Dave Kusworth and Marky Williams speak
Captivating. That’s the effect that The Jacobites’ early records had on your reporters when we first encountered them in the mid-eighties. The ragged blend of killer melodies, acres of scarves and a near-fetishistic love of the 18th century were irresistible, and Dave Kusworth and Nikki Sudden are one of the great rock duos. So it was a treat to meet up with The Jacobites the first night of their American tour supporting the new Bomp/Chatterbox release god save us poor sinners, deep behind the Orange Curtain. Dave Kusworth and Marky Williams are only too happy to join us in the smokers’ lounge for a sprawling conversation, but Nikki Sudden’s disinterest is palpable. Although he says he’ll be joining us momentarily, he never does. We begin by informing a jet-lagged Dave and Marky that we don’t particularly want to talk about their records. They are somewhat nonplused by the approach, and (having commented on the centerfolds in the Scrams we brought) want to know if they can talk about pornography… but then are too shy to do so. We soldier on, imbibe more libations, and the following transpires. (Kim Cooper & Margaret Griffis)
Scram: Why don’t you introduce yourselves?
Marky: I’m Marky, I’m the drummer in Jacobites, and he’s Dave Kusworth. I suppose he’ll introduce himself.
Dave: [Deathly quiet] Yeah, I’m… uhm… singer.
Marky: Dave’s the singer, guitarist, songwriter.
Scram: Marky, how long have you been with these fellas?
Marky: I’ve been with Dave since ‘88, the first German tour we did.
Dave: That was The Bounty Hunters.
Marky: Yeah, not the Jacobites, actually, that’s Dave’s band. And then I played with Nikki on his solo tour in ‘92, and did another tour with Dave solo in ‘93.
Dave: There’s a lot of tours of Europe, it’s a blur. [at this point, an extremely drunk and gnomish man begins pestering Dave. Dave tries to explain that he’s busy, but it’s some moments before the fellow loses interest and wanders away]
Scram: Have you been to America before?
Marky: No, it’s our first time. I mean, I haven’t been to Japan or Australia either, or India, or Costa Rica. Back in England you get all these American cop shows and the films and the music, so I think it’s great to visit America.
Dave: [disengages himself from his little friend and notices that his drummer is apparently doing the interview by himself] You’re in the spotlight, man!
Marky: I don’t know why I’m doing this interview! I don’t mean to, I’m just talking. I mean, Dave’s the man.
Dave: [to Marky] It’s just strange for you to give an interview.
Scram: [to Dave] Well, you were giving an interview to that fella.
Marky: It’s like doing an interview for the dole! Anybody can do an interview for anything, you know.
Scram: But I guess when you do one for the dole you want to seem like a loser?
Marky: I suppose so, yeah, which we don’t really want to do right now.
Dave: Just for the Jacobites, it’s usually me or Nikki or both of us who say anything, so it’s really exclusive for you, the drummer’s version.
Marky: I’ll just shut up! I’m not really talking about the Jacobites, I’m talking about myself and Dave as a friend, really. It’s funny, cos we came over, and I feel quite bonded to Dave in the last few days. I suppose we’re a bit- we’re not gay or anything [laughter], don’t worry about that, but we just bonded-
Dave: [wry as toast] Perhaps you shouldn’t do this interview.
Scram: This is getting good, actually.
Marky: It’s back to the sex thing. [A Misfits cover band starts blasting away in the next room. Their caterwauling will interrupt us periodically whenever someone goes in or out of the smoking ghetto] It’s really fun, we’ve both been exploring it ourselves. Nikki’s been to America before, but for me and Dave it’s a new experience.
Scram: Well, welcome! Welcome to our little country.
Marky: Is this the land of milk and honey, then, apparently?
Scram: Nah, it’s more like Bud Light… and Miller.
Marky: This is a bit of a difficult thing to comprehend.
Dave: I’ve drunk enough Jack Daniels to experience America.
Scram: Your liver’s American, huh? Dave, what’s the most obnoxious question anyone’s ever asked you?
Dave: “Who am I?” I think when people say something like “why do you play the guitar?”
Scram: To get chicks… duh!
Dave: It’s like someone asking you “why do you move your arms or your legs, why do you have sex?” To me it’s just a natural thing to do..
Scram: Is that something you did as a little kid?
Marky: We like drinking, that’s another thing we like to talk about.
Scram: What are you drinkin’?
Dave: Jack and Coke. It’s like a normal thing- [hysterical laughter breaks out from the wings, we forget why] I can’t fucking do this!
Marky: Let’s get a bottle of bourbon.
Dave: I’m trying to get fucking straight, I’m trying to answer the fucking question. To me it’s just like a normal, natural thing to do, like any other bodily function you have.
Scram: Playing guitar is a bodily function?
Dave: Yeah, it’s just kinda part of me. To play on stage is more normal to me than going to the shops. I go to a big department store, it freaks me out more than being onstage! [laughs]
Scram: How old were you when you started to play?
Dave: About fourteen.
Scram: What was your first band?
Dave: I played by myself for a while, like most kids do. [maniacal laugh]
Scram: Here we go again!
Dave: It’s just my sense of humor. When you’re fourteen at school you see things that you really like, like Top of the Pops or you listen to T.Rex-
Scram: Where’d you grow up?
Dave: In Birmingham. And you see that, and that’s what you wanna do!
Scram: Were you like the other kids?
Dave: That’s what I’m saying, it’s quite a common thing people do in a different way. I can’t see any other great reason. I wasn’t visited by some strange thing- (pauses) perhaps I was. Perhaps everyone who decides to take a different path in their life is, I don’t know.
Marky: I really don’t like people who preach, and go around saying they have all the answers.
Scram: Those are usually people who are very frightened.
Marky: Because I think it’s something that’s bigger than me or anyone else to decide that. I just followed what felt right. I think everyone should. I mean, we’re in a band, it’s entertaining people. I think it’s a cool thing to do. I don’t think all this rock and roll is a bad thing. If you entertain people it makes people happy! Just to hear a record is the greatest thing to me. It makes life better.
Scram: Don’t you feel like a little pied piper, where people are following you? They listen to your music, and you show them the way? Every time you’ve put out a record you’ve made a statement.
Dave: I don’t particularly want to! Anyone who says anything to anyone is making a statement; you don’t have to put out a record to do it!
Scram: But it sounds better! [laughter]
Dave: But you know what I’m talking about. You should do.
Scram: Just needlin’ you. So is it still as easy to get on the dole as it used to be in England?
Marky: Wish you hadn’t brought that up now.
Scram: We don’t wanna get you in trouble, but that’s why you’ve got such great rock and roll, that whole culture of people who don’t have to work.
Dave: Yeah, I think just the fact that if you’re not working that there’s just not that much around. I’ve been quite well off in my life and at other times been completely broke, and it’s just a real up and down life. And it’s the same with relationships – if you’re in a band it’s very difficult. Being with someone and wanting to stay there with them and having to go away. But you pay a price I guess. You choose it, but also you have pitfalls to it. It’s not a very stable existence!
Scram: [kittenishly] Is that why you write all those love songs?
Scram: Those girls you’re missing back home?
Dave: There’s only one.
Marky: Yeah, sometimes people see it as a glamorous thing, but it’s also incredible difficult at times to keep a life together.
Scram: But this is your job.
Marky: And everybody has the same thing if they go out and they work a different kind of job. But I don’t think anything’s better than anything else. I don’t think if you pick one thing, one particular occupation that’s gonna make it more brilliant than any other.
Scram: Well, you’ve picked the one you really want to do.
Dave: That’s the thing, people who are just stuck in something they hate, and that’s horrible. I don’t think anyone should do that.
Marky: In England, you can claim dole-
Dave: It all has its ups and downs, whatever you choose.
Scram: Sometimes you get a raise, and sometimes you get dressed down by your boss. That’s true. You can get on the dole, then?
Marky: What I was gonna say was that you’ve got a bit of security there, you’ve got money. I know in America you can only get money for so long?
Scram: Like a year or so and then they cut you off.
Marky: It’s not an excuse to not work-
Dave: [chortling] Preaching here on behalf of the government!
Marky: I think if you want to bring on a new talent, it’s very hard if you’ve got a nine to five job to hold down, and you’ve still got to rehearse with the band.
Scram: Plus when people are young they’ve got the energy, you’ve got to tap it then.
Marky: Yeah, unless you’ve got rich parents-
Scram: They’re gonna suck anyway!
Scram: Everyone who has rich parents sucks as an artist, that’s a fact!
Dave: Nikki has!
Scram: Does he? Uh oh! [hysterics]
Marky: I didn’t say that!
Scram: Boy, is my face red!
Marky: Otherwise what do you do? Either you work in a factory or you get a nine to five job, like Dave was just saying, I think if music’s in you you tend to just do it anyway.
Dave: It’s sometimes such a thing you have to love it to do it. You got to or else you wouldn’t fucking end up in – the situations you end up at certain times are really bizarre. Marky’s views of America, to digress, are different from mine.
Scram: What are yours?
Dave: I felt it was great when we first arrived here, it’s great.
Scram: Now you’ve just been in Los Angeles so far? What’s your first impression.
Dave: It’s much better than I thought it was.
Marky: Palm trees.
Dave: It’s quieter than my place at home. The first thing, the only thing that’s weird, is we come here tonight to this club, and there are all these restrictions of people saying that you can’t drink here and you can’t smoke there and you gotta go there-
Scram: It’s because they passed this new law about the smoking-
Dave: That was the first taste of bizarre America.
Scram: It’s because waitresses were all getting cancer, that’s what started it.
Dave: They’re either putting on weight or getting cancer.
Marky: Is that a very American thing?
Scram: Cancer? It’s very trendy.
Dave: Everybody’s a hypochondriac!
Marky: You gotta have a shrink to look after your problems.
Scram: That’s a New York thing!
Marky: I shouldn’t talk too loud in case anyone takes offense.
Scram: It’s okay, you’re in Orange County. Nobody understands what you’re talking about.
Marky: Oh, right.
Scram: In New York’s everybody’s neurotic. They’ve got too much money so they all go to the shrink.
Marky: The way I look at it is that you gotta go one day, you die one day. Why not live your life and enjoy yourself as you’re going along? If you wanna have a cigarette or you wanna have a beer-
Dave: That’s what I mean. America’s just a contradiction, the whole country, completely.
Scram: A lot of people don’t believe in having fun.
Marky: Why is that?
Scram: Puritans? That’s the excuse they give in high school history.
Dave: You see so many things about it that are so fucked up, like kids on the street on crack and stuff-
Scram: Well, if you turn on the news it makes it looks like it’s so crazy here, and it’s not! There’s fourteen million people around L.A., so everyday something weird is gonna happen!
Dave: That’s what I mean. Where I come from is crazier than this.
Scram: I’ve been to Birmingham, I know!
Marky: All these restrictions, don’t they build up a need in people to break out?
Dave: No wonder people go fucking crazy. It’s like keeping people in a box, y’know? I don’t agree with this sort of thing.
Marky: You have to come in here to smoke and you have to go in there for a beer.
Dave: It’s like in Spain, Majorca, it’s just really relaxed, and here it’s just all this repression, this place especially. You walk in and you’re a rock and roll band and I can’t have a cigarette at the bar. Somebody was saying there’s some bars in other states where you can’t drink in the bar!
Scram: Yeah, there’s dry counties, like in Georgia. But is it a bar then? It’d be a nightclub.
Marky: England is meant to be very conservative. The queen, the royal family, that-
Scram: England’s pretty wild!
Marky: Yeah, well it is compared to what we’ve discovered today!
Scram: In New York they’re shutting down all the porno shops. All you need is one crazy mayor – that’s what they’ve got – to completely change the culture of a city.
Marky: I feel sorry for the people who live in that area.
Dave: I think repression builds more angst, doesn’t it? People go fucking crazy and want to do more things. My girlfriend’s German, and she says it’s a lot more open-
Scram: In Germany?
Dave: Yeah, and they don’t think of it that much. And everything’s open to people a lot more. People go crazy when it’s banned.
Scram: They want it even if they didn’t know they wanted it, when they realize they can’t have it. But people in America do spend more time at home, though, so maybe we don’t really feel the restrictions. Going out is a bigger thing in England.
Dave: They stay at home masturbating. [laughs]
Scram: So where are you going on this trip?
Marky: San Francisco and Canada, then back down to Illinois, Texas, Las Vegas- it’s Dave’s birthday as well.
Scram: You guys should get married or something.
Dave: I was married once.
Scram: Is that a bad thing?
Dave: [consummately bored] I’ve done it.
Scram: You’re no longer married?
Dave: Nah, divorced. It’s a long time ago. Had children.
Scram: Crazy! That’s illegal here.
Dave: What’s crazy about that?
Scram: Getting married and having kids? Yeah, that’s illegal – unless you have a separate room.
Dave: It’s a bit difficult here! I feel better now, it’s kinda cool just talking and relaxing.
Marky: Yeah, it’s just really strange to have to go to a separate little secluded room to smoke, but that’s okay. You have to respect people’s laws.
Dave: I dunno, we went to Mark’s [bassist] and he shares his place with other people and we had a cigarette in the morning – “ah, you can’t smoke in this room!”
Scram: This is a different state than all the other ones.
Dave: First thing I did was have some champagne in the car, when we got to the airport – “oh, you can’t drink in the car! They’ll pull me over!”
Scram: It’s true, and they’ll seize his car and sell it at auction, and they’ll use the money to pay the police.
Scram: So they have more incentive to search your car and find unmentionables.
Dave: Then you feel bad if you’re doing it, if you’re traveling with a band, you don’t wanna do it yourself cos you don’t wanna get everyone else in the shit.
Scram: The funny thing with all these restrictions is you just kinda get used to them after a while, and you just do the things you wanna do in the right place.
Dave: But that’s control, isn’t it? You’re like mice in a little cage.
Scram: I think part of the American character is that you don’t want to offend anybody.
Dave: I noticed this! Some guy just when I was up onstage brushed against me and said [emphatically] “I’m sorry!”
Scram: Maybe he thought he was gonna get shot.
Marky: That’s pretty cool, there’s nothing wrong with manners.
Dave: You know what it’s like in England, people just go “hrrmpf!’
Marky: I say “sorry” and they say “fuck” – I’m used to that!
Scram: It’s affectionate right? No!
Marky: I don’t like that. I really like Europe.
Dave: Actually, I prefer Germany to England.
Scram: You lived there?
Dave: I stayed there for a while. I feel more relaxed there.
Marky: The Germany people are just so laid back, it’s amazing. The Austrian people as well, they’re just really laid back. We got a lot of propaganda after the second world war, the Nazis, whatever. I grew up with war films, where the Germans were just bad people, y’know.
Scram: Well they did some godawful things, you’ve got to face it.
Marky: Yeah, that was the propaganda in the ‘40s and ‘50s and ‘60s.
Scram: They bombed ya!
Marky: [sounding almost apologetic] Yeah, they did, but-
Dave: We bombed them as well.
Scram: We bombed ‘‘em worse. Dresden! And we didn’t get nailed for our crimes.
Dave: You go on with what you wanna say, but I’ve been going out with a German girl for five years.
Marky: But the German people are so cool, they’re brilliant. What more can you say? What a great country, what a great place to play if you’re a band.
Scram: It’s a different generation. You’ve got to acknowledge what happened, but you can’t blame them.
Dave: But you get one maniac-
Marky: “Don’t talk about the war!”
Dave: – in a bar with a gun, now-
Scram: That’s one bar, not the entire European continent!
Dave: You can’t say that it’s every American!
Scram: We do have the best serial killers, though. You have to admit it.
Dave: With Hitler, the country was in a state of depression, and they wanted to believe in somebody.
Marky: You do have the serial killers, that’s something else.
Dave: I mean, that’s insanity. You can get serial killers, but you can also have a serial killer who wants to take over the world!
Scram: There was this guy named Carl Panzram in the early part of the century who was a serial killer who was ambitious. He wanted to create a war between the U.S. and Britain in order to make a lot of money on war bonds. And his theory was that he’d buy all these bonds beforehand, stock in various military companies, and then he’d go out to a British ship that was anchored in an American harbor and blow it up and that would start a war!
Dave: One of my friends at home wants to put something into the whole computer system to shut down all the businesses and banks.
Scram: A virus? It might happen anyway!
Dave: He knows how to do it.
Marky: Who is that, Amanda Holdme?
Dave: He has to go “I wanna…” [laughter]
Scram: Actually, America’s just like the Simpsons.
Dave: I can understand the Simpsons more now.
Marky: The Simpsons are very English as well, there are parallels.
Dave: We just saw ‘em all sitting at the bar when we walked in here! [laughter] I can see the sarcastic point- an elephant’s wife, I should say an American life. We’re talking about elephants’ wives now! [and we hadn’t even known you were drunk, Dave] There’s that bird again! [Nikki too seems to have returned to the room, but he pays no attention to us]
Marky: Is it his blonde angel?
Scram: Perhaps we’re on a migration route. [chortling]
Marky: What sort of questions will you ask Nikki? [Mark is for some reason very anxious that we speak with Nikki, although it’s clear that the only way for us to get a word out of Mr. Sudden would be if we were to run home and bleach our hair first.]
Scram: Maybe we won’t talk to him.
Marky: He’s a very interesting guy. [cackling from the Scramlettes]
Dave: I dunno how you kept a straight face there, Mark.
Scram: He didn’t! Okay, so what do you wanna do in California before you leave?
Marky: [stubs out his cigarette in the general direction of the ashtray, flaming out on Kim’s wrist as she reaches to check the tape recorder] Oh, sorry, sorry!
Dave: He’s just burning people! It’s illegal in most states to burn people alive. [laughter]
Scram: That’s okay, I’ve never been burned with a cigarette before. I’m proud of it.
Dave: He’s a drummer, that’s his excuse for breaking all the laws, y’see.
Scram: It’s funny, it didn’t hurt.
Marky: Yeah, you didn’t even flinch!
Scram: I was busy; I was working.
Marky: So your mind was on that thing, yeah.
Scram: Mark, where are you from?
Scram: I know. [laughter] It’s a big country.
Marky: I’m from Birmingham.
Scram: Have you known each other forever then?
Marky: I’ve known Dave since ‘86.
Scram: Do you live in London now?
Marky: Birmingham. Dave as well.
Scram: Thought you moved to Germany?
Dave: My girlfriend moved over.
Scram: Who are your favorite bands right now?
Dave: Jacobites. Mott the Hoople.
Scram: Are they back together, touring, putting out records?
Marky: You know the Umajets? Used to be in Jellyfish and Imperial Drag. Dave Falkner’s band.
Dave: I don’t know many new bands.
Marky: I like the Foo Fighters. Promise Ring – they aren’t new, I suppose.
Scram: [noticing that Mark is down to his last weird cigarette] How are you gonna replace these Lambert & Butler’s? I don’t think you can get these here.
Marky: No, we’ll have to buy Marlboro instead, I suppose.
Scram: Is that the second best?
Marky: Dave what do you reckon, second best to Lambert & Butler? Lucky Strike?
Dave: You just like Lambert & Butler, I don’t. You just fucking buy them.
Marky: No, you buy them round your house-
Dave: I just buy cigarettes.
Marky: I swipe ‘em anyway, so…
Dave: He’s discussing cigarettes now. I don’t really think about cigarettes much of the time, I just buy them. I can’t taste the difference, really.
Scram: Do you speak German?
Dave: [ashamed] Nah.
Scram: How long’d you live there?
Dave: I’m a lazy bastard! My girlfriend always tells me off for it, so don’t you be too.
Scram: Doesn’t everyone in Europe speak five languages? At least you know how to ask for the bar and the bathroom everywhere.
Dave: I guess if I was living there that long I would have tried.
Marky: Shall we get more drinks? Do you want to interview Nikki?
Scram: I think our plan has failed on that.
Marky: Shall I get a drink first, then bring him back to the table?
Scram: You wanna see if he wants to do it? It’s cool if he doesn’t; we’re having fun with you.
Dave: If you wanna ask him anything about the actual history of the band, I could tell you anyway.
Scram: We just like asking people how they feel about the world, then we edit it down and it’s interesting. [The boys look skeptical.] Honestly.
Dave: You’ve only learned about two things.
Scram: But we’re having fun.
Marky: As far as I can tell the magazine’s great, cause it’s an off the wall- so basically you wanna talk about teeth or shoes?
Scram: Yeah, we haven’t talked about shoes yet.
Dave: Usually, when I do an interview-
Marky: We haven’t talked about shoes yet, Dave.
Dave: – with anyone, I’ve always said “let’s talk, and get what you get out of it.”
Marky: It’s nice to talk about something different.
Dave: If people wanna fucking know about the band they can fucking listen to the records.
Scram: Hopefully they’ll read this interview and think “Oh, those guys were funny”-
Marky: When I read an interview with a band, it’s great when they go on about something really stupid, it’s more interesting. It must be really hard work for Dave and Nikki to go on and say-
Dave: Cause people do actually-
Marky: Ask the same questions all the time. Didn’t Keith Richards say, “Don’t ask the same question again”?
Scram: It’s automatic, you just tell the same story.
Marky: Yeah, the band did this and this and this. If you ask the same questions, yeah, exactly.
Scram: Here’s a question: in all the years you’ve been playing, what’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened, to you or anyone else?
Dave: Ha ha, I can’t say.
Scram: You don’t have to say the name of the person!
Marky: I know what mine is already, actually. When I went to the toilet here I had to – no, I can’t tell this.
Scram: C’mon! Who’s gonna read it? It’s just Scram!
Marky: He’ll [Nikki] read it, and Dave’ll read it, and they’ll just go “oh, that’s not rock and roll to say that, so I can’t say it!” [giggles]
Scram: They’re gone now, go ahead!
Marky: All right… the men’s toilets, yeah?
Scram: All the good stories start that way.
Marky: I’ll just say one thing: there’s no privacy, full stop, period. That’s it. And that’s embarrassing for me.
Scram: C’mon, your whole life you’ve been going into urinals! Are they different in Europe?
Marky: Oh, no, not urinals, the toilet, yeah? There’s no door, in the men’s toilet here. You sit down and people walk in and-
SCRAM (Margaret): That’s unusual.
SCRAM (Kim): How do you know? How many men’s bathrooms have you been in?
SCRAM (Margaret): [smugly] I’ve been in quite a few.
Marky: That’s one of the most embarrassing things.
Scram: I’m so sorry you had that experience.
Marky: It’s okay, it’s the States, innit?
Scram: They’re “wide open” here.
Dave: It’s not embarrassing, it’s just the most kind of fucked up thing I’ve done on tour. It was in Majorca, in Spain, and I got lost, and ended up sleeping in the street.
Marky: Just to recap, Dave, it’s hard to remember anyway, cause he got lost-
Dave: You can tell ‘em the whole story.
Marky: Dave was tired, he was very tired, you remember? So we were playing a little acoustic show in a bar, and Dave said “I’ll have a 45 minute sleep in the car.”
Dave: It was in this place with cobbled streets-
Marky: Streets are very similar-
Dave: I didn’t know the area-
Scram: Like a maze.
Marky: So Dave wandered out to find us when he woke up-
Dave: Plus it’s a total wino junkie hangout-
Scram: And you just kept getting farther and farther away.
Dave: I got out of the car ‘cause it was fucking blazing in there, and I woke up and I was fucking wandering around. I couldn’t find the place, and I collapsed on the fucking street.
Scram: In the middle of the day?
Dave: No, it was night. I must have been walking around for about three hours!
Marky: And Dave had no money-
Dave: I didn’t have anyone’s address.
Marky: No money, no phone numbers, no address.
Scram: [titters] Did you go to the embassy?
Marky: Yeah, in the end that’s what we had to do. He found some English holiday-makers – it was those girls, remember?
Scram: “Hello, I’m a rock star and I’m lost.”
Dave: I didn’t feel like one, then.
Scram: That’s pretty rock and roll, though.
Marky: It is, actually, it’s a good rock and roll story. I’m glad he did it.
Dave: I was woken up by a Spanish woman-
Marky: Thought he was a wino.
Dave: – screaming at me on the fucking streets! [laughter] In Spanish! I was on her front steps or something. I don’t know why I decided to go to these girls. They looked really nice, like guardian angels, I guess.
Scram: Did they buy you a drink?
Dave: No. They gave me money, they got me to a phone box. It was only ‘cause one looked a bit like my girlfriend. Again, the romantic. It took me fucking hours to get back, but I managed to fucking do it.
Scram: You hadn’t played the show yet?
Dave: And we didn’t do it! This was the next day! [laughter] It was from the night before to the next day I woke up in the street. And I got back around the middle of the day.
Marky: The funny thing was, the day before, I didn’t know where we were either. I feel a bit with Dave there. I didn’t know where we were staying and I went swimming and I’d had a lot of wine to drink. And the tide took me down-
Dave: Drifted off of Majorca.
Marky: So I came out from the water and I wondered where I was.
Scram: And your clothes were on the beach somewhere?
Dave: In his boxer shorts! [laughter]
Marky: And it was so hot, I had no footwear, and the pavement burned my feet! I walked to this road, and thought “it’s not it,” so I found these imitation palm trees to sleep under the shade, and just lay down. And then Griff and Glenn found me, and that was it. I just fell asleep. “Oh, we’ve been looking for you everywhere!” I just drifted down the beach.
Scram: How far were you? A mile?
Marky: No. The tide just took me about 300 yards down the beach, but those Spanish streets look exactly the same. It’s almost the same thing Dave had, really, when he got out of the car-
Dave: At least I got lost at night!
Scram: Okay, your story’s better, but you weren’t wearing your boxer shorts!
Marky: Yeah, and I was burning my feet on the pavement!
Dave: There were some strange experiences on tour when I was in Finland, years ago. I ended up with this girl. She couldn’t speak any English-
Scram: And how’s your Finnish?
Dave: [chuckles] I can’t speak any. I woke up in the morning and this guy was sitting in the room and had my coat and my passport and all my stuff out on the table, and he was looking at it! Fucking hell, I don’t know these people, I don’t know anything. I was thinking “this is it, shit.” Eventually they led me out of the house, four guys and this girl, they led me up this wasteland, and I’m just walking along thinking “aaah, perhaps, y’know, it’s not too safe.” And then suddenly we turn the corner, and they go “Hotel!” and it was cool.
Scram: Sounds like most peoples’ stories about going into the deep south. You just can’t understand them so you think they’re sinister.
Dave: Yeah, but when someone has your stuff out and is looking through it and over at you?
Scram: C’mon, everybody likes to look at passports!
Dave: Probably, I think he was having a good chuckle. There was another weird girl on that tour, which was really bad, I mean it was a really bad thing to happen. This one girl was crazy, mad.
Scram: What’d she do?
Dave: She was kinda a fucking – I thought she was okay, y’know? It was in Helsinki. We went back there, didn’t really know her either and it was fine, just had a drink. She got up in the morning and there was no one else around and she said “Go to the supermarket, have a beer, go to the beach.” I didn’t realize the beach was fucking there, in Helsinki. So I went back to the flat and I had put my hand through a fucking mirror, before. And she’s talking to me about taking smack, and her problems, bits of broken English. She’s on about “what’d you do to your hand?” ‘cause I had a bandage on. And suddenly she went in the bathroom and I heard this fucking SMASH! She smashed the fucking whole mirror in the bathroom and said “now my hand’s like yours!”
Dave: And I thought “uh oh.”
Scram: She liked you! Then what happened?
Dave: Then she decided to have sex! [nervous laughter] Then she started talking about her boyfriend who got very jealous. And I was thinking “huh?” She goes “He doesn’t like me going with other guys who play in bands all the time, ‘cause I go out, I dunno what’s wrong with him.” I said “I can completely understand why he doesn’t particularly like that, cause I wouldn’t like it myself.” She’s just going “He’s a bastard! He won’t let me sleep with whoever I want to!” I was thinking, “Well, y’know, you didn’t tell me any of this!”
Scram: She was telling you now!
Dave: And then she says “we better go now.” And we walk out the fucking front door and this guy turns up with three guys, and we’re going towards this bus stop, and these fucking guys just come up and grab this girl and threw her in the back of the fucking car and slammed the door and drove off! And I’m just standing there by the bus stop thinking “What the fuck are they doing?”
Scram: Good thing they didn’t grab you and take you wherever.
Dave: If they’d come in the flat a few minutes earlier, these three fucking guys, I’d have been fucking dead. I feel really sorry for her, though, but I dunno what was in her head anyway.
Scram: She was asking for trouble
Dave: She turns up back to this place afterwards, where we’re staying, with a black eye.
Scram: That was fast! How long’s it take to get a black eye? Mark, don’t you have any of these stories about crazy women?
Marky: [shy laughter] Uh, not really, no. Well, situations where you just-
Dave: I shoulda just got away from her. Really, sometimes…
Marky: Sorry about that, actually.
Scram: Sorry that you don’t attract crazy girls?
Dave: Well, we do on tour. That’s why we’re talking to you! [laughter]
[the Scramlettes begin bickering over whether we are in fact nice girls, or homewrecking troublemakers]
Dave: There are various degrees of insanity.
Scram: I’d imagine with the aura that you project that you attract oddballs.
Marky: We’ve met some oddballs here.
Dave: In England I only have to walk down the street. I know if I sit down, have a cigarette and a beer, somebody’s gonna come up and fucking start talking to me. [exasperated] It’s like a radar they have.
Scram: They know who you are, or is it just the way you look?
Dave: They think, obviously, “Yeah, you’re insane as well! I’ll talk to you!”
Marky: There’s a lot of notorious drunks around where we live.
Dave: Sometimes it’s great, but sometimes you just want fucking peace. Sometimes when I want to sit there on my own is when I don’t want to fucking talk to people! And that’s when they hone in their radar!
Scram: I must say, when I’m feeling at my lowest, those are the days I get the most catcalls.
Marky: There’s that one guy, Dave, what’s his name? They guy with the longish hair?
Dave: There’s a lot of people like that, Mark.
Marky: Nah, there’s that one Collis knows, “Hey, yer a rock’n‘roller, maaaaaan!”
Dave: Oh! He came and saw us in Berlin, y’know!
Marky: I know! What’s his name?
Dave: That was bizarre.
Scram: Your local drunk shows up in Germany?
Dave: Charlie! Charlie’s been playing around for ages. He tells you the same story about this stuff in the 60s.
Marky: Either the Faces or the Rolling Stones.
Scram: Was he a musician too, or just a drunk?
Marky: He’s a musician and a drunk.
Dave: He’s all right with it. It’s cool, but sometimes you just don’t need it, in your face. He meets me at strange times, like I’ve been to the dentist [laughter], and I go to the library and I’m just sitting there on the steps, and he suddenly turns up asking me stuff about everything I’m doing and I say I’m going to Europe and playing, doing some gigs. And then I think it was Dresden, I got out the fucking car to do this gig and he’s like “Hey, maaaaaan!” It’s fucking Charlie!
SCRAM (Margaret): Do you think he’s following you in particular?
SCRAM (Kim): You know how it is, if you’re in a foreign country and you see someone you know playing, you always go.
Marky: But him, the way he talks to you, if you met him you’d think he’d never be able to find anywhere. But he actually knew, it registered that we were gonna be there!
Dave: Worst thing is I woke up in the fucking morning — it was Charlie at the fucking door again, waking me up!
Scram: What was the first concert you ever went to?
Marky: Slaughter and the Dogs.
Scram: Like ‘77?
Marky: Nah, ‘79. They reformed.
Scram: What was the first really good show you ever saw?
Marky: Prince, probably, at Wembley. I got really good seats. The Lovesexy tour, ‘88. He was great then.
Scram: Dave, the first really good show you ever went to?
Dave: Bowie with the Spiders, when I was 12. Mick Ronson’s my hero as a guitarist.
Scram: Did your parents take you? Who’d you go with?
Scram: All by yourself?
Dave: I went with friends from school.
SCRAM (Kim): My mom took me to see Queen!
SCRAM (Kim): Oh, we saw Iggy together. She was really hip for a while.
Dave: I remember I got some of my mum’s jewelry out of her drawer. [laughter]
Scram: Did you wear feathers too? Make-up?
Dave: No, I just remember getting jewelry. I only went that far.
Scram: He was only 12. All 12 year old boys should wear jewelry.
Dave: I only started wearing make-up when I was older.
Scram: When he needed it.
Dave: Yeah, sure. [suddenly incensed] Yeah, why shouldn’t boys wear make-up anyway? Girls get the chance!
Scram: Boys are a little heavy-handed with it. They should have to go to school and learn how.
Marky: That was like the New Romantic thing in England
Dave: I don’t understand the whole thing, that thing with guys with long hair and make-up — “He must be gay.” It’s the guys with short hair and mustaches!
Scram: Of course. The guys with the make-up are attracting all the women.
Dave: Usually, I’ve found a lot of that.
Scram: Girls like a well made-up fella?
Dave: Generally. Everyone has their own individual taste, but most girls I’ve been out with…
Scram: I think girls like a guy who seems like he’s easy-going and free-spirited, and that’s what make-up says.
Marky: I was saying to Mark [bassist] today, that Alice Cooper, in his book “Me, Alice” says they were having to explain that they weren’t gay all the time.
Scram: But he was so ugly. There was no way he was trying to attract men with that look! Or women or anybody; it was just grotesque.
Marky: Marc Bolan wore make-up, for chrissake, Bowie wore make-up. They were a bit androgynous—
Scram: The English thing was more theatrical. You’ve got to remember that the Cooper Band were in Detroit, which is the toughest, more severely masculine city in America. And they were just freaks.
Marky: Iggy was wearing make-up, with the Stooges.
Dave: The thing is, I’ve never had a feeling for anything that wasn’t female. And human as well. [laughter]
Marky: Me too.
Dave: But I can kiss my friends. Girls do it, and everyone thinks that’s okay.
Scram: We never kiss each other, and we’re like best friends.
Dave: But if you do that people look at you and go “oh!” But to me that’s just affection, friends. It’s nothing sexual.
Scram: Well, that’s not the myth of the English. We’ll ask you about the English vice.
Marky: The English vice?
Scram: Supposedly the English are very into beatings.
Marky: [flabbergasted] Beatings? Sadomasochism?
Scram: Maybe it’s the upper class public school thing.
Marky: Ask Dave about that, about the beating thing.
Dave: No. I’m more of a sadist than a masochist.
Scram: Oooh, really? You wanna tell us more?
Dave: Not particularly. I like to keep some things kind of private. Like when I go for a crap I like to keep that private.
Scram: Not here you can’t!
Dave: No, I like to be masterful.
SCRAM (Kim): A typical guitar player kinda thing.
Dave: You should know, you tell me. You tell us a story.
SCRAM (Kim): I don’t have any stories; I’m a journalist. [laughter]
Dave: So you’ve done nothing in your entire life.
SCRAM (Kim): I’m completely innocent.
Marky: Back to sex again, aren’t we? Sex and shoes and now we’re back to sex again.
[Maggot asks for the bathroom and is teased for not calling it the toilet]
Marky: I see Nikki’s surrounded by a few friends at the moment. Do you want him to just come over for a second?
Scram: We’re happy talking to you.
Dave: Just leave it, leave it leave it leave it! Do you want to fucking interview him? You ask the same question all the time.
Scram: Okay, why don’t you pretend to be Nikki and I’ll interview you?
Dave: Yeah, you pretend to be Nikki!
Marky: I couldn’t do that, Dave. I couldn’t do that.
Dave: Just try. [giggles.] Here’s a little game for you, Mark. If you was Nikki, what would you say to these questions, and your impression of how you think he’d respond to them.
Marky: Why’d you think I’ve got more of an idea about how he’d answer the questions than you have? Why don’t you answer the questions?
Dave: It’s how you think he’d respond to them as you know him, personally.
Marky: Me personally? What’s the questions?
Scram: What questions would you like to ask Nikki?
Dave: A very surrealist idea. Well, Salvador Dali is one of my favorite artists, and he said the best form of conversation was complete confusion.
Scram: That’s drunkenness.
Marky: Is that a question or is it a statement?
Dave: Oh, I wish I had a pair of Elvis’ socks.
Marky: Oh, it’s a statement then, sorry.
Dave: Okay, if you was Mr. Adrian Godfrey— this is a surreal— [Maggot returns] you can do this, Margaret, he’s—
Marky: I’ll be Nikki, right, and then Dave’s—
Dave: No, he’s gotta, Margaret can do it. Mark could accurately—
Marky: It’s a bit complicated, but I know what Dave means.
Scram: What question would Nikki want to answer, first off?
Marky: You can ask any question.
Scram: [laughing] What’s the most embarrassing experience you’ve ever had on tour?
Marky: Shit, uh— I can’t say these things! I can’t, honestly. The thing in Belotha [or someplace that sounds like that], if I had to.
Dave: When he shit himself, when he OD’d. He was dressed up in a nappy in a hospital.
Marky: Yeah, nappy.
Dave: [chortling] I hope he don’t even read this!
Marky: What’s the next question?
Dave: This is my thing that drugs aren’t exactly always cool, because you can end up in things— but usually when you’re the person in that situation, you don’t remember anything. It’s all the other people around you who have to suffer.
Dave: And that’s my revenge on him, that I told you that.
Marky: Dave, let’s break it down even more: I’ll ask myself the questions, and I’m Nikki. [hysterics] [lightning fast] “What is your favorite album?” “Exile on Main Street.” “What sort of clothes do you like?” “I like sorta stripy trousers, sorta nice jackets.” “What sorta girls do you like?” “Blonde girls.” “What guitars do you like?” “Mainly Gibson juniors, anything that Johnny Thunders would play, I’ll play that.” “What do you think about Dave?” “Ah, Dave’s really good, like. He likes to drink and stuff and we hang out and we write great songs together.”
Dave: Who’s your favorite drummer?
Marky: “Probably Keith Moon or Charlie Watts.”
Dave: John Bonham!
Marky: “John Bonham, actually John Bonham probably is a very good answer, yes.”
Scram: See, we don’t need to talk to Nikki; you got the whole thing down.
Marky: I asked myself the questions then answered them for you.
Scram: You’ve heard him answer these questions a million times?
Marky: Not really, I just know Nikki.
Dave: How good are you in bed, Nikki?
Marky: “How good am I in bed? I bet I can perform okay.”
Scram: I’m sorry, what was that question?! [laughter] Back to sex again. It doesn’t take long; it seems to be about a 15 minute cycle.
Marky: I’m going to go to the toilet, okay?
Scram: If you go to the girls’ room they have doors.
Dave: They’ll probably shoot him if he goes in.
Scram: We’ll escort ya!
Marky: This is Orange County! I don’t wanna get shot tonight, I’ve got a gig.
Scram: We’ll guard the door, make sure nobody comes in.
Marky: That’s okay. I need to use the urinal, not the toilet.
Scram: Oh, fine then.
Marky: Do you wanna bring Nikki over then?
Dave: Stop it now. You press repeat and play.
Scram: We don’t know how to do an interview anyway!
Marky: Ask Dave to call Nikki over.
Dave: They’ve got about seven hours worth of this stuff, it seems like anyway.
Scram: What are you going to do tomorrow, before you play?
Marky: Sleep, rest. Maybe eat a little bit. Have a beer?
Scram: Go to Disneyland?
Marky: I don’t think we’ll get time, to be honest. The worst thing about touring is you go to so many great cities, and you never really end up getting the best out of them. This is a late-night gig, really, twelve o’clock. Maybe not for you guys, but usually we play around ten o’clock at night.
Scram: You’re still on an English schedule, so it’s the middle of the night for you.
Marky: Yeah. But on tour generally, you go to so many great cities, and you just don’t get a chance to see them. Like Prague, for instance. It’s the most amazing city, the architecture’s amazing. Berlin’s pretty good as well. But with this American tour [the Misfits cover band has apparently been replaced by a Flamin’ Groovies act; “Slow Death” is heard through the door]– I wanna see a lot of places already, Las Vegas and stuff. That’s gonna be great to see. But I really wanted to get some photographs, of the Hollywood sign, y’know? [Saturday afternoon we made Marky’s dream come true and took him and Dave up to the Bronson Canyon caves to see the sign] We had a story in England that the bottom of the letters are really graffiti’s up and vandalized!
Scram: No, not anymore, maybe in the ‘70s. Sometimes they change the letters, they’‘’ drape another letter so instead of “Hollywood” it would say “Hollyweird” — or “Hollyweed!” But they’re pretty well fenced-off now.
Scram: We’re not really interviewing anymore. Do you have any final words for our readers, or any advice?
Marky: Advice? I don’t think I’m a good person to give advice, nevertheless—
Scram: He’s going to give some advice.
Marky: Be true to your friends and just enjoy life and take things for what they are.
Scram: Sounds like you believe in being true to yourself as well.
Marky: Be true to yourself, yeah. And just be, uhmm…
Marky: No, not so much just cool. There’s a lot of things you have to do. [laughter] The one thing I would say as well, if you can say [chuckles] — I’m going to seem a bit corny, actually, but what I’d like to say is I just miss my girlfriend, back at home, Yvonne.
Marky: That’d be great if you could print that, and just say I miss her a little — well, I miss her a lot, and I’ll speak to her soon.
Scram: [laughing] You’ll be back home before we go to press! Dave, We’re wrapping this up, so, you have any advice for our readers?
Dave: Advice for your readers? No. [slurring, somewhat] You’re such wonderful people, the people who read this magazine. Perhaps you have some more sense than most people, and don’t need any advice. [laughter]
Scram: I dunno about that!
Dave: Or perhaps they do. Don’t follow leaders, and watch your parking meters.
Scram: Thank you Dave, and thank you Jacobites.
Wanna read more? Pick up Scram #9.