Dorian Phoenix talks about Jake Mate’s mishap in Glastonbury, turning thirty, walking in the woods and listening to The Birthday Party
Rockstar Dorian Phoenix, notorious frontman of Rats at Dinner, welcome back to The Sewers, we congratulate you!
Please give us an update on how bassist Jake Mate is doing!
ah yeah, fuck. Jake’s good. Yeah, don’t worry, don’t worry.
It was really hard to watch, you know.
Ah fuck, fuck, don’t remind me, shit, it touched me, d’y’know? all the blood. It’s abnormal. it’s warmer than you’d expect, innit? And I’m thinking, alright, you can get yer jacket dry-cleaned, but what will ya do with the shoes? Yellow leather, right?
Are you serious? That’s what you thought about when Rat’s bassist cut his neck when he fell on the crash cymbal on stage in Glastonbury?
Fuck off, it’s my mate, don’t judge. It’s because of the trauma, fuck.
Your trauma, I suppose.
Yeah! shit! It was abnormal!
So you wear leather?
Wha? Fuck off, faux leather, alright?
Is it though?
so, Jake, yeah? they took him to hospital and he was unconscious, shoes off. And I was saying, I wanna give him my blood! I was like, if I had a knife there, I’d cut myself open and spill my fucking blood into his mouth, d’y’know what I mean? But they said, no, no, yer blood ain’t his type, and I just, fuck, that’s racist!
Right. I also heard you were very drunk when you arrived at the hospital and they had to call security on you.
It was fucking traumatic. dunno how we ever gonna play “Asphalt” again! Anyway, Jake’s got more blood going in him now and he’s home resting, we’re just resting, yeah, everything is canceled this summer, innit? So we count stars and walk in the woods. No more festivals for us this summer. But d’y’know wha? Jake has got the most shoes-on neck-scar you’ve ever seen. He’s fucking Dracula now.
Have you considered teaming up with another bass player, just for the festivals?
Wha?! That’s psychotic. How can you even say that out loud, shit. We’re making the best of the summer. And there’ll be a winter tour by the way, once Jake’s back on his feet. Yeah we’re doing a lot of shit in his place, we’re recording some raw shit, sounds like shit, but sounds different, d’y’know wha I mean? We’re really enjoying it. Paul our manager, he says “it’s a blessing in disguise” and I say, fuck, Paul, is yer mum in disguise? Is yer wife in disguise? No? so dress up mate, for fucks sake. Right?
Right. So your 30th birthday is coming up this December.
Can you believe it?! Nah. Nah. It’s weird, I don’t feel like I’m the person it’s happening to, d’y’know wha I mean? Turning 30 is legitimate, innit? But I thought it only happens to other people. Pete, he’s 32 already, who would believe that?! Some people are even 38, some are even 39, like Paul, our manager, and he’s still alright. Some people are 40 –
Some are 60 even.
Fuck. Shit. It’s inhumane, that’s what it is. nah but it’s just numbers, innit? But it’s big numbers, ah.
You’re known for your scandalous birthday parties –
Shit. Just celebrating slowly dying, innit? Hah! Yeah. it’s abnormal. d’y’know the Birthday Party?
Well I’ve heard about some of your parties, like the one when Lindsey Hammers –
Nah, the band, The Birthday Party.
Oh. Of course, Nick Cave’s –
No, it’s not Nick Cave’s band, d’y’know wha I’m saying? It’s a band Nick Cave was in, was a part of. That’s what being a band is about, right? I don’t get it when people say it was his band, cos it was a band, d’y’know wha I mean?
D’y’know Nick Grease was named after Nick Cave?
Rat’s drummer? Really? I had no idea!
Nah he wasn’t, he just likes saying that. Anyways, yeah, The Birthday Party, that’s what I’m gonna play in my birthday party.
You’re going to play their music?
Ah. Fuck, yeah.
You can’t sing like him!
Wha? Fuck off. I dun wanna sing like him. I wanna play my Birthday Party vinyl in my party. Fuck. They’re original. D’y’know how much they cost? Fuck.
Oh. Their music is rather dark. Darker than what some would expect you’d like.
Wha? Why? I’m fucking dark.
Do you think there’s a crowd for that kind of music today? Other than the title they received as being the most violent live band ever, The Birthday Party were a lot more than that in intensity and complexity. They were extreme.
Ah. Fuck. Yeah there’s a crowd for it, yeah. no larger than the crowd they had back then, probably a bit smaller, right? but there’s a crowd. I’m saying, there’s a crowd for the extremeness of it. Nah but you can’t play music like The Birthday Party today. I mean, it won’t be extreme in 2019, right? you’d have to do something else.
But maybe it was just this moment in rock n’ roll that could allow this kind of intensity. Maybe rock music today can’t, by its nature, push to such extremes anymore.
Nah, nah. Cos it’s already happened, didn’t it? It’s already in the music we do today.
But no one seems to go that far. Aren’t people too self-aware today? I mean, as performers?
Nah. It’s cos they’re losers.
Well, I was including Rats. You’re not, you know, an extreme live band. You’re great of course, but –
Fuck off, we’re fucking extreme.
Of course you are, but –
Jake cut his neck on stage, didn’t he?!
That’s fucking violent. That’s extreme. But nah I ain’t comparing Rats to other bands, don’t think that. I’m not saying anything like that. but The Birthday Party is exciting to listen to, it kicks you in the head repeatedly.
What’s your favorite song?
Ah dunno. I wanna say King Ink or Junkyard or She’s hit or something heavy like that. the guitar on She’s It – it’s historical. It’s unheard of, shoes on. But I also like the lighter tracks, like Mr. Clarinet. It’s proper. I have the song Yard stuck in my head. Fears of Gun too, yeah. Fuck, at least I was alive in the 80’s. for less than a month innit? But I was in the 80’s.
What do you make of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds?
Innit? I like their 80’s albums. I get their 90’s album. From then on I’m not sure. Nick, he says they’re at their peak right now –
Where did he say that?
Ah? I mean Nick, Nick Grease, he says that, don’t he? He says they’re at their peak right now. He says Your Funeral My Trial encapsulates Let Love In, and that Let Love In encapsulates Skeleton Tree. If you wanna know what that means, ask him. But yeah, you gotta respect them elderly.
Wha? Why? Fuck. They’re fucking fifty –
I think they’re actually –
Why won’t you respect them. Fuck.
You’ll be fifty years old one day too, you know.
Ah, nah, d’y’know wha? I ain’t getting annoyed this summer. I’m so laid back, aren’t I? I’m fucking relaxing.
Well, you really shouldn’t get too excited at your age.
Ah. Haha. Fuck.
Are we to expect a new album coming soon, with Rats staying in this summer?
We’re playing a lot together these days, yeah.
So will it be a 2019 album or a 2020 album?
Fuck don’t pressure me. Fuck. I’m into walking in the woods once a week aren’t I?
Yeah. shit. I’m well relaxed.
You take walks in Epping Forest?
Wha? Who told you? Fuck, that’s off record, right? I’m relaxing there and I ain’t got time for people there in the woods.
What do you do there, in the woods?
Wha? It ain’t your business. I take a shit there alright? Fuck. Unbelievable. So the first single we’re gonna release soon is called “Dog Chair”.
Wha? Haha. You don’t know? fuck that’s embarrassing.
What it is then?
Wha’d’you think it is?
A sex act? I don’t know.
Nah I don’t think it is.
So what is it?
It’s from The Birthday Party’s song, “Happy Birthday”.
Oh, of course. No one knows what it means.
No, fuck. Nick Cave. Shit. He wrote it.
So you don’t know what it means?
No, no one does!
Right we done yeah? I gotta go feed the fishes. Congratulations.
We congratulate you here and now, Dorian Phoenix.