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Sounds, 3 Dec 1977, by RAB

The Pop 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 from me.

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.


"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 be.

"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 signing them...".

"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 us.

"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 onto."

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 yourselves.

The Pop Group want you raw, naked and now. For your own sakes don't blow it.


Thanks, RAB, for sharing this interview.

Press Clippings

The Pop Group