Jet Boys and Mystery Girls
A FAREWELL TO FC "Yeah, we're just the Sultans Of Ping now. We only had the FC to begin with because we had one or two songs about football and someone suggested FC as a joke. Unfortunately it became a bit of a rope around our necks. You'd get journalists going to gigs thinking 'Well, I really like the gig, but what kind of angle can I take for the review? Oh yeah, why not write like it's a football match?' And, like I say, we've got one or two songs about football but we're a punk band, you know, a rock'n'roll band. It's not a football match. The FC just became a bad joke. And a constantly annoying interview question."
CORK CITY ROCKERS? "I don't glamorise Cork, I'm not actually FROM Cork. I was born in Brighton and then lived in loads of places before my parents, who were Irish, took me back there when I was 8 or 9. I did live in Cork for a long time, but I went back at Cristmas for 4 or 5 days and I was bored off my arse. It's OK, but it's got serious drug problems too, serious drug wars, people getting their ears bitten off, that kind of thing. The rest of the band still live there, but now I live in Tufnell Park Road."
ASKING FOR TROUBLE "I suppose we were asking for trouble, in a way, with the name and everthing. When we started out we never thought we'd be signed by a record company. We were just playing round the country, earning a few hundred quid. Then we came to England and the music press thinghit us and we were doing interviews where they were saying 'Oh, you're weird and wacky guys from Cork, right?' And because we were new to it all, we went yeah, you're right. And then they'd go 'Oh, and you love the Buzzcocks too.' Yeah, you're right. We weren't putting ourselves across properly, you knoiw, as a serious proposition, because we didn't even know we WERE. It was only when we recorded the first album that we realised we had the potential to write really good songs and take this thing a lot further."
THE NATURE OF THE BEAT "Me and Paddy(O'Connell, guitarist) have been up to our necks in pop all our lives and I think what constitutes great pop is when you can deliver something raw, with strong melodies that's personal but in some way universal. The Buzzcocks were OK, but our second albumis better than anything they ever did. It's got a much bigger pop sound. The look and the performance are important too. Name one band in this country who can put on a good live show. I can't think of any. The last good gig I saw was Iggy Pop, two YEARS ago. I went to see Suede twice and I thought 'Well, if you think someone doing Morrissey impressions for 15 minutes, then getting tired and giving up, is a good show then you're in a sorry state.' People have got to realise that what NME and Melody Maker are throwing in our faces at the moment is NOT good pop, it's SUBSTANDARD! These people aren't REALLY fired up, they don't have REAL teenage energy!"
THE KINGS ARE DEAD, LONG LIVE THE PING? "I don't think there's anybody around who's made anything that's close to being as good as our second album ('Teenage Drug'), something as raw and with such strong melodies. I don't think there's anybody who CAN. I went to see Pulp who are the new hopefuls and I thought 'Well, that's really not that good'. And Tindersticks, it's all very nice and wordy, but I don't want pop to be like that. My favourite bands are Cramps, the Stooges and the Beach Boys, bands who I think communicate wilder teenage energy. Pop music today is becoming very adult and it makes me sad that these people are so wordy and pompous. There's a line in a Tindesticks song that goes 'You saw your life before you as a sequence of complicated dance moves'. and I've read that this band are the best around, that they're fantastic. But THAT'S NONSENSE! it's ABSOLUTE RUBBISH! It's 13-year-olds' poetry, I could write that fucking rubbish all day!
"I agree with Morrissey. He wanted to say this and this, and say it simply and succinctly. That's why the Smiths were a brilliant pop band and Suede and Blur are just average. And that's what WE do. It's simple, not mindless, simple. Not absolutely mindless, anyway."
RISING SONS "Going to Japan was lifechanging. It allowed us to start afresh. We'd finally found a polace where teenagers got excited about pop in an almost primitive way. 'Teenage Punks From Planet Sexy Love' was written on the plane back from Tokyo and was about those kids. 'Telephone Lover' is about a girl from Japan who phoned me all the time, she got a phone bill over £1000. 'Michiko's obviously about all that too.
"We kind of knew what we were and what we were becoming, but Japan convinced us, really showed us what we are. It refreshed us. Maybe for the first time someone looked deeply into what we did and saw it wasn't just a novelty thing, it invigorated us."
BECOME WHAT YOU ARE "There is an element of Becoming in all this. We did a radio interview with Eamonn Carr, a famous Irish trash journalist, and he said 'Lux (Interior) and (Poison) Ivy from the Cramps weren't born rock'n'roll, when they were 18 or 19 they decided that's what they wanted to be and they became it.' And It'd be a lie for us to say that it was any different for us. We wanted to be a wild teenage rock'n'roll band, like the New York Dolls, and that's what we've become.
"Actually, that's probably more true of me than the rest of the band. And that's making me more of a dictator saying 'Look, if you don't want to go this way, at least make it LOOK like you are'. Maybe Paddy's going the same way as me, but I don't think the other two are.
"I mean, our drummer Morty's a staunch Catholic, goes to church every Sunday. He feels he has to work 10 hours a day or he's not being good. In the studio we had to stop him because he kept doing all these little fillers and complicated drum patterns that we didn't really want. He just thinks that everyone should work hard and be fair to one another. He writes to everyone in the fan-club, which is nice, but there's 11,000 members! And he makes us sell our teeshirts cheap when I'd rather sell them at the same price as everyone else. I want the money, you know, I NEED it. I collect trash, films like 'Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman' and 'Braineaters', and trash costs money!"
PERSONALITY CRISIS? "We do have problems too. We want to be this wild teenage rock'n'roll band but, at the same time, I'm a huge fan of the Beach Boys and Kraftwork and I want us to be as huge as we bloody well can be and make 10 albums. And I love Phil Spector and want to make big-sounding pop records, but still keep all the energy of the Cramps, which isn't easy. And we also want to appear human. We want to talk to our fans and stuff, help them with their isolation and their violent feelings towards pomposity and... the Tindersticks. It's difficult, but it's what we want to be..."
Copyright Deadline 1994
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