Gene Loves Jezebel
by James Bonisteel
It has happened again, just when you thought the 80's were dead, more bands keep popping up
from that era. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about it. It's nice to be able to see
bands from your childhood, especialyy when they put on an impressive show like Gene Loves
Jezebel. I was hanging around the club they played at one night and was able to get their
consent to an interview. And it went something like this...
- What the hell have the both of you been up to, it has been years since
anyone has heard from you!
- Had a family, a couple of kids, did a couple os solo things. Haven't been
touring at all except for last year I did about eight shows....so essentially I dropped out.
Jay's been doing the Gene Loves Jezebel thing a couple of years after I left, and he has made
another solo record.
- So Jay you wenton to do Kiss of Life?
- Well Kiss of Life and Heavenly Bodies and some other things in Europe.
After that I went to New York where I just finished my solo record, then Mike and I decided to
do this because we had not done it in a long time.
- How has the tour going, how receptive has everyone been?
- Well we expected this to be like "Well hey look at the flashback band",
you know--people bringing their kids. But it has not been like that at all. We have seen all
kinds of people here, alternative crowd, gothic crowd, etcetera.
- So are you glad it has gone this way?
- We thought people would just come out to hear songs like Desire. They
have been asking for more of our obscure songs like Shave My Neck and stuff.... We went
through different stages and different lineups, so we always thought that being together we
would have better luck you know and right now we have no label, but we are touring and we are
- Have you ever thought about putting out another album together?
- We are taking it as it comes, but we thinking. We probably will put
something out real soon because it has been so exciting and different every night. Our
relationship is so.... What's that word, Mike?
- ...so Volatile.
- It just always something to watch and it's very real and it's theatrical.
I had forgotten how amazing it was to watch life, because there are some great things
happening with us and it's fascinating for us to come back after all this and to see the kids
having their haircuts looking about the same it was fifteen years ago--shaved heads, way long
black hair wearing dresses-- because I always thought it was a bit polarized, you know. I
thought the gothic kids were pretty asexual,and then there was the faddish kids who were the
other way, but it seems to have come together much more. And we're a better Gene Loves Jezebel
for them because there is a massive sexuality generation out there I think, besides the
spirituality that has always been there.
- Well I hope this has been a positive experience for both of you.
- It is because we have no record company, we have no agency as such we
just wanted to do it. It is great to go out and meet people who are truly into what you do and
appreciate all the times we died for them--all that sweat and blood. This tour right now has
been the ninth I have done in the states alone. It's great to get that energy back, I mean you
just don't know what's going to happen and that's what I love about it. It's a truly moving
thing you just do not know where it's going.
- The last time I saw you was in 1987 when you opened up for Echo and The
Bunneymen. Has a lot changed since then?
- Fortunately we haven't aged since then and we are grateful for that,
well we are Vampires you know.
- What made you want to get into this business?
- Well, you know, I suppose being twins you're aware at a very young age
what it is like to be an individual, because were always being thrown into couples all the
time so you always fend for indentity, and I think music and art is all about indentity and
how articulate you are on this planet. And that is the reason why we are here--the two of us
thought that we had something different about us.
- What we do independently is very different from what we do together.
It has been that way ever since we were little. On an artistic level, from painting to signing
or whatever we had ever done, we were quite separate and it is amazing how we always chased
our independence. But then haveing said that, what we do together is pretty weird and unusual.
but when people see that, they seem to be drawn to it. It's fascinating, but that is a lot
different for us than it is for other people.
- But ten years ago it was too much for us. We needed tp break apart
because, if you remember when we split we were at the height of our popularity and still
racing for the stars. It's amazing how difficult it was for us, I think, that we could let it
go despite all the advice. But we are happy to be back together. We are much more mature--we
had to deal with a lot of things and we are still working hard at it, too.
- If somebody came up to you after the show or on the street and wanted to
get some advice from you about this business or what you thought of it, what would you tell
- You have to push on, you know, and really articulate who you are and
what's unique about you and stay with it, because you will be pulling from pillar to post.
- You have to check your motives, if you listen to the radio, all the
bands sound the same. That's very synical and very corporate. When we were around, there was
truly an alternative scene and there were people who wanted to check you out and there was
- There are individuals doing it on their own now. I guess I would say if
you could manage in some way to creat your own college industry do it! If you want to go the
other route for the major labels and with head fucking shit that goes on, then good luck! It
destroys you as a human being and your artistic spirit because to them it's a business and
they will throw you away! Now if you're wise enough to handle both, you're a supreme diplomat,
then by all means be careful and keep checking your head, it's bizarre for us because we came
totally from the left--left--left side of it. It was very exciting scene and it's very
exciting to be touring again. If you look around a a lot these bands, you're basically going
to get the same thing. Now, if you come to see Gene Loves Jezebel, you're to get just like
when we started. That's the clue for anyone else starting out as well, just use your own
language and just push on and stick with it. When that wheel spins, then it becomes fashion
and the trousers become shorter and longer but ultimately it's your heart that will shoot you
- What do you really think about the music today, do you think it's a lot
- Mike and I always hated the pop music scene. We did likes songs and things. But we never did watch England's Top of the Pops or America's MTV. We just listened to music. It's weird for us to have to do photo sessions and interviews and things. I mean, it's nice to do it but ultimately I like going, "Hey, there's the song do I like it?" I mean what's the big deal! I mean, you have to be good live you do not know what always is going to happen. But why do I have to kiss Everyone's ass to succeed? and that's a lot of pop bands do now. We have learned life is short just do not take it seriously but be serious about what you do.
Like I said, it is not bad at all for bands you knew in the past to pop up again Especially
when they are still great at what they do. Of course, they played all the songs we all
remember like Desire and Jealous. The one song I enjoyed the most was the last song they
played--Paranoia by Black Sabbath. Strange but they covered it well. They will not be around
forever so if you have not had a chance to see them, you better.
Copyright ª 1997, Rational Alternative Digital