Short, Sharp Interview: Jayne Casey – Liverpool Punk /Post Punk

Eric’s Club opened In Liverpool on 1 October 1976, in a basement opposite The Cavern Club – where The Beatles played in the 1960’s.BuzzcocksThe ClashJoy DivisionRamonesSex PistolsSiouxsie & the BansheesThe StranglersWireXTCX-Ray Spex,U2New Orderand Mick Hucknall (pre Simply Red) all played at Eric’s before the club closed down in March 1980 when the club was raided by the rozzers for drug offences.Local musicians such as Dead or AliveEcho & the Bunnymen, ,Orchestral Manoeuvres in the DarkThe Teardrop Explodes, and Wah! Heat also played at Eric’s – which was a members only venue that also gave membership for ‘under 18’s’ so that younger music fans could see bands during a ‘matinee’ show.

One regular at Eric’s was Jayne Casey who left home at 14 and joined one of Liverpool’s first punk bands, Big In Japan, in mid 1977. Casey would perform with a lampshade over her shaved head. The band broke up after a gig at Eric’s in August 1978.They recorded the From Y to Z and Never AgainEP – featuring the classic, Suicide A Go Go – and later reunited and recorded a brilliant Peel Session in 1979, with a line-up of Casey, Ian Broudie, Holly Johnson and Budgie.Holly Johnson later formed Frankie Goes To HollywoodBill Drummond, was in The KLFIan Broudie formed The Lightning SeedsBudgie is the drummer in Siouxsie and the Banshees.Jayne later formed the wonderful Pink Military Stand Alone – who I once saw play a cracking gig at Middlesbrough Rock Garden, with Tick Tick giving great support. Jayne then formed Pink Industry.

Can you pitch me the life and times of Jayne Casey in 25 words or less?

I ‘m the cat that’s enjoyed many lives….

Which posters did you have on your wall when you were 16?

I was in a children’s home ‘no posters allowed’ but it would have been Bowie. Bolan and Hendrix

Erics. What was that all about? 

It was a magical portal where a generation of Liverpool musicians discovered the lexicon of life .

Which of your own musical adventures has been the most satisfying?

Mmmm ‘ Maybe I’m just like my mother she’s’ never satisfied’ …

The Beatles : Inspiration or burden? 

Both … Roger Eagle who owned Eric’s told us in 1977 never ever to listen to them….. So although I have obviously heard loads of their music in the background …To this day Me , Ian McCulloch and Pete Wylie have never purposely pressed play.

How did Big In Japan get together? 

In 1976 Ken Campbell (RIP) the theatre director produced a play from a trilogy of cult books by Robert Anton Wilson called ‘The Illuminati’ It took place in a semi derelict warehouse on Matthew Street where I had a vintage clothes shop. Bill Drummond was the set designer, Ian Brodie was the guitarist in the band and I had a bit part in the play. Ken used to beg me to be the singer but I wouldn’t do it cos I really couldn’t sing. After Ken left town Bill continued to hound me and eventually I gave in and we formed Big In Japan.

Did you get pissed off when that Alphaville song was a hit? 

No … I groaned pulled the quilt over my head and turned over …

The brilliant NME PMSA cover- by Kev Cummins- when Paul Morley interviewed you – was part of my 80’s iconography. I even remember seeing a copy of Did You See her? in Woolworths in Hartlepool! What was that period like for you?

It was a weird period before the digital revolution kind off ‘ on the cusp’ you could see the future and it looked very different but it was still way in the distance… it was frustrating musically as it was really hard to find musicians who’ got it’ so although I really like the content of Pink Military I wish I had ditched the drummer for a drum machine and got rid of all the middle eights… but I accept it is very much of its time ….. The NME interview was really interesting with its Post Modernist headline It came out in Jan 1980 so it was the first NME of the 80’s and in many ways it heralded the change that the 80s would bring…

What does Jayne Casey do on a Tuesday afternoon? 

I work in and around culture so my working life is varied and unless i am in the middle of a big project I don’t do Monday’s ….So Tuesday is the start of my working week by Tuesday afternoon i am normally throwing daggers at my 19 year old PA who after a long weekend of partying is trying desperately to hide her obvious lack of serotonin : )

The Pink Military website is HERE They’re on YOU TUBE here BIG IN JAPAN are on You Tube

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