by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog
For Melody Maker, 31st October 1987
They’ve been canned at Reading, banned in Leningrad, but there’s still no stopping Bad News from destroying civilisation. Steve Sutherland Joins the metal mayhem merchants on their rampage through the comic countryside and discovers that beind their beer-swilling, chick-knobbing, bastard image, the awesome foursome are really just a bunch of drunken, over-sexed bastards.
And lo, it came to pass in the month known as October, that the mountains did shake and the dustcarts did turn upon a Monday and the rivers did run red with the blood of the Pet Shop Boys. And the witch known as Maggie was banished abroad, Buck House was declared HM HQ, strange gooey who owned the Wet Wet Wet album and Vim Fuego, known as Arthur, was crowned King of the Britons. And on his right hand — which was a bit pervy — did sit Colin Grigson known as Merlin and the land resumed to its old metal ways.
This, or thereabouts, is what Bad News proclaimed would occur when their debut album, inspired by a thousand vindaloos washed down with lager, was released. Well, I’ve got the record herein front of me and, lo, what’s happening? Bugger all. So, whatever happened to the Pendragon kingdom?
Colin: “Well, it was supposed to happen at Reading. The armies were gathered but it didn’t really spark.”
Colin: “Because the guitars were out of tune.”
Den: “I think the guitar roadie was sent by Mordreth and Morn La Faye.”
Colin: Yeah, we found out Morgan La Faye is, in fact, Lemmy. He turned up backstage at Reading, looking very jealous, and — surprise surprise — the guitars don’t work anymore. It was the same at Donington — he turned up and — surprise surprise — the equipment didn’t work there either.”
Vim: “We let him onstage at Donington but not at Reading.Our time has come, his time is finished.”
Den: I think that Lemmy has locked Merlin under a rock for a thousand years.”
Colin: “But Den, I’m supposed to be Merlin.”
Colin: “Um … ah … ha ha… I know.
Metaphorically! Because my guitar didn’t work, he…uh…as good as hid me under a rock, right?”
Vim: “And he hit you didn’t he? That’s a bit like a rock. That time he punched you in the nose and there was all that blood ‘n’ that”
Spider: “Because of Lemmy, someone gave me the wrong sticks — that’s why I couldn’t play in time that day.”
Colin: “You were also pissed out of your head though, weren’t you?”
Spider: “Oh yeah! But I try to do that anyway. I try to get really pissed so that I can y’know, wotsit…”
Spider: “Yeah, that’s it. Drum.”
Vim: “The trouble with making people aware that I am the new King Arthur has been…uh…a lot of people don’t believe it”
Colin: “You know, I think the best thing is to abandon that idea and try another publicity scam.”
Vim: “No! Shut up!”
Colin: “Come on! We thought that, because white isn’t a colour that’s used very much in heavy metal — it’s generally black — that if Vim became the Great White Prince and we prettied it up a bit, tried to glamorise it…”
Den: “You’re just trying to make the whole thing go soft. You’re always doing that Colin, you’re always trying to make it all go soft and, like, white magic…”
Colin: “I’m Not! I’m not! I’m just trying to think of a clever trick…”
Den: “You just wanna make us into a little pop band so that you can get on Top Of The Pops because you wanna make it with a Top Of The Pops make-up artist.”
Colin: “I don’t care how I make it or who with. All I care about is…”
Vim: ‘That you do it one day! Heh heh heh heh…”
Colin: “I’ve done it! I’ve done it!”
Vim: “You haven’t!”
Colin: “I have!”
Vim: “Well, what happens then!”
Colin: “Well … you get the magazine and you go into the toilet and… well, if you don’t know, I’m not gonna tell you! Look, all I’m trying to say is, if we can think of a clever scam to trick the stupid people who read the Melody Maker into buying our rotten album then we’ll all make enough money. Surely it doesn t matter if you have to Ponce about in silly clothes for a while just to make a bitof money to buy a house.”
Den: “That’s what I mean. All Colin is into it for is so he can get a mortgage. He’s not interested in the true spirit of rock’n roll.”
Spider: “Whisky, gin, vodka, rum… heh heh heh…”
Den: “Jack Daniels!”
Colin: “And being able to get all the way through a song without stopping.”
Vim: “And being able to drink a whole bottle down without stopping. It’s a lotta things to do with not stopping. Neverstop.”
Colin: “All things in excess, non stop, forever and ever.”
Den: “Except not that Australian band, INXS. Not them! They just stole the name from us.”
Vim: “Rock ‘n’ roll rhymes with alcohol,which is significant isn’t it!”
Den: “Just a load of symbolics if you ask me.”
Spider: “Rock’s roll is meeting alotta chicks and playing very loud isn’t it?”
Vim: “That’s part of it, yeah. Drinking comes into it somewhere too.”
Colin: “Freedom, drugs, sex… and… having a bit of a gin and tonic.”
Spider: “Without too much tonic heh heh heh.”
Den: “Hang on, hang on… is gin a spirit?”
Vim: “Well, I dunno… We drink lager really, don’t we? ‘Ere Spider you alright?”
What’s up? Is the acid taking effect that he dropped earlier?
Den: “What? In 1969?”
Spider: “This is measle vaccine what I’ve just had.”
Vim: “His mum works down the Health Care Centre and he’s into a lot of kiddies’ drugs at the minute. We don’t think he’ll ever ever get polio. He’s pretty immune to whooping cough as well aren’t you?”
Den: “He’s the most immune drummer at Reading when those bottles of piss came down. We’ve all got AIDS but I don’t think Spider has.”
Vim: “He was picking ’em up off the stage and having a swig!”
Spider: “That’s right, I drank more piss than eh… than…”
Colin: “Than what Spider?”
Spider: “I can’t remember heh heh heh.”
Den: “You drank more piss than beer didn’t you?”
Colin: “Well, it was beer really. It just had the alcohol taken out”
Vim: “It still had a head on it so, I mean, if was alright! We took it back to the caravan because, obviously, we don’t get a big rider. Itwas alright really, a bit weak but…”
Colin: “We had more bottles thrown at us at Reading than at any other gig before which is quite a record I think. What was it? Three hundred and twenty something?”
Den: “Three hundred and twenty seven thousand!”
Colin: “And we want all the fans to know that we keep every bottle that’s thrown:”
Den: “Yeah, there all at my flat”
Vim: “He’s had to move out. There’s roomfuls! It’s gonna take us years to get through them all.”
Colin: “I think people should start throwing credit cards.”
Vim: “Yeah, we’re looking forward to the point when we’ve got a number one album and they start throwing money… paper money. Just make them into little aeroplanes and, obviously, a 50 pound note makes a better aeroplane than a fiver.”
Den: “Yeah, we’ve got nowhere to put any more bottles so we want money instead. Not 50 pence pieces, paper money, folding money.”
Colin: “We’re also short of ladies’ underwear, and pictures of ladies…”
Vim: “Yeah! Polaroids!”
Colin: “And they don’t necessarily have to have clothes on-clothes aren’t essential.”
I hear that a couple of you went to see Madonna recently with your old pal Bob Geldof. What did you think of Madonna throwing her underwear into the crowd?
Colin: “Well, I missed it. I was sold a bum ticket but you were there weren’t you Vim?”
Vim: “Uh … no… no. I never managed to make it to the f**ing horrible Madonna concert. A very close friend of mine went…”
Den: “But you did go. You got up onstage with her and pretended to be her friend and you took your underpants off and threw them and shouted ‘Take me, take me Madonna, I’ve always loved you’ and got beaten up by the security guards.”
Vim: “No, tha’s what happended to my close personal friend Alan Metcalfe.”
Den: “But you’re Alan Metcalfe Vim!”
Vim: “Shut up Den. SHUT UP!”
Colin: “Well, I heard you jumped up onstage and said ‘Hello everyone, Vimto’s here, the revolution starts now! Me and Madonna — let’s f**k!’ and they smacked your face in.”
Vim: “I don’t remember that. If that did happen to me, I was probably too f**king pissed and shagged out from shagging too many chicks to notice.”
So you’re still pulling lots of chicks?
Vim: “Oh yeah, I never stop. Are you a girl?”
Vim: “Alright, I’ll leave you alone then. But, like, if we run out of chicks later, are you on?”
Yeah. I’ll do anything for an interview.
Den: “Will you? Will you go and park my van then because it’s on a double yellowline outside.”
Too late. It’s been clamped on all fourwheels already.
Spider: “Oh well, that’s pretty rock ‘n’ roll isn’t it? Heh heh heh.”
Not as rock’ni roll as recording Bohemian Rhapsody.
Colin: “Ha! The reason we recorded Bohemian Rhapsody is twofold-one is because we’re trying to bring about the new bohemia…”
Den: “And the other is because we’re complete twats.”
Vim: “Shut up Den! The other is that the original version was complete crap.”
What are the band’s ambitions now?
Vim: “We wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of cash or the contract even and we’d obviously like to learn how to play. We just don’t have the time though. We’re doing so many interviews and photo-sessions that we just don’t have the time to rehearse or write.”
Vim: “We don’t really know what the album’s like at all, do we?”
Colin: “No, we haven’t been allowed to hear it yet”
Spider: “Someone said there’s a lot of talking on it which rather surprised me. But, you see, when we arrived at the studio, no one showed us how to plug in anywhere so we spent the first three months trying to learn how to plug in. Waste of money really — we spent all our advance on it.”
Vim: “We turned up and there was no engineer, no producer, no lighting even so we were in the dark mostly and we just kept on talking and, apparently, it was all taped and that makes up 10 percent of the album.”
Won’t your fans be disappointed then?
Vim: “We’re bloody disappointed mate! We didn’t really want to make an album or a single in the first place because we’ve always wanted to be a cult”
Well, you may not be any good but you’re certainly famous. It must be tricky running for the busthese days without being recognised.
Colin: “In these boots it is, yeah.”
Vim: “And we drink so much f**king lager that we’re completely pissed all the time so, when we’re running, we trip. That’s the main problem with being a rock star.”
Spider: “I find the pressures quite delightful. I like being mobbed because I can score a lot of things off the mobs. Anything I want, I just pick up thephone.”
Vim: “How many phones have you picked up now?”
Spider, “Oh, I’ve got a whole roomful actually. I just pick ’em up all the time.”
Colin: “Oh, here’s Denny, back from the lavatory.”
Vim: “What’s that brown stain down the back of your pants?”
Den: “Oh, sorry!”
Colin: “What’s that you’re drinking? Perrier! Don’t drink Perrier at a pop music interview!”
Den: “I’m not. I’m gonna bathe in it.”
Vim: “You’re not! We bathe in virgin blood mixed with lager.”
Den: “And Perrier and goat’s milk and shit”
Colin: “We were gonna call the album Blood and Lager.”
Yes, it’s been suggested you’ll have a lot of problems with the new censorship considering, when you play the album backwards, it’s full of devil worship.
Vim: “There is a lot of that, yeah but we didn’t mean those messages. We just found out by accident that, if you play ‘Hey Hey Bad News are great’ backwards it comes out as’You’re a complete f**king c**t mate, why don’t you f**k off.”
Colin: But when you sing ‘Death to everyone, let’s corrupt the world with Satanic ideas’, you meant that didn’t you?”
Vim: “I meant that forwards, yeah. But when you play it backwards it goes ‘stelenoyreveothtael’ which doesn’t really mean anything does it?”
Do you envisage difficulties getting info America like, say, New Model Army who were deemed to be of no artistic worth!
Vim: Well, I mean, Def Leppard have played America haven’t they?”
Colin: “Didn’t Cromwell start the New Model Army? I thought that was something to do with the Civil War.”
He did. These people have taken up your idea, only they look to Cromwell rather than to Arthur for inspiration.
Vim: “They’re more modern than us then?”
Colin: “Are they sort of Ironside types, do they ride horses on stage and have cavalry charges?”
Den:“Hang on, hang on — I thought Ironside was in a wheelchair.”
Colin: “Shut up Den! On our tour we’re actually all going to be on horseback and we’ll stage battles on stage. Spider’s actually going to have a team of horses carrying his drums.”
Spider: “I’ve got the biggest drum kit in the world”
Vim: “Yeah, that’s why he’s called Spider because he needs eight arms and eight legs to play it”
A bit different to Def Leppard then — their drummers only got one arm! Have you lot contemplated mutilation as a publicity stunt?
Vim: “Well, there is a plan to knock off Colin.”
Colin: “Yes, I’m supposed to die.”
Well, that’s not going to elicit much public sympathy, is it?
Colin: “it could be jolly to elicit much public sympathy, is it?
Vim: “It could be jolly newsworthy if it was spectacular. We’ve been discussing it. I could fallout of an aeroplane, or out of a window at EMI’s office. Or be hung by a gibbet in a stage tragedy.”
Den: “What, in the middle of King Lear or something like that. That’s a stage tragedy isn’t it?
Colin: “Well, we were going to do King Lear in the West End actually. Spider and I took the wrong combination of rugs the other night and thought we could stage a heavy metal version of King Lear at the Shaftesbury.”
Who would be The Fool in the band?
Colin: “Uh… don’t know. I haven’t read the play yet”
Spider: “It’s obvious innit? You’d be King and I’d be Lear.”
Colin: “Yes with Den as the Fool and Vimto as the three girls.”
Vim: “Ha ha! That’s just because I look extraordinarily pretty.”
What’s the wildest thing that hapened to each of you since you’ve achieved… well, was gonna say fame and fortune but that seems inappropriate. Notoriety’s probably the word.
Den: “The other night I had the hottest curry I’ve ever had in my life; hotter than… hotter than everything, hotter than the f**king equator and that’s what my asshole felt like the next day, the equator.”
Colin: “It must have been jolly big!”
Vim: ‘The wildest thing that’s happened to me is that I’ve met a lot of metal compadres — Lemmy being the principal one. I had a f**king wild night with him. We went out and drank a few bottles of Jack Daniels and, then, just to prove what a wild mate he was, he punched me straight in the face. It was the f**king wildest thing man! I mean, I love him, I love him for doing that. It was the most wonderful experience of my life. I was unconscious for a while after that…”
Den: “Well, you still are really, aren’t you?”
Vim: “And I woke up in the morning with my legs round my head, feeling pretty sore in the nether regions.”
Colin:“Every day for me is a wild, interesting adventure. I often come across extraordinary events in my life. Take this morning for example — I woke up with a couple of chicks in my bed, dead.”
Colin: “Chicks! Women! And they’d just managed to write a note ‘Thank you for killing us this way Colin. Death through orgasm is the best way, all twenty thousand of them’. Well, I woke up to hammering on the door and it was the Chief Policeman of South Yorkshire — God knows what he was doing in London; probably ripping about ha ha — and he said: ‘I’ve got a couple of Porsches outside, I forgive you for the deaths of those chicks, please keep these Porsches.’ Well, I drove them all, simultaneously, 40 Porsches, to a nightclub which I demanded to be opened at 10 o’clock in the morning — because I was up early that day — and inside were four hundred thousand naked virgins. I opened the door and smiled — you know my special smile — and they all simultaneously orgasmed to death. That’s just an everyday elevenses in Colin Grigson’s life.”
Is that before you went to work in the bank?
Colin: “Oh… er… um…”
What did the manager have to say?
Den: “The manager said ‘Listen, have you been orgasming girls to death again? It’s got to stop in the bank’s time. You must get here by nine o’clock in future’.”
Spider: “My wildest thing is just getting pissed out my brains, driving round all night and making people happy, leaving my seed around hotel rooms, that kind of thing. Keeping my pecker up. I’m very well hung.”
Vim: “Yes, sometimes we call him ‘Donkey.'”
Spider the Donkey?
Vim: “Yeah … Ha ha! Spider the Dank. Sometimes we call him Spider the Sheep as well but we won’t go into that”
No we certainly won’t. I shall change the subject completely and ask whether you think it strange to have starred in two films before your first record’s released?
Colin: “Well, I think the modem showbiz personality has to move in and out of various roles. I think there are obviously openings for me as a model and I’m very interested in accountancy as well — it’s so solid and reliable. Dennis, on the other hand, could probably get into brick-laying.”
Den: “I don’t mind doing some brick-laying as long as I can play music. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do and I’ve not stopped for 14 years. No sleep till I’ve learned the chord. No sleep till…”
Colin: “Bedtime…Um… We’re very careful with our image too, we keep chopping and changing and trying out ideas. I’ve had an idea just recently actually that, in fact, if we wore dresses on stage and played ABBA songs, I think we could shift units.”
Den: “I’m leaving the band.”
Colin: “Oh come on! It’s a great metal concept. We could call ourselves ‘The Heavy Guys’.”
Den: “I don’t wanna do that”
Vim: “That’s because you’ve got no imagination Den.”
Den: “If that’s imagination then I don’t want it. I don’t think Imagination are any good anyway. That sort of music — ABBA, Imagination, Shakatak — f**king shit!”
Vim: “We could heavy up Super Trooper no end couldn’t we?”
Den: “Look, I’m not wearing a dress. I don’t think it’s heavy”
Vim: “Money Money Money has better lyrics than any you’ve ever written.”
Den: “No it hasn’t. What about Bad Dreams? ‘Here comes the beast again/Bad dreams/I can’t get to sleep at night/Because I keep getting bad dreams/I think I’m gonna turn on the light/Bad dreams/Here comes the beast again/Aaaaagh!”‘
Spider: “Den does quite a bit of writing on the side don’t you Den?”
Vim: “Yeah, on the side of toilet walls!”
Den: “That’s it then, I’m leaving. You can all f**k off!”
ABBA or Arthur, the bad news is Bad News will be back. Bugger it — I’m off to the pub. Bye.
Likes: Chicks, Kafka, Freedom, Being Me!
Dislikes: conforming, pretentiousness, certain other musicians who think they own the group and use bad language because they can’t express themselves properly.
Influences: Wagner, Proust
(Lead Guitar and Lead Vocals)
Likes: Loud guitars, Leather, Maiden, Leppard, sausage, eggs, and chips, lagar
Dislikes: Judith Chalmers, clean socks, certain other musicians who are poncey gits and can’t play bass-guitar to save their lives
Influences: Clapton, Hendrix
Likes: Trees, fire-lighters, Fruit Pastilles (orange and red only), coconut matting, candied kippers
Dislikes: Sand in your undies, Fruit Pastilles (yellow and green only), verukas, unidentified hair in Angel Delight, frowning.
Influences: Cozy Powell, Albert Schweitzer, Will Hay
Likes: Heineken, Carlsberg, Special Brew, Lamot, Curry, Fosters, Swan, Heavy Metal, Hofmeister, Pils
Dislikes: Anything that isn’t above