The Creatures: ornate-beats experiment
Another future commenced in the late (Japanese) hours of 18 August 2002 for Siouxsie and partner Budgie: Siouxsie & The Banshees’ completed their reunion (and final) ‘Seven Year Itch Tour’ and they were to embark on another phase of The Creatures within 24 hours.
On a stormy morning, an impromptu session in a Tokyo recording studio took place: Budgie and Taiko drum master/former KODO member Leonard Eto crossed sticks for the first time. The ensuing drumming frenzy forms the backbone of the new album, 20 years after the duo‘s debut LP ‘Feast’, the Orient being the inspiration for divergent, innovative and ear-invigorating tracks.
The emphatically titled new album ‘Hái!’ [Japanese for ‘yes’] is a self-produced disc that is issued on the newly founded Sioux Records to keep the ‘punk/DIY’ ethic alive. This is a record full of music as mysterious and serene and as sensually piquant to compliment the cover image by Japanese artist Kimiko Yoshida. ‘Hái!’ is an album of atmospheric, sublime but rhythmic minimalism, like a tonal-version of a Hokusai painting!
Siouxsie: “It was a dream come true to work with Leonard, the one we’d had ever since seeing KODO drummers perform live in 1982... Our support act, who were from Japan, eX-Girl‘s member called Hoppy [Kamiyama], told us she knew and could introduce us to Leonard. She even suggested we book a studio and see what happens.!?”
“What happened was magic… In the end, after sending Leonard the album he sent us an E-mail back saying, ‘Thank you, I love what you’ve done with the drums and the sound of it. I’d love to play with you if you do this live.’ He finished with, ‘Have you gotta a deal in Japan? It must be heard by Japanese people.’ It made us two jump around the house!”
B: “We wanted it to be primal and tribal… These are our deepest instincts coming through and not a sonic postcard of a Euro-Japanese collaboration, this is a real fusion, something that happened once and it let us discover that we can do it on our own.”
S: “This definitely is not polite World Music that is so bland!”
B: “That’s why I feel that this is a great statement to start with.”
Fact: The debut performance by S&tB - Siouxsie, Steve Severin on bass, Marco Pirroni (future Adam And The Ants) on guitar and Sid Vicious (the tragic Sex Pistols’ bassist) on drums - at the legendary Punk One-day Festival at 100 Club in Summer of 1976 almost didn’t happen when The Clash manager refused to let them use the band’s gear. Although he had allowed them to rehearse in The Clash’s studio even, Bernie Rhodes objected to Siouxsie’s wearing a swastika.
“The spirit of Japan has touched our souls and a new chapter in the story of The Creatures has begun,” Budgie concludes the subject before explaining that they are planning a tour, or rather selected dates of the planetary centres to stage ‘events’, early in 2004. Sioux is also considering an invite to appear on Basement Jaxx’s tour because she provided [very rare occasion] guest vocal to their ‘Cish Cash’ track.”
Siouxsie is also credited with suggesting the spell change of the album title to ‘Ks’; as it happens, ‘kishkes’ means - guts in Yiddish.
S: “I loved the track they sent me and was glad to record a vocal for it. I’ve never met them and, although I am being sent a number of tapes, this one really grabbed my imagination. So, I put a vocal down and return it with a note that if they liked it I’d finish it off, perfect it in a way. But they said it was great the way I had done it! Sure, I‘d like to appear with them but for one show only, perhaps in London, it would be too much to tour for just one song.”
Fact: Before reforming Siouxsie and The Banshees in 2002 they asked guitarist John McGeogh to rejoin but he turned them down.
Alas, we’ll never see another show by Siouxsie and The Banshees.
S: “Yes, it is all done. I had fallen out with (co-founder) Severin years ago and needed the dust to settle. Once the anger cooled down I realised that I had spent half of my life with him and, due to our biography being written at the time, we started talking civilly. There was no idea of re-starting the band but out of the blue, in February 2002, there was an offer from Coachella Festival in California to reform, for a lots of money.”
“I got excited and wanted to perform songs in a basic, stripped-down form, no keyboards and felt the industry, which is all so horrible, may need a little shaking up by Siouxsie and The Banshees. It turned out that he had ulterior motives and I saw some colours of him that I didn’t like.”
B: “For me, it was a realisation that we couldn’t go back to what we were all those years ago and to the roles we once played; we’ve all evolved and changed and it was an opportunity to develop it into something else, something more but it was shocking that people only wanted you in a role you once had. Which was sad, it gave me a very hollow feeling and it is all - history. There is no way to go back and it is time to move on.”
And The Creatures are fast moving on, already working on the next album of which they refused not discuss in detail. But, they hint it is going to be as vital as ‘Hái!’ God knows we can do with more of this class…