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Rubella Ballet Interview

26/10/2017

What can people expect from a Rubella Ballet gig these days? Do you still use special lighting effects? What song tends to best received live?

To see and hear original 1979 punk music. Performed by lead singer Zillah Minx who lived in London's east end when she became a punk in 1976 age 15, before The Sex Pistols, Bill Grundy TV interviews. Sid originally Rubella ballet Drummer and now their guitarist are also known for composing and playing drums on Flux of Pink Indians Neu smell ep. Now Sid can be seen playing guitar and fronting RB with Zillah Minx. Giving the band a new harder guitar sound with his light up & glow in the dark guitar with added lasers for an amazing show.

We also have welcomed into Rubella Ballet a thirteen year old talented guitarist Dave Greenshill, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014273621398&fref=ts

from Birmingham, who loves listening to and playing punk music. He has been on our scene for a while he attends nearly every gig in Birmingham and travels to gigs having been attending local gigs and Rebellion since an early age. One minute he was watching bands play Rebellion the next year he was on stage playing Rebellion. That's punk rock music for you. We ourselves started our punk band at an early age with our guitarists being 13 & 14 & Sid and I being 18 & !9. One minute I met Sid at a CRASS gig the next we were in a band together we had created and playing with CRASS in London at Conway Hall, legendary gig. We believe in punk embracing everyone who wants to be part of what we are creating on the punk scene. To understand our lyrics and why we play benefit gigs. Also to have the chance to play music in a band and to get onstage doing something you love. I believe is a fantastic incentive for children and adults to learn an instrument and become part of something with other people which not only they enjoy but the people they share their talents with. On the punk scene we love allsorts of weird and wonderful characters and musicians.

Yes we use ultra violet black lights on stage to light up our fluorescent clothes, hair & make up. The first time we used these lights on stage was in 1984 when we supported Death Cult on their tour. It was at Birmingham, Kaleidoscope club, we had a massive following and they went wild when they saw us perform for the first time under the ultra violet black lights.

We still have political lyrics as well as being known to be part of the creation of Goth music with our weirder darker lyrics, strange bass lines and strange guitar feedback, echoing guitars and tribal drums.

Our following appear to enjoy everything we play they love the old songs and the new.

What gig have you enjoyed doing most over the years and who else was on the line-up? What would your ideal line-up be?

We have played some unbelievable legendary gigs our first supporting CRASS in 1979 @Conway Hall, London.

Toured with Death Cult (The Cult) we were good friend with Ian Astbury before he left for America.

In 1987 we played America at one gig we supported Faith No More. We were the only two bands on the bill we played the Lingerie Hollywood. Backstage was crazy everyone was skateboarding and chilling. We became good friends and when Chuck left Mike asked Sid if he wanted to be their singer.

In the same tour we had a gig @Fenders Long Island supporting the Mission. The night before a member of the band was arrested and the gig cancelled.

We played infamous Gilman Street, San Francisco & Jello Biafra turned up.

We have supported The Damned on some amazing gigs @ a French festival, The Forum & The Roundhouse, London.

Sid played drums for X-Ray Spex at The Roundhouse, London and because I was her best friend I was backstage when the band finished their set. Then Poly Styrene asked me to be her special guest for the encore to sing ‘Oh Bondage Up Yours' with her. It was a dream come true to be on stage with Sid playing drums and me singing with Poly Styrene, she's a legend.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Slx_X5hLRtQ

I also love playing Rebellion punk music festival every year its full of spectacular bands known and unknown always a band to discover.

My ideal line up is difficult.

X-Ray Spex, Sex Pistols, Damned, CRASS, Faith No More, Bad Brains, Southern Death Cult, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Brigandage, Rubella Ballet.

What has been the high point and lowest point of the bands history? Would you do anything different?

As a band a high point was playing in America. Lowest point is every time a band member leaves, we have to find a new member and teach them all the songs lots of expensive rehearsals and then when playing a gig they might not be as good live as they think.

How has the bands ideology changed over the years? And are there any subjects you have mellowed in?

I think we are the same if not more militant with our attitudes and politics. Sid & I both became vegetarians in 2005 then when Sid was diagnosed with Multiple Myloma a type of cancer, we then became raw food vegans. So our attitude to vegetarianism and animal rights changed as we realised just how bad the animals are treated with experiments, vivisection, transporting live animals for slaughter in other countries in horrific ways, industrial farming of animals and aboitoirs that torture. Meat is full of antibiotics and other medicines that give humans cancer, dairy full of puss and shit. If you want to get healthy and live through a disease turning raw and eating superfoods helps.


If punk hadn’t have come along, what do you think you would have ended up doing?  

Sid is a qualified chef he was employed by celebrity chef Brian Turner at celebrity restaurant in Mayfair in London's west end. So he could have been a celebrity chef. I loved designing and making my own clothes so I was interested in a career doing that. I was about to start university to take a law degree; I wanted to be a punk Judge. When I realised I would be lucky to become a solicitor within five years I wasn't so keen, then I met Sid. We then decided to do what we both wanted to do be punks go to gigs and play music in our own band.

What is your favourite lyric in one of your songs, and what is your favourite lyrics in another bands song?

X-Ray Spex . ‘”The Day the world turned Day-Glo, “

X-Ray Spex . Oh Bondage Up Yours,

Sex Pistols “ Anarchy in the UK it's coming some time maybe”

Psychedelic Furs,”Its sick the price of medicine.'

Penetration “Don't Dictate”

I can't decide on one, the lyrics mean so much our war cries, our anthems our communications our punk creations and dreams.

Rubella ballet, “knowledge is power ignorance is bliss I've fallen into a pharmaceutical abyss.”

You have remastered some of the John Peel tapes, how did it feel the first time your songs were played on the show? Did you go on the show and be interviewed?

It really was difficult to get played on the radio in the early days. Even the Sex Pistols when they were number one didn't get played. John Peel, was the only show we could possibly get on. When you hear yourself for the first time on the radio its mesmerising almost unreal and feels like an amazing achievement. Also people in general believe you have got somewhere if they hear you on the radio. Being played on the radio reaches thousands more people than gigs so it gave us more recognition.

The first time we went to record the session in London, Maida Vale studios we were really excited, we thought we would be meeting John Peel and talking to him. When we got there we were greeted by the engineer and producer who told us the computer in the brand new multi million pound recording studio (no one else in the country had a digital computer studios) and it had locked everyone out we would have to wait a couple of hours to start recording after the computer had re booted. We were amused we have to wait for a computer but worried about the loss of our recording time.

The producer fucked off to the pub to wait for the computer. We hung about waiting to see John Peel. Then we got told he doesn't come to the recording of band sessions. He gets our session and puts it into his show. We were disappointed, but we had played a gig where he also our DJ for the night. He played our first session 3 times.

Once we were driving through Camden in my old Morris minor listening to John Peel on the World Service he suddenly started talking about us and played a track. We screeched our car to a halt and got out with Sid's boom box playing our track and started dancing in the street with excitement hearing Rubella ballet played to the world.

About a year later I was in a TV programme for channel 4, “Whatever you didn't get” a Christmas special for the weekly what ever you get' I think it was called. They had a weird sketch were Vi Subversa was the Queen & Boy George The King and all of us punks at the table partying. John Peel turned up so I took my opportunity to thank him for the session and talk to him about Liverpool football club as I was born in Birkenhead and my Dad was a Liverpool supporter since 1949, I know my football. ‘Its who you know' because I got a promise of another session. A man of his word we got another session., that was again repeated three times.

Rubella ballet, John Peel sessions can now be heard on vinyl, released on an American label. Dark entries. Our first release, ‘Ballet Bag” was nine tracks on a cassette in a bag with a lyric book, badge and poster. It has been re digitised and released on vinyl in U.S.A with extra tracks from our John Peel sessions.

http://www.darkentriesrecords.com/store/vinyl/rubella-ballet-ballet-bag-lp/#tab-description

What part do you think the Internet plays in the scene and do you think it is a help or hindrance?

Its fantastic for advertising gigs, I love it for keeping in contact with friends from gigs. It can also help to interest new people in punk music and lifestyle.

There seems to be a growing trend from within the scene to judge the scene. I was a website the other day and both Conflict and Crass were being slated for not being ‘pc enough’ (different accusations against each band) – what are your views on what is currently happening with the policing that has now seemingly seeped all over the scene?

Anyone can write an opinion online, on a website this is a downside to the Internet with forums, social media opinions etc. Not everyone writing about punks or our music will be punks or understand the time and place of a lyric.

We have always judged ourselves and our actions we created punk and it's quite healthy to keep an interest in what bands or individuals are doing and saying within our own scene. The majority of punks still have the same views and attitudes so usually what we all agree on prevails.


What is next for the band? And anything you would like to add?

We released a new album in 2013 ‘Planet Punk”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6M9fLxfW-hI

We are now recording a new album, “Danger of Death” out March 2018.

We have a great new band with Sid now playing guitar and front of stage, Sean Mcann on guitar and Dave Greensill covering for Seano when he works on tour for Captain Sensible of The Damned. Then we have, Jake Cunningham on Bass and our new drummer Charlie Smith. We are playing Italy, Milan & Bologna in November.

London, New Cross Inn Dec 29 th

https://www.facebook.com/events/388551341559891/

America, ‘Near Dark' Festival California, Sept 2018.

https://rubellaballet.bandcamp.com/

http://www.rubellaballet.com/

https://www.facebook.com/rubellaballet/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LbA6wQ3PVA

I am still taking workshops and Q & A when I screen my documentary.

https://www.facebook.com/shesapunkrockeruk/

 

For info on the documentary, “ She's A Punk Rocker U.K” I made with no funding about punk women by punk women.

I am producing & directing a new documentary about punk women of the world. It takes me a long time because I have no funds and do it in my spare time with Sid filming & editing at home.

Thank you for taking an interest in Rubella Ballet and asking us such interesting questions. I hope you and everyone else enjoys the read and comes to a future gig or get in touch with us on any of our sites we are DIY. We do not have an agent or publicist we do all our own gig bookings and everything else involved with being in a punk band. We will get back to you on all our social media sites as we are the only ones monitoring and replying to you. Thanks to everyone for supporting us over so many years.

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