New York Times (2.26.06)
Wake Up, Little Siouxsie
By Tim Blanks
What an ideal moment to reflect on the place of Siouxsie Sioux, the singer, style icon and all-around scourge, in the cultural firmament. "The Scream," her debut record with the Banshees, is getting a dust-off, while the American DVD of "Dreamshow," her 2004 concert at Royal Festival Hall in London, hits stores soon.
For punk's most glamorous pinup, the releases are like bookends to a 30-year career in which "defiance" has been the defining word. When Susan Dallion from Chislehurst, England, climbed onstage and howled her way through a 20-minute medley of "The Lord's Prayer" and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" she became Siouxsie, public enemy No. 1. The daughter of an alcoholic dad who died when she was 14, she survived a near-fatal illness, only to hatch an exit strategy while lying in the hospital watching David Bowie on "Top of the Pops."
Her look was all 1950's fetish: big dresses with petticoats, drainpipes with stilettos. (Today, at age 48, in her Hedi Slimane suit, she is deja vu all over again.) "I always loved fishnets," she recalls. Back then, she'd wear Vivienne West-wood's tasseled ones with her Louise Brooks do. One day she went for a free cut and color at Vidal Sassoon. "The ends went orangy, and I hated it, so I chopped it all off till I had this very cropped blonde hair," she says. Dark lips, black eyes, black shirt -- very androgynous: it was the look that launched punk and, later, to her mortification, goth.
Since the early 90's, she has lived in France because life for her in London had grown intolerable: "I was aware of other people always being aware of me." But distance is an aphrodisiac. "Gorgeous" is what she thought of John Galli-ano's 1997 Siouxsie Sphinx show. "I'm vain enough to like a bit of flattery, though I generally don't know what to do with it."
Contributed by Jerry Burch.