FORMERLY REMEMBER THE EIGHTIES.COM
PETER COYLE (THE LOTUS EATERS) INTERVIEW [2006]

IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING, BUT FINALLY YOU'RE ABOUT TO RELEASE YOUR NEW ALBUM 'MELTDOWN FOR THE MINDLESS'... HOW DOES IT FEEL TO FINALLY HAVE IT COMING OUT?

It feels good, it feels creative, it feels like I am doing the right thing, it feels it feels it feels...

IT'S A GREAT ALBUM AND I'M SURE THAT YOU COULD HAVE GOT A FAR WIDER RELEASE WITH ANOTHER LABEL SO WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO PUT IT OUT, INITIALLY AT LEAST, VIA THIS IS NOT RETRO?

That is very kind of you to say. As far as others are concerned I am invisible, I am of no use... that is not self-pity talk, it is the truth. I have no standing and I don’t really want it, I know what I can and can’t offer and the day I am just vanity I’m off. I have tried to interact with the business ever since I started but it is quite frankly horrible and weird, everyone follows one another like they are in some weird party and they are so knee-jerk like. Oops there goes my deal with 666 Corporation inc! Whenever I walk in I feel like I am wearing ostrich feathers on my head, I just don’t belong. I never did and I never will, I don’t belong because I am different, I am not just pure 'self self self', I believe in things and it does not coincide with the ethos of the record industry.

I was brought up on truly magnificent artists like Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Peter Hammill, Kate Bush, Marvin Gaye, Magazine, Public Image Ltd, Brian Eno... these people weren’t famous to me, they were family! They were all that I was interested in; they were my education, my emotional bedrock. They got me through life and they still get me through! Now maybe I am just a dick and I should get with it and follow Oasis or something but without being disrespectful to them I am a big Beatles fan and The White Album is probably my number one album and once you’ve had the real thing then why would you want a pastiche? Now I realise that is a hugely minority view but it is what I think...

Stina Nordenstaam there’s an artist; she has made a difference to the world of music. Very original and very special, she has changed things. Sorry I am getting muddle headed again as usual! I like intelligent, thoughtful, fresh human beings personalities as such are so dull and much of music is about your personality and image and image wise I don’t do heroin and I hate what drugs do to people. Having said that I had a dream that I gave Georgie-boy Bush and Osama The Taliban Bin Laden an ecstasy tablet each - in fact I had to take one as well because I was in the same room as them and I felt hopeless - anyway after a bit they loosened up and saw how similar they were to each other and they got on like a world on fire... oh shit it wasn’t a dream.

Where was I? Image; the surface, the mad bubble we all embrace. Look I’m 44, I’m ugly, I like reading books, I like clever people who regularly laugh when they hear anything to do with post-modernism. I’m boring and soon I will be gone and I have nothing in common with rock stars or their lifestyles...

What was the question? Oh yes, why This Is Not Retro? Because it is run by a really good man who cares about things and is sincere and believes in things. Simple as that really!

YOU DON'T SEEM TO HAVE A LOT OF TIME FOR THE MUSIC INDUSTRY... IS THIS BASED ON SPECIFIC EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD?

Car industries sell cars, sex industries sell sex, war industries sell war machines but the music industry sells fucking popcorn - do I sound bitter? I don’t mean to but someone has to say something and lots of people are. Popcorn has its place but why isn’t music allowed to have its place? And all these so called intelligent publications doing these fucking mindless stupid charts, they are so fucking bland and despairing. No one believes in anything. So-called intelligent people don’t pipe up; they are careerists who politically keep their mouth shut because otherwise their career will be over. I am lucky my career is over so I can say what I want and if the so-called cream of our music publications don’t give me a review What difference will it make to me?

I would like to say that I say this on behalf of the future musicians who will be coming through. My music life is dead in the water commercially but my spirit is just as strong as it was when I was told by female journalists in the 1980’s - I know it is laughable - that I will change and all my ideals will go out the window once I’ve started to snort coke and shag women. Well shame on you for being so ahead of your times, so despairing, so incapable of believing in change, so fate driven, so cynical, so sad - broken spirited dead souls walking the streets of London. Anyway young things stay free. Don’t be a victim like that Doherty person, don’t take the easy route, just because someone gets accolades doesn’t mean they are any good, trust in music.

GIVEN YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, WHAT MAKES YOU KEEP MAKING MUSIC?

It is my destiny. It is the best thing I can do before I die, music saved my life and it is my dream to help someone get through the day. That is why I make music.

'MELTDOWN FOR THE MINDLESS' IS PERHAPS UNIQUE IN THAT THE PROJECT HAS IT'S OWN MANIFESTO WHICH IS PRINTED IN THE CD BOOKLET... WHERE DID THE IDEA OF CREATING A MANIFESTO FOR THE PROJECT COME FROM?

I’ve done it before, for the 'Slap In The Face For Public Taste' (1987) album I wrote a pop trash begging letter to all the music journalists. It was very rebellious... quite funny, very sacrilegious and extremely disrespectful to the journalists! It is just the kind of letter I would have wanted to receive if I was a journalist but I’m not and the journalists were very unhappy... still puts a smile on my face just thinking of it! I know it was reckless regarding my music career but it will put a smile on my face on my deathbed!

The manifesto now is a lot more serious, it has nothing to do with me in the sense that it is about the fact we are in big, big trouble. After the Second World War we all said 'never again we have learned war is over' and here we are marching like catwalk models to the most vicious of all bloodbaths. I can feel the momentum gathering. It is the war of closed mind against closed mind. My only hope is that women will put on a nice pair of shoes and kick these stupid violent monsters out of power once and for all...

Sorry, the manifesto is about the deep malaise in all our lives; we are being drowned in cynicism. It is a weird psychological experiment going on and only very few people realise it is happening... we are becoming even more automated and robotic, the human being that makes mistakes - that snags her tights - is being lost in this mentality of the work place and the television. We love to belong but we are making terrible choices, the supermarkets are not benevolent corporations, everything is sanitized, everything is based around our needs to live and live. Who cares about the monkeys if we find a cure for Parkinsons? Well I care. I hereby state if I get Parkinsons and a cure is found by experimenting on animals I don’t want the medicine.

We are losing the plot... I know I sound like a madman but if you live in a world where people have switched off their hearts and minds we have got a big, big problem. I used to wonder what it would be like living in Nazi Germany, being German but hating Hitler with all your heart during the war. How would you cope and how could you survive? Well I think it is getting near to that now, people... too many of them are closed minds, followers, sheep victims, call them what you will but they are the majority and unless something is done the momentum will gather and the endless cycle of suffering will be ratcheted up a million knots. How cheery am I!?

IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE MANIFESTO WILL BE PUT TO WIDER USE... PERHAPS BY BRINGING IN OTHER ARTISTS WITH SIMILAR CONVICTIONS, THAT SORT OF THING? THE MUSIC RESISTANCE YOU MENTION...

I would love it if musicians helped one another more, I think collaboration is the key to humanising the music space and making it more emotional and healing. For example I love it when people are out of context so if Oasis invited Stina Nordenstaam to write and sing one of their new songs I think that would be brilliant for the world and for the two artists.

It's a very punk rock attitude isn't it? But through technology and especially the internet it does seem increasingly possible to pretty much cut out the mainstream music industry and go back to the DIY ethic that made punk so exciting...

Punk was full of shit, that Sex Pistols manager Malcolm Maclaren was - and is - no different to Peter Waterman, only one criteria; power. Public Image Ltd was something different altogether but punk was about as revolutionary as ZZ Top... now I like ZZ Top and I like some punk records but revolution it was not. Public schoolboys encouraging people to spit - if somebody made it up you wouldn’t believe it!

Talking of punk one of my favourite albums was the first Siouxsie album with Helter Skelter - that was something new and interesting, also Mark Stewart with we are all prostitutes, ah music to my ears! And let us not forget the anthem of this century and the last, 'Totally Wired' by The Fall, one of the greatest songs ever written.

THIS MIGHT SOUND WEIRD BUT I FEEL THAT THERE'S SOMETHING VERY PUNK ABOUT YOUR MUSIC... NOT THE DELIVERY OF IT BUT PERHAPS THE ATTITUDES IN IT. I FIND THAT 'MELTDOWN FOR THE MINDLESS' IS VERY MUCH AN IRON FIST IN A VELVET GLOVE LYRICALLY - IT SOUNDS MELODIC AND LIGHT BUT IT'S VERY DARK...

Meltdown is a dark album but I have embedded that because I know it is hard to believe, but I think it is really important to allow the listener the space to get what he or she wants from it. Obviously I have put images in there but the process of listening to music is so magical it always best to leave it up to them. Having said that there is hope there, there is always hope.

A LOT OF PEOPLE READING THIS INTERVIEW WILL ONLY REALLY KNOW YOU FOR YOUR WORK WITH THE LOTUS EATERS, SPECIFICALLY 'FIRST PICTURE OF YOU' WHICH HAS BECOME SOMETHING OF A CLASSIC SONG BUT YOU'VE DONE SO MANY THINGS SINCE THEN; COLLABORATIONS, ALBUMS, SONGWRITING AND EVEN RUNNING CLUBS - CAN YOU BRING US UP TO DATE WITH THAT JOURNEY?

Yes I am a one hit wonder who wants to be a two hit wonder, who loves all kinds of music except violent macho rap...

CLUB AND DANCE CULTURE SEEMS LIKE A VERY LONG WAY FROM 'FIRST PICTURE OF YOU'...

It is, and it was an incredible journey. I am so lucky to have been involved in the dance thing when it was new, before the moneymen got their hands on it. I dance like a whore and I can’t help it, and I don’t want to help it.

YOU'VE TAKEN YOUR MUSIC IN SO MANY DIRECTIONS THAT IT'S QUITE BEWILDERING - WHICH OF THEM (IF ANY!) BEST REFLECT THE TRUE YOU?

None of it reflects me. I am not really there, I do my best to get out of the music process, all I do is collect the money if any is made but people are complex or should be and I don’t understand musicians who don’t experiment and try different things. It is important to be natural and I do my best to be natural.

WRITING 'ALL I WANT' WITH IAN BROUDIE FOR THE LIGHTENING SEEDS IS A BIT OF A HIGHLIGHT FOR ME BECAUSE I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THE 'CLOUDCUCKOOLAND' ALBUM... ANY CHANCE OF DOING MORE WORK WITH IAN?

No chance. I was very grateful to Ian for giving me the chance to actually earn something but it was very much a one off thing.

THE LOTUS EATERS REFORMED A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO AND YOU MADE AN ALBUM AND EVEN DID SOME TOURING... IS THE PROJECT STILL ALIVE, AND IF SO WHAT CAN WE EXPECT NEXT?

Nothing. Maybe in another 17 years we will make another album but there are no immediate plans to release the album we have already recorded six years ago or record the album we wrote three years ago.

HOW IMPORTANT TO THE PETER COYLE STORY IS THE FACT THAT YOU COME FROM LIVERPOOL? THERE WAS CERTAINLY A VERY STRONG SCENE IN THE CITY IN THE EIGHTIES...

Very! I love Liverpool. It is my home town, it is my blood and it is even closer to me now that I don’t live there anymore. I love my mum, I love my sisters, I love my friends I wish I could see them more but yes I miss Liverpool very much. What other city would knock down the place where The Beatles played? Only Liverpool. Liverpool is a complex place and even though there are a lot of big personalities there I loved it because there are people there who would not see you starve, they would show you kindness... they have survived terrible hardships and yet they still have so much to give. Not everyone is like that obviously but yes it has a big heart and I am deeply proud of coming from there no matter how many mindless thugs do their best to smear the name, they are not the majority.

Liverpool is synonymous with music, it is part of the fabric of surviving everyday life and it is an escape. Liverpool people know how to party; they know how to have a good time. Inhibitions get lost in Liverpool and music is one amazing way of getting lost!

WHO WERE THE INFLUENCES THAT GOT YOU INTO MUSIC, AND WHO INFLUENCES YOU TODAY?

The things that influence me today are natural, I love trees and grass and birds and silence. I love music but there is so much that it is hard to pick out stuff... anything new where people are making an effort rather than doing what they think they should be doing. I think Darren Emmerson is great and I like a lot of the people working with new technology and old technology together... oh there is just too many and I can never think when anyone asks me that question! Having said that if I heard River Man by Nick Drake that sends me anything that sends me the way that does... Ian Curtis from Joy Division does it too. I love real, we all do, just give me more of it.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PARTICULAR AMBITIONS FOR THE 'MELTDOWN FOR THE MINDLESS' PROJECT?

Yes I want it with all my heart to be a fitting tribute to Daisy Graff. Even though we never met I feel this bond with her and just like she did her best I have done my best with the album.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU?

Well I would like to send some copies of the album to all the great musicians who helped with the album. Mainly Ronnie Stone, Duncan Ross and Peter Paddock and I would like to buy Nick and Richard a drink while I sip on an Irn Bru WKD... how sad!

JUNE 2006

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