Channel 4 Teletext (Page 453) (6.20.02)

By John Earls

Siouxsie Sioux Wails Again

Punks? Goths? Siouxsie and the Banshees have never fitted any label since their 1st hit Hong Kong Garden in 1978 onto Dear Prudence and Peek-a-boo.

Seven years after their last album, the Rapture, Siouxsie, Budgie, Severin and now new guitarist Knox Chandler are back for a tour next month.

With a Best Of and a biography to follow in September, Siouxsie Sioux laughs off iconic status to say "Oh, I'm the black haired one..."

Why are the Banshees reforming?

We ended because, to put it mildly, me & Severin weren't getting on. But within the past year, we'd been talking again as we've been hassling Universal to put our back catalogue out properly.

We wanted to do a biography, as it was something that was missing, and then Severin mentioned an offer to play a US festival. I had to think long and hard before doing it, but I'm glad I did--it's been great. Strong and confident, and confidence giving.

The US reform focused on early songs. It would have been watered down if we'd tried to condense our entire career. We wanted to get back to The Scream--no loops, no tapes, with the 4 people on stage making all the noise.

How did it feel to be back on stage with Siouxsie and the Banshees?

Great! It's like when we 1st started. We don't have a record deal, but we see our influence everywhere. It's felt like we're giving the industry a big middle finger.

How do you feel about the talk of the silver jubilee of Punk?

The past is the past. And I hated being called a punk, or any convenient label.

And the Queen's jubilee?

The original silver jubilee wasn't that big a deal, despite The Pistol's single. I remember we didn't feel like celebrating the Queen back then.

What about the Sex Pistols reforming?

The money must have run out quick, that's all I can say.

Why have the Banshees lasted so long?

It's ironic, as we only formed to play the Punk Festival as an extreme version of the Warhol principle. We only had 1 rehearsal, and that was to be shown how and where to plug things in.

But I think we've kept the essence of punk, which was to sweep things away. We were self taught and cursed by bad luck. But, from that negativity, new things evolved. Whenever a new musician joined, we had to adapt quickly and that brought its own new chemistry.

The Banshees have had a lot of guitar players. Tell us about the new one.

Knox Chandler? He was found by Budgie in New York after John McGeoch left and things had ended. We knew we'd found a good guitarist in Knox--but everything else in the Banshees was screwed then.

Have all the bridges been mended in the band now that you're back together?

A lot have been, yes, but a few bits remain. It's been so inspiring. We need to remember to accentuate the positive and don't mess with Mr Inbetween!

So if you were 18 now, would you still choose to be in a band?

I don't know, as now it's quite a normal, careerist job have. And the industry as it is now would probably never allow a band like the Banshees.

Maybe I'd open a whorehouse for women, as female sexuality needs to be addressed. I hate the industry even more now, no bands get nurtured anymore. Labels only spend money promoting acts they know will be Top Ten. I find it offensive spending 2 million on a video.

What's next - Creatures or Banshees?

We were interrupted making the current Creatures album, but we should have that finished by the shows here. There have been so many projects around the 4 of us, it'd be good to group them all together somehow next year.

I hope we're the 1st gig for some 17 year old. Start with the best, I say.

The Banshees play Glasgow Barrowland July 5th, Sheffield Uni 6th, Shepherds Bush Empire 9th/10th.

Contributed by Sandra & Mike.

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