Gimme gimme shock treatment
Outrage is the game, Siouxsie and the Banshees is the name
"I've tried. I've really tried. But I can't cope with fucking noise." (Sue Catwoman)
And the name of the band is... Siouxsie Sioux (vocals) Steven Deville (bass) P.T. Fenton (guitar) Kenny (drums). Not since the coming of the Sex Pistols has a band incurred such hatred as Siouxsie and the Banshees. When this lot play a gig, which isn't too often, it's like throwing a party in a graveyard.
"I've seen more action in a geriatrics ward", Siouxsie Sioux was once heard to protest as an audience of stuffed prunes slits its eyes and waited for the guitars to turn into ME262's and World War III to erupt from the drum kit. Hey, maybe if it had they would have got off!
Right from the beginning there was something beautifully perverse about the Banshees. It wasn't the ingenious name, it wasn't that Billy Idol once played guitar for them, or even that the unique Sid Vicious was their drummer at the infamous 100 Club festival. No, it was their modus operandi which set them light years apart from the one chord wonders.
"That 100 Club gig/the intention was to play one number until they threw us off the stage/but they never did/we had to end it." Aftermath: Siouxsie sounded like a cat being castrated! A song based around the Lord's Prayer? A challenge back when punk was punk and not an embarrassing label, and nobody rose to the occasion. So will you *ever* get it up?
One year on it's the Nazi vibe that is holding back the potential hordes: Siouxsie and the Banshees reckon Belsen was a gas! It's more akin to Visconti's "The Damned" than the Third Reich, but feed the flames and you'll get a blaze: "I love getting people's backs up. It's like laughing at spastics..." (Siouxsie) "What's 'nihilism'?" (Steve)
Now, I wouldn't waste yours and my time if I didn't think Siouxsie and the Banshees' music was red hot. When you've been weaned on the Stooges' "Sister Ray" and "Horses," you don't bust a gut for nothing--no matter how orgasmic the lead singer's looks are.
There is no picture sleeve single to recommend because, as of speaking, no record company will touch Siouxsie and the Banshees with a barge pole. They call the band "fascists" (well, it's one better than horror at four letter words on T.V. during tea time). The band does not even possess it's own equipment, all it does have is one very devoted soul in manager Nils. He arranged the session to record a demo tape, which I begged to be allowed to attend.
I tell you man, if the Banshees curled up and died tomorrow, they would have fulfilled their promise twice over with the bootleg "Love In A Void." Velvet Underground guitar/icy intonations: "Love in a void/It's so numb/Avoid in love/It's so dumb."
Then there is "Make-up To Break Up" for all you girls freaking out because you've stuck your brush stick mascara slap bang in your eyeball again: "Blood pouring from my eyes...my face is cracking up/my face is cracking up." But if sickness is your bag (and if you truly profess to love Lou Reed and to go "down with the pretty mus-ick," it should be) then, "Be a car crash... be limblessly in love/be limblessly in love" for "Carcass." Yeah, Johnny said it's something you feel for a cat or a dog. Captain Scarlett--now *he's* made out of steel.
So where *are* the Banshees coming from when Siouxsie shoots that pretty arm in the air? Well, for a band whose songs are like a nervous breakdown they are a remarkably cheerful lot, but then they do list Vincent Price and cheapo horror stories as a major influence (the Banshees on the subject of euthanasia: "It's awful. You can't get on the bus for 'em..." (Faaabulous!) They also admit their debt to Bowie. "People said we were negative--thankfully 'Low/The Idiot' did not escape *everyone* in the rush for free Clash singles."
"I'm your toy/your 20th Century boy" (20th Century Boy.) It's not poison. It won't harm you (yet). Siouxsie and the Banshees!