The Newsletter Vol1 #7
(Milwaukee, WI, USA)
July 16, 1988
Jazz Butcher Vs. New Community
After the solid, sweaty show
that he should be famous for,
main Jazz Butcher conspirator
retreated to the
Odd Rock parking lot for some serious interrogation. We began
with the story of Pat's association with Creation Records
kingpin Alan McGee.
"When the band first became a band," Pat begins, "(and)
started to trim its lineup down to some kind of vaguely
regular unit, in '84, one of the first places we used to go and
play was this little club in London called The Living Room."
"The Living Room was kind of a peripatetic club - it
moved about just really sordid little upstairs rooms and
little small pubs, and the guy who ran it was this mad little
Scots geezer called Alan McGee. And he used to wear these
really crap corduroy trousers and big wooley jumpers that
his mum had made him, and he used to talk in this
impenetrable Scottish accent and none of us ever understood
what he was saying."
"And I always knew him but we just sort of got going with
Glass and, as Creation Records got more and more better known, I
used to think, `The bastards. Bastards. Wish I was on
Creation They're all pop stars on Creation.' In '85 we
discovered Europe and we used to do a lot more work out
there. In '86 we were doing Europe and here, and we didn't
neglect England exactly, but England didn't quite pick up
with us as much as a lot of places."
"At the end of '86. the old band just toured (themselves) to
death within two years' touring, without really any rest at
all. And the record company contract was up, and we just
decided it was time to go out and get new lives. At which
point, Alex, our sax player, who is conspicuous by his
absence tonight, (with) family business at home to attend to,
(and I) went out on a solo tour - well, duo tour - in Europe,
just the two of us, just to see what would happen if we tried
to do it."
"We got as far as Paris, McGee flew out, and said, `Eh, uh
want teh sign yeh' and I said, `Fuckin' hell, McGee, you
know, this has been a long time coming. I thought you'd
forgotten who I was.'"
"But he hadn't, and there then followed about three months
when we got really mucked about between him and the
American record company, Big Time, who were really
messing about. In the end, fortunately, we ended up with
McGee, because if you look at what's happened to Max's
solo album, Big Time have really screwed him up - ahem,
ahem - big time, on that. It was ready at the beginning of
February, and they put it out in October, and they've gone
bust since, and they did no promotion on it."
Jim Warchol looks surprised. Big Time is busted?
"They're down the tubes. There's one man left, and the man
who bled them white for his own personal amusement.
We all should have known because he only got
the money to set up the label and as a result of his
involvement with a band called Air Supply, so we should
have known he didn't care about us."
"We should have known. He was offering us loads of
money. And I can offer you loads of money now; doesn't
mean I'll give it to you. Doesn't mean I even have it, you
know. So we were lucky, in the end, to end up with McGee.
We went through some pretty poverty-stricken times in the
On Creation Records
, the Jazz Butcher reside with several kindred
spirits - Edwyn Collins, Nikki Sudden, Primal Scream
the Weather Prophets
, for example. Pat found this new
relationship useful when time came to record his first LP
for the label:
"McGee said, `Okay, let's make an album.' and I said,
`Yeah, yeah, for God's sake. I've got millions of songs; let's
go.' And I said, `But the thing is, we don't have a drummer.
I can play bass, but we'll have to use a drum machine.' He
said, `D'you want teh borrow the Weather Prophets
I'd been listening to She Comes from the Rain for about
three months. For me, it was one of those records you can't
get out of bed without playing. I just said, `You want to lend
me the Weather Prophets?' `Aye, it'll cost ye 500 quid.'
Five hundred quid, out of an LP, you know?" Pat sounds
"So we had them and they were decent geezers. Greenwood,
the bass player, tried to chat up my wife the other night, but
fortunately fell down drunk in the middle of it, so there
wasn't a problem."
Looking For Lot 49
, on the new LP, the Jazz Butcher have beaten the
Blowtorch to the punch with rock & roll's first tribute to
the great American author Thomas Pynchon. Pat has a great
story about the post horn symbol that pervades the Pynchon
novel The Crying of Lot 49.
"When you're touring Europe, it's really scary, because you
keep seeing their signs everywhere. I'll tell you what we had
a lot of trouble with. We were touring Spain and there was
this shop - sold military medals and shit - and there was
this one badge, it was red. And, in gold, it had the post
horn, just like Lot 49, crossed out with rifles. I thought,
`Whoa, this is Lot 49 stuff.'"
"So I bought it and I put it on my lapel. We were driving
along, we stopped at a Spanish roadside cafe, and... as I
walked in, everybody fell silent and looked at me with a
really evil look. I though, `What've we done? I dunno. Did I
shave today? I mean, is my fly undone? What's happening?'
And we had this Spanish driver who was driving us around
and he was getting very agitated. And he spoke to our
Spanish road manager, who has a bit of English and he
turned around and asid, `Um, that badge you're wearing,
Pat.' I said, `Yeah?' `Better take it off, Pat.' `What is it?'
`It's the National Guard.'
"Whoopsy-daisy, yeah, right, so that was off. But it's a
great design, that. What the Spanish National Guard have
got against Thurn & Taxis (the main European mail system
from the 14th to the mid-19th centuries - their post horn
symbol is of some significance in Lot 49) I can't tell you."
We reminisce about my opening slot wherein the
Chesterfield's bass player wandered about onstage,
apparently looking for something. Pat seemed to enjoy the
Chesterfields, despite a few initial misgivings.
"I mean," he
says, "a band that is supporting and turns up at 10:00 to do
their soundcheck, you know, I mean, Sweet Jesus. I mean,
give `em credit - they did just get up there and happen. To
be fair to them... I thought they were going to be a load of
wanky pop stars, and at least they were down-to-earth
nutters, so that's to their credit, really."
Has anybody asked you what you think of The Best Kisser
in the World
(former J.Butcher guitarist/vocalist
's solo LP)?
"I dunno if they've asked me on tape. I think it's good. I
think it's very obvious, from listening to that and my
record, why we had to stop and sort of part ways. My
favorite song on The Best Kisser
... is Raking Up Leaves
It's that line - "Jesus, friend of the poor; Jesus, what do you
take me for?"
"The thing about Max's songs is: lyrics are really pokey. It's
almost as though his record company ought to put out press
releases saying, `This song is about...' and then enjoy it."
I suggest, on the basis of tonight's show, that the Jazz
Butcher has rediscovered the Bath Of Bacon
LP (recorded 1982).
"Well," Pat reasons, "the reason we're playing a lot off that,
really, is that Fishcotheque
was made very much the same way,
it's like Son of Bath Of Bacon
. It's like, y'know, we have a
bunch of people who we didn't really know and who'd
never heard the songs and it was like, `Right, you've got 20
minutes. Make it happen.' So, in a way, we sort of
developed a feeling for those old songs."
I tell Pat that he has a good band.
"It's the best rhythm section, I think, probably, we've ever
had. There's no disrespect to the last lot at all."
"Yeah, they're chunky, aren't they?"
The talk turns to new and obscure groups. Pat mentions
as the "very, very best, happeningest band, apart
from The Blue Aeroplanes
and the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy." He plugs
a few others:
"Don't forget The Perfect Disaster
album, Swar Wars,
coming out on Fire Records this summer. If you like the
, there's nothing wrong with it. From Germany there's
a band called M Walking On The Water. They've got
accordians. They sound like Violent Femmes, Tom Waits,
, the JBC. They toured with the JBC. The
JBC liked them, they liked the JBC. From Germany, the
first group ever. Eeeeeehhhhh!!"
"Is there anything else you want to know, Jim? 'Cos it looks
like we're moving out."
About the new record, real quick.
"Our new record? It's like a postcard. A whole bunch of us
went into the studio and we hadn't got the faintest idea what
we were going to do, and we were there for two weeks, and
that came out as a result. And it's like when you go on
holiday - it's exactly the same thing. You go somewhere for
two weeks, you don't know what's going to happen, then
you send a postcard."
"Fishcotheque is a postcard. Which is why the photos of
Waterloo - which is where it was recorded - on the sleeve
are so appropriate. Fishcotheque and Sex And Travel and my favorite JB
LPs. But I like 'em all, 'cos otherwise I wouldn't have made
A final note, to all possible doubters: tonight's renditions of
was so perfectly poignant as to provoke a second
listen to the initially dismissed Distressed Gentlefolk
(1986) LP, and upon
that listen the whole damned thing sounded great. As great
as any of the Jazz Butcher's seven albums of tuneful,
heartfelt, and funny songs. So grab one - the man is down.