The first time I saw the TVPs was at Thames Poly last year - and that was by mistake. Len and I had gone to the Clarendon to see Primal Scream only to find it
cancelled. So we scoured the gig lists in the music papers for something else to spend our Saturday night on. The concert we found was the TVPs, a group that I'd
heard of, but never really taken much notice of (prat). I soon realised what I'd been missing though, the honest simplicity of Dan Treacy's songs like 'A Sense
of Belonging' and 'Stop And Smell The Roses'; the biting cynicism of his 'political numbers'; and the humour which gave us a Mary Chain medley, an encore of
'She Sells Sanctuary', and a Morrissey piss-take ("I wish I was a soap opera star in Coronation St., with Hilda Ogden and Vera Duckworth, but my chances are
slim if I act anything like I sing").
So why had I missed them for so long? Probably because there were no TVPs records for two years before this year's single 'How I Learned To Love The Bomb'. After all, I was young and even more stupid back then. Still, I've made up for my error now (and bought as many of their records as I could find) and asked Dan a few questions. His answers make him sound very cynical about music, but I'd say he must still have some hope in spite of this - why else would he continue to put his time and money into helping new groups with the Room at the Top and his record label Dreamworld?
WHY THE DELAY WITH 'HOW I LEARNED TO LOVE THE BOMB'?
Differences of opinion with Rough Trade about their distribution abroad caused delays, and until we got certain assurances from them we were discussing possible deals for the single with other labels, as I did not really want to release the single on my label Dreamworld, as it's no fun having to do all the 'day to day' business of promoting your own records.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE TVPS HAVE CARRIED ON FOR SUCH A LONG TIME?
People talk about "us" being together for eight years as if we were The Rolling Stones or The Who which is nonsense - there's been different people in the band all the time, and TV Personalities is just a name. Apart from abroad we have never played live much so it's not as though people really know who we are.
HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH THE CURRENT GROUP?
Jowe (Head, bass) and Jeff (Bloom, drums) are just friends I happen to play with. We do what we can with the limitations of being a three-piece. I can't be bothered playing with a bigger group, the soundchecks are too long.
WHY DON'T THE TVPS GET THE RECOGNITION YOU DESERVE?
It depends what you mean by recognition. We have been one of the top British bands in Europe for the last four years and we sell more records than most indie bands. If recognition is being on the front of the NME then I don't want it anyway as it's just superficial. I'm not obsessed by the 'indie charts' and all that nonsense, and I'm not bothered about being in the music papers every week.
DO YOU GET ANNOYED WHEN SOME PEOPLE STILL DISMISS THE TVPS AS A 'JOKE GROUP', REMEMBERING ONLY 'PART TIME PUNKS'? (I mean, songs like 'King And Country' or 'A Sense of Belonging' can hardly be spoken of like that)
After all this time I don't particularly care why or what people like about the group or my songs. As long as they have some sort of opinion it's OK.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE POP-PUNK GROUPS WHICH ARE NOW COMING TO PROMINENCE, BOUND TOGETHER BY A SIMILAR ATTITUDE (eg Wedding Present, Shop Assistants, Pastels, etc) WHY DON'T THESE PEOPLE SELL MORE RECORDS? (and the TVPs)
That's a laugh. Most of the bands I know all 'stab each other in the back' anyway. If record companies took a chance on more bands then some of those bands would sell more. A lot of the bands have a very narrow-minded attitude anyway. I'd rather be on Virgin than Rough Trade or Cherry Red. If the bands don't try harder to change things then nobody's going to do it for them. Most of them are happy in their own pretend pop world.
ROOM AT THE TOP
We just borrow a room above a pub and put on bands occasionally we like, and occasionally new bands who are not getting enough help. It's become a good venue for bands because there are a few journalists who frequent the place.
There's no big plan or big ideals. We just want to put records out by bands we like.
Absolutely nothing to say about Creation Records... next question as John Lydon would say.
U.S. GUITAR BANDS
I'd rather listen to the Bangles than Bogshed any day of the week! Guitar bands are the same wherever they come from - I've got no generalised attitude to bands from the US. Some I like, some I don't.
PAUL HARDCASTLE *
'19' was a very good example of everything that's manipulative about the music biz. The people who bought it are more guilty than him or his record company.
Read one Membranes interview you've read them all. I hate being pestered by fanzine sellers at gigs, and they get stroppy when you tell them you've read it and it's dull.
OUR BELOVED LEADERS
Like most people I shake my head in disbelief whenever they open their mouths. I don't think anyone's particularly interested in my politics anyway.
|* * *|
|'Diana Rigg' was a UK fanzine run by Len Theric and Mint Murray from Horsham in West Sussex.
* Paul Hardcastle had a number one single in the UK in May 1985 with '19', a crass hip hop track based on the Vietnam War and featuring assorted samples. Dan also makes some scathing comments about the record in the live version of 'Back to Vietnam', recorded at Thames Poly in 1985 for the "Communicate!!!!" album.
Thanks to Phil Wilson for providing the source material.
Visit his official June Brides site: http://www.junebride.freeserve.co.uk.
Thanks to Chris Davidson for supplying a copy of the fanzine for the cover scan.