Star Hits ('88)BANSHEE BLITZ!
Springing form those "heady" punk days, Siouxsie and the Banshees have been thrilling the world with their strange 'n' spooky songs for an amazin' twelve (twelve!) years! And while other bands grow tired and stale, these survivors have been ripping people's heads off, taking over the countryside and making a new album called Peepshow. How do they do it? How? How? We sent Karen Swayne to find out.
THEY'VE GOT TWO NEW MEMBERS!
Recent recruits to the band's line-up are keyboard player Martin McCarrick and guitarist Jon Klein. They joined the long-time nucleus of Siouxsie Sioux, Steve Severin and Budgie, and they appear to fit in perfectly.
"It's great. It means we get to pick on different people!" snickers Siouxsie. "And because we were all living in the same place it was a really good way of getting to know each other." And isn't that just "special"!
THEY RECORDED PEEPSHOW IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE!
"Ver" Banshees took themselves off to a remote village in the English countryside to make their current album, and they found they could work a lot better with no outside distractions.
"It's very difficult in London, because you have to travel to a studio, get into the right frame of mind to work, and then go home in the evening," says Budgie. "In the country it was great because there were no distractions and we had no specific time to be there or finish. It was very easy to work together because we were all living in the same house."
"A little Banshee family," chortles Siouxsie. "No one had any excuses about being late!"
THEY'RE STILL NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THE MUSIC "BIZ"!
Why is this, you ask? Well, because Sioux and her Banshee buds are not exactly your typical press "hags."
"The music industry really attracts the worst type of people in the world. There are so many insincere and greedy people within it. And we're not the record company's favorite sort of band because we're not slaves to the promotion. We don't work like that," explains Siouxsie. "I hate over-exposure. That's why we still enjoy doing things like interviews because it's an event when we do something. We never refuse to do things to be bratty; it's just if we're too tired or don't have the time, because nothing good comes out of doing something that you don't want to do."
THEY USED TO TEAR PEOPLE'S HEADS OFF!
Well...er, not really. Meeting Siouxsie and the Banshees in the flesh could come as a bit of a surprise to anyone expecting a bunch of cool, aloof and unfriendly types. They have, er, "fun"!
"We don't need to shout so hard to get things done now," muses Sioux. "We've always put our foot down about things, but we needed to be much more forceful and intimidate people in the beginning. Now our reputation does that most of the time, and so we don't need to enforce it! We're only like that if we have to be to get things done properly. People are always shocked when they meet us. They say, 'Oh, you're quite human. You haven't torn my head off!'"
And more power to 'em for it!
SHE USED TO BE AN "ICE MAIDEN"!!!
For years, whenever anyone mentioned the name Siouxsie Sioux, you could be sure that the phrase "Ice Maiden" would pop up in the next breath. As she was not exactly "chatty" she was perceived as being a bit of a "snot." But the singer says she never felt the urge to live and breath that image. Really!
"That kind of thing has always been very amusing to me," she claims. "It's the sort of name tag I get, but I've never let it sink in."
"I think that was a way of catagorizing our early sort of shows," reckons Steve. "It was just so unusual for a band to go onstage and not really communicate between songs."
"We never really came on and did all the pat phrases you get between songs, like 'We love you London!' or 'Do you fell awlright?!' or 'Get your hands together!' and that sort of pantomime," elaborates Siouxsie. "I always hated pantomimes when I was younger anyway. I just hated being patronized like that."
THEY ALMOST CALLED IT A DAY!
"We felt that we were much too close to our own music to be as selective as we should be," says Siouxsie. "So a lot of the material on Peepshow is written in a more removed way, it's very much observing something."
It was The Banshees Through The Looking Glass album--which consisted entirely of cover versions--that gave them the impetus to take a fresh look at their music.
"It was a make-or-break situation," says Siouxsie. "We gave ourselves a project to do, and if it hadn't worked out we would've taken it as a sign that maybe we should give up. We really felt the need to redefine things and start all over again."
"We chose songs that we all liked and stuff that was important to us when we were growing up for the album, and just listening to them we suddenly realized that a lot of great records are really simple," adds Budgie. "It was a good way of disciplining ourselves."
THEY'RE STILL "MATES"!
A lot of bands can't stomach twelve months together, let alone twelve years, but not Ver Banshees. And there's life left in them yet!
"We've had some really good fights in our time," reminisces a misty-eyed Siouxsie. "But basically we like each other and we get on together. And if we have differences we don't bottle it up, we fight it out. And we're top sulkers too! There have been rumors that we're going to break up all through our career, but that doesn't mean we're going to. In fact, if other people don't start them we start them ourselves..."