Forget Carter, the Jazz Butcher is the real unstoppable sex
machine. "I'm a sex engine in my red and black pyjamas"
croons this colossus of teenpop, and all say `aye' in
agreement. Butch is as huge as Gorby on the continent,
where German ladies queue to have his babies, but he
remains puzzlingly confined to the culty bunker in this his
native land. He certainly doesn't do jazz, nor indeed
perform remarkable feats with cleavers and offal, but The
Butcher has obviously munched a few Mad Cow burgers
before he turned veggie. His slightly surreal worldview has
earned him that reviled `wacky' tag but this is cacky dingos
danglers, to tar a chap of intelligence, wit and insight (and a
cobbler-togetherer of exceedingly good popular musical
tunes to boot) with the same mucky brush as the likes of
Half Man Half Biscuit (who have just reformed. I think the
question here is `why, exactly?') will mark you out for life
as a cauliflower-eared bog-brained dolt, so there. Go take a
hike, fatty-britchers, that's what I'd say.
And they'res no time like the present to enter Mr Butcher's
personal universe, because Cult Of The Basement is his latest big record and
it's a strawberry-flavoured stonker, you'll, cry and be
completely baffled at the same time -
Panic In Room 109
She's On Drugs
(a butcher classic in Camper Van Beethoven styleeeeee) will
find you chuckling your limbs willy-nilly all over the shop,
will have you blubbing in the corner like a
great big girl's blouse, the whole package will brighten your
dreary day and you will merrily exclaim "upon my soul
how could I have blundered through life utterly unaware of
this genius in Raybans and his veritable armoury of eclectic
inventiveness?" and those will be your exact words, just
trust me on this one, OK? So it's only right and natural for
FOAF8s roving psycho-analytically team to surreptitiously
drill a few holes in this chap's bonce and take a glimpse into
his reasonably remarkable mind...
FOAF: What has the Jazz Butcher been up to lately??
Butch: From October to Christmas we toured the USA and
Canada, driving coast to coast and back.
(the Butcher himself - Ed) kept getting
arrested for terrorist offences,
was diagnosed as the
Jazz Butcher Conspiracy's first Case History,
made friends and the
Martin Stebbing (Rev. Botus Whiteblood Fleming)
spread the gospel of Lurve
throughout the land. We played some concerts, too, and
recorded a `lost' radio session for Doerdre O'Donoghue's
`SNAP' in Los Angeles.
In January we retreated to a remote farmhouse (It was really
a basement...) and, safely closeted with The Evil Dead,
recorded Cult Of The Basement. The studio was positively overrun with
stray American women.
returned from hospital and
contributed some filthy noises.
of The Blue Aeroplanes put in his
two-penn'orth and Richard and I did the rest of the guitars.
Paul and Laurence and Alex did what they do and the Rev
Botus played with the fax machine, overseeing the rapid
spread of his church (?) (Ed's note - you may not have a
teeny clue who these people are, but soon you will love
them as if they were your own hamsters).
In February we played at Dingwalls, found it full of
Japanese people (eerie) and promptly set out for Europe,
where we stayed, playing concerts and speaking in tongues,
until the beginning of May. Not long returned to England,
we all climbed on board an aeroplane and went off to
Austria (scene of some of our best concerts EVER) to play a
vastly congenial pop festival. We played the Powerhaus in
London on the night that Robson's Donkeys were finally
and justly thrown out of the Campionate del Mundo Itailia
90 (OOOh how controversial! - Ed).
I've been writing and recording at home, and have
contributed a flute solo (!) to the new Spacemen 3 LP. Laurence
has done some work on
's album. Richard has
been working closely with
, with a view to
starting a band (to be called `Sun', we think), and has also
been working as producer with The Telescopes. There has
also been some clandestine activity involving the JBC and
DJ Steve Proctor.
You DID ask!
Why do you think you're still ignored in this
country despite your Christ-like status among our European
chums and Those Americans?
Christ-like? What are you calling me, a hippy? I
haven't owned a pair of sandals since I was seven, thank you
The media in this country are probably the chief culprits.
There's no way that a seven-year-old act like the JBC is
suddenly going to attract the attention of a press
establishment which is falling over itself to find the Next
Big Thing before a competitor does. Our time for being
`discovered' was probably around 1984 but that was the
time we'd just discovered Europe. We had so much fun
there that we stayed out of the country until we were
considered `old news'. Besides, this country is crazed for
mediocrity. See the way that a TV game show audience
goes "Whooooooooooo!" in that repulsive fashion if one of
the contestants admits to having a job more demanding than
check-out girl or warehouse packer. Ignorance is in fashion,
and I'm afraid we don't really make records for the
In other countries there is more access to the airwaves, more
time between issues of the press (which, I suspect,
encourages a more reflective attitude in the writers), more
prosperity, and more people prepared to make a little
commitment and put something of themselves into their
leisure and entertainment. The result? We do all right. In
the real world we do alright. (cc. Nicholas Ridley (ex) MP).
Where would you emigrate to?
Czechoslovakia. A pop musician with a reputation
for being `literate' and `subversive'? With a University
degree in philosophy? And a serious love of beer? Bloody
hell! I should rate a major position in the Ministry Of The
Interior with that lot! Whimsical or what? And Pilsner
Urquell at 20p a litre? Imagine how far my publishing
advance would go!
Yes indeed. What makes the Jazz Butcher don his
Atmosphere. I love a party with a happy
atmosphere. Soundtrack for Boogie Shoes? Well..... Gary
Clail's Beef, Three Feet High and Rising, Weatherall's
remixes, Can, Fool's Gold, Hallelujah, Asian
Youth Gang (Who? -Ed), James Brown, Franco and
Rochereau (RIP Tabu Lay), David Rudder (look, don't ask
me, I just type this stuff up - harrassed Ed), home-made
and myself. Mind you, I've not
been out a lot lately, I'm not doing a whole lot of dancing
right now. I'm listening to a lot of Beefheart, Can (again),
Alex Chilton, Beach Boys and the new (deeply acoustic)
and Robyn Hitchcock
. Both recommended, by the
The state of the world, Comment.
Well, nil desperandum, eh? New friends and a
chance to recognise and confront a few old enemies, I
suspect. Great hopes for Mandela, Gorbachev, Oskar
LaFontaine and Vaclav Havel. Deep suspicion of Boris
Yeltsin and the Baltic republics. Sympathy for Erich
Honnacker and the British passport holders of Hong Kong
who are unlucky enough not to be white and/or rich.
Cynicism over Cory Aquino clone in Nicaragua. An abiding
loathing for Thatcher, De Klerk, Quayle and Heseltine. I
think it's wrong to say capitalism has `won'. I think we
should keep our hopes up and our eyes open. These are,
without doubt, interesting times. (and if this interview had
been done a week later, I'm sure a Certain Problem in the
Persian Gulf would have got a going over, too - a once
again interrupting Ed).
Do you think you're in danger of becoming an
anachronism in this age of baggy dancing crossovers and
spaciously-trousered hip gyrations?
Well, I've never actually been fashionable (except
perhaps in the USA, which is a situation beyond my
comprehension) so I'm not worried. We're the same kind of
anachronism as good quality suits or shoes in an age when
everybody is cramming into Top Man or Dolcis. I don't feel
particularly cut off from the idea of wearing colourful
clothes and making music you can dance to. I've always
been into that. I felt more `stranded' in the days of Goff,
A few words of advice for your legions of devoted
I think the big word is probably "LISTEN". You
can't do SHIT is you don't listen. It's very unfashionable at
the moment, which is why so many unscrupulous scumbags
are getting away with so much. But really, it's essential.
Don't listen - don't learn. Don't learn - get fucked over.
So there you have it. Strong words and true from a `rock
and roll dissident, or heretic maybe'. Catch one of his
spleen-bursting groovular live shows or nip out to the
Co-op and snap up one of his super records as soon as you
can spare the moments necessary, the Jazz Butcher should be
squeaking Chart Bound Sounds sharpish and let's all hype
him onto TOTP right damn now!. He can wobble his
trousers with the best of 'em.