Mojo (August '02)

Collections/ Burn Baby Burn

Dark Stuff

ďI like strong, passionate singers,Ē insists the voice that launched a thousand goths. Now back with the Banshees after a seven-year lay-off, Siouxsie Sioux also professes a liking for death songs, violent cocktails, mad cuckoo clocks and stripper music, as she reveals to Lois Wilson.

1. John Leyton- Johnny Remember Me

ďI was four when I first heard this. It was in my brotherís collection and I got him to play it to me over and over again. The subject matter, like so many of the songs at that time, dealt with the death of a loved one. Twinkle sang Terry and The Shangri-Laís had Leader Of The Pack, but I think this was one of the very first and definitely the best. John is the tormented lover. Every time he hears the breeze in the leaves of the trees it reminds him of the words of his dying girlfriend. The backing vocals are amazing, very eerie. I was totally hooked. It was that first delicious feeling of subversion. Started young, didnít I? There were definite shivers up my spine. Some kids run away from that and some are drawn to it. I was totally pulled in. I still love it just as much.Ē

2. Cristina- Is That All There Is?

ďA fabulous version of the Leiber & Stoller classic. Itís so cracked, with popping corks and cuckoo clocks going mad in the background. Thereís wry irony, sarcasm and total irreverence. Leiber & Stoller hated it and their legal team had it withdrawn. Shame on them! This song just needs to be heard. The Creatures used it as an outro on shows in 1999. I was asked my favourite record for a TV show. I picked this and they were too scared to use it. I donít know a lot about her. She was based in New York and had a great Christmas single, Things Fall Apart.Ē

3. Frank Sinatra- Night and Day

ďI really got into him six or seven years ago. Budgie and I had been touring constantly and it had been a real wrench being away for so long. Listening to Frank was my way of calming down, unwinding and feeling myself again. I could have included so many different songs by him. This one is an old Cole Porter song. It has the most amazing string arrangements by Nelson Riddle. Itís got just such a brilliant vibe. And what a voice! I can listen to Frank at any time. We were in America one time, in an amazing bar with red leather bar seats and they did fantastic cocktails and they were playing this song. It was just perfect. Every time I hear this I just think of the 50ís. I love the sound of a singer with a big band orchestra behind him or her. Itís romantic but very powerful and uplifting. And the lyrics...well, night and day- I love extremes in lyrics.Ē

4. Yma Sumac- Malambo No.1

ďYma was famous for her four-octave range, and here she uses it to full effect. Sheís so full of fun. This track also features The Rico Mamba Orchestra, a fantastic brass and percussion-driven band. Sheís like Maria Callas and Carmen Miranda, very theatrical but not serious and totally mambo. Itís great to shake great big violent cocktails to. I was on tour in 1981 with the Banshees and a fan gave me a tape of stuff he thought Iíd like. Iíd never heard of Yma until he introduced me to her and since then Iíve tracked d own various compilations by her. I recommend this totally.Ē

5. Iggy Pop- Nightclubbing

ďWhat a great singer! I first heard Iggy with the Stooges on Fun House and Raw Power and I was bummed out that Iíd never had the opportunity to see him live. In 1977 he played London and I was so desperate to go because I knew Iíd love him live and I did. The Creatures developed a spontaneous bit at the end of our set that segued Pluto Drive into Nightclubbing. It was such fun and turned into real stripper type music. The Idiot was so bold, so different to his previous stuff, so strong. It was a real reaffirmation, a stamping of his authority on the music scene. What a fucking voice and what a performer. I saw him recently in LA and heís still got it.Ē

6. Diana Ross- Love Hangover

ďThis highlights one of the biggest misnomers of the punk scene. There we were seeing the Sex Pistols in London, but the backdrop to that was down at the disco. We were at Bangís at Centrepoint, a gay night, and everyone was dancing madly and this track came on and just caught up with all the energy and fun. I love that line: ĎIf thereís a cure for this I donít want it.í I love the build-up. It starts really slow and sexy, like waking up in the morning, then it builds up to this tremendous hook of a bass line and the rhythm has the momentum of a steam train gathering speed. Itís fabulous.Ē

7. Yoko Ono- Walking On Thin Ice

ďI canít say a lot about this track, but itís one of those songs that I play and yell at anyone near by, come and listen to this. I bought it on cassette single in one of those cardboard boxes. It was isolated, an island in my collection. John Lennon produced it, Yoko yelps and thereís some great guitar and bass. Itís a great winter song, almost an alternative Christmas song. I like the use of her nonconformist vocalising, her yelping and warbling. I donít always like what she does but I always admire her and think sheís interesting. Brilliant, a song to turn up full volume.Ē

8. The Doors- Riders On The Storm

ďNow Iím going to take it down a pace or two. Weíve been running around shaking our cocktails a little too much. Iíd heard Hello, I Love You and thought that was great. Then, when I was 14, I was watching Top Of The Pops and this song came on. They didnít show the band, but had this film of this mysterious Clint Eastwood-type character riding his horse through the rain. If you think back to Top Of The Pops in 1971 this was real Cannes Film Festival stuff. It was so unusual. I loved the song but had no idea what Jim Morrison looked like. When I found out I was, like, wow! If Iíd known that at the time Iíd have been his Number 1 fan. Ten years later I was in San Francisco with a friend at Christmas and we were coming down off some blue window pane acid. It was late at night and we were listening to a night time radio station and this came on. Throughout the song there is the whispering of the title tracking the lead vocal and that whisper was so loud. It was in my ear, in my head. I was brain-washed. I just love the real sound effects, too, the rain and the storm. You can just drift off into your own film scenario. A poet, songwriter, and an amazing singer. What a lot to put up with!Ē

9. Gavin Bryars- Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet

ďBrian Eno got this released. He was the executive producer, so to speak. Bryars, a classical pianist and arranger, had a friend who made this semi-documentary film on tramps around London- Euston, Kingís Cross and Elephant And Castle. He made a lot of recordings of tramps but didnít use this one so handed it to Gavin for him to do something with. The song is just this tramp singing. Heís totally in tune but a bit of a religious drunk. And bit by bit the orchestra joins in with this solo performance and it builds into this amazingly beautiful hymn. It never sounds pompous as the strings, the piano, and then finally the whole orchestra join in. Itís a simple thing but, by adding the different layers to it, it turns into something far more involved and complex. When you hear the beginning itís almost comical, this old codger singing to himself, and it could have been used as a send-up. Instead, Gavin changes the sentiment entirely.Ē

10. Miles Davis- Solea

ďThis is the last track on Sketches Of Spain and I just love this LP from start to finish. When I was growing up my older sister used to play me the live recordings from the Black Hawk studios in San Francisco, so Miles was already in my blood. Budgie and I had been recording in Spain and when I got home I saw this and thought it was an omen. I had to buy it and Iíve been in love with it ever since. Miles Davis was inspired by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigoís Concierto de Aranjuez, and Gil Evans extended the middle section of the Concierto at the start of the record. When I heard it, it was just like being back surrounded by the landscape of Spain. Solea means flamenco, but this is a real bluesy track based around the percussion. Thereís no apparent time signature, you canít count it, you just have to feel it. Itís this rimshot crack. Iíve since bought all of Mile Davisís LPs, but this was a real perfect coupling. A creative collaboration that really works. Itís so uplifting.Ē

Contributed by Bonnie Bryant.

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