the Telescopes - A View Through The Wrong EndStacy Prestien encounters the somewhat grim experience of the lipless, faceless and astonishingly arrogant Telescopes. Altered images by Warren Powell, under duress.
Squeezed into a cramped, sweaty 4x4 of a dressing room with 81 other people that seem to have absolutely no other purpose but to annoy you, (this includes the documentary crew - do us a favour with that camera please!), we are here to interview the Telescopes. Needless to say, the band are restless. An afternoon of interviews behind them, a sold-out performance awaiting them, it's a one member at a time interview whoever happens to be in the room and closest to the recorder. Steve is the first one to speak, telling me of the true love of his life (could it be himself?) and a few scandalous rumours about the other person he would most like to be - Bobby Gillespie - you know the one, the one 'Bobby Gillespie's Hair' got their name from, the one that's in that Primal Scream band and the one who throws the worst parties ever.
Must be pretty hard to admit that Bob's more your idol than Jim is (that's Jim Reid of course), as your presence on stage seems more geared to the latter.
"I really don't idolise either of them. I don't model myself after them or anyone for that matter. We don't believe in getting drunk before going on stage. It's hard enough to concentrate, let alone trying to do it while you're pissed. Anyway, I dance better than Bobby."
Well, just about anyone does. Do you enjoy being spat on during your show?
"What do you think? Being slimed on by someone else's throat scum? Piss off. I wish arseholes like that would do the world a favour and throw themselves off a giant cliff! If people don't like the show, they can leave! Why ruin it for the ones that want to be there? I won't play in front of people who are so disrespectful.
Why not just laugh it off and continue the show for the people who want to stay?
"It isn't funny. It interrupts the whole show anyway and those arseholes should be dealt with. Stopping the show embarrasses them and hopefully the rest of the audience will react"
And what, start a riot? Another (early) Reid-like way.
"We're not into repeating history in attitudes, music, or in anything we do."
Changing the subject to something lighter, like children's television programmes, Thomas the Tank Engine gets a big No, while Steve believes he can still get off on the Flowerpot Men. Dave, the somewhat solemn guitarist, leaves the room with a rather disturbed look on his face.
"This interview is going nowhere" he comments.
Is it just me or are guitarists lacking humour these days? The idea of taking heavy fuzzy guitar sounds as something seriously new is beyond me.
"We've never been ourselves in interviews," states Steve. "You've caught us how we actually are. Don't you think that you got some interesting stuff off us? If not, just make something up. The papers are full of bullshit anyway."
Jo materialises in the room and is scratched off the missing persons list. She anxiously looks out the window. Biting her nails, she mumbles something about the show being sold out. Does she still get nervous before going onstage?
"Yes, that's why I'm on my way to the toilet"
I guess the dressing room was just a pitstop. Nice taking you too. Feeling our bedevilled stares on her back, she returns around.
"Oh, I'm sorry, that's not very social of me," she says sincerely. This takes me by surprise, my eyes warm up. Maybe Jo isn't the pretentious little twerp I first thought she was. Maybe she can play guitar. Maybe she is shy of audiences. Maybe that's why her amp sees more of her front side than the rest of us do. She has been playing the guitar for over six years now and comes from quite a Rock 'n' Roll-supportive family. Her parents favourite band at the moment, well, second from the Telescopes, are the Cramps. Pretty cool, huh?
Does she get annoyed with daft questions about being the only girl in the band and why she is not the front person like other tacky one girl bands, like Transvision Vamp? "That extremely pisses me off. That's like the only question that dick journalists ever ask me. 'How does it feel to be the only girl in the band?' Why can't people see me as just another person in the band? There is no reason to separate me out because of my sex. We're all just friends that happen to have the same interest in music. That's how the band was formed." (Sounds familiar, the standard 'indie' response). She pauses for a minute to look around the room for her misplaced bag, finding it under some girl eating a potato. She continues. "I'm also sick of explaining why I'm not the front person of the band since I'm the only girl. People's minds still need to open up a bit."
So how does she feel about the lack of female presence in bands?
"There is definitely a lack of girls in bands. More girls should join bands and not just as a singer." (Alright Jill, you've proved your point!!!) "Learn how to play the guitar or bass or something for Christ sake. It's not that difficult"
We let Jo make her way to the loos. The dressing room has thinned out a bit. The rest of the Telescopes and their camera crew have disappeared towards the stage. It's time to leave this overly-crowded sweat box for even a larger one. Now there are over 800 students to annoy us. Fun!
The Telescopes were expecting to release their already-recorded EP sometime in May but since their record company, 'What Goes On,' is changing their name to 'What Goes Down,' it'll more likely be delayed. Nevertheless, the recent signing to Creation holds promise of a continuing future.
Originally appeared in LIme Lizard Issue 5 (April?) 1990. Copyright © Lime Lizard.