The Jazz Butcher
The Jazz Butcher Press KCMU Interview
Interview w/Conspirator: Pat Fish
Album Review: Cult Of The Basement
KCMU Interview Red Dots In The Butcher's Basement (Seattle, WA, USA)
Credit: Mucker MC

Red Dots In The Butcher's Basement

Cult Of The Basement
If things seemed weird back in February 1989, when we made this baby, the Weird were going shopping on bikes. In a farmhouse in the dead of winter, in personal circumstances too bizarre and complex to relate, we set about making our "commercial suicide" album. For the first time, I felt, we had made an album that really sounded like us. This record does have personality. One of my favourites, this.
Purchase Now
( )
[Cult Of The Basement cover thumbnail]
Cult Of The Basement the Jazz Butcher's seventh and most recent album, ranks among his most adventurous. Like the ones before it, the album contains far more than meets the eye. When Pat Fish , the always interesting and entertaining man who is the Jazz Butcher, visited Seattle, it was story-time. A tragic illness, a looney French artist, and three bizarre men from Vienna, we got it all.
PF: Over the years, we've had the food album, the bus album, the drink album, and now, ladies and gentlemen, we have the death album. This is the death album. It was all recorded in the middle of the night. We went nocturnal in the first twenty four hours of recording, from 6pm to 6am, middle of the winter, farmhouse middle of the English countryside. There were a lot of curious concepts going off there. For example, there was this thing involving the jackal-headed dead. It was a kind of ancient Egyptian death cult thing whereby the bathroom at the studio became "the chamber". You can sort of picture a sort of Howard Cater thing: "I-I-I'm entering the chamber now." I actually recorded that little 12 string bit (at the start of Turtle Bait in "the chamber".
MMC: Were there secret ceremonies associated with this cult?
Red dot.
For those of you who aren't familiar with our policies at KCMU, a "red dot" is a song we cannot play on the air because it includes some type of naughty word.
Or concept or cigarette. Damn!
The Basement.....
Last summer (1989) just before we came over here- was a very weird time. Kizzy was suddenly hit with a brain tumor. We spent a lot of time in our friend Harry's apartment (a basement), and things got really twisted. People were going quite mad. We went to America and did the tour with Richard Formby taking Kizzy's place. When we got back to England, we went straight into the studio. We were still completely mad, and this kind of basement vibe was still there. It was a little instrumental called Schweinhund. It was supposed to be a kind of Argentine-Paraguayan thing. Schweinhund, kinda sexy. Eventually we realized that what we were really talking about was the basement (so we renamed it The Basement) I don't remember who originally had the idea, but we thought we could do little, different versions of it (on the L.P.) The version on side two before Girl-Go is supposed to be the Syphillitic Argentinian Palm Court Orchestra version, and then there's the accordion version called-never mind, I'm English.
Yes, I understand.
Well it all makes perfect sense, if you start at the top and go through to the end, honest. It does. It's like Sex And Travel. It's a movie, and its flirting with the dark shit. Damn, red dot. Its our goth (as in Gothic) album, and we're happy with it.
Kizzy O'Callaghan ....
Kizzy's far too sick to tour with us now. He might die at any minute. He's very positive in his head, but any minute he might go into a coma and croak. And that's how it is. On this tour we've got a 21 year old wunderkind named Julian Poole taking his place. We met Julian through the The Blue Aeroplanes. Alex Lee , one of their guitarists, does some great stuff on our new LP. When we were recording, he kept saying, "Oh, I've got this friend who's better than me!" That was Julian, and it's mad really. Julian is miles away the youngest of our group.
Your albums have-from time to time-included some rather unusual names among the credits, and I'm sometimes not sure if its you or someone else.
I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Pascal Legras, the person credited with the album covers of Cult Of The Basement and Big Planet, Scarey Planet.
Pascal? Yeah, Pascal's from Paris. We call him Jean-Pierre Looney because he is quite mad. He first came to us in 1986 and offered us a massive painting at a gig in France. It was like a cave painting, the sort of thing you'd see in a cave, of a male figure with gigantic-how can I say this? - Ladies bits up his chest.
Red dots?
Yes, a gigantic red dot right up its chest. Phil, our manager, looked at me and said, "Pat, I think he's trying to tell you something."
And you kept in touch?
Eventually, yes. At first, we just dismissed him as a complete looney. We hacked that painting to pieces and threw it away. I later discovered that they're worth about L 1,000. each. Pascal does all kinds of stuff. He's working with Tom Waits at the minute, and John Cale is a friend. Pascal's just a weird pushy French artist who likes rock and roll. Those are his feet on the cover of Cult of the Basement.
Von Dämmerung ....
There are these three Von Dämmerung brothers. They're from Vienna. They have a fanzine called Sinful Beat. They're completely deranged. Karel wrote the liner notes for Cult Of The Basement. He has a band now with his brothers Emil and Otto. They call themselves The Black Eg. and the spell egg "e-g." It's just heinous. Musically, its really just an amateur bedroom version of the Justified Ancients of Mu (an early Bill Drummond group which relied heavily on sampling). They're completely diseased Central European lunatics. In an earlier age, they would have been burned at the stake. I love em'.
They seem right in sync with Cult Of The Basement.
Oh, they're right into it! Karel actually came by when we were recording it. He was into all this jackal-headed dead business, Kizzy's "Hero of Chernobyl" haircut, and all the rest of it. By the time Karel showed up for the recording, Kizzy was out of the hospital and had had radiation treatment. His hair had fallen out and...oh, God.
Mr Odd....
Mr. Odd is a real person. He's a funny, solitary old chap. The day after we finished recording Mr. Odd , Harry, the owner and proprietor phones us up and says that he's just found Mr. Odd decomposing. Mr. Odd was dead, and he lived in the basement next door. I mean this is really the death album.
Daycare Nation is about Madame's policy to turn people out of asylums and care homes and leave them to wander the streets, a policy she laughingly calls care in the community. It's just basically a song about poor old boys who cant look after themselves. It's one of the albums token sincere numbers. And before you all write in and complain or throw stuff, the title of the song was just floating around the studio. We were taking the red dot out of Sonic Youth, a band we admire intensely.
Is "Madame" the same woman who is behind the English Poll Tax?
Oh, yeah.
Any thoughts on that?
Only one: red dot. It's so fatuous. It's beyond medieval. It's laughable. Fortunately, no ones paying it.
Has there been any anti-German sentiment in England since the reunification of East and West Germany?
Yes, there has been some discontent, but it basically comes from people who have never been to Germany, people who don't realize that for the most part Germany is what Britain should have been by now if it had not taken an appalling turn. In Germany, people remember that rights carry obligations and vice versa.

In Britain, its "I want it! Don't touch me!" It's just kinda sick. But still, anyone who's got his head brain wired up right is going to be a little bit concerned about German reunification and how it's managed. Not least, no doubt, the people who used to live in the DDR.

Visitor Feedback
No comments yet for this page [Add your own]