Thursday, 11 April 2019

Sex Gang Children: After We Spent An Afternoon Stalking Him, Andi Politely Invited Us Round For A Cup Of Tea!

Originally published in Rave-Up #10 (1985)
Interview by Devorah Ostrov & Sara Brinker
Photos by Devorah Ostrov

Sex Gang Children at the time of this interview
L-R: Kevin, Andi, Cam & Terry
Andi Sex Gang is soooo nice! How nice is he? He's so nice that not only did he sneak these two fanzine journalists into Sex Gang Children's London Lyceum show last summer (along with several other kids waiting expectantly outside the backstage entrance), he also found relatively comfortable hiding places for everyone and mapped an escape route for us into the main hall. Our hero!

A few days later, Sara and I "bumped into" Andi again (some might say we'd been surreptitiously following him for hours!) on Carnaby Street and he invited us round to his place for a cup of tea. He's polite as well as nice! We swooned while he spoke of Édith Piaf and old movies, and while we waited for the rest of the band to turn up for rehearsal, we asked Andi a few questions...

This photo I took of Andi in 1984 was 
used in CD booklet for Blind!
Rave-Up: We really admire Sex Gang Children's attitude towards the kids that come to see you. Is it important to you to take care of your fans?

Andi: That's human nature. You're either a cunt or you're not. It's not a selling point of the band. Our selling point is our music, the live shows, and our records.

Rave-Up: Sex Gang Children tends to be categorized as a "doom and gloom/ gothic/death rock" band. Do you ever feel a bit trapped by the cult following for that genre of music?

Andi: It's not a matter of being trapped so much by a cult following... I think most of our followers are basically big fans and have a great faith in the band.   You just want to be able to prove to everyone that you're not as limited a band as everyone thinks you are.

Rave-Up: There seems to be a great desire in the music press to limit you and label you.

Andi: There is. It gives you a feeling of being picked apart and exposed. It can make you feel incredibly naked.

Rave-Up: From previous conversations we've had with the band, you guys seem to be great fans of a variety of music and still able to get excited over other's work.

Kevin Matthews & Cam Campbell
Photo: Devorah Ostrov
Andi: Yeah, it's true! We are fans of music and excited about what we do, excited about the people and the things in life. I'm excited by the fact that Steven Spielberg is in the position to do what he wants to do, and at the same time he's offering entertainment for millions of people. That's brilliant! It gives us faith.

Rave-Up: Who are your heroes?

Andi: I like a lot of film stars — Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Robert De Niro. I like Divine as well. He's a person of incredible style. I like the real stars, old film greats. They have no grand illusions about themselves.
   You know who I really like and admire? Billy Joel! He doesn't go around saying, "I've got an image." Or, "I'm a Batcave artist." He doesn't need to sell himself with cheap slogans. He says it all with his music.

Rave-Up: Are you guys working on any videos?

Andi: We did a video for the Édith Piaf song ["Les Amants D'un Jour"]. Graham Bentley, who does our lights and works with us behind the scenes, set up an appointment with Radio Luxembourg because they were greatly interested in us and they had a European cable network. We went up to Northampton, chose a location, and made a video on the spur of the moment. Then we stayed up for four nights editing and sussing things out. We went back to London, went to Radio Luxembourg, and the video was flown out to their cable network in Europe to show that very night.

Andi proves he loves Billy Joel by posing with one of his albums.
 Photo: Devorah Ostrov
Rave-Up: Is it true that you finance everything yourselves?

Andi: Everything we do is self-financed. We keep everything to a minimum. We have to!

Rave-Up: So, you don't need the limos or the big hotel rooms?

Andi Sex Gang & Terry MacLeay
Photo: Devorah Ostrov
Andi: No, we aren't spoiled by the money. I remember the first time we got involved in a huge festival [Futurama 4, 1982]… We drove up there in a shitty old van that leaked, and we were hungry, and we just jumped onstage. We showed them the best of ourselves, while everyone else had this complacent attitude. It was supposed to be the festival of the year. When we got there, we had never seen such a lethargic atmosphere. Everyone was just waiting for something to happen.

Rave-Up: Nothing was happening, so you made it happen!

Andi: Yeah... That sounds like such a cheap thing to say, but it's true! We blew a lot of bands off the stage. In fact, the only two bands that stood out that night were us and Southern Death Cult. Everyone else just went through the motions. We were the only two bands that gave it something!✨

2 comments:

  1. Christy Betts Buckley12 April 2019 at 17:20

    I always admired what you and Sara created and wish we could’ve spent more time together when I would come up from L.A. to visit Verna! I can’t wait to see what else you dig out of that absolute treasure trove of true 80’s life!

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    1. Many thanks! Glad you enjoyed this interview with Andi and the 'zine back in the day. Keep in touch!

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