Becky Laverty

TDM - Becky Laverty pic

“My role is a continuation of what a band is trying to do with an album. I’m trying to help express that message, to convey something that they’re trying to say with the music.”

The purpose of The Devil’s Mouth is also to shine a little light on the people without which the music we love would not exist in the same way, but who don’t really make it to the covers of magazines like the artists wielding the guitars and the microphones. However, without people like BECKY LAVERTY, your favourite bands would probably have not made it there either. For over a decade now, Becky has been one of Europe’s most remarkable publicists, and with her PR company Pioneer Music Press she has been an invaluable presence in getting the right music to the right people. If you’ve ever read a great feature by a cool band you like on Terrorizer or Metal Hammer or Iron Fist, if you’ve enjoyed a great album put out by record labels such as Relapse, Ván, Pelagic, Earache, Profound Lore, Prosthetic, Hypertension, Prophecy or Tee Pee, or if you’ve ever had a great time at Roadburn, Damnation or Dynamo festivals, chances are Becky has made your experience better, or even possible at all, without you knowing it. And all of it has been done with unbending integrity and an unfaltering passion and dedication for the music and the people who make it.

Have you always had a strong relationship with music? Was it your main passion, growing up?
I always remember music being there, when I was very young. My earliest memory of music is Whitney Houston, I guess my mum had a tape and that’s what I remember. We’ve always listened to music in our house, but I have never had any musical talent. I learned several instruments at school but I was terrible at all of them. My mum is musical, she can play the guitar, my sister played the clarinet, I think, but I tried piano, guitar, flute – which was a bone of contention with my mother, one summer I convinced her I had to have a flute of my own, and the most use it ever got was going across the top of our staircase to stop my hamster rolling downstairs – and nothing really stuck. I’ve always been into pop music, and I still am. I was quite into several Britpop bands. One of the first albums I bought with my own money was Blur‘s ‘The Great Escape’. I don’t think I’ve followed an easily identifiable musical path, I’ve always listened to whatever I liked…

I listened to the charts every Sunday night, and every once in a while some heavier music was in there and I would like that as well. I remember in 1997, don’t know why the date stuck in my head, but I remember in that year I went to see the Backstreet Boys, and then a couple of months later I went to see The Prodigy. I was fifteen years old, and somehow I convinced my mom to take me along to see The Prodigy when they were doing all this ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ stuff, and my dad was horrified. My mum and dad drove me and a friend of mine there, they walked us to the door and dropped us off there, told us they’d be there at half past ten to pick us up, and then they went to watch a film close by. But somehow my mum managed to make her way inside the venue and she bought me a pair of The Prodigy socks. [laughs] So she was quite open about this sort of thing. So I liked whatever came my way, I didn’t really have a sort of musical enlightenment. I got into more grunge and riot grrrl stuff, when I was sixteen I went to see Hole for my birthday and it was an amazing experience for me, it felt like such a defining thing.

Without the musical talent, did you feel the need to get involved somehow?
Yeah, when I was at school and all my friends were forming bands and stuff, I was like, awww, I want to get involved too! [laughs] I felt I had nothing to contribute, and was “relegated” to listening to music, which was fine by me. My mum drove me to lots of gigs, she’d patiently wait outside the venue when I’d gone to see stuff like Fear Factory or something.

When did you start sowing the seeds of what eventually became your job?
When I got into my 20s I worked in offices, I just did admin jobs, but I was always very passionate about music, I kept going to a lot of gigs and I spent all my money on music. I guess because I was interested in music, and drawn to people who were musicians and I had stuff to talk to them about, also a lot of my friends were in bands to varying degrees of success – not much success, generally… – I dabbled a little bit in some things. I put on a couple of shows, I was offered to book short tours in the UK by some of my friends, and that’s when I started to think that actually I was quite good at this. I’m quite organised, I can boss people around! [laughs] It was all pretty low-level at first, but I saw an opportunity to work with something I felt passionate about. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t play the guitar or hold a note. Looking back, I wasn’t into the idea of booking tours, it wasn’t quite for me. but it’s something that opened up my eyes a bit and introduced me to a lot of people. One of the tours that I booked was for Mistress and Narcosis. I had met the guys from Mistress a couple of times before, but we weren’t friends and I didn’t know them that well. I was quite good friends with Narcosis at the time, but they had no room in their van and I ended up going in the van with Mistress. Basically within the space of about a week me and Mick Kenney were best friends, listening to Roxette and annoying everybody else in the van. [laughs]

Towards the end of the tour, he mentioned that he was starting a record label with Shane Embury, which was FETO Records, and he had written a press release or something. He showed it to me and I told him, “what the hell is this? It’s terrible, it’s got loads of spelling mistakes!” So I asked for his pen and went over it and corrected it, and then he asked me if I knew anything about doing press. Over the course of some of the tours I had booked and people I had met, I had met a few journalists too, so I told him I could work it out, sure. And that was my first job in PR, working for Shane and Mick! I didn’t get paid at first, I’d just go to Birmingham and Mick would get me drunk and we’d go out, that was my payment. I can’t really remember the first proper release I worked on, but I think it was a Mistress record, probably ‘The Glory Bitches Of Doghead’.

Well, that wasn’t such a bad way to get started.
Yeah, but at that point I didn’t know anything about the structure of how you promote an album. I wouldn’t have had the first clue, generally I was making it up as I went along. One of the early releases I worked on was an Anaal Nathrakh album, ‘Hell Is Empty And All The Devils Are Here’, I remember Mick asking me if they could be on the cover of a magazine. I told him yeah, definitely! I emailed Terrorizer and I just said “hi, I think Anaal Nathrakh should be on the cover of your magazine,” and they said yeah, it could work. I was like, what the hell, this is easy! [laughs] Of course it got a bit more difficult after that…

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You’d have these adorable people in the cover of your magazine too.

Did you think about what you were doing as a career already, or at least as a potential one?
No, it was probably just a way for me to be involved. Music was always so important to me, and this was a way for me to feel that I was contributing, to help bands have an impact. But I didn’t necessarily see it like a full time job. It sounds kind of crazy now, but I never thought of it as something that could apply to me. At the time all of this was happening, I was working at a university in Leeds, we had flexible hours and I was always the last person in the office because I was usually the last one to turn up to work, and those late hours were when I would use the photocopier, for the press sheets I would send out to journalists and stuff like that. It was just a hobby, really, and as I said I didn’t really get paid at first – I didn’t even think to ask to get paid! It seems really naïve looking back now, Mick didn’t really think he had to pay me either. Once he bought me a pair of shoes, because we were walking through a shopping centre, and he said he felt like he should give me something! After that I told him, when you get that urge to give me something, probably a few hundred pounds would do? [laughs]

Then, because I was doing this, other bands started to come and ask me about working with them, and that’s really when I started to think I should be more organised about what I was doing, figure out how much money do you actually charge for this job, because I had no idea. I remember James Hoare, when he worked at Terrorizer, telling me I was good at it, and I told him I had no idea what I was doing. So he directed me to James Sherry at Division PR, who was doing the same thing I was at the time – only he was years ahead of me in terms of knowledge and experience. I emailed him very timidly asking for some career advicewho was doing the same thing I was at the time, I emailed him very timidly asking for some career advice, and he was gracious enough to give me a phone call. He asked me what I had done so far, who I was working with, and when I told him it was Mick and Shane, he was like, you don’t need me, just go and tell everybody that! [laughs] That’s really when I started to think this was something I could earn some money off. And I’ve been doing it ever since!

Along the way, you’ve been employed by a couple of very important record labels, namely Earache and Relapse. How did that happen, and how different was that experience from your usual freelance approach to PR?
With Earache, it was the first time I worked for an established label. The person that had been doing the job before me decided to leave and they wanted a new PR person. I had actually moved to the middle of nowhere in Wales a couple of months before, so I wasn’t looking to move again, but I got an email from Digby Pearson asking me if I wanted a job. Then I got a phone call from Dan Tobin and I had a little phone interview with him. He ended up offering me a full-time job, working in London, but I didn’t really want to do that. He rang me back a couple of days later and asked if I considered working freelance for them. I agreed, we worked it out, and I did UK and European press. It was my first time doing European press in a structured and planned way. Obviously there was a lot of stuff already in place at Earache and a lot of contacts were basically just handed to me, but it was also the first time that people had expectations of me, I had to deliver something significant and maintain the level that Earache was used to. Since it wasn’t a full-time position, however, I kept on doing some bits and pieces for other bands as well, and somewhere in amongst that I started working for Damnation Festival. One year at Damnation I ended up looking after Pig Destroyer, they turned up really late because they had been stuck in traffic. I dragged them out of the van to go do interviews, we got through them really quickly, then I got them to their dressing room and got them a bottle of booze and some packets of crisps, and they were like, yeah, you’ve looked after us! They mentioned this to Pip Soret at Relapse, who was actually leaving his job there shortly after, and he put my name up for his replacement. It was a couple of months later that it happened and I started working for Relapse. I was straight into the deep end with them, I was working with Red Fang two days after I started working there already.

That’s a big way to start off a new job!
I had to do their entire press schedule for Download Festival and it was quite a last minute thing, so when I went to meet them – I had never met them before – I basically got in their van and said “hi guys! We’ve got to become best friends in the next couple of hours!” [laughs] But yeah, the whole time I worked for Earache and Relapse I was doing other stuff as well, it’s a different way of working than someone who works for a label full-time, but I enjoyed it, it gave me a different perspective on things. For example, when you work for a label, you’re expected to work on everything they have coming out, and being honest, there are bands that I like more than others. But if I am approached by someone independently, if I don’t like the album, I don’t have to say yes. I do think that’s really a key part of doing my job well, having something that I believe in, and that I want to help promote. Liking it is the first step, if I can’t see any reason to like it, how can I convince other people to do it?

How do you actually deal with those situations when they appear? If you really have to work on an album/band that you’re not so passionate about as you probably “should” be?
The ideal situation is really me liking an album, thinking that other people should listen to it, and really wanting to do something to promote it. But plan B, as far as I’m concerned, is that there’s got to be something likeable about the press campaign, something that people can identify with. I feel quite strongly about why people respond to albums, or to an artist, or to art in any form – it’s because they find something that they can identify with. Whether it’s something actually personal – like this person being from the same town as me, or having the same kind of experience as me in any aspect – or otherwise, it’s always something they make a connection with. When you listen to an album and there’s something about the music that grabs you, that’s the ideal situation, when I send out an album and I get an instant email reaction from someone telling me that it’s amazing, that’s the best start. But if they come back and they tell me they’re not too sure about it, that they don’t know if it fits with the magazine or anything like that, then understanding what the album is about and having something about the band that I can put forward and say “actually, I think you might like it because…“, that’s the plan B. If I’m not particularly taken with an album, I hope there is something else about it that’s interesting and that I can put forward to people. I do feel quite fortunate, because working freelance, it doesn’t happen very often.

“I never thought I don’t deserve to be where I am because of my gender, and I never felt incapable of anything professionally or otherwise because of that, either.”

You’ve met and interacted closely with more bands and artists than almost any music fan, have you ever been starstruck by anyone in particular despite that?
Hmmm… not really. It become apparent to me sometimes that the people I’m working with are “famous” when I’m with them and I witness how other people react to them. I think there are times when I almost feel a little bit awkward telling bands that I like them, even when I’ve worked with them for a while. Sometimes I’ll send them an email saying something like, “by the way, I really do like your album!” [laughs] I talk about their work with them, and I do it passionately and I’m enthusiastic, but I’m aware that that’s my job as well. It’d be a bit weird if I said I didn’t like it, but often I feel I have to go back and actually say that I really do like it, for real. After Warning played at Roadburn this year, I was completely overwhelmed, I was so thrilled that it finally had happened after us talking about it for years, I had to have a small cry to myself. I went backstage and Patrick [Walker] was there and asked me what I thought of it, I told him it was amazing, that it was so good, everything I wanted it to be, I was so happy. He told me “oh my god, you’ve never been this nice to me before!” [laughs] So yeah, sometimes there’s a need to reiterate that I’m doing something because I really want to, not just because it’s my job.

In terms of being overwhelmed by meeting people, not really… I feel very privileged to meet people and talk to them about their work and become a part of what they’re doing, but I don’t really get starstruck, I don’t think. Occasionally I suppose I have met people who command a different sort of respect, and one of those I have to say was Diamanda Galás. It wasn’t really being starstruck, but I was overwhelmed, I felt a little bit giddy afterwards. It’s like something happened, I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but my life was a little bit better because of it. At the time I thought I was being quite cool, just having a chat with her, no big deal, but inside I was like “oh my god!” But apart from that, they’re just people. Very talented people, who have done amazing things and achieved a lot in their lives, but they’re still just people, like everyone else.

Diamanda Galás is a perfect figure to introduce this subject – how has it been for you, as a woman, to work in an industry still very male-centred? While, interestingly enough, there seem to be a lot of female publicists at the same time? Have you felt any difficulties or obstacles because of that?
No, I don’t think so… Like you say, there are a lot of female publicists, it seems to be a job that women are more attracted to than men, I don’t know. I can’t think of a good reason why that would be, not that men aren’t capable of being well organised too, but that is certainly one thing that appeals to me about it, the organisation, the lists, the spreadsheets… But in terms of being a woman, not really. I have encountered sexism, but I don’t think it’s because of the job that I do, it’s basically because it’s something that exists in the world. I never thought I don’t deserve to be where I am because of my gender, and I never felt incapable of anything professionally or otherwise because of that, either. It’s something that exists, it’s a problem, but I don’t think it’s something I’ve suffered from in my career. I do suppose I’m a little bit protective of the bands that I work with that have women, because I have some quite strong views about the way women are presented in the media. The most obvious thing that I think should go without saying is that there’s no such thing as a “female-fronted band”. I mean, literally, there are female-fronted bands, but I don’t see why that’s a description that means anything particularly. I would never write that in a press release, or mention that when talking to a journalist about a band. I’d never ring you up and say “hey José, I’ve got this great female-fronted band I think you might be interested in!” So what do they sound like, what kind of music do they do? Female-fronted doesn’t describe anything other than the gender of the person holding the microphone and it’s not really a selling point. So yeah, sometimes I feel a little bit protective, which is not to say they need my protection, but it’s something I feel strongly about.

It’s an issue they can be subjected to that men cannot, so it’s natural that you look after that.
Yeah, I’ve never had to worry about a man, or a band with men, being described in such derogatory ways. There’s definitely an inequality there. Only a couple of times have I actually written to a journalist and said “I’m not really sure why you used that as a descriptor,” or “you’re emphasising a lot about this person’s looks on your review and I’m not too sure why,” but I mean… there is a line. People are entitled to write their opinion on the music, and I’m very conscious about stepping the line and telling them what they should or shouldn’t write, but if I feel very strongly that they have focused on something that isn’t really there, and that they’re turning into something, I have occasionally sent a polite, but firm email, saying they should probably reconsider what they’ve said, because it’s not really relevant.

On the negative side, has anyone you’ve worked with ever disappointed you, or left you with a really bad impression? Not looking for gossip, so you can omit the names.
Yes. There was a band I worked with which was horrible, actually one person on it was horrible, and this is kind of related to what we just discussed – although, again, I don’t view this as someone who was being sexist because of my job, or who thought I didn’t deserve my job because I was a woman, but he wasn’t very happy with me for a couple of situations in which I couldn’t have done anything, and his language completely changed, he was talking about “bitches” and “whores” and stuff like that, going out of his way to make me feel uncomfortable. Again, I don’t think he was doing that because of my position or anything, he’s just not a very nice man. [laughs] But to answer the question “formally”, yes, there have been a couple of bands that I didn’t get on with personality-wise, but I think I’m quite lucky that a lot of the people I work with, I get to talk to them before we commit to each other in some ways. So I’ve had very few bad experiences in that respect. What I have found is that, and it’s probably only just in my head, but I feel the campaigns that go the best are the ones where I have the best relationship with the bands.

“You can write an album, but unless it gets in front of the right person, and it’s explained to that person in the correct way, then that message doesn’t get through.”

That does make sense. For instance, I’ve found that after a good interview with a musician, sometimes I feel like I understand his music better.
If you’re working with a band that is already popular, it doesn’t really matter what your relationship is like with them, it’s the sort of band you can email a magazine and they’ll be interested straight away. But when you’re trying to build a band up, a band that has a story to tell and you’re really trying to push them as human beings and telling their story a little bit, I think it’s very important that you’re on the same wavelength and that you have a connection. In many ways, sometimes my job is very practical and admin-based – sending out promos and press releases, that kind of thing – but other times I feel, without wanting to overstate my position too much, that my role is a continuation of what a band is trying to do with an album. I’m trying to help express that message, to convey something that they’re trying to say with the music. You can write an album, but unless it gets in front of the right person, and it’s explained to that person in the correct way, then that message doesn’t get through. In a way I’m their messenger, and it’s my responsibility to communicate what they’re trying to do in the right way. So understanding what they want to do is essential, and that comes from a good relationship with the band.

It’s kind of what I’m trying to do with this little website – get people’s stories, and how they relate to the art. Basic info is all well and good, but is anyone really interested in how it was being in that studio with that producer unless there’s a great story behind it?
And sometimes you really need that hook for magazines to cover you. If your album’s no good, they won’t do it anyway, but even if it’s good, the story is essential. I tell bands, your job is to do the album and create something brilliant, and my job is to make people interested in it. And I wish it was as easy as “the album is brilliant so they deserve all of the press“, but it isn’t. Sometimes I tell them, imagine you got a three-page feature in Classic Rock. What is it about? And they say, well, about my album. No, no it’s not. Go read a copy of Classic Rock and see what those features are about. They’re about the lives of those bands, about how they got to this point now, something that isn’t just “I got into a studio and recorded an album.” Sometimes I say to bands, I’m not trying to patronise you, but go and read a magazine. You know? They’re not just talking about that one thing. One time I got Cauldron in Terrorizer when I told them that Jason [Decay, vocalist/bassist] had a summer job cutting Geddy Lee’s grass. That was the deciding factor of them deciding to do it. [laughs]

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You’d have him mow your lawn too, admit it.

Music does speak for itself, but there are a bunch of steps before that mechanism falls into place in people’s minds. And it’s often not easy to convince musicians of that fact.
What can I say to people that will make them give an album a chance, when there’s 100 or 200 other albums on that editor’s desk that month? That have nicer artwork, or that might have been recorded by a producer this guy likes, or that are by their favourite band? You need to get to the top of that pile too, and sometimes I realise I have a limited audience with those people as well. I need to “sell” a band in a couple of lines, to tell someone why they’re going to like this band. And very rarely is the content of the album what gets someone interested. Sometimes it is, but it’s a wide open process with many variables along the way.

I suppose your work with festivals requires a different mindset from the rest, and Roadburn I assume is an even more unique beast, right? How did that come to happen?
Yeah… I had known Walter [Hoeijmakers, Roadburn’s heart, soul and artistic director], not particularly well, but I had been to Roadburn a few times and our paths had crossed. He had stayed with me in London, he came over for a gig, he asked if he could sleep on my sofa and he made good friends with my cats. [laughs] We became friends, and then he rang me up one day and asked if I wanted to work for Roadburn. I immediately said yes, and we agreed to talk about it the week after. I went to tell my boyfriend that I was going to work for Roadburn right after the phone call, and he asked “doing what?“, and I was like, “oh, I don’t really know! Press, I hope?” [laughs] I was so overwhelmed, but it was a no-brainer to say yes to that question. It’s like no other job I’ve ever done. It incorporates bits of jobs I’ve done, but when you put it all together, it becomes something unique. Sometimes it feels like a slow build-up, like around this time of the year when people are waiting for that first announcement, and I know who we’ve got lined up, and it’s exciting, and we’re just starting to shape what things will look like and how people will react to it… but then before you know it, it’s April, and there’s 4.000 people there enjoying everything you’ve worked on for months. It’s very satisfying. It’s a completely positive experience, but it’s very bizarre as well, I can’t do it justice by explaining it.

You have also worked, perhaps even more unexpectedly, in the field of combat sports, so naturally there has to be a story there.
I still do a little bit, but basically I started watching MMA and became quite interested in the concept of being a fan, what it means, and how you connect to someone you’re a fan of. I started to develop the thoughts in my head about how people need to have a connection, like we have talked about earlier, and I noticed how that was missing from MMA. A lot of people think it’s just a violent sport, and it is that too, but they’re human beings doing it. What makes them want to do it? Why would you want to support one person instead of another? Is it just because of the personality they show when they’re doing interviews and stuff? That’s where my interest came from. So I wrote to someone who was in the UFC, a professional fighter, and he was just starting to do his own promotion. His name is Brad Pickett, he retired from the UFC in March this year, and he just happened to be the nicest guy going. We just became friends, and there are definitely parallels between him and Mick Kenney, as bizarre as that might sound, in terms of me saying “you know, I could do your MMA promotion,” and him going like “what does that mean?” [laughs] I told him to trust me, that I would sort it out. And we took it from there. I’m still working with him, doing bits and pieces, although not as much as when he was an active fighter, but it’s quite interesting, to do something completely different. I feel that world, that sport in particular, is hugely under-developed in terms of marketing and promotion, when compared to the music industry. There’s an enormous gap between people who start writing about it and podcasting for fun, and people who do it professionally. In the music industry there’s a lot more steps in between and a broader spectrum of people who get into things. It’s given me new perspective, it’s made me realise that I do have transferable skills and that what I do in music can be applied elsewhere, I had a lot of fun doing it too, but I still think music is my main passion.

There’s something I really have to ask you about, especially considering the current events – you’ve been to North Korea a few years ago, and I think it’s invaluable to know the opinion of someone who’s actually been there and seen it, rather than relying on the news we get every day. How was it, and what thoughts did you bring back from your trip?
When I say I went there, a lot of people say “how?” That’s the first question, and the second is “why?” The “how” is straightforward, and it even takes a bit of the magic away – there is a company set up by an Englishman based in China, I applied to go, filled in some forms, paid some money, went to China and then went on to North Korea. The “why” is a strange question that I don’t have a completely straight answer to. I went with a group, and that’s a question we asked each other, why are you here? Nobody really had an answer, mostly it was curiosity. For most people that curiosity doesn’t go much further than watching a documentary or reading a book about it though. I’ve been interested in the country for years, my naivety when I discovered the situation of this country led to an all-consuming curiosity, I couldn’t believe that a country that existed was like what I was reading North Korea was like. I always assumed I couldn’t go there, so when I discovered I could, I thought I’d better go. It was an interesting experience, though I had never travelled in Asia before. Even China was a bit of a culture shock for me, but yeah, North Korea was very unusual. The thing that hits you straight away is how there are very few cars, it seems like a very empty sort of place overall. You see people, but it seems very neat and tidy, very quiet and calm. One of the things that I learned from the English tour guides, that opened my eyes a little bit, was that she told me she has been there when they have been preparing for military drills, and it can be a little bit alarming, seeing thousands of soldiers marching on the streets. But by the time it’s being reported in the Western media, “North Korea are preparing for war”, kind of thing, there was nothing going on there, things had calmed down already and it was fine. This was four years ago, but it’s how it is, it takes a lot of time for those messages to reach out of the country.

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Becky ruling over Pyongyang.

I think the main issue for me is how little we know about it, and how easy it is to just associate everything to the one known figure. We all know American people, and we don’t think every American is a little mini-Trump, but with North Korea that separation isn’t obvious. It’s easy to just think it’s a nation of robotic Kim Jong-un minions because we don’t really know any better.
I don’t think the way North Korea is portrayed in the media is accurate, and like you said, I don’t think it’s very compassionate to the people there. We can watch in horror what’s going on in the United States at the moment, but we don’t think all Americans are the same because Donald Trump says something terrible. But because North Koreans generally don’t have a voice, it’s really hard to empathise with them. They may well be “obedient” and “loyal”, but they genuinely don’t know any different most of the times. And if they do have doubts, they are smart enough to not vocalise them. Anyway, it’s a strange thing. I can’t necessarily say I highly recommend the visit, because it’s not for everybody. Not everybody has the same kind of curiosity that’d make them go there. People are either fascinated by it and wondering what goes on in there, or they don’t even consider it as a destination. I did anticipate a rather solemn experience, I wasn’t necessarily expecting to have fun. I went on my own and I thought everybody else there would be weird history nerds. But I made friends, we drank a lot of booze… [laughs] I made friends with a brilliant guy who lives there, Mr. Park, we got quite drunk together! On the last morning when I was leaving the hotel, he was waiting there for me, he said “I was going to come up to your room and knock to check if you were still alive!” I asked him why, and he told me he’d never seen a woman drink as much as me! He was really sweet, asking me lots of questions about what it’s like living in England. He knew a few of the famous English writers, and the best bit was when he asked me how was it living in London, and he asked if the city was rebuilt? I didn’t understand why, I thought he might have been talking about the fire in Camden a few years before, in the stables, but he said he didn’t know what Camden was. Turns out he meant the great fire of London! [laughs] I told him that was a very long time ago, and he was very glad we were doing well. Experiences like that made me realise that yes, he is just a normal man. Lives in a completely different world from me, but we had a chat and a drink and a good time, and it was nice. Normal people, they’re everywhere.

If anyone can get a heavy band to go play there, it’s you.
It’s always been in the back of my mind, that that’s something I could try to make happen. So far, no dice, but I have made inquiries, namely with the guy who made the film about Laibach going to North Korea. I asked him about a particular band that I know would have an interest playing there, but he said it would be impossible now. Maybe in a couple of years.

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