Jazz Butcher's Conditioned Response
isn't really a miserable bastard, his songs just sound
that way. The thing is, he has a knack for giving misery a
good name. It's not just that he can juxtapose bleak word
with bright music as cleverly as Beautiful South or They
Might Be giants or any of that lot. Simply that Fish carries
this laughing face of death pose very well and its effect on
his music is to make the laying down and playing of it more
"Every time you start writing a song, you're facing the
horror of repeating yourself. I don't knock them off in the
studio like I used to; that's still the best way to have it
happen, with a great degree of sponteniety."
"But after you've written enough of them repetition lurks to
laugh at you so they have to be put together with a sharper
eye. This has to do with live performance as well. I've lately
taken an interest in the shows again, writing songs that have
an added dimension that which is only in effect when
they're done live."
More than a few of the tunes off the Condition Blue
extended passages with lots of room for solo wailin', just
the thing for jolting those American kids to their feet.
"There are some great bits, aren't there? That's just the way
a lot of the songs came up, as basic rockers, so I tried to
leave that element as the driving force."
No argument there and likely because of that, this could be
The Jazz Butcher's most successful album in North
America, the one to make Fish go a-slashing in the
mainstream. Fish can still give voice of doom lessons to
Andy Aldridge; when he sings stuff like "I've never been so
happy in my life"
Girls Say Yes
[sic] in his mourner's monotone,
you feel like your leg being openly yanked on. And
Most of the time, though Fish throws barbs out with an
offhand and disarming approach. It works in getting some
highly-charged material across without scaring anyone.
"Things to know about this record: Condition Blue
was made as I
was just on the way out of the first stages of a nervous
breakdown. It's as close to "love songs" as you'll get on a
Jazz Butcher album. It came out of so much pain but a lot of
friends came to my aid and sort of steered me through. The
actual recording process turned into two of the most
beautiful and secure weeks I've ever had."
"I listen to it now and I'm surprised we got it together as
well as we did. There are a number of small but important
victories associated with making that record."
"It's too bad I couldn't have dragged all those guys out on
tour with me. Maybe after this album goes platinum. With
me this time are Crouch, bassist
and I don't think we'll have trouble giving the new
songs a good whack.
"I still don't much like large groups of people, so playing is
like therapy for me. I get to be out there and hide from them
at the same time. I imagine there'll be some dicey moments
on the nights I'm feeling vulnerable but I'll just have to see
how that goes."
Yikes. A vulnerable Pat Fish. Now there's a possibility
worth paying to see but you'll have to watch real close.
Chances are the miserable bastard will spend the evening
sniggering behind his impenetrable shades.