Melody Maker / 8th August 1987

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Bigmouth Strikes Again

Cover star John Lydon is here to promote the release of new P.I.L. single “Seattle” from forthcoming LP “Happy?” 18 months after “Album/Cassette/Compact Disc” comes “a very pop record” as the man says himself. The recorded debut of the group line-up that included former Banshees and Magazine guitarist John McGeoch. But the increasingly commercial nature of P.I.L’s output as the 80s wore on did not mean mellowing out from the old punk (31 at the time of going to press). Eminently quotable, here are some gems from the interview:

  • U2? “Couldn’t care less about them mate. It’s just mediocre pub rock on a big scale, not threatening on the least”.
  • “I like the new Wet Wet Wet single even though the band are absolute goonybirds. Did you see them on Top Of The Pops? Fucking hell, buck teeth galore- they looked autistic”.
  • “L.A. is awful, like Liverpool with palm trees”.
  • “I’d love to do a duet with Dolly Parton…. (but) I couldn’t get near her”

The severed alliance

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Melody Maker reports that “Johnny Marr has quit The Smiths but Morrissey and the band plan to continue and are auditioning new guitarists. That was the official version of events according to the band’s record company Rough Trade records”. A month earlier the NME had run “Smiths to split” headline, which Marr had perceived as a plant by Morrissey. In fact written by Danny Kelly, implying that tensions between the pair had reached breaking point. Marr subsequently contacted the NME to state that it was more to do with a desire to broaden musical scope and increasing dissatisfaction with Morrissey’s obsession with 60s artists such as Cilla Black. ’86 tour guitarist Craig Gannon was considered as a replacement and recordings took place with Ivor Perry, formerly of Easterhouse. However, these were not fruitful and resulted in Morrissey fleeing the studio, according to Perry. In September, the release of fourth and final album “Strangeways Here We Come” met with a lukewarm response from critics, but it remains both Morrissey and Marr’s favourite. A “South Bank Show” Special went out three weeks later. Despite Marr stating that “we were offered 50 Million Dollars for three, possibly five shows” and “maybe we will in 10, 15 years time when we all need to for whatever reason, but right now he’s doing his thing and I’m doing mine”, a reunion isn’t very likely when Morrissey comes out with quotes like “I’d rather eat my own testicles than reform The Smiths, and that’s saying something for a vegetarian” and then there’s that 90s court case filed by drummer Mike Joyce that really cemented the animosity.

In other news….

Depeche Mode UK tour announced for January ’88, Madonna adds Leeds Roundhay park on to Wembley Stadium dates, work on the brand new London Docklands Arena is in final stages to open Autumn ’88, interviews with Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P. and Carol Decker from T’Pau, live gigs by Edwyn Collins, The La’s, Laibach, The Replacements, Terence Trent D’Arby, new LPs by Miracle Legion, Downy Mildew and Mrs Green and I Spit On Your Gravy (no me neither – ed.)

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This interview with Ms. Decker from a relatively then-unknown T’Pau (then enjoying stateside success with their “Heart And Soul” 45) reveals her as more of a woman of true punk spirit, incongruous to the soft-rock stylings of the band. Recalling stories of excess and bad behaviour such as puking up on the back seat whilst being driven around Chicago by producer Roy Thomas Baker and a no-nonsense take on feminism “If I’m coming out of an airplane with three suitcases and there’s a man there who didn’t hold a door open for me, I’d kick the shit out of him”.  Here she is being a little unkind to Noddy Holder and Dave Hill on a 1989 episode of Juke Box Jury with Jools Holland. It’s a “miss” with me too. (But I do love Slade really).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8n6ut1VBfU

The Charts

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UK No. 1 Single: Los Lobos “La Bamba”

Bypassing the titular Ritchie Valens Movie chart-topper, we stop at No. 26 for more celluloid sounds with incumbent Bond-Theme “The Living Daylights”. Co-written with John Barry, this shows that A-Ha were more than pretty boys for teen girls. They were actually really good weren’t they? Previous year’s “The Sun Always Shines On TV” was also an excellent piece of dramatic, almost Gothic (yes) pop. Critical opinion may have been very different if they were ugly.