Gary Steel’s nightmare interview with The Stones.
EVERY JOURNALIST HAS a few truly rotten interviews up his sleeve. You know, the ones that got away. The memories of which wake him infrequently from a troubled sleep. The ones that you’re never going to get the chance to revisit, because the band long ago broke up, or a band member is no longer with us.
In June 1983 a group called The Stones called around at my flat at 77 Majoribanks St, Wellington, where I attempted to conduct an interview. It was an unmitigated disaster. There may have been alcohol, or even something altogether more fragrant being handed around.
Here is the sum total of that doomed interview with the Flying Nun band that had contributed to the Dunedin Double EP the year before, and had just released their one and only EP, Another Disc, Another Dollar. They must have been playing a gig in town, but I have no memory of it. At all.
Jeff Batts – We’re going to change our name to The Same when we get home. We see all these bands being different so we’re trying to be the same. It’s my new theory for the band concept… I worked it out today while playing Space Invaders.
Wayne Elsey – We’re not very good at answering questions coz we don’t know what we’re on about.
Jeff – Yes we DO.
Wayne – You might but I don’t.
Jeff – I just say it in my songs and that’s all people have to hear. My songs are really good.
Wayne – They’re all our songs not his.
Jeff – Mine are the best songs.
Wayne – I like it (the EP). I think it’s quite good.
Jeff – Everything that Wayne says I totally disagree with.
Wayne – Your turn to say a lot of things then.
Jeff – I’ll just take the opposite of what you say.
Gary Steel – You come from Dunedin, right? (laughs)
Jeff – You think that’s pretty funny. Yes… we… do… come… from… Dunedin.
Gary – And you STILL live there?
Wayne – We… still… live… there.
Gary – What do you do there? It’s pretty cold, isn’t it?
Jeff – We live.
Wayne – I don’t do anything. Graeme (Anderson) doesn’t do anything, and Jeff goes to varsity. It’s pretty quiet. We go to Christchurch quite often, but there’s nowhere to play now. Lots of people come to see us, but if you’re talking about a hardcore following like The Clean and Toy Love, I don’t think we have one.
Gary – What-wh…wh… How… h… excuse me (laughs).
Wayne – God knows what reasons people go to see bands, or to see us.
I like to think we’re honest. If I say something in a song I genuinely mean it.
Analysing’s dangerous when it comes to music.
Jeff – You become self-conscious.
Wayne – Just DO it, if possible.
And that’s it. I’m guessing that I tried asking a bunch of questions to get them talking, and that none of them worked, although there’s no evidence of that on the hand-written transcript (I guess my typewriter was broken at the time).
They went down in history as one of the legendary early Flying Nun bands, although only Wayne Elsey went on to do anything memorable, becoming a member of Shayne Carter’s early band, The Doublehappys. Sadly, he was killed while skylarking on a train in 1985. GARY STEEL
Read more about The Stones here.