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LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH


LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH : APOCALYPSO NOW ONCE AGAIN!

By Jens Hellroute

The Lords Of The Church was (and still is) a strange entity. A 'supergroup' created out of the aftermath of the punkrock explosion with a mindblowin' line-up of Stiv Bators (ex-The Boys), Brian James (ex-The Damned), Dave Tregunna (ex-Sham 69) and Nick Turner (ex- Barracudas). The Lords released 3 unique albums from 1982 to '84 which musically were hard to label; punk, glam, new wave or goth? The band sorta broke up in '85 and then did some re-union shows until Stiv sadly died in '90 in Paris after being hit by a car. But last year Brian'n'Dave hooked up with some new musicans; singer Steven Marque,singer/guitarist Adam Becvar (The Lustkillers, ex-American Heartbreak) - both Americans - and drummer Steve Murray (Flatpig). They did some touring and released a CD" Believe It Or Not" (www.ndnrecords.com) which took The Lords on another musical journey which brought'em here to Copenhagen where I had a long chat with the new line-up. A full CD, "Hang On", has recently been released. All Lords members were pretty anxious to play and in a very good mood with Steve rollin' joint after joint (hard drugs are something of the past it seems). We went through topics like Stiv's wild antics, their last Copenhagen show 20 years ago, the essence of rock'n'roll, their new musical approach etc.

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: I've just heard your latest tour CDsingle, "Believe It Or Not", and I really like the 3 songs,especially the last song" Hashashin". It kinda struck me, are you old HAWKWIND fans?

Dave: Well, I'm old and I'm a Hawkwind fan, haha. I liked'em when they came out. They are rock'n'roll.

Brian: Yeah, I like'em.

WC: There's also an Arab feel to the track?

Dave: Yeah, some influences. Funny you mentioned HAWKWIND, I haven't really thought of that, but you're right there's some spaced out stuff goin' on.

Steven: What do you think of the lyrics?

WC: Well, I've just heard it so I haven't really dug in deep, lyrics-wise. But I've heard your first album again this morning for first time in a long time, nd you come off like a gang against the rest of the world, against authorities, church and politicians. The world is probably more absurd now than it was 20 years ago, so maybe you could fill me in on the new lyrics you write?

Steven: That particular song, "Hashashin", was written long before the recent terrorist activities in the world, and lots of people've been makin' comparisons with that song and September 11 and the invasion of Iraq. But it has absolutely nothing to do with it, it's about a figure from ancient history, Hashashin, it's probably more folklore than actual history. But it's funny that writing a song turns out to be prophetic and truesome.

WC: The first song, "Baby Babylon", what's that about?

Steven: It's about many many things to many different people. To me it's about the circular nature of historical events. How certain individuals or groups tend to become too big for their own britches and eventually something fatal happens and comes tumbling down on'em. The whole life cycle thing and the old alchemists and their outlook on things.

WC: What about the unique vocal structure with two leadsingers, that's pretty different from old Lords stuff?

Steven: Yeah, we feel that it's a very modern approach.

Brian: Vocals are like instruments, like guitars set off colors. It's the same with vocals. Vocals can be done differently, they can be incorporated in the songs in many different ways.

WC: Can you remember when you played here 20 years ago in Copenhagen at Ungdomshuset, it was a pretty chaotic concert. Stiv was throwing bottles at everyone and people tried to destroy your tourbus and you almost had to run for your lives?

Dave: Yeah, I remember something like that.

Brian: We had to do a hasty retreat then, haha.

Dave: Stiv was throwing bottles at the crowd as I recall.

Brian: Did we ever play here again?

Dave: No I don't think so.

WC: Stiv used to do a lot of wild things, one time he accidently almost hung himself on the mic wire?

Dave: Yeah, Stiv used to trash himself a lot, haha. He would always damage his knees, he always had big fuckin' swollen knees.

WC: You have good memories of him, he was one of a kind?

Brian: Oh yeah!

WC: Is rock'n'roll dangerous nowadays compared to those days? I mean with all those phony MTV rebels with their oh so scary videos like MARILYN MANSON and such?

Dave: Well, it's more theatre nowadays. More theatrical with guys like that. But then again there's always been that theatrical side like ALICE COOPER.

WC: How does LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH of 2003 fit in the rock'n'roll circus of today?


Dave: Well, we do it with music not theatre. Stiv's gone and we not gonna find anyone who can do shit like that.


WC: You did a pretty notorious 're-union' concert in '89. You were looking for new singer but that didn't work out, so Stiv did the concert wearing the Melody Maker ad for a new vocalist as a T-shirt?

Dave: Yeah, that's a long story. We had some shows booked in Europe and one show booked in London. What happened was that Stiv was living in Paris and some of us were living in London, and Stiv said he couldn't do those shows because apparently he's hurt his back very badly, and we were like 'oh no!' because we were relying on the money for the shows.

Brian: For taxes.

Dave: Yeah, we had taxes to pay. Then someone came back from Paris and had seen Stiv out partying and *shit*, so there was nothing wrong with his back. So Stiv said to Brian 'Why don't you get someone as a stand-in? I'll do the London gig but not the others'.

Brian: I was gonna duck out of the tour as well and get somebody else because my wife was pregnant and was expecting a baby and I wanted to be with her. And we jammed in this other guy to play the guitar. It was the most unlikely situation that happened, and this guy was Stiv's best friend from this band, THEE HYPNOTICS. So we said 'fuck it' and put an ad in the paper, and we did the European gigs and Stiv found out we had auditioned behind his back....behind his bad back, hahaha.

Dave: Stiv thought we found one to replace him, but that was not the reason we did it. There wasn't that much communication then. So Stiv arrived at the London show and he was all friendly with us and everything, right, nothing was wrong. He wasn't goin' 'I'm pissed at you guys for auditioning another singer' and everything was cool. And we came on stage to do the encore Stiv revealed his T-shirt with the ad from Melody Maker. So he was pointing at his T-shirt while I was playing bass, and when I'm playing bass I'm in another world so I went 'oh cool, you got a new t-shirt'. I didn't bother to read it, you know, I wasn't goin' to face this guy when I'm playing.

Brian: But you gotta remember that Stiv had a great sense of humor.

Dave: Stiv loved controversy.

WC:You mentioned THEE HYPNOTICS, didn't Rat Scabies (of THE DAMNED) play with them?

Brian: Yeah, for a brief time. He was gonna manage them as well, haha.

WC: THE DAMNED, do you still talk to them, are you still friends?

Brian: Yeah, sure.

WC: You did a DAMNED re-union show in '88 and its's released on video as well?

Brian: Yeah.

WC:You got a new album out now as well with the tour CDS?

Steven: It's called "Hang On" and we got it with us tonite. The three songs on that single are on the CD with the new band members, Adam and Steve, playing on it. And 7 other songs.

WC: What label will it be on? My good friend Henrik Poulsen who owns the Texas label, NDN Records, that released the "Believe It Or Not" CDS, he would love to put out your album.

Dave: Oh yeah, Henrik. No, it's not out on any label.

WC: So you are not committed to any label?

Dave: No, we are ready to talk to everybody now.

Brian: We hadn't really had the time to talk to anybody, we finished mixing the album 3 weeks before the start of the tour. When we get back we gonna deal with all that bullshit.

WC: Well, Henrik is very hooked on doing it. He actually saw that show in Ungdomshuset we talked about earlier. He never forgot it.

Dave: Well, that's cool.

WC:If you only could bring a couple of albums with you on an isolated island what would those be?

Adam: MOTÖRHEAD's "Ace Of Spades".

Brian: JOHN COLTRANE. And probably "Only The Lonely" by FRANK SINATRA.

Dave: VELVET UNDERGROUND's "White Light/White Heat".

Brian: If you asked me 10 years ago I'd have given you a completely different answer.

Dave: And a reggae CD compilation that he gave to me (points to drummer Steve).

Steve: Possible THE SKALITERS' "Greatest Hits".

Steven: I'll make 2 compilations of my favorite songs.

Dave: Cop out, haha.

WC: I saw an interview with ARETHA FRANKLIN last nite and she was asked what was the essence of soul music and she wouldn't answer. So now I will annoy you with the same question; what would you say is the essence of rock'n'roll?

Brian: ATTITUDE!


Dave: Amen!

Steven: Question authority, think for yourself.

Dave: Rebellion. Be rebellious.

Steve: Rock'n'Roll should always annoy your parents.

WC: Well, nowadays the parent generation seems to have better taste in music that their clueless teens, they are actually more hip than their offspring, haha.

Dave: Hmmm....yeah, they may start out being accountants and stuff, but hopefully they will soon start looking into where all rock'n'roll and punkrock came from. It will work out.

WC: So you still got faith?

Brian: Yeah, I got a 14 year old kid who's got a great taste in music.

Steve: As along as I see kids in leather jackets with badges on (points at me) I got hope in'em.

WC: Well, I just turned 39 three days ago so I ain't that young, haha.

Steve: It's the ones with baggy pants you gotta be worried about, haha.

Dave: Even the baggy ones will eventually grow up or at least try to get a decent taste. But seriously, there so many fuckin' great bands out there at the moment. We had loads of young local support bands in each town we played in, and they are all into rock'n'roll and are curious about where it all came from.

WC: So Steve and Adam are Americans. Where do THE LORDS have their base now?

Dave: Brighton, England, at the moment. There's a studio there, and we also rehearse there when we are together.

WC: Thanks for the interview, any closing comments?

Steve: Enjoy the fuckin' show!