UK sampletastic indie-rock funksters Pop Will Eat Itself are back with a brand new line up and new tunes to boot. Ahead of their first visit to Australia in nigh-on 20 years, ANDREW NELSON speaks to Graham Crabb, PWEI’s only surviving original member, on why he felt the need to resurrect the cult band after so much time.
Some people say ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’ and ‘Never go back’, and for a band like Pop will Eat Itself – whose energetic , raw, cut-and-paste mishmash of dance break beats, industrial rock riffs and pop culture samples saw them enjoying a host of hits in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s – that would, on the surface, seem to be good advice.
But after a chat with Graham Crabb, the one member of the band who didn’t subscribe to this ethos, it could also be said ‘You can never have too much of a good thing’. So what convinced him to start up the band again?
“We had the reformation gigs in 2005, which were with the original line-up, and did technically reform then,” he says. “We started work on new tunes, but quite soon into that Clint (Mansell, the co-vocalist who has now gone on to work on films scores including The Wrestler and Black Swan) realised that he was taking too much on, because of his soundtrack work, so had to pull out. As a result of that Richard (March) decided that if it wasn’t all of us then he wasn’t going to be involved. It became clear that the only way it was going to work was me getting a new line-up together, and so that’s what I set about doing.”
Unusually for these sorts of situations, there were no hard feelings, and Crabb has been given the blessing from the rest of the band to carry on the PWEI name. The new line-up includes Mary Byker (Gaye Bykers on Acid, Apollo 440), guitarist Tim Muddiman (who has worked with Gary Numan), drummer Jason Bowld (Killing Joke) and bassist Davey Bennett (This Burning Age). Barring a few cynics, they’ve had a welcome reception from a wide range of fans.
“We get the older fans coming to relive their youth,” explains Crabb, “and a lot people gushing with their praise, chuffed that we’ve managed to get something together and a PWEI to come and see, even if it’s not the original people. We get young fans who’ve never seen the band but heard about them, and it’s a chance for them to get involved for the first time. They’ve all got different angles, really, and it’s just nice to be able to keep it going.”
After releasing an album in 2011, New Noise Designed By A Sadist, this year The Poppies, version 2.0, have already released Funk FIFA, a World Cup song in the vein of the 1990 classic Cicciolina, and have an album forthcoming in October. Crabb’s well aware that nothing makes the heart sink more at a gig than hearing the singer announce, “Tonight we’re only going to play tracks form our new album”, so rest assured this won’t be the case when the guys rock up in Perth.
“It will be a mix. People obviously want to hear the old favourites and we’ll be playing some newer stuff too. We like to be out front and rockin’ it and getting the crowd involved and we hope people enjoy that.”
But there’ s no point Preaching To The Perverted: it’s time to Wise Up Suckers. Def-Con One is at the Rosemount on the 31st. Head there for the Dance Of The Mad Bastards.
POP WILL EAT ITSELF PLAY THE ROSEMOUNT HOTEL SUNDAY, AUGUST 31.
GET YOUR TICKETS HERE.