Gothic Text files Three Sisters of Mercy Interviews

From amason@cs.uct.ac.za Mon May 16 13:42:41 1994
Date: Mon, 16 May 1994 11:14:18 +0200 (SAT)
From: Ashton Mason <amason@cs.uct.ac.za>
To: Sisters List <dominion@ohm.york.ac.uk>
Subject: Interviews

Sisters of Mercy interviews.

These three interviews with The Sisters of Mercy were transcribed from a really bad quality video, so parts of the third one are missing. The first appears to be from German TV, the second is from a program called Supersonic, which appears to have been recorded in England, and the third is Belgian. They lose something for not being able to see and hear Eldritch's expressions, but anybody who has seen a Sisters interview might be able to imagine how the lines should be read. Comments in square brackets are mine.

-ash amason@cs.uct.ac.za


Interview 1

[In a German TV studio, in about 1987. A female interviewer is talking in German to Eldritch. Patricia Morrison looks on. Eldritch is talking about the languages he studied at university, but the German is lost on me. Then they change to English.]

I: The song "This Corrosion", what is it about?

A: Falling apart. And making a very loud noise. We had an awful lot of people on the record, made a very loud noise. Never had so many people on a record before.

I: Why?

A: I really don't know. It seemed like a good idea at the time to have forty people singing at once. I've no idea why.

[This Corrosion is shown]

I: "This Corrosion" is from Jim Steinman produced. [In German: How did that come about?]

A: We rang him up. We were thinking of doing an Abba song originally. So we rang him up two years ago and he was busy, but he said "Yeah, I can make a record as stupid as you want", so when the time came to put "This Cor- rosion" out he was the only person we took, to ...

I: And why?

A: Because he really knows how to make a wonderfully stupid record. Totally outrageous.

I: You think it's a stupid record?

A: Yeah. Every time, every time you think to yourself: do we really want to go this far? and you say to Jim, "Jim, are you sure about this?", and anybody else will go "Don't do it!", Jim goes "More! More! More people, singing!". It works.


Interview 2

[On the TV show Supersonic, also in about 1987. Another female interviewer, talking to Andrew and Patricia again. Both are wearing black, and Eldritch has sunglasses on. They look like they just stepped out of the This Corrosion video. A Mission video is just finishing, showing Hussey and company dressed in black, leading a horse.]

I: Didn't anyone ever tell them never to work with kids or animals? Anyway, that was the Mission, and they actually were members of a group called Sisters of Mercy, weren't they?

A: Some of them were. Some of them were the bad guys.

I: Yes ... Yes, and we have in the studio now two members of the Sisters of Mercy ...

A: The good guys.

I: Patricia ... yeah, the good guys - you can tell because they're wearing black. Patricia and Andrew. Was the split not amicable, then?

A: It was to start with. But obviously with the sort of cartoon plagiarism, we, er ... we had a few problems.

I: You feel they're sort of ripping off your ideas?

A: Er ... no. They try. I think you can see them trying. That was a nice attempt at a beard I saw out there.

I: Yeah, right. Well, I like the sort of imagery there, it was very Poltergeistesque.

A: The man's still wearing an old hat of mine, which I find rather entertaining.

I: Yes. [laughs uncomfortably, takes a deep breath] Now, umm, you were not ... haven't released anything 'till "This Corrosion" for two and a half years. What were you doing during that time?

A: Hmmm. Getting well, getting healthy. Sorting myself out with the industry. Uhh, just establishing a stronger power base, I think.

I: [to Patricia Morrison] And were you in the ...

A: ... and writing better songs!

I: That's always what we wanna hear. Were you in the group at that time? Did you join recently, or ...

P: [a bit smugly] When the ... er, breakup happened, then the next day I was in the band.

I: Oh right.

P: We knew we'd work together sometime, and that was the right time.

I: Great. And you're from Los Angeles. How did you end up here in England?

A: Well, I was in a different band years ago, and we were touring with the Sisters of Mercy, and we met, stayed friends, and ... I was never really into that L.A. scene. I was when I started, but it has changed, and what I wanted to do ...

I: I just want to say, I don't think you look like a valley girl. You're not wearing like cowboy boots, and umm, ... [giggles]

P: Never a California girl anyway.

I: No, I approve heartily. Now Andrew, you're from the North of England, aren't you?

A: Yeah, I'm an adopted Yorkshireman.

I: Adopted, what's that mean?

A: It means I was born in the South, but only came to life as a *real human being* in the North.

I: Ah, Ah. [laughs] I like that. I feel the same way about moving to this country. Now, do you think there's still a North/South divide, do you find it difficult?

A: Oh yes, yes. I have a really hard time coming to grips with the values that still prevail in the South.

[silence, as interviewer waits for him to clarify, then realises he isn't going to.]

I: But you want to be rich and famous like anyone else, don't you?

A: Not at anyone else's expense, which is where I differ from ...

I: That's good, I'm exactly the same. Now, umm ... right, I'm looking here frantically ... [reading notes] Now, you're album ... er Floodland, was produced by Jim Steinman, who also ...

A: He did a track and a half.

I: Yes, "This Corrosion", didn't he? He did Meatloaf, what was it like working with him?

A: It was brilliant. He's really sweet, really articulate. Really intelligent. One of the few people in this business that can really hold their own on Eldritch Boulevard. [pauses] He was great to work with. Totally excessive little man.

I: I always imagined he somehow looked a bit like Meatloaf, but he doesn't ...

A: He does. He does. He looks like Meatloaf's older, more responsible brother.

I: [laughing] You didn't get to meet Meatloaf at any point?

A: No, no, he's away trying to write some songs, bless him.

I: Right. Well, I'm going to ask my patented Barbie question. This is probably gonna be a bit interesting. Now, what colour are your knickers, that you're wearing at the moment?

A: [without hesitation] I'm not wearing any.

I: OH! God, these rock stars, you see a lot of them they're not wearing knickers, what does your mother think? What about you, Patricia?

P: Take a guess. [smiling]

I: Black? Same here, same here. [to Andrew] And I also want .. you're affecting a very interesting fashion choice by wearing two pairs of pants. Why?

A: Well, the flies aren't done up on the bottom pair, they don't do up.

I: Right ...

A: I'd have been arrested on the way here if I'd just worn the bottom pair. Similarly, if I'd just worn the top pair. [motioning at trouser legs, which are in tatters]

I: Yes. So two together. It looks good.

A: On Eldritch Boulevard one pair of trousers *is* a criminal offense.

I: When we get back, I'll ask you about Eldritch Boulevard. Now, lets watch "This Corrosion", by Sisters of Mercy.

A: Yes please.

[This Corrosion is shown]

I: So, Sisters of Mercy, and "This Corrosion". That looked extremely uncomfortable to film. Was it?

[she's referring to the fact that it's raining in the video.]

P: Yes, very much. We wanted that corroded feel, and we got it.

I: Wasn't it kinda, sorta dangerous, with all the electrical gear? [pointing at screen with pen]

A: Oh yes. If we're gonna suffer, everyone else is gonna suffer.

I: Oh, good. Yes, I did a gig like that once. Sparks and water everywhere. It was not a very comfortable feeling. It looks wonderful. Now, if you had anything you wanted to take, your favourite possession, into the bunker if there was a nuclear holocaust, what would you take? Patricia? Your all time favourite possession.

P: [thinking hard] Nothing.

I: Come on ...

P: Nothing. I'd want it to go.

I: Oh.

P: 'wouldn't wanna keep it.

I: And what about you?

A: Yeah, I don't believe in rushing for the bunker. I'm one of those stand in the middle of the road people, and go with everybody else. But if Joanna Lumley was available, she'd be in my bunker.

I: Ok, I like that! What about Eldritch Avenue? What is Eldritch Avenue?

A: Eldritch Boulevard? It's close to the planet Morrison ...

I: Oh, I see. 'cause your last name *is* Eldritch, I wanna point that out to the viewers.

A: Not Boulevard ...

I: [laughs uncomfortably] Ok, now we're gonna be looking at your next video here, called "Dominion".

A: Yeah, the new one.

I: The new one.

A: Fabulous ...

I: Any exciting bits in that?

A: Tons, tons. Laurence of Arabia Part II.

I: Laurence of Arabia Part II, so lets watch the Sisters of Mercy, and "Dominion"

[Dominion is played]

I: Well, I'm gonna be saying goodbye now to the Sisters of Mercy [Andrew raises hands in mock helplessness], but one last question. You guys, are you gonna go touring at all?

[Patricia wryly holds up a large white card with "Next Question?" written on it. Andrew seems to be hiding behind his sunglasses.]

I: Great, ok, moving right along ... I like that cue card! [Andrew lowers his head to his chest.] Thanks a lot, and I'm gonna do a bit of gossip now, about, I'm sure, one of your favourites here, George Michael. [Andrew places his hand over his heart.] He's reported to having a slight nervous breakdown over arrangements for his Summer tour. [Andrew closes his fist and raises his thumb to give a thumbs up.] friends say George is so wound up about ... [stumbles over words]

A: That's easy for you to say!

I: Yes, that's easy for me to say! ... so wound up about it, because he does not want to be a has-been. George, you're not a has-been! Anyway, this is George Michael, and "Father Figure". Thanks a lot. Bye!


Interview 3.

[Eldritch, Hussey and someone else, possibly Gary Marx are standing around in what looks like a dressing room, probably after a concert. They are all wearing old style Sisters gear, with black coats, hats and sunglasses. Interviewer, who is Belgian, is struggling with the words in his questions. He is holding a copy of "First and Last and Always". It must be about 1985]

[First part of interview missing.]

I: ... to deal with the absence of hope like I thought I heard in some of your songs?

A: No. It's all about being very constructive, is this ... [points to record.]

I: Yes?

A: It's *realistic*. [Holds up record and leans forward to the camera.]

I: What kind of constructiveness?

A: Well, it's a grim world. Even in Belgium, it's a grim world.

I: Yeah?

A: So we feel it necessary to point that out and use that as a basis for everything else. [to the camera again:] Again, not unreasonable.

[part of No Time to Cry is played]

A: Well, that album's just about ... how you can deal with the world as it is. Through the medium of women, drugs, and roads, mostly. [drinks from beer.]

I: Yeah, but can you be a bit more clear about that. What's the real constructive concept of "First and Last and Always"?

[Eldritch bends down to put down beer and pick up a guitar case, unhurriedly.]

A: No, there's no one particular concept; it breaks itself down into, I dunno, five or six primary ideas.

[bends down to put down guitar case.]

I: Like?

A: Like how you deal with people, properly. How you have a good time without doing too much damage to yourself, and preferably very little to those around you that you care about. How you do the most damage to people you don't like. [puts cigarette in mouth and starts to light it.] Stuff like that ... [shrugs, lighter in hand and cigarette in mouth.]

I: When do you think that a concert is really satisfying?

A: When I collapse at the end of it.

I: You mean that?

A: Yeah.

[part of Walk Away is shown.]

I: In this country you're charting at this moment, for instance with "Walk Away" ...

[video disappears here for a second. Interviewer obviously asks Andrew whether the Sisters' chart success bothers them.]

A: [philosophically] No, we were brought up on chart acts. When we grew up, the only people that you got to know about were in the charts, so we don't find it strange to find ourselves there.

I: So you don't mind about, for instance, Killing Joke going for number one these days?

A: Well, we don't like fascists, otherwise we think they're great.

[End.]

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