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The Jazz Butcher Press Monteal Gazette (Montreal, Canada) - May 06, 1992
Interview
Monteal Gazette (Montreal, Canada)
May 06, 1992

Credit: Paul Wells

Jazz Butcher Slicing, Dicing Expectations

Pat Fish has a special trap laid for anyone who thinks they know what to expect at tonight's Jazz Butcher concert.

Fish, professionally enigmatic leader of the carefully obscure British pop band hates people who think they know what to expect.

"You know that sort of dreadful rock ritual where they recognize the songs so they applaud you for playing something they've heard," Fish says over the phone. "So we've come armed with this show, which basically takes your expectations and stabs them to death within the first five minutes."

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.

"What we're doing is melancholic and extreme... With a show like this you do need to actually listen and pay some kind of investment before you're going to get anything out."

Not that Fish wants to scare his audience away for the fun of it.

"I'm not after being deliberately obscure. I don't want to make music that's just for one generation of 19-year-olds to have as their special little secret."

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.

"You get kids who are pissed off at their parents because they couldn't borrow the Camaro or something and they require a big, loud, scary noise which makes them feel better about not liking their Dada for a week."

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.

"As long as people realize that we don't play jazz and I don't eat meat, they'll be all right."

The Jazz Butcher and their guests The Lowest Of The Low perform tonight at 8:30pm at Club Soda, 5240 Park Ave. Tickets cost $13.50 plus tax and service charge.
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