May 06, 1992
Credit: Paul Wells
Fish, professionally enigmatic leader of the carefully obscure British pop band hates people who think they know what to expect.
The better to further Fish's reputation as an immensely sardonic, world-weary character of life's little absurdities.
Melancholic and extreme
Fish's alter ego, the Jazz Butcher, has produced a series of charming tunes wedded to stark, eerie lyrics in a progression of fringe-friendly albums since the eraly '80s.
His latest album, Condition Blue, fits well into that tradition. It's a cheery collection of hummable ditties about the insanity that looms when a relationship falls apart.
And though the band does make a point of playing the tunes differently onstage, Fish says the album's dark mood translates to live performances.
Not that Fish wants to scare his audience away for the fun of it.
Music audiences, even those in the alternative crowd who've been more likely than the suit-and-tie set to buy Jazz Butcher albums are among the many subjects that arouse profound skepticism in Fish.
Many young people today "just use (music) as a kind of fashion accessory," he says.
Just another silly name
Not all his fans are insufferable, he's quick to add, and crowds at the latest Jazz Butcher shows seem much more interested in the music.
The Jazz Butcher moniker was just one of a hundred silly names Fish and a friend discussed in a barroom chat one day, along with gems like Tammy Raviloi and her Jumping Vermicelli.
But Fish slapped the Jazz Butcher name on a basement tape that became an album almost by accident, and the rest is history.