Record Mirror (11.11.89)

CREATURE COMFORTS Whether as two fifths of the Banshees or in their job as THE CREATURES, Siouxsie and Budgie have never merged into the crowd. But why have they written a song about it?

Story: Lisa Tilston

Siouxsie and Budgie make an elegant, eloquent duo. As two fifths of the Banshees they're often seen as the wicked witch and her trusty partner-in-crime, stirring up the charts with their unpredictable outbursts. As The Creatures, they push voice and percussion to the limit to make records that fly out of the radio to grab you warmly by the throat. . . that's if they make it past the censors.

Their latest magnum opus, 'Standing There', is no exception. It's been conspicuous by its absence from the airwaves, to the pair's disgust.

Siouxsie: "It's a shame because it should be heard by the people who tune into those moronic stations < that's what it's aimed at. It's very frustrating having your ammunition rendered useless. It's the same with the Banshees. With 'Arabian Knights' it was quite a thrill to get the word 'orifices' on the radio, and the same with the subject matter of 'Happy House', but maybe they've wised up and they just say no whatever we put out now!"

'Standing There' is certainly an upfront and quite alarming record, not only for what it says but also for the vehement manner of delivery. What is it about?

Siouxsie: "You can take it on various levels but it's aimed directly against people who don't have the guts to stand out from the crowd, who deceive themselves and others just to fit in. I hate the idea that even if they saw a kindred spirit they'd attack it because they recognise someone with a certain amount of freedom. Freedom of expression is very important and people build their own prisons, they are made afraid of being individual and self-expressive."

Budgie: "It's about the direct contact you get on the street, it's not just verbal abuse anymore. You see them up ahead and wonder, 'Should I cross over the road or turn around and go back?' They're making you think about regular things, you're walking round with your guard up all the time. You'll always get it if you look a bit different, they go 'Are you a boy or a girl, darling?' I used to get beaten up and pushed through shop windows in Liverpool in 1977, and nothing's changed."

Siouxsie: "It's not even something you can confront because it's a cowardly voice from a crowd. When you're an adolescent it can have a psychologically damaging effect on you because it makes you over-aware of yourself. Then there's that horrible mentality that if you're not dressed in a tent you're provoking some sort of sexual slander or abuse. Even something innocuous like 'Hello darling'... I can't stand it, I think it's really disrespectful from a complete stranger. It's like 'Well, you're low enough for me to say hello to even though I haven't been introduced.' The only way you cope with it is fantasising about them getting blasted away, meeting their maker and being turned into a worm!"

Siouxsie doesn't pull her punches, as she recently demonstrated on 'Juke Box Jury', bravely speaking her mind while all around her sat on the fence. While she and Budgie are forthright, animated and immensely likeable in real life, an impenetrable aura of mystique surrounds the Banshees. So it comes as quite a surprise that the new Creatures album 'Boomerang' < recorded under conditions of hardship in rural Spain < is unmistakably direct. The imaginative rhythms and melodies of many cultures carry words which are startlingly plain and stark.

Siouxsie: "The nature of the Banshees is much more defensive, a stance against the establishment. With The Creatures it's stripped down, one-to-one, it's got no armour to it and that's refreshing."

Budgie: "We've used things like steel drums and vibes for the first time, which gives that relaxing, comforting Caribbean sound. It's juxtaposed quite strangely with the sentiment of the songs."

Siouxsie : "I like the impact of something pleasant going with something shocking. I am a direct person, but I'm not without sensitivity! The image of me as a monster has been built up over the years though."

Don't you mind people being frightened of you?

Siouxsie: "It's good! I'd hate to be extremely approachable. From being very young and wanting to be my own person, I was quite happy if it did scare people. If I want to be approached, I'll let people know!"

The Creatures < a chic, smart and scary couple. And their records are chic, smart and scary too!

Contributed by Bonnie Bryant.

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