Eater – Interview With Dee Generate & Andy Blade
“Eater were arguably thee archetypal first wave punkers: a bunch of school kids ignited into anarchic action by the appalling influence of the utterly irresponsible Sex Pistols. School kids by day, Punk Rock luminaries by night”
Ahead of their Meet Eater show at London’s 100 Club on 28/09/06 – Andy Blade & Dee Generate talk to Jean Encoule:
trakMARX - Did Eater 'maximize their potential'?
Dee - No of course Eater didn’t, we never got near, but to me that’s not what we were about. We were kids who had no idea of what our potential was, just being in Eater, not going to school, playing in a band, that was enough. When Eater started having aspirations about musicianship, going somewhere, stardom - the essence was lost. The dull people in the band took over, talked about making it - and decided that I was holding them back. What emerged was a kind of musical sliced white loaf: it was all about arrangements, middle 8’s, playing gigs. Rock & Roll values took over. That was Woodcock, he really had no idea what the Punk thing was about, he should have joined the Vibrators a lot earlier, in my opinion.
Andy - I think we probably did, I mean, there wasn’t a lot being asked of us, was there? Just to show up and try was as good as it was ever gonna get within our own confine. I think Dee is referring to our ‘potential’ without Ian or whoever, but that’s too hypothetical, because Ian was in the band. It would have been different with a different band - and it would have been different if we’d been older too - but neither apply because...we weren’t.
trakMARX - How ultimately damaging was Eater's relationship with Dave Goodman?
Andy - I wish he’d been working for a legit company instead of The Label, who were useless at everything apart from stitching us up. He let himself down by his deep involvement with Caruzo. If we hadn’t signed to them, again, it would’ve been a different story (and probably a much better and happier one for us!)
Dee - Dave was ok. I reckon he was being fucked over by the label as well. Caruzo was the slimy one. I think the production on the first two singles is odd, it’s thin, but it works strangely. Some of that was Brian - he would turn up the treble on his guitar until it sounded like a tight strung banjo. Dave was genuine and into the band, but like the band, got manipulated by the man with the money. Caruzo had no idea what he had with Eater, he successfully relegated us from the first division to the conference league of punk, he was influencing the band and I was out of favour.
trakMARX - How do you think Eater would have faired under the guidance of a Malcolm or Bernie shaped provocateur?
Andy - I would’ve liked that. The reason we never taken too seriously was partly due to our age - but mostly because we had such tossers representing us. Lee was good but he couldn’t deal with our label. No one could, no one did! I mean, for fuck’s sake, we were on the same roster as Peko and Naka, The Bombers and whoever...we were being offered gigs supporting Keith Harris, Orville and Lena Zavaroni!
Dee - Eater were totally alone really, we had no svengali behind us, we were not part of the marketing strategy for a trendy Kings Road clothes shop – unless you include the World’s End Oxfam! I prefer that, it avoids the debate that surrounds the Pistols: ‘how much (of it) was MaClaren, how much (of it) the band - or Rotten’. We never really got managed. Leee Black Childers helped, but his association finished once I was sacked. He helped me find another band after Eater, but that was pretty disastrous. We were just as it seemed: a schoolboy punk band, only just learning our instruments, making loads of mistakes. Gloriously chaotic, shambolic - but very honest about what we were doing.
trakMARX - Your choice of cover vershuns gave your audience a direct connection between where Eater were coming from & where Eater were going. Do you subscribe to the theory that the best groups always cut their milk teeth on their respective heroes' nuggets?
Andy - Everyone starts off trying to emulate something. Luckily, it wasn’t Ian’s band - or else we’d have sounded like Ted Nugent. If Dee had formed the band - we’d have been the Glitterband. If it had been Brian - he would’ve asked me what to do!
Dee - The covers were more about Andy and Brian’s heroes. I knew about the Velvets, and liked Alice Cooper and Bowie - but not in a big way.
trakMARX - What was the best Eater moment – the highlight - the time when all you could say to yourself was: 'fuck me, I can't believe this is happening to me'?
Andy - Marc Bolan’s party.
Dee - Playing in Belgium was fun, but I liked the Roxy. I can honestly say I never had that ‘wow’ moment. I really felt like I was just doing what I did, being myself. I didn’t really relish it in the way I should have.
trakMARX - What's your favorite Eater song - the one that still makes you swell with pride?
Andy – “No Brains”/”USA”/”Space Dreaming”.
Dee - I like “No Brains”, “Outside View”, “Space Dreaming” - but it’s a fucker to play.
trakMARX - What did you make of your contemporaries both at the time - & in retrospect?
Andy - The Adverts were great, the Pistols of course....I had a bit of a thing for The Vibrators, even though they were old...er. I thought Knox was cool. Oh, Gen X too, I loved that first album and the way they were so glam.
Dee - At the time I liked Subway Sect, Wire and the Adverts - my old man was the Advert’s roadie. The Buzzcocks with Devoto sort of stood out. I really liked what John did with Keith Levine and Jah Wobble with PIL. I think that PIL had a huge impact on music - moving it on light years in the space of two albums. I still listen to Jah Wobble.
trakMARX - The demise of your original working relationship ended in tears. If you had a Tardis, would you go back & change anything?
Andy - I couldn’t be bothered. It’s probably better not to tamper with the past.
Dee - No, I would like the Tardis though - and an account at William Hills.
trakMARX - "The Secret Life Of A Teenage Punk Rocker" is easily one of the best Punk books on the shelves:
Andy - How's it been selling & how's the follow up coming along?
Andy - It’s on it’s second run I think, so it’s doing well and there wasn’t one bad review (apart from an indifferent one from the Telegraph, but I’m sure the guy hadn’t even read it). The follow up is almost complete and is a semi-fictionalised account of a guy that decides to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all (I can’t give anymore away, I’m afraid). Very little Punk Rock or many Clash stories in there – but plenty of fantasising about Bono’s demise! I’ve also just finished an account of the history of the Dee Generate family line, it’s called ‘Dee-Geneology’. A fascinating read, I think. Max Clifford is doing the PR.
Dee - Have you read it? And how was it for you?
Dee - I have read it and agree it’s a unique account of Punk - but, I think maybe I should have emerged as a more significant character in the book. In fact, Andy should have written it about me, with him as an admiring onlooker. That would suit its narrative style: Dee did this, Dee did that. He could have written about my childhood instead of his - and then my life after Eater and maybe changed the title to “My life With Dee”. I have offered to advise him with writing his second book!
trakMARX - Are their any Eater nuggets from '77 hiding in the can?
Andy - There are tapes somewhere in an attic in Feltham, I’m told. Dave G’s missus can probably locate some old demo’s we did in his garden shed in 1976. I’d love to hear them - if they still exist.
Dee - Dunno
trakMARX - What brought you two back to Eater again?
Dee - Me and Andy met on this anonymous dating site on the internet, when we arranged to meet face to face it was embarrassing - so we reformed Eater as a cover story.
Andy - It was quite a surprise. He’d told me he was a twenty year old virgin, I’d told him I was an eccentric millionaire. We were both a bit crushed, but we’re over it now. We fooled about a bit anyway, you know - fuck it, no one will ever know!
trakMARX - What's it like working together after all these years - have you been rehearsing much?
Dee - Andy is a perfectionist, he plans our rehearsals meticulously - and weeks in advance. He comes with all his equipment in pristine condition: spare strings, batteries for pedals, spare straps - he’s never late, never leaves early, never stops for a couple of hours in the pub - I don’t know what’s happened to him. We are planning to rehearse the minimum required - its going to be more like the Eater of 76.
Andy - I hate rehearsing, but it is great hanging out together again, our bass player Steve is a laugh too - but he keeps making us do things like tune guitars and stuff. With Dee it’s like we just picked up on our friendship from where it got put on pause all those years ago - but we don’t have to steal stuff or bunk the trains anymore.
trakMARX - Any plans to take this line up into the studio?
Dee - No plans.
Andy - Shit happens.
trakMARX - What can punters expect at the 100 Club on the 28th Sept?
Dee – Eater - as they remember it.
Andy - A cool night out. A party!
trakMARX - Will this signify a new beginning for Eater - or is it more of a celebration?
Dee - Not sure - we don’t have a plan - which is the way we like it, really.
Andy - No plan. We’ll do stuff, or not, as we see fit. Gigs like ATP with Dinosaur Jnr or Fugazi or whoever, we’ll always be up for. Punk reunion tours, forget it. Twice bitten....
trakMARX - And finally, what's your take on the Punk In A Basket Supper Clubbers who do it again & again & again to ever decreasing numbers of mohicaned, tartan bondaged trewed grandads. Surely, it wasn't meant to end this way?
Andy - Revolting.
Dee - Good luck to them, I don’t want to get in to all that, I had this debate before and I got misunderstood. Being a Punk for 30 years is hard to sustain, not because it’s dangerous, like it was in 76/77, when people wanted to stab you for being different, but just because people change. I don’t have any bondage pants, and to be honest, I don’t really want any - but I think if people want to associate themselves with something by the way they look, that’s fine. I did that when I was 14 - but never had the money for bondage pants - I did get given some - but sold them.
Jean Encoule tMx 26 09/06
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