Venue: Tim’s House, West London
Interviewer: Andrew Ferris
Date: 3rd August 1999
(Tim and Raife look in the pits of despair)
So what have MDH been up to this month?
T: Oh god – one bad gig.
R: We were all right.
T: We were shit, we didn’t even have the good grace to be bad – we were ok.
So what constitutes a bad gig?
T: You mean a bad gig or an ok gig?
R: We just played with no spirit or feeling at all, there was the odd moment when we’d finished which I quite enjoyed. Just basically, the gig was over before we’d played it.
T: It’s basically the worst insult of all to be ok.
Insult to whom?
T: To us.
How does that happen then, how does that come about?
R: I don’t know, Tim’s been trying to diagnose that.
T: I think we’re just getting bored playing to the same faces, the same circuit. That’s just an excuse but it does make it a little less of an event. When we played in Brighton though, we did get off on it, there was something dangerous in the air. That sounds really pretentious, but there we had a reason to be fucking great – we had something to prove, people to convert.
R: Trouble is, it’s a Catch 22, you know if you start thinking that about small gigs, you start questioning the point in all small gigs.
Then why play in London at all?
T: Yeah well, what else do you do? You can’t get good without playing those shows.
R: We learned more from that Wag Club gig than we do from good shows.
T: Its all part of the process, I don’t think any band doesn’t have their shit gigs. The only thing is, it’s a bit depressing at the moment because we’re having one gig a month. And its kind of like “Shit” all month, if you had another gig 3 days later and it was a great one, it wouldn’t matter at all. But we just have this one memory to haunt us.
And the video?
T: Fuck yeah, I forgot about that.
R: The video is a 16mm black and white.
That doesn’t tell me anything.
R: (angrily) It’s for “Maybe We Could Fly”.
T: It’s all sort of recorded in the studio.
R: Cunt. (directed at interviewer)
T: In the new Toe Rag studios, we did one performance day, then a separate one of me just singing for three hours or something like that.
T: No, actually we played through live. No syncing at all.
No – I meant mime artistry.T: Yeah, mime is money. No, basically, I wanted a “cinema verite” look, sort of influenced by.
R: We wanted it to look like we were working.
T: Yeah, us actually recording the song.
R: Which cost us thirty quid more!
T: Just for the privilege of hiring the tape – which we didn’t actually realize at the time.
R: And the other shoot was of an actress and an actor, which we are not sure if its going to end up in the video or not. It’s being edited this week.
What is the story behind the video?
T: Its about an affair, its actually based on a dream I had, I was trying to think of a fucking theme for the video and I couldn’t fucking think of fuck all.
R: That’s a lot of fucks there Tim could you cut that out please.
T: The only idea I had was for a load of stills, so then I met up with the video maker – bounced a lot of ideas around and eventually ended up back at that one. There was a French film he had discovered called ‘Le Jette’. A 45 minute film of stills with basically a dialogue going over the top of it. We watched it, in the end we came back to “lets just do the whole thing with stills”.
Where does the relationship come into it?
T: Well the song is basically about a well. affair, thinking, ‘ how the hell do I resolve this, I’ve got kids, she’s got kids’ – ‘I’ve got to go back to the fucking wife don’t I?’. That whole sort of thing so we wanted to suggest an affair without spelling it out too literally.
R: We did a day in Holland Park with an actress and an actor, the actress Sabrina, very beautiful Italian girl.
T: An Italian Audrey Hepburn type.
R: Who’s she going out with?
T: The guy from Adam and The Ants!
R: What’s his name – Marco Pirinai or something?
R: We started off it costing 500 pounds, and the director ended up pulling in a lot of favours, she did it for nothing, the actor William did it for nothing, so they could get it on their showreel. Oh yeah the other day we did a car scene, borrowed Louis Elliot from Rialto’s car, but it’s a bit bleached out so I don’t know if we’ll use that or not, but basically we tried to do a French Sixties film.
So what is your favourite film?
T: Do you know what? I’ve written out a list of my ten favourite films, I’ve got it here. (Tim pulls scrap of paper from top pocket)
We don’t want all ten – a few will do.
T: You’re going to get all ten I’m afraid.
1. Full Day’s Work – a French film top of the list 2. Shoot the pianist – another French film 3. Performance 4. Spinal Tap 5. The Graduate 6. A Hard Day’s Night 7. Don’t Look Back 8. Metropolitan – Have you heard of that film? The guy who did ‘The Last Days of Disco’, his first job, a very good film. 9. And Jaws – I thought I needed one that wasn’t from the 60’s.
R: I honestly don’t know, I would need to think about it, I wouldn’t want to be flippant. I’m glad because obviously Tim was anything but flippant.
T: Anal Legend.
How did you find the whole video making process, since it is quite a weird process?
T: Yeah because I know what I want now and having done three on my own its kind of hard to just hand the reigns over to someone else. But I was glad not to have to do all the ordering around this time, and not having to edit the fucking thing – the only problem is that it might not turn out in a way I’m not too wild about. I think the guy is good actually, but you don’t know until you see it. You have to trust someone like that, I’m not a casting any aspersions but I’m just a difficult bastard, who knows what he wants a lot of the time. I think he’s going to do a very good job from what I can see. but you don’t know until you see the finished product.
It’s kind of like waiting for a birthday present?
R: Don’t tell me what its like.
T: It’s a Xmas present actually.
I know I’ve made them before.
R: Home videos, you’ve made before ‘Maybe’. Not flash music promos.
How do you feel about yourself on film?
R: I’ve spoken to the director and apparently Tim looks like a 60’s film star, Paul looks fantastic and he added that I look “Yeah, good” – which I put down to the same reason that Paul is basically, an alien so when they get him on film he looks normal and everyone is happy, he’s photogenic in the fact that he looks like a freak. Tim, same sort of billing really, bulbous head – lots of shadows, decrepit face. Me, on the other hand – look good in real life, so therefore nothing special on film.
An interesting and deluded answer.
R: Oh yeah, I’m always happy with the way I look.
Timmy Johnny Tommy Ronny Back to Interview HeadlinesI need to know your full names; our readers need to know?
T: Timothy James Drug Hell
No come on.
T: I was going to get it changed when I got confirmed, though then I never got confirmed. Timothy James Thomas Ronald so I could have been ‘Timmy Johnny Tommy Ronny’, but the monk at school wasn’t very impressed.
R: How did we get a monk mentioned in this interview? Quite a telling thing.
How about you?
R: Raife Patrick Burchell – named after my father, and my grandfather, and my grandfather’s father!
T: They are all Paddy’s.
What parts of Eastern Philosophy have you cobbled together and called your own?
T: (laughs) god! What does he say on Spinal Tap? “Whatever comes into my transum” pretty much that, and my girlfriend comes and puts me on the right spiritual path. I don’t know, Yoga really.
A serious question disguised as a silly one.
T: Taoism I’m kind of interested in but I find their views on sex a little strange. Because you are supposed to withold orgasm, everytime a man orgasms he loses his spiritual energy, so he should try to come internally or not at all. I have attempted this on several occasions, it is kind of interesting the effect it has and you end up becoming sex obsessed – which is interesting but I’m not sure if it’s the way to live your life. I think there is something to be said about coming, rolling over and falling asleep again – then not thinking about it again for another 2 or 3 days.
T: I think these religions are designed for the temperament of the people who subscribe to them. For example Oriental people are possibly different in temperament naturally to Western people – a different sort of outlook. Even if its not different its inherent and you’ve got to adapt it, is my question to you.
(to R) – I believe you’ve gotten into Yoga as well recently?
R: Yes – Tim has finally gotten me into it, but I’ve twisted my leg. And I haven’t been able to do it for a week; I’ve been in pain.
And what about Yoga?
R: Yeah, I’ve only been doing it for about three weeks and I find it amazing, absolutely stunning. I’ve changed a lot both mentally and physically since I’ve started doing it, the worst thing is that I keep getting upset at films. It opens up your heart; I’ll be watching things like ‘The Champ’ and just crack up.
But everyone cries at ‘The Champ’.
R: Yeah, the bit at the end when he strokes his head.
R: Yeah I was watching Coronation Street the other day and got a bit upset.
T: It is weird how that happens, it does seem to open up the 7 Chakras or whatever and I found when I took it up that I got really emotional about things and I was a cynical cunt before then. I used to just laugh at things, if I saw some tragic thing on some show. But then I was like, “Jesus Christ – what would that be like?” We saw that news report the other day.
I think this was my question.
R: Yeah, it makes you a lot sharper.
Jennifer Lopez Back to Interview HeadlinesJennifer Lopez: pretty fly, or big thighs?
R: Good body.
T: Something about catching the six – I know something about her because I saw her on ‘Richard and Judy’ (UK Breakfast TV).
R: Your mate went to school with Jennifer Lopez.
R: Yeah, someone from your old house. Because everyone used to go on about her big arse.
T: Oh that was the guy that used to go out with Stephanie.
R: But I don’t think she’s got a big arse, I think she’s got a normal shaped bum, which is no bad thing.
T: Quite nice cleavage I seem to remember.
R: Tim! You’ve just ruined everything. All that stuff about the Yoga.
T: Norks, Bongos.
What would be your paternal advice to your prospective kids about drugs?
T: God, this is getting quite uncanny actually, because I wrote about this the other day too.
R: When I think about kids and if I was ever to shoot my load, how you’d sort of bring them up and whether you’d worry about them. I think I was talking to Tim about a year ago, and he was talking to his parents about this and they said it was just instinctive.
You don’t think parents have secret policy meetings?T: They probably do, but the day the kids arrive that all goes out the window.
R: I think this is my question.
T: But in the end you think “God, I’ve got to go to work, I’ll put the fucking TV on ‘cos that’ll shut them up, I’ll buy them some sweets.”
But what about drugs, we’ve all taken drugs.R: Yeah, we’ve all. fuck they might read this.. yeah it’s a real tough one, ‘cos recently I’ve seen my mum and dad smoking grass and shit like that.
T: That must have been embarrassing.
R: Yeah, ‘cos my mum recently turned up at a party – and she thought they were all passing round a cigarette. She said to the person I was standing with at the time “fuck off” – which was quite good. I don’t know, I was never really heavy into drugs and my parents weren’t heavy on me about it.
T: For one thing, they are going to do whatever the fuck they want anyway, unless you imprison them with CCTV. You might as well just say your bit and then say, “Look if you are going to fuck your life up then you are going to fuck your life up”. The fact is drugs can be fun, there is no point in saying drugs are all evil shit. You can’t say that drugs are bad for you, and you can’t take them – because there are plenty of Paul McCartneys in this world who have taken them and who openly aren’t that fucked up. Some of them have done great bits of work under the influence. You might as well inform them with the truth so that whatever decision they reach in the end will be an informed one. I think the main thing is here that you may get a lot of things out of drugs, you may have a real fucking laugh on them, you may have some brilliant experiences on it, but at the end of the day its spiritual burglary and you’re going to have to pay off your overdraft at some point. And don’t think that ‘cos you pay 15 quid for your score that that’s it, you are going to pay more than that. The only real validity for taking drugs overall, is as a short term thing to open your eyes up. I think that can be beneficial for some people at certain times in their lives. Overall, I think you end up paying off your overdraft plus interest – not that I’m a shining example.
Have you ever had a moustache?
T: Only a joke one, after shaving a beard just for photos.
R: I was thinking of growing one, just to be a groovy fucker, and then I thought “no, I’ll just look like a cunt”.
John Lennon Back to Interview HeadlinesRaife wondering how indiscreet he can beWhat would John Lennon be doing for the eclipse?
T: It would be some horribly embarrassing thing in honour of the moon goddess or something, somehow related to feminism and all under the watchful fucking eye of Yoko. I’d imagine we’d all cringe and go “shut the fuck up”
Wouldn’t he play a concert or something?
T: No, he’s either make some cynical remark – well it depends on whether he was divorced from Yoko or not. And, I think if he had any sense then he would be, though that’s not to say he would be. He could go either way, slag off the whole thing.
R: Good to see you pinpoint it there Tim.
T: Well you just don’t know with him do you?
R: That’s ‘cos he’s dead.
What are MDH doing for the eclipse?R: I’ve been invited to a friend’s house whose father is having a party, but I don’t think I’ll go.
T: Kelley (Tim’s Yoko) says there is a 64% chance of it being cloudy whereas in Iraq…
R: Oh Iraq.
T: .. there is a 98% chance of it being sunny.
R: So she’s thinking of Iraq then?
R: That’s the best place to watch it then.
Its at 11 o’clock in the morning – do you think you’ll be up in time to see it?
R: Oh no then I’ll be in bed.
It doesn’t happen for another 3000 years (slight exaggeration there).
R: I would like to go down to Cornwall for it, because I have never been there. And, if it is a party then I’d imagine it would be quite a good party.
Have you ever been down to your rock bottom – last dollar and how would you cope?
T: I’ve been down to my last tenner, it was weird a friend and I were in this horrible flat. I think he was down to his last one quid or something like that and I had nine. We were sitting around thinking “What can we do?” Someone rang the doorbell, it was like a Simpson’s episode or something and they said “Oh I’m chucking out this settee, would you maybe like it for your flat.” We were like “Maybe”, she said she had the whole 3 piece suite if we wanted it. Anyway we took this chair and it was horrible and it took up all the room and we were wondering what to do with it. “Hey” we thought “we could take the whole 3 piece suite off her and sell it.” Brilliant.
R: Bonanza! (?)
T: So we took it down Portobello Rd. wheeled it all the way down there, hid the cigarette burn and got a tenner for it so.
R: Me no, I’ve always been supported by my father. The last couple of months, I thought I was going to be down to my last hundred quid. I would like to say yes, but I’ve never really struggled for money.
How many supermarket reward cards do you possess?
R: I’ve got two Sainsbury’s cards which I picked up two fifty from the other day.
T: you get money from them?
Hence the reward
T: I thought you got points for the amount of food you buy.
R: Well you get money back – for a certain amount of points, then you give them the card and they knock two fifty off.
T: They never mentioned money to me, I just thought you could get bogroll slightly cheaper or something.
R: Well, yeah its money off.
T: Yeah so you can’t just get money you have to buy one of their offers or something
R: I’ve got loads of loyalty ones as well, BP and stuff.
Can you outline the prospective differences between this record and the last record?
T: Half the budget.
R: You can say it ‘cos I wasn’t there.
T: We don’t know which studio we are going to use yet, it’ll be the new Toerag studios. Or in the rehearsal room, we’re just going to put up some mics and do it ourselves. We have got quite serious financial restraints now. Apart from that it would be nice to put some new sounds on it. The first album wasn’t too varied on the sounds front. One or two, it would be quite nice to fuck about and have some quite Pet Soundsy weird stuff coming in here and there. Ultimately it’s going to be different but not really different. It’s a different set of songs and how that’s going to sound when the whole lot is glued together I couldn’t say now anymore than I could have said before the last one. You don’t really know, you just want to get ten songs which you think are releasable, try and work out a running order. And when you’ve done all that it takes on its own character.
Do you plan what the record sounds like beforehand or is it a case of let’s see what happens?
T: Well, we’ve only done one album so it’s hard to say, I think you just see what happens. I mean, I know what things I hate, certain things to try and avoid. I’m forever on a quest to make a record that’s sonically as good as Rubber Soul or Revolver. To me, that’s the ultimate sounding record. If we could get that, I’d be more than happy, with our set of songs.
Will there be any guest appearances?
T: Jamie could well help out. He may well.
R: If we can get him out of this eighties band he’s in at the moment.
What about a keyboard player.
T: Well, I can do enough to get away with it on the keyboard. There might be keyboards on it. We’ll lay down the backing tracks to a bunch of stuff, if there’s a need for keyboards we’ll add them, if there isn’t we won’t its really too difficult to say at the moment.
Are you looking forward to making the record (they don’t sound it)
R: Fuck yes, very much so.
T: I’m looking forward to releasing the record.
R: I’m desperate to make the record
T: Recording it to be absolutely honest, no, I guess not!
R: We’ve had a lot of trouble recently, I’m sure it’ll come together, but it’s just hard to imagine it being a nice process at the moment.
T: There is too much shit that we have to take care of that we don’t really want to take care of.
R: There are possibilities and in the next meeting we should have stuff to tell you. We might have cheered up a bit. The feeling is there is a lot of work to be done – not that we’re lazy cunts but there is a lot to be done.
T: We could make a seven out of ten album at the moment. But fuck me, I’d rather a one out of ten album. I just want to get nine out of ten.
R: I want to get ten.
T: I want to give 110%.
How many tracks do you plan to record?
T: Last album we did 16, threw out all but eight and then used some of my home produced stuff and that was it. Now, I think we are going to go in with 16 again with probably three in the bedroom studio type situation again.
R: If we get enough done, we’ll probably keep some backing tracks for the next album, because we don’t want to shoot our nuts on the second album.
T: We’ve got shitloads of material I’m just desperate to release the fucking stuff to be absolutely honest.
Will it be a very live-sounding record?
T: Rough round the edges, I want it to be based on a live sort of performance but then maybe make it sound cool by adding stuff on top. Fundamentally live I should think, like the first album I should expect.
No grand concept then really?
T: It’s just that I know we’ve got enough for another classic album, or a classic album. I know we’ve got some fucking great songs, all fully arranged. Whether or not we capture good takes of them is what scares me.
R: Its funny to be talking about this today we’ve been playing these songs now for a year and a half, but we’ve got to get in the right frame of mind. Its mindstate, we’ve got to be in the right frame of mind. Because there is so much shit at the moment and financial restraints, it’s just a pain in the arse.
T: There’s been a certain amount of personal shit which we’ll go into next month. I’m just bored of it.
R: I’m sure that when it comes round to it, there are certain things which we can do next week, which should really sort a lot of shit out.
T: A week is a long time in politics, you’ve caught us on a miserable day actually. But that is the thinking behind doing these interviews once a month, I almost want it to show what it is really actually like, which is full of ups and downs. I think any band knows that – when everything is sounding great and then you do a shit gig and then suddenly you really see the dark side of it all. This is the end.
What is the main motivation for continuing?
T: I know what it is for me at any rate, I want to before I can happily die and feel like my life hasn’t been a waste of time -do five albums which I think are great. Then I can go, alright.
R: Huh, you wanna do one first.
T: That’s what our old drummer said in an interview once. I said the five albums thing and he said “yeah It would be good to do just one”. I thought you cunt, have you listened to our album, you fucking dickhead.
R: For me yeah same thing, good music. Potentially, we’ve got a classic album but its just being in the right mindstate to get it done properly.
T: I would tear the tapes up, it wouldn’t matter who we were signed to, if I didn’t think it was great.
And the Boat?T: Friday the 3rd of September.
R: Single launch of ‘Maybe We Could Fly’ 10 pounds a ticket or fifteen on the day.
T: Just us on a boat with another band called the Idols and a DJ going up and down the Thames and everybody gets out of their heads. It should be cool, its to celebrate 22 years 6 months and three weeks since the Sex Pistols did the same thing.
R: To the day.
T: Except for 2 days.
What is this month’s colour?
What is currently top of the MDH pops?
T: I heard this band the other night that fucking blew me away. I was a little bit out of my head, just a little bit mind, and I’ve been trying to get hold of their record since. I’m pretty sure that I’m not wrong about this and this band are pretty God-like called ‘Soundtrack Of Our Lives’ – they’re Swedish. I wasn’t thinking of signing anyone to our label but in their case I think I’d make an exception. They sound like they’ve had a history even more fucked up than ours. They can’t get the album released in Britain, something to do with their stupid major or something. They are fucking something else. First band in ten years that’s done that to me and I rarely sing the praises of anybody, Air was the last band that I thought were great. But, this band they should be far bigger than Oasis on a guitar band level and they just piss over someone like Radiohead. There is a real fucked-up-ness on record with a Brian Jones melodic side and you just think fucking hell. They have this song called ‘Bend Over Baby’ almost sung to the tune of ‘Waterloo Sunset’ and its about (his) love of porn done to this most gorgeous melody line, all about how he’s so happy when he’s watching porn. I heard two double albums worth of stuff, and it has the most mad lyrics. They have 40 tracks in the can, but the record company won’t even release the last double album and it might only be available in Italy, on vinyl.
And you Raife?
R: Jennifer Lopez.
Where is this month’s place to be?
T: Not Notting Hill. Camden.
R: emm.. Bognor Regis.
T: Camden was a joke by the way.