Tag Archives: 1987

Reuben Burroughs, Head of David

I’M PRETTY sure this is actually the worst interview I’ve ever done.

The content, written by the lead singer of Dudley industrial metal band Head of David, who’d recently signed to Blast First when we did this postal ‘interview’ in 1987, is not uninteresting in itself – there are one or two truly off-message moments – but with a brief that appears to have consisted of ‘just go through the alphabet and talk about your favourite things that start with each letter or something’, the poor guy was up against it.

Even worse, I clearly ran out of time when I was putting the magazine together – ie Prittsticking, Letrasetting and photocopying idiotic shit onto pieces of A4 – and just pasted a bare transcript onto the page and handwrote an introduction in biro. This is laughably amateur, even in the context of fanzineland, but it’s also a shame because the rest of the magazine had a bit of style to it. No, really.

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I’m not sure if Justin Broadrick was playing drums for Head of David at this point but I didn’t get to talk him. Skillz.

I’ve always despised heavy metal – obviously – and I think I tired of Head of David’s stuff pretty quickly, although some of it doesn’t actually sound that bad today. Either way, the whole thing just about represents the nadir of my interviewing career. Or it, would do, if I wasn’t still trying to pull this kind of shit.

I don’t know what to say to you.

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Sonic Youth

THIS is a reprint of an interview with Sonic Youth I did for Airstrip*6 fanzine in mid 1987. Note fake Americanisms and early cut-and-paste plagiarism.

* * *

“BOLLOCKS!”

Thurston Moore, one quarter of  this week’s ‘Best Band in the World Ever’, Sonic Youth, darts round the table and half yells, half belches into my tape recorder.

Everyone’s a critic.

We’re in Nottingham for the second night of the UK leg of Sonic Youth’s Sister tour – I’ve yet to hear the album itself – and ever since the band arrived in Britain earlier in the week, it’s been wall-to-wall interviews.

Add to the interview OD a bad sound for the gig they’ve played minutes earlier, the remnants of some fierce transatlantic jet-lag, a couple of bottles of Johnny Walker firewater and the result isn’t exactly the best situation for your friendly neighbourhood fanzine ediot.

The previous night at the Town & Country Club in London had been everything anyone could ask for. It was a swirling, twirling delirious circus of a gig, everything that rock’n’roll should be and more besides. As if to emphasise that, the venerable old granddaddy of punk himself put in an appearance too. As the man Moore said, “Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Jimmy Osterburg!”

“Cuz Ah wanna be your dawg …”

The best rock’n’roll singer in the world backed by the best rock’n’roll band in the world? I do know that, if Iggy had a band like Sonic Youth behind him permanently, Bowie and his Glass Spider tour wouldn’t be worth a pinch of shit.

Search & Destroy would’ve been nice, but heck, I touched the great man’s leather clad arse during a bit of mid-song crowd surfing. What do I care?

So let’s not mess around here. Do the Sonic Youth have any plans to record with Iggy Pop?

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Pink Flag by Wire (Harvest)

ONCE a week, I was banished to Record Village’s other shop, a bus ride away in a nearby small market town called Brigg which was if anything, even bleaker than Scunthorpe, but much more countrified.

The manager got a day off midweek, so I minded the shop and had to deal with one, maybe even two customers a day. The heating always seemed to be turned off. It was pretty grim.

It would have been very boring but for the fact that, y’know, I was hanging around in a record shop – even if it was a bit of a shite one – and I ended up working my way through the shop’s entire stock, more or less. For someone like me, it was nerdvana.

We weren’t really supposed to play interesting stuff in the main shop and generally had to stick to a rigid playlist of whatever major label crap we happened to be pushing that week. There wasn’t quite as wide a range of stock in the Brigg shop but there was enough to go at and I began to look forward to my weekly excursions to mid-Eighties medieval Lincolnshire.

One miserable, God-forsaken, never-ending, quiet-as-the-grave Wednesday in Brigg I heard some new Factory record which turned out to be the raw, wobbly and utterly magnificent Squirrel And G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out) by the Happy Mondays. You can imagine how pleased I was.

Wire were another one of my Brigg discoveries. My uncle Rich was into them, I think, but I only had ears for reggae when I was a kid, a lot of the time, and they didn’t make much of an impression. Later on, Doug probably played them, but I’d have thought they were just another of his dull trad-dad pub rock new wave bands, like Television, Chelsea or the Stranglers.

How wrong can one man be?

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Butthole Surfers

THIS is an old interview from a fanzine I used to put together in the mid Eighties.

It’s just a crappy little Q&A, and we didn’t really make the most of a rare opportunity to talk to the Buttholes when they were in their wacked-out prime – I think it was around the time they released Locust Abortion Technician – but you know, I like it.

Not that I can actually remember much of what went on, you understand, but it sounds like we had fun.

It’s very much of a time and a place so expect some rather old fashioned ideas and expressions.

* * *

WE CAME, we saw, we blagged into the gig, barged into the dressing room, did the interview and tried to do as much of their rider as possible. The Airstrip posse travel over to the big, bad city of Leeds to talk sex and drugs and rock’n’roll with those Cowboys from the USA, the Butthole Surfers.

You can’t do much with a Buttholes interview apart from get on with it. Those who did most of the talking were: Teresa Taylor (Sheryl Dwyer and drums), Gibby Haynes (Huggy Bear waistcoat and vocals), Jeff Pinkus (‘Twisting-Up’ and bass), Paul Smith (highly amusing Northern accent and Blast First) and the Airstrip Brains Trust (slurring and mumbling).

Jeff: “So we kicked her out, and toured with one drummer from then on.”

That was Teresa?

J: “No, this was King. We have two drummers.”

So King was the smelly one?

J: “No! Don’t let him hear you say that! Teresa isn’t smelly, she’s the other drummer.”

Teresa: “Is someone saying I’m smelly? I only smell sweet, like lilac.”

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