3 Dec 1977, by RAB
Group want you raw, naked and now
What you're gonna get here is the Pop Group story from their own
lips with a few lyrics thrown in and practically no interference
Oh, I did try to do the journalist thing, asking the who, where
and why of it all but they weren't having any.
"The history and the influences jive just ain't interestin' you
understand? You gotta think."
So I thought and we got on fine, and what I think is The Pop Group
are destined to be one of the biggest bands in the country almost
immediately -- it's the telepathy, see.
The hell with it, you tell 'em fellas. So here's Mark (vocals),
John (guitar), Simon (bass), Gareth (guitar), Bruce (drums) and
on my tape they all speak as on/at once.
"YOU GOT TO THINK EVERY MINUTE ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU DO."
"Our main thing is to help people escape themselves. To try and
trigger ideas in people that they didn't even know about. We're
catalysts, so many people don't know what they've got -- they
don't even know who they are. We only use about one percent of
our minds. If we were taught in schools to find out who we were
instead of what we're supposed to do then people wouldn't do all
those dumb jobs, the system would collapse.
"You see, we could do it other ways, but pop music is the best
way right now. Just language itself isn't strong enough. Words
have lost all their power -- you've got to have the music. If
they could just see us live -- everything fits together and makes
everything more powerful. Just take the things by themselves,
the words, the actions, the music then it's not right.
"You love material things only things you can buy with your
fake understanding and hidden reasons to cry."
"It's not just music. Music is really unimportant. It's the whole
attitude, music is just the way we channel it. The big thing is
not IT but what goes into it and what comes out. When we come
off stage we feel empty, weightless.
"We get really emotionally involved and that's why we don't regularly
perform, it means so much to us to do that -- we give everything.
We are definitely not a working band in the every-night-the-same-tunes
sense. It's like an exorcism to us."
"Every time we perform songs something different happens. We never
get stagnant, and that's why on the surface things seem to go
wrong, but we bring the mistakes into the songs as if they were
always there -- something is directing that, it's all meant to
"When we're on stage we all seem to know what each other's thinking
-- all on the same wavelength. There's a very tense atmosphere
between us, all these clashes of personality and mind .. but we
still KNOW. John thinks up a tune and I just about say it to him
at the same time -- it's amazing. You can't have coincidences
like that. The whole random thing, nothing is really random, it's
all planned by an outside force..."
...FACTOID INTERLUDE: The Pop Group have played several support
gigs as guests of the Stranglers who are sufficiently impressed
by their potential to give them free studio time to cut some demos.
Already there are at least three record companies interested in
"Let me Talk To The Driver' is about this black hole that's been
following me about, pushing me. It could be fate, chance, I Ching
stuff but it's certainly there -- it's real. I can't believe in
things unless I experience them, feel them inside. .. that's what
we want people to come and see us for, they can read this but
really they gotta come to experience what's going on -- to feel
"To put that on record would be really amazing. When we got into
the studios in a few weeks we're going to spend the time trying
to capture the atmosphere -- and it's difficult because only one
sense that's being hit and we want to hit all the senses. Not
with lights or dry ice and projectors but directly through the
music. We want people to dream it all, right there.
"We'd like to get an audience stripped of its senses of heat light
colour, up/down and then just put us in front of them and see
how they'd react... primal scream maybe, who knows, all we want
them to do is react."
"We want to be a pop band as in popular - reach everybody. What
a hell of lot of pop stars haven't realized is their power to
influence people. They dictate fashions and other trivial things
-- if only they could use it for a good reason. The Beatles could
have changed the world, they had everybody listening to them.
They could have suggested new ways of doing things, not dictate,
just indicate new ideas and then let the people choose.
"We want to be a salvation but not really an answer. We have no
answers, our songs are like dreams you can project your ideas
When I turned off the tape I felt like I'd just done a seance
rather than an interview. So what did you want to hear? That the
Pop Group are punk? Aren't punk? That they sound like five Concordes
on take off or some other bullshit metaphor? Did you really want
another neat labelling job, second-hand ideas for you to use as
your own? Not this time people, this time you gotta think for
The Pop Group want you raw, naked and now. For your own sakes
don't blow it.
RAB, for sharing this interview.