Around twenty years ago, our fanzine The Weedbus did an end of year Readers' Poll, as we thought we were the NME or something. Anyway, Prolapse won the Best Band category fair and square so we chased them for an interview. We usually did interviews in person with bands when they visited Belfast, or sometimes their press people sorted out "phoners" for us, but with Prolapse we decided to conduct it via the Royal Mail, with written communication from our PO Box to theirs. This took ages, and if I recall it properly, it only really took shape when Linda started coordinating the band's replies. The results are below, it's quite fanziney, a bit silly, and I'm pleased to say they answered some of our questions with their tounge firmly in cheek, but I'm posting it here for posterity. We never did get Scottish Mick's replies....
Winners of our last substantial reader's poll, Prolapse are returning to the public eye with a fantastic new single 'Killing the Bland' and an album due in September on Radar records, owned by Warner Brothers. With the help of vocalist Linda I managed to get most of the band to complete a postal interview - apart from Scottish Mick that is, whose answers may appear at a later date! Otherwise it all went smoothly, so here are the results....
How did the band first get together?
Mick (bass): "In 1979 myself, Tim (drums), Scottish Mick (vocalist) and Pat (guitar) were fishing for squid just off the boundary surrounding Ben Nevis. Pat caught three squids and a girl called Linda who despite being covered in coral and sharks teeth was singing a very good version of 'Don't Slip Up' by Meat Whiplash. Scottish Mick only succeeded in catching a bag of eels, Tim caught loads of plankton (which he still has in a jam jar). I was having a bad day, I only caught an amoeba called Dave Jeffries. Prolapse was formed."
Why did you only issue one album on Cherry Red ('Pointless Walks to Dismal Places' 1995)?
Pat: "The label discovered that my brother had been in the infamous Cherry Red outfit The Tights!"
Dave: "They had a dramatic reshuffle and all of their bands fell out of the pack."
Since then Lissy's has been releasing most of your material - what's the set up there?
D: "Lissy's is run by Jamie from the Rough Trade Shop in Covent Garden and basically he puts out records that he likes."
Linda: "Jamie gave us a few fivers to record a single for his label and we ended up recording a whole album ('Backsaturday') by accident."
Would you rather release one-off singles or albums?
L: "Six and two threes - they both have good and bad points."
D: "I don't buy singles and I would like to think that we're able to do both, but I'm not sure that we're capable of either!"
You've now signed a 'proper' deal with Radar, who are owned by Warner Brothers. How is this going to affect things?
L: "We wouldn't sign if there was a whiff of us getting pushed into anything. There would be no point."
D: "We don't know. They seem pretty open to us as an entity. Artistic control is pretty important, but record companies have product to sell, so... let's wait and see, eh?"
What are your immediate plans?
D: "We're in the studio working on the new album with Donald Ross Skinner (ex- Julian Cope, Baba Louie) and plans are to tour pretty soon."
What annoys you about the current music scene?
L: "Anything to do with corporate manipulation."
D: "Where do I start? Most of the music, the national music press, the touring agent competition, the London-centredness as usual."
P: "The current music scene is mainly either bland or ultra-conservative or both."
What inspires you about the current music scene?
P: "One of the things is that at least people are more likely to listen to a broad range of influences - from Tibetan throat music to Lee Hazelwood."
D: "I'm supposed to say something about the way in which the DIY ethic is coming back and Bis are getting on TOTP even without a record deal. However, it doesn't mean anything to me personally and beware of what you read about Bis 'cos they had a huge publishing deal before their much publicised TOTP appearance."
L: "Really what inspires me is the occasional gig/ single which makes me go I LOVE THIS - ie Broadcast/ The Yummy Fur (gigs) and those two Tiger singles, among (few) others."
Are there any current bands you particularly rate?
L: "As well as Broadcast, the Yummy Fur, Tiger, there's Stereolab, Papas Fritas... shit I hate questions like this cos my mind goes blank!"
P: "Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Stereolab."
D: "Apart from Stereolab and a great band called Juno, there's not much worth shouting about. Drum n bass is best - in patches mind!"
What about influences? Tell us what you think of the constant Fall/ Stereolab/ Krautrock comparisons.
P: "Musically I think the comparisons are reasonable. I personally listen to a lot of Krautrock stuff - I can remember my brother's band doing a cover of 'Hero' by Neu!"
D: "All three are an influence on me personally, but it needs to be said that Prolapse were listening to Kraut stuff at the same time as Stereolab and before they started releasing records."
L: "All Prolapse people have different influences. Don't know what mine are but I'd hazard a guess at Dusty Springfield/ Kim Gordon/ loony bin inmates. As for the Stereolab/ Krautrock thing - we and Stereolab are different interpretations of similar influences so it's slightly peeving when people say 'Prolapse are influenced by Stereolab' cos that makes us a different generation which isn't the case. We LOVE Stereolab - but we are their spiritual cousins, not their proteges... or something."
Your onstage tension, particularly in 'Tina, This Is Matthew Stone' is semi-legendary. Do you all get on?
L: "Yes, but every member of the band has been in a fight with another member. Except Pat!"
Who is Matthew Stone anyway?
D: "Matthew Stone is the lead character, played by William Shatner, in a really bad film called 'Impulse'. He plays a psycho, though not very well."
P: "It's an amazingly bad film - it has to be seen to be believed."
There are a lot of European references in the songs - do you feel more European than British?
D: "I'm afraid to say I'm British despite being Welsh and having lived in Brussels and Dublin. I certainly think we're a very British band."
L: "I don't feel at all European. Europe's a funny old stick if you ask me."
P: "Usually, especially when touring abroad I realise there are some good things about Britain but mainly it's on a downward spiral. The anti-European stuff in the press and from politicians irritates me. You only have to go out on a Saturday night in Leicester to realise what a fucked-up country we're living in."
Finally, what are the best and worst things in life? Get the worst out of the way first!
P: "Kula Shaker, nightclubs, Jim Davidson, Birmingham New Street station, Man Utd, getting out of bed, marmalade, flying, loud music, ginger cake."
D: "Being in a band, seriously! Touring. Too many bad bands to mention. Not being able to spend all my time with my family."
M: "People who eat loudly, getting up early, Noel Edmonds, Ocean Colour Scene, baked bean stains on black jeans, food dribbling from mouths, halitosis, Robin Williams, Jeremy Beadle, Hitler, rich students, posters of blokes with babies, Elvis Presley, Frank Skinner, Suggs, Eric Hall, smell of vomit and crap, Neneh Cherry, Alanis Morrisette, the powdery scrapings at the end of a packet of Golden Virginia, being in Prolapse."
L: "Those moments when you think I HATE MYSELF AND I WANT TO POP MY CLOGS IF ONLY IT WASN'T SO PAINFUL/ MESSY/ EASY AND ANYWAY I MIGHT FEEL BETTER ONE DAY."
And the best?
D: "My family - partner Penny, daughter Ella (3 1/2), son Isaac (7 months). Art. 'Composition for 16 Musicians' Steve Reich, 'Ascension' John Coltrane, reading philosophy and generally being pretentious. Rolling Stones circa 1968- 1972."
P: "UK Gold, Guinness, Sandy Denny, Coronation Street, weasels, stoats and polecats, anything with a long body, piercing eyes and sharp teeth, Everton winning (rare, I admit), Bamboozle."
L: "Those moments when you think I LOVE THIS..."
Interview co-ordinated by Jonathan, with the help of Linda from the band