Grave Concerns: Back in 1983, I was just 7 years old and never heard of the Specimen until the late 90’s on several music compilations, and now in 2007, I am really listening to your music in full for the first time. What do you say to new listeners like me about your band and your music now?
Turn it up quite loud! The record does refer to the music that influenced us at the Batcave and some that followed, as well as hints at our own sound, though maybe not as blatant as you’d expect. The band includes some new blood as well as collaborations with older members, it’s an ongoing evolution.
Grave Concerns: Take us back to that day in San Francisco in January 2006? What was the vibe like together, even before that date?
I was surprised at how well the old songs worked. It was just done for fun, so the vibe was good…. I’d been in touch with Tim a lot through my Banshee days, and see Jonny Slut from time to time, but hadn’t really seen Olli since the 80’s as he’d been traveling –it’s been great to meet again and find out we still have a lot in common.
It was really exciting to meet Kimba for the 1st time as I’d heard a lot about his crazy ways (he has a cave in his house where many strange puppets live!) T.bias and Steph also worked hard to try and understand the direction of the music.
Grave Concerns: What kind of decision was it to come back with Electric Ballroom? Were you hesitant or ready for a new beginning?
I guess I was possibly hesitant, but I simply took it as an opportunity to make ‘a record’ more than to resurect the past. This may have been niave in some respects, and time will tell, but you have to take risks and stir things up sometimes! The record made itself, and I let it be what it seemed to be trying to be.
Grave Concerns: Over the years, I am sure you have been influenced by a lot of different things. I am sure the 80,& 90s had a lot of different influences but, what influences you now? How are the Glam/ Goth/ Metal scene in your eyes now?
In the 80’s we were often seen as ‘out of place’ 10 years to late, or 10 years too eaely as someone put it!…we didn’t fit into any mainstream pop cultures of that era. I think the glam scene later ended up back in Rock’n’Roll (which is where much of it started in the UK), the Goth scene has moved towards dance/rave music, and the Metal Scene dresses up (certainly more than it did in the early days). None of this is nececarilly a bad thing… I guess scenes have to evolve to stay alive.
Grave Concerns: Do you have more following from the Goth scene, Glam or metal at this time? Where do you like to be categorized?
We have people coming from all 3. Music is generally is a lot more hybrid than it used to be, so audiences cross over.
Grave Concerns: Are you still part of a scene where you are from, especially the whole Batcave scene?
I’ve never really stayed in one place long enough. By 1985 the Batcave was over, though there are people I’ve kept in touch with, as well as those that kept appearing during my time with the Banshees. I was working with Goth bands in the 90’s which is when I hung out at the Electric Ballroom. Come the millennium I started traveling again…. Ive probably been to more Goth clubs in the USA than I have in the UK.
Grave Concerns: Since, 'Azoic' which, was released in 1997 on Jungle Records, have you been doing anything else musically? If not, what have you been keeping busy with these last 10 years?
I was working with many different people over that period. After the final Siouxsie and the Banshees album, I worked with Sinead O’Connor for a while, and gradually got more involved in record production working on many different projects (something I’d always wanted to do) as producer/writer/musican. I’ve also done a fine art degree specializing in film making and made a couple of theatre soundtracks, the last one in 2006 in was in China.
Grave Concerns: Since 1983 to 2007 and looking at the current scene, was this a fitting time to have the new album?
Some people seem divided over this question, for those who like it… it’s a good time!
Grave Concerns: What CD’s would we find in your CD player?
I’ve just got back from Japan, and have a CD by a Japanese band called ‘ELLEGARDEN’
Grave Concerns: Do you miss the old days in the 80’s and the whole Batcave scene? Doesn’t seem like there are not too many bands left from that era?
I really have only just stopped to reflect on that era. It was fun and really crazy! it was really part of my growing up, though there’s still some old friends I’d like to see!
There are not many bands left, though quite a few people from that scene are still doing music….I still work with Martin McCarrick, I saw Andy Sex Gang’s show a while ago… and of course the Alien Sex Fiend live!
Grave Concerns: Do you have a favorite club now and city for playing?
Favorite club…. Not really, but I enjoyed Jonny Slut’s ‘Nag Nag Nag’ a few years ago… it’s been going a surprisingly long time, but you can’t really maintain that excitement forever.
My personal favorite city for playing was a while ago in Shanghai… it looked like a set from ‘Blade Runner’ and was totally unpredictable… they call it the ‘Wild East’ for a reason!
Grave Concerns: For new fans just experiencing Specimen, would they compare your vocals to maybe like Marilyn Manson?
I guess it’s hard not to be a little influenced by Maralyn Manson… but really we all got it from Iggy Pop.
Grave Concerns: Do you still liking having your music being tagged as “A Heavy Metal Glam, Punk Sleaze outfit …” (NME 1983)”
That doesn’t worry me either way, it houses those elements for sure…. Tags and categories are a fact of life.
Grave Concerns: By 1984 “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” had become a well-known dance floor favourite? Is it still or will something new from Electric Ballroom take its place?
It’s real hard to predict those favourites… ‘Kiss Kiss’ was a B-side, but just took on it’s own life.
Grave Concerns: How true, “Nothing Last Forever”, one of my new favorite songs. Can you tell us more about how you ended up with the final product of this song?
Nothing lasts forever started as a personal reflection …having lost a few people close to me, but the song grew grew to include a more slightly arch angle on some life’s encounters. The guitar riff was one that had been in my closet for 20 years. I wanted a dark verse to float into a more poetic chorus.
Grave Concerns: Will there be more releases to follow, now that you are with Metropolis-Records? I mean, I hope there is not another 10 years in between CD releases.
The future is, as ever, un-written, so we’ll all have to wait and see where it takes us as regards Gigs and future releases. I am also collaborated with Olli Wisdom on his ‘Space Tribe’ and ‘ESP’ projects.
Grave Concern: For those who questioned your make-up style, music , etc. What tips do you have for them now?
The make up helped provoke people back in the day, and the girls seemed to like it!
There was always the danger, though, that it would over shadow the music.
Grave Concerns: Thanks for talking with us. Any final thoughts?
Nice talking to you, come and visit the site at: www.specimenbatcave.net
…..There’s new and old pix, archive video, and snippets of the new album up there.
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