And now, the main event. The Ugly Americans meet The English
Noisters. Can you smell the potential? Stick two jittery and
fried barbarians in a small dressing room with a carload of
reserved, sleepy pop superstars and watch the sparks fly. Hold on
to your napkin, Ethel, the blood-flow starts here. Interview
conducted 5/5/89 at the TLA, Philly, PA.
Ugly Americans: Greg or Ed
Kevin Sheilds: Vocals, guitar, stoic svengali
Bilinda Butcher: Vocals, guitar, cigarettes
Deb Googe: Bass, amphetimine pixie
Colm O'Ciosoig: Drums, MIA
UA: So you just got done playing the Palladium?
KS: We didn't play the Palladium.
UA: That's right, it got moved, didn't it?
KS: We tried to play the Pyramid Club but we got threathened.
UA: By who?
KS: Did you ever hear of Delsner?
UA: Ron Delsner? He's a jerk.
KS: But he runs a big company. They said if we played they'll
make it impossible for us to play in New York again.
UA: Why didn't you play the Palladium?
KS: They changed it to the China Club.
UA: They didn't want it to get trashed like it did when Slayer
played, I guess.
KS: They were charging a lot more than we were going to get
from anyone for us, anyway. So we just had a big guest list
that we put everyone we knew in New York on.
UA: People off the street?
KS: Some of them. What we did was stand outside the Pyramid
Club and put down anyone that showed up. Not anyone, but
people who knew sort of, like fans.
UA: How many people were there?
KS: Not too many.
UA: How are the ticket sales doing here (TLA)?
KS: Not too well, I'd imagine.
UA: So, uh, what's the problem?
UA: Yeah. Lack of PR?
KS: No idea.
UA: You must have some big backing somewhere, cuz a lot of
American bands can't even play these places.
KS: That's just the agency you have. There's no backing, there's
just an agent. It doesn't take anything to do that.
UA: It doesn't take a lot of money?
KS: No. Not at all.
UA: Is the record label involved with that?
KS: No, we're just losing money.
UA: Is the future of My Bloody Valentine looking dim?
UA: Well, you're losing money, for one thing.
UA: That's okay. People have no taste over here anyway. There's
a lot of good bands here, as opposed to England, which has
a lot of bad bands. Everybody is eating up American stuff
over there from what I read.
KS: That's true.
UA: Do you think there's a big shitty glut of English music?
KS: Dunno. I can't really say. A lot of our favorite bands are
UA: Like who?
UA: What are Some influences? Anyone?
UA: Pink Floyd? Black Sabbath? The Cars? We'll keep naming bands
until you give us one.
UA: Blue Oyster Cult? Fleetwood Mac?
UA: Tusk was a big influence would you say?
UA: More like Tango In The Night?
KS: No, Rumours.
UA: Oh, really.
UA: Black Flag?
UA: I've noticed that you're pretty bottom-heavy for an English
BB: That's cause we've all got heavy bottoms.
UA: Sonic Yuke?
KS: Sonic Youth I like.
UA: How bout Spacemen 3? That has to come up here. Have you
ever had an encounter with a doped-up Sonic Boom?
UA: Have you ever shot up heroin with Sonic Boom?
KS: No, he doesn't take heroin.
UA: Not anymore.
KS: I don't think he ever did.
UA: So that heroin stuff is just a publicity scam?
KS: I don't know them well enough to know that.
UA: Ever see a rumble tween Loop and Spacemen 3?
KS: I know they don't like each other. They're playing on the
same bill together.
UA: When's that?
UA: Is this your first time in America?
(Silence. Yoo-hoo, anbody in there?)
UA: What do you think of America or Americans in general?
KS: 'S interesting.
UA: Over-bearing? Rude?
KS: Particularly polite, actually.
UA: No way. Have you walked around the city yet? There's one
guy you have to see here, he's down the block. He plays
the kazoo. Maybe you could get him to join up.
UA: Or there's a black lady with a voice like Whoopi Goldberg
who stands on the corner and says (Ed leaps up) "YOU'RE
ALL GONNA BURN IN HELL. YOU MAY BE LAUGHIN' NOW, BUT YOU'RE
ALL GONNA BURN." She does this for hours on end.
(Silence. We discover that a popcorn bucket full of soda is
leaking on the tape recorder.)
UA: Oh, wonderful.
UA: They're getting even with us.
UA: Is it still going? Fine. Nothing will stop this interview
now. So, can we expect more animation from the band than
we saw at the sound check?
UA: Maybe not.
KS: You could be in for a surprise.
UA: It's pretty good, though. Watching you stand there like
posts while you're creating this swirling monster of noise
that's raping your earholes.
UA: And there's that.
UA: I heard you guys were sleepy.
KS: That's only because we don't like doing anything unless
we have to. We book studio time and then we have to write
UA: You don't have to do this band.
KS: No one has to do anything. We only do what we want.
BB: There's things you have to do.
KS: England has a good social security system, blah, blah, blah.
UA: Is everything like Benny Hill over there?
KS: No. As nu rem safmr lui seegee.
UA: Why is T.V. there so dreary?
KS: They take themselves very seriously.
UA: Benny Hill? Or the BBC? I hope you're not involved with
Top Of The Pops. I really detest that.
KS: I wouldn't mind being on that, to tell the truth.
BB: It's an institution.
UA: Like American Bandstand.
KS: I've never heard of that.
UA: How about Soul Train? You should try and get on Soul Train.
Get the black audience.
KS: Do you think we would?
UA: Definitely. They're very progressive. Just get rid of the
drummer and buy a beatbox.
UA: Don't do that. Your drummer's pretty ferocious. The rest
of you were standing like zombies while he was going nuts.
KS: He has to use his arms.
UA: So he's the only one who uses speed?
KS: He doesn't use speed.
UA: Repressed sexuality? Natural vitamins?
UA: Or was it these vegtables? Did you request this or...
KS: That's what they gave us.
UA: I'm going to go down and talk to them for you. Get you some
KS: No, that's alright.
UA: Was "Soft As Snow" a one-off?
KS: What do you mean?
UA: Written as you went along.
KS: We do everything as we go along.
UA: Everything? You have nothing written?
KS: Sometimes. Pretty much.
UA: Yeah, it really seemed that way. What do you think is the
best stuff you've done? Favorite song?
KS: Don't have one.
UA: You don't like any of your songs?
KS: I like them all. We also tend to become bored with what
we do afterwards.
UA: That's my theory. The only reason that bands write new songs
is because they get bored with the old ones.
KS: That's true. If you're self-satisfied you don't go too far.
Self-satisfaction is the most dangerous thing in the world.
UA: Well, it could be a good thing. You're satisfied.
KS: Yeah, but it means you don't amount to that much.
UA: But at least you're satisfied.
KS: You can take drugs and be satisfied. It's an easier way
to be satisfied.
UA: I take drugs and I'm not satisfied.
KS: You're taking the wrong drugs.
UA: What are the right drugs?
KS: Whatever satisfies you.
UA: I think that nothing satisfies anyone. Except for death.
Death is the great satisfier.
UA: And you can quote him on that.
UA: You can use that for a lyric or something. Okay, have you
quit your day jobs yet? Are you making a living off this?
KS: We've never had day jobs.
KS: Not for a long time. Years.
UA: So you're professional entertainers.
KS: We're just professionally unemployed.
UA: So are you living on the streets, or squatting?
UA: Is that a good lifestyle?
KS: Well...yeah, sure, why not.
UA: We kill people who squat over here. Beat them with firehoses.
KS: Is that good?
UA: You can get raped.
KS: Is that good?
UA: There's a lot of man-rapers here.
KS: Is that good?
UA: People put cigarettes out on your face.
KS: Yeah, is that good though?
UA: I guess, if you're into pain.
(A combination of a squeaky chair, The Ocean Blue's soundcheck,
and general confusion make the next minutes unintelligible.)
UA: Did you have any control over playing with The Ocean Blue?
UA: I didn't think so.
UA: Any bands around that you want to play with?
KS: We tried to tour with Dinosaur Jr. but-
UA: Is Dinosaur a big influence?
KS: Not as big as it might seem if you knew our records in the
UA: How many records do you have?
KS: About eight or nine.
UA: Is Relativity going to release any of them here?
KS: I hope not.
UA: So you're bored with them already.
KS: Not bored. Just frustrated.
UA: Your past is a blight from which you cannot escape.
KS: That's one way of looking at it.
UA: Does sex play a big influence on the band?
KS: About ninety percent.
(Silence. Silence. Silence.)
UA: So, would you like a present?
(Ed reaches into a bag and pulls out a copy of "Preggo", a porno
mag featuring two fully pregnant lesbians going at it. He hands
it to Kevin, who begins to leaf through it dazedly.)
UA: You see, we went to the mall before we came here, and we were
looking for something that would somehow give you, in a small
package form, everything that America was meant to be. And we
stumbled across that gem.
(Kevin tosses it over his shoulder onto a shelf behind him.)
UA: No comments on "Preggo"?
UA: That's what you can do if you're pregnant, and you happen to
be a lesbian, also.
(Ed retrieves "Preggo" and shows the girls a scene involving a
UA: This would be a great cover for the next album. And call
it Death, The Great Satisfier.
DG: (Revulsed) I'm glad you're not designing our covers.
UA: You better not throw that away.
BB: We don't want it.
UA: You people are so cheerful. This is completely nuts.
UA: Anyway, I think this interview has just about had it. We've
whipped this beast into a wild frenzy and now it's time
to hit the road. We thank you for your time and patience.
May all your futures be bright, and all your children born
with two heads.
No one can disagree that this interview truly captures the
spirit of My Bloody Valentine. Actually it's kinda sad, cuz these
mopes were obviously booked on a tour that was way over their
heads (about the first twelve rows of the TLA were filled during
the show). M.B.V. will have to wait for some future date to
conquer the U.S., methinks. But I would like to see them again
sometime soon, so go buy Isn't Anything and fulfill my deepest
wishes and dreams. Keep the kids on the dole and on the heroin.
that the word "pussy" does not appear anywhere in this interview.