Evening Times (Glasgow) (6.28.02)

Queen of wails is back; new album and a Banshee Tour give Siouxsie plenty to SCREAM about

Jonathan Rennie

A lifetime of peroxide and ammonia appears to have left Siouxsie Sioux unscathed.

Her follicles might be frazzled and flecked with the occasional dashes of grey, but the opinions and the personality are anything but dull.

"I certainly despise the industry even more now than I did then," says the 45 year old.

"I think it's regressed and it's closed down even more and it's almost quite scary how wrapped up and money oriented it is.

"Nothing is nurtured and it's all about veneer, all about the stylist and hiring this and hiring that to make it happen."

As an opening gambit, it's up there with some of the greatest punk rants. After three decades in the industry, and through two bands, The Banshees and later The Creatures, Siouxsie Sioux, figurehead to a million Goths, is still disillusioned by the scene she inhabits. And 25 years after the first "revolution" she's hopeful about the prospect of another.

"I'm optimistic that when things get really crap there's bound to be a backlash," she says.

"Then again, I turned on the telly last week and saw three bands I actually liked!"

So, here's where the irony lies. Seven years after The Banshees split the band have reformed for a tour. "It's my seven-year itch," she laughs.

But it just so happens that the tour coincides with the launch of a biography about the band and the release of a greatest hits album.

It reeks of the cynicism of the music industry that she claims to hate. According to the former Miss Susan Dallion, it wasn't planned this way.

It was a call from a friend of Siouxsie's band mate Steve Severin in LA that started it all.

"We were without a recording contract, with our back catalogue sorely neglected but with us knowing that the influence of the Banshees was everywhere.

"So it was a kind of throwing down the gauntlet amid this time of payola press, payola radio, payola TV. And going out there and just doing those songs."

The record labels met their challenge head on, hence the book, album and the tour. The band also met their own internal challenges. The dissolution of the Banshees in 1996 was far from pleasant, with politics and punch ups marring what should have been a glorious end.

"Of the burnt bridges a few have been repaired, but not all of them," she admits.

"There's still a few burning embers but a lot has been mended, but again time will tell.

"The initial seven-year itch has been very exciting and very inspiring and we've just got to make sure that we accentuate the positive and don't mess with Mr In-between."

So, with the tour pulling in at the Barrowland a week today, there's sure to be a few faces in the crowd who won't have seen the band before.

There might even be a few wannabe punks attending their first ever concert. The thought clearly appeals to a woman who was at the heart of it all.

"I think it would be pretty apt" she smiles. "Start with the best!"

Siouxsie And The Banshees play at the Barrowland on July 5.

Contributed by Jerry Burch.

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