Andrew Weatherall -Archive -Interview : From PEOM

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andrew weathrall zani 1.j

Andy Weatherall and I didn't always see eye to eye until around 1992 when I climbed onto the decks at “Bagley’s Studio's", whilst he was playing. Something then just clicked with us and he agreed to do an interview. An ideal time to speak to Andy as he was leaving the Boys Own fanzine and embarking on various projects.

Whilst doing the transcript of the interview it sounded more like I'd interrogated him than had an informal chat. I therefore thought it would be a good idea to make it read like a dictation from a courtroom trial. Weatherall liked the concept and believe it or not, I met someone ( who was off their head) wanting to  know if Weatherall was found guilty or not. He wasn't joking. This interview has a great deal of depth. I don't know of any major press outfits, at the time, who matched this interview


ANDREW WEATHERALL – ON TRIAL !?!

“Bring on the accused” is shouted down the aisles of the court, the Judge shouts out order to the gallery “If the public continues to make such a racket, then I will ask them to leave. Do I make myself clear?”

A silence hangs over the courtroom, for today we are to witness history in the making. Andrew Weatherall, infamous DJ of Berkshire birth, co-founder of Boy’s Own Fanzine and remix artist.(Whose roster is Primal Scream, Flowered Up and Jah Wobble to name a few) had been brought to trial on charges of being a young man with several pseudos ,images and for generally being an enigma to the press.

The prisoner enters the dock, wearing a white open shirt which hangs baggily over a pair of scruffy 501 jeans. The accused seems bored towards the public speculation of the trial as if he is being kept from something. He looks around, lacking any emotion. His eyes fix on the Judge. Old Hanging Judge James Burroughs Houston Winston McKay. The Judge who sentenced his own father to 30 years hard labour in Siberia for not paying his poll tax. The Judge who brought up the local hospitals and turned them into bingo halls and issued a statement to the press.

"At least the elderly and sick working class will die in their halls of pleasure, besides a bingo hall is cheaper to run”

The Judge is pure evil, hating the ways of the young and all their heroes. Rumour has been passed that Weatherall has no fear, for the Judge’s world is not his world. Their eyes meet, the Judge snarls with a hint of a smile, thinking of what sentence he could pass.

“Order! Order!” shouts the Judge. “ Mr Weatherall, do you understand the charges brought before you?”

“Your honour I cannot recognise this court!” replies Weatherall

“Why is that?” asks the Judge

“You’ve had it decorated!” he shouts. The public gallery roars with laughter.

“Order, one more uproar and the whole crowd will be charged with contempt of court”

“Mr Weatherall , your insulting behaviour will not be tolerated , I must warn you, have you ever been up before a Judge?”

“I don’t know what time does a Judge get up?” he replies

THE TRIAL BEGINS

Mr A Frederick Foxx (acting for the defence) begins the hearing.

Mr Weatherall, what are you currently doing at the moment?
 
My own project Sabres of Paradise double LP ideas. I’ve been working on for years, self-indulgence. A double LP that has come together from happy accidents in the studio. It may include a track with Kevin Swain (Half of D.O.P , the other half being Kevin Hurry) and I have written a country and Western number which we’ve sung in many European night Clubs (Laughs out loud) But only to ourselves. Really it’s just me being self-indulgent. Be it Country and Western or what. I find it easy to get grooves going as opposed to writing songs. One side is staying in, one side is going out.

How did you start DJing?

I had a large record collection and people at parties would say “Get your records Andy” I was playing at a party and Danny Rampling happened to be there, who I sort of semi knew. He liked my music, which was right across the board – Public Image, House and some Dub and he asked me to play at Shoom, which was the most happening club in England, no in Europe! That happened. Then the Primal Scream “Loaded” remix happened. I got in the right place at the right time, a very lucky break. I think if I were starting off now, it wouldn’t be so easy. D.J’s are being taken advantage of. Even when I started you’d spend 30.00 - £40.00 on records, £20.00 getting there and back, and only get paid £40.00. But it didn’t take me long to get good money. I know D.J's who’ve been playing for years, getting paid next to nothing.

How do you feel about the sudden impact of dance records in the charts?

It’s just a prodigy of the punk thing, like Pete and the Test-tube babies; The rave records in the charts are just children’s rave records. Just the arse end of something that’s been and gone. But they are the ones making all the money. The guys who made the Rhubarb and Custard record just bought a studio. But I suppose it’s better than selling drugs” (evil smirk) only slightly”

How did the fanzine Boys Own start?

In my front room Terry Farley said, “ Let’s do a fanzine,” I said, “I know a printer I’ll do this article and you do that” That was about 3 to 4 years ago. The main reason for it was that Terry had seen the Liverpool fanzine “The End” ( a fanzine run by Pete Hooton of The Farm) It was about football bods who were going to clubs. But I didn’t go for football, nor did Simon Eccles (another founder of Boys Own) but Steve Massey (again another founder) and Terry did. We only sold 300 issues and we said “Let’s do a party” Again in the right place at the right time , no great scheme

/andrew weathrall boys own zani 1

No great scheme, but it’s been successful hasn’t it?

It has it’s draw backs. But it’s nice when you pick a fanzine. I think if it hadn’t been for us (i.e. Boys Own) none of those fanzines would have started. That’s healthy, but we get letters saying, “You lot are a bunch of wankers” but we just reply “Do your own thing”. But at least it’s spurred a reaction. It’ s better to have a negative reaction than none at all. It was for mates, not elitists. That’s why I stopped doing it, to be honest with you, because we were turning into the sort of people we were taking the piss out of in the first place – people think we are some of London Club-Land “Mafia”. It’s like when friends come from Glasgow, phone us up and ask, “What’s happenings?” Well I’m going round my mums and Steve is washing his motor. We couldn’t get into a lot of clubs, that’s why we started our own. Now it’s gone full circle. Now we are supposedly the hip people. I’m 29, but I can’t point out what’s right or wrong. I know what I like.

But certain people have bought Boys Own to follow fashion tips, such as the Kickers revival?

It’s other people thinking we’re telling people what to wear. We’re just writing our opinions, because people want to read them and find it funny. Some people think it’s the be all and end all, it’s totally tongue in cheek, it’s just to get a reaction, but now I’m bored. Bored with the reaction, maybe I’ll just bury my head in the sand. The boys will carry on. I don’t think that I’ll be writing for it much or if at all.

Yes, I recall the death of the outsider in the last issue.

I just do my own thing, my own club maybe I need time. I’d like to use some young DJ’s like Darren Price, Stacey Tough. Young people that are bang into their music.

Before DJing, what jobs were you doing?

Everything, shit jobs, furniture porter, labourer. But I’ve got a couple of A-levels. I tried to get into art school. But I’m such a shit horrible oik, got expelled from the sixth form. Even with a Grade “A” A-Level in art I couldn’t get into art school ( His voice changes to a tone of flippancy) “I blame it all on punk rock and seeing the Sex Pistols on Top of the Pops. But I haven’t grown up I’m still 15.Your career has been successful so far, but what are the drawbacks or good points?

I’m able to work on records with people I have respected for the last 10 years, like Jah Wobble and Primal Scream. The worst part is sitting on record boxes at 7.00 am when everyone else has gone home.

Ever been asked to stop playing your records or “spinning the discs” as the term for it?

No, no (Smiles and says in a very sarcastic tone) No, but I’ve been asked to get off the decks. No seriously, I love my job. But if I get bored of DJing; I’ll go on holiday for a couple of weeks. But after 3 days my hands start trembling, I start wandering into record shops and realise what a good position I’m in. I am a big kid, always have been. When I was 15, I would buy a record and take it straight to a friend’s house and say “Listen to this” Now it’s in a club. It’s exciting , maybe like being in a band and playing a new song.

andrew weathrall zani 3.j

I understand from various sources that you used to be singer in a band?

(Sheepish laugh) Yeah, yeah. Hidden in the vaults of Bocca-Juniors are tapes of me singing. I wrote the lyrics, had to sing the melody. (Turns slightly defensive) Actually I’ve got quite a good voice.

What is your taste in music? I am aware it has quite a wide range?

At the moment I’m listening to Rockabilly and R ‘N’ B. But it will always come back to Reggae and The Clash. Possibly New Order. But at the moment vintage Rockabilly, which still sounds fresh and exciting, seems to have more bollocks. At the moment there’s a lot of threat of being taken out of music.

What has impressed or disappointed you most in the last four years?

The Fact that it is easier to make records. But what’s depressed me is that everyone is at it. There’s a lot of shit, like punk I suppose. It’s easier now, you don’t have to be able to play the guitar, you can have an engineer with you. Both have impressed and depressed me! You can’t have quality control that borders on the line of fascism, that’s the drawback of an open society.

Do you think that the last four years of Acid House have really changed anything with all the “Love, Peace and Unity”

I don’t think there will be change; there will always be greed. Even the peace and love was bollocks. It was a lot of football hooligans ripping off a lot of middle class kids. Human nature won’t change, whatever drug or musical revolution occurs. It all seems fine. Within a year the arseholes have taken over.

What do you think the next big thing is?

If I knew the answer, I’d be a millionaire. Why things haven’t advanced is because it was so much of a good thing. People want too much. The grass is greener. When I play at a club for X amount of money, I’ve got to justify it. I can’t be experimental. I’ve got to play all the known tunes. That’s why I may start my own club. A club with I.D, where I play each night and persist with a record. Like when you went to Shoom, records that Danny Rampling had broken in. Now you’ve got to play the commercial favourites. If you play a new record that no one’s played before and there’s no reaction, you put it on shelf, you don’t persist with it. I’m guilty of it myself. I think it’s gone downhill. It’s become a mass entertainment and you have to entertain the masses.

How do you feel about the media coverage of the scene , such as Pete Tong writing for The Sun?

(Throws his head back in gesture, as if to say “Don’t mock me”) Don’t even talk to me about “The Sun” When it’s new and exciting and sells papers, they say it’s threatening. When it’s older and mass popular, they go the other way.

As in your fanzine – “love, go and see if our son’s got a smiley tee-shirt, I swear he’s on drugs”

It’s just drug hysteria, which leads to more trouble. Like shutting the door after the horse has bolted instead of looking at the problems that cause drug abuse. Making criminals out of drug users instead of looking at things rationally they make it worse.

The Face and ID coverage?

I buy them every month. I don’t take them too seriously. I used to like ID I’ve got issue 1 and The Face No1 . They use reports and tell you things now with a tone you haven’t got into yet. Trying to catch you out , on the next big thing. Just don’t take them too seriously. The NME thought this scene was a great working class movement but they found they couldn’t get in. They’d still rather have someone like Suede on the front cover , but there are a lot of dance bands that are not interested in saying something socially or politically. Suede are more likely to say something than someone’s who’s a programmer. Perhaps the NME will stay doing bands because they get longer interviews and say something more shocking.

andrew weathrall zani 4.j

What records have you liked over the last ten months or so?

Papua New Guinea, Manic Street Preachers, Motor Cycle Head, The Rocking Birds. There’s not a lot of rock I like, they sound just like a lot of school bands. A lot of Indie bands I can get on with. I like Mercury Red and a band from America called The Nation of Ulysses. They look like a 50’s street gang. I don’t listen to a lot of dance music at home, just a session on a Friday night.

Did you go and see the Madness gig?

I was away but I quite fancied it. I know Suggs, he’s a lovely fellow. The sight of 35 year olds pulling faces and being nutty boys is a bit sad , or is it ? They wrote good songs, but it’s cabaret. But it goes to show the fact there’s no band writing as good as them. That’s why all the Smiths back catalogue has been re-released. Even though it’s only 5 to 6 years old.

Maybe it’s the fact that WEA have bought the rights to all the Smiths songs. Do you like The Smiths?

Yes I do. I can’t understand the fuss with the Union jack. No need for a five page spread “Shock, horror Morrissey is into Union Jacks”. So am I. But he doas say things like “Reggae is vile” and “Blacks and Whites won’t get on” Well tell that to mixed couples. But where’s he coming from on the English things I am totally into. I hate the creeping American thing. I won’t get nationalist or violent about my country, but I think England’s the best country in the world, that’s why I don’t go abroad much. I’m quite happy having a holiday in England. I like English imagery. I’ve worn a Union Jack tee- shirt. I’m proud to be British, but not proud of what it’s done. I am proud of what England’s produced. It’s hip to walk around with the African colours on, but what is wrong with the Union Jack? Just because knob head Skin Heads have hijacked it. But The Jam reclaimed the Union Jack from the Far Right. I can see where Morrissey is coming from on the English side. But he tries to be a bit sensational.

No further questions M’Lord'

Up Stands Benedict De Vil (The Prosecution)

What do you do on your night off?

Go for meals or the cinema, after gigging solid, the last thing you want to do is go to a club and listen to records. I like to stay in and read. Sega golf is a favourite in my house and checking out restaurants (Laughs) nothing too radical, not that I’d tell you about. I am a member of a Black Magic coven.

Rather prone to sarcasm, aren’t we Mr Weatherall, surely a well educated man such as yourself remembers Oscar Wilde’s quote

Objection your Honour.

Objection sustained

What are your favourite books or films?

My favourite book is the Basket Ball Diaries by Jim Carroll. Set in 1968 Jim Carroll’s acute diaries. He is a 15-year-old heroin addict. Heroin is for arseholes but you read this book and think heroin is quite cool. He’s in a Catholic school in New York. He has to sell his arse to get smack. It’s written so well. My favourite film is Blade Runner.

Why?

Good story, top imagery, good musical score. I like action films. But not knob-end action films. The Tin Drum is another favourite. The only film that’s ever made me cry is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, based on Ken Kesey’s book.

Do you like Ken Kesey; you seem to be prone to rebels?

No I don’t. For the same reasons I don’t like the Shamen. It’s a bit in the face, look at us, we’re rebelling. They think they are becoming subversive. But they are not, they're becoming part of the establishment. There are a lot more people being subversive that you never hear about. Kesey’s Merry Pranksters bought acid out into the open, it’s not necessary. It’s like the Spiral Tribe, an in your face attitude. It creates an atmosphere where the police shut everything down.

As a child did you read a lot?

Yeah, the bog-standards you start wandering around the 6th form with the Kafka novels. I’m reading Jon Savage’s history of punk “England’s Dreaming”. When I go on holiday, I always check out antique book shops. Always reading or stimulating my mind with music. I’m reading books like Albert Camus “The Outsider” it’s all about being young and intense. You read it when you’re 16 and think “Yeah, that’s me” Then you get older and read a book that’s right for you now.

What are your favourite comedies?

I like English comedy, Carry On films, Ealing comedies, Benny Hill , English humour, because English humour is sarcasm, cynicism and irony , which no –one in the world gets not even the Americans.

Do you think American comedy tends to be moralist?

Yeah, that’s probably because when American television started it was owned by big companies who felt that they had to get their morals across as well as advertise their products. English humour is just an offshoot of the English attitude, cynical moaning. It upsets me when Right-on people such as Ben Elton say “I can’t find Benny Hill funny when women are being raped” and he’s got a character called Lord Flash heart who is always sticking his knob out. Adrian Edmondson & Co have just become the establishment and become the people they’ve tried to take the piss out of. I don’t even find The Young ones funny anymore. What is your most personal and professional achievement so far?

I’m really into stuff I did in Memphis with Primal Scream and The Dove LP I’ve just finished. I’ve been lucky in working with the people I respect. I produced a record for Jah Wobble and he likes it. For me that is an achievement.

The fact that I’ve been self indulgent and able to get away with it, getting paid handsomely (laughs an evil laugh) “No, no. Forget that shit. The fact that I’ve been able to sit in a studio, smoke draw, make a racket and get paid for it.

Who would you like to work with?

Ice – T, that’s it. I’ve had offers to work with people but I’ve turned them down because I’ve been too nervous or for the wrong reasons.

Who have you turned down for the wrong reasons?

U2, Wet Wet Wet, Roxy Music all sorts for the right reasons. The record company saw ID and phoned me up. I’d rather work for no money with young bands, something I’m into, rather than for several thousands or for a career move. I want to put people in the studio who’ve never been in the studio before, because it’s my own label. I’ve financed myself. I have to put three records out and put the money into another three records. I won’t make a shit load of money, the records will pay for themselves and my office and that’s about it. I could clean up. Go to a record company tomorrow, get X amount of £’s but I’d have to bow down to commercial pressure. I’d rather be under no pressure except my own and the pressure is to put out good tunes.What about your PR, Ever regretted anything you’ve said or published in Boy’s Own?

Regret anything I've said (Ponders) about every day of the week. (Laughs out loud) Three to four years ago, when I was a bit lairy to say the least, a bit opinionated. I’ve calmed down but I’m still opinionated. I’ve said things to people that I regret. I don’t tend to broadcast them as much as I used to. There’s nothing in print that I regret because I haven’t done that many interviews with a fanzine such as yours. Hopefully you’ll write down what I’ve said , whilst with NME or something they try to twist things. Because it sells papers. You’re off your head and say something you regret. That’s why I’ve cut down, because there’s this side that wants to rant. “Did I really say that?” But when you get to 29-ish you think “should I really be doing this” I love an argument. If the Christians knock on my door, I invite them in.

What about Wiz’s recent video “Weekender” a short but informative film about clubbing?

Brilliant. Wiz did the Bocca Juniors video, a very talented bloke. He just won an award in the States for young video makers.

What ingredients are essential for a perfect world?

It’s obvious what you’ve got to change, but it’s human nature. It’s thousands of years of conditioning. Here we are in 1993 and half the world are killing themselves. Basically humans have got a big streak of greed and hate in them and only certain people can suppress that. Basically human beings are arseholes. You’ve got to create your own world and be subversive. The government must be rubbing their hands every time the Spiral Tribe put on a party, then they think up another law to close them down. The whole meaning of subversive is being under cover. There’s got to be a change with less chest beating and sneaking around the back with a bomb. There again. I’m cosy. If I were in more downtrodden circumstances, I’d be out in the barricades. But I’m getting older and more comfortable.
No further questions M’Lord.

The courtroom retires,

 what’s your verdict?

© Words – Matteo Sedazzari

 
Read 3458 times Last modified on Friday, 08 May 2015 15:46

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