Matt (M): The King of No-Fi is about to be released by Metal Postcard on August 16. You wrote and recorded this on furlough during the quarantine, correct? Can you talk about your mindset during this time and how it may (or may not?) have impacted the new record?
Brian (B): These songs are quite strange as i never actually wrote any of them before i started recording them , i just picked up my guitar set up the mic and sang whatever came out and whatever i played and that was the song . i have always wanted to try and capture the soul of a song . and i suppose being on furlough and only really being able to see my wife and daughter for months ,one's mind tends to float back to various memories and various people ,so i think this is why this album has quite a nostalgic almost romantic melancholy a loneliness about it as i tried and capture the mood , and because a lot of my songs quite often have a little playfulness in the lyrics with some bad puns ,there is a lot less this time around .whether that is a good or bad thing i do not know. But the isolation certainly played a part in the sound and feel of it.
M: Gary Glitter is one of my favorite Bordellos songs. It succinctly covers something art and music lovers are always struggling with, perhaps a little moreso these days, in regards to separating the art from the artist. My mantra for that is "I only separate art from the artist if I enjoy the art." Would you agree or disagree? Is there a point, do you think, where someone transgresses so much in their life that their art should not be separated from who they are, or what they've said or done?
B: Garry Glitter is also one of my favourite Bordellos songs , i have no trouble in separating the art from the artist ,but that is my personal opinion i can understand why people have trouble . let's be honest Garry Glitter raped children which of course is abhorrent and i can quite understand why people no longer want to listen to his records ,but i can separate the two him having sex with a 11-year-old does not make "the Leader Of The Gang " not a fine single. also where do we draw the line people , i know i got a certain amount of flack from some people about writing it ,but for a fact some of those wagging their fingers are huge john lennon fans .and lets be honest he was no angel , he was a violent ,drug taking wife beater ,but they seem to forget that ,and Joe Meek , he shot his landlady with a shotgun and people seem not to have a problem with that .and two of my musical heroes are both John Lennon and Joe Meek . so i have no problem seperating the two .
M: I really enjoy your diatribes on In The Mind of a Bordello. I still chuckle over the line about Liam Gallagher walks like he just shit his pants. I know you also are not a fan of post-Barrett Floyd. Do you think a lot of our musical tastes and opinions depends on how much exposure we get to it? I mean, do you think you would hate Oasis or Dark Side of the Moon so much if you hadn't been over exposed to th by constant radio and video play?
B: i enjoy writing them it is so much fun writing bad things about records you hate , one of the things that annoy me so much about the current culture of not being able to ctiticise things without people fainting in shock and horror . I think i would hate both Oasis and post Syd Barrett Pink Floyd just as much as if i had never heard them before and just heard them the once i wish i only had heard them once as let us being honest about it .they are both terrible Oasis are basically chancers who discovered that having mop top haircuts and walking like you have taken a toilet break in your jeans ,which actually is probably the best thing about the band ,much more entertaining than their music ,i could quite happily watch Liam walk up and down all day as long as he did not have to open his mouth to sing those horrible badly written paint by number pop rock songs Noel writes , the reason he writes such dribble has become apparent over the years and that is he is a talentless cunt who spends so much time concentrating on stopping his eyes from falling out .which is why he looks the way he does . i am sure it must be a medical condition. . and post Syd Barret i might actually hate more , luckily they do not seem to get played as much on the radio than Oasis do over here anyway , so i do not tend to have them assault my ears as much as Oasis ,
M: Just last night Bowie's Space Oddity came on and I was like, Christ, I never liked this dumb song, but I would up listening to it again, and even singing along and grooving to the breakdown, despite myself. Is there a particular dumb, overplayed song you could go your life without hearing again, but when you do hear it, you wind up singing along, or maybe it gets stuck in your head despite your best efforts?
B: That happens a lot . the evil magic of pop music , Radio Ga GA by Queen is one of those for me a chance hearing of that song can put me in a bad mood for a week ,i have actually walked to a shop about a mile further away to buy something because the shop had that playing on the radio when i went in ,i should not have bothered because all the way to the other shop i was humming all i can say is radio ga ga radio goo goo ,it drives me insane .
M: I don't mind Radio Goo Goo, but I never heard it until my early thirties. When I was a kid I hated Bohemian Rhapsody, even after Wayne's World, which I was the right age for.
B: Bohemian Rhapsody i love , i am old enough to remember that from the first time it was released in 1975 i would have been 8 and even then in the 70's when there was some strange records in the British charts ,that stood out as being slightly strange and it reached number one . .as my daughter once said as i made her watch reruns of old 70's Top Of The Pops "no wonder your generation are so weird"
M: There's a lot of 80s pop and rock that when I was a teen I thought was garbage that I've come around on now. Hair metal and new wave hits come to mind. Is there anything you hated for years as a youth and have now come out the other side on and like, or even love?
B: that is a very good question , there are loads of records i could not stand i hear on the radio now and i all of a sudden really like it ,i think a lot has to do with nostalgia weaving its spell ,you can hear a song and you are suddenly stood opposite a girl you really liked or with some old friends you have not seen in years . Freebird by Lynard Skynard i always hated . it was always on the jukebox in a snooker hall i used to hang out in all the time as a teenager so i use to complain about it every time it came on saying how shit it was ,but now when it comes on it takes me back to those days of being sixteen surrounded by old friends having a great time complaining about the song i am now getting all teary eyed nostalgic about , the magic of music and why to me it is the greatest art form .
M: O man, I turn the station every time Free Bird comes on. But I know what you mean about getting misty eyed over something you had disdain for as a kid. Or even something you loved and still loved -- I was tearing up at You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go just last week. A piece of nostalgia got in my eye I think. That's you on the cover of King of No-Fi, isn't it? How old were you when that pic was taken? Where were you? Any particular reason that photo was chosen?
B: Bob Dylan is a master at writing tear worthy songs.it must be said . it is me on the cover i was aged 21 and i cannot remember where i was ,it was taken by an old friend i think Roy Bradley but i could be mistaken , the reason i went for that photo was the lp is called the King Of No-fi and it comes out on the 16th of August which is the anniversary of the death of the king of Rock n roll Elvis Presley and in my younger years was a bit of a rock a billy as my quiff might tell you. and also, the lp has a nostalgic looking back feel about the lp so i thought a photo of me at 21 somehow might be fitting .
M: Going back to the Bordellos, the band is primarly you, your brother Ant(hony?), and your son Dan, correct? I know Dan's doing great work with Beauty Stab. Is Ant still active musically? Will the Bordellos record again or is it officially defunct?
B: Is Ant still active musically .. some would say he has never been active musically.. including myself.. , there have been many members of the Bordellos over the years .but myself Dan and Ant have been the only bordellos for about the last 10 years or so . my daughter Nia joined for a bit on bass and she played on our Julian Cope tribute ep released on Metal Postcard a couple of years ago . The Bordellos have not split up , we recorded a new lp over the lock down when Dan became the bubble family member and he was allowed to enter our house again and he stayed for a week so we recorded a lp on my 4 track . sadly, Ant was not allowed to enter the household so could not join in the recording . so it will be the first lp recorded without Ants lack of input .which it is missing, Ants lack of input is defiantly missing .. we will no doubt have him as the cover star on the album sleeve though and call the lp Ant less Music.
M: You recently released what you said were probably the last of the Onion King tapes. These are primarly comps of unreleased material, right? Can you talk a little about the series? What years do they span, were they recorded for kicks or for projects that didn't get released, why this will be the last one, etc.?
B: they were recorded late 90's early noughties on a 4 track tape recorder at Ants house , we were called Onion King and was basically the bordellos but not yet called the bordellos , it was myself Ant and Gary storey who played bass and would stay with the bordellos till 2009 and occasionally a pre teen Dan who came to mess about and occasionally play some instrument ,even aged 8 he was a talent . we would meet up and just record ,with no plan but just to get drunk on a Friday night and record songs i had written , alot of the songs we would later rerecord when the other three members joined and we became a six pieceand became serious and some we would rerecord when the other three had left again became less serious and replaced by a now 14 year old Dan . I loved the recordings so have been releasing them a free to download ep series , we must have recorded about 100 songs as onion king in that way . but alot of the cassettes have gone missing over the years .so unless i stumble across some of the missing cassettes .that will probably be the last one.. but there is a good chance i have some knocking around somewhere probably unlabelled at a bottom of a box.
M: Is everything you record on four track? What type of four track do you use? If presented with the opportunity, would you record digitally? Or do you have an aesthetic dislike for it?
B: Not everything i record is on 4 track ,it depends where i am , at home i only have an old tscam 4 track tape recorder which is why most of the songs i have released lately have been 4 track recordings. the bordellos mostly have recorded digitally ,normally on Dan's digital 8 track .the first two bordellos albums was recorded in a 32-track studio that Geoff and Vinny who used to be in the bordellos at the time had which was a old converted barn in the middle of the countryside. we have also recorded straight onto an old ghetto blaster and even onto a mp3 player nothing is too lo-fi ..
M: Thanks for talking with me, Brian! After King of No-Fi, what's up next?
B: next up is the Bordello and Clark lp which i recorded via two 4 track tape recorders over 3000 miles apart with myself and Ted Clark who lived ohio at the time . that was recorded in 2018 and was due out last year but due to being messed about by a few record labels has not yet seen the day , but am in the process of sorting that out with a new label i am quite excited about .so hopefully that will come to something .
So, I haven't uploaded a song in forever, and Google has re-designed their Sites page, and tonight is my first night checking it out,and I've had a few brews -- I cannot figure out how to easily embed "Sing Along" into this blog page. However, if you click on the link below, you may be able to listen and enjoy. If not, then "King of No-Fi" releases on Metal Postcard August 16!