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The Peace & Freedom Magazine Bushido Interview

Interviewed by Paul Rance for Peace & Freedom, No. 2, Summer 1985.

Bushido are a band who have a very diverse sound and have received extensive radio play around the world. Gary of the band answered the following questions.

For a band with such diversity in sound your influences are presumably similarly wide, but which performers have made the biggest impression on you?

Obviously, I can speak only for myself, but in no particular order the following groups have made the biggest impression on me. John Barry, Ennio Morricone, Pink Floyd, Scott Walker, Beethoven, Debussy, Doors, Love, Velvet Underground, Tangerine Dream, Steve Harley, Tuxedo Moon, Can, Neu, Kraftwerk, Kate Bush, Magazine (to '79), Simple Minds - millions of others, e.g. Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Faust, Ultravox, Hawkwind, Peter Hammill, Roxy Music. There are loads (some mentioned above) who I liked when I was younger that I still have respect for and will listen to. Quite often now I listen to records by groups I admire/have admired and think, God, we can do better than that! However, that doesn't invalidate that other group or its music.

How much radio play have the band had?

Bushido to date have had a great deal of radio play in France, Holland, U.S.A., many local stations around the world. In Britain, we've had plays on smaller local stations and the John Peel show.

Is studio work more important than gigging to Bushido?

Studio work is much more important to me. Creating something that you have to live with the rest of your life, and therefore creating it as well as you possibly can. We will be gigging in the autumn, but I would like to have built up a backlog of material and ideas by then, so we can vary the shows enormously. We already have an LP out. Another reason for not gigging at the moment is that one of our keyboard players is away for most of the year at university - currently in Paris but usually at Edinburgh Univ.

Lyrics seem meaningless as regards a lot of groups. Do you regard them as secondary to the music?

No. To us lyrics are important. I personally spend a fair bit of time on lyrics. One thing I hate is inane/obvious boring lyrics, unless it is done deliberately and for effect. But, for me, a lyric such as "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" smacks of crass stupidity (that's putting it mildly - Ed). I prefer lyrics that have something real to say, whether a new slant on old themes, or even an old slant on old themes.

Do you think Bushido will settle down to a particular "sound" or do you plan to be forever changing?

We obviously want to develop our music - else there would be no point in continuing the group. However, we don't want to settle down to a particular sound. Many groups I've admired in the past have settled down to one sound (probably forced to by their record company) and have often ended up sounding boring, their previous magic only occasionally shining through. Examples I would cite could be Magazine (dec'd), Simple Minds, Ultravox. Rather we want to develop all the various levels or strata of our music.

Has any member of the band other artistic interests?

Three other members of the band are in other groups on an amateur level. Chris Brownett - drums for Ring of Steel, Ian Williams -keyboards, sings for Beautiful Pea Green Boat. Chris Elliott - guitars for the Lynch Mob. I write quite a lot.

Have you found press reaction has helped considerably?

Sounds have always been helpful. Melody Maker printed a favourable review of the new Bushido LP, which I was quite pleased with.

What do you think will be the next step in music?

Music, in general? Probably just the continued balancing act between old and new technologies. Disco and guitar music will always have its 3-4-year resurgences. Soul music will never die, neither will the sort of music made by Pink Floyd, Genesis, Peter Hammill, Roy Harper, Marillion, etc., etc. Politically motivated bands will make the charts more, as unrest in the country increases. Just a few ideas there!!

Is the band political, musically?

Apolitical. I don't trust any form of politics, preferring to always view from the outside. For me, there is a definite political cycle, with opposite extremes both meeting up in the form of state control and totalitarianism. I use the maxim of - to get involved in politics you have to be ambitious, to be ambitious you must put yourself before other people, and to put yourself before other people you care less about other people. If you care less about other people you shouldn't be leading them...

Have you any laid plans for later in '85?

September/October - soundtrack LP (mostly instrumental).


Bushido are:

Ian Williams piano, keyboards, guitar, drum programming, percussion
Chris Elliott guitar, violin, piano, keyboards
Chris Brownett drums, percussion, keyboards
Gary Levermore vocals, keyboards, percussion, tapes, piano






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