Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Disappear Into the Compost

By the time Siouxsie & the Banshees' 'Join Hands' tour rolled into Ipswich on October 9th 1979 (39 years ago today), two of their number, Kenny Morris and John McKay, had already jumped ship, walking out on the band in Scotland a couple of weeks previously. Budgie from The Slits was quickly drafted in to fill the drum stool while The Cure's Robert Smith suddenly found himself doing a double shift every evening, first fronting support band The Cure, then handling guitar duties for the Banshees. Unsurprisingly, given the volatile circumstances, the band were on explosive form in Ipswich, so much so that two nights later I took myself off to Chelmsford to witness it all over again. Emotions in the Banshees camp were obviously still running high the following month, when they taped a couple of blistering performances for the BBCTV programme Something Else.

In March 1980 Siouxsie & the Banshees released their first post-Morris & McKay single, 'Happy House', for which Budgie retained his position behind the kit and the band welcomed the remarkably talented John McGeoch on guitar. Tucked away on the b-side of the 45, 'Drop Dead/Celebration' opened with the line 'I Hate You I Hate You I Hate You I Hate You...' The bile and viciousness didn't stop there. '...I'm so ashamed to be connected with your name, you're so lame...' and '...you should be pushed down, down into the ground amongst the worms, and other spineless things...' Who could the song possibly have been aimed at?

Siouxsie & the Banshees - Drop Dead/Celebration


Rol said...

I was only 8 at the time, but it could have been about me, I suppose.

C said...

Oh wow, remember watching this at the time, having seen the Banshees at my local venue the January of the year before as an awestruck 14 year old (and not knowing at all at that point what was yet to come re. the fall-out!)
The thing that really gets me about this clip is the kids behind. They totally sum up for me how early punks were - so far removed from the cartoony image that was to come later - we were the rather shy, misfit, nerdy kids in looseknit jumpers knitted by our mums! I worry that that will end up being written out of history and all people will think of as punk is mohawks and studded jackets.

Brian said...

You have likely been to more shows than anyone I know, but this should be the one you drop into conversation whenever you can. In fact, if it were me, I would drop it into every conversation.

Can you pick up some coffee at the store?

Sure. Oh, have I told you about the time I saw the Cure and the Banshees in '79? It was one of Budgie's first shows. Robert Smith pulled double duty.

Yes, dear.

The Swede said...

Rol. I don't think you're among the likely suspects.

C. As I've confessed previously, I attended some of my earliest punk gigs wearing flares - flares! I'm just glad there were no camera phones around in those days.

Brian. Haha! I'll try that and let you know how I get on!

Swiss Adam said...

Thats a clip and a half.

Nic said...

Neither of the songs are their best, but my God they burn. Would have remembered if I'd seen this at the time. Thank you so much.

Chris said...

I'm a fan of the Kaleidoscope (1980) album and Drop Dead/Celebration is indeed a noteworthy b-side from that era(ought to have been on the LP). I should dig into Siouxsie and the Banshees' other work!

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