John Peel by Richard ‘Jock’ Watson

jockRichard ‘Jock’ Watson started the infamous Limited Conspiracy Fanzine in his hometown of Glasgow in the early 80s at the tender age of 16 or 17. All these years later he has kindly offered to share selected pieces from it with Eyeplug and it’s readers, so that folks can re-discover what would otherwise be a lost culture of pre-internet, pre PC, tablet or Smart Phone Fanzine Culture, that was present in every outpost all over the UK and beyond. All of it driven with passion, obsession and alientation on often borrowed pennies, on stolen typewriters and moody photocopiers and a ‘DIY not EMI’ love for the bands of that time. Limited Conspiracy interviewed some pivotal and influential Artists, some of them sadly no longer with us. We pay tribute to the pioneers, grafters and innocence of this Fanzine era that has been all but lost to history.

John Peel circa 1980s interview with Richard ‘Jock’ Watson. © LC

RW: Why have you recently been playing a lot of old Country and Western Music? (i.e. Girls of the Golden West)

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JP: Well the reason for this is that, when I lived in Dallas from about 1960 till 1964, this was the sort of music that was going about. In the place I stayed which was Wako, and the guys I drove about with were mainly into Country and Western and that we used to do was to drive along singing Country and getting totally pissed and it was all good fun and the Girls of the Golden West were one such group, and I played their music because nobody has really heard it before. It’s better than playing records that everyone’s got.

RW: You mean Joy Division don’t you?

JP: Well yes, I don’t see the point, I mean I’m not knocking Joy Division or anything because they are a very good group, but everyone’s got the records. And also I get people writing into the Programme who say they don’t like Reggae and they want me to play tracks from the Clash and the Sex Pistols first albums, I mean come on, everybody knows them, I’d sooner play some new stuff.

RW: Do you like any of the music that’s in the Chart’s?

JP: Ah, you see people have this pre-conceived idea about me that all I like is records by Groups with stupid names and funny haircuts. I like quiet a few of the records which get into the charts.

RW: Like what, recently?

JP: Well apart from the obvious things like the Bunnymen and the Smiths and that, I Like that S.O.S Band record “Just be good to me”, that was truelly wonderful. And the Weather Girls “It’s Raining Men”, that was great.I played that ages ago. And the Womack & Womack record “Love Wars”, I really like that.

RW: Do you still like the Cure, the Banshees, The Bunnymen and New Order, the old faithfuls you know?

JP: It’s funny this, right the Cure, well until recently I’ve went right off them. Their last few singles were shit, but I quite like their new LP. The Banshees their most recent stuff is crap except the new single, their best in a long time. The Bunnymen, Ive liked from the start, and I still do. And who else, oh New Order, well sometimes they make quite good records, but live, they can’t play at all. Kid had a live recording of them and if I had been making a bootleg of that gig, after five minutes I would have switched the bloody tape off, it was that awful. The same with Simple Minds, I used to really like them and Jim Kerr is a really nice bloke but “Sparkle in the Rain”, to me was a progressive rock album.

RW: What about ‘pretty boy’ Pop Stars like Duran Duran?

JP: It’s funny you should ask that, because two of them were on the ‘Lairds’ Programme the other day, and they are two of the nicest people you could meet. You see when folk come to the BBC to do interviews, there are always loads of fans outside and John Taylor and Nick Rhodes stood outside for hours signing autographs, something which is rarely done. And I mean most of the girls were young about 13 or 14, and sweet and innocent. But they weren’t that naive as we at the BBC found out. As they had spray painted on the wall of Broadcasting House ‘Nick, Nick we want your dick!’, which I thought was quite good.

RW: Take us right back, who were your first musical heroes who did you like after that?

JP: Well my first ever Rock’n’Roll Idols were Gene Vincent, Duane Eddy and Little Richard. Then there was Little Feat and Captain Beefheart and the Faces, then the Undertones. And now my three favorite Groups are the Cocteau’s, the Fall and Misty In Roots.

RW: What about the Cocteau’s eh, Pop Stars?

JP: Yes I suppose its a good thing in a way, but I don’t know if Elizabeth will be able to handle success, we’ll have to wait and see.

RW: What is the greatest record ever made?

JP: Well my favorite is “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones, I just don’t think there will be another record like it, it had everything.

RW: There were rumours about you leaving Radio One, is that right?

JP: Yes, the Bosses thought that my show wasn’t appealing to enough people and they wanted to play Kenny Rogers between 10.00 O’ Clock and midnight, the type of music that appeals to everyone.

RW: What would you do if you lost your job?

JP: Be a Bus Driver.

RW: Are you getting too old for this anyway?

JP: Well I’m 44 is that old? There’s this thing Walter’s says “we’ll be in trouble if Peel ever reaches Puberty!”.

RW: How does it feel to be the most influential Disc Jockey in the history of the world?

JP: I’m not, I just play music that you don’t usually hear on the radio, and don’t talk a lot of cliched DJ bullshit.

RW: Do you go out and see a lot of bands?

JP: No I never have the time to go and see bands. I mean what with getting 50,000 letters to open everyday, I don’t have the time and also I’ve got four young children, so I need to spend time with them.

RW: The Smiths, what do you think is so good about them?

JP: They are just an excellent band, things were boring when they came along. And I like the Sandie Shaw thing as well, my kids like that.

RW: Do you still like the Fall?

JP: I don’t know really, I think I probably prefer the old stuff to the new, but I do still like them.

RW: Why did you stop the Festive 50?

JP: It was the same records year in year out, so I still do it, only just the best of the year Top 50.

RW: Were you really crying when you heard the Cocteau’s Single “Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops”?

JP: Yes, you see it came into the office, I just sat and looked at it, played it on the show, and I had to hit myself in the chest to stop me crying. I’m a very emotional person, I cry when Liverpool win, I cry for different reasons.

RW: I would cry if you left Radio One, and so would many other people I know?

JP: So would I.

RW: What do you think of the DJ’s who constantly play things from years gone by?

JP: I don’t see any point in it. It’s like me not playing Joy Division. I mean devoting your whole show to the Beatles and 1965, it’s silly.

RW: You didn’t like Blue Monday?

JP: Well at first I didn’t like it and then I grew to live with it. Then I loved it and then I got well fed up with it, but it is good.

RW: Well apart from Peely telling me that the Banshees last Single “Swimming Horses” was codswollop, and that people really do think the Chart and Football Correspondents are different people from him, that was about it. Goodnight, I think this one fades in…

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