Kirk Brandon 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 alienation 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.

Kirk Brandon from The Pack/Theatre of Hate had a newly formed band called Spear of Destiny with a new LP and sound, Richard ‘Jock’ Watson spoke to him in the early 1980s. © LC.

RW: Could you tell us about the New LP?

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KB: The new LP is very round and it’s got a hole in the middle and it plays at 33rpm (Spoken in a very bad Scottish accent,  I instantly knew Mr Brandon was a joker at heart). But on with the show – No seriously! Actually it’s a very jolly little Album, nothing too depressing on it!

RW: What’s the difference between this and ‘The Grapes of Wrath?’

KB: It‘s played very well and it’s more me that it’s ever been. I’ve finally got it together and it sounds like what I’ve always wanted to hear, it’s what Theatre of Hate should really have sounded like.

RW: Do you still listen to the old Theatre of Hate records?

KB: I don’t sit around thinking about what I used to do, I just sit around and write new songs!

RW: Do you care about having hits?

KB: No I don’t care, we get really good numbers at our Gigs now, the people are coming and we’re on the way up again, so I have no complaints!

RW: You seem to be constantly Touring?

No we’re not, well not really, that a fallacy put forward again by the NME, their excuse to have a dig. We’ve not toured in a long time, we have done 15 dates a while ago and now we’re doing these 10 dates and that’s it for a long time. Most people tour England at least a couple of times, but you don’t listen to the Papers and what they say – they are irrelevant, they don’t bother me in the slightest!

RW: What do you listen to in your spare time?

KB: I listen to Ska Music, I love Ska and Blue Beat. I also like Church Music, Robert Johnson of the Delta Blues as they call him, I also like Prison Music!

RW: The Ska thing does that include Two-Tone?

KB: Well yes as well as the original Blue Beat, but Two-Tone I really like!

RW: What is your connection with Boy George?

KB: Well I helped put his band together for him, Jon Moss and another friend of mine – I gave them some time and the rest is history really!

RW: Are you not sad that Culture Club has had all of that chart success and that you haven’t?

KB: No, I see it this way, I told them they would be big, the biggest thing in the world as far as ‘Pop Music’ is concerned. They didn’t believe me! But they got a lot more bottle than most of these people and actually think a lot, they are not cabbages you know!

RW:  So who is?

KB: Well a lot of people allow themselves to be.

RW: Do you mix with other ‘Pop Stars’?

KB: Well I don’t, but I go to The Palace (Camden Nightspot) because I know the DJ, Rusty Egan, he is a friend of mine. I steer clear of most Clubs that I went to years ago because I meet a lot of cranks, there’s a lot of potential aggro, I know the management of The Palace, I have done for years, I used to go when it was called the Music Machine!

RW: Do you like Scotland?

KB: Yes, Glasgow is the best gig in the world, so many people say it, but I am saying it’s true. Glasgow is always a wonderful atmosphere, the audience are nice people, which makes a change.

RW: The last time you played in Ayr, there was a guy in the audience giving you stick. What was that all about?

KB: Yes it was some ignorant bloke in the audience, he was sort of maintaining that I had ‘sold out’ or something? So I had to point out that to even be in Ayr that night had cost a lot of money. As ‘TOH’ side of things progressed the debts and costs got bigger and bigger, I’m not whinging, and in the end, it became crippling. So I folded the whole thing up, I had to do a deal with the Record Company otherwise it was all over. It costs money to do these places. I had to start Spear of Destiny, you see ‘TOH’ was maybe sometimes slightly innocent, they didn’t want to just get on and play music, maybe even their heads got a little big and they couldn’t be told! I dunno? (shrugs).

RW:  What about the future?

KB: Well I would like to produce bands, because we’ve done a lot, started off bands, we’re quite responsible and i think we have done quite a lot. Most of it we don’t talk about. I’ll carry on for a few more years or until such times as I can take it no further, just like TOH and The Pack and other bands that I have been in. But this thing is going to get big, so I’m told because people enjoy listening to it, it’s not commercial, but it’s good!

RW: What’s your strongest track, Liberator?

KB: It’s a good song and there are others that are as good as it, it’s all good. I can’t differentiate because I write it all, so it’s up to you to decide what is good and what isn’t!

RW: What about the next S.O.D single?

KB: The Record Company are trying for ‘Young Men’.

RW: Do you have no say?

KB: Yes, but it’s such an involved Business and so much lying goes on. It’s impossible sometimes! I gave up working with the A&R department, we just go and play to people and make records for their enjoyment. That’s all I was ever in it for, to entertain. There are other things of course, but this is what it’s about! I like the Studio, but I love playing live. I used to Tour 235 days a year, we Tour Europe but not America, well not yet. There was some talk of it, but I don’t know!

RW: Are you bothered by what people in the Audience say?

KB: No I’m not bothered myself, but it is a bit sad that the guy in Ayr did not want to understand. I suppose he will keep his hardcore mentality or whatever they call it these days. In a few years, he will fill bitter that he has missed the boat somewhere as far as his own life is concerned. You can’t dwell on the past, never!

* Kirk Brandon is currently Touring with various Spear of Destiny/Theatre of Hate/The Pack sets, check out www.kirkbrandon.com for all latest info.

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