Fat & Sweaty interview

We struggled to get you this interview, travelled all the way over to the urban waste they call Nottingham but until 12:15 I thought sitting through abominations like Ghost Dance had all been in vain, until Into A Circle came on stage after a hefty brush with a computer. With their set completed off, I went to chat with Bee man of many myths and Rose his co-vocalist.

Considering all the publicity you had as the start of both Into A Circle and Getting The Fear is your low profile since, good?
Well we've concentrated more on the music than on the business side. Like in Getting The Fear we'd spend all our time going around the music press and around the clubs to see them, but now we don't really bother, we just concentrate on the music and the artwork and things, We don't really want to get involved in the general sort of music biz hype, because we are in this for the music, not all the other crap that goes on with it. We don't like the hype, that's why Getting The Fear had so many problems and why they split.

Getting The Fear had a deep meaning to the their name (a term coined by Charles Manson when doing daring things basically) is that true for Into A Circle?
No, not at all, it doesn't mean anything. The reason is that with Getting The Fear when we did interviews we spent half an hour just explaining the name and just talking about Charles Manson. Just to explain it, it wasn't the gory side and the murders that I was interested in. It was just that sort of period in time in Los Angeles because there were lots of other people who were doing similar things to Charles Manson, although not murdering people of course. It was his views on society and societies views on him that I find interesting and his personality and the people that surrounded him. Anyway getting back with this band we didn't want a name that had loads of meanings and depth to it, otherwise we spend ages talking about the band's name and not the band.

Do you feel that musically this the powerful you've been?
I think it's the best we've been musically, I'm a lot lot happier now than I've ever been with music we have done before.

The guitars have come out a lot more now, haven't they?
Yeah, like before in Getting The Fear the first single had loads of keyboards. Now we don't use any form of keyboards, although we don't make a point of it or anything, like saying we're a guitar band. If we feel that a song needs keyboards, then we put keyboards on. I mean we went through a phase of being quite rocky about last summer, although we're getting out of that now.

Do you find that people are scared of you?
(laughs) No, not really, I think a lot of the time I'm more scared of other people.

Do you find yourself at ease more, with a lot of people or on a one-to-one basis?
Not a one-to-one, but there are a few people who I like to be with. There's about six or seven of us, that all tend to stick together and go out together. It doesn't have to be one-to-one.
Do you work best in a live situation?
Not really, I think the stuff that we do in the studio is a lot more rewarding and a lot better. It's very different to how we sound live. It's not as hard, it's a lot more subtle, I think it's better to sound harder live but I like the subtle sound more.

With the sexual content of your lyrics did you ever feel in danger of becoming ‘cock rock’?
No, I think it was a lot more subtle. It's not really sex it's more the type of sexuality you get in dreams and the overspill from that. In Getting The Fear it was a bit different because at that time I got into piercing and things like that. The lyrics were more of a prick tease than cock rock. The lyrics have changed now. They are a reflection of us and of course there is this certain element of sexuality in our personalities, just a little bit.

Do you ever miss the North (being a Barnsley boy living in London)?
No I hated it. I lived there for 17 years, in Barnsley, which is just like a very small mining town. I just felt out of place all of the time. I used to get a lot of hassle for the way I looked; I couldn't get the right information for things I wanted to know, like books and things that I wanted to get into. The supply just wasn't there. I don't miss the North at all, although I do spend a bit of time in Manchester which is a bit more like London than it is North; although that's only really to see my parents. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't go back.

Do you feel one of the crowd in London rather than as an individual in somewhere like Barnsley?
No not really because, this is odd really; all of the close friends I've got in London aren't from there, they're from places like Glasgow, Manchester, York or Bradford and places like that. I get on really well with people from the North who have come down here, I suppose I was put off them when I lived there because I came across a few individuals who were a bit heavy and very very straight. I suppose that is why I formulated that opinion of the North. It's just for seventeen years I just got really hassled. Barnsley is real different to the majority of Northern towns like Sheffield or Manchester or whatever because the people there are a lot more narrow minded.

Have you got further musical collaborations planned?
Well with Psychic TV, I didn't actually do anything with them really. I did a few t-shirts with them, but I I didn't do any recording and only one gig. I didn't really do much with them and the only people we've worked with since then is Rose (ex-Strawberry Switchblade).

How did you two get to meet?
Rose: Aha, (laughs) wouldn't you like to know? No, my mum might get to read this magazine so I wouldn't want to say.
Bee: Penthouse.
Rose: No it's not that, it's more that I have got this wicked fairy Godmother who got us together. She thought we'd look nice together on her mantelpiece. We had to collaborate in one way or another. One thing lead to another like Strawberry Switchblade split-up last June and I've been doing solo stuff as well as working with Into A Circle.
So you are a permanent fixture in the group then?
Rose: Yeah.

Oh, this is a bit of a Smash Hits question but…
Let me say that I hate doing interviews with the national music press but don't let that stop you (laughs). When you do interviews with fanzines they are more like us so you can talk with them properly, with the music press, you feel a bit paranoid about what you say because they misquote you loads of times and get things wrong or do a number on you, but fanzines if they don't like you they don't interview you, which is how it should be, I suppose.
Rose: The thing with fanzines is they tend to get interested in you for the things that you are interested in. Others like the national press don't, so they ask you things which aren't relevant to what you're doing, so it gets really boring answering them. Anyway go on ask us the Smash Hits question.

Er, well you can see a chemistry between you two onstage how far is that carried offstage?
Bee: Well it's just natural really.
Rose: We get on like a house on fire.
Bee: We're a lot more outgoing offstage than onstage.
Rose: Yeah I think Bee's a lot more…no we've just got a lot in common from well…och that's a weird one, we do get on really well though. We're dead like each other so we do get on well.

Do you think that because a lot was made of your looks both in Getting The Fear and Strawberry Switchblade you'll be doomed in the eyes of the music press (and others) in Into A Circle?
When Getting The Fear signed to RCA they instantly tried to promote the band on its image and we weren't into that at all. We had hours and hours of arguments with RCA. Like with the first single they wanted to put the band on the front cover but we had a four hour meeting and finally managed to get the back of Charles Manson's jacket on the cover. We do think about the image of the band and the way it looks on stage, but it isn't more important than the sound we make. I think as long as you make sure that the music delivers the goods, then the image just adds extra interest.
Rose: We don't care what the press think. Like Bee said we are just concentrating on the music and that's important. Things like that with the music press do happen but it won't happen again.
Bee: We do what we like. The image is the same offstage as it is on, we do pay a little more attention to out stagewear but we dress like this all the time so we won't change of conform to make ourselves more interesting. It would be nice to make lots of money but we won't sacrifice the music that we're doing now to make it. We won't conform because we wouldn't be happy.
Rose: I mean loads of people do jobs that they could make loads of money in, but they don't enjoy what they do and the thing is we have brilliant fun doing what we do, and we can get by, even make a little bit of money and still enjoy ourselves. Living for yourself and being happy is the most important thing. Live for yourself because you can't expect anyone else to. You don't live for other people, you live for yourself, so you have to enjoy what you are doing. We're really lucky because we enjoy what we are doing (said with a definite glint in her eye).
Do you plan to take your modelling any further?
I did this photo session with this girl called Grace Law who specialises in bondagey type of photo sessions and sold them to that leather book.
Rose: What about those sessions you did for Freemans (catalogue)?
Bee: Yeah, okay I modelled some underwear.
Rose: We were modelling underwear and children's pyjamas in Freemans catalogue. We knew someone who knew someone, who was doing photos for them, so we did it. Don't tell anyone.
Bee: We haven't been paid for it yet.
So other than catalogues what do you read?
I'm not obsessive about reading but I'm always reading something. I have always got something on the go although I'll read anything, nothing specific. I like Burroughs, Gysin and all stuff like that. I have just read this amazing book by Peter Ackroyd called Hawksmoor which is really good. The Name of the Rose was good as well. I just like books in general, no specific area, although fact more than fiction.
Are you interested in history?
Barry's the one for history, he is the obsessive historian. If ever I want to know anything I just ask Barry.
What about clothes through history?
Umm, let me think, not really early. I do like skinhead clothes. I have got all the stuff that skinheads wear.
Rose: He's got the biggest boxer short collection in the world. He just collects millions of pairs of boxer shorts.
Bee: I think I've got about 50 pairs of boxer shorts, so if anyone gets any interesting boxer shorts please send them to me. I've got everything: skiing, world cup boxer shorts. I collect them all.
Doesn't something as sexless as boxer sorts contradict your sexual image, wouldn't you be better in hipsters of briefs?
Boxer shorts are fucking sexy. Oh wow.
Rose: You should see Bee in boxer shorts, he looks really good.
Bee: And I've just got some new even better ones.
Rose: Ooh, I've got something to look forward to then, haven't I? Bee's new boxer shorts.
Bee: I keep on telling her to wear just boxer shorts on stage, but she won't. I don't like hipsters and that. I just like boxer shorts. I look better in them.
Rose: He looks better with nothing on, he does. He looks better with nothing on but he'd get thrown out of clubs if he went onstage like that.
Bee: I used to like hipsters but I got into boxer shorts obsessively about mid '85.
Is it something you could wean yourself off? Could you go cold turkey?
No I'm hooked. I'm a boxer short addict.
Rose: There's no cure. Modern psychology can't cope with it; it's beyond them.
Do you like boxing?
Bee: No, not really. I don't watch it much. Thai boxing is good though. I don't go in for the big fights much. No, I don't really like it.

Have you tried martial arts?
Bee: No, Rose has though.
Rose: Yeah, I do martial arts. I'm Bee's bodyguard but if he upsets me I hit him so… (laughs)
Bee: She does all the martial arts. I just use my weapons. I used to watch wrestling a bit, the camp wrestling was the best. The ones who wore tights with stars down them and bright silk shorts…
Rose: …and leopard skin pants.
Bee: There was this really famous camp one and he had a really camp manager. That's it Gorgeous George and Kendo Nagasaki, those were great.
Rose: And the tag matches are really good because they are so silly.
Bee: Yeah, they're good fun. Normal wrestling isn't much good.
Will you progress from boxer shorts to boxer boots?
No I don't think so. Although I do like my skinhead boots. My Doc Martins are a lot like boxer boots but higher and a lot harder. They've got steel toecaps. I don't use them though.
Rose: They make a nice noise when you are running away. They make you sound like ten people running away.

So with your skinhead ‘chic’ will you ever cut all your hair off and become a proper skinhead?
Well, I'd really like a skinhead but we would probably instantly be called a skinhead band, and people dismiss skinhead bands instantly, usually. It is a real contradiction to wear a crombie, really high skinhead boots, Fred Perry's and things like that and then have really long hair. I like contradictions and that is a really good one. I've met a few skinheads and some of them think it is really good. Others look at you and give you really odd stares. I like the contradiction.

Do you watch much television?
Because I live in a house with about four others, we all share this one living room and the telly was always on. You'd walk in and it was always on. No one would ever talk and you couldn't listen to music or read, so we put the telly in a real crappy room and I hardly ever watch it now. I like watching videos and I really like films but I don't really like general TV.

What films do you like?
Ooh, I don't know.
Rose: Loads of different ones.
Bee: I like Pasolini's films. I don't like the big best seller films much apart from The Name Of The Rose. That was brilliant, really really amazing. I don't like the blockbusters like Star Wars and things like that. I usually like the more culty ones.

Would you like to do a film soundtrack in the future?
Yeah, I'd like to do that. We have not done one yet, but I think it would be really good…by the way have you got any cigarettes?
No I'm disgustingly healthy.
Rose: I think that that'd be good. I could only be healthy one day at a time as long as I could be totally debauched the next, then on the third day you could just be normal. You could have three day cycles of being healthy, debauched and normal.
Bee: Yeah that sounds good.

What artwork do you do in the band?
How it works out is that Barry does all the record sleeves and I do all the t-shirt designs and things like badges, lyric books and things like that. The thing is that Barry really enjoys doing things like record sleeves and covers and I really enjoy doing the t-shirts. Like we found this guy who's running a merchandise company and so we're going to design t-shirts for other bands and some not connected with music but are just good t-shirts.

Do you trust people much?
Not really but in the music business you have to trust people to a certain extent. You get better at judging people as you get more experienced but it's very hard to decide whether a person is sincere and is going to work for the band or whether he is just a complete bullshitter who is going to rip you off and do nothing. I mean we've made mistakes. We've made a lot of mistakes. We've found that if we manage the band we get a lot further. What happened before is that we'd manage the band and it would take off then we'd work with a manager and suddenly things would get fucked up and things would deteriorate so what we do now is we manage ourselves and we won't work with anyone else until we've really built ourselves up, so that they can't fuck it up. In fact instead of a manager we'll employ a secretary who will do what we tell him or her what to do. Anyone who is in a band that's just starting up should think very hard before they work with anyone, because there's so many bastards that are going to take you for a ride, rip you off and do nothing. Managers are some of the lowest people in the music business. Also at the moment we haven't got an agent so the only gigs we play are when people get in touch with us and ask us to play gigs. Until we get an agent we won't be going out playing every major town. Like at the moment it's basically just me and Barry that do the management side of things, It's easier to do things yourselves rather than rely on other people.