An Interview with Eugene De La Hot-Croix Bun from THIS IS SERIOUS MUM. Beat, 23rd December 1986

 

Walking from Nivettes in the direction of La Hulpe, passing Lillois and Bois-Seigneur-Isaac, and continuing until one comes to the small town of Hougomont is a journey that is quite sobering even if, like me, you are not fully au fait with the details of early nineteenth-century French military history. Despite the sunny enough day, looking around at the small farm gates and picking one's way across the partially laid roads is made less (or maybe more) engaging due to the fact that the earth you are strolling over is the site of the battle of Waterloo. Stranger still, from one neat farm house emanates turgid 12-bar blues music. Well, I suppose if you have been asked to interview Eugene de la Hot-Croix Bun from T.I.S.M. one almost expects this sort of scenario.

"What a shame," I reflected as I made my way towards the farm yard gate, "that de la Hot-Croix Bun lives in Dingley." So that's where I went to record the interview that follows.

Your new E.P., "Form and Meaning Reach Ultimate Communion" is to be released soon. Is it true that you have played in the Australian Cricket Team?

Eugene de la Hot-Croix Bun (E. de la H.C.B.): I don't want to talk about that.

Ricky Barham retired this year, so why is it that you released "I'm Into Led Zep" despite having never played it live?

E. de la H.C.B.: Sorry, no, I can't comment.

Why is it that the "Meaning" side of your new E.P. is so roughly recorded? And what is the significance of calling one side "Form" and the other "Meaning"? Are you perhaps making a comment about the radical change in recording quality, or is there some lyrical or thematic reason?

E. de la H.C.B.: Look, could you pass me that bottle of eucalyptus rub?

Given that T.I.S.M play so rarely live, how is the band likely to perform on the up coming 6 date, 3 state Big Pig/T.I.S.M. double header tour?

E. de la H.C.B.: Ah, listen, do you mind lacing this up while I get rubbed down?

I have made a short list of the literary allusions in your work, and it is not so short. "T. S. Eliot - He Wanker", a song on your new E.P., in itself alludes to not only the poet but to his using the quote "Mistah Kurtz - he dead" from Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" in "The Wasteland". In addition, Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Blake, John Keats, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, John Donne (amongst others) are all referred to to in your songs. Your own name seems similar to a French nineteenth century painter. How does this part of your music sit with the lyrical obscenity and the disco/pop nature of your music?

E. de la H.C.B.: (muttering) No pain, no gain. No pain, no gain. No pain, no gain. Sorry, I'll be dropping back for the kick off and pick up Dunstall at the bounce, or Ayres if Dunstall plays back.

On your new E.P., "Take Your Love" seems to be the song that refutes the implication I made in my last question that T.I.S.M. are only a disco/pop band. There seems to be a whole body of your music that is not seen live. Though many, if not all, of your songs live are basically dance songs, there is another, more enigmatic, almost "studio" song form that you employ. I'm thinking of songs like "Pus of the Dead" from "Great Truckin' Songs of the Renaissance" [transcriber note: Not the 1988 double album!] or "The Love You Take Equals The Love You Make, So Baby Won't You Bang My Box" from "The Vic Hugo Experience - Are You Miserable?" All these songs, songs that the public don't get the chance to hear, seem to make my last question fundamentally misdirected.

E. de la H.C.B.: Got any uppers, pal?

Nonetheless, misdirecting the public seems sometimes to be the main aim of your publicity. Comic, obscene, even fascist overtones appear in your work. Incongruity, mixed with an absurdist satiric stance, leaves the audience of T.I.S.M. often wondering if they are satisfied or not. Has T.I.S.M. any real defence against the predicament they may find themselves in of being misinterpreted?

E. de la H.C.B.: I've gotta go now.

What was that siren?

E. de la H.C.B.: (to another) Where's the Magic Macedonian?

Sorry?

E. de la H.C.B.: Pies. Pies. Pies.

Another: Do it, de la. Do it.

Your stage act. Can I...

E. de la H.C.B.: Pies. Pies. Kill.

The masks tend to imply more than they state. Is there any overt reason for your anonymity?

E. de la H.C.B.: (receding into the distance, yelling) Arrrgghh! Go Boys. Go for it. They're weak as piss. Do it.

Another: Go for it, de la. Do it, fellas. Do it.

-Spider

 

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