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Peter Coyle Interview
by Dave Wiggins
On the back of the release of his new album, 'Meltdown for the Mindless', SWINE wasted no time in grabbing an interview with the legendary Lotus Eaters front-man.
So, Peter, we haven't seen you around 'da Pool for a while?
No, I've moved to france. I miss Liverpool because it is my home, but I needed to change. I was frightened that I would stop being creative, so I had to go, and I am glad I did, it has opened me up to new experiences -i.e. I'm in a place where they all speak French and I haven't got a clue what they are going on about, so what's new there.
For those who last saw you on Top of the Pops, give us a potted history of 'Coylie the Legend' between 1983 and 2006?
I wish I was a legend, the truth is I am either a crank or a genuine creative and only time will tell, but trust me I am hoping it is the latter. Music has always been the focus but I have to be careful because I nearly sold my soul to music and that would have been the end of the world for me. It is difficult to explain but if you want things too much you can become a liar a cheat an ego driven maniac and a vain parasite - I didn't want any of that, so I had to step away from music for four years in the early nineties. For me a legend is someone who is honest genuine and sincere and real and believes in things and sees through all the bullshit but just stays out of it all, that is why so many of my heroes have no personality, they just do what they do and to hell with it all. I have always been an outsider even when I was in the thick of things and its something I have always lived with. Anyway after the lotus eaters split I shared the wonders of female masturbation with a six track ep called selfish(1986). I wanted to quit but my best friend and hero Pete Davies bought me a portastudio and asked me to write songs again. I started writing again with Stephen Cummerson and David Whittaker; all very dark and rebellious and openly black in its outlook It was called a slap in the face for public taste(1987), then it was back to the studio to record I'd sacrifice eight orgasms with Shirley Maclaine just to be there(1988). That was meant to be a pure dance album but we got too involved with wigs and bad seventies fashion - Liverpool was bleak and everyone was skint, so me and John McCready started up the eight orgasms club night in Macmillans on a Thursday night. It took off and a guy called Gerald was the first headline band and the support act was The Donny and Marie Handbag Revolution. Tony Wilson was due to talk over some music telling Liverpool to wake up and start being innovative again (my idea), but he didn't want his car being trashed which is understandable. But anyway the cabaret element was still supreme in Liverpool at the time so I was desperate to shake things up. Then sly one by Marina van rooy (1989) came along and changed the rules of the game; no-one thought that record was from Liverpool because it was too out there - well it was and it was written on an acoustic guitar even though people all over the country were dancing to it when the djs played it. 1989 brought G-love, a collaboration between eight productions (Pete Davies, Stephen Cummerson, Ian Martin Wright) 3 Beat records and John Kelly. Anyone who was there knows what it was like, it was like nothing on earth, It was definitely a high and it had nothing to do with money. It was a hiding place for hedonists, a place where you learnt the ropes of freakdom. It was the right time and the right place and Liverpool was at the core of dance music, it was a never ending party. We released the G-Love album (1991), and then dance music was becoming cabaret so I released another solo album called coloursex (1992) before bailing out. It was doing my head in as there is only so much dry ice you can take in one lifetime. I didn't know what any of the categories were or what they meant; load of postmodernist bullshit, but then again I am old fashioned in many ways. Its either good or its cabaret. This was when I took a few years out, and I recorded an album with Andy Stevenson called G-Metrix in (1995).I was in a terrible state when I made that record but it is a lovely chilled experience, then came the mongrel wireless (1998) album with Beaumont Hannant that is just coming out now on output records (Trevor Jackson's label), a Lotus Eaters album called silentspace in 1999 was next, which was good to do because it resolved the things that were a bit messy in 1985. Since then I have also released an album with Barry Sutton called earthstate (1994) and recorded three solo albums with Ronnie Stone producing (meltdown for the mindless 2006, stay deep in the music 2003 and the mood machine 2001, and there are a few jass babies albums that are to be released next year at last. Sorry it is not very clear or together, but that is the way it was.
What bands / artistes are you currently listening to?
Well at the moment I am listening to the infantjoy album where the night goes - I love it when I like something I play it until every single drop has coursed through my veins. I am an addict, music has always been my drug, quite simply I would be dead without it. I hate the category called electronica, whatever that fucking means, but anyway it seems that I like a lot of electronica. I like the fact that I can drown myself in the music and forget that planet earth exists, my favourite dream. I can't stop listening to hurt by Johnny Cash, I cry every time. Many people hate sentiment in music but I am not one of them. Music makes me feel things and I will be eternally grateful because of it. Also just discovering Bob Dylan; the depth of some of his songs scare the shit out of me. He is a real creative; not many musicians scare me but he does.
I want to hear the new clinic album, it's a party album which sounds good. I also like Gomez. There are so many talented people in Liverpool. Duncan Ross the guitarist and co- songwriter on the meltdown album and stay deep in the music is about to release some of his own material soon -I am looking forward to hearing that.
What are your memories of those heady days in 83/4?
It was hilarious when I think back, I was a progressive rock fan, I was brought up on genesis and yes and can and david bowie and peter hammill. Then it is like there are all these young teenage girls but not wearing cheesecloth and afghan coats. I just didn't think anything through - for example for the first picture of you video I wanted to do a black and white 1920s porn movie but that wasn't seen as a good idea -can't see why - anyway we ended up making this summer of 42 video, but the first edit was so outside of all my experience I could only say to the director I come from Walton in this belly of the beast kind of voice. I think I realised then that I was like a bird on acid caught in wave after wave of candy floss and thinking fuck there are way too many shoulder pads on this planet and there was no escape. There was no one to turn to - the weirdest social experiment you could ever imagine and I was sober.
Compare and contrast the first Lotus Eaters album, and 'Meltdown for the Mindless'
Obviously Jeremy Kelly is not on the meltdown album, the meltdown album is about a lot of very difficult things which are embedded in the whole album, self harm, war, depression, despair, but also love and hope. None of it is rammed down peoples throats - both albums are about feelings and admitting to feelings. Back then as now it does my head in when I like so many people find it hard to talk about feelings. Tears are a part of who we are and I want to be who I am, not someone who hides his weaknesses behind his or her work or something else. The Lotus Eaters have written some good songs, I just hope that people will think the same of this new album. As usual I have put everything into it, it is my dream to earn the right to be seen as a creative.
Tell us a bit about your manifesto, contained within the new album?
I am an outsider as many creative people are, it can come with the territory. Imagine being Roy Keane and you are playing centre midfield, you have got ronaldo on one wing and arjen robben or kieron dyer on the other, it would be a nightmare scenario. Roy Keane would be in rehab within seconds, with serious rage issues, and who could blame him. Now imagine making music and you have got people showboating all over the place and not getting the job done, the music industry is drenched with egos who have forgotten everything, its just one big sinking prawn sandwich but no one wants to say what is really happening. Music is too corporate and too corrupt. Having said that it is not enough to just complain; strategies are needed, and long term ones this time, so musicians need to start working together in cooperatives and deciding how they want to take it forward by hiring business professionals who are keen to work with creatives and not just go for the quick fix every time.
Is WSAG right that you were top scorer in the Anfield Junior Soccer League in 72/3 for Granfield?
I have always loved playing football. I would still do it now if my knees would let me. Football has always been close to music and I did get a few medals along the way?
SWINE used to love those 'focus on' bits, in SHOOT!, so . . . .
TV Programme: 24 motd
Favourite other artiste: Peter Gabriel / David Bowie / Peter Hammill / Erik Satie / Damon Alburn
Greatest Everton player : Alan Ball / Graeme Sharp / Neville Southall
Best memory from your own footballing career: turning up to play with a load of cool trendy musicians to play football at sefton park. I turn up with my red cardigan, Lotus Eaters style, and everyone just assumes I can't play football because I look like a girl. There was only one other footballer beside me who was there, Mick Head - he was a joy to play footy with, a proper footballer. The rest must have come from nice backgrounds
Favourite Lotus Eaters song: can your kisses fly
Nicest bloke in rock: Robert Plant
Worst beaut in rock: myself all through my career
Greatest ever single: hurt by Johnny Cash / killer by adamski / totally wired by the fall / riders on the storm by the doors / relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood / knocking on heaven's door by Bob Dylan
Favourite Album: Harold Budd and Brian Eno the pearl / the white album the beatles / what's going on Marvin Gaye / heroes by David Bowie / Peter Gabriel 3
What next for Coylie?
To be as creative as possible -a new album finished by next summer.
Final words for SWINE readers?
Thank you very much for your time and patience
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