NICK MONTGOMERY INTERVIEW- AUGUST 2003
Some thoughts of an ex-Microdisney Keyboard player.
First of all I must say it's a bit of a liberty for me to speak about Microdisney in any public forum at all since I was only in the band for a year or so (83-4 ish) and my memories of that time ('82-88) are unsequenced and full of holes - I was only functioning at about 30-40% (sometimes 5%) for the whole of that period. So to other ex-members who might happen across this, I hope you find my contribution funny rather than annoying and that you accept that my motives are not entirely unwholesome
1.How did you come to join the band?
(who I'd known for a few years) told me about the band at some party
and suggested I came to London to meet Cathal with a view to relieving
him of keyboards so he could focus on singing. I thought the name Microdisney
was interesting - a good-looking and stately word if you look beyond
its constituent parts (the collision of which I supposed neatly compressed
some kind of agreed position about things). I knew Jon as a politicized
and original thinker so I smelt ironic or satirical intent.
last saw Cathal, Sean and Jon in about '96, '97 - backstage at Fatima
Mansions and High Llamas gigs in Newcastle. Fatima Mansions were pretty
apocalyptic, with Cathal pretty frenzied at times, emerging from an
incontinence of dry ice and profligate lighting like some doomed maniac
on Time' was particularly good and Cathal's most recent stuff reminds
me of it in some ways
'The Sky is Awful Blue' is a great CD. By
now Cathal should, I think be held in equivalent esteem to the likes
of Nick Cave or even Tom Waits (though obviously he is nothing like
either). So what happened?
rarely listen to it - I'm sometimes tempted to play it to new people
I meet, in full and gleeful consciousness of the Crème Brule
/ League of Gentlemen potential of doing so. But when I do I'm surprised
at how good it sounds - dated only really by technological advances
and inevitable anachronisms. I remember Sean once saying he wanted to
make something that would last and I think he and Cathal managed that.
4. Do you have a favourite period or set of songs that you felt summed up what Microdisney were all about?
Comes Down the Stairs is my favourite period because that's the one
I toured and played most. Bits of Everybody is Fantastic for the same
'Escalator in the Rain' has good memories because we played
it on TV in Rome (it was very popular in Italy for some reason) - their
equivalent of TOTP
the only time we mimed a song while I was in
the band- revolving stage, audience apparently selected for beauty and
clothes (we were the ugliest, tiredest people for miles around), voluptuous
make-up women, good wine. Altogether an appropriate event
remains eerie and I have select favourites from the later albums - 'And
he Descended into Hell' - I heard Crooked Mile in a mental hospital
5. How did life in Microdisney compare with your life now?
I was young, only tangentially connected to the world, fucking up liver
and brain - it was a very bad-good time for me. Now I teach literary
/ cultural theory in a university part-time and write and record music
with Shedstudio (CD Tales from the Shed available on the web at raven
recordings and at selected outlets) I knew there was a reason for
6. Why did Microdisney split up?
really know, but the differences between High Llamas and Fatima Mansions
would seem to make it pretty obvious. - the former Ariel, the latter
what happens when Prospero fucks Caliban - I actually get paid for being
both great bands anyway.
7. Was the band very much Cathal and Sean or were the other members having much of a say in songwriting and attitude/direction?
When I was in Microdisney I pretty much did what I was told - sometimes quite badly. But it was a loving if horribly dysfunctional little family. Jon and Tom had more input than me to the music since Cathal wrote the keyboard parts and wanted them played as he composed them. But we shared an attitude alright and all had a clear idea of what the band was about. We laughed a lot at the world as we found it
8. What were the biggest problems in dealing with the music industry?
I don't know the details
it seemed odd to be sent on a tour of
communist Poland during martial law - one of Rough Trade's better plans
for shifting records? It's a stupid industry which hates intelligence,
co-opts subversion and has no place for the severely gifted. It's addicted
to the exploitation of ignorance and innocence and the commodification
of young minds and bodies. Obviously it's a business driven by markets
and its own banal categories - like 'let's talk about Microdisney and
the Pogues at the same time 'cos they're both Irish, aren't they?' Why
not bring in The Nolan Sisters while you're on, for Christ sake?
9. How do you think politics has changed since the MD days?
could bore you for hours on this
the Blair project is vile because
it has colonized the only political movement that ever did anybody any
good in the last century, helped to resurrect the spectre of cross against
crescent by its nauseating alignment with American neo-conservatism,
connived in the infantilization of culture and social life and contaminated
politics with a truly sinister christian fundamentalism
was pure macrodisney. As for Blunkett's new 'Brit Test'
expect it from Norman Tebbit, but Jesus Christ...!
10. What was Soul Boy about?
Soul Boy? Don't know - but I like the picture of a street full of exiles and refugees mingling with war criminals both finding a pointless and boring hell-haven