Throbs Interview – Bald Cactus

I sent these questions to Steve’s home address but he was on holiday so Mark (Polka Slam) very kindly passed them on to him. And the questions came back just in time for issue 1 from Aussie Land which was a nice surprise. If you haven’t heard anything by THE THROBS get their classy “MAKE HOMEBREW NOT WAR” demo, very recommended. Anyway, on with the show:_

Have you any future plans for Throbs vinyl?

Yep! We hope to get out an album or at least a mini album by the end of the year of completely new songs and probably very different to what’s on the demo. Not sure of the name of it yet but just keep your eyes peeled for it. There is a chance we may change our name as well for something more suitable to what we’re doing now as when we started out we were just a fun band doing songs about frontal lobotomy’s and baked beans.

Is Caveman sung from experience? I’m not too sure about that.

Our old guitarist Matthew Blakely used to write some strange songs and “Caveman” was one of them. It’s about a boy / girl relationship and the words just say that the boys better off without her. I don’t know if it was written from personal experience but I guess I should find out as it’s the song everybody likes (if they like any)

I love it! Why use the same music for 2 songs twice? Is this cos you were rushed for time or did you like the songs that much you thought they should be heard twice?

We wanted to put a political song on the Resist! compilation tape (“Awareness”) and only had a little time to do it so when we went into the studios a couple of days later I just wrote out the words while the others put down the music. It came out pretty well all things considered. So now you either have a song which goes “I’m a prisoner of the state _ you’re a prisoner of your fate, together we’d be a lot stronger, your freedom can’t last much longer” or in the words of our old mad guitarist “I love Una Stubbs” x 4! OK, OK, so we’re cheapskates (no trendy reference to skateboarding intended) and couldn’t do another song!

What do you think of groups like Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Dr and the Medics using their punky hairdos for their image when really their music is crap? 

I couldn’t really care!! I think it’s up to them what they do with their hair. I think punk hasn’t got anything to do with hairstyles anymore, I’m not into shocking people with triple mohicans, I don’t want to put off people from talking to me by my appearance which is what some punks do. I’ve nothing against people having mohicans and spikey hair etc, they can do what they like with it. When Dr and the Medics have appeared on my TV they just make me laugh with his pyramid of hair on his forehead and all that psychedelic colour and 60’s clothes. Have you seen their flares, more flares than a GLC fireworks display! Sigue Sigue Sputnik are just a joke of a band. I wonder what happened to them, perhaps their sponsorship from Vidal Sasson fell through. I saw Dr and the Medics last year and they were pretty good until I was sick! That’s what Glastonbury fresh air does for you! I haven’t got much hair left anyway _ next question!

Do you think all pigs are bastards (original question, eh)?

I’ve got nothing against pigs but some policemen are bastards! All the dealings I’ve had with the police in my life have been bad. They’ve never helped me when I’ve needed them and they’ve prosecuted me for things I never done. Realistically though, while we have muggers and rapists, child molesters about we do need them. I’d like to see them get into order their priorities and not just some kind of political puppet with a sledgehammer up it’s sleeve. I guess they are a necessary evil. I’d rather see people locked up than having their knee caps blown off (so called peoples justice). The trouble with prisons is that they’re full of petty criminals but that’s another story.

Will there ever be a time when it will be illegal to promote vegetarianism? I mean the way veggies / vegans are growing in the world the meat industries bound to lose out, and I’m sure the government wouldn’t want that.

I’m glad you asked me this one. I’d better state that not all the band are vegetarians and at present we do no songs about animal rights. I don’t believe that there will come a time when vegetarianism will be illegal because the meat industry has seen it coming and has been behind the “health food” boom from the start. An example of this is “Dewhurst the Butcher” who are part of the same chain who brought up “Holland and Barratt” health food chain. So now you have the unbelievably hypocritical situation of the largest breeder of of factory farm chickens telling us through advertising to buy food which doesn’t come from factory farms! They control from both sides. The government doesn’t really care as it doesn’t tax food (yet)! It’s best to buy veggie food from small independent shops or cooperatives. Just do what you can and take boycotting as far as you want.

Do you think the punk scene would collapse without zines?

I’m not sure, I consider zines to be very important in the punk scene. They cover things major music papers wouldn’t touch and are usually done by people who have a general interest in the scene and not in it for how much money they can squeeze out of it. Perhaps not everything would collapse but it would be a great loss as they’re probably better for communicating ideas than even records. If anybody wants to do a zine just write to someone who does one for some advice (like me) and get going as it’s great fun and there should be more! (Hear,Hear). It doesn’t really matter if its scruffy or tidy, I’ll still buy it as I’m a zine junkie.

What do you think of limited possessions? I.e. Andy Martin of The Apostles says that all he owns is 2 sets of clothes, the Apostles records and a chess set?

I don’t agree with him on that _ what do you think?

(What do I think? Right, oh well. I suppose it’s OK if you can mamange it. Presonally though I couldn’t I get bored very easily, I mean I love to read books and know that they are there if I want them again. The same goes for tapes and records. I sort of collect records _ I’ve got about 200 LP’s, not to mention & inches and tapes (ego swell)! I just love punk music, I’m addicted. I like to know that certain items belong to me _ so, no I couldn’t manage it but I suppose others can . Perhaps I’ve no will power. Who knows and who bloody cares. Back to your answer now! 

I’ve collected a lot of things over the years and a lot mean something to me. I’ve got a lot of records, I’ve been collecting since 1980 and I wouldn’t want to give them away. If anyone wants a tape of any write for my list and I will quite happily tape the ones you want. If I gave away my possessions they would only become someone else’s anyway. I wonder why Andy Martin has so few possessions, I wonder what he did with all his old schoolbooks and teddy bears! I’ve still got mine! (oh dear, very sad!!) I wouldn’t keep or collect things that are no value to me though! I once sent The Apostles a letter and didn’t get a reply. I wonder whose possession that is now?

Is there a way to avoid every dirty company that invests in the arms race, Africa, vivisection, etc? Cos if you looked at who owns who I think the world is owned by about 5 companies? 

If you get a chance read “dirty fingers in dirty pies”. I got my copy from Chumbawamba but its available in plenty of other places. Reading it will depress you as you will soon realise that you’d have to live on a island about two feet square with it’s own river and food to avoid multinational companies and governments. With boycotting things just go as far as you can and do what you want. You know when something is wrong and if you want no part of it then you’ll boycott it. It’s important to tell the companies that you’re boycotting their products as well as it’s extremely unlikely they will go bankrupt but if they think they’re missing out on profits because people have sussed their game, then they’ll change their ways. It’s all very depressing but take it as far as you want. I remember boycotting Coca Cola for four years and drinking Lilt instead _ only to find after all that time it was made under license from the Coca Cola corporation.

Will you be fighting the system when you are old and wrinkly (God,what a crap question).

I’d like to think so but I’d also like to think that maybe we could have changed it a bit our way by then. I can’t really say what I’ll believe in 20 years time as it’s changed so much from what I thought ten years ago. I feel I’ve got everything more sussed now with a stronger sense of what is right and wrong.

Any last words, comments, jokes etc?

Well thanks for the interview, I really enjoyed it as it made me think and gave me a chance to get some views across. I’d just like to say be yourself and do what your conscience tells you is right when you know the facts. As for jokes _ how about “we’re only in it for the money”! That’s the best joke I know _ Sorry!!