Slapper 1993

I'm at the Underworld to interview Pig. I've never seen a clear picture of the top Pig before, so I've decided to just venture into the soundcheck and see who's giving the orders. I advance.

"Oh, fucking GREAT, now THAT'S fucked, we might as well all fucking go home NOW! FUCK!"

I retreat. The naughty equipment's playing up again. hehe. Pig and I collide as he stomps out the door in rage. "I'm Slapper," I beam pleasantly. He squints down at me suspiciously, then he pumps my hand furiously and whirls off muttering something about 8 tracks.

About 3 hours later, we've calmed down enough to manage an interview - sort of. First of all we pound our fists against the bar a bit and rant on about how England's so completely fucking CRAP and how the venues are so bloody RUDE and how the soundmen are thick as SHIT and how fucking UPSETTING it all is; and then we tear at our hair a bit and roll our eyes before tramping off to find a suitably inoffensive cafe somewhere.



I've found out how much you dislike the music business in general, what about the music press?

(Big sigh) "I don't KNOW, I don't really READ the music press. If its as STUPID as most of the fucking record companies, managers, producers, agents and other cock suckers, then it's obviously not worth...(mutter mutter)."

Stop muttering. What about the stuff that's been written about you?

"Dunno. I have a press file, but it's only got the good stuff in it! (Hysterical laughter)." (All through the interview Pig fidgets and sighs and pulls his hair and contorts his face into stunningly melodramatic and entertaining expressions of woe, disbelief, fury and despair. And lust. Natch.)

Do you dislike being interviewed?

"Yeah, I do actually."

Well I dislike interviewing!

"It doesn't seem like you're relishing the feeling very much. Why do you do it then?"

To make up for and disguise the fact that this magazine is a big pile of self indulgent poo.

"You could do the whole thing as a kind of critique. Look, why don't we just turn this off and you can make up the whole thing, because you could probably come up with a lot more palatable things to say than I could possibly"

SIT DOWN AND BEHAVE YOURSELF! I like the way you're ranting on. It makes good copy.

"It's - it's TEDIOUS and UPSETTING and (thumps table) DEPRESSING to listen to my moaning. Maybe that's why people don't buy my fucking records. I know it's fucking annoying when people go on about the old days, but in this case it's TRUE. When I lived in Berlin, people were just more INTERESTED in music that pushed back the PARAMETERS, that was at least TRYING something different, whereas over here if you don't fit under a certain label then they're NOT FUCKING INTERESTED. I've recorded an album for this label in Japan, and I have actually GIVEN A FEW CASSETTES TO PEOPLE, (thumps table), and the kind of response I get from even the SO-CALLED LEFT-FIELD LABELS is that if it doesn't sound like NIN or Ministry then they're just NOT FUCKING INTERESTED, it's..UUUUGH! (Hauls out promo tape, drops it clattering on the floor, picks it up, throws it at me). You know, some people say, "Oh, we really NEED people like you, it's GREAT, because you make music that's INTERESTING, but I've got to pay my rent and I can't afford to do it!" "I've actually had people SAY that to me - "I can't afford to take on somebody like you" FUCK THEM."

So perhaps it's time to move again then, some other countries are a lot more receptive.

"I've got this little place down in France, which is RIGHT down in the POOREST part of France, quite near to Narbonne and Perpignan. We bought this little hovel round there - LITERALLY. This is not romantic Year In Provence shit, this is HARDCORE FUCKING POVERTY. They didn't even have a SEWAGE in the village until a year and a half ago. There was ONE kasi in the village square, it's AWFUL. But I think that's where I'm going to go."

Because it's the best thing for your music? That's very commendable.

"Ah. fuck the music! FUCK, this coffee's strong! BLEAAGGH! But seriously, I do like the fact that I have a kind of manager and a label in Japan and they're both really interested and like what I do. And I like being there, the whole thing's BETTER - the gigs there are better, the people there are better, the attitude there is better...."

I've often heard the Japanese will go mad for any western band.

"(Thwarted) Do they?....No, I don't think that's true. I know LOADS of people that can't get released there, LOADS of fucking people." (Makes an expansive sweep of his hand and sends the tape recorder flying across the table.)

What's with this Concrete Productions place? I couldn't get through to them.

"They've sort of gone.....away."

So who's Hyperium?

"They're a German label who've just re-released the "Shit For Brains" thing that I did with Jim Thirwell. It's kind of like a Jim Thirwell remix, but the fucking previous label LOST the master tapes and the Mike Mattews artwork. He did the cover to the 12" which was a Wax Trax! release and it was also released by a German label. Hyperium wanted to re-release it, so they mastered the fucking CD off VINYL, and it sounds like SHIT. I put it on and listened to half of it and couldn't STAND it, it's so thin it's AWFUL. That was the "Shit For Brains" and "Pioria", which was written by Jim and me and some other shit, I can't remember......anyway this is boring - what do YOU want to talk about?"

You like classical music don't you?

"Yeah, it's probably more interesting that the hit parade. I like all SORTS of stuff, I like EVERYTHING you know, I spend so much time just goofing off in front of crap TV, and listening to Melody Radio - ANYthing. Fucking Radio 2 - ANY old stuff!"

You have a backing band tonight, but when you're recording do you play all the instruments yourself?

"Yeah, I do it all myself, but I got in a Flugel horn player and a guitarist for one or two bits. These guys have never met until two weeks ago, I just rounded them up!"

Are you classically trained in anything?

"Oh no, no, no, no, no, I can't play anything."

That's a bit unfortunate. Didn't your parents make you take lessons in anything?

"No. My Dad played piano, and I can remember trying to get him to show me, but I couldn't get my head around it. I walked off in a tantrum. Predictably."

Have you done many live dates over here?

"I've done a few, but they were pretty stupid. I got involved in a bunch of musicbiz idiots who didn't exactly help with the standing of Pig."

So you don't enjoy playing live?

"No, I DO enjoy playing live, but not tonight when NOTHING'S FUCKING WORKING and half the channels aren't THERE - half the music isn't THERE. (Lower lip wobbles)"

(Sceptically) Are you going to make an effort? "I don't KNOW! Make an EFFORT?! It's one of those things you can't quantify - EFFORT. Ohhh, I don't know. I'm depressed." (Picks up glass. Puts it down. Swivels my cigarette case. Collapses dramatically on table. Circle then sticks finger in cider bottle neck (Phallic pre-occupation?). Picks up glass slams it down.)

Would you like some of my Cider Piglet?

(Rears back with a start and frowns) "Eh?"

It's just that I'm trying to drink out of that glass you keep throwing across the table and I thought you might want something to do with your hands so that we can conduct this interview like sensible adults, not spoilt, sulky little children. Are you trying to keep yourself anonymous behind the persona of "Pig" or not?

"Ohhhh. That's like that question "What are you like?" you know? I don't KNOW what I'm like, I don't KNOW what this is, it's just this THING, it's not a fucking MEISTERPLAN. It's just me burning off EXCESS ENERGY (thump). It's not a concept (prod), it's just me and my MACHINES."

When you're working with a backing band, do you say to them "Play This."?


They don't have any input?

"Not with this particular set because I'd already written it all. They just have to learn the parts. I used to have this real problem collaborating with people; all the people I've worked with I ended up having a MAJOR fucking RAUCUS with!"

Did you swear at them a lot?

"Yeah, from band members to soundmen to people producing - (sends the tape recorder on a journey again) - I mean like the guy who fft fft I mean I worked with him for years skrrk skrrk and we didn't speak to each other for TWO YEARS shplik shplik shplik and now we're back together again. What am I TALKING about? I'm sorry. I didn't sleep last night. It's all fucking up, it's TOO MUCH, I'm all DEPRESSED! (Sobs, lurches forward into vase, and continues with yellow Hyacinth in one ear)


You worked with Blixa Bargeld (Einsterzende Neubauten), didn't you?

"Well basically I was employed by his band to go and mix them, which at that point was really good. But you mean where he played on this record I did?"

I was talking about "Haus Der Luger".

"Oh, I just recorded him and helped him do his vocal a bit and shit like that. And also on some of the other Neubauten records. It was just sometimes when they were having problems and they couldn't get a producer in at that time I'd go and help them out." (Muffled bits about other bands he's helped and jumping out of clouds.)

I heard you used to be in Psychic TV.

"No, I used to do tape loops for them in the studio and recorded a few of their singles and went on tour with them for a bit."

How did you come to meet Jim Thirwell?

"Well I was with Neubauten in New York and he was lurking around backstage and we were having a chat about this and that and the other and there was a fight going on and we were both lurking around in the corner trying to avoid it and we just kept in contact and I've got a lot of respect for him." (Applies a flamboyant sweep to the tape recorder)

SKREEEEEE fft. You're in another band called Hit Parade. That sounds very poppish.

"It is TOTAL pop music. It's a friend of mine - he works for a PR firm and he's really busy - but he's had this long line of pop songs about gurls and bust- ups and stuff like that. He writes these songs and he has a record deal but he doesn't have time to do them and I need to earn money, so he comes in and sings the songs to me and I go off...I mean it's so HORRIBLE. And I kind of produce it and get in session musicians and mix it and send tapes to the record companies. They've released lots of things, like 3 CD's. I just produce them. I just come in and say "shall we go home now?" It's just STUFF, you know. (mutter mutter)"

Are you ever tempted to make a formulated number one pop song yourself?

"(Splutter) A number one POP song? I'd be shit at it! YOU'D be better than me at that! I HATE that kind of music (fucking shit crap fucking bollocks balls etc.)."

Yeah, but it would be very interesting and an easy way to get some cash.

"But it's actually a very DIFFICULT thing to do. There are some guys that did that and decided they wanted to make money out of it."

The KLF.

"Yeah, exactly, and they worked really hard at it for a fucking long time."

What would you say to a groupie who propositioned you?

"That is something...I don't know, I really don't know."

There are supposed to be loads of Japanese groupies. They follow you from city to city and book themselves into the same hotels.

"No that's not true. Not in my experience anyway! I haven't been propositioned, EVER! Why - do you proposition musicians and stuff? I mean, I think it's a MYTH, this thing."

No, I just think it's not so common over here.

"Do you think so?"

Didn't you come across any groupies when you were with Jim?

"No, there wasn't one groupie during the whole tour! Actually there was a couple at this hotel which was a kind of a rock'n'roll hotel, and they knew the guy at the desk by NAME! And they said "Who's in?" or something like that - you know, "Which bands?"! I couldn't believe it! But no, I don't think there's really a groupie scene...well obviously you're the exception to the rule!"

Do you have any bizarre rituals you carry out before writing or recording or brushing your teeth?

"This new album's called "The Swining". The swining is the noise you get when you take a little piglet about that big. You take a microwave, you put the piglet in the microwave....and it has to be a microwave with a revolving dish - you know those ones? And then you cook it from the inside out - basically you put it on defrost. And the sound of it's little trotters (scrabbles on tape recorder) as it's trying to stand up is called the swining. And then it explodes. That is the swining ritual that occurs at the beginning of every serious project."

Have you got anything else to say? Quick Quick Quick?

"Never go to Fife, Alabama."