Kate Phillips

ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, JULY 17, 1976

It is a pleasure to present this review of an album in the Alice Cooper catalogue that I enjoy a lot. This is definitely not the Alice Cooper of today, but the Alice Cooper that were more experimental in his musical output and was all the better for it.
As the young, but very wise, Ms. Phillips says; this is an album full of intelligent and humourous lyrics. In my personal opinion, one of the very best created in the 70s. Everyone should have this in their collection.

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ALICE COOPER: Alice Cooper Goes To Hell (Warners)

By Kate Phillips

I like Alice Cooper. (You have been warned.)
I like all the grand old men of rock (Alex is another) who haven`t much of a vocal identity (and many of whom can`t sing either), who can`t really be discussed in “rock” terms at all (thank heavens) because what they are is showmen who just happen to be using it for their perpetual shows (because it just happened to be around at the time) – who don`t, in short, have to pretend to be young (yawn) and outrageous (yawn) and meaningful (double yawn); because once you`ve admitted you`re frankly corny, and sentimental, and out for a good time (a few laughs, a few shrieks, a big chorus and the audience singing along) – then you`re safe, you can`t be accused of failing to rise to any challenge (except your own) and then, if you want to imply anything a teency bit sinister, a touch naughty or subversive… well, no-one can ever be quite sure (can they?) whether you mean it or not.
Alice`s last effort, you recall, was about a Nightmare; therefore, with the calm logic of “outrage” (you have to get a bit more outrageous every time) he now moves on to an account of his descent into Hell.
Exhibit A: the back cover – slender, youthful, unprotected, black-clad figure trips down to the long white marble staircase to the infernal regions (naturally, Alice`s Hell would be reached by a white marble staircase).
The visual image (note also front cover: Alice as Devil with green face) is one of the ways he makes up for sounding like somebody different on almost every track – Lennon on the sad ones (“I`ll Never Cry”) Jagger when he bawls (“Didn`t We Meet”), Lou (backed up by Wagner and Hunter again, of course) on “I`m The Coolest”.

This last is a description of Himself by Alice`s Maker – “Everybody knows who`s really cool – Me” (“I`m The  Coolest”) – the Big Guy who`s dragged the kid down to this awful place with no TV and no Budweiser to account for his wicked life – “You`re something that never should have happened / You even make your Grandma sick” (“Go To Hell”).
Trouble is, you feel Alice can`t make himself truly Repentant enough to get out of this hole – “I`m a dirt-talkin`, beer-drinkin`, woman-chasin` minister`s son… Golly gee, it`s wrong to be so guilty” (“Guilty”) – though he argues hard enough in “Give The Kid A Break” – “Come on, you know I got what it takes / Can`t you give me a break / Sure thing kid, when hell freezes over”.
I like the first side of the album better than the second – “Go To Hell” is done with great relish, the words of “I`m The Coolest” and “Give The Kid A Break” are very funny, and “Guilty” reminds me of “I`m Eighteen” – but then, that`s judging it as an album, and I don`t think that`s the best way to look at it.
I don`t know how much of this (all or nothing) is part of Alice`s new show (the one he`s not performing in the States at the moment because he`s in bed with anaemia, poor sinner) but (as with Alex`s albums), it`s hard to listen to without imagining Alice on stage – and if you imagine that, why, even black-Pan`s-People-on-the-Osmond-show routines like “You Gotta Dance”, or the undeniably soppy “Wake Me Gently” (“I don`t wanna stay / I wanna leave / I wanna go / I wanna go home”) could be just fine. (I told you I was partisan.)
“I`m Always Chasing Rainbows” loses its sickness potential and becomes what they used to call “great theatre” and “Going Home” is an emotional finale in the best stage musical traditions.
Or in other words OKLAHOMA! (where the wind comes whistling down the plain).
Remember?

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Paul McCartney, Twiggy, Stuart Sutcliffe, The Flamin` Groovies, Ian Hunter, The Who, Eric Clapton, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Jefferson Starship, Weather Report, Roxy Music, The Crusaders, The Ramones.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Black Sabbath from New Musical Express, October 25, 1975

What is so fascinating with these older articles? Well, one of the things that I like is in the way that the articles are absolutely candid with their subjects. I feel that we lost something important when the music business “professionalised” and bands started to use press officers that controlled what were allowed to be written.
Probably sometimes under the threat of being sued by their lawyers and at other times with the threat of losing access to their stable of artists. A music paper without access to musicians wouldn`t be much of a music paper, you kow?
This is written before the days of contracts regulating what the papers could write, and it`s quite refreshing to read something like this even if it is over 40 years later…
Have fun!

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Have you heard about Ozzie and the Good Book?

BLACK SABBATH, in a new incarnation as a series of contrapuntal anecdotes.

By Kate Phillips

“The cat died, Ozzie.”
“What cat?”
“That horrible-coloured thing you shot in the garage.”
“It`s like bleeding Daktari in our garage,” mumbles the star. “You could go on an expedition in there and never come back.”
This makes The Horse That Fed Steve Marriott assume a minor perspective. A little later a friend who lives near Ozzie`s stately home reports that a Gentleman`s Shoot the star was asking about who will be charging £1,000 per gun per week. Too much.
“A thousand pounds?” repeats Ozzie, mildly disgusted. “I`d do better to pick off some more of the chickens.”
We`re into our sixth Pernod and water by now, but Wednesday night in Bradford still ain`t looking too wonderful. Geezer had some sense: he shot off home to Worcester right after the gig.

OZZIE AND THE GOOD BOOK

A young man reclines on a hotel divan. His long, fair hair criss-crosses the pillow and his triple-decker platforms are hurting his feet.
He lifts the telephone.
“Reception? Listen, how about coming up here to keep a lonely man company? No? Well listen, how does a sparrow make an emergency landing?
Eh?
“With a Sparrowchute!”
Tony Iommi, I hear later, once punched Ozzie on the nose for repeatedly ripping up hotel-supplied Gideon Bibles. I don`t know if you remember Tony with long hair. He`s worn it short for a long time now, with a neat moustache and knife-edge cream trousers. Oh yes, and the same old steel cross, resting atop the immaculate pullovers. In Bradford, when it`s time to change, he disappears from the bare, echoing school cloakroom that serves St. George`s Hall as communal dressing-room and secretes himself in the upstairs chamber (with the star on the door) for more than half an hour.
Ozzie`s still here: he didn`t bother to hide while assuming his yellow fringed shirt, tight yellow trousers and painful white boots. Now he leaps playfully round from one member of the band to another and pulls down their panties at crucial stages of undress.

Bill Ward endures these onslaughts without excitement. Gnarled and taciturn, looking very old, much older than the others, he`s climbing into bright red tights and the red tent-shaped maternity coat he “found in the wardrobe” this morning. He rounds off the tights with a pair of old blue plimsolls.
He looks like the Frog Prince.
There`s only one thing on Bill`s mind right now: the sins of a music journalist who`s been less than complimentary in print about Bill`s wife.
Bill reckons he`ll sue.
Are you very angry about it, Bill?
“Me and Melinda are used to being slagged off in the press” – he stares hard into my face – “but… well… No Comment. I don`t want to say any more.
“My wife will though,” he adds, glumly.

OZZIE AND THE CONCEPT ALBUMS

Gerald is sitting alone on a hard chair in the middle of the room. Gerald is rather a well-kept secret. He plays keyboards for Black Sabbath, and every night he dresses up in his own version of the fringed costume – but he and all his equipment are always completely hidden away from the sight of the audience.
Still, he`s honoured to be playing with his local heroes, and soon he`ll have his own album to do: musical variations on “The Ascent Of Man”.
“Ozzie`s going to help out with the singing,” he confides.
The last time Gerald tried to make a record, the studio burnt down.
“Our next album`s going to be a concept album,” Ozzie remarks, some time during the next two days.
“What`s the concept, Oz?”
“We dunno yet.”

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OZZIE AND THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF TODAY

Bradford isn`t a riot, not like Sheffield turns out to be, but the kids still pile up over the front of the stage and no one sits down all night. The imaginary axemen, who are present in large numbers and “Sabotage” teeshirts, turn their backs on the band and get heavily into miming Iommi`s riffs.
Iommi`s manner is stately. No fringes for him: in white satin, with gold braid and knee-length trumpet sleeves, and slightly embarrassed smiles at the other lads, he squirrels about on the guitar like someone demonstrating a knitting machine; and these breaks are generally the signal for relative hush. But it`s more fun when Oz doesn`t leave the stage, but totes his invisible axe as well; Ozzie`s performance is one unbroken act of communication across the barriers.
So Iommi`s effective but a bit of a smoothie, pretty Geezer camps it up like a King Charles spaniel, Bill flails his drums like a demented Thorin Oakenshield – but Ozzie is the natural-born star, and the Sabs could never have lived this long without him. Ozzie can howl out lines like “No more war pigs out for power! Hand of God has struck the hour!” and get straight back into bouncing up and down, peacesigning (“I just did it to them one day and they all did it back”) and inciting the crowd to boogie with the minimum of incongruity.

He actually notices individual faces in the crowd below him. He bridges the tuning-up gaps that straggle out numbers with “Are ya having a good time anyway? So are we!” so that the audience won`t feel ignored; and as the pain threshold mounts, and the din in your head becomes a blessed haze, the leaping yellow figure and square, hurt-looking Ray Davies features dominate the Town Hall`s trance.

OZZIE AND THE FANS THAT GOT AWAY

We were playing this baseball stadium in the States. We`re in the middle of a huge field and there`s a high wire fence all round it, with the kids outside. So I say to them, you know, come on, come inside, and suddenly they`re all climbing over the fence and running towards us like a human stampede, and we`re playing away, waiting for them to get up to us.
“But when they do, they don`t stop! They just trample right over the stage, bust up all our equipment, and rush away across the rest of the field and out of the stadium doors! `Cos the police are after them…”

In Sheffield City Hall, Lady Tony Iommi seats herself onstage. She crosses Aristockinged legs and smooths her blonde hair. She must be all of 24. “Aren`t you awfully young to be a reporter?” she enquires.
Tomorrow, the Daily Mirror is to interview the Iommis about their lifestyle. Like Ozzie and his Thelma, they too have a country house. It`s not quite so easy, though, to make the connection between Ozzie and Gracious Living.
Tony Iommi has patented a system of cartridge-type pick-ups which can all be slotted into one guitar. He says he may be appearing on “Tomorrow`s World” to demonstrate them. He doesn`t know a similar device has already been marketed in America.

Scene in the pub across the street from the hall: a becrossed and beteeshirted fan has been eyeing Geezer Butler longingly from the next table. Finally, he approaches.
“Geezer, will you dedicate `Megalomania` tonight to Sandra, Glennis and Bongo?”
“We`re not playing it,” counters a laconic Geezer.
“Oh!” says the fan. “Oh, that`s nice, innit?”
Geezer smiles seraphically.
The fan, nonplussed, backs away.

Why do you think it is, Bill, that all these really young kids like the band so much?
“I`m not sure I could tell you.”
Do they just like to get into a heavy daze and forget all their teenage troubles for a while?
“Oh yes, I thought we were assuming that. I was trying to think of some more profound reason why they get off on us.”

OZZIE REHABILITATES HIMSELF

“Grand larceny. I was in Winson Green for two months. Once I stole a telly and I was balanced on top of this wall, one of them with glass along the top, and I fell off; this 24 in. telly was sitting on top of my chest and I was screaming, Get me out, get me out!
“I had nothing to do inside; you did about two hours work a day and the rest of the time you were locked in your cell. That`s when I did these tattoos, with a sewing needle and a tin of grate polish.”
Were you into music in those days?
“Not really – maybe just the Kinks and the Beatles.”
So how come you`re a singer?
“When I came out of the nick… had to do something, didn`t I?”

Geezer`s back just in time for the gig. He clambers into dirty silver sateen jeans and a white fringed shirt lately liberated from Ozzie. But he retains the filthy blue braces that have been holding up his offstage trouserings.
“Those are disgusting,” pronounces Ozzie. “Here, let me put them straight for you.”
At this point, the latest issue of NME arrives in the dressing room. It`s a tense moment: the paper carries a lambastic review of the Sabs last week in Birmingham. Lucas, road manager, is incensed. “To think we`ve been looking after two of their girls for the last 48 hours,” he mutters accusingly.

Ozzie, who has naturally good manners, turns his back and studies his reflection in a glass at the other end of the room. He`s not about to get involved. When asked for an official reply to the review, he responds, simply (and justifiably), “Bollocks”. And that`s all anyone`s going to get.

OZZIE AND THE CHRISTMAS STOAT

`Twas Christmas Eve in the stately home, and Ozzie Osbourne, opening his bay window, leaned out to survey the snowy countryside. He sniffed at the icy air. Suddenly, right in front of him, he espied a tiny stoat, sitting up on its hind legs, gazing into his face (rather like a Sabfan, in fact).
And what happened, Ozzie?
“Nothing happened. We just looked at each other for a while.
“Then the stoat went away.”

And on to Sheffield.
Sheffield audiences are well known, nay notorious, for enjoying themselves without restraint, and one can excuse the elderly security men at the City Hall for panicking a bit last Thursday. They caused some unnecessary trouble, it seemed to me, at the sides of the crowd they could reach, but no one could have penetrated the middle of it once the Sabs were onstage, and the tiers of bodies in there were left to sway and fall about at will.

Iommi scuttled up and down his instrument with his usual static elegance, and Bill Ward`s drum solo – that`s the Drum Solo I`m talking about – sounded more like the Approach of World War One than ever – but me, I got bored whenever Ozzie wasn`t onstage to vibe things up. Ozzie gives the whole thing heart; Ozzie is power; Ozzie is the reason I`d go to a Sabs` gig any day rather than, say, the Hairdresser`s Ball (Roxy Music) I attended at Wembley the night after that.
Make no mistake – there`s no two ways about it. And you can`t say fairer than that.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: David Bowie, Elton John, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Roxy Music, I Roy, Steve Hackett, Milt Jackson, Mason, Larry Coryell.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper from New Musical Express, September 20, 1975

Can anyone who were at Wembley please confirm that no furry, cute animals were hurt during this concert?
Another Cooper article for you – and yes, I think this is number 10, so now there`s a lot of stuff on this blog for you Alice Cooper fans. Personally, I can`t hide my admiration for the guy, and anyone who thinks that he is all show and no substance should take a listen to any of his albums made in the 70s, 80s and 90s. One of the greatest artists of our time – and that is the end of a very short discussion – so there!

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Night of the Coopertroopers

Alice does it one more time for Great Britain`s own Dept. of Youth, and Alice does it good

Report: Kate Phillips
Pics: Kate Simon
Alice Cooper
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WEMBLEY

You missed it? You missed Alice`s new show?
Better let me tell you all about it, kid, else ain`t no-one in school gonna talk to you.
Well for starters nearly missed it myself, waiting for my girlfriend to turn up, and when I arrive there`s this really keen bunch of little guys called The Kids up there, and I`m real sorry I didn`t catch more of their act, cos it looks like everyone was having a real good time.
The littlest guy of all was wearing this huge grey plastic mac and getting his head kicked in by the other guys, but it didn`t bother him any: he just got up and rushed to and fro across the stage begging us to get up on our feet and cheer the band, even if it was only for two minutes, cos he and the other guys would like it so much.
So naturally we all get up and cheer.
Then this deejay-type cat comes on and says we`re all being filmed tonight, and this is an idea I can really dig, being on a movie with the big A.
And he says all the stage cats are gonna work real hard, and in about twenty minutes it`ll be time for ALICE!!!
So we all get up and cheer some more.

And then I got time to look around, and I see these truly monster little Coopertroopers in front of me, with eye-black and the hats and the badges and all, and I start conversing with these cats who are truly cool and dig Alice so much that they paid three times the proper price to get in. (And I`d just like to say hi right now to Chris and Phil and Stud and Shane and Nick from groovy Buxton College, Chesterfield, – love and spiders, boys).
So me and these cats have just finished working out how we`re gonna rush the stage when Alice does “Department of Youth”, which is like our song, you dig, and we wanna let him know how we appreciate it, when out go the lights and up comes the curtain and there`s this weirdo contraption in the middle of the stage, looking something like a tree and something like a little birdie`s cage, only we know it is a bed, cos we have read about the show before.
The show is about a little boy called Stephen, who wakes up in bed with all sorts of weirdo things going on in his room, only Stephen is ALICE!!! as well, you dig.
And then a cat in a red stretch onepiece-type jumpsuit article gets up off the bed, and yes, it is one truly obscene little boy, it is ALICE!!!
And when we have all cheered till we can cheer no more, Alice starts prowling round the room among all these bats and devil dancers and beating them off with his cloak, and these cats dance round him and they really keep together, they are one million times better than boring old Pan`s People on the TV, and Alice pretends to be real scared.

And then they sort of disappear and Alice starts doing some of his real monster songs, “No More Mr Nice Guy” and “I`m Eighteen”, and we all sing with him, it is a gas and it reminds us what being a Coopertrooper is all about.
And I would just like to say right here that all those weirdo oldies at the NME who are trying to tell the kids that Alice is finished and only good for going to Las Vegas to jive with other fat and loaded oldsters can just go pack themselves away, cos they are truly full of shit.
I don`t like to hurt their feelings, but it is true like anyone who digs Alice!! will let you know.
Where was I, oh yes.
So Alice finishes his songs, and this has all been very fast as well as being such a gas, it has all been much quicker than I can relate it to you, cos all through this show the action keeps zooming in at you real unexpected, like the next thing which happens, which is that Alice looks inside his toybox and out come these really keen skeletons, they are painted with luminous paint and they do a dance in the dark with Alice, who has put on a white tux and looks real smooth.
But the next part is one of the best parts of all, cos it is where Alice has a real run-in with this rag doll, he beats her and kicks her and climbs over her lying on the floor and tangos with her and finally throws her on the bed, singing this song about “Cold Ethyl” which is the doll`s name, and you can tell this is a nightmare cos it seems he really digs this doll, and yet he is doing all these really heavy things to her.

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And he is sitting on the bed with Cold Ethyl worrying about this when the lights go down, and then they come up again (and I could see some cats moving about on the stage and I guess I know what they were doing) and Alice starts singing this song which my girlfriend really dug, cos she is liberated and all that stuff, about “Only Women Bleed”.
But I am gonna tell you, I did not say it to her, but I do not think Alice is really into all that liberation stuff, Alice just likes to have a good time.
So he`s singing away and it is a really good number, all slow and agonised, and suddenly the rag doll lifts her leg right up in the air. And all the cats in the audience go “Ooooooh” cos they do not know if the doll has come to life or if Alice was really beating up a real chick. As if he would.
And the second half of the show is even better, only I cannot take too long telling you about it cos it is nearly time for my math class, but I have got to let you know about the spiders, they are huge and black and furry, real Black Widow spiders from the little boy`s bug collection, only now they are bigger than Alice and they try to eat him, and he is real scared again, just like any kid would be, and he looks real small and helpless.
Alice is real good at looking small and helpless. He looks it even more when this nine-foot woolly monster comes round the back of the amp, and we all have a good time shouting “Behind you, behind you” like we were little kids at a pantomime, but the monster which is like the little boy`s idea of a teddybear in a nightmare stonks across the stage and grabs Alice anyway, and the only way he can get free is to hack off its head with a toy sword, which is a really heavy thing for a little kid to do to his teddybear, you dig.

And there are two more things that I must not forget, there is Alice`s band who are thundering away at the back of the stage the whole time, they are really hot and the guitarists have a wonderful fight in the middle of the show, playing all the time and trying to beat each other up; these guys are truly peachy-keen, they are good enough to play for ALICE which is saying a lot, but it is not surprising cos they used to play with Lou Reed, who my cool big brother says is really cool.
And the other thing is this screen which comes up, made of strips of white stuff, and a movie comes up on the screen of Alice in a graveyard being nailed into a coffin by four ghouls, and this is when the most truly instant thing of all happens, cos just at the very moment when the screen Alice is bursting out of the coffin, the real Alice comes bursting through the screen like he was jumping out of the movie. And this is just too far-out, I do not know how Alice thinks these things up.
So now we do not admit it to ourselves but we know that it is nearly the end, and we will have to go out into the cold night and back to Buxton and all the other uncool places, and maybe not see Alice again for years, until we are old: so we just decide to make the most of what is left, and what is left is pretty good because ALICE is brought on in the toybox and steps out with all these balloons and sings “School`s Out”, which up till now we have missed.

And it is a funny thing, but we have forgotten to rush the stage like we planned; some little cat tries it now but the security guys throw him off real quick, I suppose they have to be careful to protect Alice. So maybe it was not a good idea.
What happens is even better, I throw my shirt, the one with “Alice Cooper!!” across it in silver sequins that my big sister made me, towards the stage, and Alice catches it!!!!
And he puts it on!! Oh, it is truly peachy, Alice!! is wearing my shirt. I suppose the draggy O.A.P.s will kill me for going home without it, but I will not care.
Cos maybe Alice will see my name on the cuff, and write me from Los Angeles, which is where he lives.
I would really dig to get a letter from Alice.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Paul McCartney, Robert Calvert, Carlos Santana, Alex Harvey, Jimi Hendrix, Maurice White, Cecil Taylor, Alan Longmuir (Bay City Rollers), Pink Floyd.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Suzi Quatro from New Musical Express, September 13, 1975

Here`s a girl you just can`t stop to love. Trying to build her image as a very bad girl in this and other interviews, while we all really knew that inside she was a really, really nice girl. But it`s an interesting story of a girl trying to break into a male-chauvinist business. So the story of Suzi is always an interesting one! Enjoy.

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Madcap of the Fourth or reincarnation of Attila the Hun? They couldn`t tell. It wasn`t what she said, it was…

WHAT SUZI DID

By Kate Phillips

Suzi Q, fantasy figure for the mini-libbers of the nation:
“I get all these letters from little girls telling me that they`re tough, that they swear like me, and they`re not gonna get stuck at home… and I did answer one, it was from a mother who said her daughter wanted to leave school and be like me, and could I write and tell her to finish school first. So I wrote back-”
-And told the kid to wait?
“-No. I said, if your daughter`s like I was, one year ain`t gonna make no difference. So it`s best to let her go. I know my parents could have kept me under lock and key and I`d have got out somehow and run away.”
Pretty much your standard hellcat raunch? Yup, Leatherclad Rap number 49, courtesy Chinn, Chapman and Mickie Most (image-makers to the public). But don`t give up just yet.
Why were you a rebel, Suzi?
“I wasn`t so much rebellious as a loner; and that made me rebellious in the end.
“There`s always one in a big family, and that was me, so I had to learn to take care of myself. I can remember every day of my life when I was a kid, though my teenage years are a bit hazy.
“Yes, that probably is because I was unhappy.
“I wanted more attention. I can even remember when I was three, biting my little sister`s fingers off…”

Whaaaat?
“I just hated her. She was such a pretty baby, too. And she lay with her fingers drooping over the edge of the cradle, and I crept up and just crunched them as hard as I could.
“I`m surprised they didn`t fall off. Then I ran upstairs and listened to her crying, and my mother coming in and saying `What`s wrong with this baby, she`s always crying` and I`d be up there laughing away. Isn`t that terrible?
“When I was about 11 it suddenly hit me. I went into her room late one night, sobbing. `Nancy, are ya sleeping? I`m sorry I used to bite your fingers, I`m sorry…` I was crying my eyes out, the memory has suddenly gone boom in my head.
“So anyway, when I got to the age when my parents thought they had to give me attention and protect me from the outside world, because I was growing up, I said fuck you, you never cared before…”
No, I don`t think it explains why Suzi`s a rebel; I don`t think she is a rebel, otherwise she wouldn`t still be tied up in the baby biker packaging in which her management present her.
It does explain her self-confessed need to be onstage regularly, since otherwise she gets “nervy” and bitchy without the adulation of a crowd to keep her happy. And it`s probably got something to do as well with her ritual “toughness”, which she demonstrates with naive pleasure during the course of our conversation. A nervous minion of RAK Records puts his head round the door to ask a question Suzi considers superfluous, so she sends him off with a chilly reply; and turns back with a conspiratorial smile to her audience.

“See, there, I got nasty there for a minute. I had a guy in here yesterday, shaking. He`d come in with this list of questions – `Why are you so butch?` `Why aren`t your tits bigger?` Really that stupid. I laid into him, told him he made me puke: he was trying to laugh, and pretending to write it all down, but he went out in tears.
“Of course I`m gonna behave like a bitch, if people treat me like one.”
Maybe they wouldn`t ask her silly questions, though, if she didn`t have such a silly image to live up to. Let`s get one thing straight; in spite of the fact that she`s rather small and very pretty and very charming, in her literal-minded way, it is not amazing (a) that Suzi plays bass (some girls play drums, remember?) (b) that Suzi swears (yawn) and (c) that Suzi wears leather onstage (double yawn).
If those things ever had any novelty value, it`s surely worn off by now – a suggestion backed up by the fact that none of her last few singles – “The Wild One”, “Your Mamma Won`t Like Me”, “I Bit Off More Than I Could Chew” – have done much business, and the new one, “I Maybe Too Young”, which is lyrically one of the crassest efforts so far (“I`m little Suzi, the backstreet girl/I`m gonna hang around and wait for you”) isn`t, as yet, creating any stir either.
To give Suzi her due, she`s genuinely bored with all these questions about what it`s like to be a female rock and roller. “It doesn`t matter what sex I am, but other people can`t get used to it,” she complains.

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But until she gives up her position as teeny little cute front lady for all those Big Ugly Men, and till she starts writing her own singles and singing in a way that odd things on her albums have shown her to be capable of no-one`s going to believe her protestations of sexless equality with the rest of the band, or see her as anything other than a willing doll manipulated by Chinnichap.
Nobody has got her to say a word against them yet, or to admit that her claim to have broken the rock and roll barrier for girls is as yet a false one. But sometimes she really gives herself away:
“The only time the boys in my band think about me as a woman is when it`s time to change into our stageclothes and I go off to another dressing room, or when some big heavy guys come up and they know they might have to protect me a little, `cos it might get a bit rough – but otherwise I don`t think they think about it either.”
It`s not that I think the lady`s got to sacrifice her modesty, or get herself beaten up, to achieve parity: but I do think the best thing she could do (after casting Mike and Nicky into Outer Darkness) would be to get herself a gig as one of the boys in a band – a good one – and concentrate on living down her Lulu and the Luvvers aura for a while. After that, if she actually emerged as leader in her own right – well, then all us Little Girls would really have something to inspire us.

Back to Suzi`s childhood. Her own inspiration, she says, was Elvis: “It never occurred to me that I couldn`t look up to him, just `cos I was a girl. I just said, Oh I`d love to do what he does. I was one of those kids who practised in front of the mirror with a chairback and four big rubber bands for a bass. It really worked quite good. And I`d practise facial expressions – I could match myself in the mirror and not be embarrassed, it was like watching someone else. I didn`t even care when my mother caught me at it…”
Do you use any of those expressions now?
“No, not any of them; I use such ugly expressions onstage, and people say I`m a sex symbol! They must be mad. Sexy to me is when someone`s got their leg pointed, or they`re putting their body into pretty shapes…”
But you don`t only fancy men when they pose, do you?
“No but men are different..”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Procul Harum, Genesis, Andy Pratt, Uriah Heep, Buddy Holly.

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