Hello Budgie. It’s been a long time. You have been sorely missed in the land of The Banshees & Other Creatures. The last time you were in the public eye was during the Evening With Siouxsie tour in 2004. Since then news of your whereabouts and any projects you have been involved in have gradually filtered through from news hungry fans desperately searching all areas of the Internet. We learnt of your recording with Jessie Evans, your playing with Terry Nunn and touring with Juno Reactor. In 2000 you were the first Banshee to agree to an online interview for The Banshees & Other Creatures website. We are delighted that you have agreed to do so again.
Well Hello Back to you all!
Yes it has been a while and of course a lot has happened since I was last in touch.
First I’d just like to say, Thankyou. I’ve missed you all too.
So to the questions, I follow where they lead….
You have performed a vast host of gigs, are there any that are
particularly memorable for being bizarre?
Perhaps none more bizarre than my first ever gig with SATB at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall, England back in 1979. After a bizarre rehearsal with Marco Pironni, Banshees original guitarist, helping out, he didn’t know the new ‘Join Hands’ songs and I didn’t know any songs at all! Then a week of fruitless auditions for a new guitarist with the three members of the Cure - Robert, Lol Tolhurst & Michael Dempsey - acting as a panel of judges. Thumbs down for all applicants! So with Robert on guitar surrounded by sheets of Smith-Scrawled A4 ‘song maps’, I drummed into a new life. The audience knew the songs better than I did, best evidenced in ‘Switch’ where when I stopped playing (wrong!) the audience sang the drum beat that should have been there.
Two thousand plus happy mouths going “bum-bum Bap bumbumbum Bap!!”
T’was when I realized you were a crazy bunch-a-mamapapas with big hearts and a wicked sense of humour! Just like the band I’d joined.
were others of course, maybe I’ll compile them and get back to
Are you still in touch with any of your ex-Banshee colleagues?
Well the best news I have is that I’m still in touch with the lady herself. It’s been a difficult time as I’m sure you can imagine but I’m happy there is still time for laughter.
& me were quiet for seven years after we stopped in ’95. Got
together in 2002, so we could be due for another chinwag soon! The
ex-B I’ve seen most of has been big Knox C. I was in LA for two
months last year & spent a few days with Knox whilst he was out
touring with Cyndi Lauper. Then when I got back to Europe we met up in
Birmingham England, Berlin Germany & we plan to meet in Leipzig
Many fans consider Boomerang as a highlight in the career of The
Creatures. Will The
Creatures back catalogue be remastered?
(creature 24)/(octopuskeeper)/(into a swan)
Thanks for that, Boomerang holds a special place for me too.
The Creatures Back-Catalogue ‘Wild Things EP / Feast / Right Now etc’ was re-mastered for 'A Bestiary Of'… Boomerang was deleted sometime last century. (Sounds ancient!) So a plan for a re-mastered version with additional material has been discussed.
for it’s 21st birthday in 2010?!
What are your plans for the future?
Any releases either solo or collaborations any time soon?
Hi Anna n’ Irishcritter,
I added a few beats & marimba notes to Jessie Evans’ album ‘Is
it Fire?’, just released on her own ‘Fantomette’ label. Last
year when I was in California I spent a few days in San Jose and added
some beats & percussion to new songs by Lisa Dewey of ‘Lotus
Eaters’ & ‘Kitchen Whore’ records. Next will be some beats
for new Juno Reactor material. So maybe I’ll summer in Brighton,
England this year!
I don't know if you'll remember but you recommended on the Creatures
Forum to go see Mariza, the amazing Portuguese Fado singer. I'm
forever grateful you did cos I bought some albums of hers and I got to
see her perform live in a small church in Dublin.
It was incredible and something I hadn't experienced before. So
what I'd like to know is how did you discover Mariza and have you had
anymore amazing discoveries recently? (irishcreature)
I only ever saw Mariza perform on Jools Holland’s TV show ‘Later…’, looked like a strange beautiful spider woman with a voice of venomous power!
Again in California last year I went down to San Diego to see my old friends the Indigo Girls. Playing support was a young lady by the name of Brandi Carlile, her voice could melt an iceberg, yet grind like a glacier. Amy & Emily added some vocals to her album ‘The Story’ and I see Ms Carlile is playing some dates with the Indigos in a few days time. June 23rd – 28th around Michigan & Wisconsin, USA. Check her out if you’re in the area, see if she needs a drummer.
The Banshees - would they ever be able to get back on stage together?
Or maybe The Blackheads? With
all the falling outs could it ever happen again or has there been too
much bad blood spilt? (nez
Dear Blue Nose, a Siouxsie & The Banshees concert would require at least Siouxsie & Severin to grace the boards together. I personally would suggest a minimum of the ‘Kaleidoscopic Trio.’
In 2007 I saw Lou Reed perform his album ‘Berlin’, live in London. That was 33yrs after it’s original release. He had the same guitarist who played on the album. Brill-tastic!
So maybe a 30th birthday performance of Kaleidoscope in 2010, with Steve Jones?
be up for it! Never say never - life’s too short!
Dear Budgie, I miss you. Hope you are very well.
My questions: Can we expect a Creatures "best of"
compilation perhaps with a DVD of all the videos?
Thanks Budgie. Keep pounding. (octopuskeeper)/(Choliux)
Ah, miss you too Choliux, but I’m very well and I hope that you are too.
a compilation or perhaps as already mentioned, an audio-video round-up
with a re-mastered Boomerang. Let’s see. Meantime, I’ll keep on
poundin’ like an octopus!
Sweet, beloved Budgie, before Hai! was released, there was talk of
another, almost complete(?) album by The Creatures. Do you think there's a chance that any of the material (apart
from Rocket Ship & Red Wrapping Paper) will ever get released?
(themisto)/(into a swan)
lovely words, I can only aspire too. Alas I don’t recall anything
else from that time reaching completion. Perhaps something may turn up
when we trawl the tape bed!
Apart from being one of my most favourite drummers (nods to Ginger and
Charlie Watts), you have, like so many of the greats, always had
terrific hair. Though I
have noticed of late that you have let the peroxide slide a bit.
Is this a temporary blip or is this a conscious decision to
grow old gracefully? I
was a slave to the Born Blonde myself for many, many years and still
miss the 'temporary facelift' effect of a fresh batch of bleaching,
though sadly now my lack of hair has closed that avenue of pleasure.
so please do yours again, just for me.
Let me live vicariously through you.
I thank you. (James Rim)
Well hello again Sir Jim Rim, how are you? Honoured I am to be mentioned in such hallowed company as Ginger & Charlie, both gentlemen of fine follicular festonishment!
In December last year, I was lucky enough to see both Ginger & Charlie on stage together. Charlie presented Ginger with a lifetime achievement award from Cymbal makers Zildjian. With Jack Bruce on bass & Tony Allen (Fela Kuti) dueting on drums it was a magical winter night.
Now about the peroxide stuff, I can still remember the Nestle-Lite burn! And as much as a temporary facelift would work wonders on the laugh lines, I do think that post 50 bleaching is dangerously close to Jimmy Saville-dom, God Bless Him. So Sir Jim maybe the Blonde wigged ghost of Sir Jim will fix it for you. I’m just glad I still have hair to worry about after 20+ years of bleaching, back combing & Elle-nette hair-fix abuse.
you Jean-Paul Goaty-Hair is still at it. Did I say never say never
Your drumming's renowned for both technical ability and creative
imagination, but you should also be renowned for having one of the
most distinctive drum sounds. Your old Gretsch kit had an amazing sound all its own and
always came over really well live - but that sound was never captured
properly on any of the studio recordings.
Did Hedges and co. not understand about distance-miking in
order to capture the sound of a drum kit in a room?
Did you have many struggles getting producers to grasp how
important the drums were to the Banshees, compared to other bands
they'd worked with? How much attention did various producers pay to the drums?
Oh, and got any tips for reducing tension in the forearms while
playing fast 16ths on the floor tom?
Thankyou Senor Gabor. I’ve been playing those ‘Spellbound’- era Gretsch drums recently and they still have that special tone to them. My friend Toby Dammit, (Iggy Pop, Swans) confirms they sound unique amongst even earlier era kits, he has a collection of vintage Gretsch so he knows his drum-onions!
My/the drum sound was sometimes difficult to ‘space’ within the Banshees’ sound but I think producer Mike Hedges knew exactly how to make the elements work. Listen to ‘Cocoon’ or ‘Circle’ on ‘a kiss in the Dreamhouse’ for that ‘in the room’ feel. Or ‘We Hunger’ & ‘Running Town’ on Hyaena, if only because they’re great group recordings! Microphone placement for recording kits is something of a lost art, but usually less is best. Fewer drums & mics! Don’t say I said so tho’.
As for 16’s on the floor tom, I tried that on ‘Dazzle’, also on Hyaena. In the studio I switched the positions of the floor tom & snare drum. Floor tom between the legs – did the same for ‘Happy House’ – aah inside secrets!! The fun started when playing those songs live, when the snare was back twixt legs. Crossing hands at speed whilst wanting power, not easy. Try the power of suggestion. Play 8’s & insert 16th notes intermittently. Similarly think 4’s while playing 8th notes. Think slow – Keep it Simple!
To reduce tension in the forearms, just use the wrists, as if flicking water off your fingers.
Breathing also helps, as does replacing the constipated gorilla look with a more relaxed expression.
Have you heard Siouxsie’s solo album and if so what is your opinion
on it? (safegirl)
Hi Safey! I heard the first single - great guitar & vocal intro, stuck in my head, but an uncomfortable experience. Listening evoked too many emotions for me. I still haven’t played the album. I even found it difficult to listen to the old Banshees albums for the remastering process. It’s different today, time does seem to be the best healer.
Are you living in the States at present? (safegirl)
thought the USA was where I was heading, but no I’m currently living
close to the Polish border with old East Germany here in Berlin. My
memories of recording Tinderbox here in 1985 have a few vodka blanks
in them, but the wall came down 20 years ago & it’s a very
different city that I now live in. My apartment is around the corner
from where in 1976 David Bowie used to cycle to Hansa studios. Hansa
is now a restaurant & Checkpoint Charlie is a museum & so it
should be. Haven’t seen David whistling to work on his bike yet
either. But I think I heard a laughing gnome last night.
Which bits of drumming from your Banshees and Creatures career gave
you the most pleasure? There's
always been an amazing amount of instinctive, creative playing evident
which must be particularly satisfying and has led to both out and out
drum fests like 'Red over White' and the more restrained percussive
pieces such as 'Happy House' - which are your own personal favourites?
And, dare I ask which, if any, made you think 'hmm, might have
done that differently'? Oh
and a fucking HUGE thankyou for all the sheer pleasure your playing
has given over the years (I shall restrain myself from hugs and gurly
kisses as Mrs Pierre tells me I should know better at my advanced
Dear Peter of the Sea,
For no other reason than, I want to hear it now, I love ‘Hybrid’ from Kaleidoscope.
I brought the germ of the beat with me from my Big In Japan days & then adapted it to use the whole kit all the way through the song. I especially like the ‘surrogate head’ break-down sections. ‘Flu-bum, u-bum, um tss-Ga!’ totally influenced by big Ginger B.
I also loved playing ‘Lands End’ from Tinderbox, recorded here in Berlin, developed alongside JV Carruthers’ guitar phrase, drum pattern influenced by Steve Gadd’s playing on Paul Simon’s 1975 song "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover". I was often pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, so more time to get to know some beats better before recording might have been good, but may have taken away from the edgy unknown feel. So no. I may have played it with more understanding in 2005, but the recordings are exactly as they needed to be. Did you know Ginger’s real name is Peter? Well now you do!
Now sod restraint, lets just get on with the hugs & gurly kisses!!
I always saw Budgie as the link between the band and the fans because
he always without fail would stop and chat and would remember things
you had spoken about with him from previous conversations, did he make
a conscious decision to do this or is it something he felt he had to
do? We miss the birdman.
Hi Robbie, I’m amazed that I managed to do what you say I did. It’s nice to be thought of with such affection. Perhaps it was a cynical ploy to sell more units?
again I might just miss you all too….
Dear Mr. Budgie. Nothing
divides we Banshee lovers quite like the earth-shatteringly wonderful
uber-masterpiece (can you guess which side of the fence I'm on?)
'Superstition'. 18 years down the line how do you now feel about the
artistic merits of this mighty fine album? ("Objection, M'lud. Leading the witness!" Nyarh!)
(John The Flower Man)
Hi John, I haven’t listened to ‘Superstition’ in a long while. The writing, demo-ing, recording, mixing, sequencing, cutting, rehearsing & touring of ‘Superstition’ was life threateningly long. To organize a marriage in the midst of it all was probably crazy, but that’s what two of us did. Even broke off the honeymoon to appear on ‘Top of The Pops’. The US Lolapolooza tour in 1992 nearly finished the band off. I was quite insane by the end of it. Soon fix that, sell up and move to France! But that’s another story.
It doesn’t surprise me that we each see the album through our own set of distortions.
A new producer with different ways of working created some tensions, sometimes it’s painful to shed an old skin. Early digital days in the studio were frustratingly slow. Our usual ‘modus operandi’ was under threat from new technology that seemed to negate spontaneity. We were being digitally dissected and reassembled and it felt odd.
aside, nothing can diminish Superstition’s sublime majesty. ‘Kiss
Them For Me’, the jewel in its crown, spawned a video with a pink
poodle, say no more!
Who are you listening to these days? (tiramisioux)
Hello Tirami, today I try to listen only to people who are sane & well.
None more so than the Senor Kid Congo Powers & his new album,
‘Dracula Boots’ by ‘Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds’, www.intheredrecords.com
wonderful music to fly by!
‘Orbital’ by Berliner Ring www.mowolpert.de
wonderful music to fry by!
The muzik of Berlin’s Turkish markets & Bollywood musicals
music to buy by!
We miss you and are thankful for all the great memories and pleasure
you have given us both as an artist and as a unique and outstanding
person. Will there be an
official Budgie Myspace/Facebook page?
Thank you again,
I do have a myspace www.myspace.com/budgiebeat
But I haven’t done anything with it yet, lots of excuses but all pathetic.
My thanks to all who have sent requests - 3 months without a home internet connection & my tolerance of internet cafes & wifi hotspots is waning.
be the iPhone for it is truly wonderful & the lady upstairs who
gave me her wi-fi password. The time is now – it will happen –
18. Boxers or briefs? (fatwilleatyou)
Oiled Lederhosen of course..!
When you look back on your time with Big In Japan - did it feel
special to be a part of this band?
Are you still in contact with the other band members? I wish you all the best and lots of luck for all your future
plans. Please do always remember: "Magic in your hands - you can
make anything grow". You are awesome!
With Big In Japan it felt like we were together for years, in reality probably less than one. We were so close over a communal Baked Potato at the Kardomah Café in Liverpool. I’ve stayed in touch with Holly off & on over the years & have seen Ian a few times. Do you think a reunion is on the cards?
believe we’d all have Green Fingers, if we’d just take off the
gloves and get on with it.
Which band would you have loved to have been a drummer for if you
could choose any, past or present?
Oh to have played drums for the guitar of Jimi Hendrix. A difficult question really, every band I have liked always had the perfect drummer for the moment.
Who else but the young Mitch Mitchell in ‘The Experience’, Jim Densmore with ‘The Doors’, Arthur Dyer Tripp III aka Ed Marimba with Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band?
all of them and none of them. Did I answer the question?
Are there any plans to release a live DVD of The Creatures?
We have a few live recordings, but it would be great to have a
show immortalized on "film". Perhaps a boxset of 3
remastered CDs + a live DVD, similar to the new Banshees at the BBC
good to me, but no plans that I’m aware of at present.
With hindsight, if you could change one thing in your musical life,
what would it be? (Mslaughtaa)
see, I could have not opened my front door to The Spitfire Boys in
Liverpool in 1977, so I wouldn’t have met The Slits, so Sex
Pistol‘s drummer Paul Cook wouldn’t have heard my drumming on
‘Cut’, so he wouldn’t have recommended me to the Banshees’
manager Nils, so my musical life so far would have been very
different. Now that’s a pretty serendipitous set of so & so’s.
But if it has to be one thing only then it should be a big change. I
would like to play the sitar. Hey, didn’t I say, never say never?
Thanks Ms Laughtaa, now where’s Mr Singh’s number???
Did you have any input on the Banshees remasters/BBC box set?
Were you approached by The Slits to work on the new album/tour?
Can you please give us some notice in advance when you play
live or have a project coming up? (O Ma wi)
I did what I could, I’m okay at spotting the occasional typo but all credit to Doug who has done a sterling job coordinating everything.
Of a new Slits album & tour, I know nothing.
spoke to Slits guitarist Viv Albertine recently, t’was like 1978 was
yesterday.. I added my dim recollections of recording Cut to Mark
Paytress who is writing sleeve notes for the remastered anniversary
release. And I may try to get to the launch party for Zoe
Street-Howe’s book ‘Typical Girls’ next month as I hear Viv is
performing some new songs.
You've tried your hand at lyric writing on just a few occasions... and
in my opinion done a damn fine job - especially with the superb
'Silver Waterfalls'. Is this something you enjoyed?
And do you wish you'd done it more often? (John The
Why thank you very much, John The Flower Man, the money’s in your PayPal account.
I’ve always enjoyed playing with words & still spend way too long composing the perfect e.mail, which of course is quite ridiculous. Some lyrics stand up to scrutiny away from the music, some lyrics are banal yet shine when sung.
it’s the singer not the song…. Hmm, has that been used already?
I remember you playing with Dave Navarro, and Terri Nunn of Berlin.
Could you see yourself being a part of another line-up/band - maybe
even forming a band of your own? (SiouxsieSiouxWioux)
Ah… Hollywood nights, … what an unexpected invitation that was.
the moment I’m enjoying being part of the ‘Juno Reactor’ tribe.
I’ve been a fan of Ben’s music for quite some time, and it’s
nice to have that develop into a friendship. Ben is a modern composer
in the purest sense, the studio his orchestra. It’s strange, I think
the last time I did an interview here I ended by saying how much I
like the mixes Ben did of ‘Stargazer’. Weird the way things go?
We know how delighted you were to collaborate with Leonard Eto.
Are there any other musicians you'd especially like to work
with? (John The Flower Man)/(Upirsland)
What an honour it was to meet and collaborate and then of course to tour with Leonard.
A living legend of the drum whom I would love to work with again. Maybe we could bring in Sugizo who is currently playing guitar with Juno. Knox C., and me might trade riffs soon. If Rob Ellis wouldn’t mind I’d love to play drums with PJ Harvey, then again, why not two drummers? And if Ms Brandi Carlile would like a change of beat, I’d gladly parradiddle over to Seattle. Yet the most interesting would be the collaboration I would never think of. So I’m excited about that one.
That hotel in the Lake District in 1987...what did Siouxsie say when
she realised McKay was there? What
did John say? What did she say afterwards?
Oh, and McKay's metre-length hair at the time: real or
I think Siouxsie said something along the lines of,
“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, he walks into mine...”
and then again….
John was very polite, I think he said,
afterwards Siouxsie may have said something along the lines of,
“It doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people doesn't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world...”
and then again….
I always thought John had a fine head of hair.
was all very, very surreal. Never
underestimate life and it’s little surprises eh?
What was it like meeting Jeff Buckley and then hearing him sing
Killing Time? Can you
tell the story, what were the circumstances?
Also, in your 30 plus year career you've only been interviewed
a handful of times (to my knowledge) by those
drumming/percussion/technical industry type magazines.
Not your cup of tea or did you find it difficult to step
outside the Banshees/Creatures realm?
Your influence on other musicians has been massive but your
name rarely surfaces. Do
you now have a publicist, label or representative?
Or could you care less about all that and just want to be left
to your music? (O Ma wi)
were playing a festival in Lyon, France. I was meeting Knox for
breakfast in the reception of the hotel we were staying at. Knox
introduced me to a couple of musician friends of his from New York
City who were in Lyon to play the same show. The four of us went out
to eat at a local café - workers café, plastic tablecloths, orange
juice, fried eggs, croissant and coffee. Nothing out of the ordinary,
except for the guy sitting opposite me. He had the most striking
handsome features. Said he used to sing a Creatures’ song in his
set. Began to sing ‘Killing Time’ in a very natural falsetto that
for a moment turned the plain little café into a chapel. A little
stunned, a little flattered, it wasn’t until later that Knox told me
who he was. I’ve been blessed to meet a few angels in my lifetime
but Jeff Buckley was the only one that sang to me.
I never really enjoyed the Technical Magazine thing, and I didn’t help by answering questions like, “What drums do you play?” with, “Uh, big loud ones.” I never liked music shops, never liked drum ‘clinics’. It just never was about the instruments, but all about what was done with them.
If I think about my influences, most would ask “Who?” And being a rare name is quite an achievement these days! Whilst in LA last year, I gave Sunday afternoon drum lessons to ‘Yorkshire’ Joy at the MOB agency. In return she gave me a big smile and now hounds me to finish interviews like this one. Long may she smile and hound.
Thank you all for the enlightened & enlightening questions. Let’s do it again soon.
Love & best wishes, Budgie x
'Stargazer' as a single were you aware that
the Banshees were about to split, if not, would you have chosen a
different song to be released as your last single?
BS & HMH
probably failed the dope test we were using at the time and 'B' Side
Ourselves' was recorded in the same session as 'Dizzy' after the album
Have you given any more thought to writing an autobiography, as was mentioned in an earlier web chat? (Nocturne)
received requests from several publishers and although it's not a
burning ambition, the desire to set the record straight in relation to
certain unscrupulous louses out there may prove to tempting to ignore
If not, I'll be
very disappointed and maybe a collaboration?
We first heard
some of them in 1996 and we still love 'em. No excuses, we've
broken all touring records with these songs, well The Creatures had
only toured once before so I suppose we just got carried away!
So we couldn't resist the chance to document our extended live
excursions. (For all the years of the Banshees touring, there is
only one official live recording and what a rare whistler Nocturne
is!). So two different Creature line ups, two very different
still be looking for the first single and you wouldn't have heard
Close your eyes
and think of high stone walls, tall windows, wooden shutters, red roof
tiles, big heavy dark wood door, and of course a discreet satellite dish, wha'd'ya think of it so far?
shift (or manual as we Europeans say)
or our own creations
Now that would be
telling & so would that, you'll just have to keep 'em peeled next
time out :)
We always gave
SATB singles a club treatment if the song lent itself to a makeover,
'Spellbound, 'Cities In Dust', with the rise of club mixers it was a
natural progression to farm songs out, some more successful than
others, Youth's 'Kiss Them For Me', Juno's 'Stargazer'. The
Creatures 'Hybrids' has some pretty gr'a'vey b'oo'by'/full on club mix