Carol Hodge of
Wrecks/Bad Taste Barbies
1. So Ms Hodge, vocal vixen who never stops mixin' - tell us about your musical career thus far and about your latest project Wrecks?
Ha ha, I like that description. I have been mixing it up for 15 years now, officially half my lifetime. I first sang in a punky ska band called Synko in 1997 with some school mates, we covered the likes of No Doubt, Green Day and Nirvana and played in the local pubs of South Cumbria! Then there was Sadie Hawkins Dance, which started off sort of like Lost Prophets and ended up a bit Nine Inch Nails. When this band split, myself and the two guitarists took the songs, made them a bit more industrial, wrote some more and created Electra Glide. Then there was the 'mid life crisis' band, Bad Taste Barbies, all tits and glitter and drag wigs, such fun! This led to me singing with Medicine Bow and Jackie O, two of the ninety eight bands that Stu Gibson plays in (I'm starting to bore myself now). Then I joined Steve Ignorant's Last Supper band, toured the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and played Shepherd's Bush Empire. I've also just about started my solo project, Crystal Grenade. It's me, seven fingers and a piano. Now Pete (bassist from Steve's band, Barbies, Electra Glide, etc.) and I have started a new band, WRECKS, with a bassist (Lucas Martin) and an actual drummer (Pierce MacMahon). We played our first gig last night (supporting UK Subs at Moho in Manchester) and it was really good. I'm a bit nervous now - first gigs are supposed to be terrible! WRECKS are kind of Stoner Rock mixed with Punk and a twinge of Metal. It's a great band, if I do say so myself. Very proud of the songs we've written so far. We've been rehearsing really hard.
2. Why the need to make noise - what drives you on in this saturated, critical and cut-throat scene?
If I don't write and perform, I get really unhappy. I have to express myself, it's incredibly cathartic, I totally believe in the power of rock and roll, it's the best therapy you could ask for! Singing makes me happy. Irrespective of who is there to listen to it. I like being happy. Simple.
3. The high point and low point of your journey so far and what message would you give to any budding sonic sapling about to burst through into the cacophonic canopy where many unforseen branches of circumstances may arise?
Hmm, that's a tough one. Lots of high points spring to mind first, which is really nice. Maybe Eve Libertine coming onstage unexpectedly during the last ever performance of 'Shaved Women', pinching my bum and singing the ending with me, that was pretty mindblowing (especially the bum pinching). I thought it was Steve messing about, then I turned round and she was there! A low point popping in my noggin is a gig in a very small town that shall remain nameless, where Electra Glide were on the bill below a covers band, played to said covers band and nobody else (everyone else was in the beer garden outside), didn't get paid and had to sleep in the car. Actually, that happened a lot...Oh, and my message would be, enjoy the ride, do it because you love it, because financial profit and appreciation are very elusive!
4. Local Manc minstrel Medicine Stu has, would you belive, a spare penis made out of Lego. I have seen it and its not a pretty site. He also has a blow-up rubber double of Cilla Black and two bags of rubber jellyfish. He says he is working on something both sexually satisfying and something that will lead to eternal life. The question for you my innocent lady is what on earth do you deem him to be up to? Careful elaborations will be looked upon as most favourable and extra points can be earned for mentioning Homepride Flour?
First of all, his spare penis is constructed out of sticklebricks, not lego (I stand corrected not erected - FP). And it's very spiky, believe you me. Stubop is in fact developing a time machine that will allow him to travel back to 1937 to witness Hank Williams' first concert, after which he will accost Williams and force him to come back to the future to become the 18th guitarist in Medicine Bow. Then he will travel back to 1928 to witness Blind Boy Fuller's first gig, after which he will accost Fuller, etc...Oh, and the rubber double of Cilla Black (crudely constructed from a myriad of discarded condoms peeled from the pavements of Warrington) is filled with Homepride Flour, in order to provide what Stu describes as "the real Scouse feel".
5. A ball is rolled your way, the ball is crystal and some old hag convinces you that you may see the future. Where do you see yourself in ten years time and how do you see yourself developing as a musician?
1. Still Alive, B. Still healthy and happy, 4. Still singing, and I am happy because I have written better songs
6. You seem to be an eclectic performer and someone who has many colourful influences. Tell us about a few, the inspirations in life and in the musical arena!
I get inspired all the time, I'm always seeking new experiences and looking for beauty. In the right mood, I'm very easily pleased. Clouds fascinate me, as do stars. Nature in general is phenomenally brutal and beautiful in the same breath, and these diametric opposites make the planet an amazing place. Music-wise, I tend to gravitate towards singers who perform with honesty and passion. Emotional connection is the key for me, it can be any style of music, as long as you sing it like you mean it.
7. The Bad Taste Barbies - now what is all that about - explain and just as a tangent - how do you see the marriage of theatrics and music and do you think more people ought to concentrate on the presentation of the noise more?
Ooh, my favouritest subject! I studied and fell in love with theatre and performance art, so am very much a fan of theatrical musicians. I think when you sing, you take on a character, no matter how 'for real' you are trying to be. You're telling a story, or expressing an emotion and it's a very different medium to speaking. It's very much a matter of taste I suppose. I love the theatrics of Freddie Mercury, Leo Sayer, Jello Biafra, Hazel O'Connor, Alice Cooper, Alex Harvey, The Adicts, etc. But I'm aware a costume and a sense of character puts some other people off, perhaps they don't engage with it in the same way I do. A melodramatic stage performance is quite incongruous with punk I suppose, but then you watch Jello Biafra live and he blows your brains out. The aim of Bad Taste Barbies was to have as much fun as possible. Mission accomplished.
8. Leighton Concrete the plebian professor has designed a testicular catapult that can launch the globes of any man over a distance of 6000 feet. Utterly pointless I know but imagine being hit by two spermoid spheres travelling at such speeds - shocking. The question is this:- Would you ride on the back of one of these blasting balls in the hope of breaking through to the next dimension and meeting up with the comedic artiste Arthur Askey. If so then why and also whilst there woudl you stick one on Mr Askey from me because I hate the little bastard!
No and no.
9. The best and worst of thy CD collection, the best and worst books you have read and the things that annoy you most about this murky world?
I once had to review a Keane album, which I have neglected to get rid of. Not a fan though. The best music in my collection is impossible to say! 'A Night at the Opera' by Queen is probably the most played. Worst book is probably one of the many walking books I have bought that are so outdated they make following the described route impossible (yes, they've put up fences since 1972 Carol). I've just finished reading 'Damned' by Chuck Palahniuk, which means I've now read all his books. I'm also a fan of Haruki Murakami, Ian Banks and Rick Lee. The things that upset me most about this murky world are cruelty to animals in any form, rude idiots and physical violence. That, and the fact that we're all going to die one day.
10. The best Wrecks song thus far - who wrote it, what's it about and why is it 'the one'?
That's a toughie. 'Not' is probably the most exciting to play, Lucas wrote the riff for that one. I really like the dynamics of 'Mona', which Pete wrote. We have 7 songs at this moment in time and they are all like our babies, we can't play favourites!
11. Plastic Bag Soup, Roasted Action Man Legs, Condom Sauce, Gordon Gilbraiths Burnt Spuds and a nice drink of Tina Tampons Tears - but what will the desert be and who will be the 4 guests you invite to partake. You are the hostess - this is the meal you have prepared - please finish and please thy culinary perverts?
There's two 'ss' in dessert, young man (oops)! I would proffer end-of-wedding nervous Scottish groom's sporran, dunked in morning-after-Vindaloo shit, rolled in used cat litter, peppered with Shane MacGowan's milk teeth and sprinkled with the ash of a burnt copy of 'The Hungry Caterpillar'. Served in a soiled wig. My four guests would be the pop band 'Five'. Minus one.