This is a post mortem on that wonderful punk (surely more than that) band from Wessex who split in November 1985. A band who meant and still do mean a lot to a large number of people. I hope this interview clears up some points to which some of you may not know the answers.
What were your aims when you started the Subhumans and how far do you think you got in achieving those aims? When we started we didn't think in terms of aims - the fun and excitement and newness of it all was good enough! As time (flies and aero planes crash) and experience came and went we developed our ideas gradually - lyrically I (strongly) wanted to be listened to more than "just heard" so I guess the aim by then was to get my ideas over - for the others it was to prove their ability and give people enjoyment - so I think we did achieve what we wanted, maybe there could have been more, maybe not.
Are there any Subhumans tracks that were recorded but never released that may come out in the future? I, for one, really liked 'Walls of Silence'! That and seven other tracks (3 old, 4 brand new) will be released as a mini LP as soon as we get the cover done, which is suffering due to lack of inspiration.
What are the other members of the band up to now? Paul is doing an electronics course, Bruce is teaching guitar! and jamming with Phil and Grant (our old bassist) and Trotsky is in CHAPTER1, a local rock band.
How did you go down in places in America where punks seem to be punks for different reasons (fed up with the American dream)? On the Coasts we went down well but some preferred us to be total thrash, more hardcore. In the middle they loved us 'cos they get few gigs and fewer UK bands. I think our attitudes in lyrics etc. went over a lot of heads and was too 'Crass like' for a lot of people but on the other hand it made a welcome change for other like-minded people.
What was your opinion of the 'Stop The City' marches. Do you think they really changed or did they reinforce peoples points of view? Yes, because so many more people supported the second one than the first one - the unity and strength was obvious and then compelled a lot of people to rethink their ideas and realise that all 'those problems' are there and now and something was happening for once! It gave people a lot of fresh motivation, I think.
What do you think of bands like Discharge who changed a lot of peoples ideas of war by pointing out the facts in a few simple horrific lyrics. How do you feel about them now that they seem to be more into making money out of it? Being the first of their style it was effective until everyone else tried to copy it, then it got numbed and was ruined by loads of useless bands - their present pomp rock stuff just sucks and it's so hypocritical I don't know how they sleep at night - perhaps they don't.
What mistakes do you think the Subhumans made that future bands may make? We didn't discuss lyrical attitudes enough - it ended up with me doing all the writing - lyrics, letters, interviews - and forming the bands image as I felt right - this is a bad theory and in the end it helped drive us apart...Get a band together that more or less think the same.
How well did your records sell over the years? Demolition war (16,432), Reasons for existence (13593), Religious Wars (14855), Evolution (11900), Rats (9016), Day the country died (23847), From the cradle to the grave (13906), Worlds Apart (8735), Time Flies 12" (14479).
Anybody notice that the title of the first two LP's was the last line sung on them - pretty damn interesting ,eh? Dick puts this down to coincidence, he points that a great way to finish a song is to have the last line as the title - it sums it up and makes you want to play the whole thing again.
Why exactly did the Subhumans split? Basically we grew apart over politics, music, money, punk rock, social life, touring, record sales etc, etc. Trotsky got too tired of it to carry on 'cos he couldn't see it getting any different or better (which he wanted) and Phil and Bruce agreed to a lesser extent - so we quit before we got too far apart to be even friends. The last European tour didn't help, it all went wrong - the reasons are more complicated than this obviously.
Did you think your coverage in Sounds to be fair and what are your feelings about being on the cover? I didn't want to be on the cover but under persuasion agreed as long as it was a live photo - Winston Smith was a good bloke and he didn't distort anything - so I think they were quite good interviews, especially the second one where more ideas came across.
Lastly have you anything you want to add about the Subhumans, any rumours, popular misconceptions you want to clarify? We are not reforming (rumour number one) or doing any final farewell gigs (done them already and no one seemed to notice 'cos we didn't say they were the last ones by massive adverts like rock stars etc. We do not hate each others guts - that's about it I think - time flies, eh? Cheers, Dick.