Eddie (voice, keyboard) , Creepy (guitar), Ratty (bass) and Blob (drums) are collectively known as Bad Tune Men, a decent South (of ) London bunch who first tried to burrow into the nation’s conscience in 1985 with a 7″ on their own Nonchalant label: Do The Swamp/ Dark Ages. The only word Creepy could subsequently find to describe the A-side is “turgid”. Be warned, ‘Do the Watusi’ it is not. The other track, a comment on religion, is by far the better of the two tracks and at the time of this interview still featured in their live set.
Do you think your first single was a good move?
Blob: No, I don’t think so. We went into the studio without much experience; we booked three days and we tried to overproduce it. We didn’t have much idea what was going on and we didn’t get much of the feel that we generate live.
Why did you make a record so early on?
Creepy: As with any band you think that people are immediately going to latch onto you and buy your record, whereas in fact there are so many bands around that people couldn’t give a toss about a new band. But it’s impressive from the point of view of having a new single, more impressive than sending a demo to people.
Blob: We’re now planning a 12″ cos we’ve been told by Revolver, who distribute for us, that they can shift 12″s better.
Creepy: I think we have made small in roads to the press. I think people have heard of us even if they haven’t heard us.
Blob: We’re capable of doing a lot better than the first single.
You can pay £3 for three tracks on a 12″ but you could fit those three tracks on a 7″.
Creepy: The good thing about 12″ers is that you get better sound quality if you’re just gonna put four tracks on. I’d hope that we’d be able to sell it at £1.99. So I think that’s not too bad.
Blob: Let’s put more than four on, shall we ?
Creepy: You’ve convinced us.
The single has an insert which tackles religious issues….
Blob: We are four complete individuals. We formed by adverts in the music papers. Politically we’re all completely different. Ed’s the song writer and lyric writer and he, unfortunately, isn’t here today. He’s the one who wrote the insert for the single. I don’t agree with it.
We’re just getting to the stage where the rest of us are beginning to write other things, but he has been the main guy so far. All we’ve got in common really is a musical interest.
Are all the songs politically inclined?
Blob: No, some of them are just love songs. My personal attitude is that a lot of our music is over complicated and it’s got far too much going on all at the same time. I’m interested in doing tracks with just drums and vocals and a bit of atmospheric noise going on. I think Ed’s lyrics are a bit over complicated as well. If you had them all written out you could spend hours analysing them. He puts a lot of work and time into it, and I’d like to do something different from that – very straight forward.
Creepy: From a musician’s point of view it’s very hard to play.
Do you play any cover versions?
Creepy: On the odd occasion we have. We did I’m A Believer, that was one of our big ones.
Blob: We once did Pretty Vacant as an encore and everyone went beserk, throwing themselves about and we’d really like to see them doing that to our songs.
Creepy: There are probaly two types of band: there’s the band that you go and watch and there’s the band that you go and enjoy. We’re the band that you don’t enjoy!
Do you do a spoof of the Duran Duran song, Girls On Film?
Creepy: We play a song called Bad Tune and in the middle of it it’s got a little medley of songs which we just find amusing to do. Yeah, it’s got Girls On Film, and All Around The World by The Jam, and Follow The Leaders. We’ve done all sorts of things in the middle bit. We did Sheena Easton: Nine To Five. It’s supposedly a statement on the charts.
Blob: It’s just songs that we’ve noticed. Some of them we like and some of them we hate.
Live the band play a very chaotic music which is kept above water by Blob and Ratty’s rigid backbeat. When I saw them at Hammersmith’s Clarendon, Ed and Creepy were decked out in suitably wacky stage outfits – in line with their stage personae. The rhythm section wear a more sober uniform.
Creepy: We’re not supposed to be funny, but because of the way the rhythm’s set out – that it’s undanceable – we can’t see any reaction evoked in the audience, so the only way we can evoke it is to do something weird. Because we’re probably weird looking people, it looks funny.
Do you always wear your stage clothes?
Creepy: Yeah, I’ve got a small wardrobe now. It’s supposed to be serious but most of the time when we’re doing something like that we’re taking the piss out of ourselves, and out of everyone else.
Blob: We try to make an effort to stimulate the eye as well as the ear.
I felt as though there were clearly two camps in the band.
Blob: I wish the other two look more like me and the bass player.
Creepy: We wish that you looked like us, but I think it’s a reflection of your personality. Ed and I are both extrovert when it comes to doing that, and I’d feel uncomfortable if I wasn’t making a prat of myself. But then again, I’m not supposed to be funny.
Which bands do you listen to?
Blob: Public Image.
Creepy: Killing Joke. Bomb Party. This is another division: me and Blob liking the Bomb Party, the other two absolutely hate them.
Blob: The other two really like Stump, and we don’t really like them.
Where do you see yourselves in the independent scene?
Blob: I hope we don’t fit in there at all really. I don’t think we’re closely ripping anyone off, like you could say ‘Jesus and Mary Chain’ or anything like that I hope we’re something new.
Blob, do you play violin as well as drums?
Blob: I’d say it’s my Public Image influences there. I like to try recording my own stuff in my bedroom. We do that quite often. Violin appeals to me, you can make a real horrible noise with it: screeching. It did actually make an appearance on the first single.
Have you been to Bumbles Wine Bar, in Acton High Street?
Twizzle (Creepy’s brother): Yes, I have. It was quite interesting. Very cramped, very small. It’s got a good atmosphere: one of chaos. I quite liked it. I saw the Beach Bums: a wacky surf band. They do a really good version of the Trumpton fire brigade song. Bad Karma Beckons was the other band.
Creepy: We’ve been banned from The Greyhound in Fulham Palace Road. We played there and it was the only place that ever really hated us. The bloke really disliked us.
Blob: We’ve got a live tape of that gig and you can hear him saying in between songs “It’s terrible, it’s fucking awful, it’s not even entertainment”. I enjoy that response from people as much as a good response.
Creepy: Love us or hate us, but don’t ignore us!
Do The Swamp / Dark Ages 7″ (Nonchalant)
Jail Head Rack 12″ (Nonchalant)