RockStar Persona Dorian Phoenix back to talk about band’s first years

Dorian Phoenix denies alleged sex tapes with former support band singer, and turns momentarily insightful about his alter ego

Rockstar Dorian Phoenix, frontman of Rats at Dinner, welcome back, we missed you here in The Sewers.

Alright?

Can we discuss alleged sex tapes of you and Lindsey Hammers, lead singer of Drug Addict Python? 

Oh fuck off mate –

I just happen to read it in the papers, it’s not that I look these things it up.

Wha’eva, fuck, shit.

Hmm.

Wha’eva. We used to play a lot in clubs where Drug Addict Python played alright?  It was before Lichtenstein, it was like four years ago alright? So yeah me and Lindsey got together so wha? It was four years ago. It’s the fucking rock and roll life. But for her to come up with this bollocks now is unbelievable. Who the fuck does she think she is? Fuck I’ll tell you the truth alright? Drug Addict Python are exactly where they were four years ago. Rats at Dinner fucking ain’t. So fuck let ’em enjoy this fucking spotlight for their pathetic 15 minutes.

That’s a bit harsh isn’t it? Drug Addict Python are pretty successful.

Where? In Surrey? They never play anywhere big. Cept for this one time they went with us to Liverpool as support. And they sucked so bad paramedics had to treat people suffering breakdowns cos they didn’t believe a band can suck this bad, some people fucking died cos they were so bad, they fucking died.

Alright, that didn’t happen.

Wha’eva, fuck.

So there’re no sex tapes?

I told her already, if you have ’em show ’em. Can’t wait to see it. Shit. It’s fucking envy that’s what it is. Get over it.

You’re not having a relaxing “Winter in Camden”.

I’m cool, it’s alright. Wha’eva. I don’t let it get to me. So wha? We’re jamming like we used to. Our manager Paul even lets us get drinks in the studio now, yeah. That’s how much he trusts us, don’t he? Cos we’re in a different place now. We don’t need provocations to be successful. D’y’know wha, I’m fucking happy. It made me realize what a long way we’ve come.

You have come a long way.

Shit yeah.

Please tell of how Rats at Dinner got discovered.

Shit yeah, I already talked about it in a million interviews, but this is an alterview.

Precisely.

So we used to play in the “Sound of Speed” club in Dalston right? We played there every week pretty much, and became friends with club manager Seamus Insane –

Is that his real name?

Fuck yeah, wha d’you think? And he’s well mental. Anyway we had good crowd but sometimes it was like they’re going out of their way to show us just how bored they are with us. It’s alright, it’s something you get used to innit? I’m sure Drug Addict Python are well used to it by now. Fuck. So we didn’t let it get to us but it got to us anyway.

Must have been hard to handle, very discouraging.

Innit? So one evening Seamus calls me and Pete yeah? And he tells us we gotta come play right now cos someone cancelled on him last minute. We said fuck, alright we’re coming. Then when we get there he drags us to the backroom right, and tells us the crowd is bored with us and we have to go all the fucking way this time cos if we don’t this is our last night in his club. What a twat, can you believe it? Seamus is the best. He sends us upstage so fucking furious and frustrated and fucking hating him.

How awful.

Nah, nah. We took it all out on the crowd like maniacs, we were insulting them half the time we were upstage, I mean way more than usual. I mean we were like fucking rockstars right there, we played super hard and just killed them. I don’t know what it was yeah? It was insane. Shoes on. They fucking loved us. Then when we got off stage Jake threw a bottle at Seamus but he missed cos he was already wasted. But Seamus, he’s such a punk hero, he took us to his backroom and told us that the head of Toothache Records was there and he wanted to talk to us. Seamus he knew he was there all along yeah? That’s why he called us. Shoes on. He didn’t want us to just have another sad gig yeah?

Thomas Roseoak, head of Toothache Records, said later on he had been very hesitant about signing you. And it didn’t help that you had urinated on his car that night.

Fuck, I didn’t know it was his car. D’ya think I wud’ve done it if I’d known it was his car? No way. He had a really nice car.

O’clock was released February 2009, over a year after that gig.

Yeah it was hard, I mean we had so much stuff. It’s a 14 track album, and we had about 35 songs back then and were still recording. It was mad.

Yet it took another five years until your second album, Liechtenstein, came out in 2014.

Fuck, we were struggling. Yeah we had this fantasy that once we have a real album out things would be different. And they were but in a different way than we thought. We used to get furious when they told us in the studio that some of our songs were “unrecordable” and just ain’t “album material”. But they had a point I guess.

You’re saying Liechtenstein is more polished.

Nah, no, it’s not that we’ve changed songs so they’d become more “recordable”. We wudn’t do that wud we? That’s fucking hypocrite. It’s that we’ve started hearing our music differently, we started to think about where we wanna go with it.

Right.

So that’s why Liechtenstein took five years, yeah?

So there wasn’t a drug addiction problem faced by one of the band members.

Nah, nah that’s rumours innit? I mean fuck, it would be easier to say there was, yeah? Cos taking five years to release a second album was fucking shameful at that point, I fucking admit it alright? It’s not like we had a massive tour with O’clock, people didn’t really get o’clock until Liechtenstein came out and then they got what Rats at Dinner are all about. We were just wanking off most of the time.

Perhaps you got a bit perplexed once your dream of being discovered had come true, and yet nothing seemed to have changed.

D’y’know what, I think we took our time and it was just the time we needed. It can happen too fast and a band can get burnt or too slow till it doesn’t happen at all and you become a loser band like Drug Addict Python. For us it was just the right time.

Taking things at your own phase, how bourgeois of you.

Oh fuck off, wha’d’ya know about it? D’y’know wha? We just took ourselves seriously. Punk-rock bands are scared of taking themselves seriously. I mean it’s easier to be a loser band when you don’t take yourself seriously. You can say, oh we were just doing 70’s punk that’s all, innit? There’s no way Rats at Dinner would say that. If you tell me O’clock is fucking shit, I wudn’t go, oh we were just experimenting with late 70’s punk, no fucking way. I’d tell you to shit off cos I did something I believe in and you’re such a massive loser that you don’t understand it and it’s your fucking problem. That’s the difference. So we were fighting our producer and our manager and each other to make sure we were keeping it real. They didn’t like all the songs we put in there but we said fuck, that’s Rats, and if you don’t get it we don’t fucking need you.

Which songs didn’t they like?

Our manager Paul he didn’t like “Doom’s Night” back then, but we wudn’t give it up. It became fucking huge. It’s a gig kicker, it makes our crowd go insane from the second we’re on stage. Imagine we’d’ve given that up? Fuck. Nah. We knew what we’re about.

Drummer Nick Grease said once that he saw this song to be the link between o’clock and Liechtenstein.

Alright, maybe. Yeah. We’re working on new materials now actually. It’s weird cos it’s like starting from nothing. I haven’t heard a Rats song since we came home from tour. And it’s cool cos you need that distance from your own music if you wanna write something. You need a sort of distance from yourself and it’s confusing.

How so?

Cos there’s a time when you’re not so sure who’s really the real ah – the real who you are.

When do you get to feel most real? Is it on tour or at home?

Yeah shit that’s the thing. I had thoughts about it, don’t think I didn’t ah? I have thoughts. I used to have a very clear cut between my stage personality and my regular personality, and it’s blurring after a tour, it takes time to get it back.

You’re saying you’re experiencing difficulties integrating what you do with who you are.

Shit, fuck. Yeah.

Last time we talked, you talked a bit about your childhood, and seemed to have had a very concrete narrative about how you became who you are.

Yeah, alright, I guess.

Here in The Sewers we believe that all Personas and persons experience, to some degree, this difficulty of integrating who we became to be and who we were or who we are, whatever that is.

Alright.

Yes.

Right, I know who I am yeah, I’m fucking Dorian Phoenix. I mean I don’t care about what people says about me. I mean I care that they get me. I mean it’s my thing that I know that they get me. And I mean the people who don’t get me, they also get me.

How’s that?

I mean like the people who think wrong things about me, like the people who think I’m a narcissistic fuck and picking fights with everyone, or the people who think I just wanna fuck every living thing around me – they’re wrong about me yeah? But I mean they also get me.

That’s a bit difficult to understand.

I mean they get what my alter-ego is about –

Oh –

They get it like in the way that they fantasise about me what I used to fantasise about rockers. In that why they fucking get me.

That’s very insightful –

Fuck yeah –

You’re saying your alter ego is made of other people’s fantasies –

Yeah whateva.

Or more accurately by what you fantasise that other fantasise about you.

Alright, whateva, don’t dehydrate my brain with it now, fuck. By the way we gonna tour America next year alright?

Oh, that’s great –

Yeah, Paul said it’s time –

Paul your manager –

He said it’s time and we were fucking in agreement with him. Shoes on. But I fucking hate planes so I dunno how it’s gonna happen really, I mean basically, the thing is that it’s a long flight, alright? I mean you’re on a plane and it’s in midair alright?

Right.

So you’re in it and it’s in midair yeah? And you’re thinking about the people on the plane who serve you food. And you think, I mean, fuck, shit, thanks for giving me food alright? But what if we all die right here and now, d’y’know what I mean? Don’t serve me this fucking airplane food.

I believe they serve alcohol as well.

Fuck yeah, fuck, yeah, we’ll get through this.

Surely you will. Dorian Phoenix, I wish you a relaxing winter in Camden.

Cheers, thanks and congratulations. You want me to sign your shoulder? Ah?

No, I’m good. We thank you and congratulate you here and now.

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