Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Non*Stop Banter Questionnaire

Before we return to part two of Epic Soundtracks exhaustive interview with Alex Chilton, more reminiscences of what might have been. Yes, back at the end of 1987 we were still hoping issue 7 of WANWTTS was going to make an appearance early in 1988. Our resident caricaturist DAV had even done us a poster for it:

There was also a fair amount of self-promotion going on including the following Q & A we did for Non*Stop Banter fanzine edited by Bruce and Debbie Novak in Brookfield, Illinois. I have to confess that I tended to get a bit more gritty when dealing with our American friends – all those years of reading Byron Coley's Forced Exposure and its ilk made me feel an angrier tone was more appropriate. This lead me to expressed views I may not really have held (mea culpa, Messrs Nigel Cross and Shane MacGowan). This came out in 1988 and ran along side Chemical Imbalance's Mike McGonigal answering the same questions (in more succinct fashion than I did....)

What A Nice Way To Turn Seventeen
Chris Seventeen, editor
cost: Depends on format of issue. Issue #7 (out May '88) will be 9 pounds sterling to include postage to Canada/USA.

Reason for publishing: Started out as a vanity, striving for fame if not fortune, faltered in this aim and became a profitable hobby. Gotta say though, we do it for real.

Secret Ambition: A real desire to make the magazine a regular publication. This irregular once a year bullshit is a pain, but when you provide the best it takes more than a while to put together, especially when you have the guts/gall to include a fucking compilation album with each issue. Ambition? Ditch the record, stick to the mag and really do it for real.

What do you like, or dislike, most about fanzines?: Like; just now, they've gotta be American to be worth even looking at, so we like you yankee scribes e.g. Away From The Pulsebeat, Forced Exposure, Non*Stop Banter (hey, how did that rag get in here?). And of course there's the odd French, Italian or German 'zine, but British? - walk away, Rene, I can't find one. Even Bucketfull Of Brains now bores me and I don't care if they read that. So it's the insularity, inanity and plain lack of variety that gets me in a real huff. That's a dislike, huh?

Why do people read fanzines?: They read them? Well, I used to think peoople read 'em as an alternative to the music press proper, then I reckons they read them as and assition to those gossip sheets, and now? Well I guess you read 'em both for different reasons at the same time and it's a question of which one gets thrown away last. I, for one, throw the NME away the same day I buy it (shit, be honest, the same hour I buy it). Most fanzines, even the turgid little Brit rags, stay on my shelves a while longer. So I guess it's a question of staying power, huh And hey, What A Nice Way To Turn Seventeen is not a fanzine. Guess that disqualifies us from this questionnaire!

What do you like/dislike about your local scene?: They tell me there's a skate punk scene around these parts. I aint seen it, I don't want to see it, and I hope it clears up. Seriously, the heart of the Midlands of England has no scenes to speak of – even the mini-major UK bands avoid us and the US/European?Antipodean bands visit London if we're lucky or avoid the country altogether – although I can't blame them it is a crying shame. And hey, I'll let you know when we have the delight of a local scene worth talking about.

What do you think sets your 'zine apart from others?: A willingness to enthuse over the past (a lot), the present (a little) and the future (less and less). I mean there's more sense in writing about Jerry Lee Lewis in 1988 than there is in writing about bloody Pop Will Eat Itself, in the same way there's more sense in writing about Sonic Youth in 88 than there is in writing about U2. And we're the people to do it. Watch us deliver the goods, doing it for real.

What makes you almost want to quit publishing?: Hassles with distributors, especially their lack of ambition. I mean, issue #6 , LP and magazine, sold 3,000 copies. Issue #7 has a better line-up on the LP, a bigger magazine (truly the best ever), and guess what the bloody distributors go and suggest? “Hey, let's start with 1,000 and see how it goes.” Absolute fucking bullshit that makes me want to cry. But hey, it's company policy. Screw policy, take a chance! (still 1,000 is better than none at all – see, how easily I give in......?)

Favourite unknown band?: Game Theory. Man, can Scott Miller melt my heart. Yeah yeah yeah, emotional crap, but truest of all.

Favourite band to hate?: The Pogues (but who cares that we hate 'em?) Play it fast so no-one notices the mistakes, but boy, has it all been done before!And better. And I hate them 'cause they're my sister's favourites!! But, like I say, who cares? I really only want to write about stuff I like.

Most over-rated band?: Ditto, I guess.

Favourite band who never made it?: The Rag Dolls. Sadly split long ago, but I've not given up hope yet as. All things being equal, I'll release an LP of their collected recordings before I shuffle off this mortal coil.
Favourite record label? Bam Caruso (UK) – mainly for their superb packaging and sleeve notes - sometimes for the records themselves.

What band, song, event, etc. makes you feel music is actually still important?: REM, live, still shake the earth. That's about it for me. Boring, huh? Bet nine out of ten say REM. Guess that means something.


NB. As indicated above I either never held or have subsequently revoked those views on Bucketfull Of Brains and the Pogues.....but not the Rag Dolls.

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