Rockstar Dorian Phoenix compares himself to Mick Jagger and talks about punk and being remembered in music history, while touring the U.S for the first time
Rockstar Dorian Phoenix of Rats at Dinner, welcome back to The Sewers!
Where are we finding you right now?
Ah I dunno anymore, I’ve been on so many flights. And it’s fucking hot here.
Are you in L.A?
Ah. Yeah, shit. D’ya know wha? Why’s all the women here got silicons?
Fuck yeah. it’s abnormal. Anywhere you look, I swear it, right?
Is this something you find attractive?
I dunno, it’s fucking hot here.
Right. so tell us about your American audience.
Nah they don’t have any silicons do they?
Ah it’s a great crowd. They’re awesome, I mean it’s more than we expected. People waited for us in the airport right?
Yes, I saw the photos. You looked ill.
Shit, yeah, it was a nasty flight, but I forgot about it already, I mean these things aren’t the things you remember eventually. It’s fucking exciting to be here. somedays I can walk in the street and nobody knows me, seriously, and somedays people look and talk to me like I’m fucking Mick Jagger or something.
Well that’s quite a compliment you gave yourself there –
I’m not saying I’m like Mick Jagger or anything so don’t fucking put me out of context. I’m saying that’s how people talk to me here. Nah I think half the time they just don’t understand what I’m saying do they? But yeah it’s a totally different feel than Europe. I’m starting to think that I can’t take any of this for granted, d’y’know what I mean? Being in New York was brilliant. we went to where the CBGB used to be, it’s like how stupid people go to see Abbey Road in London for us. And we’ve had thoughts about what punk is today and where it should be and all sorts of things. And that’s made me feel grateful about where we are. Cos punk was never for just anyone, d’y’know what I’m saying? And today even more so.
How do you mean?
I mean being able to attract this amount of people to get us and get what we’re about and feel right about our music it’s – it’s unbelievable. And we’re part of this huge legacy. We’re just four stupid cunts who still carry this legacy. You don’t always get this feeling that you’re part of something so much bigger than you. Most of the time you’re too deep in your own shit, I mean even creation-wise, you start thinking about your previous songs and albums and you forget it’s just a small part of something really big, bigger than us. I mean the biggest thing we can hope for is being remembered as a tiny dot, one line in the history of punk.
That’s very humble and mature.
Innit? The world doesn’t fucking revolve around you. The world is fucking huge. But on the other hand I had a thought about it.
What is it?
I forgot it, fuck.
You consider yourself part of this punk legacy, but some critics and musicians define Rats at Dinner in terms of brit-pop/rock rather than punk or post-punk.
Oh d’y’know wha? They can go fuck themselves. The whole thing about punk is that it doesn’t sound like what you’d expect it to sound. That it evolves. But it evolves from that certain core of being a misfit, of wanting to be understood but at the same time not wanting to explain yourself. So I ain’t gonna explain myself to people who are stupid and pathetic. It’s their problem that they don’t understand.
Right. Did you watch the world cup semi-finals on Wednesday?
Yeah, fuck, it was fucking shameful, alright? I mean who the fuck is Croatia? Where is it even? But they barely talk about it here actually, so it just kinda fades away. Now there was this mess that in February we said we’d do a gig in L.A on Sunday, July 15, but then three weeks ago we realized it’s the world cup final so we changed the date and people got upset but comon get over yerselves, d’y’know what I’m saying? It’s like four years ago my girlfriend back then, she had her birthday on the final and she wanted to go out and shit, and I was like, yer birthday is once a year, this is once every four years, so get over yerself lady and shut the fuck up.
Yeah, shit, for fucks sake. That’s what I’m saying: the world doesn’t revolve around you and you need to get it together. Ah yeah, that’s the thought I had, alright? You have to understand that the world doesn’t revolve around you. But you can’t always be in that thought. Cos the people who always think that, the people who never let themselves think sometimes that the world does revolve around them, they’re never remembered, d’y’know what I’m saying? If you wanna be remembered as a tiny speck of something, anything, then you actually have to act like the world does revolve around you. That’s the thought I had. That it’s alright to live like the world revolves around you. That’s where creativity comes from, from this stupidity and from this pathetic illusion.
That’s an interesting perspective.
Innit? Cos if you ask a crap musician – what’s yer favourite band? They’d name a band that’s, y’know, mediocre. And if you ask a mediocre musician what kind of music inspires him, he’d mention really good music. And if you ask a good musician who influenced them, you’d always hear they were influenced by the best bands ever in existence. D’y’get it?
I think so. you need to aspire to be the best if you want to be just good. And you need to believe you ought to be remembered by everyone just to be remembered by some.
But if you ask the best bands in the world who had influenced them, what would they say?
Ah… d’y’know what? They’d say they were influenced by crap musicians. Yeah. it’s like a circle. Yeah.
How does it make sense?
It doesn’t, that’s it.
Do you believe some people are just genius, regardless of influence?
Yeah, shit. Like Mick Jagger.
Do you think you’re a musical genius?
Wha? Nah you can’t think that about yourself. That’s fucking stupid and pathetic.
But you did say more than once that you wanted to be like Mick Jagger.
Yeah, mate, when I’m 80. I said when I’m fucking 80, I wanna be like Mick Jagger. Don’t you?
Would you say Rats at Dinner are influenced by the best bands ever in existence?
Yeah, shit. Of course. The Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Joy Division, Crass!
All male bands.
Oh fuck off mate, don’t start with that. Punk started off male and that’s the way it is alright? So fuck off. I also like L7, they’re vicious.
What about more classic rock bands?
Yeah alright that’s the basics, right? but I can’t actually sit down and listen to it. It’s too slow. Like The Rolling Stones, yeah it’s in the heart of everything, but it’s too slow for me.
What about The Beatles?
Of fuck off mate. What’s my fucking safe word? This should fucking end right now.
You don’t remember your Safe Word?!
No, for fucks sake.
So do you like The Beatles?
Fuck, for fucks sake.
It’s Rotten, your Safe Word. Please make sure you remember it.
Ah cheers. right we done?
Yes. We thank you and congratulate you here and now, Dorian Phoenix.