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The Peace & Freedom Magazine Carter USM Interview

(Originally appeared in Peace & Freedom Volume 8, Number 1, Autumn 1992. Interviewed by Paul Rance.)

Slagged off in NME, falling off bikes, rugby tackling Philip Schofield and witnessing the occasional ruck around the world, Carter USM are more than your "anything for dosh" popsters...

How did it all begin?

Jamie Wednesday wasn't going anywhere or doing anything. Jim Bob and Fruitbat were both becoming more and more frustrated with the confines of yer conventional rock line up, so they disbanded Jamie and began fooling around with computers and keyboards.

Why did you speak out on the Gulf War?

Because we felt very angry and sad about it. We didn't like what was going on and we exercised our right to voice our opinions. In the event, the "banning" of Bloodsport (not to mention "Imagine" - Ed.) meant that everyone wanted to know our opinion, anyway, and saying nothing would have been a lie and a cop-out.

Do you know Sheriff Fatman?

No, but bastards like that. People who don't give a shit about anyone or anything except how much money they can screw you for, are all over the place. Fruitbat's ex-landlord was a bit of a Sheriff Fatman - broken windows that never got fixed, leaking roof, illegally (and therefore dangerous) installed gas boiler, etc. He owned practically the whole block and stung the shopkeepers for horribly high rents, paid the launderette workers £1.50 and hour and sexually harassed them into the bargain. He's been to court for non-payment of taxes, harassing tenants and sexual harassment.

Has your music always been hard to pigeonhole?

I'm not sure that Carter USM has ever been easier to categorise than they are right now. Don't other bands get compared to Carter now?

Interests outside music?

Fruitbat is into cycling and computer games and Jim Bob is well into videos at the moment. Mostly, they catch up on all the stuff they miss by being away. Fruitbat goes to gigs and plays all the computer demo discs he's collected while on tour. Jim Bob reads all the magazines and newspapers and spends time with his family. Both of them read as many of the Club Carter letters as they can and listen to as many demo tapes as possible.

Are you into the pipe-and-slippers stuff off stage?

Not while they're on the road. They become wild and wicked beer monsters at the start of a tour and don't change back until the day after the last date. But their home life has become very precious, 'cos there's so little of it, so pottering about at home with nothing to think about other than if the cat's been fed or if it's time for another cuppa really appeals.

Has appearing on the Indie Top 20 Albums given you a wider audience?

Probably, but there's no way of telling. Who buys those records? And would they have Carter records, anyway? The Scum and The Star and that whole Gordon the Gopher thing was probably responsible for the biggest single jump in public awareness of the band.

Most embarrassing moments?

Not for me to divulge.

Advice for bands starting out?

So, there we have it, Carter USM, a band with more than money on their mind. Dinosaurs can still exist.

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