Velvet : What’s your favourite Stimulator song?
Whatever song we’ve just written. When I wrote ‘Burn’ that was my favourite.
Then we released ‘Strike #1’ and I thought that was brilliant. There’s
a couple of songs; a song called ‘Rush’ and a song called ‘Modern Primitives’.
‘Modern Primitives’ at the moment. If you came to see us tomorrow, my
favourite song would be ‘Modern Primitives’.
How’s the music scene in London?
The music scene at the moment is really picking up. There’s a lot of
bands that are trying to get deals. It’s very competitive but it’s very
good for the music. Lots of bands influencing each other, lots of bands
playing with each other. We play with a band called Realtv a lot and
we support them and they support us. There’s another band called Gigantic
who are going to be huge. The live music scene is cool, the music industry
sucks as it always has. If you’re not The Prodigy, you’re not going
to get signed.
Seeing as, at the time of this interview, we’re in the midst of the
festival season, which festival would you most like to play and why?
It depends what the bill is. I would have said the Phoenix last year,
this year is absolutely dire, so this year it would’ve had to be Reading.
Mainly so I could see Metallica from the side of the stage, rather than
the front of the stage ‘cause they’re awesome.
If you could pick your fantasy festival bill, who would you like to
Nine Inch Nails headlining... Soundgarden, White Zombie, Alice In Chains
and Stimulator. And if it was including bands that have been deceased,
I’d have a second stage and tent that would feature New York Dolls,
the Heartbreakers, Hanoi Rocks with Iggy Pop headlining... excellent!
How did you get together with Work Hard PR?*
A mutual friend. The first tape that we did, a mutual friend passed
it on. Roland rang him back the next day saying "This band is excellent".
We met Roland and he presented us with a contract which was basically
that they like us one hell of a lot so they will work for us for nothing
and we’ll pay them later, which was absolutely fantastic of them. And
also I must say, and I’d like this quoted: Work Hard have done the best
job ever, we’ve smashed their van up, we’ve cost them money, and they
are still behind us. They’re absolutely amazing. Every review that we’ve
had near enough has been 4/5, and that’s because they get the right
journalists to see us.
Why the gold tooth and piercings? Are you image conscious?
Of course! The gold tooth... I had some money lying around and couldn’t
think what else to do with it so I spoke nicely to my dentist. I had
it done about a year ago. The piercings I first got done fifteen years
ago. Purely for image. I’m vain - actually, I don’t know if it’s vanity
because I don’t look at myself in shop windows, but I like all kinds
of body adornment. Things that manipulate your body and change your
body. And I like scarification and tattoos and piercings.
Outside of the band, what are your hobbies?
Sex, when I can get it! I like reading! I like going to the movies.
I like motorbikes a lot. I like motorbike racing - road racing. I like
watching dangerous sports.
Why all the tattoos - don’t you think you’ll regret them when you are
Never regret anything. A lot of people have mom and dad tattooed on
their arm - I don’t have mom and dad tattooed on my arm. I have pieces
of art. You might not like them, but they are art to me, art to the
people that did them. It’s taken a lot of time, a lot of pain and a
lot of money and I’m really proud of my tattoos, and even when I’m 80,
if I live to that ripe old age, I will not be ashamed of them. Never.
This is who I am. I get quite serious here. I’m not living on this planet
to please other people and to worry about what other people think of
me. I’m living my life and my life is tattoos and piercings and experience.
And when I die, I will not be regretting, wishing I had or hadn’t done
that. I will have experienced everything I’ve wanted to experience.
I will have travelled, I’ll have gone through a lot of pain, a lot of
pleasure and I’ll die a happy man. Thank you!
Where did the name Stimulator come from?
Stimulator came from a friend of mine called Sleazy who was in a band
called Throbbing Gristle, and was then in a band called Psychic TV,
and is now in Coil. I was having dinner with him and his partner, and
I was thinking of names like Rape... really obnoxious, disgusting words
and he said "No, you can’t do that. You won’t go mainstream with a name
like that." He said "You wanna call yourselves Stimulator" and that
was it. It has sexual connotations which is what I wanted to portray
with the band.
What are the best and worst things about being in Stimulator?
The best thing about being in Stimulator is having a guy come up to
you like he did last night and want to do nothing else but shake your
hand and say that such and such a gig that he saw us at was the best
gig he’s ever been to and we made his week. To clarify that, my vision
of Stimulator and what we do as a band reached someone else who felt
the same way. Just to have one person say to me "I really like what
you do, it really means something", whatever that is to them, is just
the best. It’s great to play in front of 2½ thousand people - which
we’ve done, it’s great to have great reviews - but the letters we get
- we get letters from people we’ve never met who say they’ve bought
our single and love it. It’s brilliant. ...The worst thing about being
in Stimulator is knowing that we’re good, knowing that we’re a bit special,
that we don’t get f**ked up all the time, that we really believe in
our music and the a***holes in the industry can’t see it.
You did quite an extensive tour earlier in the year as well as already
having supported big names such as Motorhead and Love/Hate. Tell me
about all of that.
The tour was definitely a learning experience. Before we did it I had
visions of grandiosity of never having to tour s**tholes. Our first
gig was at LA2 supporting Love Hate. We started the year supporting
Motorhead. Love Hate was just a break. I loved what they did early on,
didn’t like their later albums, and the excitement of just our first
gig being a proper gig and not down the local workman’s pub. We were
just excited to be out there playing the songs that we’d been working
on for a few months. With Motorhead, I think we acquitted ourselves
really well. We were out of our league. I was nervous. I was f**king
nervous. Basically because of the reputation that Lemmy’s fans have
got. And they let us play our set. They didn’t throw anything. I’m not
saying they were dancing in the aisles, but Lemmy said to me afterwards
"If they didn’t like you, they would have thrown something and it would
have hit you". So he said congratulations, well done... Lemmy’s a big
fan. He’s gone around telling people that Stimulator are really good
and I love him for that. I think now, nine months later, we could go
back to the Astoria, if the industry would give us a chance, and blow
the roof off it. Because now, doing that little tour that we were talking
about, that was the learning experience which we should have done first,
and then gone and played the Astoria. We came off that tour so tight,
professional, together, could just command a stage whereas maybe early
on we didn’t know how to command a stage. That is a craft in itself.
What would you say has been your greatest achievement so far?
Getting our video shown on MTV. The band is less than a year old and
we have more press than most bands in their first two years. We have
two singles in mainstream shops, toured properly, and we’ve supported
some huge bands, but to have a video made by people that we didn’t pay
- we just paid costs - everyone involved in the making of the video
did it because they believed in Stimulator, including the Astoria Theatre
who gave us the premises for nothing and the video company who made
the video, UFO Films, and to see that all done for nothing, done on
a shoestring, all the lighting operators, everyone, worked for nothing...
to see that get on MTV is just... I believe wholeheartedly, not many
bands get that, not within a year, and that’s what makes me believe,
we might make mistakes, people might not like certain songs, but f**king
hell, we must have something.
Did you know you were going to be on MTV that week?
Yeah. We’d been promised for about six weeks, and the guy who programs
Superock and Headbanger’s Ball, kept saying "yeah, it’s gonna be on,
it’s gonna be on" and we’d get a call saying it was going to be on that
week and I’d stay up and it wouldn’t be on, and eventually, I thought.
This is b*****ks, they’re not gonna play it, and I let go of it, and
lo and behold, it was on. It was like "f**king hell, they’ve shown our
video!". I was really proud of what we’d done. Up until the point we
made the video we didn’t have management, an agency, we didn’t have
anything. We did that whole thing - two singles and a video with no
Has anything embarrassing ever happened on stage, or have you had any
Yeah, we’ve had disastrous gigs - they usually turn out to be the best!
We played a little place in Canterbury that didn’t have a stage, lights
or PA, and the gig ended up being sold out capacity - which wasn’t a
lot but there was a couple of hundred people in there, absolutely jammed,
all going nuts, dragging me into the crowd; it was a great gig. I played
at Birmingham Foundry and jumped off the stage and tried to jump back
up again and missed the stage with a guitar round my neck, and just
clattered to the floor that was quite embarrassing! I’ve split my trousers
on stage - that was very embarrassing - in fact, that was at Motorhead.
I had a suit on and I split my trousers!
What does F.O.N.O. of F.O.N.O. Music, your own record label, stand for?
All answers on a postcard to: F.O.N.O. Music, P.O. Box 12587, London,
SW3 5ZL. Anyone who gets it right wins a prize! Can’t tell anyone -
Why did you do different versions of ‘A Way Of Life’, e.g. ‘Another
A couple of reasons. Part of what Stimulator does is that we like remixes.
We like the idea of different versions of stuff. I like what Trent Reznor
does. I like the fact that he puts out a CD and it has eight different
versions of a song and each one’s different. We’ve done three versions
of ‘A Way Of Life’ and released two of them. I don’t know whether it
was the right song to do it with but we had ideas for a really slow
version which we called ‘Another Life’ and it was more f**ked up and
more... I dunno. There’ll be more to come from that. In the future we
will re-record songs that we’ve done and do them differently. We write
so many songs anyway, we work so hard song-writing that we couldn’t
ever be accused of rehashing stuff to make money. The whole idea is
like The Wildhearts thing - you get an A side and you get five B sides.
It’s just different angles on the same song.
What was the first rock band you got into, and have you ever been such
a fan of a band that you’ve followed them on tour or bought magazines
specifically for them?
Totally, totally. The first rock band was probably Gary Glitter when
I was about nine. But the first time I started going on tour was Adam
& The Ants. I was young, still at school, a teenager, maybe thirteen
or something. I used to bunk off school and go up north and see Adam
& The Ants. And there was a band called Flesh For Lulu. I ended
up working for Flesh For Lulu. I went all over Europe. I’ve done that
with a lot of bands. I’ve travelled to Europe to see David Bowie.
Any bands before Stimulator?
None worth mentioning.
What are your bad habits?
I don’t have any. I’m perfect! Um... my vices are... I smoke, my driving
- f**king abysmal! Don’t know...
Tell me about the other members of Stimulator and what do you each bring
into the band?
You have Terry Warville, who plays guitar. You have Jason Bowld, he
plays drums, and the bass player is now Shane Smith. Terry brings Sid
Vicious in this band. He stakes out the corner of the stage which is
his and you don’t enter it. He’s great. Really hard on stage, takes
no s**t. He can play riffs like all good punks should be able to play.
His guitar’s low slung. He brings attitude into the band. Jason is the
world’s best drummer I am convinced, yet to be famous. He brings song-writing
into the band. Me and him work well song-writing. His musical background
is different to mine. He gets all the birds! All the women like Jason
‘cause he’s a babyface! Shane brings youth and excitement into the band.
He’s a good bass player. He learnt 25 songs in 10 days and immediately
became part of Stimulator. He’s totally committed to Stimulator. What
do I bring into the band? Drive and determination... and my unending
faith that there is something special about Stimulator. My drive and
determination will get us where I want to go.
Final question - what one thing about yourself would surprise readers?
I don’t drink.
have since split up. Billy Morrison later went on to join The Cult and
then brainwaved Camp Freddy. He's now a member of Billy Idol's band and Royal Machines.