House of Dolls Interview
Aug-Sept 1988

Is Your Washroom Breeding Bolsheviks?
You may think not, but can you really be so sure?

Interviewed by Napoleon Solo.

"Most of the people who get into the Neurotics have our music AND ideas reverberating in them... we have very thoughtful fans, people who are struggling to find their own identity, people who are starting to feel their way into the world of politics, not just the 'Oh I fink you're a really good band' type of thing."

Steve Drewett

One thing you can be certain of , however, is that this is the really quite good title for THE NEUROTICS really pretty bloody good new LP. Steve Drewett, Simon Lomond and Colin Dredd have been whomping out their music to an adoring section of This Great Land's public for some time now without the plaudits and column inches they surely deserve. Let's see if we can change this lamentable state of affairs a little.

What do people expect of The Neurotics Steve?
"I think the public conception of The Neurotics has been a victim of what I would call Lazy journalism. When people come to The Neurotics we've always been pushed into this hard line politico punk band type of thing, which is a very easy way of trying to categorise us.
Sometimes that's fair enough because there's not always time or space to go any deeper than that, but more or less from the time of the first record, what people in the main have missed out are the depths you can find in our music which aren't normally associated with the medium we work in.
First impressions are visually of a three piece punk band but there's so much going on both musically and lyrically. When the first album came out, about 1981, everybody was going on about Reagan and Thatcher and how the world's gonna blow up and we're all gonna die, and we were writing songs with references to 'The Myth Of Sisyphus','My Death' was about the ultimate intellectual decision about whether it is really better to live or die...
all the way through the twelve songs there are cross-references, double meanings, tongue-in-cheek bits, but of-course when it comes round to getting a review, unless you're Bruce Springsteen or something, there's only a certain amount of space the review has. So it tends to go straight for the common denominator, which is the three piece punk band type of thing."

So how do you want to be seen and heard?
"I see it as a sort of tapestry of emotion, intellectual asides, Irony. The only people who do realise this , really are the people who buy our records. There's not too many, I think, who buy our records just because they're loud and they've got powerful guitars on them and all that.
Most of the people who get into the Neurotics have our music AND ideas reverberating in them...we have very thoughtful fans, people who are struggling to find their own identity, people who are starting to feel their way into the world of politics, not just the 'Oh I fink you're a really good band' type of thing."

Do you feel a lot of personal responsibility goes with your role in the band then?
"It's just a question of being responsible with your replies to what-ever people might ask or say to you. You don't have to give them all the answers. All you can do is point out that you're as befuddled about that question or you're as human as anybody else, and they appreciate that
. I mean all human life is there. We've had babies conceived to our music and the kids named after members of the band. We've even had pictures sent of the children growing up! We get quite a few letters and I keep them all, it's so valuable to get that sort of response. We get things from people in the depths of despair from the North (of England) or something with no job, no money and no prospects and they hate what's happening in this country and the media and the music that's happening means nothing to them, apart form the Neurotics, and they plead with us, and I really do mean PLEAD, 'don't split up, you're all I've got'. These letters mean more than any superficial accoutrements of any popstar kind of thing."

Do songs as wonderful as 'Never Thought' (if you still haven't got it, get it) flow easily from your writers' pen?
"Well, it's easy to write songs but it's very, very difficult to write good meaningful songs. I want everything to be multi-faceted. I've tended to tone it down a bit for 'Bolsheviks' of the criticisms leveled at the first LP, this from an 'Average Joe' I met, was that it was too wordy, and I think that's probably true, though Mark E. Smith of the Fall is just like a never ending barrage of words, isn't he... I thought it would be a change to sort of simplify things a bit but that makes it more difficult, it's hard to express an enormous amount meaningfully within the lyrical context of a three minute song, though it can be done.
The blue print really is to make a relevant statement in an unusual way with an eloquence and ease so you can sort of fall into the song without having to make any great effort to 'understand'. I think the new single will win hearts and minds."

Why has mega-star status so far evaded you?
"Well, it's weird because we've got massive success in East Germany... when we go there we get the best hotels, the best sound systems, the lot, but you can't take any money out of there so one day we're being treated like gods and the next day back over here, two of the band are on the dole and haven't got two pennies to rub together.
It's like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, really, really weird. It's an experience that was so enriching and rewarding on a personal level to see what it must be like to be put on a pedestal all the time. People can so easily get a band together and get successful and lose sight of what they actually want as human beings, and that can cause so much aggravation... what was that thing that Jamie Reid or somebody said... after the Pistols split, Johnny Rotten should have become a hairdresser... I mean that's a sort of fairy tale ending in reverse, but it's got a nice ring to it.
There is far more important things in life to worry about than how hugely successful The Neurotics will or will not be over here. What it all comes down to is that at the end of the day you've got to hold your head up and say 'I achieved this'. It doesn't matter what level it's on but it's got to be something that's made you a better human being. I mean, the music business has destroyed so many people."

Do you feel there are many like minded souls out there?
"I feel a great affinity with these blues players who play music basically all their lives, until they drop dead. People pouring out their souls year after year regardless of the fact that they're being ignored and completely outside the music industry. The world is going mad around you, you need some sense of reality."
What was the first record you ever bought?
"These Boots Are Made For Walking' by Nancy Sinartra. Its got a great bass line. It goes

'boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom...'

And there's more booms where they come from. If your washroom is breeding a hideous kind of musical apathy at the moment, the very best thing to do in the whole wide world may be to invest in some of this 'ere Neurotics stuff. At the time of this interview the band was just off to headline at a festival for some one hundred and ten thousand people. Now wouldn't it be nice to give a little home recognition to what must be one of our finest exports?

Return to non-frames menu

Steve Drewett on stage in Blois, France Photo: John Mortimer
Steve Drewett on stage in Blois, France

Copyright: No Wonder Communications