Does being beaten up in a carpark outside an anti-Nuke gig in rural Herefordshire count? The young farmers didn’t like our haircuts, but that was 1982, and now I wear a hat… We definitely hadn’t when the first Mekons single came out.
Do you have a good time during your radio program, ‘The Eclectic Company’?
It’s on WXRT, a fairly big commercial rock station in Chicago, but the rule is I can play anything I like, and have fantastic guests on, like Graham Parker, Jon King of Gang Of Four, Freakwater, Kelly Hogan, John Doe, Robyn Hitchcock, Wreckless Eric etc. etc. DJ – It’s the best job in the world… If you go to their website (www.wxrt.com), you can listen live at 5 in the morning every Wednesday… (It’s on from 10 til midnite over here, so what time is that with you?)
In ‘Freedom and Weep’ ’s democracy, you share vocal duties and split mic time with your partners Deano (mostly) and Tracey. Also, Mark Durante (Durantula) makes an astonishing appearance as a singer, stepping behind the mic for the last song, ‘Join the Club’. Whose lead vocals do you like most?
I am far too diplomatic to play favorites on a public website, but, although there is much to be said for Mr Dear’s cheeky neo-Crosby-esque crooning, the playful lyricism of Schlabowske’s authentic and semi-masculine americana howl and Durantula’s anguished, yet strangely angelic deep-throat laments, none of them can sing the skin off a rice pudding in my opinion - I am best and I like me most! Actually, Alan Doughty, our bass player, is a fantastic singer, but he never sings lead, why should he? He don’t need the hassle man… But you should hear him in the shower!
Sorry, I don’t like to watch other men in such private moments. Speaking of Durantula, my little opinion is that his pedal steel rules all over ‘Freedom and Weep’. Don’t you agree?
He is marvelous -isn’t he! Old, cranky, troublesome, but marvelous. We’re thinking of having him stuffed. When I met him, he was just a surly punk-ass heavy metal gonk, but now he is a really, really great pedal steel player and a top chappie to boot - ah! the healing power of Western Swing - I am proud to say we pay him an equal share of all money taken in…
THE WACO BROTHERS without bottles: still the hardest working men in drinking business
Do you play the drums nowadays, Jonboy?
I will this Friday - The Wacos play a special “cavalcade of drummers show”, as a benefit for our Chicago drummer Joe Camarillo, who was in a really nasty car-crash - he has no health insurance and is way in debt (but on the mend, which is the main thing), so we will guest drummers including Janet Bean from Eleventh Dream Day, Martin Atkins of Pil and Killing Joke and me - I can manage about one song, before I pass out these days…