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Interview with ROCK & POP (CZ), 2007
You just finished
the Fatal Shore Tour. It seems it was chaotic as always…
Yes, as always. Every tour with this band ends up in some kind of insanity. Usually the car breaks down at some point (as it did again this time in Austria). Sometimes, we get beaten up by psychotic skinheads on pervitin (as happened in Brno in1998). I guess those dickheads didn’t like foreigners, especially a big Australian guy like Bruno Adams dressed in a silver shark-skin suit, with a girl under each arm. Wearing a cowboy hat and sunglasses after dark. That was obviously some kind of provocation to them. Chris Hughes usually manages to lose his passport, but after the Schengen agreement, this isn’t so important. What really scuppered things this time was Bruno getting sick in Hungary. We had to put him on a plane from Budapest back to Berlin, where he spent three days in hospital. In Prague and Brno, Chris and I had to play as a duo. Just drums, samples and electro-acoustic guitar. Then Bruno came by train from Berlin, to rejoin the tour in Passau, and, believe it or not, the train tracks set on fire! We kept getting SMSs from him on the way to Passau saying that helicopters were flying overhead, and that fire trucks were trying to put out this big fire next to the tracks. So that meant he was three hours late for the gig. Then, two days later, after we had played the Chelsea Club in Vienna, the car broke down. It was a weekend, so we were stranded in Ebensee for three days until we could get it repaired.
Fatal Shore seems to attract strange women with strange desires. Any explications or theories?
Yes, we seem to do this somehow. I don’t know why. I think it must be down to Chris Hughes. He has the face of an angel and feet of a goat. Really! They are a very strange shape, covered in black hair too. Girls go crazy for him. I think we have the ability to release „The Animal Inside“. Our music is real, full of feeling, not some manufactured commercial crap. We don’t have a huge following, but the following we do have is quite devoted and intense. I think when Fatal Shore play, it’s considered something special by those in the know. They feel like they are very close to the band and that it represents something to them. Exactly what that is, I’m not too sure. It’s true we attract some quite „out there“ type of people. Sometimes I think we could start a small religious cult, like Jim Jones or Charles Manson did. But we don’t encourage people to get into the band on this weird level, it just seems to happen. Maybe becuase there is a feeling of barely controlled chaos surrounding the band, an aura of unpredictabilty and spontaneity that people find liberating. On this tour, Chris and I had a saying: „Men identify, women project.“ Make of that what you will…
Your new realese Live At The House Of Sin shows you in a very cool mood. Why do you choose this position with Pavel? Just the acoustic guitar and the violin…?
Because we’ve been doing a lot of coffee house and cellar gigs like this, and we thought it would be a good thing to have some kind of record. Actually, it was Pavel’s idea. I thought a live CD of a duo would be quite boring, and I was amazed when I heard the mixes that he’d done. It has the power of a full band, but with all this space and atmosphere around the music. I mean, they are the same songs I play with Southern Cross and Fatal Shore. But they work equally well in a semi-acoustic setting, which I think says something about the structural strength of the songs. And about the intuitive understanding between Pavel and myself when we play live.
Is it thrue that the legendary Phil - Sudden album may be realesed? How was it made?
I’m working on the final mastering for this CD right now. It’s pretty much finished and sounds really wild. The CD is called „Golden Vanity“. It was recorded after Nikki and I had written a lot of songs together in 1996-1997. Then, I played lead guitar in his band on two very long European tours, 1997 and 1998. At the end of the second tour, we went into a Berlin studio with the band and recorded these songs at deafening volume. Some of the songs were co-written between Nikki and me, others were our solo compositions, a few came out of jamming that we did in the studio. There is one 16 minute jam (which I’ve now edited to 10.40 minutes), that sounds like The Stooges meets Can meets Black Sabbath meets T Rex! It’s just relentless and goes through all these shifts and changes. It was a total one-off, totally spontaneous. You could never re-create something like that, it just kind of took us over. The music played us, rather than the other way round. There is a real mixture of material: rockers, ballads, jams, fragments, sonic experiments. It’s a record like I’ve never heard before, such a wealth of diverse material. And I think Nikki’s fans will be surprised at how full-on and sonic it is. Hopefully, Nikki’s USA label, Secretly Canadian, will release it. If they don’t, then there are a few other labels that have already expressed interested about it. It really has to come out somehow. I see it as unfinished business between Nikki and myself, something that needs completing after his untimely death in NYC in 2006.
Aren´t you sick or even
disappointed from Czech music scene?
Actually, no I’m not. For all its faults, the czech music scene has a certain vibrancy and vitality about it. Okay, so the money is bad, and as I mentioned before I hate all these big summer festivals. They are only about money, a real music-mafia scene, and like I said before, to play them feels like being on some factory production line: "OK, your 40 minutes is up, get off stage quick to make way for the next band!" But I’d hate them anywhere, whether here, or in Germany, or in the UK! The club scene here isn’t so bad, not when I compare it to other European countries. At least there’s a bit of life to it, which is more than you can say for small town clubs in Germany for example. The people there are much colder than czech audiences, too concerned with being cool and "Korrekt". They don’t know how to enjoy themselves at all, whereas czech audiences do like to get down, get drunk and party. Having said that, what I find depressing is the czech audience’s lack of knowledge of the history of independent music. Even today, 20 years after the end of communism, your average rock fan’s idea of „cool“ music is Frank Zappa, or Deep Purple, or Led Zeppelin or Kiss. Ask them about Alan Vega, or Wayne Kramer, and chances are they will never have heard of these very influential men.