie (Amorphous Julie Burchill

NME ORIGINALS 13
TLFeBOOK
Where Will It End?

NME, 12 May 1979, p43

THE CURE
Three Imaginary Boys
(Fiction)

Aaah! More alert and


anguished young
men. Do not applaud
them. This glistening
long-player contains
NME, 16 December 1978, p16
variations upon the
smoothly quirky

Aint No Blues For


theme that brought
the world the
pleasurable Killing
An Arab. Over a whole album that pretty

The Summertime Cure


bending and doodling does a lot less than
please, and a lot more than grate.
But The Cure are not just making pop music.
They are trying to tell us something. They are
trying to tell us they do not exist. They are
trying to say that everything is empty. They
are represented on the ice-cream colour cover
by three bulky, ageing household gadgets. Lol
Tolhurst (drums) is a fridge. Michael Dempsey
R obert Smith, teenage lynchpin of The
Cure, plays a Woolworths Top Twenty
guitar that set the lad back precisely 20.
Hands up those of you who still reckon you
(bass, voice) is an upright Hoover. Robert Smith need expensive instruments to play rocknroll?
(guitar, voice) is a standard lamp. Each song is An abrasive Light Metal trio hailing from
represented on the back sleeve by a picture and Crawley, a far-ung southern outpost of
on the label by a symbol. Londons commuter hinterland, The Cure are
All this charming, childish ddling about like a breath of fresh suburban air on the capitals The Cure: (l to r)
aims for the anti-image but naturally creates the smog-ridden pub and club circuit. Robert Smith, Lol
perfect malleable image: the tantalising enigma Compact and self-sufcient guitarist Tolhurst and
Mike Dempsey
of The Cure. They try to take everything away Smith balances the groups sound live himself
from the purpose and idea of the rock performer aided by a portable mixing desk at the side of either. It got to the stage where we would have
but try so hard they put more in than they take the stage The Cure are a triumph of impulse become the Barron Knights of punk
out. They add to the falseness. and spontaneity. As Smith explains, We see so With their ve-year Ariola-Hansa contract
The Cure, really, are trying to sell us many of the people we went to school with doing terminated, The Cure, master tapes tucked
something. Their product is more articial than absolutely nothing. A lot of them are talented rmly under their armpits, went back to gigging
most. This is perhaps part of their master plan, enough to, but they just dont bother themselves. at local venues until an old friend lent them the
but it seems more like their naivety. The Cure There are so many people playing music that cash to cut some last-ditch demos.
set themselves up as though they oat along is absolute rubbish and getting somewhere doing A dozen copies of the resultant tape were
way outside the realms of anything we can it. You just think, if theyre doing it, why dont mailed out to record companies. A week or so
understand. They are scandalous, fullled aliens, you, when you know youre so much better? later, young Rob received a call from former
and they look down on us. What do they see? Smith formed the band at school with Polydor A&R man and Jam producer Chris
Not much thatll shoot your being through drummer Lol Tolhurst and bassist Mike Parry, with whom they have nally recorded a
with vigour or sudden understanding, but they Dempsey as long ago as 1976. They spent most of single, Killing An Arab. The title comes from
never stop nagging. Willowy songs wallow in last year in limbo, The Stranger, a
the murk and marsh of tawdry images, inane
realisations, dull epigrams. Sometimes a song is
unhappily signed to
German disco label We could have been the book by Camus
about an Algerian

Barron Knights of punk


as pretty as Killing An Arab: Accuracy (a target Ariola-Hansa and uprising.
over a mans eye) or Fire In Cairo (palm tree in recording demos Its not racist, if
JILL FURMANOVSKY/JUSTIN THOMAS/KEVIN CUMMINS/IDOLS

the desert). But nowhere is there anything truly with unsympathetic you know what the
adventurous. What The Cure have done here producers, but never song is about, says
is the equivalent of an album of Enid Blyton actually getting that elusive rst single release. Rob. It just happened that the main character
readings packaged as readings from Angela We thought wed be able to do all these in the book had killed an Arab, but it could have
Carter. No, its maybe not that awful-good. outrageous songs wed written, but all they been a Scandinavian or an English bloke.
Its just that in 1979 people shouldnt be wanted were really banal old rocknroll songs. With a John Peel session and more extensive
allowed to get away with things like this. Then they gave us the money to do our own London gigging on their immediate agenda, it
There are too many who do. Fatigue music. So demos. And of course they didnt like them. So remains to be seen whether or not The Cure can
transparent. So light and oh, how it nags. they tried putting us in the studio with one of retain their refreshing joie de vivre.
Paul Morley their soul producers, and that didnt work out Adrian Thrills

14 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1978 - 1979

MM, 21 July 1979, p27 is a possible hit single: its certainly


the obvious track for radio to play.
Deep and dark vocals ride over
JOY DIVISION an irresistible, circular backing
Unknown Pleasures that threatens to break loose but
(Factory) never does; the tension ends in a
To talk of life today is like talking of crescendo of synthesized noise.
rope in the house of a hanged man. Three faster tracks follow
Where will it end? mutated heavy pop, all built
The point is so obvious. Its been around punishing rhythms and riffs
made time and time again. At the itd be tempting to call metal, except
time of writing, our control is everywhere. Shadowplay
very own mode of is a metallic travelogue, with
(Western, advanced, and Martin Hannetts and with lightning speed; Curtis eeing internal demons;
techno) capitalism shiny, waking-dream unwinding and winding as the rigid Wilderness externalises things
is slipping down the production gloss are metal music folds and unfolds over into Lovecraftian fantasy, all
slope to its terminal one perfect reection him. Recording demands a different echoed drumming and sickening
phase: critical mass. of Manchesters dark context: Hannett imposes a colder, guitar slides, while Interzone
One particular and spaces and empty more controlled hysteria songs moves through a clipped, perfect
vigorous product of places, endless sodium merge in and out of one another in a introduction to guitar shrills and
capitalisms excess lights and hidden semis brittle, metallic atmosphere. murder-mystery mumbles.
has been pop music, seen from a speeding car, Opener Disorder races briskly, Both sides end with tracks New
not so much because of the forms vacant industrial sites the endless with ominous organ swirls at the Dawn Fades and I Remember
intrinsic merit (if any) but because, detritus of the 19th century seen end, Curtis intones Feeling feeling Nothing so slow and atmospheric
for many, bar football, its the only gaping like rotten teeth from an feeling in the tones of someone that alienation becomes a waking
arena going, in this country at least. orange bus, Hulme seen from the whos not sure he has any left. Two dream upon which nothing
Trying to nd a clue/Trying to fth oor on a threatening, rainy slower songs follow, both based on impinges: Me in my own world
nd a way/ To get out! Unknown day This is not specically to massively accented drumming and Leaving the 20th century is
Pleasures is a brave bulletin, a glamorise: it could be anywhere. rumbling bass. Day Of The Lords is difcult; most people prefer to go
danceable dream; brilliantly, a The song titles read as an opaque built around a wrenching chorus of back and nostalgise. Joy Division at
record of place. Of one particular manifesto: Disorder, Day Of The Where will it end? while the even least set a course in the present with
city, Manchester. And in dening Lords, Candidate, Insight, New sparser Candidate eshes out the contrails for the future perhaps
reaction and adjustment to place Dawn Fades. Loosely, they restate bare rhythm section with chance you cant ask for much more.
so accurately, it makes the specic Indeed, Unknown Pleasures may
general, the particular a paradigm.
To the centre of the city in the
night/Waiting for you Joy
The albums two aces are Insight and very well be one of the best white,
English, debut LPs of the year.
Problems remain: in recording
Divisions spatial, circular themes
Shes Lost Control here, finally, Gary place so accurately, Joy Division
are vulnerable to any success the

Glitter meets The Velvet Underground album may bring once the delicate
relationship with environment is
altered, they may never produce
outsider themes: individuals caught guitar ambience. anything as good again.
in a trap they dimly perceive anger, The albums two aces are Insight Perhaps its time we all started
paranoia, alienation, feelings of and Shes Lost Control; here, facing the future. Where will it end?
thwarted power, and so on. Hardly nally, Gary Glitter meets the Velvet Jon Savage
pretty, but compulsive. Underground. Both rely on rock-
What gives Joy Division their hard echoed drumming and bass
edge is the taut danceability recorded well up to take the melody
of their faster songs, and the the guitar provides textural icing
dreamlike spell of their slower and thrust over the top. The formers
explorations. Both rely on the attractive, bouncing melody belies
tense, careful counterpoint of the lyrics: But I dont care any more/
bass (Peter Hook), drums (Stephen Ive lost the will to want more.
Morris) and guitar (Bernard Dickin); Shes Lost Control, remixed to
Ian Curtis expressive, confused emphasise guitar and percussion,
vocals croon deeply over recurring
musical patterns which themselves Facing the future:
mock any idea of escape. Stephen Morris, Ian
Live, he appears possessed Curtis, Bernard Dickin
and Peter Hook
by demons, dancing spastically

NME ORIGINALS 15
TLFeBOOK
Me In My Own World

l
et me draw back the curtains on a
winter night last year. A midweek night
of no special signicance, save that Joy
Division had come marching into town.
It wasnt much of a welcome. It wasnt one of
those jam-packed little-league sell-outs where
you cant get in for the length of the guest list
and where breath is bated in anticipation of
something about to turn big. Nothing of the sort.
Down in the basement connes of a celebrated
Islington watering hole it was relaxed and cool.
In front of the stage, though, a gaggle of
a dozen or so modern boys staked out their
territory like there was some sort of conspiracy
afoot. Minions were dispatched to fetch the
pints. The space in front of the stage was
jealously guarded. Their muted green tribal
colours set them apart from the dowdy crowd.
They had come, heaven knows where from,
for Joy Division. Another Manchester Band. The
band that looks dead set to follow Buzzcocks out
of merely local and underground acclaim and
into the wider limelight at least judging by the

Take No
rapturous critical reaction to their rst album,
Unknown Pleasures.

A single overhead spot oods the centre-stage


microphone and spills out onto the heads of the
aforementioned gaggle of sartorial hot-shots.
Heads that start to bob furiously at the rst pulse
of streamlined rhythm, attached to bodies that
lurch back and forth, attached to legs that jerk up
and down at the knees and arms that swing in a
loose crawl or elbows that ap madly.
The spot picks out singer Ian Curtis. The rest
of Joy Division are shrouded in darkness as they
pour out their harsh metal thunder. The singers
body shakes, rocks and palpitates, a mad dervish
caught in that one spotlight.
Were you to shine a torch around this
subterranean scene you would see the young,
tidy faces of Joy Division and notice perhaps the
ordinary, neat cut of their clothes, with the barest
hint of the regimental overtones of their name
in their ap-pocket shirts. You might also notice
the excitement in the faces of the onlookers, all
locking into the irresistible motion of the music.
The strongest new music to emerge this year.
It owes nothing to the after-punk cult of the
amateur. If its pop, thats purely accidental. And
it plays with musical perimeters in ingenious,
never pretentious, ways by building carefully
on their standard rock basis and using sounds
as textures with which to construct a song. Its a
technique that anyone who listens to the radio
these days will be familiar with, from I Feel
Love to Public Image, to give but two examples.
The themes of Joy Divisions music are
sorrowful, painful and sometimes deeply sad.
Ian Curtis (left) and
Its music that gives often harrowing glimpses
Bernard Albrecht
anxiously await the of confusion and alienation. Joy Division walk
Joy Division backlash alone, with their heads bowed.

16 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1979

noisy, unkempt beginnings in 77 to the superb


controlled heat they generate now.
But up until now Joy Division have been
dogged by business problems, stalled by
personal problems, and ignored. They mistrust
the glowing reviews they now get, and wait,
dispassionately, for the backlash.

Being on the outside has made them very insular


and possessive about their music. It has also
given them their strength: not a resentful, well-
show-em sort of strength, but the satisfaction
they derive from their music.
All the business side that really fucks you
up, moans Peter. Once you get back in the
rehearsal room and theres just the four of us
with instruments were back where we started.
It still hangs over you like a cloud but once
you get your instrument youre free
Youre always working on the next song, says
(L to r) Bernard Ian. No matter how many songs youve done,
Albrecht, Ian Curtis, youre always looking for the next one. Basically
Peter Hook and we play what we want. Itd be very easy for us to
Stephen Morris

NME, 11 August 1979, p24

Prisoners, Leave No Clues


Not just another band from Manchester, Joy Divisions Unknown say, Well, all these people seem to like such and
such a song itd be easy to knock out another

Pleasures LP puts them at the top of the league. By Paul Rambali one. But we dont.
We dont want to get diluted, really, and
by staying at Factory were free to do what we
want. Theres no one restricting us or the music
high and faltering, not swarthy and assertive, or even the artwork and promotion. You get
At least, thats my interpretation. Joy Division and his shyness you would not guess from his bands that are given huge advances loans
arent giving anybody any clues. They dont agree onstage abandon. really but what do they spend it on? What is
with lyric sheets. Stephen Morris, the drummer who completed all that money going to get? Is it going to make
You get people who seem to think you should the foursome a few months after Ian joined, the music any better?
put your lyrics on so you can get your message lives, like Ian, in Maccleseld, and owns a huge Another good thing about it, says Stephen,
across, says bearded bass player, Peter Hook, record collection, partly inherited from his jazz from the heart, is if youve got some sort of
with obvious disdain. Weve said to people, enthusiast father: He took me to see Count frustration, something eating you, you can get it
Havent you ever been listening to a record Basie once So I took him to see Hawkwind. He out just by playing.
where youve been singing a certain line and was getting all dressed up and I had to explain The thing is, if youve got a brain, explains
when you nd what it really is you feel let down? that, no Dad, its not that sort of concert Peter, obviously you want to do something with
But they just wont admit that at all. They still He bought his rst drum kit by chopping up your life, or whatever. Im sure a lot of people feel
wanted to know what our lyrics were about. the furniture in his house to sell as rewood. like that. Now that weve got this, we dont.
Dont you think its wrong to pin somebody Which leaves only Bernard Albrecht, who Ian: When I was about 15 or 16 at school, I
down like that? Our lyrics may mean something plays guitar, and went to school with Hook. He used to talk with me mates and wed say, Right.
completely different to every single individual. is astute and eager to explain himself. As soon as we leave well be down in London,
Why not write gibberish then? On a variation I dont like a lot of music, he admits, but doing something nobody else is doing. Then
of the monkey-and-typewriter principle itll the music I do like I get more out of than from I used to work in a factory, and I was happy
mean something to someone sooner or later.
The songs mean something personal to us,
but thats not the point. Its like saying, What did You get back to the rehearsal room, and theres just
Max Escher mean when he did that painting?
He points to a giant print of one of Eschers
typical perspective puzzles that hangs on the
the four of us. You get your instrument and youre free
wall of Manchesters Central Sound Studio, anything else in life. I want to put the feeling that because I could daydream all day. All I had to do
where we are now located. He might just say, I get out of music back into music as well. was push this wagon up and down. But I didnt
I was pissed. We dont want to say anything. When we started off none of us could play. have to think. I could think about the weekend,
We dont want to inuence people. We dont But each time we go one step forward and that imagine what I was going to spend me money on,
want people to know what we think. draws you on. Its just a really good feeling. I which LP I was going to buy You can live in
think thats why a lot of people get disillusioned, your own little world.
Ian, who writes the lyrics, broadly speaking cos, like, the music dries up. Too true. But whichever world you choose to
PENNIE SMITH

shares these views. He is off stage the virtual Its relatively easy to trace the stealthy progress live in the chances are itll soon coincide with
opposite of what he is on. His speaking voice is Joy Division have made from their aggressive, Joy Divisions. Theyre here to stay.

NME ORIGINALS 17
TLFeBOOK
Trouble At The Top

MM, 1 September 1979, p23

SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES


Join Hands
(Polydor)

A year ago, the


Banshees had a hit
album, a Top 10 single
(Hong Kong Garden),
the crossover pop
audience and the
punk audience.
Credibility, critical
acclaim and pop
prowess. They even wore their
clothes nicely perfect. Blink and its gone!
There was a weak follow-up, Staircase.
The group doesnt play much; the audience
fragments, as the matrix moves to new areas.
In limbo, the Banshees plump for standbys:
art and mystery. It hurts. Shorn of the bounce
and verve that balanced the odd obscurity of
The Scream, Join Hands is a confusing, in parts
brilliant, in parts awful, faintly musty collection.
Conveniently, almost all the better pieces
are kept on the rst side. Poppy Day, is a short,
powerful evocation of the Great War graveyards
in Flanders. McKays phased guitar scythes out a
barrage of sound while the bass carries the tune.
Regal Zone opens with an urgent urry, muted
slightly by McKays sax: it shifts into an urgent,
insistent claustrophobia.
The two best tracks follow: Placebo Effect has
a stunning anged guitar intro, chasing clinical
MM, 15 September 1979, p3
lyrics covering some insertion or operation. It
winds down, spaciously, into the apocalyptic
Icon. Siouxsie begins awkwardly, and the band
slip into one of the oldest tricks in the book the
Bo Diddley rhythm and make it their own: the
brilliantly reverbed guitar is a perfect foil for
t he Siouxsie & The Banshees tour ground
to a halt after only one gig last week when
guitarist John McKay and drummer Kenny
Morris left the group and disappeared after a row
Siouxsie were aware of problems with McKay and
Morris they were given the option of leaving the
group before the tour started they anticipated
the make-or-break aspect of the tour would not
Siouxsies soaring and, for once, emotional vocal. in a record shop. be decided until the dates had nished.
The second side begins with the single, After the row, which followed a disagreement They have just run away, said Siouxsie.
Playground Twist. Siouxsies fascination for the over signing autographs and giving away Their actions were a complete cop-out. They
macabre nds an expression that suits it in a swirl promotional LPs in the Aberdeen shop on have showed complete apathy. If they wanted
of child-like disorientation and terror. A great Friday, the pair went back to their hotel, packed, to object to something, or felt they were being
song. Mother then sets alarm bells ringing: a arranged their pressured, they
short recital by Sioux, childlike, over a music box, pillows in their beds should have shouted
its mawkish rather than evocative.
With The Lords Prayer the alarm bells burst
to look as if they
were occupied, and
They have just run away. Their back, or hit me, but
instead they did this.
into a cacophony of sirens. Over 13 minutes,
Siouxsie pulls the wings off the Lords Prayer over
a Banshee boogie which, when it shifts, provides
xed their backstage
passes to the pillows.
Apart from a brief
actions were a complete cop-out I consider it is
the worst, the most
cowardly way they
the only movements of interest. Its not art, not encounter with their manager, Nils Stevenson, could have behaved. It is the most disgusting
proper noise: the Banshees arent, respectively, as they drove away in a taxi, Morris and McKay thing they could have done to a band, and worst
good enough artists or incompetent enough have not been seen since. of all, their action feels so calculated it wasnt
musicians. The 100 Club one-liner (and myth), Their sudden departure means that Siouxsie as if they stormed out in a fury.
taken out of context, is made absurd. and Steve Severin had to pull out of their The band have cancelled dates this week,
At its worst, Join Hands is unforgivably Aberdeen show, but after explaining to fans that although there is a chance they will have been
necrophiliac; at its best, it captures the power the two art students have left, Siouxsie and able to rehearse with two new members to open
of which the Banshees are capable. Translated Severin joined support band The Cure for a again at Oxfords New Theatre on Friday. Venues
PAUL SLATTERY

practically, all this means: listen before you buy. ten-minute version of The Lords Prayer. should be checked locally. Tonights Bradford
Jon Savage Severin told MM on Monday that while he and show has been postponed until 24 September.

18 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
www.wychwood.co.uk

The legendary Hobgoblin beer is the per fect potion for celebrating All Hallows Eve. Available from
all good supermarkets and of f-licences, its enough to scare the taste buds of f any lagerboy.
TLFeBOOK
Enfants Terribles

If you really think The Banshees sprog of some belly-dancer and a


MM, 24 June 1978, p23 NME, 30 June 1979, p31
spent the past year in a contract- poisonous reptile. Compact bass

JOY DIVISION
less limbo because their music
was too near the edge, then you
guitar motif, descending alone.
Then those vocals taut, terse,
SIOUXSIE &
An Ideal For Living must spend a lot of your time tense intonation, a voice like that THE BANSHEES
(Enigma) going round walking into walls. feeling you get watching the faces Playground Twist
Yet more promising new music The Banshees have fans, lots of on the workaday tube ride after (Polydor)

from Manchester. Joy Division them, and no record company stepping out at dawn for the third If Ingmar Bergman produced
were called Warsaw until they worth its salt would pass up the time without sleep. records, they might sound like
recorded this EP last November, chance to sell them records. Standing on the beach/With this. The listener is immediately
and it was under that name that And what about releasing a gun in my hand/Staring at the engulfed in a maelstrom of
I saw them at the Electric Circus a record themselves? Dont sea/Staring at the sand/Staring whirling sound punctuated by
the month before (theyve made they know the old mass access down the barrel at the Arab on the ominous tolling of church
it on to the new Virgin album argument hardly applies any the ground/Can see his open bells, phased guitars, thundering
commemorating the Circus last more? But here it is, a brash, mouth/ But I hear no sound/Im percussion, a surreal alto sax and
weekend). This has the familiar delirious two-chord triumph alive/Im dead/Im the stranger/ the wail of Siouxsies voice. It
rough-hewn nature of home- that I would never have thought Killing an Arab. demands to be played repeatedly
produced records but theyre no them capable of, being not in the And racism has got nothing to at threshold-of-pain volume to
mere drone-vendors there are least enamoured of their facile do with it. elicit its full nightmarish quality.
a lot of good ideas here, and they attempts at creating radical music. Tony Parsons Roy Carr
could be a very interesting band Hong Kong Garden, a long-
by now, seven months on. time stage favourite, is a bright,
Chris Brazier vivid narrative, something like
snapshots from the window of a
speeding Japanese train, power-
charged by the most original,
intoxicating guitar playing Ive
heard in a long, long time.
Would you believe its going
to be played on the radio? Would
you believe Siouxsie on Top Of The
Pops? Would you believe not one
mention of Blondie oops.
Paul Rambali MM, 30 June 1979, p31 NME, 17 November 1979, p25

THE CURE JOY DIVISION


Boys Dont Cry Transmission
NME, 19 August 1978, p19 (Fiction) (Factory)

Hum this is something of a Dance, dance, dance to the radio!

SIOUXSIE & disappointment. On stage Boys


Dont Cry is invariably one of the
A bass guitar slowly stirs and
quivers. A relentless, dipping riff
THE BANSHEES high points, but somehow, in its gathers momentum and sweeps
Hong Kong Garden translation onto vinyl, the goods its way into a spiralling electric
(Polydor) virtually gone. The agile interplay guitar as a distant drummer
A lot of people have been waiting between the three Cure members, pumps out strict Can doublebeats.
for a long time for this disc, while and the reverberating economy This is an awesome disc, scaling
punks self-styled enfant terrible that producer Chris Parry the heights fellow Mancunians
played cat-and-mouse with a NME, 27 January 1979, p20 spotlighted on the debut album, Magazine merely hinted at in
music industry she openly regards have been edged out in favour of a Shot By Both Sides.
with contempt and disdain. THE CURE muddy mix and an old-fashioned Ian Curtis provides regular
Siouxsies got a point. The Killing An Arab hierarchy of instruments. It just Iggy-style grunted vocal
record companies who decide (Small Wonder) sounds so ORDINARY now. The interjections while the simmering
what youre going to be able to Apparently based on Alberts ip, Plastic Passion, doesnt production again the work of
buy are often reactionary and The Outsider and, if so, quite redeem the situation either. A Martin Zero Hannett is crisp
staid and can be accused of possibly the straw that broke feeling of disappointment makes enough to push Transmission
manipulating the populace. But Camus back. Cymbals crash once, a slim song sound threadbare. into the chart. With the right
then she isnt entirely blameless twice, three times. A guitar, full of Such a shame. breaks, this could easily be a hit!
on that last count herself. eerie promises, slithering like the Ian Birch Adrian Thrills

20 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
Chapter 2
1980
DEREK RIDGERS

TLFeBOOK
The New Pink Floyd?

Joy Division
University Of London
NME, 16 February 1980, p55

j
Simply the First Division
oy Division at the University
of London was a sell-out.
music. As Richard Jobson said,
Divisions music is genuinely
nightmares, clearly drawn, potent
and personal. But Joy Divisions
These new songs show that
Divisions music is as natural as
The guest list was huge. violent, and its the violence of dreams are the inescapable places PiLs, not held down by the grey
Their impact was substantial. beauty rooted in beastly desire, the where we live. Its all suggestion hands of limitation or expectation.
Seeing Joy Division, if you violence of breakdown, inhibition, rather than direction or dogma. Joy Division are still coming up
are properly tuned, is a jarring failure, fatalism Joy Division sped through with new ways to alter the shape,
experience. The music keeps It could be vanity, it could be their early songs with intensity emphasis and texture of their
coming, trenchant, serene, impatience, even nervousness, of feeling and concentration. music. The new songs are as
steady, hard, almost an orgiastic but during a Joy Division set, The group pointedly proved that organised, hostile and spacious
celebration of the fact that Joy as the last set, but theres all-
Division have arrived at a noise and
form that is distinctive, instinctive
and immeasurably dynamic. The
Their songs are desperate nightmares, round intensication, further
emphasis on the lead bass and

introversion and singularity of


the four musicians is tfully held
clearly drawn, potent and personal the active drums, even an overall
simplication.
The songs have extreme, para-
under control and private music outside of the songs, youll be they still work well away from melodies, and some have no bass,
is forced out into the open. The lucky to hear more than two or the mainstream, forging ahead some no guitars. Synthesizers
tension is startling. three words. Hello and goodbye. down the slippery corridor of and bass with the drums, or two
The presentation is as grey and No introductions, no promotion. experimentation. They played guitars. The new single Love Will
bland as the noise is volatile and Good or bad? Inside the songs, more new songs than old (they Tear Us Apart is one hell of a
deeply black singer Ian Curtis careful words settings, situations, didnt play Shes Lost Control or classic bass, synth, drums, voice;
KEVIN CUMMINS/IDOLS

comical trapped-buttery apping dilemmas, images that are Transmission or Disorder or Curtis hugging a white guitar up
the only real stage movement, primitive and anxious. Joy Division name your favourite) and these to his chest but rarely using it.
a visual representation of the are a powerful act of make-believe, new songs give no suggestion of The songs mobility and uidity
struggle inherent in Divisions their songs like desperate bits of Division stagnation. shows how much potential there

22 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1980

MM, 14 June 1980, p10

NME, 26 April 1980, p37

THE CURE
Seventeen Seconds
(Fiction)

For a group as
young as The Cure,
it seems amazing
that they have
covered so much
territory in such a
brief time.
Its impossible
to locate one
continuous
thread linking works as dramatically
opposed as their solemn debut 45 Killing
An Arab, the classic single Boys Dont Cry,
and now the oblique, stilted soundtracks
that populate Seventeen Seconds.
Only one factor remains constant:
Robert Smiths pleading whine of a
voice and (Boys Dont Cry excepted) his
dependence upon keeping up a shield of
often mischievous distance.
After Boys Dont Cry (and its
commercial failure), Smith regrouped with
a keyboard player, one Matthieu Hartley,
taking on many of the textural chores that
Smiths guitar had previously covered.
A brief, pensive keyboard exercise very
much in the mould of Brian Enos Through
Hollow Lands entitled A Reection
opens Seventeen Seconds, setting
the mood. Play For Today builds on its
predecessor: keyboard notes and sombre
electric guitar touches act as a prelude
for an odd, mysterious piece of music
that aims to haunt through extensive
use of a stock pulse-beat overladen with
brush-strokes of guitar, bass and synth,
while Smiths vocals hang limply in the
mix. You either nd yourself drawn into
the landscape created or else you sit there
is in the simple contrasting and like a dislocated and depraved Joy Divisions music is waiting for a sudden jolt, an acceleration.
connecting of instruments that improvement upon Bowies physical and lucid, music about This mode of musical arrangement
Division use. Its a staggeringly Heroes. So impressive. uncontrollable emotions, nds its fullest realisation in the single A
melodic and momentous piece. Part of Joy Divisions success impulses, prejudices, fears. The Forest yet the scenario, once created,
For Isolation they have the is the breadth and certainty of the group have turned inarticulacy soon sounds limp, devoid of any tension
same instrumentation, but its reactions they inspire. For this into concrete impressions of the or mystery. Again, one keeps waiting for a
more withdrawn and estranged; performance there were three deepest, most degenerate desires. sudden lift-off, yet the song just lies there
a song they wrote only days obvious ones: love, penetration Its simple music, but not twitching occasionally. Its a symptom
before that reveals Numan and and stimulation is one all in simple-minded; cryptic but not throughout Seventeen Seconds.
Foxx as true fools. The full itself, and if I wasnt tied down impenetrable. As Danny Baker The album occupies a midway land
introduction of synthesizer has by language and responsibility I said, Joy Division are due some where much is insinuated but nothing is
not damaged the coherence and could attempt to explain. Simple sort of backlash, but hes not the truly delivered. It seems caught in that
balance of the music in any way. frustration; that the group didnt one to do it. If the group had very sense of distance that Smith seems
It simply increases the amount of lay out for selsh delectation shown the slightest indication of so obsessive about keeping up.
mood, atmosphere, ephemeral their eloquent standards. How slackening I would have attacked. To many, Seventeen Seconds may
terror Division are capable ironical! And old-fashioned But they are now better than they seem a valid progression. I however nd
of achieving. The encore is a derision. A dissenter behind me, have ever been. Joy Division will it depressingly regressive. Even so, I await
condent, compelling, utterly with a spiteful snort, reckoned Joy tear you apart. Still. their next move with great interest.
withdrawn ballad, something Division are the new Pink Floyd. Paul Morley Nick Kent

NME ORIGINALS 23
TLFeBOOK
Southern DeAth
Something so good
Cult

Dont Walk Away


In Silence
Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division and one of the most talented performers
and writers in contemporary rock music, committed suicide on 18 May 1980.
Paul Morley and Adrian Thrills pay tribute to the man and the group
s
o why do we get so animated and The month before what were to have been their But the earthy offstage demeanours the
enthralled by Joy Division? rst American gigs, Joy Division completed an blunt, wary Peter Hook; the mischievous Bernie
Their music is lled with the horror impromptu set of British dates. In keeping with Albrecht; the quiet, easy-going Stephen Morris
of the times no cheap shocks, no rocky their aversion to regulation and routine, the gigs and the shy, fragile, polite Ian Curtis were
horror, no tricks with mirrors, but catastrophic hardly qualied as a tour proper. transformed the minute they stepped out into
images of compulsion, contradiction, wonder, The dates took in London venues as diverse the misty glare of the stage spotlights.
fear. The threatening nature of society hangs as the Rainbow, where they supported The Though a reticent student audience were
heavy; each song is a mystery, a pursuit. The Stranglers, to three nights at the Moonlight Club. sluggish in warming to them, Joy Divisions
music is brutally sensual and melancholically Out of town, they went largely unannounced power and purity of purpose was immediately
tender. The songs never avoid loneliness, cruelty, or were advertised only locally. Though a few apparent in the undiluted vigour of their music.
suffering; they defy these things. dates were cancelled as Ian Curtis fell ill, it was a Their ultimate live set, characteristically,
All this isnt out of a love for deep, oppressive period of intense activity for the group. made few concessions to rockbiz tradition,
seriousness; were not celebrating doom. Its The last of the gigs was in the University Of the opening number being an unfamiliar
more a loathing for mediocrity and hypocrisy Birminghams High Hall on Friday, 2 May. It instrumental built around a revolving drum
and complacency, the deceptions rock often was also, fatefully, the last public appearance Ian motif, one of two new songs already written and
seems proud to mould. There can be nothing Curtis made as vocalist in Joy Division. rehearsed in the few weeks since the completion
so silly as believing that rock is a saviour, and Four days before the Birmingham gig, a video of the new LP, Closer.
nothing as outrageous as accepting it as an was lmed in Manchester for the forthcoming A ripple of cheers greets a feedback-ridden,
articial, attractive network of trash and ash. Love Will Tear Us Apart single. The location faster than usual Shadowplay. But Joy Division
Joy Division pushed its possibilities to the limits. a disused, windswept, Dickensian warehouse never stooped to easy games, and follow the
The very best rock music is art, and that is converted into a rehearsal studio seemed the familiar song with two choppy, strident ones
nothing to be ashamed of. Good rock music ideal place for a Joy Division video. But the from the new album, Means To An End and
is entertaining and amusing, legitimate and bands attitude to proceedings was withdrawn Passover. Indeed, it is only with the end of
intelligent, and from week to week, single to and disinterested. Even on camera, they seemed the slow, mournful New Dawn Fades that Ian
single, upset to upset, it keeps us going. It is to have little time for such promotional niceties. Curtis acknowledged the audience verbally for
rarely straightforward intelligence and wit that Such lethargy could hardly have been further the rst time with a curt Hello.
produces the very best rock music. It is dreams, removed from the mood in the university But the crowd, surprisingly, stand transxed,
naivety, aspirations, intuition, exuberance dressing room later that week as the band their feet taking all of ve numbers to warm to
there are dreams that shout for a better world prepared for the Birmingham gig Joy Division, the dark dance music as the swirling guitar and
and a deeper understanding. These are the despite their reputation as sober individuals, drum patterns of the hypnotic Twenty-Four
dreams of the very best rock music. despite the myth of romanticised gloom, were Hours give way to the pulsebeat of the throbbing
Joy Division make art. The prejudice that earthy and easy-going people. bass introduction to Transmission. The song
hangs around the word art puts people off, As Tony Wilson says, To people they seemed suddenly seems to take on the aura of the hit it
makes them think of the untouchable and the a very gloomy band, but as human beings they should have been as the audience nally begin to
unrealistic. Joy Division put reality into rock. were the absolute opposite. They indulged in respond with real vigour, their reticence melting
Yet for all the intensity and violence of their the customary dressing room horseplay and in the face of the frightening intensity of Joy
images, the music never relinquishes a classic practical joking, beer-swilling and football talk Divisions performance.
accessibility; rhythm, melody, atmosphere are Ian Curtis was a Manchester United supporter. The euphoria rises through Disorder, Curtiss
awesomely sophisticated. ailing robotic juggle dance taking

They seemed a gloomy band, but


Joy Division achieve something on almost violent proportions as
KEVIN CUMMINS/IDOLS

unique. Joy Division are not Morris and Hook hold down the
merely a hip new wave group on backbeat with precision and power
a fashionable independent label.
Oh no! they were the absolute opposite and Albrecht picks out the purest
improvised guitar solos.


24 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
NME ORIGINALS 25
TLFeBOOK
Just Cant Function No More


The guitarist takes over on synthesizer for so much unconstrained emotion. Ians leaving and recorded a thrilling single for Factory called
the two closers, the translucent Isolation and gives his words and his images a nal desperate, Transmission.
the serene Decades, a track, like the awesome sad edge of clarity. Its a perverse way for Joy They quietly established their independence;
Atmosphere, that provides a sharp counterpoint Division to get their deserved attention. prolically and ambitiously expanded upon their
to the more physical hard rock that comprises Our memories add to the myth. Ian Curtis already considerable originality; unpretentiously
most of their set. own myths, the myths he dragged up from the discovered the capacity there is in rock for truly
Curtis, however, stumbles from the stage deep and tuned to our reality, inspire it. traumatic and radical developments. They played
before the end of the song, totally exhausted and The myth gets stronger we might as well get scores of gigs, but never made it seem like they
obviously showing signs of strain. The band, on with it. Ian would love this myth. Ian Curtis were merely promoting product. They created
despite demands for more, return for only a was young, but he had already seen the depths. their own pace. They made it look so easy. It
sharp one-song encore, a revamped version of His death is a waste, but he had already given us being something like a total lack of compromise.
the 1978 Factory Sampler track Digital more than we dare hope from anyone. Only the cruellest blow could shatter Joy
We were looking towards him. Divisions brilliant development. Really, they
It doesnt really need saying, but Ian Curtis was And he was no longer there. show what is possible. They never dared wonder
highly emotional, deeply romantic and acutely aloud what effect they were having. They never
sensitive. It was these qualities, plus an irrational Joy Division played their rst gig at the Electric asked for special treatment. They never shouted
willingness to take the blame, combined with Circus supporting Buzzcocks and Penetration in for attention, they just got on with the job.
a set of problems its not relevant to reveal, May 1977. Their name was then Warsaw, having Joy Divisions powerful work will naturally
that made him decide to leave us. A change of rejected the Pete Shelley suggestion of Stiff live on. The name Joy Division will not be used
scenery. For him, perhaps, freedom. Kittens. The name Warsaw was derived from by Hook, Albrecht and Morris. The group
On Saturday 17 May, four days before Joy Warszawa, a song on Bowies Low. had decided a long while back that if any one
Division were to y to America, he had visited Warsaw were undistinguished, but there was of the quartet should, for whatever reason, in
his old house in Maccleseld to watch the a great belief and romance guiding them. Slowly, whatever way, depart, the rest would, in cautious
televised lm Stroszek by his favourite director, the noises formed. They recorded a four-track recognition of the fact they were making
Herzog. Hours later, in the early hours of the single, An Ideal For Living, and planned to something special, change the name of the group.
Sunday morning, he hung himself. He was 23. release the EP using their new name Joy Division There are no set plans for the future, but it
That a myth will develop is inevitable, if only Joy Division being the prostitutes wing of must be said that Ian Curtis was not the major
because of the type of group Joy Division seemed a concentration camp. Poor sound quality force in the group. He wrote the words and
to be, the passions they arouse. Ian Curtis postponed the release and even when it was put offered contributions to the musical make-up.
words are vivid and dramatic. They omit links out, it created no stir, although something was Hook and Albrecht wrote the melodies, Morris
and open up perspectives; they are set deep in obviously forming. composed the rhythms. Curtis was a dazzling
untamed, unfenced darkness. He confronted
himself with ultimate realities.
However its written, this piece contributes Ian Curtis was young, but he had seen the
depths. He gave us more than we dared hope
to the myth. Things need to be said, things that
would have been said anyway, without perhaps

In 1978 Joy Division met their focus, but the music is unique in itself. Each
manager Rob Gretton. Producer contribution was equal.
Martin Zero Hannett took an
active interest in the group, and The impact of Joy Division can only grow
he and Gretton became fth and stronger. Joy Division can not clean away the
sixth members. trivia and delusion of mass-based rock music,
Joy Division had a quarter of but they throw a shadow over it all.
the Factory Sampler, contributing They emphasise the vanity and vulgarity
two songs, the rst indication of the rock music so recklessly publicised and
that Joy Division had a special gloried by industry and media, the plain
understanding. But still, the mundanity of the majority of pop, and their
completeness and strength of their own complete lack of conceit or ego indicates
rst LP, Unknown Pleasures, the uselessness of pretending rock is some sort of
was unnerving. The group had weapon of change. The very best rock is part of
discovered their own potential. a ght, a widespread perception, something that
They had quietly, effectively actively removes prejudice and restriction.
travelled from one extreme to the Rocks greatness is its emotional effect on
other. Every word counted, every the individual. Joy Divisions worth is immense
line had a chilling penetration. to every individual who does not resent their
Somewhere between An Ideal For strange awareness. The struggle and the
Living and the few months later conict never ceases. There is no real safety, no
when Unknown Pleasures was consolation, and often the evil, futile boundaries
recorded, a radical transformation of existence become too claustrophobic.
had taken place. Everything had Ian Curtis decided to leave us, and yet he
fallen into place. leaves words of such strength they urge us to
An audience began to look ght, seek and reconcile. Joy Division will not
their way, but Joy Division never change the world. But there is value; there has
let go. They relished Factorys to be. The effect of Joy Division, the unknown
uncomplicated exibility, pleasures each individual fully tuned into Joy
KEVIN CUMMINS/IDOLS

contributing two extra songs from the Division discovers, can only be guessed at. But
Ian Curtis: the
myth grows Unknown Pleasures session to Fasts the moods and the insight must inspire us, excite
stronger Earcom 2, recording two new songs us, challenge us
for French label Sordide Sentimentale The value of Joy Division is the value of love.

26 NNMMEE OORRIIGGIINNAALLSS
??
TLFeBOOK
NME ORIGINALS 27
TLFeBOOK
Play For Today

h
ere we go again.
I walk into The Cures
dressing room for the
night. I always hate
these sort of entrances. The four
members of The Cure, stood
among empty guitar cases,
practice amps, lager cans, dead
chairs, look limp and vacant. I slip
on my best brave face. Someone
rushes off to get me a Cure T-shirt,
something Ill be happy to wear.
Somebody else hands me a can of
lager, something I force myself to
swallow. Robert Smith is nearest to
me as I hover by the open door.
Hello, he says amiably, are
you nervous? Yes, I say through
a narrow throat, I always am. He
grins gooshly. I grin gooshly.
Last year, on the night of the
General Election, I reviewed-
destroyed The Cures rst LP
Three Imaginary Boys, at rst
spluttering at what I saw as a
queasy blend of arrogance and
austerity, then growing steadily
annoyed at what I fantasised as a
grand conspiracy of pompous pop
people and relentlessly hateful
politicians. I saw Three Imaginary
Boys as a conceited scrapbook
with a bitter lack of internal
coherence. Wrapped up in dinky
pinkness, with symbols instead
of titles, it was too self-conscious,
and tted in a place where talk of
innovation and stimulation was
all pose, no action, and where the
next mask was more important
than the next song. I thought The
Cure were horrible.
I listened to that LP three
times, says Robert Smith, and
murmurs in assent when I mention
that the second LP Seventeen
Seconds is much more soulful and
direct. The rst LP in a lot of ways
was like a compilation, it didnt
have a lot to do with what we were
doing even at the time.
At that time Robert Smith
felt hurt by my antagonism. He
immediately wrote me a note,
sternly and hilariously parodying
my own indulgent word-play,
pissing all over it. The Cure sang
a song about the review during a
Peel session. The incident got silly.
Then quickly forgotten. When we
meet, I turn up deeply in love with
Seventeen Seconds and Robert
Smith doesnt hate me at all.
Smith is soft where I imagined
he would be hard. Hes not a big
softie. Hes always on a ne line
between agitation and boredom,
and such a balance turns out
The Cure Mk II: (l to r)
Lol Tolhurst, Mathieu faintly, deviously charming. Hes
PAUL COX/LFI

Hartley, Simon Gallup no pretentious mock recluse,


and Robert Smith perpetually feigning intensity

28 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1980

DAYS OF WINE
Thats elevating musicians to
an unfair status.
This background and his
hardening pubby experience
developed and disciplined
Smiths beautifully polished and
adventurous guitar a personal
and delicious post-Hendrix

POSES
technique wasted on the rst

AND
LP but exquisitely exploited for
Seventeen Seconds. (Similarly his
obsessive, compelling vocals.)
It was automatic for Smith to
play on a stage with friends, for
himself, with the audience only
half-welcome. It was difcult for
Smith to express himself. There
was so much he wanted to say, but
it was almost as if he didnt want
anyone to hear his words.
I dont know. Ive always

Ysee it wasnt that The Cure ever had a non-image, they just didnt have written things down ever since I
could remember. Mainly because
sometimes I get really angry. Ive
an image, right? Nothing terribly wrong about that, is there? Well... got a really violent temper but its
not physical because I dont think

Paul Morley shares a bottle and begins to understand I should vent my frustrations and
depressions on anybody else. I
dont throw tantrums or anything
of vision. Hes never quite sure Smith realises that The Cure expect respect, they want their like that, so rather than smash the
what to say. Does he take himself dont t into the rude rock gig, but privacy. Seventeen Seconds is a room up I write things down. Its a
seriously? he likes to play. record of exceptional quality. Brief release. But I havent got over the
I do take myself seriously but Its very selsh when I go on and wistful. The Cure leave it there idea of separating communicating
theres a point beyond which you stage. It matters what the audience as much as they are able. from preaching. My words are
become a comic gure. thinks, but I write songs for myself. I dont think that we have any mainly about me, how I feel,
Robert Smith is a songwriter Its very narrow-minded. And we right to an audience. I dont think theyre not about world situations
who wrote songs of enough dont present shows. We dont leap that just because we make records and alternatives.
individuality and attraction to about on stage. We could make it people should listen, or if we play The Cure dispensed with most
warrant interest, who got hooked visual and everything but were they should come. If we werent of their versions. They developed
into the record business and then not like that naturally so why selling records Id still be playing originals. A debut single, Killing
had to start wondering about should we? Id prefer it if we really in a pub or something, which I was An Arab, caused a bit of alarm;
justication, morals, compromise. impressed a lot of people wholl like a year before we got a recording Robert Smith was pulled into
Robert Smith cannot believe The us for a long time rather than give contract. Just because I enjoy it. Its the ow before hed even tested it
Fuss: I still dont feel comfortable someone a good night out wholl as simple as that. Id rather be on out. Fiction signed them. Three
holding a guitar. Smith has the forget it next week. stage than doing anything else. Imaginary Boys was pinned
look of the perpetually puzzled. He What does he mean by impress? together. But the three-piece Cure
stutters, he blunders he wonders Just to show I dunno that The Cure story is a blur. It started was destined not to last long. The
what the hell its all about, this weve got something to offer. in pubs, now its reached clubs and Siouxsie & The Banshees bust-up
rock thing. I sometimes think I He chuckles. Hell want to telly, and it will end quietly. They accelerated fate. The Cure were
might be in someone elses idea of change that later. started as a three-piece in 1977: supporting them.
heaven, he says with grisly irony. Kenny and John left the

In the early hours. Were soul-deep I still dont feel comfortable holding a Banshees. Budgie played for
Kenny. Robert played for
into bottles of red wine, muttering John, using his superior guitar
about the state of the art, the guitar. Sometimes I think I might be in temperament to adapt perfectly to
idleness and extravagance of the the Banshee shapes. For that tour
shady rock heroes.
A Cure live set of the moment is
someone elses idea of heaven he played two shows a night. The
Cure barely survived.
nothing like the sort of putreed The Cure form part of a new Smith, drummer Lol Tolhurst and It just became like a job. Id
and obsolete rocknroll gig a lot of realism in a part of rock that wont bassist Michael Dempsey. They known Lol since I was six, but not
people think is the only way. Their take over but wont disappear. played other peoples songs, it was Michael, and the differences were
new songs sound faded and lonely, Rock that isnt trapped in a maze all for fun and fun was all it was. between him and me. I found
rely on touch and quietness. They of mirrors, that isnt lost and Robert Smith was part of a very on the Banshees tour that I was
dont nag at you or remove your ignoble in a wasteland of dead musical family. He recalls that enjoying it more playing with the
independence. They rouse your pride and rigid beliefs. The Cure there was always an instrument in Banshees than The Cure. Thats
curiosity rather than remove it. dont demand everyone be like the house, always people playing what really made the decision. Lol
These songs are a slight chill, not a them, and their expectations are music. At ve he walking around felt the same way, Michael wasnt
right charge. A build-up of gloom, moderate. The space to breathe, hitting guitars. Just making noises. criticising or joining in on any
shadows, broken bits of dreams decent access to recording and I dont know if I believe that sort of level. We were sticking to
and expectations, not guaranteed releasing, a modest listening thing about some people being the same set night after night and
to supply the good night out. level. The Cure want to exist, they born musicians and some not. the whole thing was getting like

NME ORIGINALS 29
TLFeBOOK
Art And Artifice

 a joke. There wasnt


much point carrying on.
Late 79, Dempsey left.
Two new members were
drafted keyboardist
Matthieu Hartley and
bassist Simon Gallup
who oddly made the
MM, 26 July 1980, p17 music more sparse and
withdrawn.
Theyve added a new
SIOUXSIE & dimension to the group
THE BANSHEES pissheads.
Kaleidoscope Resisting the
(Polydor) compromising The Cure model for
Kaleidoscope temptation to become the Littlewoods
catalogue post-
follows hard on a full-time Banshee,
punk collection
the heels of the Smith and The Cure
morale-boosting emerged more in
chart successes control than theyd ever been. Out of bad times I stay away from. Im not a seller. In fact I sometimes
of Christine and and sad times was blended the tender Seventeen go the opposite way. Which is a bit stupid.
Happy House, Seconds a collection of songs restlessly remaking Sometimes it seems as though Robert Smith is
both of which and reworking one particular incident from inside a embarrassed by living. He is unsettled by the extent
are featured love trap. Smith reects on a moment from different and demands of his ego, necessarily oblique about
here. Christine, points of view: resentful on Play For Today; his work, nally ashamed by the vulgar way it tends
the story of the schizophrenic with 22 morbid on In Your House; near-extinguished on to be sold. But slowly he is beginning to realise that
clashing personalities, was breathtaking: Seventeen Seconds. he cannot exist in a vacuum. He is consolidating
strong, steady drumming, a running bass, It was a really condensed incident, a rush of his position within this Fuss, striking a ne balance
a skilful acoustic guitar and Siouxsies feelings that Id found in myself had been watered between playing the game and reconciling his own
compassionate vocals all evoke perfectly down mainly by playing in a group. Its a really inner conicts. And Seventeen Seconds is a victory
the songs stark atmosphere. strange situation, but I nd touring and things like of aspiration over circumstances: one of the most
Happy House was great pop as well, that shut me down. I harden and get very reclusive, calm, liberating and progressive rock LPs of recent
everything moving together to form sort of shun people. All the things that Id been years. Its easy (so calm! So uncluttered!) to miss. It
its own distinctive sound. And now shutting down just came out in a big rush and should be heard again and again and again (fade).
Kaleidoscope a series of sketches each for the following two weeks every day Id just be
evoking its own atmosphere and place. thinking about that one particular incident. One Deep into
the deep red wine, deep into the deep
Happy House kicks off Side One day Id wake up wanting to kill somebody, the next conversation, Robert and I are talking about image.
before Tenant is ushered in with a slow, day I wouldnt even bother getting up. It was awful. Around the time of Three Imaginary Boys they
almost Public Image feel, with Severin I wasnt ghting it, whereas in everyday life seemed to be elaborately disguising their plainness.
contributing electric sitar, among other youd have to control those feelings. But its good My mistake: I called it the anti-image. Robert Smith
things. Trophy is a McGeogh number that it happened. At the time I
with a recurring guitar motif and an
exploration by Siouxsie of the futility of
was shutting down and didnt feel
like writing any more songs, I just One day Id wake up wanting to kill
remembering past triumphs. couldnt be bothered, and it was
Hybrid, though meticulously through actually being in a group, somebody, the next day I wouldnt even
constructed, tends to outstay its through playing songs, that
welcome, while Clockface seems trite,
save for Siouxsies chanting. The side
caused me to stop writing songs!
Out of such a strained
bother getting up. I was shutting down
ends with Lunar Camel: slow, a trie experience came an extraordinary LP: the was utterly fed up by that. We had to get away from
draggy, it lacks characteristic Banshee atmospheres are consistently melancholic, that anti-image thing, which we didnt even create
purpose or direction. the textures relaxed and subtle. No hurrying in the rst place. And it seemed like we were trying
Side Two: Desert Kisses boasts a or harrying. The Cure use genuine technical to be more obscure. We just didnt like the standard
great swirling feel of power and intent originality the sound is light and misty, paler and rock thing. The whole thing got really out of hand.
with Siouxsies voice reminding us of thinner than Another Green World, as convincing I was trying really hard to be normal, at home I
its unique quality. Red Frame is almost as rock music can be in conveying the way the mind was being all nice, and my mum kept saying to me,
Human League but with more depth runs, slows, repeats itself. It is denitive soft rock: Whats an anti-image?
and darkness, while Paradise Place and a crumbling world and its pervasive persistence in I tell Robert he can often be infuriatingly vague,
Skin are just classic Banshee pieces. memory is beautifully evoked, there is the quiet because he can.
Hypnotic, relentless, and incisive, both agony of love and loss, a constant sense of distance I am very vague. I dont know why. Ha! Ha!
feature Steve Jones on guitar, revealing a between people, places, past and present. Seventeen Does obscurity mean anything to Smith?
hitherto unknown side of the (S)ex Pistol. Seconds is an LP of romantic melancholy, of Im not doing this to make my name go down
As the title implies, Kaleidoscope anguish and nally of horror. in history. I really couldnt care less. Im not saying
aims to give the listener exactly that. There is genuine emotion on there and again that to look good in the interview, I honestly dont
A kaleidoscope of sound and imagery, whether people want to take it that way is up to think like that. There are so many people trying to
new forms, and content, ashing before them. Im not going to say youve got to believe me, do that, its like another facet of the treadmill, and
our eyes. Undoubtedly a lot of the album this genuine emotion, because now Ive done it I its pointless because I could never win it anyway.
is a success on those terms, but even after dont really care. Its there if people like to listen to Ive got faith in what Im doing from a personal
about ten plays its still hard to fully grasp it. Its not the type of LP youre going to put on if you point of view, but as to whether I go down in history,
Kaleidoscope as a concrete whole. Or want a party. Nor a record to put on if youre having Im very doubtful about that so I dont let it worry
PAUL COX/LFI

maybe thats the beauty. a t of depression. The whole thing of doing Top Of me. If I let that worry me along with everything else
Paulo Hewitt The Pops, of selling it, the whole shop window thing, Id crack up before Im going to anyway.

30 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1980
MM, 30 August 1980, p27

Bauhaus Scamps, Oxford


bass notes, Double
Oh bondage, up
yours: Peter Murphy Dare was a killer, with NME, 8 November 1980, p32
of Bauhaus Kevin Haskins beating
the living daylights out
of his drum kit and BAUHAUS
Danny Ash torturing In The Flat Field
his guitar yet they all (4AD)

looked so restrained! Crossovers are


In The Flat Field interesting to
was the rst of two observe, but
new numbers and generally not
came over very well, a lot of fun to
while Boys had Peter listen to.
Murphy dragging Were now
Danny Ash across the in the throes
stage by his hair and of a hard
going down on his punk/moderne
guitar la Bowie and monochrome crossover, with
Ronson. bands like Killing Joke and Bauhaus
Theres more than on the verge of tapping a potentially
a touch of truth in massive market opened up by Siouxsie
talk of their afliation & The Banshees, Adam & The Ants and
with glam rock. Their even Joy Division. To these ears, theres
version of Telegram as palpable a difference between these
Sam did justice to two groups of groups as there is between
Marc Bolan, and the Sex Pistols and Cockney Rejects
both that and Terror something like the difference between
Couple Kill Colonel art and artice, but not quite.
had the previously In The Flat Field is the rst Bauhaus
unresponsive crowd album, and I wouldnt be at all surprised
up and twitching. to see it storming up the alternative
One of the charts, at the very least. It oughtnt to.
highlights of their I must admit to a passing liking for
very varied set was their three singles. I was even prepared
Stigmata Martyr, to overlook their taking their name in
which had the vain (what the hell has their Gothick-
band emulating the Romantick schtick got to do with the
crucixion while stripped, no-nonsense principles of
chanting the blessing. the Bauhaus?), but over the length of
They closed with an album, their limitations and endless
St Vitus Dance, pretence are just too much to take.
though the audience In The Flat Field is nine meaningless

A
trendy disco in was still quiet. moans and ails bereft of even the
the centre of an
Oxford shopping
Bauhaus are consistently Bauhaus never
fail to alienate
most cursory contour of interest, a
record which deserves all the damning
precinct seemed an
incongruous place for
a band like Bauhaus to
challenging, perplexing and elating certain sections
of their audience,
but such is the lot
adjectives usually levelled at grim-faced
modernists. Its doom for dooms sake.
If nothing else, this sheds some
play on the opening night of their arrogant features and with the of a band who are consistently light on the punk/moderne crossover
British tour. But with this lot rest of the band hovering in the challenging, perplexing and audience, who, in their taste for excessive
nothing is predictable. half-light, all was forgiven. elating. Enigmas indeed! tribal plumage and dismal, doom-laden
An extremely bizarre but From the buzzing opening Gill Smith music, are more closely related to the
intricate lm served as a support, heavy metal hordes than theyd like to
and after much shufing around believe. And Bauhaus are nothing more
with screens, the band emerged than a hip Black Sabbath. Really.
from the crowd and walked Personally, I couldnt give a toss, not
on stage. Talk about lack of feeling much afnity with many other
PHILIPPE CARLY - WWW.NEWWAVEPHOTOS.COM

mystery! It gave everyone in human beings in general, and certainly


the audience a chance to gawp not with any tribal group. I just wish this
at close quarters at them and record had been more interesting, more
completely destroyed, for me, original, and less reliant on the obvious.
their glamorous untouchability. Ah well. Their singles showed Bauhaus
But in a moment, with the werent devoid of an idea or two; this
stark white light bleaching album shows theyve used them both up.
out Peter Murphys elegantly Andy Gill

NME ORIGINALS 31
TLFeBOOK
The Bye
Bye CureBlackheads

an unsettled individual listening


NME, 8 March 1980, p23 out for a strange guiding voice, Curtis dolefully sings Dont walk
while the band play an attractively away in silence. This is deeply

SIOUXSIE & doomy tune, enhanced by reticent


drums and carefully folded-in
moving music.
Shes Lost Control shows just
THE BANSHEES keyboard lines. Nice, vaguely how far the band moved ahead
Happy House/ psychedelic, production too. after recording the Unknown
Drop Dead Celebration Chris Bohn Pleasures album. The song has
(Polydor) been given a totally new feel
Seemingly, hell hath no fury to the original version, aided
like a Siouxsie scorned. For by producer Martin Hannetts
all the contrived cynicism, its masterful drum and bass sound,
Budgies remarkable drop-beat NME, 5 April 1980, p4 and Closer-style synth work
drumnastics that dominate the towards the end.
exotic, danceable top-side. But Lynden Barber
its the unbridled viciousness of THE CURE
the ip supported by the cryptic A Forest
message Bye Bye Blackheads (Fiction)

etched next to the run-off Unfortunately tagged as


groove that overshadows the naively witty suburbanites by
whole affair. Obviously aimed admirers, precocious darlings
at former Banshees Morris and by detractors, The Cures severe MM, 28 June 1980, p16
McKay, its probably one of the growth problems were largely
most venomous put-downs caused by unwarranted heavy
ever recorded. Its as if Siouxsie attention early on. Consequently, JOY DIVISION
is gleefully sticking pins in wax writer Robert Smiths ability to Love Will Tear Us Apart
efgies as she shouts out her construct eetingly mysterious (Factory)

abuse. When it comes to carrying and highly evocative scenarios This single, a follow-up to the free
grudges, Sweet Sioux makes went uncredited, as critics tried exi-disc which some baddies in NME, 22 November 1980, p18
Madams Thatcher and Ghandi instead to pinpoint the band record shops have been selling,
look like Sisters of Mercy.
Roy Carr
sociologically. A Forest is a good
example, which gets better with
has been invested with sad
signicance after singer Ian Curtis
SIOUXSIE &
age: Smiths dry, lost vocal tells of tragic suicide. THE BANSHEES
Joy Division were (and may Israel
remain) an innovative and (Polydor)

courageous band. Divorced from Siouxsie Schmiouxsie what


Curtis fate, this record offers a does it matter as long she makes
taster for their forthcoming album good singles? Christine was
Closer. Evocative, interesting a one and Israel isnt. At rst
powerfully original piece of music. impressive, grandiose, the song
Martyn Sutton meanders into tedium and clutter
and not even the wholesale
MM, 13 September 1980, p17 homage to Herzogs soundtrack
can offset that.
As for the ip, Red Over White,
JOY DIVISION God spare us from all this pseudo-
Shes Lost Control / religious Catholic guilt hogwash
Atmosphere with feebly disguised drum solos
(Factory) and stream-of-consciousness
A record that puts nearly hippy lyrics.
everything else to shame. You see how prejudice will
Atmosphere was only available beget prejudice? Im quite happy
previously as a collectors item humming the odd Banshees tune
French import and thank God but faced with the attendant
Factory Records have decided to iconography that surrounds them
JANETTE BECKHAM

put it out as an ofcial release. these days all I can see in their
Severin and It features a plaintive bassline image is a twee pose.
Sioux: hell and sparse drumbeats as Ian Max Bell
hath no fury

32 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
Chapter 3
1981
DEREK RIDGERS

TLFeBOOK
Small talk stinks

Northampton
discovers NME, 21 February 1981, p12

art school rock!!


But school cad Chris Bohn picks apart Bauhaus designs
i
f the truth doesnt t, embroider Matched as they are to tortuous hard rock
it. A basic rule of promotion is workouts over lurching rhythms, Bauhaus
to set up the myth early on and have arrived at a pomposity almost equal to
hope the band will eventually live up to that of the early 70s progressive bands.
it. The game can be fun, and Bauhaus have I was brought up a Catholic, so I obviously
always suggested that they were willing, if felt it was something to write about, Peter
not particularly adept, participants. says. One track, Stigmata Martyr was about
Formed a few years back, their evocative total xation with Jesus Christ to the point of
name lifted from this centurys most bleeding from the same places as Christ bled.
inuential art school irrevocably links It seemed like a really strong subject to me.
them with 1920s Germany, making it easy for Bauhaus are better appreciated live.
commentators to draw expressionist leanings Murphys overwrought drama is highlighted
from their shadowy live shows. by stark white lights battened to the oor, thus
But the true face of Bauhaus is far removed throwing up heavy shadows of the band onto
from singer Peter Murphys pained onstage the wall. The effect is visibly gothic.
mugging, and they go to great lengths No, its not, contests Kevin Haskins: It
to deny the German connections when I seemed to us like a no-nonsense thing that
meet them at bassist David Jays pleasantly contradicts that whole gothic romance thing.
suburban Northampton home. Jay and Unless you see it in terms of old German
drummer brother Kevin Haskins timidly silent movies
fend off criticisms, while Murphy reacts more We hadnt seen any lms like that when
spunkily. Danny Ash, guitarist, is absent after we started, points out David Jay.
catching an iron ling in his eye. But this statements considerably
Bauhaus deserve their cult following. undermined when they hand me a copy of the
So far theyve made two very good Bela Lugosi 12-inch featuring a back cover
singles in their debut, Bela still from The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari. David
Lugosis Dead, and the terse, Jay notices me glancing at it suspiciously.
cogent Terror Couple Kill Our guitarist Danny had torn it out of a
Colonel; a failed commercial book and gave it to us without telling us where
gambit in their cover of it came from, he explains timidly.
Telegram Sam; and one Its not much of an excuse but theres no
op, Dark Entries. reason to disbelieve him in light of Bauhaus
But their debut album, In wilfully haphazard approach.
The Flat Field, pointed up Made up of former art school students and
all the limitations of their an ex-printer (Murphy) who wished he was
approach. Murphys words one, Bauhaus are laudably open to ideas, but
get inextricably tangled theyve yet to show theyre capable of using
in introspective journeys them. After a brief description of art school
through the terrors of a life from Jay, Murphy rues his missed chance.
Catholic past, but worse, I was accepted for art college but then I
his classicist leanings changed my mind. I imagined you had to have
means he twists them a good idea of what you wanted to do before
into needlessly inverted you enrolled.
sentences and forces Its the opposite, says Jay. It opens you
unnecessary rhymes. up to different levels and ways of thinking.
Going by their singles, Bauhaus have it
KEVIN CUMMINS/IDOLS

in them to pull off a masterpiece, but at the


I was brought up a Catholic Stigmata moment theyre still stuck at the sketchbook
stage. As it is, hang onto those early sketches
Martyr is about total fixation with Christ look what happened to Adam & The Ants.

34 N M E ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1981

of The Cures rst two albums,


might have spotted the penchant
for pop on the rst and detected
the spots of blood on the sombre
sleeves of the second and added
them together. But he couldnt
have predicted the richness and
deceptive power of Faith.
They start as they mean to go
on with The Holy Hour, where
Simon Gallups slowly phased bass
riff is beaten and punched by Lol
Tolhursts fat, dead percussion.
The rest of the rst side, except
the wonderfully streamlined single
Primary, offers variations on
these themes. Other Voices slyly
builds enough momentum to start
pushing crockery off the sideboard.
All Cats Are Grey (in the dark?)
adopts a more sluggish tempo
but wrenches it into a completely
different perspective via Robert
Smiths desperate keyboards.
Siouxsie: better
than Toyah. Then Theres an inexplicable melancholy
again, what isnt? to it which is overwhelming.
Overleaf, you run straight into
The Funeral Party, suggesting a
coach-load of pall-bearers enjoying
NME, 27 June 1981, p34 a works outing to the great morgues
of Europe. On The Drowning Man,

SIOUXSIE & the skeletal structure is modied by


speaker-swapping overdubs and
THE BANSHEES clipped handclaps.
Juju Doubt is Side Twos Primary,
(Polydor) slicing through the dominant
Of course, I watched Top Of The Pops moody textures with angry vocals
last week. It was poor its going in and grunting bass. Tear that esh
four-week cycles at the moment, and rip that skin, snarls Smith,
the good, the bad, the sagging, the who would rather mince people
so-so but Siouxsie & The Banshees words and images are intended Spellbound, Into than words.
were on. A savage gloss, a slashing to be profound and responsible, The Light, Arabian Mostly, Faith is a
glamour amid the tepid turns, a or brutally corrective. Juju songs Nights, Halloween and sophisticated exercise
turn-on like few others. dont deal with dull matters, but Monitor. Side Twos in atmosphere and
The Banshees are a terric vision, with peculiar things in a taut and highlights: Night Shift, production, gloomy
an exclusive attraction, a peak in teasing manner. Sin In My Heart, Head but frequently
entertainment; Siouxsie & The The words are not as imposing Cut and Voodoo majestic. You may
Banshees the display of hair, skirt, as people imagine. Precise syllables Dolly. Juju is the not love it, but youll
boys, vanity, ash, thigh, smile, and broken rhythms are used to rst integrated and become addicted to it.
cheek to cheek, back to back are dramatise the music. The mood sparkling-complete Adam Sweeting
a discerning and devious of a Banshee song Banshees album since The Scream.
distortion of the Pop is disapproval: not Its Electric Warrior to the Tanx of
Group that can be a great intensity but Toyahs Anthem.
traced back to The an idealistic, vexed Paul Morley
Velvet Underground, profanity. A Banshee
Hendrix, The Doors pop song is a bitter
and the dark side of twist, a grave grace. MM, 18 April 1981, p20
Bolan: never wise The diabolical
or mellow, meek themes, the emotional THE CURE
or smutty, sweet poignancy and Faith
or signicant. None of this remoteness are part of (Fiction)

romantic desire for action. the whole. Its not all a weeping Theres not a lot here you can
There is nothing earthy about over lost pleasures, neither is it stuff carelessly into the drawer
Banshee music. Their fourth LP a thanksgiving. Banshee words labelled fun. Just check the
thus far, their second-best is a are an effective way to reject the song titles The Holy Hour,
FIN COSTELLO/REDFERNS/M BRITTON

gliding, comfortless delivery of self- prosaic, to avoid the vulgar, and The Funeral Party, The
distrust, infatuation and fetishism. the grouping of the words, the Drowning Man. Not the stuff
Juju has an infernal quality: melodramatic undercurrents Mrs Mills albums are made of. The Cure: touring
nothing majestic or mysterious but enable the glorious Sioux to camp But its impressive. The the great morgues
of Europe
a kind of unawed unworldliness. The and exult with priceless poise. professional genre detective,
mistake is to imagine that Banshee Side Ones highlights: confronted by the evidence

NME ORIGINALS 35
TLFeBOOK
The sound of music
Pew, what
a scorcher:
bassist Tracy
with Nick Cave

MM, 17 October 1981, p15

BAUHAUS
Mask
(Beggars Banquet)

Bauhaus, though
I loathe to admit
it, are about to
be big.
The signs
are all there.
An inevitable
commercial dog-end of post-Joy Division
doom, theyve wedded that image-
conscious, pretentious inner soul-searching
to Bowies glib theatricality and come up
crowd-pleasing trumps. At Bingley they
were showbiz magnicent.
In The Flat Field, their last long-player,
sold well on sub-Banshees pseudo-religion
and a splash of Cramps Hammer horror
alone. Mask (an apt name very Siouxsie)
is a suitably showy, hollow successor a
souvenir of their crass live show; all shock
no substance.
In the face of outmoded criteria like NME, 12 September 1981, p50
originality, having something to say, etc,
Bauhaus are a joke; so old-hat Iggy-bound
they shouldnt exist. But with the current
accent on imitative image over anything
else, Murphy just MUST be an idol.
The Birthday
Africa Centre, London
Party
Teen mags will lap up his muscular
suntan and false aggression despite
the patent unlistenability of just about

A
strange venue for
everything theyve ever recorded except
the Young Americans-cloned Kick In
The Eye (re-recorded here).
a strange group.
Crammed into a hall
Its like standing too close to a firework
Bauhaus are a soulless stance, a pathetic
excuse for idolatry in an era when heroes
shouldnt exist but seem to be so badly
that is more used to hearing
discussions on African culture,
politics and poetry are a
dangerous but compulsive
Whatever reservations normal rock concerns of sex,
longed for. Adam & The Ants and The motley collection of after- I have about their Prayers sadism and sacrice.
Human League all better watch out Mask dark dancers, anticipating the On Fire LP are immediately Yet despite their apparent
may not yield any potentially massive hit arrival of a group who have dispelled by their dynamic strangeness, The Birthday
singles but the leather-jacketed hordes been compared to The Pop performance. There is Party are a lot of fun. They give
are eager and waiting. Group and The Cramps. wildness in the air, a feral so totally in performance that
The impression and atmosphere of Welcome to The Birthday psychosis that owes as much to questions of approachability
Mask counts today more than anybody Party. Forty-ve minutes of the modern notion of paranoia and involvement go ying
elses struggling commitment a Glitter sheer hell. as it does to a prehistoric, out of the window. Their
Band for post-punk depressives. Its appeal Nick Cave does indeed look animal instinct of survival. unrestrained enjoyment in
is obvious: cosmic electronics, ethereal sax, like a skinny Lux Interior as Caves voice seems to come playing creates a positively
tribal drums, scratch-unfocussed guitar he introduces the group, an from somewhere else; its organic atmosphere a
and eerie, effective/affected vocals a odd assortment of Australian hard to believe his slender steaming jungle in which you
pantomime pretence of communication. reptiles in checked shirts frame can accommodate the can laugh yourself silly or be
Bauhaus are an unstoppable surge and the occasional Stetson. relentless howl that screeches, scared to death.
towards the sham/glam mid-70s. Mask, Their sound bursts from the screams and throbs its way The Birthday Party are
more than Spandau, more than Rondo, tiny stage like a primordial around the sexual/surrealistic genuine (ab)originals.
takes the stylistic route to success by the beast shedding the chains of lyrics. Obsessions scuttle, Watching them is a bit like
short and curlies and aunts it as a virtue. convention a nightmarish slither and crawl through the standing too close to a rework
Top Ten. I hate it. Gothic brew of Beefheartian songs like so many nasty little dangerous but compulsive.
Steve Sutherland wordplay and nerve-jangling creatures insects, sh, bugs Light blue touch paper and
TOM SHEEHAN

guitars stirred into a bubbling and bats are predominant stand near.
rhythmic broth. images reinterpreting the Neil Norman

36 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1981

pain either. On the naked feelings must have


contrary, they viewed got harder every time. Joy
exposing themselves Division presented them
to pain as one way of with that hardest thing to
breaking the aura of swallow: reality. Theirs was
insensitivity, suggesting all the more indigestible
that through brutality as it juggled together
or self-abasement the commonplace with
they might achieve the taboo, brutality with
those elusive moments of true sensuality and stark
NME, 17 October 1981, p41
feeling. On The Sound Of Music, horror with simple,
Curtis sings: Ill walk you through appealing melody. But Joy
JOY DIVISION the hard breaks/Show you all the Division never spared
Still outtakes/I can see it getting higher/ themselves in their
(Factory) Systematically degraded/ pursuit of experience
It shouldnt have Emotionally a and truth.
happened, but as it did scapegoat /I can see You can feel
lets take consolation in it getting better, it still.
the fact that lan Curtiss with the ecstatic Chris Bohn
death on 18 May, afrmation: LOVE!/
1980 didnt so much LIFE!/Makes you
bring Joy Divisions feel/Higher/
journey to the heart Higher /Higher!/
of darkness to an HIGHER!
abrupt halt as freeze At their
it for all eternity at the brink of best, Joy Division were
discovery. At least we can still travel awesome, frightening
that far with them, and though they and beautiful never
had positioned themselves well for more so than on Dead
a nal breakthrough, who knows Souls, which somehow
if theyd have been able to cope on embodied the tragedy
the other side? of their vision, their
Their quest remains just that, its grasping after the
purity unspoiled by repetition, bad unattainable and
moves or false conclusions. It was the inevitable
founded in a courageous analysis of disillusionment that
their own condition, presented on would follow.
Still as a struggle towards a new, Joy Division never
more complete consciousness far resorted to faking
removed from the street squabbling emotions. Their
of the punk that spawned it. concerts seemed
Instead of moaning about the to be purgative
mess they were in, Joy Division experiences,
confronted it and discovered the especially for Curtis,
causes of the current depression who found release
to be rooted in spiritual rather in intense, brief
than material impoverishment. bursts of buttery
They registered a profound movement. To
estrangement from their ugly watch him was like
environment and shock at the witnessing the last
callousness of the age. just man accepting the
They were fascinated by that sins of the world as his
which repelled them; their musics personal burden.
tension often emanated from their The two live sides work
approximating the characteristics as a patchy retrospective,

They juggled brutality with sensitivity,


and horror with simple, appealing melody
of the very things they found despite the fact the synths
oppressive, either in undeniably went horribly awry on most
attractive abstractions of cityscapes of the Closer material and
or in superbly drilled militaristic that Ians voice is often lost
marches. Unlike the dumb futurists, in the shoddy mix.
past and present, they neither Bearing in mind how
KEVIN CUMMINS/IDOLS

embraced nor gloried the speed quickly an audience grows


of modern life, but presented it as a accustomed to emotional Ian Curtis:
symptom of their malaise. shocks to its ordered grasping after
They wouldnt shy away from system, expressing such the unattainable

NME ORIGINALS 37
TLFeBOOK
blast off!

Sometimes pleasure A Manhattan melodrama starring The Birthday Party, by Barney Hoskyns

i
ts a chill, exposed night in New York The management is not amused. After the intellect to a raw power, that original sin which
City. The East Coast has just recovered second song, Zoo-Music Girl, someones Iggy Stooge so rightly perceived as Laughing at
from a week of torrential rain, and the climbing on the stage and telling them their time you and me
winds sweeping up the islands avenues is up. They thunder into one last, outrageous But the Birthday Party do not suffer from
from Battery Park to the Bronx threaten more. exhibition of carnal mayhem and disappear. delusions of grandeur.
But the show must go on, and at a swanky This little scenario is roughly what The I mean fuck it, says Nick Cave, what were
disco in Union Square called the Underground Birthday Party call a really great gig. I mean, trying to do is the biggest musical clich in the
its only just beginning. Strutting their stuff to how degenerate can you get? world. Its just that some people forget the clich.
English imports like Planet Earth and Dont Say Can you imagine Echo & The Bunnymen trying
Thats Just For White Boys are second division In this climate of cold design and concealed to let themselves go?
preppies and neat executives from Hoboken. despair, The Birthday Party take the concept
They are trying to get their dates drunk. of stage performance about as far as you
The night is owing by pretty amorphously are likely to see it go. Live, the songs of Nick
when suddenly, at one oclock, the lights dim and Cave and Rowland Howard are driven to an
the sound dies. Everyone looks round; without emotional edge where pain and pleasure fuse
the disco their plans are ruined. Their faces drop. in cathartic madness for the performer
Onto the stage are climbing ve undesirable and dithyrambic joy for the
aliens. One, festooned in split-crotch gold- audience. Their concerts
lam drainpipes, his bruised features twitching are feasts of energy, chaotic
through black ames of hair, appears to be the spectacles which break the
singer. Another, strapping on a bass guitar like a surface of art and carry
giant dildo, sports a shnet vest, a Stetson, and sound and lyric to ultimate
the sort of moustache you might cultivate for violence. The Birthday
hustling some meat on Christopher Street. Party in performance burst
Perhaps most disturbing of all, a kind of through the constrictions of

Fuck it, what were trying to do is the


biggest musical clich in the world
gangling, psychotic hillbilly in a ridiculous suit
is fastening on a guitar like he was auditioning
for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Its not quite what the management was
expecting. Hell, they havent even played a note
and already half the crowd is ling out.
The next moment, all the worst premonitions
are justied. Cranking out of the amps comes
this murderous death-rattle, like the gaze of
Medusa freezing the few foolhardy adventurers
who dare to look. The bass lurches obscenely
into the foray, and nally, his body doubling up
in unholy convulsions, the macilent wreck of a
singer starts to spit and fume
AMERICAN HEADS WILL ROLL IN
TEXAS!
Hmmmm like what is this? Some turn
away in nervous laughter, the rest suck on
straws and pray its over soon.
When the song ends, however, an ugly pause
ensues. Somethings wrong with the guitar.
Theres trouble stirring. Seconds later, theres
this ashen-faced nut behind the keyboard
shouting into his mic, very loudly but very The Birthday Party:
slowly, again and again and again: Mick Harvey, Nick
WHATS THE MATTER WITH YOU Cave, Phil Calvert,
Tracy Pew and
BASTARDS?. . . WHATS THE MATTER
TOM SHEEHAN

Roland S Howard.
WITH YOU BASTARDS? . . . WHATS THE Jelly and ice cream
MATTER? not pictured

38 NNMMEE OORRIIGGIINNAALLSS
??
TLFeBOOK
1981

heads must burn


NME, 17 October 1981, p29

He sprawls across the bar, nding his drink. for that soapbox, toilet-roll politico. anus of culture. Not Del Shannon but Iggy Pop.
I think its really important to rely on clichs Pew: Our last two London gigs have been the Cave: The point is that the creative process
like Suicide did. Not that it sounds like a clich. best. Before that the audiences only lost control is not some fucking craft. WERE A LIVING
As a matter of fact I think King Ink is one of the when they were told to, like Pavlovian dogs. MUSICAL CLICHE.
best songs ever written. That song can become so Cave: Compared to the gigs in Australia,
intense it puts me on another planet, though especially in Sydney, theyre nothing. You The Birthday Party started life as The Boys Next
I dont think the recorded version is at all good. remember when that girl was slicing me up with Door. We went through a year in Australia
The record, as a cultural event, is a very a key, Tracy? In Australia, you really feel youre playing the most disgusting kind of shit. Like
limited concept. With the cover and everything, turning decent people into monsters. [their 1979 LP] Door, Door, Cave recalls.
it can be much more than just the music. Were not setting ourselves up as some We were a bunch of snivelling little poofs,
The Birthday Party have come to shake us kind of demonic force, its just that things are Pew interjects.
out of our inhibitions. They militate against the more successful when they become blind and So what happened?
sedative boundaries of Pop. unconscious. You feel anything could happen. Howard stares into his drink for an answer.
Cave: Theres a real need for an intelligent Is popular music culture an important thing? It was just a case of natural progression.
but aggressive group in London. All the Cave: When the history of rock music is Yeah, like the state of a persons mind before
treasured groups are just so softcore. written which, since its practically dead, will he drops acid to the trip itself. Tell us another.
At one time there was a real be soon itll just be remembered as a sordid Its the honest truth, he protests, things just
upsurge of new young groups, interruption of normality. got a little wilder, thats all.
like The Pop Group before Pew: Rock will be remembered as the Thats obvious. It was on the 1980 LP The
they sacriced the music Birthday Party that perennial inuences such
as the Stooges and Beefheart and more
recent ones like Pere Ubu and The Pop
Group began to coalesce in Caves
and Howards songwriting. The result
is unique and unmissable.
By this time, the group had been
so inspired by the weird sounds
imported from possible goldmines
abroad they decided it was time to leave.
Their sights naturally settled on England.
Cave clears his throat with an evil grin.
Coming to London has been one of the most
disillusioning experiences of my life. When we
arrived, we saw this package show at the Lyceum,
with Echo & The Bunnymen, A Certain Ratio,

Rock will be remembered


as the anus of culture
The Teardrop Explodes and so forth and
well, Ive never been able to take English music
seriously since. It was horrible.
The Birthday Party arrived in Britain just
as the last, perhaps most intense vestiges of
punk energy were burning themselves out:
the anger, the revolt, the sensuality went into a
coma. Perhaps as a result, The Birthday Partys
wake-up call has won them the kind of critical
approval whose terms simply dont apply to the
likes of Spandau Ballet. Release The Bats, their
voodoo rockabilly anthem, saw three weeks
at the top of the alternative singles chart. Their
latest LP, Prayers On Fire, has been in the indie
LP charts ever since its release. And attendance
at London gigs has been growing all the time.
After the year of pop, 1980, The Birthday
Party realised the solution was TO ATTACK.
So in the words of A Dead Song:
HIT IT! WITH WORDS LIKE
THOU SHALT NOT
THIS IS THE END.

NME ORIGINALS 39
TLFeBOOK
mad eyed screamers

aint pretty, but theyre a welcome


antidote to the age of Ultravox.
Colin Irwin

MM, 28 March 1981, p18

THE CURE
Primary
(Fiction) MM, 26 September 1981, p14
This is a triumphant return to The
Cures rushing, rhythmic roots THE CREATURES
after the limpid wanderings of the Mad Eyed Screamer/So
Seventeen Seconds album. Unreal/But Not Them/
Robert Smith has rediscovered Wild Thing/Thumb
the ne-tuning control installed (Polydor)

in his unusual musical sensibility, NME, 4 July 1981, P31 insensitivity by a band whove I hear the sound of distant
and as a result Primary is overcome my inherent distrust drums again. The Sandie Shaw
unbearably urgent, matching a BAUHAUS of Australians with a series of of yesterdays punk, Siouxsie
new-found sense of space with The Passion Of Lovers hugely entertaining interviews. Banshee delivers her usual
brilliantly focussed precision. (Beggars Banquet) Both tracks here wield similar atmospheric vocals over Budgies
Smiths propulsive guitar drone The desperation of losers characteristics brutal and bloody lonely percussion.
is punctuated by crashing waves Adrian Thrills amid a volley of drums Its spread over a double-45
of percussion, and his voice oats and arrogant bravado. soft-porn epic that includes a
yearningly over the top. The Birthday Party are the lame repeat of The Troggs nest
Its oddly like a more tightly kind of boys who bopped the two minutes and ten seconds.
reined U2, and is a far better teacher while the rest of the class Jane Birkin was steamier than this.
pretext for a national holiday than sniggered and played with their Ian Pye
the forthcoming Royal Wedding. geometry sets. They certainly
Adam Sweeting

MM, 25 July 1981, p23

SIOUXSIE &
THE BANSHEES
Arabian Nights
(Polydor)

MM, 23 May 1981, p27 More menacing childhood


memories dredged up and

SIOUXSIE & dressed up in tired old riffs.


Siouxsie sounds disinterested;
THE BANSHEES McGeoch wrenches out the
Spellbound standard guitar atmospherics.
(Polydor) Thin, brittle, forgettable; no push,
For a group thats accused, no magic; avoid this voodoo.
and rightly so sometimes, of Allan Jones
hiding behind a pretentious
smokescreen of art, they dont MM, 22 August 1981, p12
half make great singles. This is
one of them. Archetypal Siouxsie
vocal, set to a strident, even
THE BIRTHDAY
military feel, that just takes off and PARTY
never lets go. As exhilarating as Blast Off/Release The Bats
Ricky Villas winner last Thursday (4AD)
The Creatures:
and you know how great that was. Three-minute horror movie some people will
RETNA

Paulo Hewitt soundtracks of jarring do anything to


get on TV

40 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
Chapter 4
1982
DEREK RIDGERS

TLFeBOOK
Last Year I Was 21

MM, 27 FEBRUARY 1982, p11

The sisterhood of terror


From Detroit, pretending to destroy themselves before anybody else could, came Iggy &The Stooges
From Leeds, threatening to destroy everybody else in a multi-megaton pre-emptive strike, came
The Sisters Of Mercy. Adam Sweeting has a terrifying experience with an extremely dangerous group
u
nleashed into the no-mans-land and I think, er, Hunter Thompson, he was
of Vanbrugh College dining room twigging something.
(c/o York University), The Sisters As Dr Avalanche pumps through the PA
Of Mercy are four men in pursuit like a battery of AK-47s, the bespectacled Ben
of renegade drum machine Dr Gunn cowers behind his guitar at the back
Avalanche. No respecter of anything, of the stage. A slight and tremulous gure,
the doctor careers ahead manically how could he be caught up in this hideous
like a slavering Doberman taking barrage of sound? He wont tell me, and he
Norman Wisdom for a walk. wont have his picture taken.
Attached to the mic like it was Next to and in front of him, other guitarist
a failing life-support system is Gary Marx has no such scruples. A burly
Spiggy, alias Andy, a skinny black- gure in boots and thick socks, he storms
clad thing from the corners of the and rages through the songs, aying chords
night, kept alive by ginger beer. with his hands and crushing the stage with
These are the nest legs his feet. On bass, the stocky and stalwart Jon
in rocknroll, he boasts later. Langford seems to be in control of his new
These legs are thinner than any career he used to drum for The Mekons.
of the Delta 5s legs. These legs And whatever you do, dont compare
are the thinnest in Leeds. The Sisters Of Mercy to Bauhaus.
Spiggy has a high opinion of We made a tape once and took it down to
himself and his group. Were Rough Trade. Geoff Travis gave it one listen,
not a provincial band, were it was 18 minutes long, lotsa tracks, tapped
a MAJOR ENTITY. Theres his feet all the way through and turned
no reason we round and said, Its like Bauhaus.
should be Youre continually coming up against
compressed people like that. They work in weird and
into this sort of wonderful ways, their marvels to perform.
hicks-from-the- Spiggy oozes a sickly sort of charisma,
sticks mentality, which is surprising considering his lank
which is so black hair and specs.
damning. Its hard All the people who have asked me for
being a cult band when autographs have been under 16 and female.
you really wanna be immense. Its amazing, when you go out and play that
Theres no reason we shouldnt raw sort of thing its not pretty.

All the people whove asked me for autographs


have been under 16 and female. Its amazing
be able to carry on playing more or Through the boiling rage of massed
less like we do at the moment and guitars and mechanik percussion, its
be IMMENSE. possible to discern the odd word that Spiggy
Soon you will be able to is spitting out. Ah yes, 1969
purchase a single from the Spig: Its the rst song off the rst Stooges
Sisters called Adrenochrome, album the rst album being the best,
a double A-side with Body whatever The Birthday Party say.
Electric (sing it!). The Sisters Of Mercy all-time order of
Adrenochrome is merit: There was one great heavy metal
Eldritch, aka
Spiggy: skinny like a theme for the band group and that was the Stooges, and theres
legs, big fat ego really, Spiggy reports, only two bands around that can touch them,
inasmuch as I wake up a and theyre Motorhead and The Birthday
lot of mornings and I look Party. Were not as good as Motorhead but
TOM SHEEHAN

at the wall, and Im not sure were better than The Birthday Party. That
if its the wall or the ceiling, makes us pretty damn good.

TLFeBOOK
1982
Nick The Stripper
on stage at the
Venue, London

MM, 27 February 1982, p27

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY/


LYDIA LUNCH
Drunk On The Popes Blood/The Agony
Is The Ecstasy
(4AD)

So much mumbo-
jumbos been made
of adolescent art, of
pop or rock voicing
the vainglorious
views of each
new generation,
washing the sins
NME, 13 March 1982, p51 of the fathers (and
mothers) from the hands of the
kids, that its long been forgotten that the
The Birthday Party The venue, London real truth lies in tantrum.
Most lucrative noise is and always has
been made by (non) musicians old enough

T
to know better, but never prepared to admit
hings werent looking here rhythm is compressed that he possesses an almost or accept it. Its not a well-aimed kick against
bright. The Birthday to a disconcerting on-beat intimidating innocence. growing up and its values, but a blind sulk
Partys bassist, Tracy Pew, is stiffness and vocals to a mere This group is an explosion and shout about already being there. Pop is a
back home doing time on a gutteral rambling. The effect of sensuality and laughter at toddlers plea for selsh attention, a me, me,
labour farm, and his temporary is compulsive. Some of the the desensitised mediocrity me, me not an I told you so. Its mean and
replacement, Barry Adamson, earlier numbers still prove of our lives. They are our new its meaningless. And thats its great beauty.
had only had one rehearsal. troublesome, for theres no Rolling Stones, but holding The Birthday Party, more than most,
But all fears were promptly doubt that more than one back their proles in shadow, appreciate the perverse practicality of
allayed by a volley of intense of the groups arrangements in the penumbra of myth. In making a row. Theyre obnoxious, so much so
and hectic songs which reduced outstrip their current musical them jazz races with punk that they piss people off. Not only the clichd
most of the spectators to capabilities. Zoo-Music Girl, and rocknroll slips on funk, old fuddy-duddies and traditional church
speechlessness. Let us make for example, has grown too a collision of forms whose wardens, but also the hipsters and bofns
certain things clear from the shambolic for its own good. domain is lust suspended in the who fawn and dote over pop ash and fact.
start: The Birthday Party Chaos, however, is The timeless zone of excess bodily The Birthday Party are awful. Subversively
appal by revelling in the pain Birthday Partys speciality. exhumation and spiritual awful. Awfully great. Awesomely brilliant.
of artice the desperate With the stage in its normal disease. Here Jerry Lee Lewis Drunk On The Popes Blood is their second
drive of will to emotion state of disarray, bouncers and meets The Modern Dance, really BAD long-playing record. Recorded
through exhibition. Theirs is a stage-hands scrambling about and sex meets death. live at the Venue, it struggles in vain
genuinely ritualistic theatre of madly in pursuit of overturned Who else is using words to capture and/or castrate the ranting
frustration, a farrago of sound microphones and tripped so stridently as a musical confrontation of their stage act. Get involved
so visceral it can only produce wires, Nick Cave was at his medium of rhetoric? They are say something! Nick Cave screams while
gestures of exhaustion and most gloriously irresponsible. the religious conagration of Beefheart is brutally butchered behind.
despair. Some terrible void at So perfect a parody is he of melos itself. Back beyond basics, this is what punk
the heart of human energy has the rocknroll egomaniac Barney Hoskyns ought to be like angry and futile with
been reached here. nothing to say and barely the words to
On Friday night, the group express it. The critics turn pop into protest
revisited their surreal junkyard because that gives it a comforting logic, an
of forms and images with a aim and direction that renders it open to
higher intoxication than ever. sane comprehension. Sheer bloody-minded
That forlorn and shimmering pointlessness is too mad and too menacing.
ballad Shes Hit has taken on The Birthday Party are violently pointless.
added starkness and splendour, Thats why theyre important. Their 16
perfectly brought out on minutes of sheer hell is all ugly feedback.
this occasion by Adamsons Unlistenably listenable. Love it to death.
languorous bass. Lydia Lunchs unpleasant squawking on
Previously unheard were the other side is even more potent. I hate it. It
Dead Joe and Hamlet, two neither exasperates nor elevates. It irritates.
PETER ANDERSON

brutal, mythopoeic parables And that, or course, is exactly the point.


Cave: Religious
shorn even of the groups conagration of
Ah art! Dont you just love it?
usual semi-jazz structures: melos? Moi? Steve Sutherland

NME ORIGINALS 43
TLFeBOOK
All We Ever Wanted
NME, 20 March 1982, p24

Bauhaus:
Breaking down the
walls of art-ache
When we heard that you were going to interview us, we came up with two possibilities:
a) being physical violence, and b) being a reasoned discussion. We decided to plump for the latter,
but this doesnt mean that the former isnt in with a f ighting chance Victim: Paul Morley
e
xcerpts from a conversation: Number The days labourer: But because of the is received that you go over the top and the idea
Two weak knees anticipate the kiss? system that you operate within, a withdrawal or gets smothered by incidentals.
Murphy: by intending to provoke a vagueness tends to suggest that youre merely Jay: No its just theres a belief in the idea
us, maybe a reaction youll get will be one of trying to create a mystique, an enigma. that we have, a passionate belief, it really is
absolute anger and hurt. Murphy: Its not that if were going to Ash: Also, when were on stage, our feelings
Jay: You could have got your head kicked in try and label our work, which a lot of the time are concentrated into one hour its all
if we were Killing Joke. comes from our subconscious, it will be a wrong intensied and enlarged. Its all going into one
The days labourer: Ive been through this labelling. What we might say about one aspect hour, not one week or one lifetime. Its all got to
one (a similar situation) with Killing Joke. of what we do might be totally wrong because be condensed and so you put everything into it.
Murphy: I know we are not really sure ourselves. A lot of what
Jay: The initial reaction when we read your I do is totally spontaneous. It comes from my Additional remarks: One one little streak of
review and then heard that you were going to emotions and, uh, how can you grey that matched the wall.
interview us, we though how we were going to Jay: We believe in the beauty of an idea, Bauhaus are recording some new music at
approach it. We came up with two possibilities: without grinding it into the ground. If Morgan Studios in North London. The group
a) being physical violence, and b) being a something is working, no matter how simple it are sat close together when I arrive, collected
reasoned discussion. We decided to plump for is, we try and maintain it without elaborating around a small mixing desk. Theyre almost
the latter, but this doesnt mean that the former upon it. Thats really important to us. holding hands. And I am completely ignored.
isnt in with a ghting chance Ash: We think that a lot of the best ideas are I am dirt the winds blown in. They dont care
the simple ones. for me! Its not surprising.
Excerpts from a conversation: Number Three Jay: Thats nearly always the case. If Recently I reviewed their live show which
sex times technology equals the future. something is overworked it will show. they say is an extreme but vigorously valid
Murphy: Ive always thought that as far as The days labourer: But your stage integration of the very anxious stuff theyre
Bauhaus were concerned what we have to say or presentation does seem to be overworked. about and implied that at the core of their
theorise about what we do isnt important. Ash: We feel that if the stage is there, why entertainment lay a lump of shit. I suggested
The actual act of listening to the music is just stand on it and play you might as well that their heart was made up of sick.
the be-all and end-all of what were about. We put a record on. You are there to entertain to a In the little studio my presence is nally
dont really want to analyse it all tightly acknowledged.
the time, we dont want to have to
speak about it. We do it I implied that at the core of The studio is probably well
heated, but its very cold.
The days labourer: Arent
individual interpretations from
within the group an important
Bauhaus lay a lump of shit When you came in, singer Pete
Murphy shudders later, it was a
real sick feeling it was horrible
thing, especially having made the decision to certain degree. I have the feeling that you think Who would have thought that a collection
accept the interview situation? that it is all really worked out, but it isnt. Its of words, a pile of images, teased together and
Murphy: One thing I nd really boring is totally spontaneous. presented in such a trivialised context could
when an artist talks about his work in a really The days labourer: I detected an over- cause such antipathy: but then half a wink in the
over-the-top way. It just really spoils it for me. compensation you have a particular idea or wrong place can cause murder.
If you like something, its there image and youre so eager to make sure that it We move to the studio bar. I try to be

44 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1982

Bauhaus: (l to r)
Kevin Haskins,
Daniel Ash, Peter
Murphy, David Jay

friendly; theyre content to stay blank. They Excerpts from a conversation: Number Six there was a certain amount of return. We felt
make it very clear that I have bruised them. let us be friends even if we cant hold hands. we were putting a lot into things like a job and
All I wanted to do was blast away the sheets of The days labourer: I have a very apathetic getting nothing out of it
vagueness that have covered Bauhaus. view of Bauhaus the dark side of the damp Ash: I think initially we were ghting for
I turn on my tape recorder. They turn on patch. Do you pay attention to all sorts of something better than the mundane its also
theirs. The conversation will be recorded by two things, messy things and nice things? to do with gaining respect
cassettes. This is serious: its surprising. This is Ash: Its all in there its just that we seem The days labourer: From who?
desperate: its terric. to get picked up on the dark things Ash: From people around you. You want to
Drummer Kevin Haskins is prepared to Jay: Its not as though we have a whole set make a statement saying, I am worthwhile, I am
thump me: hes so quiet that at one point of Bela Lugosis Dead. I think that record has necessary, Ive got something to do Its about
Murphy asks him if hes alright. His brother, cast a backward shadow over everything and its saying that you are worthwhile as a person
bass player David Jay, consistently looks at me as been hard to move out into the sun. Murphy: Youre gaining self-respect as
if to say who is this puddle of drabness and how well and everybody has potential everyones
FIN COSTELLO/REDFERNS

dare he come along and question our radiance? Excerpts from a conversation: Number Eight wonderful this is really idealistic oh shit
Guitarist Daniel Ash is as reasonable as I am. creative activity can undoubtedly act as a butwe should all search for ourselves, learn
To Bauhaus I am just another pop journalist. defence against all kinds of threat. to love yourself before you can love others. You

I am just a days labourer. Jay: We all wanted to do something where have to go through shit. Or life

NME ORIGINALS 45
TLFeBOOK
Happy Hunting Ground


Excerpts from a conversation: Number Ten
what young man is by nature diligent, sober
and regular in his habits?
The days labourer: Was the initial impetus
to escape Northampton? Did you want to be pop
stars or were there greater intentions involved?
Jay: Not greater intentions, but not pop stars
either
Murphy: No, but that is part of it. For me
a part of it, not all of it
The days labourer: And that part ts into
the whole?
Murphy: No, nothing ts in it is Im not
Bauhaus, hes not, hes not, hes not Shivers down
Ash: Its always been and always will be your spine:
Bauhaus live
four very disparate views and attitudes its
a mental chicane: all the ideas colliding and
meeting in the middle
Murphy: I think we really respect each
other well, I hope so. Its like a real love
relationship I really miss them when Im
Our guitarist is an accident victim.
away from them It was my rst experience
of creating something and when you live with
them on tour and work with them it really
Im a weed. Our singer is A Mouth
brings you together, it really brings you close. Jay: That is exactly what we think powerful only a certain amount of people are
Jay: But its not all love and peace Haskins: Right from the very start weve going to draw from it, and accept it, because
Murphy: But neithers marriage, dear you hated that label of being underground. If you you cant force anything down peoples throats.
and Ann cant love each other and be smiling at listen to our singles, any of them could be You only have a certain amount of strength to
each other all the time potential hits we were really pissed off that make a statement. Its not that potent because it
Jay: Im not saying that Im trying to give they werent hits, any of them. doesnt last for long and there are hundreds of
a clear view of the situation theres a lot of We want to go on Top Of The Pops. A lot of other groups.
friction there. Its central to the whole thing people do take it for granted that we wouldnt The days labourer: So can Bauhaus claim to
The days labourer: How would you describe go on but they couldnt be more wrong. You can have any distinctive value?
the four inputs that knot together? reach more people through that programme Ash: It is a distinctive value but only to a
Jay: Our guitarist is an accident victim, Im than you would doing three or four tours, it certain amount of people. We cant do anything
a weed, our drummer is a plain Ron and our would be absolutely ridiculous not to about that, because people are only going to
singer is A Mouth Jay: In a way its to our advantage that its draw on something that they want, that they
The days labourer: What is the truth? taken this long for us to break through because relate to. Obviously we dont think that were
Jay: Ah now were just another band lost among hundreds.
Murphy: more determined.
Excerpts from a conversation: Number 15 why Ash: If wed suddenly catapulted into view Excerpts from a conversation: Number 21
are you wasting your time with snowmen when with the second single I think wed all be drug and then we kissed goodbye.
the basement needs cleaning? addicts by now The days labourer: Do you envisage a
Haskins: if someone is working in a situation where Bauhaus doesnt exist?
factory and they have Radio 1 on if we came Excerpts from a conversation: Number 13 Ash: Well, Bauhaus wont exist for ever
on it would make them stop for a moment. how much applause, after all, has God got for it might not exist next week. It might exist for
Ash: Oh, I very much doubt it Pop music his troubles over the years? another ve years you cant say We have
is for young people, and theyre pretty mixed The days labourer: Have Bauhaus always other interests. But we seem to be climbing the
up anyway Im categorising, putting people been aware of how they could use certain ladder slowly, so we continue
in boxes, but its like when they get to their aspects of the group, such as Murphy as
thirtieth year they wont be listening to pop conventional frontman, to attain commercial Additional remarks: Two do not think I
music, or pop music wont be inuencing their success or has this developed recently? underestimate your great concern.
lifestyle even if they are listening to it. It will be Ash: There are various vehicles to be used. The interview has been tidied, arranged and
part of their past. Murphy: Although the live show is an honest edited. It fails to evoke the Bauhaus art-ache:
What Im trying to say is that pop music isnt representation of our music, were also aware sex or nightmare. It fails because I do not enjoy
really that important, because it only affects of how it will draw people to come and see us their music and so placed a continual emphasis
people when theyre mixed up and young because of our reputation as a really good live on pressurising the members to justify their
Murphy: Thats like one sad fact band. And then they might nd out about us existence and examine their work, and because
Ash: Its not necessarily sad The days labourer: And once people become the group are reluctant to explain their work.
Murphy: That space which you can achieve, aware of you and youre no longer underground, Perhaps Bauhaus are healthy. Perhaps they
its potentially a really valuable vehicle and if is that the achievement: Bauhaus become part of are healing people. I wouldnt like to say. I am
you can, if you use that space, and if youre able their day, along with the food, the commercials, only the days labourer. I get merely a bland,
to enlighten that is amazing, youre asking for the radio? unsensational impression of a group who are
the world, youre asking for a saviour Murphy: Not their day once a month committed, idealistic and questioning its
The days labourer: I know an avid fan of The days labourer: But is that all you can still very cold and I cant wait to see them
the group whose attitude is, Oh theyll never expect to make an occasional interruption? on Top Of The Pops.
be on Top Of The Pops, theyre not that sort of Ash: I think as far as music is concerned
group, yet I feel it can be the only logical, useful that is all you can expect. Thats as powerful Excerpts from a conversation: Number 17
SANTOS BASONE/LFI

conclusion for a group like Bauhaus. They have as it can be. For example, PiL, their stuff is the difcult bit to grasp.
got to be in that space, as a cult theyre surely very intimidating, its very strong, but it does Ash: It all boils down to getting that shiver
wasting their time. make an impact to a certain degree. It isnt that down your spine.

46 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
NME, 1 May 1982, p52

Southern Death Cult/


Sex Gang Children
The Clarendon, London

A
ndi Hayward fronts Sex may invoke perverse and braves and how! Southern
Gang Children with a paedophilic images, but they Death Cult come to sacrice a
pretension to angst that fail to live up to their name. prepared audience. The band
would shake Pete Murphy. This There is no overt or even subtle enter and the war paint daubs
pained face, painted white, sexuality. They are sterile and the fans with re. Ian is more
fails to convey a warrior than Adam
the feelings so
protractedly
projected he
This is Crazy Horse coaxing ever was pushing
the primitive drums,
encouraging the tribal
strikes you as a
howling Marcel
the faithful into his war dance
Marceau lost for words and uncoordinated warm where
war of sound.
They cross the plain
between Theatre Of Hates
NME, 8 May 1982, p31

signalling rejection. This is a they should burn, tepid where energy and the dark, percussive
Sex Gang Child. they should freeze. dance of Joy Division. Strict THE CURE
The name of the band Movement from graves to co-ordination is their essence Pornography
and their strength. (Fiction)

Lyrically the songs vary It wont improve your


from the polemic Moya social life or relieve
to the rampant chant you of your load, and
of Fatman. The band this music provides
are not great creators or an antidote to
innovators they are a nothing much at all,
four-piece with all the though it may clear out your
restrictions that implies system. But what Pornography does show
but they are savage, and is that The Cure do have a certain air for
they blow fresh with that identifying symptoms.
same Western breeze This record portrays and parades its
that whistles through currency of exposed futility and naked fear
Westworld or Your with so few distractions or adornments, and
Cassette Pet. so little sense of shame. It really piles it on.
The followers know The Cure have collected the very purest
the signs and read the feelings endemic to their age, and held them
signals, all a perversion right on the spot in their most unpleasantly
of Indian pride, in real form. Here is an album written from
songs like Vivisection the knife-edge of despair, and as a piece of
and Today. All this craftsmanship in expressive sound, it is a
is enhanced by the very big, very harrowing achievement.
shaman-like qualities The drums, guitars, voice and production
of the singer, wearing style are pressed scrupulously together
full war paint; this is in a murderous unity of surging, textured
Crazy Horse coaxing mood. We are better off not picking about
the faithful into his at particular parts of the whole: too close a
war dance. look at the poetic permutations on the lyric
The tribal factor sheet, taken with the occasionally irksome
has been exploited whine of Robert Smith, and he and his
before, but only in a friends can quickly become the tiresomely
fashionable sense all self-analytical young sensitives Ive always
suede, Worlds End feared The Cure might be.
and Kings Road. This Pornography was not designed to be
is REAL Northern probed, but taken en bloc as a dense wash
heart and soul. When of emotional colour, portraying one soul on
Southern Death Cult a leash, ghting the panic in the dark. And,
charge London again as such, it really works. The confessional
it will be for scalps and returns, fragile, frightened, horribly forlorn,
KEVIN CUMMINS/LFI

for the happy hunting and very nely drawn. A killer of its kind.
ground. Dont have too much fun, now.
Ian Astbury: David Dorrell Dave Hill
a man called
Hoarse
NME ORIGINALS 47
TLFeBOOK
Raise The Teutonic

The Birthday Party


throw good taste of, their awed but furious NME, 23 October 1982, p30
and decency on debut, Prayers On Fire, but
the barbie. Again it also signals the end of a
phase, maybe even the end BAUHAUS
of the band. Welcome to the The Skys Gone Out
car crash/You cant tell the boys (Beggars Banquet)

from the girls, can deservedly Dark Entries was a wonderful single
claim a premium place in this a shuddering, wired monolith
hacks hierarchy of tasteless of implacable ill-intent. Since
punter-baiting, but to what then Bauhaus have consistently
end and at what cost? disappointed, and this half-studio,
Prayers was a genuine half-live double album does nothing
shock, a aunting arrogance, to change my view.
a ick-knife slash and a boot Bauhaus undeserved popularity
in the groin of last years demonstrates rocks time-hallowed
short-lived trends. Junkyard need for Princes of Darkness,
nds the Party but razor-sharp
comfortably cheekbones and a
assimilated into the style that went down
scene as welcomed, with the Teutonic
accomplished does not entitle
shock-rockers; them to the Stones
a species to be (or Doors, Velvets,
studied but no Stooges) satanic
longer a startling raiment.
experience. Their fundamental
Weve outlived fault is the simple-
their aggressively one- minded equation of a lurid,
dimensional examination melodramatic narcissism with
of the atrocious potential of the elegant trappings of terminal
language and sound; weve weltschmertz. Pete Murphy comes
moved on while they ounder across like David Bowie imitating
in a seemingly inescapable rut, Jacques Brel declaiming a pastiche
merely shifting the emphasis of Lautramont backed by the
from the soggy bass mix of early Banshees. As silly as that.
Prayers to the arid guitar What Bauhaus believe to exude
scratch of Junkyard. the alluring scent of the forbidden,
Dont get me wrong: merely stinks of atulent rhetoric.
But the band that made Dark
Entries and romped with such brio
through that camp impersonation
of Ziggy Stardust cant be all bad.
MM, 10 July 1982, p16 The Three Shadows and All We
Ever Wanted Was Everything faintly
evoke the sinister musical-box of
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY Lou Reeds Berlin or even Bowies
Junkyard Kooks. Exquisite Corpse concludes
(4AD) the studio album as Bauhaus
Three months ago, Id have given resounding riposte to A Day In The
you this: Junkyard is brilliant; Life, though not half so frightening.
an essential, abrasive album, Side One is more turgid, starting
something to sort out once and for live confrontations, cant disguise a lyrically, musically, monotonously, with a crude version of Enos Third
all the malcontents from the chart- formula struggling and strangled at magnicently, Junkyard spews Uncle, but it recovers on the last two
mesmerised morons. the end of its tether. all over anything youll have heard numbers, Swing The Heartache
Now Im not so sure. Great rock or pop should act as all year. A harrowing pantomime and Spirit. The latter sings the
Living with The a springboard, a jolt of the preposterous power of pop, praises of Bauhaus communion
Birthday Party is much for your adrenalin, it maliciously delights in exposing with their audience of worshippers.
like living with pain you a catalyst for your self-inicted wounds and fertilising Its set to one of those pounding
numb to the hurt with emotions, a trigger them with gangrenous germs. A anthems of the sort popularised by
the passing of time. for your reexes skirmish with Big Jesus Trashcan the late, lamented Skids. Curious.
Not to say Nick Caves to run ruinously should suitably offend. The live set, titled Press The Eject
grotesque parody of apeshit. Junkyard But such wanton offence can And Give Me The Tape, is a brutally
a rocknroll messiah nds The Birthday only command brief attention and procient run-through of their
doesnt stink as bad Party foreclosing recorded revulsion soon subsides greatest hits, including John Cales
as it always did, its on interpretation to neglect. Uneasy listening is no Rose Garden Funeral Of Sores, a
just that a skeletal and demanding longer enough. Almost ironically, rather Blacker Mass than any of their
production and the most cruelly attention like the spoiled brats they this partys been fun. Pity now its own songs. But the album ends on
callous of lyrics liberally battered mercilessly seek to dismember. over. Therell never be such garbage a cheerful note with Dark Entries
DAVID CORIO

by primeval grunts cant hope to Junkyard is, without doubt, an in Honeys sack again. which is where I came in.
emulate the theatre of the brutal improvement on, and extension Steve Sutherland Mat Snow

48 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1982

People in A GlassHaus
Steve Sutherland (Christian) faces up to Bauhaus (Lions) MM, 30 October 1982, p24

a t a pre-arranged whisper and nod from


the wings, Bauhaus bassist David Jay cut
the hack stone dead. Theres very little
spontaneous about Bau the hack had been
the bassist staged an animatedly agitated exit,
followed, rather sheepishly, by the rest of the
band. The hack, somewhat stupidly, stood his
ground, dismayed but barely rattled, and waited
In the 4 July 1981 issue of Melody Maker, the
hack had published his conclusions on a weekend
spent on tour with Bauhaus. The piece was
presented as Anarchy in Aylesbury and sub-
babbling when David smartly cut in for the barracking and hailing glasses to cease titled Steve Sutherland travels in the shadow of
Thats a load of shit! Wed thought of this before attempting to vindicate the idea of an Bowie with Bauhaus nothing new, nothing
literally hours ago so surely that indicates an interview. His efforts were largely lost in catcalls, startlingly original, the article merely sounded
amount of spontaneity. This is all part of it encouraged by Jays sarcastic nal comment: out opinions already widely expressed by others
anyway. The whole point of this is to show The journalist always has the last word! and subsequently echoed many times.
that an interview situation, far from being a Strange, thought the hack, swollen with The band had baulked at every word,
comfortable, informative gathering, is totally pride, that this sentence of prophetic spleen contested every connotation and yet, 14 months
absurd and bizarre so, to put it on stage in front should amount to the only sensible comment later, they seemed to be conceding an odd about-
of an audience, simplies the abstract nature of that Bauhaus had mustered all evening! face, putting Ziggy Stardust back in the charts.
an interview and, therefore, shows it for what it The hack was intrigued; hadnt the band
really is a load of old balls! Just how the hack found himself on stage at the already publicly chastised his assertions on stage?
(Somewhere, high in the auditorium, the spirit Lyceum and subsequently engaged in a heart- Were Bauhaus perpetrating some perverse con or
of Sir Robin Day guffaws: If you believe that youll to-heart with a band he hoped hed washed his had they simply gone stark, staring bonkers?
believe anything!) hands of forever is a rather protracted tale, but The hack decided to check for himself and
TOM SHEEHAN

Satised that the tumultuous whooping and one thats vital to grasp if any sense at all is to be after a phone call to their press ofcer, Chris 
wailing signalled sort of psychological victory, made of this extraordinary encounter. King Carr, was informed that Bauhaus would

NME ORIGINALS 49
TLFeBOOK
Hack In The Spotlight


grant him audience on their own terms about imitation were about humour um
which involved two separate rooms in their DEATH, BLACKNESS But youve been very
native Northampton and an interview conducted brave to accept this offer and we appreciate that.
over video. Sounded silly but a cracking good Hack: Why? I see an interview as a situation
story, so the hack unconditionally agreed. where, if you want to read about somebody and
Unfortunately fame, fortune and Top Of The what they think about what theyre doing, it can
Pops put the kibosh on the whole idea as the be quite a revealing thing.
band were due to mime their hit for the cameras PM: Well, the fact is, you were on tour in our
the day the interview was supposed to take place. van, under our hospitality, hiding under a cloak
Suddenly Bauhaus were overnight big shots of friendliness and amiability and yet, when
and the liaison was scheduled and rescheduled the article came out, you absolutely turned and
according to their every passing whim. showed yourself to be a very cynical, hypocritical
Eventually it was mooted that the hack should person. It was a very dirty trick to do.
meet the band between their soundcheck and Hack: You havent answered my question.
their gig at the Lyceum. Then, in a bewildering Daniel Ash: Why did we put out Ziggy
urry of late evening phone calls, King Carr Stardust? Well, weve been tapping away at the
informed the hack that he was being set up. door of acceptability and it just seemed that the
Seems the band thought the hack should be door needed a fuckin good kick so we kicked it
brought to the Lyceum where, without prior out. Once inside the room we shall attempt to
warning, he would be bundled onto the stage to follow up with original compositions.
Media circus:

I dont think anyone else could do a cover version of Ziggy Melody Makers
Steve Sutherland
(centre) on stage

Stardust like weve done it. Its so dangerous so on edge. with Bauhaus at the
Lyceum, London

conduct the interview in front of the audience, Hack: So what youre saying
in place of a pulled-out support act. The hack, is you took the easy way out?
again, agreed but when King Carr informed PM: No! I dont think
the band their scheme had been rumbled, they anyone else could do a cover
ummed and aahed for 24 hours, nally giving version of Ziggy like weve
the go-ahead hours before the event. done it. Its so dangerous
(The spirit of Robin Day whispers in the hacks so on edge
ear: THAT indicates an amount of spontaneity? DA: And we know the
Tell us another!) chords!
And so the stage was set: ve microphones and Hack: OK, it was a brave
a table with glasses of water, all in an elaborate song to tackle, but what have
attempt on the bands behalf to belittle the hack, you brought to it that wasnt
conduct the conversation in front of witnesses so there already?
the little rat couldnt wilfully misinterpret their PM: Weve reincarnated it,
words and to prove, through their theatrical we havent attempted to make
mock-up, that all interviews are worthless. it any different. The original
The hack, for his part, was determined to get version was excellent, no way
a good story, to escape the proceedings with life, could we rearrange it. Weve put our heart into it uses stark, crude images in a dilettante way
limb and self-respect intact, to belittle Bauhaus that song because its part of our past, part of our with a little bit of reggae, a little Bowie, a little bit
as Bowie plagiarists and to show that it was interest when we were young. The way we did it of Eno I mean, who are you and what are you
only an interview situation with Bauhaus that is on Top Of The Pops was also very humorous. saying? At the end youre left feeling as empty as
totally absurd and bizarre. Hack: OK, but as Ive been cast as the cynic, you started
The following events and conversations are it seems to me youve been releasing a string of DA: Thats up to the individual.
documented, as far as space allows, as near as singles which werent getting anywhere and so Hack: Thats a cop-out. What did you want
possible the way they occurred. Any additional you used Ziggy to get there. it to do?
comments the hacks own home crowd if you PM: We did a string of singles which should DA: Making that album, we had a lot of fun.
like are attributed to the spirit of Robin Day. have got somewhere but never did. Hack: Everybody says that.
Those who want the grist without the gripes are Hack: Everybody says that. (Spirit: There ensues an embarrassing series of
therefore advised to ignore his asides. PM: But were different! squabbles concerning the value of entertainment,
Hack: OK, lets talk about the new album, captive audiences and references to Des OConnor,
The Hack: Good evening ladies and gentlemen. The Skys Gone Out. Isnt making it a double the hack elding platitudes, left, right and centre,
Im Steve from Melody Maker and this is package with an album of old live numbers the hurling them back in at the wicket. Sad to see
Bauhaus, otherwise known as Ziggy Stardust oldest marketing ploy in the business? a band so sensitive that they resort to the oldest
And The Spiders From Mars. Im here because David Jay: Fuck off! trick in the book, adopting superior, sarcastic
Ive written stuff about Bauhaus that hasnt PM: Of course we want people to hear our detachment and patronising benevolence as if, in
pleased them, so maybe the rst thing we should music. humiliating one hack, they repudiate all criticism.)
take up is that I accused you of being second-rate Hack: But what has it achieved that hasnt Hack (some time later): Whats the point in
Bowie copyists, which you denied and yet heres been achieved before? being in Bauhaus?
Ziggy Stardust. What do you think of that? PM: Its up to the audience to interpret it PM: What dyou mean, whats the point?
Peter Murphy: Were very angry and very in whatever way you want. We feel theres a Were excellent and thats it. Were a sparkling
pleased as well. This is a really good occasion progression there. Full stop. cell of activity, were really enjoying our work.
to get him back. In effect its changing the Hack: Progressions a very easy word to use. Hack: Why wont you answer my questions?
whole interview situation into something else; From what Ive heard, the new album sounds Why are you putting forward all this bullshit?
its using it as performance, something very much the same as your others melodramatic PM: What do you mean, not answering your
dangerous, which is what were about nothing but pretty empty. It doesnt seem to say anything, questions? Youre putting out all these comments

50 NME ORIGINALS

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1983

they frightened me silly and now, after burying


them for years because theyre too painful to
remember, they come out and I write about it.
Its like tapping the subconscious, which is
something Bauhaus is very interested in doing.
Its not giving answers, its almost asking,
expressing the pus. I mean the sh symbol was
the original Christian symbol; it wasnt supposed
to be shocking, it was just an image I used
Hack: Thats exactly why an interview is so
valuable with a band like you. Who would have
guessed in a million years thats what the sh
image meant? See, Im prepared to believe youve
got something to say, but I still think youre so
off the mark you go beyond communicating
badly to not communicating at all.
PM: Well Id admit theres a lot of mask
there. Ive still got these inhibitions and if I
express them literally I think Im afraid of the
comeback from my family or whatever. But I can
read those lyrics like an objective reader and,
although theyre very blacked with mystique and
obscurity, I still nd them interesting.
Hack: But arent they dangerous? You
unleash an awful lot of energy
live, if not on record but
so few of your implications
get through that you excite
people, get em up, make em
angry and what do they do?
Punch each other! I call that
irresponsible
DA: Music of any
particular type, of 1982, can
You deal in Hammer horrorisms. I mean only reect the times, how
people think it doesnt
lyrics about fishes piss Jesus Christ!
and opinions which are totally wrong. Why and made them dress
actually say do this, do that.
Music is only a reection and
thats what we are.
should we bother to argue with them? Youre so a bit differently so PM: My view is that
negative, so uninterested in what were doing, what? you should never attempt
youre not really attempting to understand DA: I get your to be a philosopher until
Hack: Well shouldnt you, in that case, be point now totally, youve reached a point of
thinking about the way you communicate to but what the hell are That journalist is understanding. Until that
people if Ive so obviously missed the point? you supposed to do? interrupting my point youre questioning and
PM: Youre one of the people who shouldnt Change the world? meditation. Slay whether people understand
listen to us. Why should you even interview us? Hack: No but him, my pretties that thats the only thing
we can try! I can do. Theres so much I
Moments later theyd stormed off stage. The DA: Well were havent learned yet
hack, head reeling, heart thumping, joined them not. Were not trying to change the world at all, Hack: But your fans see you as an idol!
in their dressing room. were trying to open peoples minds. We arent PM: Thats a sad result of human need; like
Hack: Very nicely rehearsed spontaneous interested in politics or political parties because someone to enact ones fantasies, to take them to
walkout! Very John Lydon 1977! Now that theyre all a fuckin waste of time. the edge and experience the edge for them.
charades over, when do I get the real interview? I think you can open peoples minds DA: All we can do is be honest with ourselves.
DJ: That was it! Thats all! on a personal level its not about telling If we started considering if what we do was
David storms out and doesnt return for about other people what to do, its about suggesting gonna upset somebody or have an adverse effect,
half an hour. Later he declines to stay for a photo something and its up to them to take what they then we wouldnt be able to do anything. I think
session and leaves after the show. want from the music. its very unfortunate if the public like you say
Hack: Surely he doesnt believe the sham out Hack: But I dont think you suggest or open they do take what we say as gospel. I would
there was serious. Come on! You cant just leave up anything. The area you delve in is so small never have imagined that to be the case!
it like that! and morbid. Its easy doom for a doomy time. (Spirit: The hack disappeared to lubricate
DA: OK. The idea of doing Ziggy Stardust You may see humour in it, but I dont. What you shattered nerves, Bauhaus prepared to dress down
was partly a reaction to people like you who deal in is Hammer horrorisms. I mean lyrics for the show and Im left here to have the last say. It
were slagging us off as Bowie rip-offs. Its like about shes piss Jesus Christ! seems Bauhaus may know what theyre on about,
a statement that were not ashamed of: liking PM: Shall I dissect that lyric? Its not but the fans who think theyre peddling solutions
David Bowie. Instead of running away from it Hammer horror. Its tapping my own experience and the foes who take them for trumped-up tarts
were admiring the guy. Full stop. of here we go again the religious suppression just arent catching the clues. Worshipped for almost
Hack: But I nd the whole idea of Ziggy so of a lot of people. Its like a mirror of the reaction all the wrong reasons, Bauhaus poor handling of
pathetic because it doesnt say anything it just I experienced to the absurd images that my the Lyceum asco proved they arent up to putting
creates myths for people to escape into. OK, so teachers, for instance, put into me. I was very their plans into practice. For fans, band and hack
Bowie made a few people dress up, moved on impressionable at the time, very young and alike, it must have seemed like a kick in the eye.)

NME ORIGINALS 51
TLFeBOOK
Lets Go To Bed

And then there


were two: Lol
Tolhurst and
Robert Smith

incurables The
the people. I mean, people like Culture Club
MM, 18 December 1982, p18 do, but we were trying to reach beyond that
faade, beyond current fashion to actually do

Have The Cure split? Is Robert Smith joining the Banshees? something that was gonna last.

What virtues
Does anybody care? Steve Sutherland investigates music exhibit?
and values should such lasting

I cant say its impossible to verbalise.

w
hatever happened to The Cure? Part- The Bunnymen theres very few, but I think Everything weve done has been instinctive.
time Banshee Robert Smith sits in the theyve kept a sort of intensity. You never well, hardly ever have pure
lounge of the Kensington Hilton, sips Thats what I was always striving for insight. Theres really no answers or solutions.
his ice-cool Perrier and worries whether its time with The Cure, but there were far too many Thats a cop-out. Your music is presented in
to write his babys obituary. things working against it really; things of such a manner as to suggest signicance.
Do The Cure really exist any more? Ive our own making like anti-image and all that But the rst line on Pornography is It
been pondering that question myself. See, as I rubbish. That was probably a big mistake, not doesnt matter if we all die. There could be
wrote 90 per cent of the Pornography album, establishing ourselves as personalities earlier. nothing more throwaway than that. To me,
I couldnt really leave because it wouldnt have The Cure always seemed to me to promote thats a really funny line
been The Cure without me. a woolly, unvaried
But it has got to a point where I really dont
fancy working in that format again. People
imprecision, refusing to
entertain any conclusions. It doesnt matter if we all die.
keep saying, You mustnt break up, because its
become like an institution that almost gives
me an incentive to pack it in anyway. I think
That was through
apathy more than anything
else. As long as I would have
To me, thats a really funny line
its really awful seeing bands just disintegrate bought stuff that we were producing, then that Or a really pretentious one
slowly in a stupid way, dont you? was reason enough for releasing the records. No, its not pretentious I really think that!
Whatever happens, it wont be me, Laurence There was never any idea of covering a Im as convinced by arguments for the end
and Simon together any more. I know that. certain section of the market or broadening out of the world as I am for saving whales its a
I wonder if you ever did have any idea what and appealing to more people. Ive never been a completely theoretical area. If I saw someone
The Cure were doing? public face, I wouldnt ever dare to presume that jumping on a baby, Id probably go over the try
I dont know. Its impossible to articulate people hold me up a some kind of gure and, to stop them but, at the same time, I can sit here
really. It sounds really horrible but its more if they did, theyd be really stupid because Im and glibly say that it doesnt matter if we all die.
than words and music. Ive always aspired to much too horrible to be a model for anybody. Its not sixth-form angst or immaturity. Its
TOM SHEEHAN

be like certain bands who affected me: Joy You cant gear your life around presenting a paradox in that what we were doing, to most
Division, New Order, the Banshees, Echo & yourself as something to be consumed by people, seemed really doomy and depressing and

52 NME ORIGINALS

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1982

yet, as a band, we were almost absurdly happy. recorded by Robert and Laurence Tolhurst as What about as far as the Banshees are
Ive never really considered that Ive had a disco experiment. Laurence has packed in concerned?
anything of importance to say on record and drumming and is learning keyboards; Simon I dont know, we havent really discussed
yet we get hundreds of letters from people who Gallup has formed his own band and Robert has it that much. I thought it would be very
are very concerned about what weve done; its recorded a pop single with Steve Severin. presumptuous to say something like that
almost been like a soundtrack to their crises. Meanwhile, the guitarist relaxes on tour with but well, once a Banshee, always a Banshee.
Exactly. The Cure were not a Cure, I dont think Ive said anything
they were an ailment, pandering to the
emotional afictions of their listeners. The Cure are almost like a in this interview, have I? Its all so
ambiguous. It just perpetrates the
No, its not like an incentive for
someone to wallow in their own despair.
Its impossible for me to justify what
soundtrack to peoples crises wanton obscurity.
Youve managed to not clear up the
Cure and Banshees mysteries quite
weve done because it only really mirrored the Banshees as a substitute for John McGeogh. successfully.
our experiences, it never really sought to do Rumours abound that the position may prove Yeah, its all just a state of ux at the
anything more than that. permanent. How bout it Robert? moment. Theres nothing clear-cut to say
Fiction have just released a new single, Lets As far as Im concerned, Im just doing this except I know what I want for Christmas,
Go To Bed, credited to The Cure but really tour. Never believe rumours. Melody Maker readers a hologram kit.

NME ORIGINALS 53
TLFeBOOK
High-Camp Menace

wiping riff of Adrenochrome


NME, 20 February 1982, p 17 still sounds like the greatest four- MM, 16 October 1982, p23
chord sequence ever invented.
BAUHAUS Look, the Stones, The Kinks, The
Kick In The Eye Byrds, the Pistols, the Stooges, COCTEAU TWINS
(Beggars Banquet) The Clash and all the other morons Lullabies
Bauhaus are a cumbersome, were just testing out a few ideas. (4AD)

archaic as hell, hard rock blurge THIS was the riff they were looking Its a sad comment on the state of
who owe more to The Stranglers for. Put it this way: its not bad. Music Today (assumes grandad-
gothic battering ram than the Vocal-wise the lead Sister (a like posture and nestles into
Pistols explosive rage. They trade male) sounds like Lux Interior if rocking chair) that there are
in the old high-camp pseudo- he were given a decent group hundreds of groups who make
art menace with their onstage and some proper songs instead days, a decline in standards their livings by impersonating
theatrics and ponderous musical of a collection of musical cripples reinforced by the inclusion of their heroes as accurately as
attack. Kick In The Eye is one like The Cramps or Ian Curtis on the original versions of Killing possible, in much the same way
of their most popular songs, so Transmission, even. Purchase. An Arab and A Forest on one as 57 years ago a group called
hopefully all who want it have got Lynden Barber portion of this doublepack. Wild Wally wore out the tarmac
it and well be hearing as little of it Its just as well that The Cure on the M1 bringing watered down
as possible in the coming weeks. have now jettisoned what was rocknroll to the kids. What is
Gavin Martin their nest moment, Boys worse, some people appear to
Dont Cry, a song now being accept their liverish dross.
respectfully refurbished in a All you need to know about
Glasgow home by The Bluebells, The Cocteau Twins is that they
who seem to be the sort of people make Siouxsie & The Banshees
that appreciate it more. records. OK?
Believe it or not, I was actually Lynden Barber
the rst person to write about
The Cure, although its not
something I tell anyone but
my closest acquaintances.
NME, 17 April 1982, p22 Adrian Thrills

MM, 15 April 1982, p22


SIOUXSIE &
THE BANSHEES
Fireworks
THE SISTERS (Polydor)

OF MERCY Unfortunately theres not a


Adrenochrome rework within earshot on this
(CNT) song, which is a pity because side NME, 27 November 1982, p17
Ha! So theres life in the ould beast two of the Banshees Once Upon
yet, the creature in question being
a form of music characterised
A Time The Singles Collection LP
is a record gourmets delight.
THE SISTERS
by a simple repetitive beat and Gary Crowley OF MERCY
extremes of volume, popular MM, 9 October 1982, p23
Alice/Floorshow
among young people during (Merciful Release)
NME, 10 July 1982, p21
the post-war economic boom. Theyre sounding not unlike The
(Concise Oxford Dictionary, 1993 BAUHAUS Psychedelic Furs, this group he
edition.) Rock, that is. THE CURE Ziggy Stardust said, crushing their chances of a
The Sisters come from Leeds, Hanging Garden (Beggars Banquet) fair hearing in one fell swoop.
wear young rebel trousers and (Fiction) Peter Murphy blows his cool badly No, dont be put off. This is
make a din so glorious they sound Dont be fooled by the Banshee- and reveals a hidden yearning dark and powerful stuff from
like they stumbled on rock music esque title, Hanging Garden to be Mike Yarwood. Quite good Yorkshires Sisters. Maybe a bit
by accident without ever having is a dismal exercise in rolling, facsimile of Bowies voice, but too dense for extended listening,
heard a note of it before. tumbling rhythmic textures. The maybe hed be better off doing but this much I like a lot. And
About six plays after rst Cure have drifted disappointingly Robin Day or Dennis Healy next a big improvement on their
digging this from the bottom of and indulgently from the idyllic time. Inexplicable. Adrenochrome debut.
the vinyl junkyard, the brain- pop invention of their younger Adam Sweeting Paul Du Noyer

54 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
Chapter 5
1983
DEREK RIDGERS

TLFeBOOK
Mercy Mercy Me

The
Devil
s Floorshow Adam Sweeting unravels the stream of consciousness gushing
forth from The Sisters Of Mercy MM, 15 January 1983, p20

o
ur problem is that talking usually Chinese was the best. Latin helped me no end playing. Craig is the beer-drinker of the group.
ends up as a very serious affair, I dont know whether it helped my brain any, Guitarist Ben Gunn sits quietly in an
which isnt a true reection of the but as a linguist it was certainly vital. And I can armchair, boyish and suspiciously innocent,
band as a phenomenon, said Andy, do crosswords in a zillionth of the time it takes the classroom swot who goes home at night and
singer with The Sisters of Mercy. Its very hard anybody else. I cant do the ordinary ones, but makes explosives in a shed in the back garden.
to convey the non-intellectual aspects of any the cryptic ones are a doddle. Then theres Andy, frontman, writer of all
band through talking. the material so far, dominant theorist and
What the hell, we talked anyway. We talked in The day of our meeting found The Sisters Of mouthpiece. Andy likes logic, order, Motorhead,
Andys front room in Leeds, all four Sisters and Mercy unaccountably quiet, possibly the result cats, industrial design, The Birthday Party, The
me. Then I talked to Andy and guitarist Gary of a sordid and thinly attended gig in Bradford Psychedelic Furs, aeroplanes and TS Eliot.
Marx in a Chinese restaurant. Then back to the the night before. Consider these men: guitarist Andy hates Bauhaus, Kid Creole, false
front room. I vetoed the full all-nighter around Gary Marx is tall, lanky, thick white socks spiritualism, numerous groups from the Leeds/
3.30am. Andy probably spent the rest of the of the sort favoured by mountaineers pulled Bradford area, fashion, eating and alcohol.
night talking to himself, because hed nally got up over the bottoms of his jeans. He watches The Sisters use of a drum machine instead of
warmed up, the night creature pacing in his lair. the proceedings with apparent indifference, a drummer makes excellent sense Andy can
Before he found himself in the spotlight with occasionally throwing in an oblique comment. growl and roar and the others can torment and
The Sisters Of Mercy, Andy studied languages. On stage, he wreaks violence on his guitar. punish their instruments, but the beat will not
Where, I queried. Bassman Craig Adams crimps himself into slacken or surrender.
Oh, all over the place, he said guardedly. the corner of the sofa and reads an old Batman Andy, if you do all the writing, how
I never nished a course because I kept nding annual from cover to cover, pausing only to light important is the rest of the group?
more exciting things to do, like petty vandalism. another cigarette. He only uses three strings Its vital. The personal chemistry is very
Ive done French and German and Italian on his bass because one of the machine heads important. Craigs response is just to play the
and Latin and Chinese and a smattering of in broken. His cheerful exterior seems quite at bass like he does, that sort of awesome noise,
Russian and a smattering of Dutch in my time. odds with the grinding, warlike attack of his and that says a lot to me.

56 NME ORIGINALS

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1983

Sometimes at soundchecks, maybe after Its the only thing which Reading some of his lyrics
weve been in the van all day, he just plugs in separates us from bozos. on paper, I was surprised by the
and wham! It just knocks me out. Mark provides Do you advocate self- formal attention to detail which
the more lunatic side of things. And Bens got a destruction? had gone into them. Generally
much more open mind on things. The balance Andy: Under certain the voice is used as a strand in
of all these four is what makes it work. circumstances, yes. Nietzsche the groups overall sound.
Even minor decisions are ludicrously once said that a mans greatest Our sound says a lot about
democratic. Thats one of the reasons why we power is the power to decide me, Andy explained. People
never got a drummer, because drummers just the time of his own death, say things like, Whats your
dont t into anybodys personal chemistry. and that seems perfectly attitude to nuclear war? and
You talk a lot about the humour in your reasonable. I wouldnt hold Andrew Eldritch: I say, Just listen to the sound
your regular
music, but does it communicate to an audience? that suicide is necessarily a Renaissance Man what the fuck do you think
Well, basically it involves the dialectics of symptom of unsoundness our attitude to nuclear war is?
cynicism, which is something that takes a long of mind, or being not in The voice is much more
time to explain, said Andy. Its a personal than the instruments,
very, very, very, dry joke.
Gary: I think the gigs are pure The names a nice 50-50 balance so its better to mix it down,
because youre very vulnerable.
slapstick.
Because you make them that
way or because of the places you
between nuns and prostitution I think with Anaconda we
might include a lyric sheet.
Wed never print the lyrics on
have to play in? possession of all ones faculties. the sleeve cos that would spoil my artwork.
Andy: It starts off OK but by the end of the Gary: Which is one of the connotations of Andy does the Sisters artwork himself, and
gig Garys just not in control any more, hes just the name of the group. It was picked because it typically its cold and neat, iced with sharp
destroying things. And it is very slapstick. had several strong images, not just one. detail, using livid monochrome to index the
But every bands got that anyway. Its just The names nice and ironic, said Andy stark polarities contained inside.
that most of them dont realise it. And of course with a thin grin, very corporate. A nice 50-50 Anaconda is about the hip games people play
the fact that youre being serious about it only balance between nuns and prostitution, which with heroin addiction, now worryingly back in
makes it more ironic and the whole thing about seemed like a very suitable metaphor for a rock vogue at prices too many people can afford.
irony is that is compounds itself at every stage. band. All this pseudo-faith business and high Theres far too many smack songs which are
Of course, a jokes no longer a joke once ritual, and yet prostitution. a bit too callously irresponsible. Junkie chic is
youve picked it apart and explained it. I And Merciful Release? not where its at. We do Sister Ray because its
can only say that the rst time I saw them Suitably pompous, chortled Gary. just an orgy of self-destruction every time we do
something clicked at once. Perhaps its a little Vincent Price delivered the line very well it. Thats what its all about.
like that horric thrill of driving fast on a once, said Andy. And its a nicely self- All of the lyrics are designed to be taken away
motorway in the rain and the car suddenly deprecating way of releasing stuff. When you and used. Its not just purging myself. I couldnt
starts to aquaplane, or realising that youve gone make a Merciful Release its like, Well, thats go and perform it or make a record of it if I didnt
over the line this time but wasnt it worth if for out of the way, the agony is now over. think it was generally useful. Besides, the band
the rush? Gamesmanship par excellence. wouldnt let me and why should they?
Check, for verication, available Sisters By Andys own admission, the Sisters are still
vinyl on their own Merciful Release label: embryonic, but plans have been laid for 1983. Is there anything youd die for?
the erce, teeth-clenching bobsleigh runs Depending on trivial little factors like money, [Long pause] I might die for someone. Not for
of Adrenochrome and Body Electric, the they should have a single called Anaconda any cause. Dying when you dont intend to is not
relentless Alice. At the moment Im xated by out in February, and an EP is also high on the my idea of an intelligent act.
the suspended torment of Floorshow, a roaring agenda. An LP is not envisaged before 1984. What would you be doing if you werent in
electric tarantella, the kill-or-cure dance of Theyre currently entering a slower and The Sisters Of Mercy?
death. Its hard rock without the pomp (though heavier phase, which Andy feels he has to work Id like to do all sorts of things whether
Andy can and will pose like a good un), heavy out of his system forthwith. anybodyd give me the chance is another thing.
metal with keen critical faculties. I wouldnt mind being your regular Renaissance
Man, but whos gonna employ me
What do you love about rock? to do that? Not many vacancies for
Andy: We like a loud noise, we like a them in the Exchange & Mart.
good tune. We like the relentlessness of How about you, Gary?
classic rock music heavy metal. Working Class Hero. Its
What do the Sisters do thats any true, thats what my name is, its
more than a loud physical noise? just sending it up. Im just a born
Well, our attitude towards parody is Working Class Hero deprived
designed to show people how this loud background, almost a footballer.
noise is ideally to be taken. You can What use are you to anybody?
frighten people and amuse them at the Andy: You could say, Well look,
same time, and excite them and inspire four million people cant be wrong
them. Because thats what it does to us, and thats how many weve sold, and
it does all those things. it wouldnt justify it. You could say,
Are you offering your audience Well it stopped one person jumping
some kind of faith? off a bridge, and that wouldnt
Yeah, I mean to us cynicism justify it. Whatever justication you
is very closely linked to faith or had wouldnt prove the point; you
belief or holding something dear. can only offer an opinion.
Its the sort of cynicism that comes That question not only asks What
out of disappointment with ones The Sisters in 83: (l to r)
do you do? but also Do you regard
environment rather than despair of Ben Gunn, Andrew Eldritch, it as worthwhile?, and obviously one
it, and thats a very precious thing. Gary Marx, Craig Adams does or one wouldnt do it.

NME ORIGINALS 57
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Redskin Rock

Tunes of glory
MM, 5 March 1983, p20

Adam Sweeting sings the praises and questions the poses of Southern Death Cult
i
met Southern Death Cult in Liverpool the latest in a long line of labelling machines into an interview situation I could explain why
on a cold grey afternoon. Id wanted (probably unscrupulous). After some nervous I was interested in Indian culture. But I never got
to meet them because theyre one of a false starts, and probably to everybodys surprise, the opportunity and we were already labelled.
sadly tiny number of groups who have we nally found some common ground. So I thought it would be better for the four of
some sort of aura, who project more than just a A lot of people want to accept us for some us if I toned everything down, and now I dont
chart position or a certain brand of hype. reason, said Ian, the singer, so theyve got to wear those clothes any more. I havent packed it
Foolishly, Id believed what Id read in the try and understand us. To understand us theyve in cos its still in me heart, but I thought if I take
papers about them being the spearhead of got to put a label on us. By putting a label on us the image away and people wanna nd out, then
some new movement, and consequently I had a theyre linking us with other people. But it is they can go deeper than that
whole clutter of preconceptions. I saw them as dangerous, its like the nails going in the cofn.
potential fakes (probably arrogant), who maybe With their loud declarations of their Meet the Death Cult theres guitarist Buzz,
believed what theyd been told about their own absorption with North American Indian culture, blond hair falling bashfully down one side of a
importance. But I hoped they didnt. the Death Cult were instantly pegged as Redskin face which can only be described as pretty. Buzz
From their side, the view was different. The Rock, and visions of Adam & The Ants started likes Woody Allen, Mad magazine and George
Death Cult dont read the papers much, probably to haunt them. But Ian, you must have known Melly, all of which came as a bit of a shock since
because what theyve read about themselves that would happen? Id expected him to say something like Sex
has in general disgusted them. They saw me as I was aware of it but I thought if I could get Gang Children and grave-robbing.

58 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
Southern Death Cult:
Ian Lindsay (soon
to be Ian Astbury),
Buzz, Aky and Barry

Theres drummer Aky, whos Pakistani. I started babbling on to him, everything I To a certain extent yeah, but were not sorta
He admits to reading Mayfair and likes old could think of to show I wasnt what he thought like puppets, you know, we do have feelings and
rocknroll the happy stuff as he puts it. I was, but he just sort of opped into the crowd we are sorta reecting what we see around us
Im a really ambitious person, he confesses. and shrank away. But afterwards I was talking to through our music. I wouldnt like to see what
On bass, theres Barry. He looks very serious, him for like two hours, and he said, Please come we do being taken purely as an entertainment
shakes my hand with great solemnity. He speaks back and play again. It was good. But that rst thing, just a dance band. Id like to see maybe a
in a wistful tone which sounds like the faintest thing he said sort of knocked me on the head for bit of thought going into it.
breath of wind could carry it away. Barry reads a the rest of the evening, it really cracked me up. But isnt it an entertainment industry?
lot of books. Aky says: I can never understand Having been elected as baby Messiahs, you I think it was.
the questions when we get interviewed, so if they have to expect problems like these. Meeting the You mean its changed?
ask me I refer them to Barry. Death Cult, I was startled by how unprepared Before, people had a choice of what they
And nally Ian, frontman and performer, they were for the kind of status which has been wanted to be into. Now theyve got it forced upon
chief talker of the group but them, like Kajagoogoo and
not necessarily the last word on all that shit. I think thats
what they do or why. Ian does
like Sex Gang Children Im
Moya is a near-classic deployment of simple rock pretty wrong.
Were not forcing
pretty much obsessed with them
now. Theyre about the only new
components, adding up to an aura of eerie suggestion ourselves upon anyone
if people want us were
group that I really like. thrust their way. I thought their Fatman/Moya there, but if they dont want us then fair enough.
Ian is emotional, an extrovert in an intense single was ne stuff, moody and evocative, but Were not sort of on every fucking kids TV
sort of way, and has a penchant for self- Id been disappointed by a thoroughly drab programme, trying to push our product to them.
dramatisation. Useful credentials for a singer session they recorded for John Peel. Were just where we are.
with a rock band, but he needs more realistic At the moment theyre still probing their There has to be an element of performance,
qualities of the other three to prevent him from own weaknesses and strengths, which is why though. You have to pose to some extent to be
ying out of control. songs like The Girl can end up sounding like the frontman with Southern Death Cult.
Ian started to tell the story of an incident a raw tangle of noise, while newer stuff like All No I dont, said Ian hotly. I just do what
which had taken place at Friars in Aylesbury the Glory? begins to resonate with a dawning sense I want. Sometimes Ive just got to control meself,
night before. Ian had been on stage at the time. of power. Moya is still their best song a near- like when that kid said that thing to me at
There was this little Asian kid and he sort of classic deployment of simple rock components Aylesbury I just felt like getting a microphone
looked up and motioned me over, and he said, which adds up to an aura of eerie suggestion. stand and shoving it down his throat. But you
Youre fuckin in love with yerself, arent yer? So Ian, are you aiming for the group to work just dont take your frustrations out on people.
I thought, You little bastard, you dont fucking on that basic level of just being something for What Ian does on stage isnt a pose, its from

know how I feel. people to dance to? the heart, added Barry seriously.

NME ORIGINALS 59
TLFeBOOK
Creature Discomforts


Ian: It just reects the way I see
things things that may have happened to
me through my life that have made me the
way I am. Ive got it all built up inside me.
When I get on stage I can hit some
levels where I just open my heart
completely. Like last night before I went on
it was really strange, cos I closed me eyes
NME, 12 February 1983 and I could see me own face looking at me.
I wasnt scared, but something like that
had never happened to me before.
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
The Bad Seed What are the things that have happened
4AD to Ian to make him the way he is? Hes
The Birthday Party have lived in Canada, Belfast and Liverpool,
always seemed more an and spent a month in the army before
exercise in exhausting deciding that wasnt for him. Hell talk
self-parody than the about some of it, but then infuriatingly
gothic Beefheart stops just when the subject sounds like its
claimed by their rabid getting weird. Such as: The subjects you Did we really just
supporters. They may could talk about, Im too scared to, so Id admit to liking
have come to bury rather not talk about it. Its something Supertramp?
rocknroll, but the Im aware of within meself, so thats why
trouble is they keep digging the I control meself. Like
grave over and over again. I know certain people who
And after listening to this four-song EP, it think theyd like to fuck Last night, before I went on stage, I closed my
seems that it wont be long before Nick Cave off to Nicaragua, pick up
and his performing troupe of deviants fall into a gun and ght there, cos eyes and saw my own face looking back at me
their purpose-built tomb. theyre too scared to ght
Its impossible to avoid the obvious when in this country. It depends what youre into inspirational to go out and make whatever you
youre talking about The Birthday Party simply Look, youre hardly the rst band to sing do a bit better, you know? You can shut things
because they are so ludicrously larger than about jingoism (Patriot or All Glory?) Or out around you, make yourself feel good.
life: sex, smack and death are all over into this genocide (Moya). I think the Death Cult could fall into the same
unctuous assault. Oh no, certainly not, said Ian. traps as The Clash, of promising more than you
The playing sounds tired and overwrought, So isnt there a danger of just turning these can deliver.
any tension lost in a barrage of clichs. The rusty topics into clichs? We dont base everything on image and we do
stabs of bass, drums and guitar are used more as I dont think human feelings can be clichd a lot of things on feeling, said Ian. I suppose to
a means of colouring Caves schlock accounts of its not a little trend or fashion, it is a feeling. a very very small extent we do things for effect,
love gone awry than as a force in their own right You cant clich feeling. You get psychologists I think everyone does. Ive got a hell of a lot of
which places the emphasis on lyrics that are saying a certain condition is schizophrenia or respect for The Clash; I think theyve still kept
no longer disturbing or genuinely dark. something thats garbage. How can you sort of their integrity. Maybe theyre past their peak.
Deep In The Woods is a swing love song for put somebodys frame of mind into a category so Its in your favour that you draw on a very
psychotic misogynists Tonight we sleep in you can understand them? basic, traditional kind of rock power it has a
separate ditches, croons Cave. Sonnys Burning Are you offering people faith, or weight of history behind it.
is a black account of energy-saving. Fears Of I dont think Im offering anything. Im just Oh yeah, it goes a long way back. Back to,
Gun boasts a chorus that runs Fingers down myself, stating the way I feel about things. Im not I suppose, when people were banging sticks
the throat of love and Wild World is a plea for a preacher. At one time I thought I was supposed and stones together.
protection and little more. to be a preacher cos I thought I had to say things Well, I dunno about that
This is a ight into miserable fantasy; a to get people to look at me in a certain way, or to People are always looking to the future for
diversion that offers hardly any insights into the look at us and say, Well, Southern Death Cult answers thats why everythings falling apart.
sometimes poignant state of the truly wretched. are about being free or fucking the system, or If you go back to the past, you know what you
The Birthday Party pretend to be crucied whatever. But now I think no, thats not the way. are and where youre going.
for the consequences of irrepressible extremes. I dont wish to become a leader or anything Even us, looking back into the 60s for
Yet, like most of their supposed obsessions, this like that, I dont think any of us do, because of inspiration Before the Sex Pistols I was
record is another plaything. Theyve probably the responsibilities that wed have. listening to stuff like Supertramp and Genesis
forgotten it already and if youve any sense In the end, arent you just one more rock I used to pass off The Who and that as dinosaurs.
youll do the same. group out of thousands of rock groups? Its only been in about the past year that
Ian Pye I dunno, sighed Ian. Ive been doing a hell of a lot of listening to 60s
Within ourselves I guess not, said Barry. As stuff, like Jimi Hendrix, The Who and The Small
regarded by other people, probably yes. Faces, and its fucking mind-blowing.
Ian, isnt the problem with music that
anything you want to say is simultaneously an 1983 looks like being a good year for rock groups,
escape or a social occasion for your audience? and Southern Death Cult will become one of the
Yeah, I would say that. Um I think music is best of them. How much does this matter, Aky?
one of the only things people have got left where The whole thing about the band and all
everyone can express themselves the way they is that sometimes when we do gigs it shatters
want to, through dancing. A lot of people cant that whole image thing. Ian will just say or do
paint or draw or write and they dont even care something that shatters peoples image of us, like
Nick Cave: Sex, about stuff like that, but when people come to a Oh, Southern Death Cult, theyre just another
smack and death? concert they can do what they want. Haircut One Hundred which is really good.
Mmm, yes please
You can use the concert as a focal point. It is There is something more than just a band.

60 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1983

questions to be asked about Hawaii, as a lash-up, though a mess is


but The Creatures sub-Campari probably closer. Its been botched
ad gushings Good ere, innit? together from a couple of Radio 1
answer none of them. sessions, some unreleased demo
Julie Burchill versions and a live recording made
at Rafters in Manchester, and on
MM, 11 June 1983, p27 the whole does the chaps little
justice. Its a painful irony that

SOUTHERN Southern Death Cult, of all people,


should have got themselves
DEATH CULT lumbered with a contractual
Southern Death Cult obligation album of the
NME, 28 May 1983, p26 Hawaiians featured seem totally (Beggars Banquet) most transparent sort.
superuous and show-offy. The sudden implosion The three live
Siouxsie will hate to face the fact, of Southern Death Cult tracks, Crow, Faith
THE CREATURES but what she does is very 60s, very a couple of months and Vivisection,
Feast hippy, very Bad Acid. ago, when they seemed are probably best
(Polydor) Her voice often sounds to be on the crest of a forgotten. Crow is
For one brief, like Julie Driscolls, and wave, was a rude shock a mere fragment,
wonderful winter when her songs could be to the numerous pundits while the other two
I was 11, three of my Arthur Brown or Edgar whod been touting them suffer badly from the
friends and I formed a Broughton, or even as everything from The shrill, dry quality of the recording.
small theatre company Donovan. Meaning Of Life to The Best Rock Faith merely demonstrates that
and showed off to the The key words of Group Since guitarist Buzz has been listening
rest of the school with the record are (in The very model of to Jimi Hendrix.
plays that we wrote, order of popularity) untogetherness, the Death Cult There are versions of the Cults
produced and performed FLOWERS, COLOURS, made their hasty exit leaving loose dynamic duo, Fatman and Moya,
ourselves. Wed write a certain scene FIRE and DANCING very Bad Acid. ends everywhere. This posthumous engineered by Mike Hedges at the
time and time again a Rising From And the lyrical content throughout LP doesnt really tidy them up, it Playground studio. Moya is slower
The Grave scene, effected by the is as orid as Denis Healeys face. just collects them together in one and altogether less sinister than
application of talcum powder to the There are doubtless many place. It can charitably be described the ofcial single version cut with
face and getting up slowly off Mick Glossop at the helm,
ones back with a glazed look The Creatures: while Fatman displays a few
in ones eyes and hands out in the Sonny and minor differences in tone
Cher of the
front like a sleepwalker. and balance. Um so what?
psychiatric ward
Eventually some squealer On the more positive side,
spilled the beans and we you get versions of the ne
were hauled up in front of the All Glory and the passionate
head words like unhealthy False Faces. Apache, too, is
and morbid were thrown a useful addition to available
around. Morbid! We were only Cult material.
HAVING FUN. Today is a dramatic
Siouxsie is stuck in the sort non-song, all breast-beating
of adolescence in which the vocal from Ian Lindsay and
stuff dreams are made of is thundering drums from
sances, car crashes, ketchup Aky, demonstrating that
and the house of Hammer I SDC were regularly strong
could never take her seriously on atmosphere but short of
with the Banshees, and The decent pegs to hang it on.
Creatures the Sonny and Finally theres The
Cher of the psychiatric ward Crypt, which is decked
are even more transparent. out with moody piano and
Theyre not evil incarnate, some weird studio effects
theyre comedians. promising, but like the
If you take a girl from rest of this stuff a mere
Chislehurst and drop her on a blueprint for what might
paradise island Hawaii in the have happened if Southern
case of The Creatures Feast Death Cult had been able to
obviously shes going to put time and effort into a
be impressed; but Siouxsies full scale album.
instant impressions leave a lot I cant imagine the group
to be desired. The sounds of are particularly proud of
the sea and the jungle, what this tatty compilation,
with Siouxsies complaining, which should really have the
droning voice imposed phrase Dont remember
over them, give the record me this way displayed
the avour of a travelogue prominently on the sleeve.
STEVE RAPPORT

narrated by someone Meanwhile, we await their


recovering from a nervous various next moves
breakdown; the voices of the Adam Sweeting

NME ORIGINALS 61
TLFeBOOK
Glove Story

MM, 9 April 1983, p3 MM, 16 April 1983, p4

Party weary
treats us in a very different way. Its
like they wait for some sort of signal
from the group as to what way we
want them to behave.
The group return to their much-
hated outpost of London this month
NME, 18 June 1983, p14 supposedly to complete a double
EP which was begun in Berlin before
Following months of rumour, The Birthday Party have announced that they are splitting up. the tour.
And that, says Nick, will be the
Drummer and co-founder Mick Harvey attributed the decision to lack of artistic direction, last project for quite a long time for

and audience inflexibility. Brett Wright reports from the bands home town of Melbourne on The Birthday Party.
Caves next project is the staging

their f inal dates in Australia, and talks to Nick Cave about his own plans for the future of 50 or so one-minute plays hes
written with Lydia Lunch. He
doesnt have too many details about

T
he tour was a debacle. They called The Shufing Hungarians. this project, but he does have a
were reasonably well-received Both said they liked Nick a lot. philosophical position on it.
in Sydney, but opped in Perth Back in Melbourne a week later, I nd theatre the most awkward,
and opped in one of two concerts Nick Cave was convalescing at home restricting medium which you
in home town Melbourne. The other in his mothers place in the afuent, can work in. Which is primarily the
Melbourne show was a qualied tree-lined surrounds of Malvern reason Im working in it and why
success, but many felt cheated by East. He looked carefully wrecked: these plays are going to be put on
the groups unwillingness to play dark lines under the eyes; a weary, under the banner of traditional
any more than eight lousy songs, dismissive manner, drainpipe jeans, theatre rather than performance art
as several patrons put it. a swastika belt buckle or fringe theatre. Or at least, it will
At the Perth show, the absurdity I have tried to make it clear to be presented under that guise. Once
came to a head. Cave was bitten on the audience that despite what the audience are trapped within
PETER ANDERSON

the leg by a hospital clerk named they think, I dont like being pulled the doings of the plays it will be no
Sarah and knocked to the ground under a crowd stomping feet and longer remain respectable.
by the former lead singer of a band so forth. Now the British audience I bet it wont.

62 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
The Glove
The further adventures of Steve Severin and Robert Smith, by Steve Sutherland
MM, 3 September 1983, p20

t he comely young wife with her hands in


the sink smiles as her hubby strolls into
the kitchen of her Los Angeles dream
home. Just back from the ofce and starving for
This, or thereabouts anyway (its a long time
since Ive seen it) is a scene from Blue Sunshine,
a superbly harrowing B-movie that did the
rounds to little acclaim towards the end of
Some people out there would do well to start
checking their diaries smartish.
Blue Sunshine is also the name of the
rst and only album by The Glove. This is no
his dinner, he skirts the table and folds his arms the disillusioned 70s. Taking its name from a coincidence. After all, The Glove thats Robert
around her ample waist, twisting her into an reputedly super-potent strain of LSD, its plot Smith, Steve Severin and Zoo, aka dancer-
affectionate embrace. was lip-smackingly simple: anybody who had turned-singer Jeanette took their name from
She tilts her head back to receive his kiss, and sampled a certain contaminated batch of the the Blue Meanies giant st-cum-executioner in
suddenly tufts of her hair drift gently to the said hallucinogenic would, without warning, go Yellow Submarine. The same glove that turned
tiles. As he recoils in horror a carving knife arcs bald 10 years to the day that they dropped their back into LOVE when the power of music
up out of the suds and strikes and strikes and trip and then turn into a homicidal maniac. The overcame bad with good. Theres either message
strikes again revenge on or of the love generation? or madness in these mindgames.


NME ORIGINALS 63
TLFeBOOK
Kitchen sink drama


Of course, both the Banshees their fame. Where others make commercial
and The Cure have always mucked success the be-all of their existence, the
about with the romantic notion of Banshees contingent want to use it as a
love, happiest with a relationship weapon. Hence the splintering of the band
to dissect or an emotion to torture into its offshoots experiments with the
into screaming confessions of guilt, attraction of reputation.
so it should come as no surprise Its basically an album and thats where its
that when Smith and Severins plan gonna stop, says Severin of The Glove. And
for a single called Punish Me With thats what The Creatures is, just one album.
Kisses expanded into a feverishly The more time The Creatures are seen to be
claustrophobic album project, love around, the more people think, Have the
should end up on the rack. Banshees split up? And all sorts of nonsense.
It does come as something of a So were just gonna do the minimal amount,
shock, however, when Smith sits cross- then concentrate on other things.
legged on the oor and says: Its quite To me, it seems perfectly natural to
a happy album really. Its good that its be involved in so many different areas,
gonna be a summer release. says Smith. But it still seems odd to other
My mind swiftly retracks in panic people, Funny that
the nightmare-in-a-nursery of Mr
Alphabet the brooding cacophony of The trap is , of course, that ensuring your
Orgy the sance tension of Blues In own working environment remains vibrant
Drag? I catch a hint of a smile. doesnt mean that what you produce will
I should have known: once a Banshee Severin and be valid to anybody else. Just because
always a Smith: Evil Dead Robert Smith plays a lot more keyboards
We havent got together to do this meets the Blue than guitar on The Glove album doesnt
because theres anything trapping us Meanies necessarily mean the albums any good.
within the music that we already do, Severin is acutely aware of the problem.
Severin insists in a whisper. I know The idea that The Glove could get away
that Im quite free to do whatever I like with anything vanished very quickly because
within the Banshees and always have.
The main reason the whole thing started
The Gloves Blue it became a real responsibility to get it to
sound not indulgent. What I wanted was for it
was because, when I listened to The Cure, I
could understand why Robert was putting a Sunshine sounds like a to have more of a specic personality than the
Banshees or The Cure.

journey into the tunnel


certain thing in a certain place; the sense of I think weve nearly got to an idea of
dynamics and melody was fairly similar to what me and Robert are like as people, our
what I was doing with the Banshees. relationship. Songs like Blues In Drag are the
The main thing now though is its a
completely different situation, a completely oflove that took a wrong kind of thing Im most pleased about because,
if the Banshees had approached that from
different way of working
Smith agrees: It was a real attack on
the senses when we were doing it. We were
turn into the horrors the beginning, it wouldnt have ended up like
that. I just wanted to do something a bit
softer, a bit more introverted, probably.
coming out of the studio at six in the morning, spent on idiot magazines and stuff like that! We Thats what I wanted to achieve, the kind of
watching all these really mental lms and then were making big murals of all these cuttings and things that are exclusive to our friendship.
going to sleep and having really demented pictures and stuff, big day-glo posters. Everybody Ive played this to has almost
dreams and then, as soon as we woke up, wed And the lms? immediately said it sounds really fresh and
go virtually straight back into the studio, so it Oh, The Brood, Evil Dead, Helicopter Spies, added to that by saying that everything else
was a bit like a mental assault course towards Inferno I dunno, what else? Some Divine thats coming out now is really horrible.
the end. stuff Yellow Submarine Last year, Fireworks being in the charts was
When we were writing the words, we were Ah, but what purpose these days to such unusual and this year, when a Banshees single
picking up on things wed experienced within perversions of love? Can they act as anything gets into the charts, itll be even more unusual
the time of doing the album. I mean, God, we beyond kitsch, choreographed titillation? because the climates just horric!
must have watched about 600 videos at the time! Chartwise, so much of its down to melody,
Thered be like all these after-images of the lms The love-peace vision of the 60s has long been Smith intrudes. You nd yourself humming
wed watched cropping up in the songs. reduced to a fashionable quirk and ridiculed most of the Glove songs but, at the same time,
It wasnt deliberate, but after a while, they for its naivety. We tend to dismiss the whole theyre not pop songs. I like that about it.
were chosen, I think, almost as inuences. ethos as stoned-out lunacy and look instead The Banshees coterie are more vulnerable
When we were waking up, in the half-hour or so to cut-throat private enterprise as a means of now than ever because, in a musical climate that
that we were just like in a coma, Id put on a lm personal, rather than global, salvation. So much encourages safety and contrition, being different
or a piece of music that was completely different for Sergeant Pepper and Blue Sunshine. for being differents sake is one hell of a virtue.
to what wed been doing the night before, so that And even the promise of promiscuity and The Banshees/Glove/Creatures particular
it would inuence the day. Wed set ourselves dark fantasies fullled inherent in Severins genius is that not only do they advocate constant
the task of writing two songs a day, so it was the chosen pseudonym and Smiths psychotic change but they remain fertile and unbridled
only way we could refresh ourselves. imagery are a confusion, a wry comment on rather than cynical or calculated.
We just kept going at it, Severin conrms. societys sordidly accepted double standards. We havent got a clue what the next Banshees
We had to make it sound complete. At the On the surface, Blue Sunshine sounds like album is gonna be like, Severin chuckles. If
beginning, it was just like a dozen, 15 songs a journey into the tunnel of love that took a you stuck the Creatures album and The Glove
completely different from each other. wrong turn into the horrors. But underneath, together, I dont think anybody could know
Songs? laughs Smith. It sounded like there beats a subliminal pulse, a frantic desire to what is coming next from the Banshees. Theres
15 different groups! The other thing that test out ways of working within the connes of a certain amount of glee involved in that but its
inuenced it, talking about snippets, was the pop without contributing to its malaise. not contrived at all.
amount of junk we were reading, the amount we Severin and Smith want to do something with No, Smith agrees, smiling. Just manic.

64 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1983

Twindrops Keep
Falling On NME, 10 DECEMBER 1983, p26

My Head Robin and Elizabeth are


The Cocteau Twins but
they dont like to brag about
it. Paul Morley attempts to
discover more about this
obscure couple
R obin and Elizabeth, two friends, are sat,
drinking tea from cheap mugs, in the
kitchen of their at. It is a Wednesday.
The at, in Muswell Hill, London N10, they
share with some people I do not meet. Robin
and Elizabeth have their own room where they
sleep and which they tidy. In the kitchen they
make the tea and plan the day.
The kitchen looks just like a kitchen that a
few people share well used. You almost want
to pat it on the back and say well done for all its
been through. Robin and Elizabeth sit on small
wooden chairs at a skinny table. Calm, I burst
in, noisy, with a carrier bag of strong lagers and
a plastic case containing a mono Sony recorder
and two TDK C90 cassettes. Storm.
The couple in the kitchen are soft, and quiet,
and remote, and only really smile for each other.
Robin eyes me suspiciously. Elizabeth grips her
mug as though it contains wonderful secrets.
So what do you want to talk to us about?
asks Robin, using a soft Scottish voice that is
quite at home in this cold, shared kitchen lled
with old, used utensils. He places a careful,
deprecating emphasis on the us and at the
same time he challenges me.
TONY MOTTRAM

Oh, vague things, I say.


The couple consider this reply. Vaguely.
The three of us get used to our positions in


TLFeBOOK
Mere Mortals


the kitchen, defending in our own ways the who found, somehow, that she could sing. A
almost handsome silence. I open a bottle of technician and a voice.
strong lager. Robin, at a distance, mixes a gin Thats a bit hollow, Robin snorts.
and tonic and adds a slice of lemon. Elizabeth, to Well, tell me more, I implore.
my surprise, frantically rubs her ngers together, Oh, weve been spilling our bloody life stories
in a state of true anguish. I thought Id been out to you he sneers.
invited, but it appears I am an intruder. I could Spilling? This was an exaggeration.
kill them, because they make me feel so ugly. Dripping, more like.
But I had a feeling this would be indulgent, so A couple of drops.
I gently enquired if we would have to talk in the Twin drops were falling on my head.
open wilds of the kitchen. It was torture.
They invite me into their room. Trafc
turns right outside the windows in this room, I asked Elizabeth if she was excited about being a
which doesnt smell of anything, and a clock Cocteau Twin. I thought it might be interesting
ticks proudly by their bed. You can hardly hear if she could explain whether being a Twin
Robin defending his virtue and describing had taken her anywhere exciting, disturbing,
his disappointments, and even he seems to be stimulating, and I didnt mean on a bus. Are you
bawling compared to Elizabeth. The loudest noise excited about being a Cocteau Twin?
she made was the rst noise she made during the Yes and no. Drip and drop.
conversation, after many meandering minutes. In what ways yes and no
She sneezed, startling me, Robin and herself. Er A pause as long as your grandmothers
At one point Robin will pull a hair from life. Or death. Oh A pause as long as a
Elizabeths throat: the length of the hair shocks sleepless night. The clock ticks. The trafc turns.
us all, but dont worry, it wasnt growing out of Oh God Cmon woman. Im going to say
her throat. It must have fallen there somehow. sorry again
Records in the room are stacked very neatly. What are you trying to provoke us into ideas in the music business the selling the
The room is dustless, there isnt really a hair saying? demands Robin. competing the music is there, it represents a
out of place. Or at least, if there is, it is removed Tell me some stories, tell me where you are, particular time for us, and there it is If I was
with some drama, and it nds its proper place. tell me where you might have been tell me someone else I wouldnt want to know about
Oblivion, or something. Theyre from Falkirk. something. Unfair, decides Robin. me, all those little personal details, my opinions,
I dont think we should have to explain thats all to do with packaging, a packaging I
Robin softly complains: Everybody at our record anything. I would have thought that the music dont want to know about
company tells us how popular and important explains everything really Is this purity possible in such a rough, raucous
The Cocteau Twins are, but I cant comprehend You feel that the music is the end, not the world?
any of that. All we have to go on is our record beginning. You wont accept that your music, Well, its a nice thought to have with you
sales, and we dont really sell that many records. something you feel very close to and involved But it means that youre completely defensive
That was something to think about. with and therefore special to you, will attract all the time, even towards people who are, so to
We needed something to laugh about. I asked attention and questioning you dont seem to speak, on your side.
Elizabeth if she considered herself a writer: by want to acknowledge all the complications that On the whole in interviews I am defensive
this time she was talking to me, not sneezing or must go with making pop music. because generally the rst question is, Oh,
staring down past her knees at the clean carpet. It all comes from a rejection I have of certain why do you copy Siouxsie & The Banshees?
Something like that.

People would come along to interview us and theyd go, In the days of Garlands, especially, people
had these notions that we would be clad in
leather, with make-up all over, and po-faced.
Oh God, we thought you at least looked good!
Are you a writer?
People would actually come along to interview
us and theyd ask us where The Cocteau Twins
were. Theyd go, Oh God, we thought you at
No. least looked good!
Do you call yourself a singer? Robin smirks out of a kind of triumph
No. he cannot hide it, although he tries at this
So what do you call yourself? memory. Elizabeth shivers a little, as if this
She turns to Robin, touches his leg. memory, like most others, was a cold wind.
Oh, youve got a lot of names that you call
me, havent you Will enters our time together. Will and Robin
Robin smiles at her: Youre a wee bastard, wanted to make some music together, there
thats what you are in Scotland, and found Elizabeth dancing in a
That made us laugh. club. If she could dance that well, it was decided,
Robin looks into a corner of the room: I get surely she will sing superbly.
a funny feeling up my nose and my back when I look at Elizabeth sat on the bed, as perplexed
people go on about having to label yourself. to be involved in a conversation about pop
He looked as if he was in some sort of pain. music as your grandmother would be, dead or
Robin and Elizabeth are The Cocteau Twins. alive, and I nd it hard to think that she has ever
If you wondered why we were all brought danced. She rubs her ngers.
together, it was to talk about The Cocteau Twins, At that time, had you nothing planned, did
or not talk, or try to talk. At the end of our you know where you were going, or where you
talk-not-talk I tell Robin that I have a conclusion would be pushed? Elizabeth cannot quite ick
The species cocteaus
about The Coctwins. geminus emerges
this memory into play. Robin answers.
I conclude that The Cocteau Twins are I think this is probably the last place she
TOM SHEEHAN

from its burrow. Liz


one detached Scottish boy who wants to be a and Robin with Will thought shed end up.
record producer, and one distant Scottish girl Heggie (left) Its Elizabeths regretful, exultant voice that

66 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1983

Will leaves the time we have together. He played


bass in the group until a long European tour
supporting OMD: this tour hit them at with the
impact of routine and the greyness of repetition
and only the two lovers could survive.
As much as Id like to be able to say Ive not
spoken to Will since we split out of choice, I cant.
Id love to speak to him, I just cant bring myself NME, 5 November 1983, p35
to talk to him. Im sort of frightened. He was like
my best friend for eight years or whatever and
suddenly hes not here. COCTEAU TWINS
How can this be? Head Over Heels
I dont want to talk about it. (4AD)

From sight, from mind. Loss, and gain. The Cocteau Twins
new record suggests
Talking to Elizabeth, she makes me so frustrated innite distance, or
I could hit her over the head with a lager bottle. at least a massive
Hearing her sing, she just leaves me moved. space. Its rst boom
When did you realise you could sing? is like an avalanche.
Robin answers: It was a Cocteau Twins From there they
Liz and Robin: rehearsal. When we rst started she would never wing a course over
Youre a wee
bastard, you are sing until Will went home for his tea. soundscapes that
Elizabeth boldly interferes: He fucking told hypothesise Phil Spector producing
Will hed heard me sing and Spellbound. Till I heard this, I considered
he hadnt. Liz and Rob a Banshees for the bedsit: Liz

I think about cooking the tea and So Elizabeth having this


supernatural voice was fate.
Fraser, I thought, a Siouxsie-as-Sandie-
Shaw; Rob Guthrie as a doughboy McGeoch.

Elizabeth about hoovering the carpet Fates a rather romantic word


for it, says Robin, Luck was
more like it. I suppose fate will
I still say theres something hollow and
vaporous at work here, but when Liz is
singing cosmic Chrissie Hynde and Rob is
has over the last 18 months, between the two look better in print. striating these ice-oes with crystal shards
LPs Garlands and Head Over Heels, made The Was it a kind of liberation, Elizabeth, when you of guitar and huge splashes of percussion
Cocteau Twins just that little bit better, a little discovered you could sing? and carrying the girl away in a swirling,
bitter brilliance, a little brittle beauty. A light at the Elizabeth utters Robin answers. It started swooshing mist of sound, Im not going to
beginning of the tunnel. off wonderfully, I thought. quibble. Its probably a good thing, too,
Elizabeth declares war on established language, Can you remember the moment? that we cant hear Lizs words, if the sleeves
and the songs allow a kind of orbit or cluster I can smiles Robin. I burst out laughing. snippets Fig up my love paramount/Ooze
of possible responses, tangential readings and I was just amazed. out and away onehow are any indication
splintered echoes. The songs pivot inwards and we What did you sing? of their general quality. Better to think of
follow as best we can. I cant remember OH! she squeals, this extraordinary voice as being just an
The Twins music has a magic that has cut delightedly, unexpectedly. I remember! Four exotic sort of instrument.
through everything that should have destroyed it: lines, Id written four lines I had to squeeze Were the sound more thistled, more
their innocence and insolence, which in the cold them out they were awful The memory thorny, Liz would be a proper Mavis of the
plight of the pop interview sometimes just seems a rapidly burns itself out. I cant remember them. moors, but the warpnwoof of the lasss
stupid modesty or a hopeless purity, has somehow Was it a liberation for you to sing? warble is not one of dulcet heather purity
worked, and a standard success has come to them. I didnt keep at it Elizabeth fades away. but of, how can I say it, dry ice. That is its
They are bafed by this. Robin: She wanted to be a singer, then she mysterious charm. In her elementally nave
The more successful we become, says Robin, didnt, then she did universe, sheets and esh dont gure
the more it will get cocked up, the more we will When did you want to be a singer why? This much. Everything is sugar, tinderboxes,
have to do things that are nothing to do with the question seemed important, considering the glass and candles. It is empty of sex; empty,
music and well probably feel shitty about it. uncanny power Elizabeth discovers when she sings. too, of fear and joy. You ow to pure space,
Isnt the attention you are receiving a kind of Oh, I dont know what to say I never think soar to endless ice-capped peaks: an alien
reward? about these things its all very natural we dont child-world.
The idealist in me says, No, fuck that, it doesnt force ourselves in any way The record, this wreath of epic innocence,
matter about peoples attention the realist in me Is this beauty? This rare, precious belief in only comes undone when The Cocteau
says its quite nice for eating and things like that. the natural? Are you scared that you might lose Twins get too cocooned, too gloved in
You have to survive. something if you analyse it? Banshees. Then they are weak. Multifoiled
Do you feel that maybe The Cocteau Twins can Robin: Well, if we just made records to make is their poor Cocoon, in fact; Tinderbox Of
encourage other people because out of nowhere, everybody else happy, wed make shitty records. A Heart is just too morbidly deadpan. Other
you have shown that it is possible to establish an In your lyrics, Elizabeth, are you trying to parts of Side Two suffer from the languor of
audience in this deadening joyless world, making compile your own logic, make up your own sense, A Kiss In The Dreamhouse.
something unique and unclouded? create your own reality? But then, of course, the record goes
Robin lets this soak in. Elizabeth doesnt let it No no I dont think thats right at all out on its most exultant, unabashed
touch her. I would say were the biggest shits, no Do you know what you do? passionade, Musette And Drums, an
example to anyone. Were such a mess we never No but I dont think thats right at all impossibly cavernous nale to the free
think about those kind of things ight we have enjoyed across such
You dont think about yourself at all? Elizabeth sneezes. Its a very loud sneeze. Im spectacular surfaces.
Robin: Not on that sort of level I think about sorry, she whispers. Its OK, I say. But shes gone. Did I mention escapism? These are
cooking the tea and Elizabeth about hoovering the Maybe shes in the kitchen. Robin tries to join her. garlands where I feel secure.
carpet like mere mortals you could say Theres time for me to go. Barney Hoskyns

NME ORIGINALS 67
TLFeBOOK
Feverish concoctions

Tobe Hooper to direct a series


of Jeeves, The Lovecats is a
post-modernists dream of a
nightmare, a purrrfect example of
the past purrrceived impurrfectly,
then put to use on this purposeful
madness, the last of The Cures
fun single trilogy.
The Lovecats is Smiths
masterpiece of disorientation,
a mental collage of history
unhinged. Herman Munster takes
spiked tea with Jean Cocteau
NME, 29 January 1983, p15
while a taxidermist twitches the
net curtains in anticipation of a
BAUHAUS cannibal feast. But how to praise
Lagartija Nick something so zany? Well, at a
(Beggars Banquet) pinch its psychedelic cocktail
Now that theyve broken down jazz, a strychnined nursery rhyme
the doors of the music biz with where every allusion (illusion!)
their inch-perfect Ziggy Stardust triggers off a tunnel of ashbacks,
(that was their plan, you dig), but its so much sillier than that.
Bauhaus offer us revolution? Sing the slap-dash chorus,
Salvation? Anarchy? Actually no. swoon to that devil-may-care
Just another lifeless, predictable decadent swing. Single of the
MM, 13 August 1983, p22
rock song with all the usual NME, 17 September 1983, p19 week? Single of the year(s)!
trappings of pompous vocals, Steve Sutherland
forgettable riffs and numbskull THE GLOVE SIOUXSIE & THE
drums and bass. What catalysts Like An Animal
you turned out to be boys, eh? (Polydor) BANSHEES
Paulo Hewitt The Severin-Smith axis of the Dear Prudence
Banshees nally break cover (Polydor)

with a vivacious confection. A beautiful sleeve and a less than


Eminently preferable to the astonishing cover. As Siouxsies
Gothic big band swing of The pop standing dissolves from
Creatures Right Now, this is a light to dark and back again
feverish concoction: ignore the the records of her group are
lyric, the words are nonsense; getting fogged and indecisive.
just listen to the noise. Like An Whirlybird guitars and even some
Animal sparkles. Whooshing nostalgic phasing scarcely paper
swathes of synthesizer and over a cracking and under-fed
MM, 3 December 1983, p27
keyboards erupt colourfully and treatment of a dried-out chestnut.
continuously; jangling guitars And it goes on, and on. What will
peel away, mostly on the lip of they do next The Continuing COCTEAU TWINS
MM, 9 July 1983, p22
the main action; the percussion Story of Bungalow Bill? Sunburst And Snowblind
clatters with a nervy rattle that Richard Cook (4AD)

recalls Wall Of Voodoo, while the When The Cocteau Twins


THE CREATURES bass simply hums through the perfected their impersonation of
Right Now mix, playing a melody adapted Joy Division nobody liked them
(Polydor) from the nal vocal cascades of much; now theyve learnt another
No one else had a hope this The Go-Betweens Cattle And act The Banshees gothic wall of
week. The Creatures slipped in, Cane, providing a challenging sound it seems suddenly theyre
ransacked the place and left with counterpoint to Jeanettes keenly very desirable. Yet this four-track
the best ideas in a fast car. pitched but rather thin vocal. EP only serves to underline that
From the earliest seconds of Like An Animal provides the the Twins still prefer artice to
Right Now you know youre on same kind of spacious rush as substance. Everything about
shifting ground. Siouxsie baba- The Byrds Eight Miles High and their music appears to have been
da-babing to the noise of her races along with the exhausting chosen because of its supercial
own ngers clicking until Budgie momentum of the thunderclap immediacy: the grandiose guitar
barges in with congas on speed. climax of Loves Seven And lines, the fake majesty of the
MM, 29 October 1983, p22
Christ, which way is this going? Seven Is. Are The Glove the new frequently incomprehensible
The one direction you dont West Coast experimental pop lyrics, even the fatuous song
expect is a vagrant big band art ensemble? Whatever: like THE CURE titles: Sugar Hiccup and Because
coughing out drunken bursts of all good pop records, Like An The Lovecats Of Whirl-Jack! This is music for
brass in a Starlight Room of its Animal sounds like its always (Fiction) people who want to play at being
own making. Theres no telling been there. As if some macabre folly cast serious young persons but lack
where their feet are going to fall The Glove may yet prove to Vincent Price instead of Jeremy the resolve to see it through to
next. Probably on your head. be a real handful. Irons in Brideshead Revisited, the bitter/positive end.
Paul Colbert Allan Jones or some sinister senility chose Ian Pye

68 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
Chapter 6
1984
DEREK RIDGERS

TLFeBOOK
Look At My Squalor!

If this
to the extraordinarily twisted bottleneck
guitar and harmonica at the end, Well Of
Misery exemplies the range and logic of
Nicks songwriting and the staggering musical
imagination that has gone into its realisation.
Wings Off Flies is a malevolent word-
association game on the themes of life, loss

Im
and retribution. Wickedly funny, its also worth
mentioning that when Mick Harveys drums
NME, 19 May 1984, p33 thunder to a crescendo during the
rst chorus, I nearly fainted with

NICK CAVE & their crushing force.


Back to the central concern, the
THE BAD SEEDS oldest and saddest story of them
From Her To Eternity all, three versions of which fall
(Mute) either side of the spine and right
From Her to Eternity is one of the at the very end of the LP. They
greatest rock albums ever made. are the title track, Saint Huck,
Patti Smiths Horses is, I think, and A Box For Black Paul epic
the last album to achieve such tragedies, rock psychodramas
extremity of feeling, scope of as they used to be called. Were talking Land,
reference to animate it, and theatrical panache were talking The End, were talking Heroin,
to bind it all together. Dynamic, subtly layered, were talking Desolation Row
funny and obsessive, From Her To Eternity is These three songs aspire to an ambition
the work of a visionary unfettered by worship greater still than Mutiny In Heaven, Caves
of the romantic rocknroll mythology, and who masterpiece thus far. A whole welter of
thus reaches peaks hitherto unscaled. referential detail has been plundered from
Like Horses, From Her To Eternity starts clich-dom to be restored to its original force,
with a cover. Leonard Cohens Avalanche looms though not perhaps a force of quite the same
ominously for a few seconds, then explodes into meaning as when rst coined.
a melodramatic demon-showman snarl not far Achtung! : in Saint Huck you will be
removed from one of Nicks heroes, Alex Harvey. crushed by a relentlessly stormtrooping
That gap-toothed stage pirate was a master of drive from claustrophobia to lebensraum;
sinister disguise and distorted self-projection, Robert Mitchums fake Southern preacher
and so too is Nick. Avalanche has as its out of Charles Laughtons Night Of The Hunter,
protagonist a vengeful hybrid of Caliban, Christ LOVE and HATE tattooed on clenched white
and Nietzsches Superman. knuckles, an Amerikan Gothic knell tolling
Whether you like your savage messiahs well- across the turgid Mississippi. Melodramatic
read or not, you cant escape the, er, avalanche yes, but overwrought no.
of Avalanche: you will hear no more slashing, From Her to Eternity, the song, is an epic,
grinding, throbbing, wrenchingly physical starring the most icy scalpel of a piano motif
rocknroll ever. The Bad Seeds are drummer ever to cut to the heart of trauma. And backing
Mick Harvey (ex-Birthday Party), bassist Barry it up is an arsenal of breakdown, electrocution
Adamson (ex-Magazine), guitarists Hugo Race and massacre that rises and rises in the multiple
(ex-Play With Marionettes) and Blixa Bargeld orgasm of a man torturing himself to death.
(Einstrzende Neubauten). These men storm And nally the funeral oration of A Box For
the ramparts of sound, these men will make you Black Paul. A piano maudlin with moonshine
sweat. When was the last time that happened? melancholy drifts over a steaming swamp,
To continue: surveying the
Cabin Fever! is a
sister song to 83s
Mutiny In Heaven,
You wil hear no more slashing, aftermath of
the lynching
of Black Paul.
another tale of
Nick the crazed
grinding, throbbing, wrenchingly (BP also stands
for Birthday
mariner adrift on
the boiling seas
of souls torment.
physical rocknroll ever Party, and
that inquests
verdict must
Wheels clank and your minds rope is stretched thus stand as murder, not suicide.) Death has
to quivering tautness. Never has a keel-hauling reared up again, and so this elegy wends it way
and a hanging been so much fun. to the broken heart of Elvis Heartbreak Hotel,
And that rope recurs in Well Of Misery, rewritten as the testament of a man whose
and from it dangles the bucket of sorrow loved one has not survived her leaving him.
which swings slow like a bell and its toll is dead And thus Nicks girl nally fades away in the
and hollow. Note the smooth procession of coda, leaving just the echo of the sound thats
imagery united in the single theme of death, dominated this record, the mutated electric
for Nicks little girl oats at the bottom of that blues collage of a man as much in the tradition
well. Two favourite songs of Nicks are Hey Joe of Howlin Wolfs Moanin At Midnight as he is
and Neil Youngs Down By The River: his motto of Dostoevskys Raskolnikov
could be You always kill the one you love. As I said, this is one of the greatest rock
From the mordantly stalking bassline albums ever made.
through the chain-gang rhythm and chorus Mat Snow

70 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1984

is heaven t he enigma of The Birthday Party, like that


of Werner Herzogs saintly idiot Kaspar
Hauser, begins with grunts in the darkness
and ends in murder.
Slithering between irony and tragedy last year,
The Birthday Party slug nally sliced itself open
on that razors edge, but instead of the unsightly

bailing out
mess you might have expected, it left behind the
nest examples of its art in The Bad Seed and
Mutiny two four-track EPs that shone through
the amorphous mass of transparent mediocrity
released in 1983. Both are testaments of romantic
daring and sick obsessiveness, full of feverish
images of guilt, pictures of murder that are
simultaneously horrendous and secretly attractive.
It was at that point that it rst became clear
that Nick Caves songwriting was departing from
every mode known to rock and developing into
some new, iridescent form, by turns trenchant
and direct, epic and overblown. Meanwhile,
the music was hurling itself into a state of wild,
epileptic disorder.
And yet in the midst of the crash, Nick
captured the mood of modern Britain with an
acute perception that the desperate, depressing
worthiness of a Weller could never have
approached: At night my body blushed to the
whistle on the birch, he raved. With a little
practise I learned to use it on myself .
With that line, ostensibly referring to religion, he
encapsulated the masochism of a nation that seems
to be yielding any notion of individual power to
a higher authority. It was a reaction against the
dulling of the imagination. It ended The Birthday
Party in the only way possible violently.

From the wreckage of Mutiny, Cave has now


emerged with a solo LP, From Her To Eternity.
Released from all controls, Caves songwriting
has spiralled into a wild and wheeling poetry of
cruelty, pursuing the most nightmarish strands
of The Birthday Partys fascinations. Its not
constructed without a certain humour, but its
dark, even by the standards of The Birthday Party.
From Her To Eternity is a statement of romantic
irrationalism stretched to the very limits.
Talk to Nick Cave and youre talking to a
variety of characters. Like JG Ballard he views
external reality as a sinister novel, and he seeks
to play more parts: the irresponsible artist, the
wounded romantic, the hunched grotesque,
the Nietzschean individualist. He plays with
the cartoon personae of Nick Cave in the same
manner that he manipulates the images of Elvis
Presley or Iggy Pop.
Right now hes playing a character very close to
the consumptive hag displaying her blood spots in
Dostoevskys Crime & Punishment, as he indicates
the cramped surroundings of his current living
conditions. Look at my squalor!
Nice, isnt it? he asks with ironic relish as we
NME, 12 May 1984, p28
enter the single room he shares with Bad Seeds
Blixa Bargeld (also of Einstrzende Neubauten)
and Hugo Race. At the moment, though, Blixa has
Who is the real Nick Cave and will he ever emerge from his ed to Berlin and Hugo to Oxford, leaving Nick
to share the room with a handful of telephone
gallery of masks borrowed from classical fiction and the messages, a copy of Moby Dick and a treasured
portrait of GI period Elvis Presley.
hallowed museums of rocknroll? Don Watson goes in search of He runs nicotine-stained ngers through his
DEREK RIDGERS

back-combed nest of hair, an amused glance


old Nick as he releases his debut solo LP, From Her to Eternity reected in the bathroom mirror as he watches


NME ORIGINALS 71
TLFeBOOK
In The Ghetto


the latest voyeurs stumbling around in search form at all, but he has some method of tuning external factors are basically quite supercial.
of standing space amid the dirty laundry. the instrument that can produce the most I would like to consider myself totally alone
I always think its important to show people amazing noises without the use of any effects and above those inuences, which is to do
where you live, he continues. whatsoever. He would regard using footpedals with developing a character that is sufciently
So what are the chances that Nick Cave will or whatever as a hopelessly middle class, public strong not to be inuenced by the way that other
give himself away? Show us the bleeding heart he school form of playing. people think, but to develop a moral code that
delights in setting against the swastika? Where the music is simple and direct, though, is not under the inuence of ordinary laws and
Well, rst wed have to distinguish just which the lyrics have developed a new complexity. The religious laws and be able to live under that
one of the many faces on show, both here and images are direct and violent, but theres always without a nagging conscience.
elsewhere, precisely is Nick Cave. His art is one of something deeper and darker than the surface
dramatic fakery, executed with a wicked delight indicates. It makes demands on the listener that Murder, of course, looms large in Caves scheme
in defying expectation. Nick describes with a typical arrogance. of things.
Of course theres the Wild Man Of Rock/ I see it in same the way as a tight, tense drama My songs are fairly harmless vehicles for
Thinking Man Of The Modern Age dichotomy in the cinema my songs require you to listen to expressing what I might entertain within my
between the most readily recognisable Nick Cave the storyline from beginning to end, to listen to mind, Cave says. The things that I write
stage personae and the calm and contemplative and understand each line. Otherwise you get lost about are things that, outside of the obvious
demeanour of Nick Cave the interviewee. But his in the same way as you would if you decided to difculties, I would like to witness. I dont dwell
gallery of masks contains less easily classiable visit the toilet in the nal scenes of Taxi Driver on these themes in order to be controversial.
characters than that some borrowed from and expect to know what the lm is about. There are things that I do for those reasons but
history, some from classical ction, some from As he proclaims, he has abandoned any theyre very deliberate and obvious things that
the most hallowed museums of rocknroll. careerist notions that he might have entertained. are making a comment on the idea of being
In his songs ction merges into reality: the Its a brave attempt to escape the tyrannies of controversial, and how ridiculous and shallow
shadow of Raskolnikov mingles with Hamlet; commercial punishment and reward. such a way of life is.
Caves own creations Gun, King Ink, The Dim I would like to escape dening my own You mean the vacuity of the good-old
Locator mix with hybrids like Saint Huck. reality in terms of punishment and reward, in fashioned shock value?
All of them are partly, but never entirely, Cave preference to what I consider to be good and bad. Well In the case of the swastika Ive always
himself. His latest fascination stares down at us Those lines in Mutiny referring to used it in the most deliberately moronic fashion.
from the wall. punishment and reward were intended to point Ill also do that in the writing, by inserting a line
Ive just joined the Elvis Presley Fan Club, he the nger at religion, and why people believed that is deliberately shocking or irresponsible. Its
grins. Theyre sending me some posters; cant in the conventional concepts of good and bad, nding those symbols and thoughts that are far
imagine Ill go to many of the meetings though. which are based on greed and fear. more shocking in certain contexts than they are
The Presley infatuation is reected in a vocal Im very interested in discovering something in others. As Ive said, certain clichs in the right
inection at the end of Box For Black Paul; within myself that is not affected by other forces. context can still be reasonably effective
more specically theres the next single, a version I have very strong feelings that the way I am is As the conversation continues in a local pub,
of In The Ghetto. not due to the inuence of my parents or my an old man leans across to our table, and xes
Theres very little in it to suggest that its environment that I was brought up in any Nick with a stare.
recorded with anything other than the Youre an arrogant fellow, the
greatest respect and admiration, he
says with a certain bemusement. Ive got a right to be arrogant. old man accuses.
Ive got a right to be, Im a
I love it but I can imagine a
Birthday Party fan might have some
difculty knowing what to make of it.
Im famous. Im Napoleon famous person, Nick replies. Ive
just done a European tour.
Oh yeah, whats your name?
As with most of Caves fascinations, his Im Napoleon, answers Nick, with
interest in Presley is in his decline, in the a twinkle.
artice rather than the art. Yes, the role of the irresponsible artist
The inuence that I get from any ctional as provocateur, as enemy of the tidy world
character, he says, is from their cartoon of liberal moralists has been in existence
selves, the point at which they themselves for some time now, long enough now to
become clichs. In that sense, all of my own qualify for clich status.
characters are cartoons of themselves as well, All the same, some of us are grateful
in that they begin with a stock clich that that the rich tapestry of rocknroll has
people can latch on to, that will trigger off been splattered with the pus and gore of
the desired initial impression. The Velvet Undergrounds, the Iggy Pops,
You have to remember what a clich the Foetuses and the Nick Caves, gures
is which is something that was formerly who will play with re and seek to scorch
powerful, but through overuse has become the glossy package of the shiny pop fantasy.
meaningless. You can restore its meaning by Nick Cave is an ardent irrationalist, too
putting it in a different setting. complex a creature to plod the straight
line of the liberal path. His images are a
Musically, From Her to Eternity is a perpetual provocation contrived to throw
sparse sound, snagged with Blixa Bargelds even his admirers into a state of crisis.
corruption of the blues guitar. As a
longstanding friend of Nicks, Blixa was I would like to dene this irrationalism as
the natural choice not only because the ultimate principle of innity in our art
Neubautens philosophy is in accord with the yearning for meaning in madness the
Caves search for a simpler, more directly continuation of life by other means, including
violent form of expression, but because as the issues of guilt, the work of mourning as
a non-musician he is incapable of seeing the reection of this loneliness of innity. At
things in a conventional manner. its start suffering; and at its end morality.
DEREK RIDGERS

As far as I can work out, Blixa cant Hans-Jurgen Syberberg, taken from Hitler:
actually play the guitar in the conventional A Film From Germany.

72 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1984

MM, 9 June 1984, p32

SIOUXSIE &
THE BANSHEES
Hyaena
(Wonderland)

The laughing dog. The scavenger.


The survivor, picking over the bones
of the past to nourish the present.
At times ignoble, essentially alive.
This is the Banshees.
Their prey may have varied
over the years, but its still the
same old carrion carry-on. At their
transcendental best, the Banshees
are a million times more than the
sum of their parts. That arrogantly
independent attitude, those
embarrassing excursions into the
occult, the creeping spell and the
sudden rush of blood is so unique
that it takes on a life of its own.
There are many such moments
on Hyaena, moments where
the Banshees are caught up in
the revelry of their own creations.
Parts of it are so wistfully carefree
that its impossible not to credit
Robert Smith: Robert Smith as the talisman
tipped for
The Top his irreverence seems to course
through everything.
Take Me Back is the Banshees
think any more hes not the guitar rollicking like some primitive jazz
hero in black with a head stuffed combo drunk on the Good Lords
with Camus, but he could be next wine. On Belladonna, Smiths
Wednesday if he felt like it. He just liquid guitar relaxes Sioux to the
doesnt give two hoots. extent that she drops a few masks
Smiths voice is all over the place: to reveal her vulnerability. When the
mock-passionate, whining, daft as siren sings daylight devours your
Steve Harley, devious as Devoto. unguarded hours, shes illuminating
Where his heads at is something her own predicament so acutely it
else; most of the lyrics sound like surely cant be coincidence.
MM, 5 May 1984, p24 The Top is psychedelia that video cues to egg on Tim Pope to Dazzle, too, is naively daring:
cant be dated, the sounds and weirder excesses. Siouxsies voice, framed alone
shapes of somebody revelling in Could it be drugs? The Wailing against the rmament of strings.
THE CURE an identity crisis. It recognises no Wall could be an acid trip in Israel. It could be Lloyd Webbers Cats or
The Top values but its own existence; no Could it be The Banshees? The Top something by Vaughn Williams.
(Fiction) rules, no precedents, no itself worms around similar tunnels. You can get impressed, wrapped up
Trying to get to the preconceptions. The Could Smith be a hippy? Dressing and lost in this. Thats the beauty
bottom of The Top Top is perfect freedom. Up is a gorgeous acoustic ditty, but then theres the complacency.
is a bit like trying to Ive yet to meet yawning and stretching like vintage Running Town tries to sound eerie
decide whether a happy anyone who can tell String Band. Could it be cunning? but instead of evoking the awful
lunatic would be better me why The Cure are Oh, very. There are clues to Smiths truth behind the clowns
off sane. Its silly and having hits now of inspiration: the cheery mask, it just sounds
sinister, like Syd Barrett. all times. Have we utey feedback giddy and silly. And
Its selsh, irresponsible, discovered something of Wailing Wall is Hunger For This and
perfectly amoral and in Smiths busy Hendrixs If Six Were Pointing Bone are just
completely incompatible lethargy (two bands Nine; Give Me It the Banshees being
with anything else and still dreaming all day!), and if so, echoes Nick Caves the Banshees.
happening now or, indeed, anything what? Or has Smith uncovered some Mutiny In Heaven. I doubt Hyaena
thats probably ever happened. twitching nerve near our funny Still, accounting could be any other way.
Its playing practical jokes where bone that reacts instinctively to for The Top is like It urges itself to the
the victim dies. Its Vincent Price in his whimsical tortures? Whatevers accounting for a dream turning point where we
Theatre Of Blood plotting, sawing going on, Smith has done what all you add it all up and stop assuming what the Banshees
the head off another nice song. the Wellers have been bleating on theres still something missing. should be and start accepting that
In a way its as carefree and cocky about hes escaped his past and I reckon either Smiths gone mad or they can do anything they like.
as the White Album but it never wriggled out of the cul-de-sac that we have. Maybe both. Who knows? Hyaena is an immaculate
TOM SHEEHAN

sounds wilfully disorganised. Its we knew and loved to death as Who cares? Love it! conception. Again.
logic is strict, just unhinged. The Cure. He doesnt care what we Steve Sutherland Steve Sutherland

NME ORIGINALS 73
TLFeBOOK
The Last Great Rock Band

Horse Nation onwards. Gritty and


MM, 25 August 1984, p29
noisy (Spiritwalker) with nesse
and calamity (83rd Dream), The
THE CULT Cult take great strides to ease
Dreamtime the emotions home. Flower In
(Beggars Banquet) The Desert and Bad Medicine
Only connect. (EM Forster) Waltz are not merely hypnotic but
Instinctively coveted but strangely uplifting and reassuring.
words still unclear. So it is with Try it, dumbo.
The Cult. Something magnicent The Stones, eh? Hmm. The
glows within these songs, ideas trouble is that people are no longer
and lyrics as emotions swirl, crash inclined to be shaken awake,
and dance particularly since the introduction
and connect of course, while of those spectacular video
the over-the-top press release nightgowns. But The Cult are on a
makes much, with tongue piercing precipice. Not since the Ants have Cocteau Twin
Liz Fraser: the
cheek, of their Rolling Stones there been clandestine guards voice of God
similarities (in terms of the future). meeting commercial success,
Its not far from the truth. The without excess. The Ants, of course,
Cult, almost accidentally, could made that unexpected shift into MM, 10 November 1984, p34 board and examine its translucent
be the last great rock band. With pantomime, so the crown is there wings and its an anatomical marvel.
their rhythmic ferocity, their guitar if The Cult want it. They could really Simon Raymondes sturdy, haunting
predominance and purely unique do something. COCTEAU TWINS bass forms a vertebrae, the drum
vocals, membership is open to that Musically they are spruce and Treasure machine drops heartbeats like
club of U2, Big Country, The Clash hard-hitting. Nigel Preston, man (4AD) bombs and Robin Guthries guitar
and Simple Minds, but there is an of a thousand arms, is a rhythmical Trust true brilliance to arrive by congeals into a pale, perfect skin.
important difference: lynch-pin of some accident. With Treasure echoing The creature thus far is grubbing
The Cult dont come versatility. all around my head, it all seems so in the dark, begging for sight. Its
out of a packet. His partner, Jamie obvious. Only something this naive the voice that leads it from sweet
Theres an ethereal Stewart (retired from could shake the shame from all ambience to poignant emotion. Liz
re burning in their acting), is a shade less categories we worry about. Fraser must be schizophrenic, she
songs (although the assertive, although the Relax. Treasure sounds like speaks in so many tongues. During
title track seems rather live album (given away nothing youve ever heard and Lorelei shes a panting orgasm,
crass), which could have free with the rst everything youve ever wished for. a celestial turn-on. As Pandora
quite an effect when 10,000 copies) shows Most people change; The shes The Angel From Ipanema;
they bite deep into the him in ruthless form. Cocteau Twins blossom. The break as Otterly shes the spectral
charts, as they clearly will. Billy Duffy (currently from the hellish Gothic shackles confessor; as Amelia, the lady with
And the beneciaries of that will keeping clear of swimming pools) of the awkward Garlands to the the lamp.
are us. Hooked and pampered by exhibits true mastery, the notes heavenly scorpion It would be easy
falling in viscous ringlets. And of cocktail jazz of Head to point out that The
course theres Ian Astbury. A Over Heels was Cocteau Twins use
telescopic voice, rearing up in a metamorphosis Lizs voice as an
front and then nipping round beyond the imagining. instrument rather than
the back for a bit of well- But how were we to a narrative, but thats
groomed gargling. know that the chrysalis like reducing ight to
And this live album, where had only just cracked, the motion of muscles.
Ian harangues the sleeping that the colours we were Liz isnt accomplished,
characters at the back, catches devouring were just a shes inspired.
them in explosive form: We dazzling secretion? Its weird. The Cocteaus barely
played our fucking hearts out for Without meaning to, without seem to exist off record. They work
your tonight. The least you could caring, Treasure is what so many like receivers; something plays
do is show some appreciation! strive for a new pop music. Anyone itself through them and reaches
Get stuck in. All of you. can listen to this and feel enriched. us untainted and pure. There are
And before I go lads, a piece of Its stirring, sensual, stately, subtle. dimensions to Treasure which
The Cult: (l to r) advice in case, on your travels, Its bubblegum spiked with acid. Its strike me as spiritual it invades the
Billy Duffy,
Jamie Stewart, you should come to a town candy-coloured, its timeless. body, intoxicates the imagination
Ian Astbury, called Altamont. Crack its sugary shell and you and succours the soul. Surely this
TOM SHEEHAN

Nigel Preston Keep driving. read the name right through. Pin band is the voice of God.
Mick Mercer its plump, squirming body to a Steve Sutherland

74 NME ORIGINALS

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Hooked On Classics

pretentious, three traps which


most previous classical/rock
experimenters have fallen into
headrst. In fact, the power of a
classical orchestra is the perfect
foil for the bands grindingly
insistent sounds and theres
something about Siouxsies
voice which benets from such
a combination of chaos and
formality. Overground is the
undoubted highlight, with the
NME, 17 March 1984, p21
Singles orchestra churning away at a
sort of spaghetti western

SIOUXSIE & backing full of castanets and


snare drums while the guitars
THE BANSHEES snarl angrily between them.
Swimming Horses A little reminiscent of Deep
(Polydor) Purples Concerto For Group
Siouxsie! Listen to me! It is And Orchestra but lets not
obvious by now that your career go into that.
will be at its most pungent if it Mark Jenkins
is composed solely of covers,
the Cilla Black of the Blackheart
Set nothing wrong with that, MM, 12 May 1984, p30 MM, 25 August 1984, p30
someones got to do it so may
I recommend Martha My Dear,
the crooner Paul McCartneys THE CULT THE CULT
love song to his late sheepdog Spiritwalker Go West
it is a Beatles song from The (Situation 2) (Crazy Spinning Circles)
White Album (ring a bell?), a If they keep this up, The Cult soon (Beggars Banquet)

song about an animal (you go wont have a name at all. Still, Exuberant youths become
for our furry friends, dont you?) they can be relied on to deliver strapping lads, the rebel
and ripe for reproduction. So a bit of clout, and this bristles yell controlled but
may I recommend it to you as with hostile voice and scorched- not calm. There is
a wise career move? earth guitar. Not much of a song, smooth cloud cover,
Oh, sod you, then. unfortunately. but you cant hide
Julie Burchill Adam Sweeting the lightning storm
within.
Mick Mercer

Sioux: the Cilla


Black of the
Blackheart Set

NME, 21 April 1984, p21 NME, 4 August 1984, p16

COCTEAU TWINS THE SISTERS NME, 25 October 1984, p20

Pearly Dewdrops Drops OF MERCY SIOUXSIE &


(4AD) Body And Soul
In The Cocteau Twins scheme (Merciful Release/WEA) THE BANSHEES
of things, putting on a black Heres a nugget to start with. The Thorn
dress and looked pained = a As I write, Body And Soul (Polydor)

cosmic Piaf! A plodding tortuous has crashed into the Hot 100 at Remixed and remodelled
dirge = a mark of sensitivity! lets see, now number 100. with strings, choirs and all the
Screeching like a doolally shwife Oh well, its magnicent all production of a Hooked On
= passion! These precious little the same: a gorgeous swell of Classics effort, Overground,
people are one of the nest sensurrounding warmth. Voices, Placebo Effect and Red
arguments I have ever heard for Where will the indie charts Over White do The Banshees
STEVE RAPPOST

bringing back National Service. be without them? credit it doesnt sound in


Tony Parsons Paul Du Noyer the least bit silly, clichd or

76 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
Chapter 7
1985
DEREK RIDGERS

TLFeBOOK
Amphetamine Logic

MM, 16 March 1985, p30

CARELE SS
WHI SPERS
Steve Sutherland swaps badinage with Andy Eldritch of
The Sisters Of Mercy. Eldritch reveals little about his
new LP, but we learn that he intends to eat lemons on tour

t
he self-styled Mr Eldritch drags on his fag and takes
another of those long, practised, meditative pauses. Ive
just asked him how come he wasnt asked to sing on the
Band Aid single. Almost a minute elapses.
He exhales audibly: Thats a tough one, isnt it?
This self-same Mr Eldritch, stubble-chinned and bone-dry
behind shades in a Leeds living room, is explaining why The
Sisters Of Mercys debut album, First And Last And Always,
has taken so damn long to crawl into the light of day. He
conrms the rumours of illness, revelling in revealing just
what he wants and no more. Just like his songs.
Ive got the scars to prove it. I think I just started working
too hard and, at the end of last summer, my body said, No
thank you. This has gone far enough. Itll end in tears. So
Ive calmed down a bit I enjoy it so much, being strung out
for a very long time Im told you cant do it for that long.
This is, of course, the only possible reaction from a man
associated with the doomier side of existence.
Doomy is a housewives word for realistic. Its a
dangerous world.
Now this Mr Eldritch is a man of starchy intelligence,
the sort of fellow you can say words like art to and not feel

78 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1985

like a dickhead. And so it was that I asked him You have to laugh at it because you have to
whether his art informed his life or vice versa. see it for what it might do to the nations youth
And, naturally enough, this was exactly the sort and, God forbid, to the nations housewives to
of question he loves. hear Amphetamine Logic.
After so much practice, its very difcult not This Mr Eldritch, as youll have doubtless
to live it so, yeah, the lifestyle informs the art. surmised, is one wry customer, a bit of a master
I keep putting myself in this godawful position when it comes to a wind-up and I, too, have had
quite deliberately. Its possible to get out of it but my moments so we joust a bit and I ask him what
MM, 16 March 1985, p28
Ive chosen not to. hed say to somebody who considered his antics
The next question is, Will there come a point pathetic because some people really are ill while
where you cant? And then what will you do? his maladies are generally self-induced? THE SISTERS OF MERCY
And the answer is, I dont know. I shall probably Id probably tell them to fuck off. He rasps First And Last And Always
just keel over. and I take it to be laughter. Telling people to (Merciful Release/WEA)

I tell this Mr Eldritch that I think hes a damn fuck off, that sense of glorious vindication, is a James Dean is alive!
good actor, creating for himself the classic role primary, motivating factor, I think. Hes living in a at
of romantic victim. Rocknroll in Leeds disguised
He rather likes this outlaws, eh? as Andrew Eldritch
notion too.
Ive spent so long
Telling people to fuck off, Arent we just! No!
We have appetites!
a 24-hours-a-day
enigma, complete
doing this that I cant
distance the two. And
that glorious vindication, is a Were human! We
have needs! Its
with permanently
afxed shades.
its more interesting
than what I was
primary motivating factor about time we were
pandered to.
Last year it
seemed that
before. I was so shot Such as? success had eluded the Sisters once and
when I wrote the lyrics on the album that theres Such as the 12 fresh lemons I have to have for all. But their new album is packed with
no distancing of persons at all. Its not a problem every night on the next tour. glistening gems, and just as Andys beat-up
to live up to it, its just a problem to live, period. This is exactly the stuff of which legends are crow hat appears to be riveted to his head,
The way I seem to end up living these days, Im made and, of course, Mr Eldritch forever keeps so his lugubrious baritone-drone rivets
very aware of how fast the bloods going round an eye on legend. But I wonder, can someone the attention in turns commanding, then
and how high the sugar level is because Ive been so cryptic with such an advanced, nay, chronic, inviting, following a path wrought with morbid
forced to be aware of it. sense of irony ever attain that status? depression and reeking of misery.
I now decide its time Mr Eldritch and I No, because I always let people know just that I have heard a million conversations going
stopped beating around the bush and started bit too much. It disturbs them. where theyve been before/I dont care for words
talking serious drugs so I inform him that, in my Mr Eldritchs favourite word is oblique and that dont belong. Ah, music to hum over the
humble opinion, the second side of First And yet his followers tend to be the new Goths, the three-minute warning. Yet the doom-ridden,
Last And Always is about being wasted, nding it ersatz Siouxsies. Strange. Mr Eldritchs fantasy gloom-trodden world of the Sisters is but half
hard to cope and relishing every agonised second. is much more subversive. He likes to irt with their appeal. Delicacy showers the spheres of
He smirks: It would be clichs. He likes twisting his Black Planet as Waynes infectious guitaring
dishonest to write anything sources. Goddamn, he even slopes and spirals around words cradled with
more homely. I dont think acknowledges his sources! dark innuendo, rhymes invested with sparks
the bands particular
pleasures are destructive.
Ten things you The Sisters once recorded
Gimme Shelter.
of aggression, and a chorus that once heard, is
never to be forgotten.
Its horses for courses. At
our age, you generally know
didnt want to know Everybodys doing
exactly the same thing to
The Sisters supplement the intensity of
Walk Away with the bittersweet tang of No
whats good for you and
what isnt and, most of the
about Mr Eldritch a greater or lesser degree.
Were just rather shameless
Time to Cry, while A Rock And A Hard Place
breathes life into the ossied remains of
time, you stick to whats 1. His favourite lm is The Blues about it. People dont like to post-punk using Eldritchs dulcet tones to bind
good for you. None of the Brothers be reminded of it. Theyd together the ornaments of instrumentation as
songs on the album are 2. He supports Manchester much rather we went out they dance on the grave of circumstance.
about being a victim of ones United there like messiahs from The second side unveils Celtic guitars that
own pleasures except in the 3. He is currently courting Josie another planet whod never career through arid wastelands until theyre
case of getting emotionally from Vicious Pink heard of Chuck Berry swept up by the blistering chorus of First
involved with people who 4. He owns a spifng collection or he whispers this bit And Last And Always. The surge of drums
arent very good for you. of Likely Lads videos Led Zeppelin. nally yields to a sustaining piano note that
So what sort of 5. He idolises Jake Thackeray If its only rocknroll, is stretches suspense to a point only dreamt of
irresponsible hero is this 6. Hes currently launching a this Mr Eldritch really happy by Hitchcock. God forbid, but these songs are
man in black who stalks campaign to get Reg Varney as being a Sister? almost explosive enough to launch a goth
the streets of Leeds 4 in a the next Dr Who and, failing that, Smug might be a better revival (the third this year?).
battered cowboy hat? Eleanor Bron word. Were in a good Have Mercy! And pass the razor blades.
The sort of irresponsible 7. He studied French and German position. We can step in Andrews sense of humour rattles with such
hero who makes it very at St Johns, Oxford and then and out of the mainstream ominous overtones that laughter takes fright
clear that certain things Chinese at Leeds University and the band decide whats and takes ight. His prowling voice veers
are irresponsible. Theres 8. His black coat/cloak was given required, not someone else. dangerously close to pastiche, but the songs
no actual propagation of to him by The Gun Club Is there anyone else, I ask, are so striped with splinters of power and pain,
irresponsibility on the 9. He owns the 12-inch of who Mr Eldritch reckons is his words remain dangerous.
records and thats why you Careless Whisper although he doing anything worthwhile? Here, all past promises have been fullled:
need detachment, irony with doesnt own a record player. Its He pauses that pause: the Sisters have successfully accumulated a
a capital I. You have to be important to have the artefact if Roy Kinnear, always. startling array of timeless jewels.
clinical about certain aspects the records that good. My, he is a smug bastard It can only be a matter of time before they
DEREK RIDGERS

of portraying any persona, 10. Theres a picture of Jimmy isnt he? accumulate success.
even if its your genuine self. White above his replace Well, yeah. Why not? Ted Mico

NME ORIGINALS 79
TLFeBOOK
Southern
No More Mad
DeAth
BobCult

claustrophobia of Pornography,
MM, 8 June 1985, p34 checked himself out of the funny
farm where he turned out The

NICK CAVE & Top, and now roams among us,


a harmless eccentric. I cant help
THE BAD SEEDS wondering if the magnicent liberty
The Firstborn Is Dead that fashioned The Head On The
(Mute) Door wont cement into another
Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds image, comfortably digested and
continue their excursion into a easily dismissed.
nightmare world where perdition Certainly, this album is as
will never lead to wilfully enigmatic as ever. The
salvation, and pain a startling grasp on beat of a ritual drum at a sacrice only difference is its determinedly
and horror are not the John Lee Hooker as Barry Adamsons bass hauls the languorous, nowhere near as
eeting agonies, and Screaming Jay lumbering beast across landscapes tortured or tense as its predecessor.
but the only true Hawkins world of blues. of mock hell. Caves voice aches with So The Head is a collection
religion. Thunderclaps and the persecution, but his stories of woe of pop songs, its as simple(?) as
Despite the acid rain of futility drench are tinted with the blackest humour. that. Bursting with potential hits,
obvious drawbacks the sparse Bo Diddley- Its not clear if Say Goodbye To The it staggers under its inuences,
of coming from style guitar of opener Little Girl Tree is a joke pretending rescued from dilettantism solely
Australia (and not Tupelo, which quickly to be funny, or a man pretending to by Smiths steady presence. Some
the Deep South), sets this album far above be a joke, but either way it succeeds! stuff, like The Baby Screams a
being white (and not black), and the standard post-junkie blues Black Crow King: Blixas lone six- classic Cure concoction of mixed
looking like a cadaver (and not epics that are dampened by crass string scrapes the crypt oor while metaphors and creeping guitar
having a dead grandfather who sentiment and self-pity. Nick recounts the tale of a King who will satisfy the Faithful. Others, like
was a slave) Cave has achieved Knocking On Joe chimes to the is set up for worship only to nd Close To Me a squirming, sobbing,
his former authority turns to pleading disco thing complete with
parody. Sound familiar? handclaps will seduce just about
Nothing like as familiar as any Tom, Dick or Vanessa.
Wanted Man which sounds The Head makes a mockery
remarkably like Dr Feelgood! not only of the accepted parameters
The albums lugubrious of what the radio will play and the
chain-gang beat marches public accept, but also of what The
on arid and remorseless, Cure are supposed to be about.
punctuating Nicks hollow Theres nothing obscure or sinister
and morbid about A Night Like
chant. Halfway This it deals with
through the love and despair in
murderous desperate balance,
Train Long toys with a joyously
Suffering incongruous singalong
you wish and accommodates a
someone sax break more at home
would hand with Hall & Oates.
Nick a razor- Its a neat ragbag of
blade and the arbitrary, each song
put us all out of our misery. a separate piece from a different
Its sordid, its predictable, jigsaw. Some shapes bear the
its sickening, and its quite imprint of exotic scenes Kyoto
indispensable! Song sounds Japanese while The
Ted Mico Blood stamps through its paces to
a amenco guitar. Others suggest
there are more strident, less ckle
MM, 31 August 1985, p27 things ahead. Push, for example,
is stronger, less whimsical than
THE CURE anything on The Top, and Sinking
The Head On The Door is more majestic, more honest
Fiction perhaps than anything Smiths done
No more Mad Bob? Maybe. since All Cats Are Grey.
Maybe not. Robert Smith As a compilation of possibilities,
has wormed himself into The Head On The Door is
an enviable but precarious perfection of sorts a romp more
position over the past 18 than a rage through the closet,
months. We dont know trying things on, not tearing them
what to expect any more. up. This Cure is boisterous but
But, then again, we know relaxed and reliably unreliable.
Black crow king: to expect nothing. Hes Im used to it now and I use it with
Nick Cave in his slipped the straitjacket pleasure.
BLEDDYN BUTCHER

Berlin bolthole of brooding depression So, no more Mad Bob. Next time,
that shaped Faith, something else. Again.
cleaved through the Steve Sutherland

80 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1985

MM, 17 August 1985, p24

n o more Mad Bob.


Pardon?
No more Mad Bob.
Oh, I see. Robert Smith is happy.
Deliriously happy. Think about that
for a moment.
Doctor Doom. Mr Miserable.
The Prince Of Paranoia. Happy.
Happy with life. Happy with death.
Happy to wind us up. Happy to let us
down. And happy to talk his head off
about The Head On The Door,
the new Cure album and another
departure from what we might expect.
So whats he got to tell us, this
smudge of lipstick in a lions mane?
Will he spin us a yarn to match the one
he foisted on Smash Hits you know,
the one about the album title referring
to a nightmare childhood vision
engendered by a chicken-pox fever?
Oh, did I tell him about that one?
Robert grins sheepishly as he attacks
an onion bhaji. Well its sort of true.
Do you want me to give you a different
version?
Oh, yes please.
Alright then. (Are you sitting
comfortably?) When I was little, I used
to sleep in the same room as my little
sister and we used to have one of those
Noddyland scenes, quite a big event,
made out of felt.
Oh really.
Look, this is deadly serious. I couldnt
make something up like this, now could
I? Right. You had all these particular
characters who existed in Noddys particular
brand of reality, which is basically Big Ears
and his family hundreds of em oh, and
a policeman. That was about it.

A Suitable
Anyway, my big sister was going to art
school at the time and she used to make us
toys out of felt, nice things to put in this two-
foot window into Noddyland, and my brother
got the idea that it would be really good fun to
introduce a sort of Texas Chainsaw Massacre
element. So there I was, sitting up in my

CaseFor
bunk-bed before I went to sleep and suddenly
I noticed hed cut Noddys head off, and it
really, really scared me.
I went really mental Noddy had such
a sweet face, he was always Mr Happy, and
I remember thinking at the time that it was
a really evil thing to do. Even now it seems
pretty awful. Uh dyou know, the biggest

Treatment
evil I could imagine then was Catwoman.
Remember they used to have bubblegum cards?
Well, I used to have Catwoman under my pillow.
I used to think that was pretty dangerous, my
rst stirrings of lust.
But cutting Noddys head off I was in
trauma! And at the same time, Father Christmas
arrived in our street on a lorry. What a pile of
cack! It destroyed my faith in things like that.
Has Robert Smith taken the cure? He says yes. Still, I dont suppose people of my generation
keep that kind of thing going for their kids. I
TOM SHEEHAN

Steve Sutherland isnt convinced. Now read on mean, how can you possibly believe in the tooth
fairy with a Conservative government? You


NME ORIGINALS 81
TLFeBOOK
Sick Boy


dont get something for nothing any more.
There are a lot of references to dreams in my
songs. It seems to bother other people but its
never really worried me that I have vivid dreams.
I nd it very reassuring. Its not always nice to
wake up with your whole body vibrating like an
engine it sometimes takes three minutes to get
back to normal but thats OK.

Does Smith the visionary rise, I wonder, from his


bed onto some imaginary psychoanalysts couch,
combing his slumber for secrets and signs?
No! I think the whole concept of interpreting
dreams is the biggest wank really. Freuds
obviously the most well-known exponent of
delving into your subconscious and examining
it but the idea that you can have secrets from
yourself is such a paradox, its unreal.
I can understand it if you suppress things but
you know, youre suppressing them. The idea of
tricking yourself is one of those imponderables
its impossible. Who are you to trick yourself?
My dreams are very straightforward, very
much like my life. I murder in my dreams, much
as I murder in real life. Ive always really wanted
to kill someone but its wearing off now. Yknow,
just a casual murder.
I think I understand. Ive always thought if I
was gonna go crazy, Id do it creatively, riding
in the passenger seat of a monstrously fast car,
blasting oncoming cruisers with a shotgun. That
way you get the bullet impact and the crash.
No, no. Much more physical. If you use a
gun, you might as well shoot a bird really. I used
to murder a great deal in my dreams people
that Ive never even met and who, no doubt, hope
I never will. But I wouldnt murder any more,
Im sure of it.
Has this Smith, lately labelled a nouveau hippy Robert Smith:
because of his beads and baggy bits and pieces, doesnt look at all
mental ,does he?
ever hated anyone enough to kill them?
Oh yeah, of course. I know theres one that if

Ive always really wanted to kill someone. Everything.


Isnt that hard?

You know, just a casual murder No, not at all. I just decided one night. I
was doing absolutely nothing, yknow? It got
to the point when cleaning your teeth seemed
I ever met him, Id kill him. Every ght Ive ever youd probably end up confessing anyway. But too much bother. Its cack when you get to that
been in, Ive thought Im ghting that person but its not that big a step, not really. Were gonna be stage, so I tried to learn to water-ski and things
Ive never met him. Not through want of trying. rotting in 50 years time anyway so why not rot like that the other extreme. It actually shocked
What on earth did the blackguard do? now and give someone some pleasure from it? my body back into a happy status quo. I didnt
Ah, thats the story that will remain forever If someone dies naturally, everyone cries. There get t but, at the same time, I didnt keel over
secret. He once did something not actually to may as well be someone dancing round the grave and spend a month in a rest home which is what
me, but I always vowed to avenge it. It was quite and it may as well be me. everyone said I should do.
an awful thing that I witnessed. I thought that idea was bollocks you know
See, Im still very moral, I still have the same As I said, Robert Smith is happy, even when your own body or you should do. The older
ethics I always had but I dont really think that, hes contemplating the inevitable. Can you get, the more you know it. Im afraid I can
if I did kill someone casually, there would be any this metamorphosis from gloom to glee be no longer wake up in the morning and boast that
retribution if I didnt get caught. Id just like to permanent or is it just another of his infamous I havent got a hangover.
do it as an experience. I wouldnt like to torture emotional see-saws? Me neither. Never. Wonder how this affects
somebody or anything like that. Well, Im very aware of my periods of Boy Smiths public image?
Ive decided this No More Mad Bob instability and Ive tried to think, If its going Id be hard-pressed to imagine what my
business might be a little premature, but I press to happen to me, I may as well use it for some public image is, to be honest. Indifferent. It
on regardless, wondering if Smith thinks hed benet, but last year all it succeeded in doing varies, actually, from place to place. Here its
feel like a different person burdened with the was getting in the way. I couldnt really do very obvious from the general media myth thats
knowledge that hes taken a life? anything at all whereas now I generally feel perpetuated character assassination, thats the
Yeah. The thing that always put me off is that much better. Ive cut down on my vices Ive phrase Im after. But in America Im considered
its not really the sort of thing you can mend. only kept drinking, everything else has gone a really radical bloke, a really dangerous person,
TOM SHEEHAN

And what if you grow to like it? out of the window. on the Wanted list, because they lter through
Well, there is that. And if you dont like it, Everything? the more sordid elements from England and

82 NNMMEE OORRIIGGIINNAALLSS
??
TLFeBOOK
1985

then they also invent their own oh, and also, I was getting a bit too close to falling into is, though, despite all this gaiety, Roberts
when Im in America, I misbehave more than I Mad Bob and people were saying that to me, beginning to act as if hes old. He recently told
do in England because its far away from home. jokingly mainly inspired by what you wrote some other hack that hed always anticipated
In Japan, its teenybop hysteria. We went about The Top actually. People picked up on being dead by 25 but here he is, no grey hairs in
mega there we were on television arriving at what you wrote and decided that I was going sight and tter than ever.
the station. But in New Zealand were still doom mental. Well, for a while I was a bit unstable but I feel old because of what people have been
and gloom, so when we go there, we only smile I think its horrible when people make a career saying to me. Ive consciously done interviews
behind closed doors. out of being something. with Just 17 just because its pap. All these
What, professional loonies, like professional 17-year-olds are coming along saying, Well,
I think you deserve an update on this Cockneys? as an established band As a famous and
schizophrenic Smith character, just to help you Yeah, its cack. The last thing I wanted to do eventually it gets to you.
make up your own mind. Hes writing a book on was drive my jeep into a swimming pool. But I defy all these people to name me
The Cure in conjunction with a French lady. The I dont think this record heralds us doing someone we are comparably old to. I look at the
book, he claims, will be far more honest than anything. I know Im supposed to be selling ve of us in a metaphysical mirror and were still
anything I could cook up. He speeds around in a it but I never see it like that. Pornography or 100 years younger than all these people who are
four-wheel-drive jeep which his friends consider Faith are peculiar in that quite a lot of people physically younger because theyre so fucking
a post-nuclear vehicle or what? probably think If I could only listen to one worried about nothing.
He owns a at in Maida Vale with a album for ever and ever, it would be this album. I mean, when I was young I didnt feel young
soundproofed bedroom to shield him from But I dont think this ones like that because it but I still feel younger than any new group
the professional writer of musicals who lives doesnt inspire that kind of emotion. except The Jesus And Mary Chain.
upstairs. Hes decided to holiday in London this Its the same as when The Human League I feel a story coming on.
year to catch up on all the movies hes missed brought out Dare I thought it was a really The occasion was me being more drunk than
He saw Ghostbusters three times at the Marble good collection of songs. It didnt send shivers I had been all year, my one night out in London
Arch ABC, because he enjoyed watching the 300 down my spine but Ive got drunk to it and clubland. Seriously, I cant risk more than one
teenies punching the air during the theme tune danced to it a lot over the years. night out. See, we were doing Top Of The Pops,
It reminded me of a David Cassidy concert. I tried to make this album really obvious and we usually drink loads and loads of vodka
Not that I ever went to one, you understand, but because I was aware that people thought I was in the bar beforehand, which explains our
its the sort of thing, looking back, that I wish getting too obscure for anyones good. I suppose frighteningly exciting performances.
I had done. they are still obscure in a way but theyre as plain But this time we went to the bar afterwards
He never drinks on planes You cant as I can be. Thats why I nd most songs in the and we stayed there until we got thrown out,
drink on an eight-hour ight, pass out then Top 20 at the moment really boring, because by which time we were pretty hot so we decided
go on stage Well, you can, but then youre theyre like end of conversation you dont to go to eat, but I had to go to this studio rst,
Spandau Ballet. really need to bother. supposedly to do backing vocals on the new
His back garden is a football single and listen to the brass section,
pitch-cum-dogs toilet I havent
plucked up the courage to play I was being sick in the ladies yknow, to give em the Popes seal
of approval.

toilet. Then I proceeded to pick up


in the team yet but I think, in my So we went to the studio and
current state, Id probably play a I couldnt even make out what the
sort of Glenn Hoddle role fading song was, so I was helped out and
away for 80 minutes then a killer 10
minutes towards the end.
His band, The Cure, is now a
my sick and throw it on the floor we weaved our way mysteriously
down to the Sun Luck Restaurant
where I proceeded to eat a washing-
quintet, with Simon Gallup, the original bassist, Some of the songs are a bit wayward but In up bowl of prawns heads and feet and tails,
welcomed back to the fold. Roberts ecstatic Between Days is probably the simplest thing yknow not thinking, talking rapidly and
about this line-up its a group again and the Ive written since Boys Dont Cry. I did it on just eating. And then me and Lol staggered
pair of them reckon theyre pretty hot at pool. In purpose. I thought, Right, I might as well prove outside and someone grabbed hold of Lol and
fact, Ex-Mad Bob had a table installed in his at, all those bastards wrong. I know its big-headed said, Excuse me, youre The Cure. My friend
a slate bed six-by-three, but he was a bit mental but you couldnt really make a record if you wants to meet you, were drinking in this
when he measured it up, so the t was a mite didnt think it was good and theres very few bar. Well, the next thing I knew we were
cosy no room to make shots and the table albums that Ive listened to this year that people descending the steps to this really dingy
now resides at a local youth club. have recommended to me that are comparable. place and I was thrust in from of William
Smith the sportsman warms to the subject. Lol told me to listen to New Orders album from The Jesus And Mary Chain.
Me and Simon, were known as The Hackers, and I thought, This is a really dull record for All these people gathered around expecting a
thats the name of our pool team as in what they can do. For me, their record is 100 confrontation or something but actually it ended
Computer Hackers, because were both Luddites times safer than ours. up that I did a little bit of pogoing and I ended up
and the rest of the band are very pro whatevers The Head On The Door is just me being throwing up, I think, in the ladies toilet.
new. Boris and Porl, who reckon theyre the gloriously happy, probably. After wed nished I was actually being sick in the sink because
best but we hammer them, are called The Bros, touring, I had a sudden surge of thinking that I someone was in the toilet and someone else
because they both have this fantasy that theyre wouldnt have to do anything forever and ever came in and said, You cant do that mate, youre
constantly driving about on huge throbbing if I didnt want to because wed reached the end blocking up the sink and I want to have a wash,
motorbikes. of our contracts and things like that. I had this so I then proceeded to pick up all my sick in
sudden sense of being able to do anything. my hands and throw it on the oor. It was all
Theres more you should know about this Robert perfectly formed prawns in fact, had I picked
Smith and The Head On The Door. Smiths new sense of freedom apparently up my meal initially and thrown it on the oor,
I think its the most entertaining album weve extends to all matters concerning The Cure, a it would have been the same but Id have had a
ever done in the sense that it doesnt require very radical reversal from his involvement with the really good night.
much from the listener for it to be enjoyable, claustrophobically secretive Banshees. Why, it As it was, Lol ended up carrying me home
mainly because its very simple, intentionally even extends to videoing the recording of The which is why I know it was my last night out in
simple. Its as much a reaction against us as a Head, a home movie of daft drunkenness and London. Because when you get to the stage when
reaction against anything else thats going on corny jokes which he hopes to release soon to Lawrence puts you in a taxi and takes you home,
because I didnt want to get too precious again. really take the myth apart. The funny thing youre in fucking big trouble.

NME ORIGINALS 83
TLFeBOOK
Heavy Heavy Heavy

MM, 26 October 1985, p28

Thisaintthesummeroflove
Hippies, hippies everywhere. Or are they punks? Or are they
punks down the Kings Road.
Its that guy in the NatWest advert, says Ian.
The one with the mohican haircut who spits at

psychedelic hard rockers? Steve Sutherland comes face to face people and head-butts walls.
Ians dead proud of having missed punk. He

with The Cult and finds theyre all these things and less was in Canada at that time, in the army, and
when he heard the Pistols, of course, it changed
his life. He picked up on the vibe after the event.

i
m a nave, romantic kid. Im supposed this band are and I suppose its a paradox. Were I think its really nice, whats happening
to be some middle-class drop-out whos a rock band that wasnt too acceptable a year now, because its unquantiable. Because so
quite well-educated, but Ive got me ead and a half ago, it was like putting your head in a many things have gone in the past, I think what
up me ass and I just walk around going, guillotine. The times have changed a bit now. we do is an amalgamation of all those different
Everythings beautiful. I think wed better start again. inuences and its gonna be a lot longer lasting.
I think wed better start again A lot of things have been in the negative,
Kids take us on a more serious level than they The Cult are a rock band with accoutrements. A
do a lot of other bands and a lot of journalists swagger away from Black Sabbath. Something so
seem to nd that very annoying. They seem to old that theyre new. The rock of ages.
think that what we do is shrouded in a mysticism Everything in this world right now is fast,
that we create in order to hide a basic lack of fast, fast, Ian informs me, ddling with his Led
understanding, but were not that clever. Were Zeppelin badge. Fast food, fast TV, fast sex, fast
just two lads from the north, right? Were doing everything. And people just skim on the surface
what comes naturally e makes a noise with is all the time and I think a lot of journalists look at
mouth and I play guitar. Thats what we do. us on the surface and pick up on certain things.
I think wed better start again Like the North American Indian thing but that
Ian Astburys one of those people whos didnt just happen to me overnight, that was an
embroidered his pretty uneventful youth into experience that happened to me over ve or six
a diary of momentous incidents and traumatic years. And hippies
turning points and told it to so many people so Ah, hippies. Glad he brought it up. The new
many times that he probably now believes it. Cult albums called Love and there are some
The rst gig I ever done was lmed for TV, out there who will tell you its all you need. Not
my fth ever gig with Southern Death Cult me. When MM branded Ian as a spitter for Neil
was reviewed by the press. Anything Ive done, The Hippy, I wasnt exactly blameless. And now
people have wanted to know what its all about. heres this man who claims hes a boy, with hair
I just nd it so amusing that all these people keep halfway down his back, wearing a cowboy hat
slagging us off and I couldnt give a shit about it. with an owls feather in it, snakeskin cowboy
People have tried to pound us into the ground boots with gold points and a Cure badge,
but they just cant get a hold of it. staring into middle space and asking
When Ian Astbury talks, he reminds me Whats a hippy? A lot of kids who come
of Nick Rhodes thick but
authoritative, intoning the
most commonplace truism or
embarrassing drivel with such
We re not that clever. We re just
haughtiness that youd believe he
believes hes imparting some real lads from the north, right? We re
pearl of wisdom.
Billy Duffys different but the
same hes condent but sharper,
doing what comes naturally
he listens whereas Ian, for all the community to see us havent even got any conception of
spiel hes about to unleash, exhibits, in his own what a hippy is except for maybe a teacher at
favoured condemnation of others, a very closed school with long hair and a beard. I got called
mind. For someone so intent on learning, Ian a hippy by some 14-year-old kids the other
never listens, he just stares away into a more day I wonder where they got it from?
important world of his own and sometimes I wonder
deigns to descend to my level to say his peace Look, what the fuck is a hippy? I think
piece. Id say he was stoned but people see a hippy as some guy with long hair
The funniest thing about the music business and glasses with a peace sign and ared trousers
is that the people who are most into the its just an image, like punk.
rocknroll clich lifestyle are the ones whose What does punk mean now? asks Billy, a
TOM SHEEHAN

public image is the least like that. We dont take less bolshie Idol. Here comes the answer: Its
drugs, we never have. Thats just a personal way a deprecating term. Lets go and laugh at the

84 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1985

says Billy. Maybe now is the time for well, sees that Duran Duran arent really saying
the positive. Thats been a terrible word for a few what they feel so they go onto something else,
years, almost frightening, but maybe what were something a little bit heavier, something that
involved with is the rst thing thats positive. makes a statement. And then they become bored
Every other fashion hippies, acid rock, punk with that and they end up with us.
seemed to be against something. Well, were What Ians pitching for is progressive rock, the
not necessarily against in that obvious way. notion of something more deep and meaningful
I think wed better start again than something else. That way self-indulgence
lies. And worse MM, 19th October 1985, p38
The Cult, live and on record, are the most Were skimming the surface of something
po-faced, humourless group its possible to quite spiritual THE CULT
contemplate. They deny the brighter side of See what I mean? Love
existence for the sake of their precious image, We dont really want to quantify it. I nd Beggars Banquet

complete with pseudo-religious trimmings. it very, very rare to bump into people who are The only thing
Theres no religion in this country, mourns communicating on the same level because more deplorable
poor Ian. Christianity, the spiritual side, is a theyre so hung up on looking cool or hanging than half-baked
very special part of peoples lives, it gives them round with the right people. Its so hard to meet dogma is barely
strength just to live and the only thing for kids to people who are tuned in to something more than understood half-
look to is the music. the rational world. Were called hippies because baked dogma
Music matters. A 14-year old kid buys a were into life, right? pilfered from a
Duran Duran record, grows up a little bit, and Look, theres certain things we just cant culture 6,000 miles and 200 years away.
talk about because theres an incredible danger With Love, The Cults second album,
of being misinterpreted. Its really sad and they continue to propagate a half-chewed
unfortunate but thats the way it is. bubblegum wrapper of redskin info for people
I think wed better start again who think that a Voodoo Chile is a Mexican
Hotpot. They continue to celebrate the ways
of the old people with clamour and clich
wigwams, squaws, moccasins, and ritual
re-branding. The Cult dribble a lot.
If nothing else, Love will prove that the
band have done for rock tribalism what
General Amherst did for the Sioux nation. The
benign general offered the Indians blankets
to keep them warm in winter blankets
impregnated with smallpox bacilli. The
Hippy Cult:
images, lyrics and titles are mainly elemental
Ian Astbury, the usual earth, re, water pife but the
Mark Brzezicki, surprise comes from the cover, which bears a
Billy Duffy and striking likeness to an old Love cover after a
Jamie Stewart
tortuous journey through an alimentary canal.
Nirvana plunges into a barrage of metal
guitars where risible pastiche masquerades
as rousing chorus. The Indians believed in life
after death not before it!
With each successive funereal beat and
onslaught of Duffys unchained guitar, the Cult
sound more and more like Led Zeppelin.
The chords of Revolution descend, and
their songs go down faster than a lead balloon.
The Cult used to offer excitement not ashes
scraped from yesterdays joss stick. Now they
simply continue to continue.
Hollow Man and Brother Wolf, Sister
Moon (oh brother!) both employ the same
bluesy thump as they stomp through old
hunting grounds like buffalo on Mogadon.
It sounds like a 45 playing at 33. In fact
its 69 playing in 85. All this may sound as
if I detest The Cult but I dont. She Sells
Sanctuary was one of the few pinnacles of this
summers charts but its appearance among
this clutch of witless, listless and soulless
twaddle serves only as a painful reminder of
what The Cult could, and should, be doing.
We deserve more than pathetic hippies
reliving their dream and our nightmare.
Forget Big Country. Forget Gods Zoo. Forget
U2. And most of all forget Bury My Heart At
Wounded Knee.
The Cult should bury their head in shame.
Ted Mico

NME ORIGINALS 85
TLFeBOOK
The Cocteau Twins:
Simon Raymonde,
Liz Frazer and
Robin Guthrie

TLFeBOOK
1985

Worlds
apart How do you interview The Cocteau Twins? Steve
Sutherland, who considers them to be something like
the voice of God, doesnt know. Well, he sat down and MM, 16 November 1985, p24

talked to them for a bit, and this is what happened


The End all wonderfully lyrical about the new Cocteau
Twins stuff. I was going to construct some The unmentionable
In the best of all possible worlds, said Robin,
this wouldnt be happening. Hold it right
elaborate review of Tiny Dynamite (Pink
Orange Red, Ribbed and Veined, Plain Tiger mentioned
there. Ive read this before. and Sultitan Itan), some glowing testimony The Cocteau Twins dont exactly scream at
But to Echoes In A Shallow Bay (Great Spangled you to ask them about their sex lives or the
No buts. Im determined that this will not be Fritillary, Melonella, Pale Clouded White colour of their socks, so it all comes down to
another Cocteau Twins interview about how and Eggs And Their Shells) but I realised self-justication and that nebulous area where
The Cocteau Twins hate interviews because that all Id be doing would be conjuring youve no idea what youre talking about or what
that, after all, after hours of agonised silence fantasies, evolving mythologies and warping will come out and the smallest detail assumes
and blank incomprehension, is all that anyones expectations. the stature of enigma. Or
ever gleaned from this lot on paper. I wont sit So, at the risk of encouraging accusations Robin: Im still completely at a loss to
down and discuss this again. I wont attempt of lethargy and cop-out, I say this: buy these understand what people want to know. Ill
to defend the rigmarole of the rocknroll records, I think theyre brilliant. They exist. tell all. We do tell all, thats the thing I cant
interview, nor will I perpetrate it further. Why am I squirming? Heres my problem: understand. What more can I say?
So what shall I do Robin? What shall I do? The Cocteau Twins cant talk about their music
And what will I get? Will I get anything? Or is
there nothing there to get? Nothing at all?
because theres nothing to say and I cant write
about it because, as its instrumental with vocal The big question
Well, were not divs but people make us out impressions, all I can produce is minds-eye Why? Why do you sound like The Cocteau
to be we come over like gibberish. And believe you me, Ive said some Twins?
Yes I understand that I dont understand. pretty embarrassing stuff about this lot in the

Some justification
past. Stuff, incidentally, that I stick by.
The things youre allowed to write! Robins big answer
Robins smiling. You went and wrote Why not?
The Cocteau Twins make my favourite music something about God in one of our reviews.
in the whole wide world ever and, on 16 and
22 November, they release two four-track EPs.
You said we were the voice of God or something.
I hated that. It gives people the wrong They confess
I want to talk about them but I know its no impression. It gives people your impression. Robin: It almost gets to the stage where you
good. They want them well-treated because If I read that, Id think, No fucking way am just want to turn round to somebody and say,
they envisage a Cocteau Twins backlash on I buying that! Yeah, Im really magical and mysterious,
the horizon and they dont think its fair. Just And another time you said I hadnt thats what I think about myself. Im weird and
because they dont t in, folks think they refuse developed much further than some Banshees obscure and it rubs off on the music
to t in, but its not the same thing at all. album and that we were too loud. That was Simon: Yeah, were religious, spiritual
Theres nothing wilful about the Cocteaus insulting. The idea of three people totally Liz: Would you like some tea or coffee just
refusal to play along, they just do what they do, stationary on stage with no af liation at all to now?
thats all. rocknroll making the loudest fucking noise Robin: Theres some tins arent there? Ill
Hey, they live on our planet, believe it or youve every heard kind of appeals. have another beer.
not. They eat, they drink, they see what we see And that thing you said to Robert Smith Liz: Youll want a fuckin straw with it next
and hear what we hear. Its just that what they about his lipstick! Liz is trembling. get you pissed quicker.
create when theyre locked away somewhere has What? Robin: Got any gin?
no bearing on any of this whatsoever. My task, You said Liz Frazer wants to know why Liz: Um er NO! I distinctly remember
I suppose, is to reconcile this into some sort you wear your lipstick like that. That was very you nishing it off last night. Dont drink
of sense but all I can come up with is intricate naughty of you Steve, very, very naughty. I was Robin: But Im getting my hair cut tonight.
babble which, even in the act of praising, seems so embarrassed. Liz: Yes, I know. Youll fall asleep and wake
TOM SHEEHAN

to tarnish their pure simplicity. Contrary to common belief, The Cocteau up with a skinhead thatll fuckin sort you out.
Ill admit at this point that I was going to wax Twins care. A lot. Youll never drink again.


NME ORIGINALS 87
TLFeBOOK
My method before it oated away.
Liz: Oh, thats fucking disgusting
Well, what was there left? disgusting. They must think were a bunch o
The personality angle wasnt perverts or something.
paying dividends because, as Robin: Take this sh/Harder than roe/
the antithesis of all they are, Who sauntered away.
it couldnt. The enormous Liz: Jesus!
review wasnt on either Robin: Julianne was rst called a genius/
all that verbiage trying to Julianne a genius too/Our song is framed by a
describe something deantly genius/Suddenly she got up and turned it on.
inarticulate. No. I was left Liz: Denitely a drug-induced hysteria.
with otsam, with various Simon: Im a prisoner of the fence.
meets in various places, with Robin: I dont mend no fence. Look at the
circumstantial evidence. sleeve notes. It says here that The Cocteau Twins
Whether it comes any closer to are three girls, right? And that I sing all the
anything, whether it helps, backing vocals on the LP and that my backing
I dont know. But anyway vocals are psychedelic but never freaky.
Meet one: Liz and Robins Liz: Bloody hell!
at in Chiswick. Ground oor.
Clean and bare with a Siamese
kitten called Otto (after the Mere mortal concerns
Can I go now? punk in Repo Man) who bites Self-parody?
Liz thoroughly
enjoys another
and scratches and has never Robin: It happened to us about a year and a
photo session heard of house-training. No half ago. It happens to everybody. You cant do
books about so no clues there. anything about it
A record player. A video. Lots
 Liz Frazer of videos. A photo of Lillian Gish in the toilet.
The door handle comes off in your hand and I confess
Small, very funny and very, very shy. you have to keep the lid down or the cat might If the process of this interview is to ascertain
At the photo studio, Liz is being made up, fall into the bowl. some truth, to nudge some reality, to realise
having her face and hair done. By her side, by Meet two: Riverside, for That Petrol Emotion. there arent any answers then Ive failed. If the
the mirror, is a note pad into which she jots Meet three: the photo session in Covent essence of the piece is to avoid an obsessive
every layer of foundation, every tint of eye Garden. A small studio and a pint or two in the autopsy of The Cocteau Twins problematic
shadow for further reference. pub. (Liz is on cider and Babycham, fact-ends). relationship to the interview, Ive let you
Thats typical, says Robin. Did you notice Meet four: Simon sees the Banshees at down badly. Its here, its inescapable and Im
at home by the record player, theres a piece of Hammersmith Odeon. circling, searching for something I cant dene,
paper with instructions on it about how the Meet ve: the 4AD night at Croydon struggling to discover is the big factor or the
stereo works, step by step. And by the video Underground theyre very much the visiting conveniently mystical cop-out.
theres another list of how to work it. And she stars. Robin hates it. Certainly the people I met and the records
wants to learn to drive can you imagine that? I hear dont match up too well, dont t. Im
Oh yes, a very Liz thing to do.
Temptation speaking of what stubbornly wont be spoken
of and its the best I can do to tell you that of all
Robin Guthrie If anybody around pop today is enjoying the
fact that language obscures as much (and as
the outts Ive ever met the characters of The
Cocteau Twins are the least informative when
Fat, funny, delightfully sarcastic, he crimps his well) as it reveals its intentions, its Liz Frazer. applied to their music.
hair to stop it looking pubic. Her lyrics are noise games, not nonsense And naturally, in saying that, I open two
This thin guy with glasses comes up to him but emotion liberated from clich. When she options, each equally inappropriate: theyre not
in the Croydon Underground, brandishing a sings, my world moves and it means something fakers, they wear no masks, they hide nowhere,
poster advertising the 4AD night and asking for beyond and without all the blasted, blighted nor are they recipients for some mysterious
an autograph. Robin looks him up and down, baggage of linguistic nostalgia. muse. They dont act as ciphers for some
snorts his disapproval and begins to read it out. She uses words but the words never matter, spiritual genius descending from the either.
Xymox. Is that us? their sounds carry the fullest impact, her voice The Cocteau Twins just go and do it and if
No. the most desolate ever recorded cuts the crap they dont know, why the hell should I?
Wolfgang Press. Is that us? but cant avoid it. We cant handle The Cocteau
Uh no.
Dif Juz. Is that us?
Twins, we dont possess the critical apparatus to
do them justice. Its no big deal on their behalf, In the beginning was
No.
Well then, shouldnt you be going to get
no deliberate setting themselves apart from
the mainstream, no arrogant isolationism. Its the word
their autographs? simply that the channels we stomp down to beat That was the shittiest interview weve ever
The bloke slinks off, bemused. Robin turns to pop to a pulp and render it comfortable and done
me and says: Its bad enough when they want comprehensible dont lead us anywhere near Its OK.
you to sign Cocteau Twins stuff. The Cocteau Twins. But we said nothing, we talked about
Thats a very Robin thing to do. We dont touch them and yet still we try. nothing
In Japan, for instance, theyve published lyric Its OK.
Simon Raymonde sheets with all the albums, even renaming
Treasure at whim The Woman Who The
But what are you gonna write about?
Oh, Ill make it up. Ill write about you. Ill
Simon was disgusted by the Banshees at Gods Loved. think of something.
Hammersmith Odeon. He considered them Robin: Tell me if any of these words are what But that means were in your hands, were at
heavy metal. Worst of all, though, he Liz is singing, right? Im not joking. Let us rock your mercy
TOM SHEEHAN

considered the encores dishonest. you so/Rock you so good. The wave of the earth Aha, well the hack always has the last word.
Thats a very Simon thing to say. has got me all fooled now. Should have xed it This is it

88 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
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TLFeBOOK
Morphine Paradise

recaptures the wondrous


hypnotic pop of the Banshees
greatest singles era, that between
Kaleidoscope and A Kiss In the
Dreamhouse.
David Quantick

MM, 16 March 1985, p27 psychedelic Killing Joke shorn


of the ton of bricks. By the way,
SISTERS OF MERCY this is innitely preferable to the
No Time To Cry B-side No.13 which attempts to
(WEA) bring Led Zeppelin into the 1980s.
First Killing Joke, now Andrew Silly Cult.
and his wonderful Sisters. Martin Aston
Whether its a remarkable and
strangely coincidental coming NME, 16 November 1985, p17
together of the untouchables
and the pop marketplace or COCTEAU TWINS
something a lot more contrived Tiny Dynamine
is hard to say, but who really gives MM, 3 August 1985, p34 (4AD)

a tinkers diddly one way or the Inside a cover that looks like a
other? What counts now is that NICK CAVE cross between the trip sequence
this is the Sisters best ever slice Tupelo from 2001 and a camels
of slime, with Andrew down in (Mute) afterbirth, those fun-loving
his boots as always but the rest There are those who would have Cocteau Twins bring you a four-
of the band delivering an edge you believe that this decrepit track selection of dead clever
that must make this a monster hit scuzzball and his infrequent Liz Fraser vocal gymnastics, a
with the previously uncommitted NME, 27 July 1985, p14 record releases represent the chorused 12-string guitar sound
housewife. Laugh if you want, but zenith of the alternative pop thats so rich it could kill a diabetic
far better Crazy Andrew than 100 THE CURE scene. For years I tried to convince at 40 paces and some rather
cuddly toys. In Between Days myself that I didnt loathe the indifferent lyrics. The closing
Barry McIlheney (Fiction) entire catalogue of this corrupter Sultitan Itan is a treat for the very
Three thoughts occur. One: how of small goths, but I am older tired to hallucinate to just before
does he do it? How on earth does and less charitable now. Boppy bedtime.
Smithy keep that face straight backbeat, though. Charles Shaar Murray
as he unloads these records? Caroline Sullivan
The Top was a schoolboyishly
cruel legs torn slowly from
helpless insects companion to
the Bunnymens contemporary
and equally silly-sod-psychedelic
Ocean Rain, while his butter-
wouldnt-melt Love Cats routine
was sublime, media-mocking TV.
The man is a comic to be rated
with Keaton.
MM, 1 June 1985, p27 Two: if I didnt believe New
Order to be as rich as Tsars, Id
THE CULT advise them to grab this record
MM, 1 June 1985, p27
MM, 23 November 1985, p30
She Sells Sanctuary and their own Temptation and
(Beggars Banquet) Power, Corruption And Lies and
SIOUXSIE & COCTEAU TWINS
She sells sanctuary, but will The to hotfoot it to the nearest court Echoes In A Shallow Bay
Cult sell any more records? Their of law. The monstrous scale, THE BANSHEES (4AD)

record sleeves may be getting nerve and cynicism of Smiths Cities In Dust The Great Spangled Fritillary
more graphically adventurous plagiarism, in a world where most (Wonderland) takes its name from a buttery;
and their name cant get any claim unique creative genius, has, I rather lost interest in this lot Melonella is more upbeat than
shorter but the swirling density oddly, to be admired. after Hyaena yielded one good the Cocteaus usual music, noisy
of their pulse-beat stays locked Three: either because of, or in single and little else. But Cities In almost; Pale Clouded White
inside the same blurred groove. spite of one and two, In Between Dust, a great rush of sound and feels like youre caught in a warm
Boy Duffys guitar is edgily set for Days a sneeringly off-hand a massively condent burst of snowstorm; and Eggs And Their
the heart of the sun great sitar debunking of all that Factorys pop, suggests a return to form. Shells is making love on a clifftop
impersonations! but The Cult nest seek so assiduously to Perhaps a bit intense for the with seabirds ying overhead. Am
are struggling. Still, the gothic mystify, is a good 45, easily the airwaves, and lacking the great I alone in nding them a complete
millstone might be slipping; best of the weeks pop crop. melody of the slightly similar and utter turn-on?
imagine a more sprightly, Danny Kelly Fireworks, Cities nevertheless Kris Kirk

90 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
Chapter 8
1986
DEREK RIDGERS

TLFeBOOK
Mission Accomplished

the battle but we didnt see it as a battle as


such more of a publicity stunt.
On hearing of the split and the newly-
named Missions intentions for the future,
WEA promptly showed Wayne and co the
quickest way out of the building.
WEA didnt think I could sing. They
gave us this list of singers they thought
would be good for us Andi Sex Gang,
Gavin from the Virgin Prunes and Sal
Solo. They just didnt have a clue.
We were open to constructive criticism
but Sal bloody Solo is not constructive
criticism, Mick states.
They seem to be playing a different

Snake
game to Eldritch taking it out on the
road as opposed to sticking in the studio.
Wayne: Im a very different person
to Eldritch. First and foremost Im more
sociable. The feeling of comradeship
in The Mission is very similar to the
one I had when I was in Dead Or Alive.
Andrew was very hard to work with.
You never got any credit. I mean, he was
a real headfucker.
Dont you ever wish The Mission
were starting out tomorrow just like

charmers
every other band, with none of the
expectations and exploits of the past
hanging around your shoulders?
The Mission: (l to r) Wayne: No, cos then wed be playing
Mick Brown, Craig the fucking dives of the world. In some
Adams, Wayne ways its a bit of an albatross but it does
Hussey and Simon
Hinkler guarantee us an audience. Initially,
itll probably be very similar to that
of the Sisters, but, in time, I think it
MM, 10 May 1986, p14 will widen. Our songs are a lot more
accessible than the Sisters ever were.

Rising phoenix-like from the ashes of the Sisters, The Mission Would you say youre writing for others now
then, rather than yourself?


watch the dawn come up with a wide-eyed Mat Smith I never used to write for myself. It was always
for Andrew. The criteria we use in The Mission
is that if it sounds good when we play it on an

t
hey dont make songs like that any more. Do you feel more comfortable in The Mission? acoustic guitar in my living room then its a good
Wayne Hussey lurches towards the Nah, he sighs. Some people can feel song. Thats how our single Serpents Kiss was
stereo, pulls off Roll Away The Stone and comfortable in a ve-star hotel but I cant. Id written. The majority of the songs weve been
replaces it with Like A Hurricane. Next door rather be in a hovel cos you can trash it and not doing in the set so far are my songs that Andrew
the neighbours pull the bedsheets over their do much damage. Its the same thing with The rejected for the second Sisters album. Its ironic
heads. In an hour their alarm clocks will ring, Mission. I can trash it and not do much damage cos he actually saw us in Birmingham and told
signalling the end to another long night. whereas, with the Sisters, there was a certain us how good he thought the songs were.
They came round with an axe the other reverence even when I joined the group. Was he being sarcastic? Or was it from the
night, Wayne chuckles wide-eyed. But I think bottom of his heart?
we should be safe now. The Elvis Presleys From Hell took shape towards Wayne: I dont think he has a bottom of his
Before The Mission there were the Sisters, and the end of the Sisters reign Wayne and Craig heart. Bottom of his hat perhaps.
there are still a lot of puzzled
Sisters fans. What went wrong?
It was going wrong in the Sisters even when The cat comes down from his
It was going wrong even perch. The sun ickers in and
when I joined. I mean, we did
the album hardly talking to I joined. Eldritch was very hard to work with. You TV-ams Gyles seems even more
irritating with the sound turned
each other. We were rehearsing down. Jumbled thoughts and
the new stuff his new stuff, he never got any credit. He was a real headfucker jumbled talk. How can you face
wouldnt touch any of my songs your mother Wayne?
and it was just crap. Craig had had enough and playing various benet gigs in their native Leeds My mum knows what I get up to. I had a
walked out. As the studio door slammed Eldritch with Red Lorry Yellow Lorry drummer Mick really bad relationship with my parents for a
clapped his hands together and said Ha! Weve Brown. However, it wasnt until they added while. Theyre both devout Mormons. Seriously!
got rid of the driftwood. I thought, You bastard ex-Artery guitarist Simon Hinkler and changed Its stood me in good stead but it doesnt stop me
and left the next day. their name to The Sisterhood that the fun and doing drugs. I like speed my mother knows
Its sad but we really had no choice. I still games really began. that. She knows I like girls and she knows about
respect him. He probably thinks Im a bastard Wayne: It was a brilliant trick. I knew it my homosexuality. She knows all about it.
well I hope he does anyway, but I know he would antagonise Andrew and WEA and we also Understanding lady, that Mrs Hussey. But
CORBIS

respects me as a musician. got a lot of press out of it. I always knew wed lose then shed have to be wouldnt she?

92 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1986

thumbprints before youve even singing-into-my-boots What the hell


got the record out. It all looked like from Andrew Eldritch is this? Check the
an attempt to carry on precisely that always made the credits. Ah, Alan
where The Sisters Of Mercy left off. Sisters slightly comical. Vega from Suicide.
So were barely into the rst And when he does It ts. Its the kind
track, Jihad, when I think I hear sing, on the version of music youd call
MM, 26 July 1986, p28 a Mantronix-style handclap. of the single Giving industrial if there was
Surely not. Mustve put the wrong Ground, it sounds any industry left in
THE SISTERHOOD record on. No, there it is again, like Peter Murphy this country. The kind
Gift (Merciful Release) and over a stomping Eurobeat having a dark moment. of music youll hear
It all looked so obvious. Minimalist that would make the boys from Eventually Im ground under by on a train travelling through the
packaging and one of those glossy DAF proud. Things, I think, could a relentless synth beat that crushes Frankfurt conurbation.
black sleeves thats covered with be looking up. None of that silly all colour in its path. Phil DC

NME ORIGINALS 93
TLFeBOOK
Southern
A SensitiveDeAth
Guy Cult

If you prick me,


do I not bleed?
I believe you have a song about the British music press entitled Scum. I didnt write it
about the press; I wrote it about you. Nick Cave does not take kindly to criticism, as Mat Snow
discovered when he went along to discuss Caves new album, Kicking Against The Pricks

a
mong Nick Caves most prized What, however, constitutes that instinctive whose thoughts in abandoned desolation turn
possessions is a hard-cover green recognition of a songs worth is not so simple. from regret to grief to vengeance. That the end of
book stuffed with press cuttings and On his new album there are self-confessed his relationship with his girlfriend of seven years,
private observations written in his tributes, like his version of The Hammer Song, Anita Lane, in 1983 has inspired so much of his
painstakingly spidery hand. originally by his schoolboy hero Alex Harvey, the subsequent work has never been denied.
Rather than living out the extremes of our piratical Glaswegian rocker whose Jacques Brel- From that point, Cave has turned his lifes big
particular fantasies, most of us rid ourselves of derived theatricality anticipated punk. wound into art, and he has also plunged into
these desires in other ways beating the wife, Missing from Pricks, however, are songs that art as a safety-valve. Not for a long time
the normal day-to day things. In this particular Cave loves which have already been fully realised has a more poignantly tragic gure one whose
book I indulge myself to the limits. I dont have elsewhere, offering no avenues for further downfall springs from an unbalancing ruling
to show this to anyone; I dont have to worry exploration. Van Morrisons Astral Weeks LP is passion starred in rocks obsessively scrutinised
about whether my mothers going to read it a case in point, though Cave reviles all his other zone where private life and public image overlap.
I believe it includes a song about the British records. Likewise damned is Jimi Hendrix, whose His gravity of demeanour and much-trailed
music press entitled Scum. rendition of Hey Joe Cave regards as an easily afnity with serious literary endeavour not only
I didnt write it about the press; I wrote it surpassable high point in an unappealing career. mark him out from the frivolities of the pop
about you Nick Caves Hey Joe invokes a brooding cosmic industry, but also bestow on him a tradition in
He icks through the pages, his pink-rimmed wrath surrounding Joes crime passionel which which his torment may nd a home.
eyes not looking up once to meet mine. echoes the heavenly portents which attended the Not for Nick Cave the battlements of Elsinore
I write hate lyrics really well. Its not every birth of the Presley twins in Tupelo. he stalks instead Americas deep South, a
day you can use them really Kicking Against The Pricks is a richly exciting larger-than-life corrupted Eden of hot blood,
This interview is not turning out at primitive religion, swamplands, scarlet
all as Id hoped.
I had hoped for an interview which
Im inconsistent, illogical, women, quack sawbones, whisky
preachers, riverboat gamblers, white
would amplify how Nick Caves
preoccupations have been revealingly
side-lit by his new album of cover
irrational. So fuckin what? trash, slaves and the lynch-mob.
This mythical deep South serves
not only as the landscape for some of
versions. Called Kicking Against The Pricks, its record, not only for the choice of songs and their Caves favourite music, but also as a backdrop
very title alludes not only to the verse from the singing, but also for the revitalising aplomb and, sufciently wild to project his tragic image onto
Acts of the Apostles but perhaps also to Samuel where needs be, restraint of their performance an Oedipus wreck in winklepickers.
Becketts borrowing of the phrase; certainly, a by the Bad Seeds, whose highly talented maestro
pun of Caves own devising is intended. And I Mick Harvey is too little recognised. I just think Mat Snow is an arsehole who said
suspect I might be one of the pricks. Pricks is, in addition, a further instalment in this, and its not true. I nd it hard to sit down
As he explains in his measured, dictation- the remoulding of Nick Cave into one of rocks and talk to someone who gave us a bad review.
speed sigh of a voice, Theres not a great deal most striking and multi-levelled leading players. Tragic gures are usually proud it goes with
of intellectualisation of the reasons why we did For a start, Nick Cave hates the rock world. the territory. Petty-mindedness, however, tends
these particular songs. Were musicians and feel He is highly literate about rock and its many to be comic. So why are neither of us laughing?
music more from the heart than the head. Im sources, but inclines towards its most earthy What had I done to poison this whole encounter?
not sure whether you can understand that. poets of passion, the balladeers and story-tellers. In March last year I wrote of an Einstrzende
Ouch. Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison like him, men Neubauten single that it musters the psycho-
When I listen to a song, it strikes my in black gure large in his taste, as do Elvis logical edge disappointingly absent from Nick
heart whether its worthwhile or not. Theres Presley and Bob Dylan. Cave has sought among Caves forthcoming LP That I have also
something so basic and so simple it shouldnt this canon those themes which most closely heaped extravagant praise upon his work cuts
even need to be said. resemble his preoccupation that of a jilted lover no ice at all.

94 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
Nick Cave: declined
to appear in the
new series of How
Clean Is Your House

If someone says something good about me, If, with few exceptions, Cave has scant regard of our shows and screams out, Youre a fucking
theyre doing their job; I have no complaints. for we back-stabbing scribblers, he doesnt give arsehole! Pays every night to scream that at the
They get no medal, they get their wage. Thats a ying fuck for the other four-fths of his group, and, if he gets a chance, to punch me. Hes
all. But if they say something bad, then that audience, most of whom by my reckoning are not there to pick up a girl, thats for sure.
really gets on my tits. full-time goths, part-time slummers, wallowers Sometimes during this supremely painful
Im inconsistent, Im illogical, Im irrational and weirdoes who are there to be fucked up the interview Nick Cave forgets himself and speaks
about it. So fuckin what? dirt-track, metaphorically speaking. eloquently and animatedly about something
Caves voice barely rises. Hes as laboriously Ive got less and less inclined towards being outside his immediate concerns; the prison
patient as an iceberg. some sort of colourful food for a lot of other system, for instance, which hes been researching
Everything thats said against me offends people to consume. Writing allows me to be for a lm project in Australia. When I ask about
me, whether its true or not. I cant fathom myself and not have to perform this lthy God and the afterlife, he becomes more guarded.
these people who unked their arts courses and function which, no matter what I do, is inherent All hell say is that he believes evil will not go
became rock journalists and are too ignorant in being lead singer for some freak group. unpunished, even if its rewarded on earth.
about music or academic about their thoughts I dont know what the people who come and But soon he reverts to being the sod with a
BLEDDYN BUTCHER

or have so many hang-ups that they cant bring see me are like. I dont know what their reasons grudge and thin veneer of forced politeness.
themselves to perform. Yet it is these people for doing anything are. I dont know the reason Im just a sensitive guy, he smiles inwardly.
whose opinions are lauded as being gospel. for the boy down the front who comes to each Very inwardly.

NME ORIGINALS 95
TLFeBOOK
Purple Prose

MM, 12 April 1986, p27 as ornate as Tiny Dynamine, its


jewels glisten in a sensual languor

NICK CAVE & of intrigue that outstrips its


predecessors.
THE BAD SEEDS Spikes of Robin Guthries
Kicking Against The Pricks crystalline guitar stake out a fecund
(Mute) landscape where Liz Frasers
This record is a kind of essay about beatic voice is free to swirl and
pop. By covering these obscure entwine stroking chords before all
pop, country and blues songs, Nick dissolve in the cascading chant of
Cave admits them to his canon and, Lazy Calm. As usual, the Cocteaus
in effect, claims that titles swing between the abstract
theyre inhabited by the been drawn to the limbo playing in the and the absurd with
same extremes melodrama of country isolated peace and songs such as Fluffy
of obsession, love songs, their secret splendour of Tufts heralding the
possession and imagery of religious, Victorialand. nursery rhyme stroll
abjection that absolute passion. Nothing is as it of Oomangmak.
characterise his These songs stories seems. The covers The songs chime with
own work. of calamity, betrayal, weathered and innocence not incense
Cave is writing out guilt and revenge are slightly distressed and it all almost makes
a lineage in which he fuel for dissent against style conceals the sense. Almost.
is the sole heir, the the current mainstream haunting umbrella of But what does it
only one who still remains close representation of love perfection that lies within. all mean?
to the heart of rocknroll. as health and fullment. Cave has This time the Cocteaus quest What does it matter the guiding
Kicking Against The Pricks always seen love as problematic and for that perfect ethereal serenade hand of true genius is at work
is critical in another sense too, mysterious, an afiction. has even meant the album must here. No clatter of percussion, no
marking a key shift in his career. The music here is absolutely be played at 45rpm. The slower Simon Raymonde, no clutter, and
Caves sense of his own stature has brilliant an unhinged, eerie the speed, the coarser the quality, gargoyles of replica. Its so simple,
swollen to the point where he feels simulation of bygone pop on and the twins awless production and simply unique. From the rst
he can reduce his own creative Sleeping Anleah and Long has no room for mistakes only breathless and elemental touch
role to choosing other peoples Black Veil, a swollen tide of mystery. Though Victorialand is of Throughout The Dark Months
material and arranging it: such is the clangorous, corrugated sound on not as immediate as Treasure, nor Of April And May the duo conjure
corrosive originality of his style that All Tomorrows Parties, almost wistful spectres of serenity and
he need only sing a song to make it perfect pop on Somethings Gotten submission that cast no shadow.
his own, to catalyse its latent tragic Hold Of My Heart, with only Caves The balalaika-like refrains of Little
qualities. So theres a shift from burnt-out husk of a voice giving Spacey wings spread wide,
poet-visionary of sex and death to away that this is really 1986 and the eyes alert, scything thought the
interpreter, from Jim Morrison to alternative scene. depths of dreamtime, the vocal
Scott Walker, from bayou howl to a Theres enough almost casual hieroglyphics of Whales Tails
kind of croon, from self-immolation brilliance on Kicking Against triggering a stampede of a heart
to fatigue. The Pricks to totally justify Nick that beats in unison with the very
When Cave addresses his own Caves bloated sense of his own stirrings of the soul.
legend in song the result is some importance. For a full half-hour, the lush and
of his most hilarious work. Like Simon Reynolds the barren thread through the
Avalanche and A Box For Black amorous caress of How To Bring A
Paul, The Folksinger is a fantastical Blush To The Snow and the brittle
MM, 16 August 1986, p27
dramatisation of Caves contempt cataracts of Feel Like Fins before
for his audience of goths and rock culminating in the wavering cries of
critics; a Johnny Cash song about THE COCTEAU TWINS The Thinner Air.
a singer abandoned by his ckle Victorialand
public, who muses, All the truths (4AD)
Nick Cave: the
I tried to tell you were as distant to How time ies when time is time thinking goths
you as the moon/Born 200 years and again. Another Cocteau Twins Cliff Richard
too late and 200 years too soon. album, another gilded pillar of
A masterstroke that induces real excellence, another review of
shame for my having forgotten waxing lyrical ballads.
about Nick Cave, led him away. Nothing is new, but
Not withstanding the the news is good the
ethnomusicological sleevenotes progression is complete.
on The Firstborn Is Dead, a pastiche Time marches on, and
of the kind youd nd on a boxed passes by the elusive
Harry Belafonte record, this music Twins whose work is
isnt really modern folk music. Its neither updated, nor
art rock masquerading as folks outdated, but sieves
tradition, using folks textures of through another
bitter, broken lives and ghost town calendar in another
desolation as a contemporary place. Once more
metaphor for our rootless, faithless they are left
existence. out on a limb
Like many others, Cave has playing in

96 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1986

How time ies in the face of Bargelds barbed-wire strings


beauty. And the music stops, the wrapping around wood blocks
clock starts, and all that remains are and the galleon drum.
fragments of beauty torn from the In darkness the sinister
paradise of the Gods. chimes of the fantasy
Nothing is new. mannequins of desolation strut
All good is renewal. and clutch at the outrages of
Ted Mico Stranger Than Kindness, with
the same mesmeric chain-gang
MM, 15 November 1986, p29
beat that binds the entrails of
Sad Waters to Caves ferris

NICK CAVE & wheel of re.


The daylight nally fractures
THE BAD SEEDS the cortege of Jacks Shadow,
Your Funeral My Trial but the upbeat joy and relief is
(Mute) short-lived. The sun blinds love,
There is no land, there is no hope, casts a haunting shadow and
there is no glory. There is only the emasculates truth.
sight of helpless and hapless people It also causes skin cancer
being dragged screaming into the but Cave is not concerned with
cave of perdition to experience the such mundane matters not
thrill of horror. when theres dead women to
Nick Cave, the patron saint of sing about.
burials, is there to make sure there He is probably the only man
is no escape from the more openly religious
quicksand. than Cliff Richard,
Once more he is demanding and
heard suffering for demeaning belief
his art and displaying by hollering
the art of suffering savage psalms,
twitching with empty words
pain and scratching from Leviticus
his arts. Many have and dismembered
tried to facsimile St sermons from
Nicholas infernal the OT gone OTT. The Cocteau Twins:
making journalists
inferno but only a man who is Nick Cave, hallowed be thy swoon since 1982
reputed to have spent half his name. In this gospel love
life unconscious, face down in a can only exist in the solstice
public urinal, could convince of self-deprivation, the ritual of in the midst of the most ungodly With Me, a nursery rhyme which
people that hell on earth is real. self-sacrice, and the accidents of activities, revelling, quafng and insists on masquerading as a song.
Only a man sustained by a wincing self-indulgence. throwing up all around town as he Elsewhere the material is riveting,
self-mutilation could make this Its a small wonder he found the rampages ever onwards in search of colourful and extraordinarily varied.
skeleton-strewn underworld a borrowed time to make his Funeral. the next likely boiler. The bright pop-rock of Severina
tantalising sauna. Its nothing short of Wayne, it must be and the infectious up-tempos of
The funeral procession crackles, a miracle that this said, is not a man to Sacrilege and And The Dance Goes
stumbles and ruptures as if led by barren and polluted hide his libido under On contrast satisfyingly with the
the three blind mice pretending underworld is so a bushel, and one string-laden, lascivious Garden Of
to be the three wise men carrying enticing, forcing a can only admire the Delight (Hereafter) or the smoky
smouldering gifts of rampant parody of beauty recklessness of his Love Me To Death.
paranoia. from the grotesque. lyrical enthusiasm for But The Mission are at their most
Throughout The Trial, Caves There is no sex, even if he does, now brilliant when theyre at their most
vision of women as either the chaste salvation, there is and then, get a trie too over-the-top. Bridges Burning, with
or the chased the Virgin Mary, or no redemption, affectionate. I mean, if its shrieks and screams and wails, is
a lascivious whore (the two inner there is only delirium anybody ever dared call the masterpiece of the album, and
sleeve illustrations) is antiquated, a mirage that mistakes hell for me my blossom or my precious, the slower Let Sleeping Dogs Die
facile and repellent. Only a man paradise. Id break their neck. But Wayne is is not far behind in terms of
whose heart and mind have been Yet this paradise in one hell of nothing if not impulsive, and this, dramatic impact.
severely jilted would devote so a place. coupled with the sprightly musical The rst time I was really
many tortured words to Beatrice, Ted Mico imagination of The Mission, makes impressed with The Mission was the
the unapproachable dream of for a remarkably entertaining LP. night they became the only Top 30
womanhood, or Doreen, a cheap I hadnt expected this. In my band in the universe to be turned
and moist gap to ll up the time. MM, 15 November 1986, p29 previous ignorance, Id think away from the Limelight for not
Yet in Caves purgatory The Mission, and Id think goth being famous enough.
everything is black and white THE MISSION dark and broody and boring, The second time I was really
without the white. Unlike The Gods Own Medicine boring, boring. In reality, this is a impressed by The Mission was
PETER ANDERSON/TOM SHEEHAN

Firstborn and Kicking Against (Mercury) predominantly dynamic album last week, when I nally started to
The Pricks, the Bad Seeds have I still believe in God, but God no which comes to grief on only two listen to their music. So Wayne, my
stretched and scattered their longer believes in me. counts the tedious Dance On blossom do I qualify for a free
lugubrious hacksaw shrapnel so far Frankly Im not surprised. Wayne Glass, all pattering drums and non- pint now?
it no longer resembles the blues, Hussey is invariably to be found events, and the infuriating Stay Carol Clerk

NME ORIGINALS 97
TLFeBOOK
Sweet Nothings

of their wailings have driven me


MM, 1 February 1986, p26 to drink, and I never once fancied NME, 11 October 1986, p12
that I heard through their albums
THE SISTERHOOD the veritable Voice Of God. This THE COCTEAU TWINS
Giving Ground single, however, is thrilling, my Loves Easy Tears (4AD)
(Merciful Releases) favourite since Playground Twist. A blood-curdling 50 seconds of
Cant quite understand whats Big and brash and clashing, its whip-cracking, saddlesore Tex
going on here. Giving Ground many parts combine to form Mexabilly. This bucking bronco of
was apparently written and one spirited, unpredictable yet a single shows itself no mercy and
produced by Sister Of Mercy wholly co-ordinated outburst nally runs itself into the ground
Andrew Eldritch along with the while Siouxsies voice, in condent with a sparkling accordion solo in
hideously old Lucas Fox, whom control, bounces up and down the nal furlong. There are many
hairier readers may remember and around the repeating Prickly music delivered in a coolly ways to describe The Cocteau
from the original 1902 Motorhead motifs and unexpected twists of assured manner. On the one Twins, arent there, kids?
line-up. The great man doesnt arrangement. hand, the simple, dreamlike title Cath Carroll
actually appear on the track, Carol Clerk track, on the other a purple End
however, and its up to someone Of The Day built along satellite
called James Ray to inict terror principles, intermingling classy
via the tonsils. It doesnt quite phases that keep you indoors
work and sounds at times a little for hours. There are pop hernias
like the tune to Lyttons Diary aching to burst in All About Eve,
that is until those Banshees this is only the swelling.
baselines creep in, then it sounds Mick Mercer
like something you get pissed
to in dodgy German discos. The
instrumental version on the B-side
fares a little better and is probably
nice background music for those
nights you have to stay in and NME, 18 October 1986, p17
wash the blood off the walls.
Mat Smith MM, 24 May 1986, p31 THE MISSION
Stay With Me (Mercury)
THE MISSION Pomp rock for night people in
Serpents Kiss which Wayne Hussey croons
(Chapter 22) seductive sweet nothings to the
Born from the jetsam of The virgin of his choice. Id sooner
Sisters Of Mercy, The Missions cuddle up to a bag of chisels.
signature is all too familiar a MM, 26 July 1986, p26 Mat Snow
spiders scrawl on the tabernacle
wall. Cosy guitar arpeggios coil THE MISSION The Mission:
around Wayne Husseys low- Garden Of Delight lacking in humour
slung drone, until suddenly the (Chapter 22)
apparently.
darkness shatters and the spectre Predictable stuff from these ex- Apart from their
of Andrew Eldritchs shades rises Sisters Of Mercy, though entirely hats of course
out of the black. The ghost smiles, lacking in the humour that set
shakes his head and slopes off into the originals apart, and full of
MM, 1 March 1986, p31
oblivion, muttering, The horror enough jangly guitar and doom-

SIOUXSIE & the horror.


Ted Mico
laden vocals to build upon their
recent Serpents Kiss success.
THE BANSHEES Far more interesting though is
Candyman NME, 31 May 1986, p30 their cover of Neil Youngs Like
(Wonderland) A Hurricane, also included here,
If I had a penny for every would-be ALL ABOUT EVE with Hussey and co taking the old
Siouxsie Ive ever seen on a stage, In The Clouds rednecks classic and camping it
Id have enough money to write to (Eden) up to a quite outrageous degree.
PETER ANDERSON

you all personally and tell you to Goosebumps a go-go on the 12- I can hardly wait to see Adam
buy this record. Not that Ive ever inch version from the fruit cellar Sweetings face.
been much of a Banshees fan: a lot to the crows nest and back again. Barry McIlheney

98 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
Chapter 9
1987
DEREK RIDGERS

TLFeBOOK
Waynes WorlD

100 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1987

NME ORIGINALS 101


TLFeBOOK
Metal Machine Music

But rather than try for the high-wire


tension of the original, theyve
reheated it in a supper-lounge suit,
and its charming enough.
Youre Lost Little Girl needs
its Morrison to convince but
John Cales Gun stomps along
righteously and the horns puff it up
for a welcome reincarnation.
Even allowing for the at This
Wheels On Fire and the token of
their glam adolescence (Roxys
Sea Breezes), the Banshees have
here made their rst good LP in ve
years. Whatever thats worth today.
David Swift

NME, 11 April 1987, p35

THE CULT
Electric
(Beggars Banquet)
The Mish: billowing
hair and bilious One of the most fascinating things
pretension about the development of music
over the last two years has been the
myriad ways in which heavy metal,
once an idiot in-breed feeding off
its own faeces, has reinvented itself.
NME, 11 July 1987, p33 Most spectacular is Run DMCs
achievement in selling re-usable
THE MISSION Aerosmith riffs to the hipsters of
The First Chapter the soul patrol, messing up all the
(Phonogram) ten-year old cultural boundaries.
Just how serious can The Mission But on the traditional side theres
possibly be? Anyone who can name been a swing towards a New York
songs Naked And Savage and Dolls-ish sense of glam, while on the
Serpents Kiss has either got punk, tribal side bands like The Cult
a severe clich problem have slipped into the biker/killing
or theyre laughing all By far the most the Disney soundtrack but fares machine imagery of traditional
the way to the bank. entertaining aspect badly when compared with that heavy metal.
This bunch quite of this pompously pythons creepy delivery. No one knows the marketing
clearly derive from a titled collection is the Its been a long time since the potential of the various strains of
post-punk culture, and sleeve notes, which Banshees have been hypnotic, but new rock better than Rick Rubin
yet take a perverse refer to blowing this has its moments. Sadly its not the man who turned the Beastie
delight in irting brains out, searing half the LP that Nick Boys from brash punk to brat
with that bte noir white-hot guitar noise, Cave produced with metal, the man behind
of their generation, various illegal states of Kicking Against The Slayers speed metal
mid-70s rock. The Mission quite mind, and, best of all, Pricks, because here thrash, producer of Run
self-consciously break all the rules. a gorgeous happening rocknroll the Banshees are DMC and now producer
Deciding to cover a Neil Young song, relationship, whatever that may mostly too respectful of The Cult. Yes, it is a
for instance, The Mission have to be. After reading that lot, the most except on Strange conspiracy.
choose his single example of that amusing thought came to mind. Fruit, which is a Rubin seems to have
great dodo, the rock anthem Like Hey! What if they mean it, man? wobbling disaster. a perfect grasp on what
A Hurricane, delivered with a po- John Munro Iggy Pops The the masses of middle
faced, blustering sincerity. Passenger is one America want, which is,
The problem is that if its of the few rock records that could in fact, not very much,
NME, 7 March 1987, p26
intended to be a joke, its not really start a barndance anywhere in the just something very noisy and
very funny. The clichs they use
rarely aspire to being anything
SIOUXSIE & world. Its a legend, and at least
Siouxsie knows that if youre gonna
unpretentious. And if mid-America
wants it, it wants it in large enough
other than clichs, and at their THE BANSHEES mess with this one, mess with it or numbers to allow you to forget
best theyre like consolation prize Through The Looking Glass leave well alone. So as all concerned about the rest of the world.
winners in a Jim Morrison sound- (Polydor) take a ride to see whats theirs, the The question is whether they
alike competition. At their worst, Look deep into my eyes, little one horns swoop and it swings along will want The Cult, and the answer
TONY MOTTRAM/RETNA/PATRICK QUIGLY/RETNA

they can be a veritable vomitbag trussssssssst me! Yesss, trussst me famously. On Hall of Mirrors, is almost certainly yes. Electric is
full of bilious pretension. A version when I say this is OK, actually. the Banshees and Kraftwerk are a perfectly accomplished heavy
of Patti Smiths Dancing Barefoot Who wouldnt love that sssublime well-matched because each has a metal record, from the bladed
misses the point altogether, sssnake from The Jungle Book? trademark pulse, and the tune is lettering of the cover right down
sounding like little boys playing Even he gets a chance on this, the made to measure. to the version of Born To Be Wild,
with naughty drug references, Banshees collection of favourites Anyone attempting to play out while the tawdry glamour displayed
where the original sounds like a from Ten Years In A Tour Bus. Televisions seldom-heard debut in the inner sleeve shots is perfectly
scarecrow playing with re. Siouxsie croons Trust In Me from Little Johnny Jewel is asking for it. designed to meet Bon Jovi halfway.

102 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1987

Musically it sounds like a trip The Cures intangibility fades into staggeringly original never give in.
MM, 30 May 1987, p30
through the styles of the 70s, from esh here and bloodletting is rife. Not until several minutes silence
sub-T.Rex catchphrasing through We have 17 songs, we have two after the event (for thats what
acid-scrambled nonsense (Sitting THE CURE themes if only and come over this subversive saintly saccharine
on a mountain looking at the sun/ Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me here we have tortured memories is, really) do we realise that the
Plastic fantastic lobster telephone) (Fiction) and, believe it or not, we have some answers have all been romanced.
to full blown Led Zeppelin bombast. Kiss kiss bang bang! Just as Rodins current fun. We take one more quick glance at
We might wonder just lovers will forever hold palms to When Warhol made The Kiss the clothing strewn on the oor.
how serious this can thighs and the only another great arrogant accident Crimson lips. If that was a picture of
be when we hear lines good lips will be red the beauty of each entrails, wed nd it revolting. But it
like: Zany antics of lips, this is a perfect rendezvous couldve isnt. Its lips, so we
a beat generation/In objective blur, a been spoiled by think its chic. The eye
their wild search for subjective sublime. saturation. Just as on of the beholder is yet
kicks. But the kids You nd yourself The Cures magnetic again the sole arbiter.
with the dollars in swaying, instinctively, magnum opus, the Theyll be howling
their pockets and to most of it: echoes of pert irtations or this into the wind 10
the college radio the known. All I want is self-agellations of years from now, and
station on their to hold you like a dog: each mini-masterpiece if it wasnt a double
portables wont . too furry to be rock, too should negate each album Id have no
Theres gold in this here swill. tearful to be pop, too reliant on other till its just all too hesitation in calling it
Don Watson ice-skating strings to be soul, much. But somehow, somewhere, album of the year. But
theres a place in your heart for each. Im hesitating. Which leaves me
When Marilyn coos simply no more or less lost than anyone
elegant in The Seven Year Itch, who irrationally loves the nebulous
thats ne too, because she has no aspirations, camp angst and lack of
The Nephs Carl
McCoy: sponsored name. Robert Smith is only called denition of The Cure. A panacea or
by Homepride Robert Smith, but perhaps this is Pantheism? Think Im In Love With A
why we let him get away with it. We German Film Star and be damned.
sympathise, because hes clever Chris Roberts
enough not to get too clever. I wish
you were dead and You want to MM, 30 May 1987, p34
know why I hate you? he groans.
This is creative visualisation, for
Smith is undoubtedly enjoying life.
FIELDS OF THE
So not only can we mope along, NEPHILIM
if we wish, we can boogie with Dawnrazor
reverential and self-referential (Situation 2)

delight to such exquisite Detractors of the Nephilim are often


squeals as, That girl was always more inclined towards artier shite
falling/Again and again/ And I used and thereby choose to spare three
to sometimes try to catch her/But I seconds peering at the hats and six
never even caught her name. months ignoring the music. This is
So its won, its won from the how people come to miss out on the
extended lung twirling intro to rumbling sprees we call Slowkill
The Kiss such anticipation! or Volcane, ominous preludes to
Like unwrapping chocolate! power both, gnashing teeth hard
The consistent death and enough to desecrate gums, but with
pain imagery keeps an undeniable grace.
us brewing coyly till Epiglottal rumpus aside, it is
How Beautiful You the guitars which arrest attention
Are sends everything most, sneering and snapping their
Venus-wards. The way through torrential mixtures of
Snakepit slithers ridiculously sublime multi-textured
with atmosphere sounds and song. Nephilim stride
but is usurped by the out of a gloom of their own setting,
strings which to throttle your record
underline Like deck. You want
Cockatoos. whipcord choruses,
And if Hot Hot tensile passages of
Hot is imsy anti-inertia? All here.
funk, Just Like This band
Heaven is ribald have constructed
pop, as delicious something quite
as a ing behind a magnicent in a
screen. This record dismal time, when
lacks the punch of everyone tends to ape
The Head On The Door but has things of indescribable putrescence.
twice the suction. Unlike hip slop like Swans or Young
Still, the search goes on Gods, some rattlesnakes wag their
for The Perfect Girl, and tails cos theyre pleased to see you.
the conclusion of it all is a Mick Mercer

NME ORIGINALS 103


TLFeBOOK
h Andy?
ello?
Thin White Duck here.
Who?
Andy.
certain to choke goth on its own bittersweet
excesses. First And Last And Always, the album
out on Merciful Release through Warners,
and nights sat up in hotels with Eldritch in his
manky leather cowboy hat doing wilful bodily
Eldritch. harm to our fragile metabolisms and rattling
Oh uh hi, Eldritch. on at mutual cross-purposes; me about love n
Come for drinks. life n that; Eldritch, of course, about fencing
When? and self-defence and the iron bar he carried
Now. up the sleeve of his coat for dextrous use in the
I cant, Im asleep. Its seven in the morning. eventuality of attack.
Is it? Oh, coffee then. The world was spinning at Eldritchs pace
Later. and it was spinning very, very fast. There were
Sure. Kensington. My hotel. At 10. great conspiracies and greater paranoia. He even
OK Uh, you havent been to sleep yet have offered to take someone out of my life by giving
you? them a job on the Sisters road crew for a US
When this week? This month? tour a job he could hardly refuse and which he
After the gig. might well not survive. Some friend. Some hero.
Uh no. Went to Dingwalls with Lemmy And then well, those postcards. One from
and these Hells Angels and Mexico which read: ELVIS IS DEAD. I know
Save it, Eldritch. Save it. See you later. because he told me. Sorry to break it to you so
bluntly, but you had it coming, hippie. Feed
Ah, those were the days. Cryptic phone calls at your head when you can nd it. Von Eldritch
all hours. The Sisters Of Mercy at The Albert X. There was a PS: Peyote girls go round the
Hall, a heavy dark nectar of irony that looked outside, round the outside.

HIS MASTERS
VOICE
Andrew Eldritch, the godfather of goth, is back to lead
his children form the hippy wilderness and to prove
The Sisters of Mercy are first and last and always.
Steve Sutherland gets the message
MM, 5 september 1987, p14

104N MN EM EO ROIRGIIGNIANLASL S
??
TLFeBOOK
1987

There were others from Hamburg, the last of Where have you been since you last appeared in Was it frustrating to see The Mission become
which was written in Chinese, and I wasnt the the hallowed pages of the Maker? successful in the mean time?
only one who feared for the great mans sanity. Well, we went through the corporate wars in No I mean, they took the interest and
Rumour had it a combination of devastated my familiar Jonathan E type role and we did OK. capitalised on that but, musically, not. It was
health, legal binds and sheer disappointment A lot of untruths have been bandied about, but noticeable for about a year that they couldnt
that his ex-henchmen had made a go of The unfortunately, the way we won makes it tricky get press unless they mentioned my name. I saw
Mission had laid Eldritch near-fatally low. We for us to explain how we won and, therefore, interviews with myself so many times by proxy
presumed the world and Eldritch, to all extents prove that we did. It was basically over the name that got irritating because well, Wayne has a
and purposes, had parted company. Such the people that are now The Mission and REMARKABLE way with the truth.
miserable unbelievers! myself had an agreement no one would use the Is there bitterness between you then?
name when the band went its separate ways. But, Yeah. Yeah, there is.
Eldritch is in a photographic studio, glistening after theyd been touting their demos round Personal or corporate?
with baby-oil and draped all over Patricia, getting nowhere under all sorts of other names, Personal.
formerly of The Gun Club and You suggest theres a
now his right-hand man. Hes
here to pose with cigarettes and Rumour had it that devastated health, legal fundamental difference in
ATTITUDE between The Sisters
prove The Sisters Of Mercy are Of Mercy and The Mission.
still a force to get wrecked with.
He doesnt talk of resurrection,
binds and sheer disappointment had laid Eldritch Yeah, their ability to bend
over forwards in order to make
but of continuation and, as if
to insist megalomania is alive
near-fatally low. Such miserable unbelievers! progress appals me. The way
theyve bent over contracts and
and well and ready to pistol-whip pop, his new they began to claim rights to it, which patently been appropriately assaulted for it which, again,
single is called This Corrosion, lasts 11 minutes, had to be stopped. And, when they wanted to be is something theyve not really been prepared to
features a 40-piece choir multi-tracked 10 times called The Sisterhood, there was nothing I could let on about.
and was produced by Meat Loafs old buddy do but be The Sisterhood before them the only Musically, too. I never sang a lyric of
and master of the Wagnerian, Jim Steinman. way to kill that name was to use it, then kill it. Waynes. I never found one I COULD sing.
Im about to ask him why but Im laughing too I think that reected rather badly on the name History has proved that, when The Sisters
much. The Bad News mondo-metal version of The Sisters Of Mercy and its probably due for disappeared from public view, was EXACTLY
Bohemian Rhapsody has just come on the radio reinstatement for that reason if no other. the time you should have been reaping your
and Patricia thinks its The Cult! Then there was a little disagreement with greatest rewards. What, other than legalities,
the publishers, RCA Music, over what would prompted your inaction?
Lets talk over eats Eldritch. Where dyou fancy? happen to the money. Effectively it all kept us Well, I wasnt well. Id done three tours that
Oh, anywhere but Indian. out of action. year and I thought wed come to the end of a
Really? I thought youd be a man for a ruby. logical course. I titled that Albert Hall gig Wake
No, I refuse to eat anywhere they beat us at about four months before it actually happened,
cricket. and the band are probably still wondering why.
Italian then? I mean, I thought it should still have gone on but
Italian. I knew it wasnt going to.
The last time we actually spent any time
together, at the end of the tour before the Albert
Hall, we had some time playing in America and
then we had a week off in Los Angeles.
I went to Mexico for the day and the other
two couldnt think of anything better to do than
go to Disneyland. And when I came back from
Mexico a WEEK later, having got somewhat
uh distracted, I just thought, God, what are
those people whinging about, really? They just
got so feeble.
Then they said, Well, OK, what are we
gonna do for new songs? And I said, How
about this, this and this, and unfortunately,
the rst this I cited had too many chords per
minute and Craig said, If thats the guitar line,
Im not playing it, and walked out. That was
really that.
But Wayne had already become a problem
because he wanted to do more of his songs and
I thought they were particularly vacuous.
I used to have to ght with him to get the
songs to make any sort of grammatical sense,
let alone be sharp with it. I mean, youve gotta
know grammar before you can work away from
it. The guy didnt have a clue hed just string
buzzwords together.
Strangely enough, someone from the Maker
was around Wayne while he was writing recently
and he had a book of aphorisms with all the
mystical-type ones underlined in red.
TOM SHEEHAN

Thats how most people do it. I cant bring 


myself to work that way. Thats what passes

NME ORIGINALS 105


TLFeBOOK
A New Era Of Cynicism


for revolution these days. Im glad I wasnt In a sense, your attitude was a precursor to I hope history proves you right.
around in 86 because it wasnt just The Mission, sampling. You were acknowledging Led Zeppelin I hope so too because I dont think this irony
it was a bad year all over and anybody who broke before The Beastie Boys USED them. Is their compounds itself properly unless you do add
then will be tainted with it for a long time. literal approach even more honest than yours? an extra layer on the top, unless you do stick
But surely youre responsible. You introduced I think thats a lower level, a very vulgar something worthwhile in.
a generation of synth-pop fashion fops to the interpretation. The Beastie Boys arent familiar Dont we need a new era of innocence? Dont
thrill of anti-fashion, When The Levee Breaks, territory to me. In about two years, Ill cover we need to UNLEARN progress?
outlaw biker chic and drug innuendo and guitars When The Levee Breaks and wipe the oor with No, we need a new era of cynicism. The
and ripped jeans and dry ice. Without the Sisters The Beastie Boys and wipe the oor with The reason the NME, for instance, cant comprehend
and the vacuum you created when you went to Cult because they havent got a grip on what is this sort of thinking is that they dont have that
ground, there could scarcely have been grebo great about Led Zeppelin. Its like The Mission cynicism. They still believe that rocknroll is
and Zodiac Mindwarp. going out and covering Sisters music they make supposed to be naive and wonderful and, if
I dispute that. Thats like saying Christ is it sound like bad Echo & The Bunnymen.
responsible for the Mormons its really not on. I remember I went to see The Alarm when
I dont know what you lot were left with. they were knee-high to Big Country and I
So whats grebo rock? thought, These people have COMPLETELY
You really havent heard of it? misunderstood Mott The Hoople, and its
No, is it like Led Zeppelin? been happening ever since. Im now used
Well yeah fake fantasy stuff. to people misunderstanding me, though
Oh, without the grunge. Maybe I SHOULD its weird when you get all these Eldritch
have taught them outrageousness. clones out there treading the boards.
You sound like The Godfather of Goth. Youve never seen Fields Of The
Ha! When we were trying to sell This Nephilim?
Corrosion to Steinman, we said it was like the No, Im told we played with
high point of a Borgia disco evening and he them once in San Francisco but
went for it. Nobody makes gloriously stupid I wasnt actually there when they
records any more. played.
Queen? Patricia: They knew I was there
No, theyre embarrassing. Steinman and I are and, afterwards, they came up and
the only two who share this glorious stupidity. started talking to people next to me.
Dont tell him though. He just thinks Corrosion I just left. I wasnt even going to speak
is perfectly normal. Other bands have no to them. I mean, for a moment when
perspective on the stupidity of it at all. They say they were on, I turned and thought,
things like, Oh well, we never claimed we were This is familiar, whats THIS?
original, or, Well, of course rocks stupid, but The only reason that people like
its just spiel, just Eldritch lines misunderstood. that embarrass me so much is that,
This is where the attitude comes in. The if theyre really that hooked on me,
difference between the Sisters and the pretenders they must be tasteless. It gets to the
to the throne is an irony-in-overdrive that takes stage where you think, Im not THAT
the piss out of AND celebrates its role models. good and anybody who thinks I am

I always go away thinking I havent said enough


about post-war dramatic theory, fencing or Chinese
philology, which are the things I really care about
If you do it right, it compounds itself at every must be an idiot.
level. Corrosion is an indictment of bombast Theres an inner integrity and
there was no other way to do it. authority in Corrosion which comes of
A lot of old Sisters fans are gonna say, Hes pain, grief and suffering. I couldnt do
taking the piss. what The Cult are singing, I couldnt do
Of course Im taking the piss its the only what The Beastie Boys are doing, I couldnt
way to be serious about it. Same as it ever was. do what Madonna is doing. I could do what
So this is crap AND fantastic. Its time we Alice Cooper did but then Im not extrovert
redened the difference between man and beast. enough. I would have no scruples about
Its nothing to do with how many legs you walk doing it if I were able to.
on; its everything to do with the possession of And if it takes a year ghting
irony. I know people who are animals. corporate wars in order to be able to do it
And I had a cat that had a very highly with integrity, then Ill do it or not at
developed sense of irony. all. I dont HAVE to do this.
Corrosion is already being compared to
some pretty God-like things. One of them is the Dont you have a touching belief that
Stones You Cant Always Get What You Want. the role of a recording artist is to be
Thats cool. intelligent and communicative, and isnt
So its pop about pop. that belief extraordinarily old-fashioned?
Thats a very important element, yeah. You Yeah, and self-destructive. Well-oiled sisters:
have to acknowledge the medium in the message, So youre ghting a rearguard action. Andrew Eldritch
I think, otherwise youre stupid dishonest Or vanguard, depending on how you and Patricia
or just very naive. look at it. Morrison

106 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1987

you give them irony, they say, Oh dear, thats the expectations. Its a long war but Corrosion Nixon and asked him how to survive it.
distasteful. Lets forget about it. Lets pretend its might win one battle and, after all, its the only Eldritch is supposed to be a pretty ruthless
not humorous. Thats very primitive cynicism war worth ghting. character himself.
born out of a very vulgar and naive ideology. How much is revenge the motive? Not really, Im a counter-attacker by nature.
Has pop music let you down? The Gift was the revenge, a weapon very Im not a pre-emptive strike man.
No. I know what its capable of because, when specically pointed. This is the gloating, much Most people in your position, if theyre
I grew up, it was blatantly capable of it and it more widespread, more general. interested in maintaining control, tend to
was delivering. Expectations have been lowered Why did you go to live in Hamburg? make a point of confounding (Robert Smith)
since and deliveries have been faltering. Its just Its the largest city in the Federal Republic or conrming (John Lydon) their public image.
a question of raising peoples expectations again. which is the most powerful country in Europe. You do neither.
We can do it. Ill make the records if you raise Its just such a wonderfully cool place because its Thats where the hardship comes in. Its
not populated by cool people like Berlin. a lot of extra work and a lot of extra worry.
Do you feel badly done by in Britain then? Anecdotes? I just dont have them.
Yeah. Not so much these days because Ive Will Corrosion chart?
got a reasonable amount of goodwill stored up Im told it will. I dont care. Its a good record
but one knows its only goodwill as long as you now, itll be a good record in ve years. I dont
dont start talking about aesthetics when they ask care when people buy it though I think its more
you what your favourite colour is. accessible to people, it has a more accessible top
layer than the records weve had out in the past.
Have you, in your time away, seen anything Thats just a function of the way its recorded,
encouraging? I dont think its a function of the song.
What, to do with music? So the songs a wolf in sheeps clothing. Or
To do with anything. uh a wolf in what? Brontosauruss clothing?
Twenty seconds silence. Then: No. I dunno, Ill cheat and put in something really

Of course Im taking the piss. Its the only way


to be serious about it. Same as it ever was
But nothing discouraging either. witty and apposite when I write this.
Life went on and I expect it to go on. Ha! I think its a shark in wolfs clothing.
Id nd it pretty weird, in fact, if I That was a pretty duff metaphor to start with
had seen any light or darkness. though. Forget about that one
Control seems important to But its devious.
you while, all around, others are Not deceitfully so. Its just crafty. I hope it
relinquishing theirs. makes sense. I mean, Id like people to go for
Yeah. But although I put my everything they can get out of it and all at once
sole existence into making thats what symbolism and obscurism are all
records, I dont need to make about but I dont expect that. Its the only thing
records. I mean, if I hadnt I get off on though. Its the only thing that would
gone off and been a little make me wanna sing the same song two nights
degenerate in the mean time, running. Its gotta have that overwhelming
I dare say Id have joined the panoply of effects.
Diplomatic Corps thats what What do you read now?
Im trained for. Or MI6. Der Spiegel and The Times Ive started doing
So what dyou think of the crossword again. Last month I read Pilgrims
Spycatcher? Progress and Beowulf.
Thats pretty damn irrelevant Films?
thats really all to do with the I dont have a television in Hamburg. Thats
Home Ofce isnt it? I havent read one of the reasons for not writing in Leeds
it but I cant see what the surprise is because there Id spend 24 hours well, 25
all about. Like Nixon what the hell hours a day by the time Id taken some medicine
did they expect? Its just politics. watching TV. I was very pleased to be forced
So was Nixon hard done by or to catch the Rutger Hauer season while we were
was he just dumb to get caught? in the studio. Patricia was renting anything
I thought Nixon was a great with Rutger Hauer in it. Some of them are real
president. He got the Americans stinkers but hes so funny in The Hitcher its a
out of Vietnam, he made friends, to brilliant comic performance. Youll love it.
some extent, with the Russians and It really makes you wanna go out and do it.
he certainly made friends with the Theres not a lot of lms where the character is
Chinese. He was the best president so obviously deranged but, at the same time,
in terms of foreign policy that makes it look like such fun that even the sanest
nation had in a long time person could imagine doing it. I mean, to go out
and I thought they were and wanna be The Terminator, youve gotta be
very stupid to get rid of a moron basically its great to watch but youd
him. He was very stupid to make a mess never do it yourself. This is different.
of covering up Watergate up I mean So what makes you happy Eldritch?
Reagan survived Irangate. Cats still make me ludicrously happy.
TOM SHEEHAN

Patricia: I was over there when that What makes you sad?
happened and, you know, Reagan called Nothing makes me sad because I think


NME ORIGINALS 107


TLFeBOOK
Four Minute WArnings


there has to be some element of surprise in I never know. I always go away thinking,
order to feel sad. Well, I havent said enough about post-
What else? war dramatic theory or fencing, or Chinese
Well, Im thinking of learning to drive. The philology, which are the things that I really care
thing is, whenever I go abroad, I invariably end about. And then someone says, Well? Did you
up driving and I dont have a licence or anything tell them how great the record is? And I go, Oh,
which is probably not the thing to do. Then, actually that never occurred to me.
you see, what happens after that is I buy a car. The only conversations I quite get off on
I dont particularly like cars for their own sake these days are the ones where we discuss how
and I dont particularly like driving. I get these crap conversation is. Im not socially honed and
MM, 21 November 1987, p31 urges. I see these things and I think, What if? I dont feel the need to be. Once you convince
Thats why I dont really enjoy it; because Im yourself youre the all-time best at it, where dyou
THE SISTERS OF MERCY responsible enough not to do what I feel the urge go from there?
Floodland to do. I dont get the urge to drive fast, I just get How enigmatic.
(Merciful Release) the urge to drive off the road, especially when I dont feel enigmatic. Enigmatic is being
Facing up to the fact that theres nothing on either side of me. deliberately obscure and Im not. I might
nothing is new tends Its got nothing to do with suicide; its just be oblique but thats only because, to me,
to separate the mice about driving a car off the edge of a cliff. obliqueness is a clearer way of expressing
from the men. Some, something in its entirety.
like George Michael, How would you kill someone? Could this be the Oxford University training
plagiarise. Others, It would depend whether it was someone the art of leaving oneself least open to attack
Like The Cult, feign I liked or someone I didnt like. or are we talking about truth here?
ignorance. Eldritch OK, someone you like. Truth. I can do the other as well but Im too
mocks, uses choirs and It depends whether I think theyd appreciate out of training and when I was really good at it,
Coleridge, taunts pop with its elders and something spectacular or something just very I began to despise myself for it.
betters. sedate. I think if it was someone I really, really So youre talking about a search for
Floodland is more and less the same liked and theyd appreciate the spectacular, it communication?
album as First And Last And Always. Its would have to involve an expanse of scenery and I really dont know but, apart from the bit
more in that Eldritchs awareness of mortality an extraordinarily fast car. about Roy Kinnear, I stand by everything Ive
has spread from the knowledge that And those you dont like? ever said to you.

PETER ANDERSON
nothing is new to the opinion that nothing Id always want it take longer. Its best to kill Even the stuff about Norman Wisdom?
is worthwhile; and its less in that being someone they really like, I think. Yeah.
incapable of contemplating nothing, it reacts You suggest in what you just said that you like Gods will be gods.
to time running out by amputating all the and dislike but not love and hate.
curlicues of guitar and replacing them with Im very wary of it. I have to be very careful
stark, essential foundations. because I think Im probably a bit obsessive by
Floodland is an edice to decay in nature. I had to TOTALLY stop drinking in order
which Eldritch unleashes all his paranoia to be able to maintain any business whatever.
and obsession. The gargantuan Dominion/ I dont gamble. I dont do smack.
Mother Russia nds our hero forsaking that And love?
job in the diplomatic corps and pleading Absolutely not. I only ever really did it once
with Mother Russia to rain down, while and I dont think Im likely to do it again.
the magnicently minimal This Corrosion Because you dont like losing your personality
cleaves through its own pompous austerity in someone else or because you dont like
to admit I got nothing to say I aint said inicting it?
before, a revelation which, far from Both. We were just dreadful for each other.
suggesting a lack of imagination, indicates It didnt stop it being brilliant but its
a surfeit of it. That admission, alongside marginally better that it doesnt happen any
the metallic Luftwaffe slap of Lucretia My more. Thats tough. It still hangs over to the
Reection, the breakdown of language extent that I couldnt do it again.
during Floodland II or the (surely) sampled What would induce you to lose your self
nuclear depth charge drums from Led control, to endanger yourself in passion?
Zeppelins When The Levee Breaks on Ive only ever done that when I wasnt
Neverland, is a mark of shocking honesty. quite on stage Ive done things that
When Eldritch sings Seconds to the drop afterwards Ive thought, No! That
but it feels like hours the red light starts was just beyond the pale.
winking on the dashboard and we realise Because you were out
that Driven Like The Snow is Nine While of it?
Nine revisited because he can do nothing Because I could,
else were all waiting. Dying on records a because I was out
dicey business, especially when its world of it and because
destruction that nags your every waking I had to. If youre
minute because theres nowhere to go in front of a crowd, youre in a
artistically. Facing up to that, Floodland position of responsibility and, if theyre waiting
is a triumph of sorts, neither optimistic for you to sort out one moron, you have to do it.
enough to suggest theres a Noahs Ark I mean, the last time it happened, I spent half an
nor pessimistic enough to accuse us all of hour trying to talk the crowd into sorting out
navigating a ship of fools. It simply says rust their own problem and then, eventually, I just
never sleeps and this is what it sounds like. dived. It was really sad. I felt very ashamed on
Great. their behalf that they let me do it.
Steve Sutherland OK, thats it. Was it good for you?

108 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
1987

Hippy hippy shake:


Julianne Regan of
All About Eve and
The Missions Wayne
Hussey

All About Eve/


The Mission
The Marquee, London MM, 5 September 1987, p19

W ith no rock giants, such


as Tommy Steele or
Charlie Drake, to kiss, poor Painey
Eve. I dont know why. Must be
the wanker in me coming to the
surface. The alcoholics. The Hippy-
Wayney turns to his band for his Hippy Shake! Glorious pop songs,
kicks and everyone goes CRAZY, bloody pop songs. All About Eve.
except for the beleagured reviewer Imagine youre around a
and his girlfriend, anxiously timing campre, my friends, Julianne
the guards patrols around the suggests, dodging my aming
perimeter fence. (Any moment arrows, because this is Gipsy
now) Then, bugger me, it isnt as Love! And unfortunately it is.
bad as Id feared. The new songs But never mind, there was still a
may simply be the old songs
(Sacrilege?), may simply be jovial Sweetness and light. Peace and love,
noise without much in the way of
tungsten tunes, but this tiny tussle
Sweetness and light. Peace and love. with a crowd scrap thrown in for
good measure. Some people have
was enjoyable! Standards are
slipping, 1969 is slipped in and the With a crowd scrap thrown in for good no manners.
Warmed up for Reading Festival,

measure. Some people have no manners


JOHN-CHRISTIAN JACQUES/RETNA/TOM SHEEHAN

trivial pursuit is over. The Mish. In sweating in their delirium, sordid


one era and out the other. and sentimental, All About Eve wet
The Igloos love it. Then they bay themselves tonight. The crowd
for the band who can currently prickly What Kind Of Fool, plus cutting in and out of the commercial soak it up. I dont know about
charm anyone. To protect the rampant versions of Our Summer splendour. For Shelter From The you, Julianne gasps, rebellious
innocent I can even reveal that and Flowers In Our Hair, with Rain, Wayney accidently stumbles banter ying, but this is all a bit too
one of the Stud Brothers recently the real live human drummer a onto the stage, discovers it isnt the exciting for me!
confessed a liking for All About torrential pulsebeat, the guitars toilet so has a sing-song. Moving. Mick Mercer

NME ORIGINALS 109


TLFeBOOK
Kissing
To Be
Clever
TLFeBOOK
1987

This week, The Cure complete a triumphant European tour by playing HE NEVER HAS AN ORIGINAL THOUGHT!
three nights at Wembley. Chris Roberts caught up with them on the eve The words to How Beautiful You Are are of
interest to me
The lyric-sheets wrong, innit?
of their homecoming to discuss lips, hands, legs and boomps-a-daisy Who proof-read it?
Me.
It suggests that no one ever knows or loves
MM, 5 December 1987, p25 and Hello, Im a plank (if you are Simon). another. Thats a bit of a rum do, isnt it?
Asking the manager to reveal his wedding Ah, thats literary theft, from a Baudelaire

t
he kiss originated when the rst male tackle. Requesting Thinking Of You by Sister short story. I wrote a song round the time of
reptile licked the rst female reptile, Sledge from a disc jockey who looks like Roscoe the Faith album with the idea that, even if
implying in a subtle, complimentary way Tanner. Being staggered that Roberts knows you thought you were very close to someone,
that she was as succulent as the small Born To Be Alive and Lets All Chant were by you never really were. That youd always be
reptile he had for dinner the night before. Patrick Hernandez and The Michael Zager Band disappointed in people. Then someone gave me a
F Scott Fitzgerald: The Crack-Up respectively. Not going out of the hotel because book of Baudelaire, Verlaine and Rimbaud.
that would mean instant lethal mobbing. I read this story and his narrative idea put it
HE KISSES VARIOUS PEOPLE, HE SUPPOSES! Getting up late. Going back to bed. Feeling a so much better. Just goes to show I never have
The only person I really kiss is Mary, says bit awkward when little girls burst into tears an original thought!
Robert Smith. I kiss Simon from time to time. upon touching their hair. Drinking. Lol-baiting. But is your view of communication between
Oh, I kiss various people, I suppose. Its just Talking about gore movies. Being chuffed that people really that bleak?
spontaneous. But theres a history of treacherous Barry Gibb is a Cure fan. Having chewing-gum Mmm. Still is. I wish it wasnt. But I expect
kisses. And lecherous kisses are vile. A drunken on the rider. Drinking some more. Mercilessly, less of fewer people now. Theres just one or two
kiss can be one of the worst things in the world. relentlessly, savagely, baiting Lol. Not dancing. people who I rely on not to change. Maybe three.
I used to say my hobbies were drinking and Tittering. Not having some grand idea about Its very difcult writing songs which people say
kissing, in that order, but it wasnt true. I dont themselves. Watching shirts shrink. Miming to help them and not feeling like youre the centre
know. I dislike kissing as much as I like it. Status Quo records. Being gods in France. of the universe. Its nice to read something that
Seeing other people kissing is ugh Why are The Cure so big, Robert? stirs you to think youre on the periphery. Or
At one point I almost got phobic about the I think a lot of it is songs, I really do. Just that you dont even exist.
mouth being an orice, about actually travelling having the right song at the right time. I once met somebody whod interviewed
into someones mouth. I just liked putting the Why are The Cure so big, Simon? Patrick White and I felt very peripheral then.
mouth on the cover cos its so close-up its kind I think its probably Robert. I wished Id met him. But then I was invited
of obscene and lewd. It was a to lunch with Ray Bradbury
reaction to the way were often
interpreted Im seen as being Im seen as being cuddly. This isnt and I didnt go: at the last minute
I got scared Id be so useless in
really cuddly, and my mouth
and lipstick are supposed to be
so nice. This isnt true; Im as
true; Im as horrible as anyone the conversation.
Recommended reading for
incurable Curophiles?
horrible as anyone. Probably more so than most. Patrick Whites autobiography, which tells
What comes out of peoples mouths is pretty THEY LOOK LIKE ANGELS! me how an old person feels when hes old. And
vile most of the time. I worry about our attitude because I have to gay. Im terried of old people. And in Ireland
And breath. Breath is revolting. Especially live with it. Im sure a lot of people dont care I set myself this reading course to try and
in Germany. at all what attitude we have, but I have to keep re-educate myself, cos I felt I was becoming
thinking its important because, if I let that go, very dull. So I read Beyond Good And Evil
IF HE WAS AT HOME, HED BE IN THE PUB! I may as well become a member of Spandau again, and The Myth Of Sisyphus. And Sartres
We, however, are in Brussels, the capital of Ballet or something. Road To Freedom trilogy, which Id never read
Europe. It is the capital of Europe because You have to keep a sense of just being before. That was brilliant. Really good. And
nobody not Rome, not Madrid, not Liverpool, human. Im wearing black for the rst time in Confucius
not nobody could possibly be jealous of years today. We wear white on stage. We look Isnt this all a little naively heavy-going?
Brussels. Thus peace is assured. Being jealous like angels. No, surprisingly enough you know most of
of Brussels would be like being jealous of a We talk about mouths, then I suggest that whats in them. You nd you just know.
watering-can with scaffolding around it. Robert might feel his audience is too young to
Were sitting here and its Sunday. But it appreciate the complex mesh of love and hate in HE ALWAYS FEELS LIKE THEYRE NOT HIS HANDS!
could be Tuesday as much as anything. Thats the songs If Robert wasnt a compulsive liar, Id ask him if
whats so good about doing this. Id be at the I never feel patronising towards anyone of 15; he was a compulsive liar.
pub if I was at home anyway, so going on stage I remember still how I experienced things then. What hypnotises you? Mesmerises you?
is a bonus. I could never write them down as well as I could Koyaanisqatsi. The rain on bus journeys.
The Cure on tour is a fascinating at 25, I didnt have the same grasp of language, Through the window. And snow, snows the best
phenomenon it goes through all the rocknroll but I felt the same emotions, just as strong, in a thing in the world. When youre driving through
motions while somehow maintaining a slight much rougher form. Between 15 and 18 is when snow at night and the headlights are on and it
lmy forceeld between amusing itself and you develop your personality. You go out with looks like youre going through star tunnels
plummeting into all those Spinal Tap clichs. people. You make contact with jealousy and all Oh, lots of things mesmerise me. Good dancers.
Drinking. Saying someone has never touched the other horrible emotions which I no longer I suppose thats the opposite to how I feel
a drink in his life. Watching old videos of suffer from. seeing people who are really uid, who look
Dr Who. Lol-baiting. Arguing about the The songs arent that complicated; only one like they dont exist.
merits of compact discs, and how the Luddites or two. And theyre probably so convoluted that Do you wish you could disown the physical?
would smash them up. Crimping. Lol-baiting. they only really refer to me. Most of the recent Lose your body?
Drinking. Phoning home. Anyone-baiting. songs have been fairly obvious. Yeah, a trade-in would be quite good.
Signing autographs. Trying to avoid Michael Get it out get it out get it out/Get your fucking Actually no a lot of my experience derived
TOM SHEEHAN

Jackson, Marvin Gaye and Van Morrison. Lol- voice out of my head/I never wanted any of this/I from how uncomfortable I feel within my own 
baiting. Saying, Come on, just one more drink wish you were dead/Dead dead dead The Kiss. body anyway, so if I was a disembodied mind,

NME ORIGINALS 111


TLFeBOOK
Messiah Of Angst


itd take all that away from me. Of Angst, welcome home Messiah, weve killed Ah. Yes. No.
I always feel like theyre not my hands. Ive the fatted calf. Ive never spent much time with Thats what touring does to me as well. Its
always felt like it my body is a third person. people who look up at me, or think Im somehow television, tapes, reading, thinking, sitting. And I
If I cut my hand I think the band has been different. So when I read these things I either know at the start of the chain of actions that Im
cut, not me. I suppose its an irrational desire laugh or just go, Oh, nutty bastards. How could gonna feel nothing for, like, the next ve hours.
to escape from it to feel that, even if my heart I have stayed one thing for years anyway? Thatd Im resigned to it till I go to sleep.
stopped, I would still be here. be ludicrous. Im not aware of being the me that Close To Me was about that. Some days you
Surely you forget yourself sometimes? does this its weird I cant really grasp hold of just know nothings gonna happen. Nothings to
Yeah, after about the seventeenth pint of it. Ah, I suppose Ill have to now, wont I? be felt. Its another day gone.
Guinness. Does he ever tap himself and nd the hollow Is it worth being alive on those days?
Oh, boring what about the sexual act? resonance alarming? And is this emptiness, this No He looks up with a puzzled
Yeah I suppose. Thats pretty mental as well still life in mobile homes (thank you, Sylvian), expression. Not really.
though. Um late night swimming in dark sadder than any angst? As for that Fight song, all that never give up
waters is a good way. And sleep! And waking up
in the morning when you dont have to get up
immediately I feel comfortable with my body I stare into a mirror I hypnotise myself
then, its just a big lump.
This is why I nd it strange that I can go on
stage in front of people and jump about. People
to see the devil in my face and skull
say, Why do you always look down? Im looking tosh in the light of what youve just said,
at my feet. They dont do what I want. I dont HE ACTUALLY FELT REALLY DEAD! why bother?
know how it is I can play football, really. Yes I do in fact I feel it to a worrying degree Its about trying to force yourself into some
What frightens you? now. When I went to the South Dublin coast for kind of action, which could lead to experience.
Flying, now. Ive suddenly decided against two weeks, just before we came on this tour, Id Because there isnt really anything else but
it; Ive realised how silly it is. Willingly agreeing go out by the sea each morning, and sit down experience. Whether its passive or active.
to subject yourself to that torture of throwing by the rocks. When I was younger it used to feel I used to be able to rely passively on my
yourself on the mercy of a machine and another really I dont know, I used to feel inspired. environment and the people around me. Now I
person. Also, I can always see through the oor And this time I actually felt really dead. think I have got to not necessarily manufacture
on planes. Lack of control I dont like; that Back then, Id feel a sense of innity, Id experience, but look for things. Im addicted
makes me angry. And Im scared of growing old. feel really small, and helpless, but a part of to feeling extremes.
And Im scared at my continuing lack of faith in something. Id be lled with overwhelming Taking risks?
anything. And Im scared of going blind, cos my despair or Id feel deliriously happy, just sitting Yeah, mental ones.
eyesights failing rapidly. looking at the sea. But this time, I didnt feel
What sights would you miss most? anything. Id just sit. And itd just be the sea. HES GOT A WEIRD COMPOSITE GIRL!
Everything. Except the colour brown Theres be no communion oh, this isnt Whats this penchant youve got for stupidly
I could live without that. Most, Id miss the sounding how I mean it gorgeous girls?
reection of my own eyes. Yknow when you Its sounding like the old grey man on the Ah yes, I have got a weird composite girl
stare really close into a mirror? Standing On A Beach photographs. Uh in mind sometimes, when Im struggling for
Is that how you check youre still there? aint that something? ways to eulogise femininity. Its a kind of cross
Yeah. I hypnotise myself to see the devil in Its just knowing how much I can feel between Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn
my face and skull. I try not to do that so much something no more than anyone else, but and Betty Boop.
now. It affects my mental stability. I can be so overwhelmed by things I nd this Must there be a dumbness?
worrying. Not to feel anything when I know I Naivete. A naive, trusting quality, I suppose.
HES LOSING HIS CYNICISM! ought to. Im not shocked any more. I just look. And innocence that isnt really innocence,
Thats devils and angels youve mentioned When? because they usually end up getting their own
Most peoples devil is far more pronounced When someone gets knocked over. Or way. And obviously theres a lot of Mary in there
than their angel. I think the angel probably Christmas. Because you remember how you as well. Thats what I like about her.
visits, while he devil lives there. Although Im used to get excited and you no longer do, and its Does she ever get jealous?
turning around a bit. I used to only be surprised worrying because its like youre losing yourself No! Why should she? Theres no room for
if people were nice. Now Im surprised if people somehow. Youre becoming thinner. Or maybe jealousy in the relationship: itd be very tiring.
are horrible. Im losing my cynicism as I get hollower. She may be jealous of the time other people get
older! Its generally easier to be affable and non- And this upsets you? from me, with the group existing. Ive known
committal than it is to be aggressive and angry. It doesnt make me feel anything, does it? her since before the group started, so shes always
Although Im very argumentative. seen it as an obstacle, whereas usually being in
I never think Im wrong. I have a a group takes on a much more
very strong sense of morality and romantic aspect.
a well-dened code of ethics Ive She probably does get jealous
adhered to through the years. from time to time but just doesnt
This derives from my survival tell me cos she knows Id hit her.
instincts. Apart from QPR nishing (at
Robert has in his time been best) eighth in the league, what
described as walking a thin line does the future hold?
between agitation and boredom, Sometimes I see myself staring
and, among many less abstractly at the sea, writing music for Stanley
complimentary things, The Kubricks next lm or something.
Messiah Of Angst. Other times I think Ill just be
I never thought those surrounded by books, reading.
descriptions referred to me; Other times I see myself in
so I didnt have to live with it. a blank space. Enjoying blankness.
TOM SHEEHAN

I didnt go home and nd my The Cure: Doing nothing.


mum saying, Hello, Messiah myrmidons of Mmm, sounds good.
miserablism

112 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
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23W

TLFeBOOK
Too Many Truffles

mellow. Flowers is Glastonbury


1967 and I hate it.
Sam King

NME, 3 January 1987, p30


question then turns up sheathed
in some revolting medieval

SIOUXSIE & spectacular! Oh God


Consequently the only thing to
THE BANSHEES do is get your doublet and hose in
This Wheels On Fire a speedy twist over the luscious NME, 26 September 1987, p19
(Wonderland) malignance within, containing as
As one whose pre-pubescent it does that greatest of all reliefs, SISTERS OF MERCY
ardour was rst aroused by The a chorus. Its a circular temptation This Corrosion
Trinitys kohl-eyed and feather-cut with a smooth guitar sliding shyly (Merciful Release)

Julie Driscoll and whose fashion up against the coolest vocals. Yes, the King of Goth is back!
sense was rst alerted by Brian Produced by those awfully Heeeeeeeres SPIGGY!!!! Andy
Augers Regency cuffs as they NME, 18 April 1987, p23 nice Mission people it has just Drac Eldritch (real name Stan
ounced over his Hammond enough thumping power and Sunshine) has made a record and
organ on Top Of The Pops, I can THE CURE glistening strength to ll a nations its the lamest thing to crawl out of
only applaud Siouxsies latest Why Cant I Be You? jaded ears, syringing out all Leeds since Norman Hunters last
excavation of the 1968 songbook. (Fiction) that Curiosity Killed The Cat and sparring partner quit town.
Far more liberty-taking though Still sounding like a haunted Erasure bilge. A well-delineated Steven Wells
less crystal-ball mysterious than hippie singing through a helium giant of a song.
their reverential Dear Prudence, bubble, Robert Smiths voice The heat is on
Ill be disappointed if this terric is the only facet of The Cure Mick Mercer
record doesnt blast Siouxsie and which doesnt shout Teen
co up the chart pronto. FUN. Of course Roberts trying
Mat Snow determinedly to sound skittish
and frivolous but, because he
cant even cut it as a bathroom
singer, his voice is still little more
than a reedy, angst-ridden whine.
Otherwise, The Cure are as frothy
as white pop gets these days.
Shameless and cheap enough to
steal Whams Young Guns riff,
this ditty will soon be another Top MM, 10 October 1987, p33
Of The Pops cracker.
Donald McRae THE CURE
MM, 11 July 1987, p26 Just Like Heaven
(Fiction)

MM, 10 January 1987, p27 ALL ABOUT EVE Im at a loss as how to greet
Flowers In Our Hair and chronicle this important
THE MISSION (Eden) event, knowing full well that
Wasteland Where have all the glowers gone, one facetious crack out of line
(Phonogram) Sun Children? cries Julianne. could see my Assistant Editor
Preposterous mysticism and Sun Children! What planet did taking a sudden interest in The
loopy obsession I can just about she escape from? Us deprived Edgar Broughton Band and
take if accompanied by sufcient city types havent seen the sun dispatching me with strange zeal
bombastic power Im thinking for many a long year. And, in to review their gig at the Crewe
of Black Sabbath, Killing Joke, the depths of our subterranean Corn Exchange on Saturday
Earth, Wind & Fire. The Mission, pleasure palaces, strapped to night. What can I say? Well, at
however, sound thin as mist. MM, 18 April 1987, p26 our typewriters, the very last least it doesnt sound like Dexys
Theres too much wisp, not thing we need is sanctimonious Midnight Runners like the one
enough bottom to their sound. ALL ABOUT EVE hippy children fouling up the before last did. Its a colourful,
This record is embarrassingly Our Summer carefully controlled atmosphere uffy, uttery, fussy thing, a
similar to Porcupine something (Eden) of unpalatable nastiness brought mere transcription of the Down
which does not make me think When I saw the sleeve of this on by too much Swans, Young With Skool! graphic on the front
more highly of the Mission, but single I almost wept. You button Gods and hip hop. Flowers brings cover. Unimpeachable, really, but
rubs off to the detriment of the down peoples ears with tales of to mind days of contented zither- turns my face green, as if having
Bunnymen. Funny that. glorious contemporary beauty playing and complacent middle consumed too many trufes.
Simon Reynolds and the glowing disc of delight in class twats sitting in elds being David Stubbs

114 NME ORIGINALS

TLFeBOOK
Chapter 10
1988
DEREK RIDGERS

TLFeBOOK
Fields Of The
Nephilim: our
in the desert

TLFeBOOK
1988

A Fistful Of
DYNAMITE
They rode into town from the wastelands of Stevenage, f ive mean hombres with a burning thirst,
preaching the prairie gospel of Goth. They called themselves Fields Of The Nephilim and the folks
locked up their wives and daughters and got on down. Steve Sutherland joined the posse in Spain
to discover why these dudes are wanted, dead or alive
R ight, in 1988 theres that chart
crap, theres MMs hip alternatives
to that chart crap and now, out
of nowhere, out of the wastelands, unheralded,
uncelebrated in print or occasionally ridiculed,
through it. Their debut album,
Dawnrazor, topped the 1987
indie chart and yet everything
you or I have ever read about
Fields Of The Nephilim has
NME, 28 May 1988, p3

theres alternatives to alternatives. These peoples found them on the defensive,


champions, these great unwashed have become denying preconceptions,
popular, even adored, without hype or help from defying their many critics
any aspect of the industry. These outsiders have with a dull resolution. This
entered our awareness uninvited; theyve gained will not do.
access the hard way, the old-fashioned way. Consequently we took a
Theyve played to people and people have repaid red-eye to the sleepy one-
them with astonishing allegiance. horse town of Zaragoza,
Where have they come from, why have they Spain, caught them on the
come, these hillbillies, these embarrassments, job in Spaghetti Western
these blights on the great pop plots and plans? country and approached
We writers dont know. We shrink and shudder with caution on our bellies
at our own unimportance in the whole damn bearing gifts. We decided
thing. But you, the readers, you know. You voted it was time to unburden
for All About Eve in our Readers Poll and most ourselves of pretty prejudice
of us hacks looked at each other aghast. And you and attempt to get close
voted for Fields Of The Nephilim too and we hid enough to brand this critter
our fright behind our snobbery and one or two through trust and affection
scoffed and a few said, Fields Of Who? rather than bludgeoning
So term came to an end and we broke up for brute force.
Christmas and, when we came back, the clever
ones had arrived at a theory to explain away this Its three in the morning
troublesome phenomenon. They said the Eves and everyones pissed.
and the Nephs were mere security blankets, We lie nowhere, says
something for the mascara hairies to suck while Tony Pettit, the big-boned, cheerful bass player the joy is qualitative and discriminating? Does
the true monsters/masters of Goth indulged with the gormless, friendly grin who wishes they enjoying what theyre doing imply a critique of
themselves. They said Eldritch wont tour and hadnt once joked to a journo that what they play their contemporaries?
The Cult have sold their souls to the States, so its is Spaghetti Metal. We dont t in with any of I dunno, says Carl McCoy, the bellow-
little wonder the deserted masses have ocked to your things. I think we are just Fields Of The throated singer who wears translucent lenses,
these substitutes. Nephilim, I really do. once took a pigs head on tour until it started
The Neph Sisters clones, Midnight The Nephs reckon they do what they do to sweat and stink in the carrier bag under the
Cowboys, surely comedians. Dung-punchers primarily because they enjoy it thats the top seat in the van and who has just had his bullets
TOM SHEEHAN

from Stevenage with shaded eyes on the main and bottom of the whole damn thing. conscated at the airport. Since weve been in
chance. See that gap and stampede straight What we want to know, then, is whether or not this band weve not been in touch with any


NME ORIGINALS 117


TLFeBOOK
Spaghetti Metal

 other new music at all so it I imagine it wide and


must full something in our saturated with atmosphere,
lives which is needed. says Carl. When I think of
Commitment and work is epic, I think of something
readily used as an excuse for really massive
their lack of inclination to assess Like the pyramids of
their surroundings. Perhaps Egypt, says Paul.
these blinkers are purely Something awe-
instinctive. Perhaps, though, inspiring, says Carl.
their insularity runs deeper. Aha, attaining something
We should investigate the beyond what youd imagine
live phenomenon. Why, in an could attain.
era when live music is patently Yeah, says Carl. Its
dying, are the Nephs such a live gotta have some mystery
attraction? What is it about the behind it.
live situation which suits them? So, instead of being grease-
You can get a feeling off Baking with the monkeys or dole-boys, the
one live gig which youll never Nephs: they supply Nephs, through music, can be
ever get again. And its the the our while the anything they want to be. And
same being in a band as being critics throw eggs they have chosen their certain
in the audience, says Pete Wright, type of music. Why?
the skinny guitarist with a bad bout of
u. Earlier I gave him my bottle of cough
Theres a lot of rebellion in our music. That makes it sound
deliberate, but its not really like that,
medicine, good and speedy Do Dos, and he
poured it into a jug of Sangria and quaffed Weve never been accepted, weve says Nod, to our unbounded surprise.
Its just evolved, we havent aimed at it.
the lot. Good stuff.
Ive so often heard a good record and never been hip, weve never fitted in So what do the Nephs write about?
Everyones got different ideas in this
then been disappointed because the band band, says Carl. I write the lyrics and a
couldnt pull it off live, says Paul Wright, and cement mixers. I think we have quite an lot of them are my feelings towards my life. Its a
the other guitarist who likes the drink, has original sound, but one thats natural. hard thing to talk about.
cultivated a sort of Bobby Charlton over-sweep I think its honest, says Tony. Its an honest Try.
without the bald bit and apparently has a mole sound because everyones playing exactly what Well, I dont sit around for ages with my
on his ass like a hairy map of Australia. we wanna play. thinking cap on. The songs just come really fast.
And thats only been recently. Going back a The Nephs insistence on naturalness leads us Where from?
few years, bands used to play live, says Carl. into an elephants graveyard of opinion its too My underpants! This is Paul. Witty bastard.
ip, too easy. Surely they must have some verbal I dunno I dont write love songs as such.
Earlier in the day, the band are supposed to be notion of what makes a good record? I sing about things that really fascinate me, says
soundchecking at the En Bruto Club, Zaragoza An atmosphere, says Tony. Another big, Carl. Some of them are really odd and bizarre.
a neat little mini-Marquee that holds about 500 meaningless, all-encompassing word. If people saw it written down, theyd probably
(80 eventually turn up) where the bands have to Weve tried empiricism and failed. Time to think, Shit, the geezers on acid, or something.
be off stage by 10pm because an old couple live in get stupid. The Nephs are goths, or they appeal I dont really want people to know what they
the at upstairs but the equipment, such as it is, to goths. Given 10 minutes with a new song to mean to me. A lot of our songs are written so
isnt ready, so we drive out to the hills in search write, they veer towards the darkness rather that people can get their own picture in their
of some desert photo locations. Winding up a than the light. mind. It doesnt bother me whether people know
precarious track we discover an ancient mission I dont nd our music particularly dreary, what Im singing about or not, really, but Im sure
church and a ruin. The sun makes a bid to sink says Paul. We can see we appeal to a gothic they can sense the feeling of the song.
behind the horizon before the photographer audience says Carl. Yes, but Im here talking Theres quite a lot of rebellion in our music,
gets snapping and where are the boys? I peer to ve funny geezers who adore Steve Martin Carl continues. Weve always been against the
around the other side of the van and there they and tell some dodgy jokes and yet on record, up grain. Weve never been accepted, weve never
are, covering each other in our. there on stage, they become something other, been hip, weve never tted in.
You didnt see that, says Tony. something else. How? Why? So what are the Nephs ambitions?
I didnt see that. Its a different language, says Carl. Its Carl: Id like us to go sown in history, to be
uent to us and, between us all, we create this put on a level with some of the older bands that
Coming from Stevenage and dressing as cowboys sound and this atmosphere. I admire, like Roxy Music and the Doors. Them
must surely detract from any attempt on their Yes, but is it important that pop is something bands are lasting, they still create a feeling.
part to be taken seriously. other? Is that what its for ? Paul: On my 34th birthday, Id like to dress
It makes us easy targets, yeah, says Nod. I dont think Joe Public wants to come and up as a nun.
People probably look at us and think straight see Joe Public on stage, if thats what you mean, Tony: Success on our own terms.
away that were just another indie band with says Tony. They want a bit of escapism. Pete: We all want success but I dont think
an image, says Carl. And, to be honest, bands Yes, but the Nephs go beyond this with their well cop out for it. We dont do the fucking
with images have always put me off. But, looking Morricone worship and their sound symbolic crappy Cult syndrome.
at us, I can see weve got this image and yet we of wide open spaces, they surely suggest pop What would be the worst thing that could
feel like its different. Every band will probably can attain the heroic and that, through pop, the happen to the Nephs?
tell you the same that they feel comfortable in human can become superhuman. Paul: To know exactly what the LPs gonna be
those clothes and thats why they wear them. Yeah, its approaching epic, says Nod. in another years time, because that wouldnt be
I really do though. Why do they aspire to that? inspired, it would be thought out.
Is it important for the Nephs to be different, Once Upon A Time In The West is epic, Carl: I think if one person left the band, that
to sound original? Indeed, with their deliberately says Paul. would be it. I dont think we could play with any
traditional rock line-up, is it even possible? Epic, to me, is like a feeling, says Pete. Its other musicians.
We dont go out of our way to be original, not something you can put into words. Paul: The second worst would be meeting
says Carl, because if we did wed play chainsaws Cheers. you again, I reckon. Want some of this vodka?

118N MN EM EO ROIRGIIGNI ANLASL S


??
TLFeBOOK
1988

MM, 13 February 1988, p27 embroidering its myth.


Its therefore no surprise that
ALL ABOUT EVE Children is produced by John Paul
All About Eve Jones and happens to be buoyed
(Phonogram) around the Led Zeppelin myth
Like modern Pre-Raphaelites, All a legend only revered by those
About Eve get history wonderfully who cant remember just how
wrong, ingenuously ignoring the excruciatingly tedious Page and co
cause and effect of past recordings could be. Its even less surprising
and accepting the song as an that Tower Of Strength is a sketchy
isolated artefact, unblighted by facsimile of Kashmir, that Heat
any of its authors stomps around the hemline of
stylistic or political while ye may, youll MM, 5 March 1988, p41 Heart, while the bilious Childs
misdemeanours. They surely recognise a Play sounds like an Anglicised,
are reclaiming pop for great chorus when THE MISSION lobotomised Toto. In short, the
the young through you hear one and Children album is every Eskimos wet dream.
rose-coloured specs All About Eve is (Phonogram) The concept behind Children
rather than cynicism, blooming with them. Its so easy to laugh at The Mission. is the usual guff about a quest for
blissful ignorance Personal favourites The mere mention of Wasteland instinct and innocence hence
rather than hip are Marthas Harbour, is enough to send depressives into snatches of playground screams and
knowledge. where Julianne is a raging guffaws. They are the nursery rhymes. Footsteps echo in
Consequently galley slave to her Dr Feelgood of goth, a poor mans the memory as Wayne and his merry
All About Eves debut album lovers wave crashing Sisters, a rich mans Cult, a blind men plough safe pastures with the
sometimes gets it almost too wrong on the bow, and Never Promise, mans Nephilim. usual ourishing arpeggios on the
to bear. Every Angel, for instance, where the real world for once chafes At their best, The melodramatic Beyond
tarnishes epic echoes of Stairway against their fantasy and threatens Mission are laughable The Pale. From here,
To Heaven and Ennio Morricone to expose their hopes as lies. buffoons, playful the full, glutinous sound
with the melodramatic lilt from With so many alternatives and rogues. At worst, the oscillates between
Knights In White Satin; Gypsy alternatives to alternatives bustling band are the seismic the pomp and glory of
Dance ddles around its picaresque for predominance, All About Eve belch emitted after Kingdom Come and
folly like a blissed-out Barbara have achieved the impossible and pops banquet. At the tranquil 30-second
Dickson; and the latest single, Wild wedded attitude to accessibility. Fall all times, however, harpsichord lullaby of
Hearted Woman, is twee enough into their dream and youll awaken they are museum Breath.
to sidle unnoticed onto any recent convinced that your innocence can curators, restoring The Mission create an
Fleetwood Mac LP. be retrieved after all. the dilapidated foundations of insulated community,
But, miraculously, these are the Steve Sutherland rock, preserving its heritage, immune to the feckless whims
only errors of judgement on an of pop. They may make the
otherwise exemplary album. occasional stab at relevance
It would do the Eves discredit Wayne Hussey the accelerated tumbling
of the Mish: the
to persist in source-spotting Dr Feelgood of goth chord slam of Hymn For
sufce to say theyve listened America is The Missions
a lot to the Cocteaus and the answer to U2s Bullet The Blue
winnowing version of She Sky but the band are at their
Moves Through The Fair, a most effective when at their
spooky old Fairport Convention most meaningless.
ballad, boldly resembles This Despite all the dungeons
Mortal Coils Song To The Siren. and dragons imagery, the only
Juliannes vocals are a triumph real mystery is how Wayne can
throughout, so touching that we sing this po-faced, pompous
accept, without irony, the bilge with a straight face.
wide-eyed sentiments of Their epic vision is limited to
Flowers In Our Hair. myopic gestures pilfered from
Its possible, I suppose, to the archives those halcyon
view All About Eve as a symptom days when people judged
rather than a cure, to consider the stature of a band by the
the emotional journey from the length of the drum solo. Only
just a kiss away of 70s Stones once on the whole album
to the just a breath away of (the astonishingly affecting
In The Clouds as a Pavlovian Heaven On Earth) do the
reaction to AIDS. And its true grandiose sweeps of guitar
that theres plenty of yearning actually sound heroic.
here but no consummation. Using relics to create new
But its a measure of their relics, The Mission have
achievement that were wholly probably made the nest
spellbound by the Eves longing Zeppelin record Led Zeppelin
for a return to life the way it was never made, but one mans
before the fall. memory lane is another mans
And even if youre the type blind alley. Its surely time to
TOM SHEEHAN

who nds it difcult getting into detonate the ruins.


the swing gathering rosebuds Ted Mico

NNMMEE OORRI IGGI INNAALLSS 119


??
TLFeBOOK
The Garden
With a debut album and a national tour about to explode,
dream lovers All About Eve teach Chris Roberts about
Liz Cocteau, Cilla Black, Pandoras Box, feminism and
anything connected with clouds
b
eauty And The Beast, about a scheming starlet who lusts for fame.
denitely. If it didnt have No, it doesnt t at all. We shouldve chosen
such bad implications Camille, perhaps.
which ones which? that could All About Eve are a contemporary pop-folk-
easily have been the name of the rock group, all the more contemporary for
band. I love the feel of it, yes. having rejected all the consumerist trappings
It can still move me to tears if of nowness. Their apparently reactionary
Im in a certain frame of mind. passivity is proving to be the most effective
It encapsulates everything that resistance imaginable to the Reich-like stomp
matters in life. Im a sucker for (not ood, not surge, not sweep) of hip hop,
romance, so I want the beauty technology, computers, word processors (what
to love the beast. Then when he are they writing? Ready-cooked chickens?) Eddie
turns into a handsome prince at Murphy, Oliver Stone, Linda Lusardi, and Lady
the end Im very disappointed. Di of The Grinning Walkman.
I prefer him as the beast because The Primitives go timeless, The Sugarcubes
hes more hopeless. Its too much go left-handed, while All About Eve go dream
of a happy ending. dreamy dream, and suddenly we have a viable
That Melody Maker new pop vanguard which isnt exactly what any
cartoon about me sitting of us had in mind, but for which I at least am
outside my house while it very grateful because Im sure as hell going to
was burning down and I was pretend it was. I wont waste time now debating
looking at the clouds its about Eve as a sub-cultural phenomenon.
not a representation of the way I run my life Innovative theyre not, disarmingly incongruous
but I do get phases of it. And they are what they are. Besides, when The Stud Brothers wrote
keeps me sane. Its not insanity. You need after Thomas Wolfe that the group strive not
those moments and I wont apologise for them. to escape from life but to prevent life escaping
And I know it makes for fruitcake accusations, them, they netted, shall we say, a big one, the
but they can only be from people who dont pre-emptive bastards.
know what its like. I recommend it! The only thing thats disappointed me about
It is the kind of thing you can switch on All About Eves rise to prominence since the days
and off. You dont have to be through the I would see them churning out White Horses
gates of madness and trapped in Fairyland down the 100 Club (not so long ago really, but
and never come out. You can step in and out then a minute is a century in pop, of course),
of that little world, and I enjoy being there. Its has been the restraint of their innate mysticism
just that I used to live there, and now its an (for want of a less devalued word). For All About
occasional holiday. Eve to really be All About Eve there must be
Im capable of depth and shallowness, more haze, enigma, and poeticism, less Mission-
and recently Ive been living on a shallow, style high jinks, less rock lives n hows your
pleasure-seeking level. My last stint of shallow father, less jovial deation of the beguiling and
has lasted a long time. It never seeps into the the bedazzling.
music, that is deep. So I stress Im going to go Julianne, a friend with aesthetic gumption,
through a hermit-hood for a while soon, and used to send me roses and pictures of angels
come out renewed. Tim always worries when I and birthday cards with Andrew Marvell poems
say this: he thinks Im going to get the blanket on (usually because Id asked her to) and thats
out and read Nietzsche again. That doesnt work, the kind of star we need in these charisma-
thats too much. Dont worry, its not going to be shunning days.
one of those grey ones again. Really. I never said I was Liz Cocteau. Im not Cilla
Black either. Perhaps I should blush and look at
All About Eve took their name from the sharp, the oor more to please reviewers. But a fault of
epigrammatic lm, dominated by Bette Davis, mine is that is nine people say youre great and

TLFeBOOK
1988

Of Eden
I think of the gutsy ones like Madonna, who
seem to use and abuse men with all the abandon
of a packet of tissues. Er, that isnt me at all. The
kind of woman I like is one of the lads without
being butch. Like Sandy Denny. Keeping her
femininity, but not a barrier. Using it in the
MM, 20 February 1988, p28 songwriting rather than the press shots. Which is
using it in a pure way, not a manipulative one.

All About Eve have taken more risks than their


critics tend to realise. What couldve been more
one says its shit, and its the one who says its shit which would either be received as beautiful or perverse than Flowers In Our Hair (although
that I focus on and try to convert. I think, Ive namby-pamby. Without vanity, I think some of it included 1987s prime piece of pungent
got the nine, I want the tenth. the things we do now are so beautiful I feel in philosophy in pop: We only dare to say please
This is determination, old-fashioned awe of them. Sometimes I just smile to myself. love me/At the seventh glass of wine)? What
conviction, rather than greed. Faith. If you do believe that any creativity comes from couldve been more quietly condent than
I never thought it wouldnt happen. It within, it surprised us that that was what we revamping In The Clouds (still their nest
wasnt ego, it was that I never let it cross my were like inside. cascade of moments) as their rst major
mind for fear of what on earth I would think You know youre ordinary, but youre release? And what in the name of Lorraine
about then. Now things are a lot easier thanks doing something thats out of the ordinary, Ellison is Wild Hearted Woman doing in
to the good fairy Phonogram, but well never adds Julianne. I can stand our music being between Johnny Hates Jazz and Was Not Was?
become complacent. Were staying rmly in worshipped, but not us. Its a scary responsibility. I take great delight in their trembly pauses and
obsessive perfectionist mode. You often feel youre letting people down if sensurround choruses, emotion recollected in
youre not quite as goddess-like as they expect tranquillity, in Juliannes unerringly silver and
Remember that the most beautiful things in you to be. blue voice, in the way they make Trifds and
the world are the most useless: peacocks and Are you a tough woman? LL Cool J fans snort belligerently, in the astral
lilies, for instance. So said John Ruskin, in I suppose so. No. No I dont like the idea of connection between the tantalising halt in In
The Stones Of Venice in 1851. Given a choice being thought of as a hard person. The Clouds and the way my right leg itches every
between a peacock, a lily, and a digital Where do feminism and you meet? time I cross the road ever since it was bashed by a
synchronised oscillator, Id have no need for I dont like it. I really surprised myself when car, and in seeing a nuance of dawn, and of dusk,
batteries. Unless the peacock wanted to carry I fell in love sorry about this, but this is breathe over the hastily arranged lunchtime of
a torch. important. I surprised myself because I thought our popular charts.
What about Eve? What sort of person do I was quite a strong-minded individual but, I also grasp a link between All About Eves
you think she was? erm, I became the girl. I couldve quite easily evocations of childhood and nostalgia and the
Not this scheming temptress she was sat with a posy in my hand for the entirety of the works of Proust, a stodgily styled but ultimately
supposed to be; I think she probably offered relationship. Somebody once said something wildly romantic visionary. (Though this is
Adam the apple just out of kindness, as a nice to this effect: a man falls in love with a woman possibly just me going a bit daft.) And isnt there
gesture, and shes been slagged off for it for because of the strange mysteries about her, and something gloriously bizarre happening when
centuries. I dont think shes evil, nor do I hold then the very fact that he has got her means she Julianne wafes on about positive magic and
to the idea that all women are intrinsically evil. loses those things. Im not talking about the Carl Jung on Blue Peter, like the mad Lorelei
Maybe Im biased because I am one! I know what chase and the kill; she actually becomes quite in of Cherbourg or something? Isnt that just
Im like; Ive got an evil streak just like anybody awe of the person just because hes a man. ne? And for our next guest, Dante Gabriel
else, regardless of sex. I havent though this out well enough to Rosetti Isnt that great? Well?
You always wanted it to sound more relate it, but I think I only discovered a while I hope All About Eve dont become just
beautiful. Thats the word. ago that I was a woman! And as to a Woman In another commodity. Fleetwood Mac are already
Yes, so we found the courage to do things Rock, er, no. When I think of Women In Rock booked into the top shelf for another few
decades; you know how the tune goes. (Futility: