Throbs Interview – Not A Pretty Sight

Throbs interview in Not A Pretty Sight fanzine

This interview was done by a guy called Ed? but was given to me by Gordy of Not A Pretty Sight zine, as he’s not doing his zine anymore, so thanks to them both. 

When and why did the band form? What is the present line up?   

Chris: I joined the Throbs quite late in their history; about a year and a half ago. I’ve been in one band or another for the last five years. The Throbs have been going for more than most though….I joined when the original bassist left, and now the Throbs are all I live for. The new line up is more musically proficient than it used to be, though I don’t claim to be the new Cliff Burton (Who the fuck is that…NAPS).

Steve: Back in September 85 I went for a drink with a couple of friends and one drink led to another and we decided to form a band. Well the next day I went round their house to find them sitting with their amps _ and I thought they had been joking. Anyway, we had a “jam” and it’s carried on ever since with a couple of line up changes so now it is….
Steve Throb _ vocals
Chris Skeletor _ Bass
James Concorde _ Guitar
Cozy Powell _ drums

I haven’t seen the band in any zines before, have you been in any? If not why do you think this may be? Does the band get much response?  

Chris: When Steve returns from Australia you should be hearing and seeing more of us. In the meantime James and I are writing another set of songs (well the music for them) and are re working the old ones. Perhaps there will be another demo or even a record at the end of it, who knows?

Steve: Just a couple so far, a fairly lengthy one in a great zine called “The Organ” and another one soon to be out though I’m not sure what it’s going to be called yet. Oh yeah, I’ve just done another one for a new zine called Earbleed. I suppose it’s because we’ve got no records out and have only done a few gigs outside our own area . The only zine, as I’ve said that we’ve been in was “The Organ” and we’ve had a pretty good response _ about 20 letters asking for our last demo tape.

What is Surbiton like as a place to live. Do you ever get any hassle from local youths or Hooray Henry’s / Henriettas?

Steve: I live in Surbiton but not anywhere near the town centre, in fact I only go there about twice a year and it’s just nothing. The rest of the band come from New Malden. Surbiton has a really posh image because of the “Good Life” programme but it’s not that bad, the people who really get up my nose are the ones who were once working class and are now trying to be middle class by shitting on other working class people. I still live at home, I guess when I move out I’ll move somewhere where the people are more “real”. It’s a very false town with no community spirit and much too “I’m alright jack”. I avoid the local youths especially after i was glassed in the face about four years ago. It’s a fairly violent town as there’s nothing to do and stuff like stabbings are increasing , with even the odd murder. It makes me sick, all this macho violence. 

Chris: Steves told you about Surbiton so here’s my bit on New Malden / Kingston.Because of the way I look I’ve been attacked a few times; in hospital once. That makes it seem worse than it really is though. There’s a surprising lack of violence at our gigs, and people at the Fountain (my local in New Malden) generally tend to leave us alone. They just regard us as being generally amusing, with our ideas, l the way we look, etc. I don’t get stared at as much as I used to around 1982 / 83, whatever; people get used to us which leads me onto the next question.

What is the scene like in Surrey?

Chris: People generally think of Surrey as being filled with yuppies etc. but it’s not too bad. I think the scene in our area started taking off around 5 years ago with a couple of bands, but now, if you want to see a punk or metal band, you wouldn’t have to travel too far to see a reasonable gig every night….All credit to Steve _ he’s done a hell of a lot for local bands with zines, gigs and demo’s he organises. Theres usually a pretty good turn out for gigs, people seem to be getting interested.

Steve: Well it’s not too bad, theres a few zines like 666 and a half, Polka Slam, Organ, Ear Bleed and mine, Crispoint. I put on punk and hardcore gigs at the William Morris and theres a couple of good record shops round here. Gigs are fairly well attended and there’s quite a few local bands, the best ones being COMPASSION and MANIAC. There’s hunt sabbing and the occasional picket and direct action, but I don’t know
anything about that officer.

There seems to be quite a lot of records coming out at the moment, do you buy many records or are you more of a tapeaholic? Is there anything you’d recommend record or tape wise at the mo?

Steve: I’m just a punk / hardcore junkie and will buy anything that I can afford that’s not on a rip off label. I prefer records to tapes because I hate winding things through to find what I want though saying that one of my favourite things is Culture Shocks Reality Stop No. 44 tape. Record wise at the moment I really dig BAD BRAINS, DESCENDENTS and the new ELECTRO HIPPIES album is just brilliant with great lyrics and really good fast tunes.

Chris: I prefer records too, ‘cos if I want them on tape _ I can just tape ’em. I work for a record shop so I can get records and tapes at discount which is handy. I’m listening to a lot of METALLICA and HUSKER DU at the moment. “Zen Arcade” is a great album. Basically, anything fast and noisy at the moment. CULTURE SHOCKS “Reality Stop No.44” is great too. Oh, and a band called A HOUSE OF LOVE.

Are any of you reasonably fit? Do you take part in any sports. Any interesting hobbies like bird watching or train spotting?

Steve: I don’t think any of us would win medals for our fitness, but it’s not too bad and nothing really to do with the band anyway. If you want to see a fit band go and see HDQ or the INSTIGATORS, those guys must have healthy lives with plenty of fruit and fibre. I used to go train spotting when I was about thirteen, but these days I seem to spend all my time with the punk scene _ but that’s more than a hobby. How about you Chris? 

Chris: We all either drink or smoke too much except Steve _ he’s got to be careful not to damage his singing voice. I used to be quite fit, I ran and went swimming a lot. I haven’t done that for ages though. I’ve never gone train spotting or bird watching in my life. I loved playing with Lego building blocks though.

If ill would you take any medicine or drugs that had been tested on animals?

Steve: Yeah, I personally would. That is in no way justifying experiments on animals, all of which in my view are wrong. But if the tests had already been carried out, it would seem a double waste of life not too. Of course if there was an alternative that was cruelty free I’d take it and if it was a choice of “We’ve got a new cure but we need to test it on a few dogs then I’d say I’d rather stay ill. What I hate is that once a cure has been found, the companies keep quiet about it so as to hold all the marketing rights while all the other competing companies carry on testing. That is obscene, they are not in it for your good, they are in it to make profits. I’d like to see vivisection totally stopped. Some people actually believe that if vivisection was banned that medical research would stop _ crap!

Chris: I’m quite lucky really, if I’m ill I just go to the pub and drink myself better (best cure in the world _ NAPS). If it’s really bad I take a junior disprin and go to bed. Really I think an animal has suffered for nothing if no one uses the medicine developed as a result of experimentation. I think to a certain degree the ALF have got the right idea _ stop the problem before it can even start. I’m not totally convinced about some of their methods though. 

What things in life give you most enjoyment?  

Steve? I think working hard at something positive and achieving it and it being appreciated. At the moment I’m really enjoying life but it has it’s ups and downs. 

Chris: Music, beer, gigs, friends and of course my girlfriend, though not necessarily in that order.

What are your views on the police force? Do you think anarchy could ever work or would you have people carrying out their personal vendettas going about killing folk with no fear of being caught by the police and fined / put in prison? Are there any suitable alternatives to the police force and prisons etc?

Chris: As with most groups of people, I’m sure that with the police force it’s a minority that really lets them down (arguably a large minority though). It really seems stupid though, that they complain about under manning though, and then stop you for ridiculous things, as if they’ve nothing better to do. Like my brother got stopped and cautioned by a four wheeled pig, for pressing a button on a traffic light and not actually crossing the road! I’ve got stopped just cause I was running along the road at night. It can be fucking ridiculous. Some can actually be good blokes though. I was flyposting with a friend once, and a police car drove up. The driver just told us it was illegal and suggested we didn’t do it along Kingston High Street next time:_ why not choose somewhere quieter. Unfortunately I don’t think anarchy would work _ it’s based on the idea that everyone is their own government and that humans will naturally live and let live if left to their own devices. But if we look at history _ we don’t do we? There’s always gonna be some shithead who goes out looking for trouble, and someone has go to protect the other people. When people try and take the law into their own hands they generally lower themselves to the same level as the person they try to judge. Look at the death sentence for instance.

Why do you think fox hunting seems to get all the attention from saboteurs when fishing and other blood sports don’t get much attention?

Chris: Fox hunting is more visual and the violence has a more immediate impact. Also it’s a far smaller section of society that can afford to do it. From what I’ve heard, fishing nowadays isn’t so bad, as the fish are almost always thrown back unharmed. They use soft hooks or so I’ve been told. Some fishermen even claim the fish enjoy being caught after a while, though that sounds a bit dubious to me. I think fox hunting is more violent and barbaric though, as the fox is totally aware of what’s happening up until the moment of death. With pheasants and that kind of thing, I suppose it’s not so bad, as the poor buggers probably don’t know what’s hit them. 

Steve: Maybe because fox hunting is much more nauseating than fishing. Rich people flaunting their wealth, getting sadistic pleasure from hounding an animal to death, watching it being ripped to shreds and smearing the blood of the fox onto kiddies faces. I suppose the same obscenities aren’t so rife in fishing, direct action is easy, just creep up behind them and push them in the river. Make sure they don’t drown though!

Right then, tell us some groovy jokes and give us an interesting recipe?  

Steve: I always forget jokes which is annoying! Here’s one nicked from Eleven Years On zine:_ “How many punks does it take to change a light bulb”? “Ten _ one to get up off their arse and do something about the situation and the other nine to slag him off for it. As for recipes, I’m not really good but “Tebbit Pie” is a goodie. Take one Tebbit and any literature on the poll tax and place in a bottle of boiling water, simmer until Norman screams and then add salt to taste. Serve with any other vegetables you may find in the Tory cabinet. 

Chris: You’ve probably heard this one before, but; “When do you know your is getting too fat”. “When they sit on your face and you can’t hear the stereo”. Boiled Egg:_ Ingredients _ 1 egg and water. Method _ boiling. Simple you might think, but I’ve never got it right yet.

What’s the best and worst gigs the band have ever played? How often does the band practice?

Chris: Worst gig:_ William Morris Club. I’d cut my fingers and they bled all over my bass strings:_ we played our fastest songs last. Best gig: William Morris Club: _ another time. Just everything went really well, we made quite a lot of money for Greenpeace and the bust fund, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Practice? what’s that? We’ve had two in the year and a half I’ve been in the band, no joke. The gigs usually go really well though, not as many cock ups as you might think we’re quite lucky really.

Steve: The worst gig we ever done was with Maniac and Fungus in Kingston, the guitar kept breaking down, the p.a. was shite, the atmosphere was hostile and the gig was full of people who I wouldn’t care if they were dead, fascist scum. I don’t know what they were doing there as neither us or Maniac had anything to do with them. One of my favourite gigs was playing at Kingston green fair on an open air stage where loads of people turned up to watch us play by the banks of the River Thames and we got up the noses of the rich people on the other side by playing too loud and slagging the plod.

What are your views on euthanasia? Do you think it is right to help someone commit suicide?  

Steve: I can’t see the situation where I would help someone kill themselves. I’d rather try and help them back on their feet as it’s never too late to help. With terminal illness, I guess it’s a merciful release. 

Chris: Four people close to me have tried to kill themselves  _ one succeeded. It just destroys their friends and families. I’d never want to be a part of causing all that upset to the people who loved them. It destroys more than just your own life if you try and kill yourself. Euthanasia in some cases might be right, I really don’t know. It’s one of those things I find it really hard to decide on. I don’t think I’d do it though, I’d be too much of a coward.

If you had a pack of rats living in your house, would you get rid of them or let them stay? Remember, rats can transmit many diseases such as wril’s disease, bubonic plague, typhus, salmonella, etc!

Chris: If I could shift them without actually killing them, I would. If it came down to a case of either me or them, I’d be just as selfish as everyone else. Show me the person who given the choice, would rather die than kill a rat given those circumstances, and I’ll show you someone who shat out their brain with their branflakes this morning. 

Steve: I wouldn’t let them stay as rats breed so fast in houses that you’d soon be overrun with them. You can get traps which don’t hurt the rats, so I’d get them and release the rats in the wild or round deserted buildings. I hope that would work, it’s a tough question, what would you do? We had mice in our flat, but considering the danger of disease and also the price of the above mentioned traps, we put poison down _ Naps.

How and when did you all get into punk? Was it through the music or ideas? What was the first band that you heard? Do you think punk has changed you as a person?  

Steve: I guess that me, James and our drummer all got into punk around 1980 and to start with it was just the music, and with me especially the ideas behind it. James is more into the musical side of it. The first band was the Sex Pistols, but I never really liked them that much. The first record I bought was Stiff Little Fingers “Hanx”. Yeah, it’s changed me as a person, it occupies most of my life virtually.  

Chris: The first punk record I bought was “New Rose” by the Damned, not the original version though. That was in 1978. I really only started getting into it all in 1981/2, mainly cause of the music, the message filtered through afterwards. I definitely think my attitude to life in general has changed for the better mostly due to the punk philosophies. I really got into it through friends and gigs, going out and having a good time, then actually realising what it was all about.

Final comments / anything to add?

Chris: A friendly word of advice:_ remember and take you fag out of your mouth before taking a drink, it helps, cheers….  

Steve: I’d like to end all these slanging matches, don’t complain about bands, it’s just a waste of space, go and do something more positive with your time, OK. Thanks for being open minded enough for reading this, even though we’re not well known. Cheers.