|Interview Magazine,2/94||Inrockuptibles, 9/94||OOR, Hollland, 8/94|
|MTV's, 10/1/95||Arte 2/95||Slapper's, Spring 1995|
|Inside Edge||New Jersey Beat||SOMA|
(HE'S GOING TO DIE)
Interviewed by Ingrid the Invincible
A gal so sharp it hurts just to look at her.
>ASSHOLE< Ahem. So here I am, all the way out in FUCKING BRISTOL to interview Jeff Buckley. Jeff is an American hearthrob of knee-trembling talent, blessed with a voice that could melt all the icecaps in Greenland, timeless, classic song-writing skills, and facial features fit for a Slapper. The critics are falling over themselves in an effort to lavish adjectives on him. I am wearing my best dress to impress him. It's an *au-then-tic* 1950s number in black silk with tapered waist and full skirt. I am hot and rockin'.
Having envisaged a romantic, idyllic setting, imagine my horror when I am told I am to interview Jeff in a chippie opposite the bus station. But it doesn't matter -- Jeff fairly RADIATES charm and charisma, and soon brightens up our rather common surroundings. Although I think it best not to remind him as he kisses my hand, I have met Jeff once before in a hotel bar I like to frequent, when, upon being introduced, he lurched forth and greeted me in a manner close to catatonic. Yet even in the throes of dribbly leeriness there was undeniably an aura of intrigue and sophistication about him. I can't help thinking we make a rather *special* couple, with me all dressed up like a dapper slapper in my best dress and my lips painted in *Shades of Slapper 'Scarlett Woman'*, and he with his chiselled good looks, porcelain skin and perfectly sculpted cheekbones. I clutch my copy of 'Grace' and try not to blush.
SLAP: Why have you been playing it so low-key? There have been no single releases, few adverts, and you're only playing small clubs - which you easily sell out.
JEFF: (quiet as a mouse and lilting as a welsh song-bird) I like to be more...*intimate* with my audience - they've paid money to see me, and they don't want to be standing at the back of some great hall where they can't see anything. I prefer it too - it helps me sing better if there's more of an atmosphere, you know what I mean?
SLAP: Uh huh. Do you find you're more popular over here than in the States? We're more tolerant of unusual music, I think.
JEFF: Yeah that's true, but you're quick to discard it as well! Once you're accepted in the states, you stand a chance of having a much longer shelf-life than over here. The English fans have been really cool though.
SLAP: Are you feeling the pressure as Sony's new pet?
JEFF: There is a certain amount of pressure on me, sure. That's why I like to keep it low-key.
SLAP: How did playing Reading Festival go? I would have thought you really needed a smaller venue to make the most of the acoustics.
JEFF: Well that's yet another reason I like to play small venues. It was cool, people seemed to enjoy it.
*To hear Buckley sing is to hear what must be stardust-sprinkled vocal chords: one minute smooth and creamy as melted butterscotch, the next as highly charged and nakedly emotional as a bolt from the blue; one minute swooping and soaring, bleeding and lovely, the next as pained and desperate as a ...as a kick in the goolies. It's the sound of the hummingbird serenading the eagle. It's the sound of an angel falling from grace.*
SLAP: Would it be fair to say that your audience is quite old?
JEFF: No, I don't think that's necessarily true. Like here in Bristol, you get a lot of students, you know? I think my music appeals to a whole spectrum of ages.
SLAP: What's your starsign, Buck?
SLAP: Wow! Just like your dad!
SLAP: Freaky! I'm a Pisces.
SLAP: Your dad died at 28 in 1975, and you'll be 28 in 1995. Had that occurred to you? (*It should, bucko*).
JEFF: I think that's completely irrelevent.
*Jeff's father was cult 1970s folk-jazz troubadour Tim Buckley, who died of a drug overdose in 1975. Buckley is understandably proud of his heritage, and likes to chat about his father and the influence he holds over Buckley's own work.*
(variety of cool graphics, including KISSABILITY 10/10!!! in a big font)
SLAP: Uh, your voice is really amazing, especially the high notes. You sound like someone's grabbed you by the testicles.
SLAP: Yah, like, *Neeeeeee*. You sound like a reverberating guitar. Sustain.
JEFF: I like to think of the voice as an instrument in itself. Not enough people experiment with it or use it to its full capacity. I like to explore it.
SLAP: It has been said that you tend to disappear up your own bottom, though, hasn't it?
JEFF: ...I'm sorry, I don't know quite what you mean by that.
SLAP: People say you're too self-indulgent in your music.
JEFF: It's my music, I'm not going to be indulgent on anyone else's behalf. (*Perhaps I am not being convincing enough, as even as we speak I am distracted by indulgantly imagining caressing said bottom with my trembling fingers)
JEFF: I've always had music in my life. It's been my friend, my ally, my teacher, my tormentor...and I can't remember a time when it hasn't been there.
SLAP: How many octaves can you cover?
JEFF: Only three at the moment.
SLAP: Can that be improved on, then?
JEFF: Sure, with practise.
SLAP: We were trying to think of some more cover versions you could do. (*Jeff covers Leonard Cohen, Benjamin Britten and Elkie Brooks!*) We came up with a Barry White song, to explore your baritone side-
JEFF: The Walrus of Lurve!
SLAP: And with your voice you could become a professional yodeller. You could release an album of German beer drinking songs!
JEFF: Mm. (brow furrows).
SLAP: I like 'Grace' best. I like to sing along to it, but I can't quite make out the words - you slure a bit.
JEFF: (*icily*) Well I'm sorry about that.
SLAP: I like 'Mojo Pin' too.
JEFF: Yeah, that one's pretty moving.
SLAP: "*White horses flow...Black Beauty..*" - this is about bestiality, right?
JEFF: You could say that, though it was supposed to be more symbolic than in a literal sense. I had quite a lonely childhood, I guess.
SLAP: You lived on a farm for a while, did you not?
JEFF: We lived on a farm, yeah. It - my lyrics come from the *heart*. From things I've known and seen and dreamt...people I've loved. For me, singing is like making love to a woman you'd *die* for. You *transcend* the physical and produce something *spiritual*...you *fly*. I perform a thirty-five minute version of 'Kangaroo' (*terrific stamina!*) which I always get very, very lost in.. I feel very fulfilled.
SLAP: Do you have a cigarette afterwards?
JEFF: (sourly) I don't smoke.
Well. A rather dour, humourless type, I though. But the cheekbones more than make up for any defecit in the personality department.
(drawing of Jeff's head on a plate with leaves. He is wearing glasses, has a moustache like Hitler's, has acne and a star on his face. A little umbrella with an olive is sticking out of his head.)
Bring me the head of Jeff Buckley on a silver platter!
N.B.: I made that all up. I usually make things up, of course, but not quite to the extent that absolutely NONE of it is true. Be lenient with me, darlings. For I went ALL THE WAY out to FUCKING BRISTOL (godforsakenhole), and for WHAT? We drew up outside the Fleece 'n' Firkin after a best-dress-crumpling, quiff-flattening three hour drive, in hardly the most elegant of automobiles, and prowled in, all bad-tempered, but determined to ensnare the Buckley. Upon locating the Back Stage Bit, I switched into Slapper-mode and approached Buckley seductively. He was sitting in the office eating a ham roll. I leaned forward so that my busoms were level with his precious little face, and huskily demanded the interview I'd been promised. PROMISED. Buckley looked at me expressionless, obviously frozen with fright. The phone rang, and he grabbed it, never taking his doe eyes off me. I could tell he liked the dress. As I smouldered at Buckley, a grubby little American man sidled up to me and eyed my attire. "I like your skirt," Grubby smiled, extending a coarse finger towards the smartly stitched hem with polkadot trim. "It's a *dress*." I replied shortly. Buckley hung up the phone and sat silently on his stool, his soulful, puppy-dog eyes staring into my narrowing ones. "Why doesn't he answer?" I asked Grubby. Grubby produced a tour schedule from under his arm and told me rather brusquely that His Buckliness was FAR too busy today, or indeed ANY day to do interviews, and that I was to leave. And with that, the irksome pair side-stepped past me and into their bus, prim as you like! Naturally, I was furious, and stormed out to the car, shutting my best dress in the door as I did so. *RAM HIS BUS!! RAM HIS BUS!!* I ordered the mutanous driver as we roared off into the night with my frock flapping in the wind.
(graphics -- row of skulls)
Our lawyers are currently considering sueing the Buckley Estate for Breach of Contract and for Causing Great Disappointment to Slapper. (I'd already put his name on the cover, see).
For he has to pay.
And he has to be taught a lesson.
Jeff Buckley....Jeff Fuckley! Pah.