THE DARK interviewed May 81 by Mick Mercer for Zig
The third Dark single arrives at the ZigZag office
and is wondrously received. Two days later the phone rings.
Voice: Phil of The Dark here.
I was thinking it was time we had another article in ZigZag. How
about sending Alan Anger?
How about me?
Phil: Ill look up some
of your work and see.
And there the matter
stood for two days. Phil rings back.
Phil: Hello. Ive looked
up your stuff and its alright. Lets do it then.
I mean, the cheek of
the fellow! People have died for less (he lied bravely). Cant
help admiring the lads nerve though, what, what? The time
is set, the place arranged and my girlfriend Joan and I meet The
Dark and a million roadies/friends at Hampstead station. No way
would a dull written précis of The Darks work to date
be of much use but, in short, they have released three marvellous
singles, growing more ebullient by the moment and are at peak form
now. Who knows where the future will lead them. I give to you snatches
of conversation from the night of drunken revelry to give you an
insight into their lunatic world.
Phil: If it wasnt for
The New York Dolls, the Pistols wouldntve been around.
They ripped off all their ideas.
Andy: (Guitar, to Phils
bass): Who made them famous?
Phil (unaware that hes
being wound up): Good old Malcolm. The Pistols ripped off their
songs. Steve Jones is a Johnny Thunders clone.
Andy): Dont knock Johnny Thunders!
Andy: I havent said anything
about Johnny Thunders!!
Phil: Its the sort of
thing youd come out with.
Andy: No it isnt. Ive
always liked Johnny Thunders on guitar.
Phil: Yeah, and Iggy, right
Andy: If it wasnt for
The Pistols, all these bands you like wouldnt be known.
Phil: Buuuuulllshittt! Fucking
arsehole! The Stooges were a better band than The Pistols ever were.
Andy: Hippies, drugs and flares!
Phil (face reddened with rage):
Now thats where youre wrong! Thats what Iggy was
fighting against back in 1969. While everyones wearing kaftans
and going woooooorrghhh, more acid man! they were a
Andy: They dressed up like birds.
Phil (falling for the bait continually):
Youre an arsehole, you really are. Fucking idiot.
Andy: I only wanted it down
Phil (staring wide-eyed at spinning
cassette deck): Uh-oo! Em, wouldnt you agree though?
Andy: He aint got a say
I have! Its half and half really.
Phil: The New York Dolls left
Andy: They had tits.
Phil: Great band. Made some
great records. The Lurkers covered em. All the bands that
played down the Roxy did Stooges and New York Dolls numbers.
Andy: We havent covered
Phil: And WHY not?
Andy: Cos of you!!! You
said you dont like doing em! Got to reflect our
ability, not theirs.
Phil (ignoring this): The world
wasnt ready for them. They were before their time.
Andy: What, you think they were
Gods then, flying saucers merchants who came down and were a bit
Phil: Why did Van Gogh cut his
For a woman.
told! Iggy was a genius.
Andy: He was in an asylum. He
Phil: He was not! He perceived
things differently to most people.
Jimlie (new guitarist Jim, who
bears a striking resemblance to Charlie Harper): What about this
Leonardo da Vinci bloke?
Phil: Van Gogh you arsehole!
I could leave this on and go home.
Phil: What??!! Basically
Andy: Listen to how many times
he says basically. Every other sentence.
Phil: Basically (Joan explodes)
have to understand that Im the artist of the band.
Andy: What do you want to ask
When the album comes out, will the singles be on it?
Andy: I wouldnt want them
its ripping off the public. I dont like repeating
my life. If I have to do an album I want to do an album of new material.
If were not strong enough, or our material; isnt, thats
down to us. Were a band that believes anyone can say what
they want. We reckon its better than having a leader.
Phil: We take our lead not from
the Marxist dogma, more from the Trotskyist angle.
(Everyone falls asleep.)
Andy: Ask us a question. You
havent done anything but drink!
(Obviously he doesnt understand my pre-planned style. Let
then drink, let them gabble. Let the character emerge.)
Didnt you get into trouble when you posed outside New Scotland
yard for pictures (to be found on their second single)?
Well there yu are. Thats a question.
Andy: New Scotland Yard was
closed, believe it or not. The doors were shut. We started taking
pictures and the Old Bill came round, loads of em, five or
six. They came up to me and said, Do you want us or what?
and I didnt know what to say.
Phil: If I remember, you said
Who Killed Liddle?
Andy: I just said it under my
(Seeing the Charlie Harper clone imbibing severely.) Why did your
Phil: Because he had a violent
Joan: But youre violent!
Andy: Me, no. Its just
an impression I like to give.
Joan: See, you even enjoy it.
Andy: What are we on about?
Phil: I dont know, but
getting back to it.
Andy: What? We havent
said why Den left. Him (Phil) and Den had an argument. Me and Jim
(the drummer) had nothing against him but it was the future of the
band at stake. We had to decide.
Part Two. Different
Andy: Phils a large, er
proportion of the band.
Lets talk about Punk now. What do you think of it?
Phil: Its more relevant
now. If were talking about punk attitudes, theres twice
as many on the dole. The social scene that spawned Punk is still
alive, in fact its worse than it was back then. If youre
a kid, a punter what ALTERNATIVE (bellowed) have you got if you
want a good night out? Visage, er
Andy: Talking a load of bollocks
Right. Dont you think Oi is crap?
Andy: If your Bushells
mates youre in and thats that. Its not fair on
anyone else. What do you want to talk about?
Jimlie (casually interrupting):
I got slung in the nick in Finland.
What did you do?
Jimlie: I didnt do anything
really. They just didnt like the look of me. They starved
me as well. I went a bit mad cos they gave me some bread and
it was mouldy so I thought, Right, Im taking this back
to England as evidence, but I didnt realise that by
the time I got home it would have been mouldy anyway. Know what
Jimlie: I suppose it was a bit
Andy: Do you realise that anyone
buying this to read about us will be wondering why weve been
off the road for so long, and we havent said a word about
Well tell us then.
Andy: I cant if youre
talking about something else.
Why were you off the road for so long?
Andy: Because weve been
auditioning a new guitarist.
Youve already said that.
Andy: Yeah, but they wont
know unless you tell them. Theyll want to know why we were
off the road for three months.
Phil: Exactly. WHY?
Andy: Because its all
Phils fault. He got us into it.
Phil: Ill tell you what
really fucks me off. The music press.
Andy: Thats him!
(Rocker, the roadie, disrupted the conversation here to have a conversation
about petticoats. To Joan, I hasten to add.)
Jimlie: What do you reckon to
todays tax budget?
Jim (the until now forgotten
drummer): I reckon its really great. I think the rich should
really live and the poor should be shot. I want to be asked something.
Is this the first band youve been in?
Jim: Been drumming about five
years but this is the first serious band. I wanted to play the guitar
but I also wanted to go down the pub. To play the guitar you have
to stay in and practice.
Jimlie: I have to stop in, but
Im here. A pub.
Joan: Im ticklish there.
You cant! (Hands over the table.)
Andy: Whats going on here?
Joan: Im keeping him happy.
Jim: I dont practice,
but Im brilliant. Every time I pick up the sticks after a
few beers Im magic. Dunno why. I dont do press-ups like
Tell us about your deprived childhood.
Jim: I wanted a Porsche when
I was seventeen but my mum wouldnt buy me one. When we had
Den that was the lowest form of guitar, we were really desperate
then, then Jim came along.
Jimlie: Thats nice, isnt
it?!! Im really red hot.
Phil: Continuing on this track,
about Felicity Kendalls erect nipple.
(To Jimlie): Under your calm exterior there lurks a scheming mind,
isnt that true?
Jimlie: Yeah, I agree, except
its not necessarily a calm exterior
(He goes off and ends up pinching a girls behind. Joan seeks
an explanation of such roguish behaviour.)
Jimlie: I bring a bit of light
into their lives.
Joan: How do you know youre
putting light into their lives? You might be pissing them off.
Jimlie: Youre talking
from the feminist point of view, but on the other hand
Joan: Its not feminist,
Joan: What a pig-headed thing
to say. She doesnt love it.
Phil: The Dark, as an entity,
as a force
Jimlie: Audio-spatial temporal
Phil: Have no peers.
Jimlie: If you dont mind
me asking, what sort of bands do you interview? When I say what
sort I dont mean what sort, I mean
is, what are they
sort of like, most of them?
Bands like you.
Jimlie: I dont like the
idea of being in bands like you, know what I mean?
Jimlie: When I say me, I dont
mean me, I mean us. I dont think we should be bands like them.
I dont like the idea of bands like you.
What is he on about?
Jimlie: I mean isnt it
a bit sad that we all fall into stereotypes? Im not saying
that we do but isnt it bad the way they all get categorised?
Jimlie: Isnt it bad you
get categorised though?
interview bands I like.
Jimlie: Do you? Do you like