Coffin Joe: Thumps The Tubs
The Horrors are barely 12 months old. When they first picked up their respective instruments they didn’t have a clue how to use them. They hardly ever rehearse. They have less than a dozen songs. They make their cover vershuns sound like their own tunes. They play 20-minute sets. Their gigs are rampant celebrations of youthful exuberance: both audience & group end up smeared in black gook, covered in flour - & dripping with the sweat of the righteous. The word ‘fervent’ springs effortlessly to mind.
Their music is a heady concoction of 50s Rock & Roll, 60s Garage Punk, 70s Insurrection & 00s attitude. Their image is a conglomerate of 40 years of Rock & Roll outsider chic: any colour goes, as long as it’s black. Singer, Farris Rotter, was recently beaten up on the streets of London for ‘looking a bit like a girl’. Something that hasn’t happened that often since the Teddy Boy attacks on various members of the Sex Pistols back in the heady days of 1977.
Their first 45 – “Sheena Is A Parasite” (Loog Records) – sold out its 500-copy print run in record time. The follow up – “Death At The Chapel” (Loog Records) – was no slouch either. Both are now changing hands on Ebay for ‘rather a lot of money’ Despite being elevated to the front cover of ENM a touch too early for some commentators, The Horrors possess promise in spades. Championed by seasoned campaigners as well as the usual raft of chancers, anyone who knows their onions can only conclude: The Horrors are making Punk Rock & Roll exciting again.
Jean Encoule caught up with Farris Rotter just the other day to bring you this:
trakMARX - Things must be going a bit kerazy for you lot right now - how's it all looking from yr end of the ship?
Farris - The sharks are far from the horizon at the moment, but we will be waiting with spears if they surface.
trakMARX - Hope the nose is a bit better. The last time I recall a punk rock and roller getting beaten up because of the way they looked they were called Johnny Rotten & Paul Cook. What went down? Are you still angry? And has the experience altered yr perspective at all?
Farris - I am still angry, mainly down to the fact I was not in a fit state to chase after the cunt as he sprinted off down the road. The experience has made me more determined not to bow to prejudice. You can't be browbeaten. I'm mixed race. I've been called a nigger before, then got abuse from Asians for supposedly being white. Ridiculous.
trakMARX - Has the above put the LP back any? Have you made it to the studio yet?
Farris - We are back on track and determined to finish on schedule.
trakMARX - Who's producing?
Farris - The tracks we are currently recording are being produced by Jim Sclavunos, of Sonic Youth and the Bad Seeds amongst many others.
trakMARX - It's now 10 short months since yr first gig. How long were you building the group for prior to that debut?
Farris - We rehearsed twice before our first gig, over the space of a week.
trakMARX - We heard rumours that 3 of yr number were previously employed as press officers in this very 'industry'. Is there any substance to these claims?
Farris - No, that's absolute rubbish. One of us used to make tea in the office of a small PR company.
trakMARX - Ref: early press comments that you were still struggling to 'master' your instruments from the get go - are you, therefore, true believers in the Billy Childish maxim of attitude over ability?
Farris - You can master your instrument without playing conventionally. There are countless examples: James Chance, Jesus and Mary Chain – actually, come to think of it, most of our favourite bands contain non-conventional musicians.
trakMARX - You sure have that Nuggets vibe nailed down tight. What turned you onto 60s garage punk in the first place - & who do you dig from that era?
Farris - We've always loved music from or inspired by that era, especially the Seeds, Screaming Jay Hawkins, The Syndicats, The Monks... Great artists, one & all.
trakMARX - What other musical influences singe yr eyebrows?
Farris - Bands from a broad range of musical backgrounds: The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Birthday Party, The Gruesomes, The Monks, The Contortions, ESG, Les Georges Leningrad, Fire Engines, Son House...
trakMARX - How important in yr rise to fame was the Junk Club?
Farris - Spider is one of its founders. Playing Junk has always been fun as, obviously, we have a lot of friends in Southend.
trakMARX - Southend seems to be on fire right now. Is it something they're putting in the water?
Farris - Yes.
trakMARX - We did a big piece on Southend punk rock in issue 23 of tMx - the featured site - www.southendpunk.com - is a fantastic celebration of yr town's punk rock roots. Are you aware of Southend's non-conformist heritage?
Farris - No.
trakMARX - Yr first 45 "Sheena" sold out in rekkid time - I got one put by for me in Tempest at 9am on the day of release - & the bastards had sold them all by the time I arrived @ 11am. Where you prepared for this kind of reaction?
Farris - Not at all! Everything seems to have happened exceptionally fast for us.
trakMARX - Having finally seen the video for it myself, I have to ask, what the fuck were MTV so scared off?
Farris - Strobe lighting. Funnily enough, MTV in the US had no problem with it.
trakMARX - The new single has also been harder to get on vinyl than “God Save The Queen” on A&M. What's a poor boy to do?
Farris - Err... either pay extortionate prices on Ebay or wait for the next one in October. Our third single will be the best one so far.
trakMARX - The CD copy I have will only play in my DVD player. What's that all about?
Farris - So far none of our music has made it onto itunes. We want to wait before our songs become widely available.
trakMARX - Making a cover vershun sound like your own song is a neat trick The Horrors pull twice. Did it all start with those two songs? Were the Horrors born out of covers like most of the true greats invariably were?
Farris - We began playing covers as it teaches you how songs are put together. A really great cover adds a lot to a band's repertoire, as highlighted by the Slits – “Heard It Through The Grapevine”, MC5 – “It's A Man's World”, The Dirtbombs – “My Love For You”, there's loads.
trakMARX - 20 minute sets - the food of the gods - is this something you intend to maintain - or will it be 1 & a half hours & two drum solos after the LP has gone to number one in the toppermost poppermost charts?
Farris – Yeah, we're actually planning to write a rock opera fairly soon.
trakMARX - Talking of the LP, it must be one of the most eagerly awaited platters on the planet right now. Can you spill any beans yet? Title? Songs? Artwork? Release date?
Farris - February, maybe.
trakMARX - And finally - what's next on the Horrors agenda & when will you be treading the boards again?
Farris - For now, we are recording. But we will be on tour in the UK in September/October and in the US in October/November.
Jean Encoule – tMx 26 – 08/06
And also: www.loogrecords.co.uk
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