THE HOMOSEXUALS: FUCK ME, THIS IS A COMPLETE ARTIST
Bruno Wizard was the frontman of the Homosexuals, one of the best bands ever to come out of Britain and a restorative necessity for anyone who wished for just a little bit more from Wire, the Pretty Things or Steve ‘Peregrine’ Took. Wizard has a new touring line-up playing new and old songs and speaks now from his current home in New York City. This interview by Chris Ziegler.
What’s the most interesting elevator ride you ever had?
Bruno Wizard (vocals): Well, there’s elevators and escalators. I’ll tell you the escalator, and it was going down at the time which is almost like a metaphor. You know Tony Wilson from Factory Records? I’ve been aware of him since he was first doing things in Manchester because I always have my antenna open for like-minded people. I never step towards them—I know that one day our paths are going to cross and out of respect to this person, I’m not going to contact them. When we have sympathetic frequencies then it will happen. In 1998 I was just walking into a subway station and in the whole of London, Tony Wilson walks in front of me and I thought, ‘That’s it, this is the time—I’m going to speak to him.’ So I went behind him on the escalator going down—I said, ‘Tony, don’t turn around—this is not your intuition speaking but its my intuition. I always knew from the very first time I heard what you were doing out there that you were a cool guy…’ By the time we got to the bottom of the escalator we were great friends.
Did he ever turn around?
His spirit turned around to face me but just to let me know that ‘the things that you heard about me from afar are correct and I do operate like this and I’m secure enough in myself not to have to turn around and see your face.’ It was an operation in finding out whether he really had fear or love in his heart. I did the same thing to Malcolm McLaren a few years earlier on Oxford St. where he was at a cash point machine, and I walked up behind and I said, ‘Malcolm, in the same way that you’ve mugged the whole of the fucking music industry—well, this may just be a mugging but don’t worry, I’m not after your money. It’s your soul I’m after.’
What about the legend of Bruno Wizard being in the room while Led Zeppelin was recording ‘Stairway to Heaven’—is that true?
Complete Cheech and Chong-Wayne’s World thirty-years-before-Wayne’s World moment. I was a really anal Led Zeppelin fan because I’ve always loved drums. That’s why I’m nobody’s drummer in a band. When I play the drums it’s the same way that I like poetry or lyrics or playing with my words or making love to my woman—it’s just complete art fantasy. I’m just tuned into another place, and the idea of putting parameters on that—like, ‘Come and play in my rock band and let’s get a record deal, old boy, and go ‘round the world.’
What was the first music you heard that put a spark in your mind?
It might sound a little trite but when I used to sit and listen to the stars singing all night and watching them dance. As early as I could remember—when my parents would go to bed, I would stay up and I would look out the window all night and it was like my space to orchestrate the show and the stars singing and dancing.
Do you still do it?
Oh, constantly—I don’t have to look at the stars anymore. There is this notion of the macrocosm—that everything in the outer universe is a mirror image of the inner universe, and ever since I became aware of that, anything that I observe or feel intrinsically in nature and just naturally—then I always go, ‘Was that inside me in my inner universe?’ If you think about it, we could travel in the outer universe at the speed of light forever and never reach the end of the known universe. Like Einstein said when he was 16—or I think he said—he would love to be able to ride on the front of a beam of light for one second and describe what he saw. When I read that quote I thought, ‘Fuck me, this is a complete artist.’ The most important thing was that he said, ‘I would like to be able to describe what I saw.’ He didn’t say, ‘I would love to sit on the front of a beam and jerk off because of how wonderful it is.’ No—to actually come back and take those impressions back into the shared world in a meaningful loving way—that’s a supreme act of creation for me. So when I read that, straightaway this whole song just came to me in my head—there I was riding on a beam of light with Einstein and I just heard the whole thing. ‘I’m riding on a beam of light with my friend Einstein / discussing chaos theory / it’s a bit of mess / along comes Venus smoking something / she smiles at me / she starts to undress,’ and then I heard Iggy Pop-type drums and really heavy guitar. ‘I’m having too much fun, yeah / I’m having too much fun, yeah…’
What do you think the source of all this is?
Just the universe. I try to keep my life really simple. Being a child of the sixties, my generation was not only sort of assaulted by things like LSD and all kinds of drugs—mind-expanding and body-shrinking—but we were the first generation to be openly exposed to Eastern mysticism and religions. We were exposed to all of these crazy and sometimes conflicting paradoxical views and beliefs, and when you have people like Timothy Leary telling everybody to take acid—well, yes, when you take acid it does temporarily elevate your consciousness, but in a downward instead of transcendent way. So in a sense you are seeing the same thing as the enlightened person. But when the drug wears off, you are just left with the memory of that opening to this kind of Aladdin’s cave. And I did it myself—I took—well, not necessarily hundreds of trips but I had a bottle of liquid acid, where I’d think like, ‘Wow, this is amazing!’ And when it wore off, I would take some more acid. But I didn’t understand that I was breaking down my picture of the world—which I had built up over the years—instead of realizing that its possible to see things in a different way. Because I was after knowledge and what I thought was truth, I made the mistake of using knowledge and truth as absolutes and therefore it acquires some kind of morality. But no—just because something is true, if you just use that knowledge without filtering through love in your heart, then it could be brutal. As I said, in the ‘60s I was a real seeker after knowledge and truth, but I was still living in fear because of spiritual abuse from nuns and Irish Christian brothers. And I wasn’t really looking for love or spiritual knowledge because those fuckers had monopolized all the terms that I would naturally use, in the same way the music industry monopolized the term ‘music.’ That was why I started the whole thing with the Homosexuals—saying to the music industry, ‘Look, by controlling the means of production and distribution in the media you are controlling what the perception of music is, but what you call music and what I call music are two completely different things. So guess what? What I do is art—I’m going to press up 2000 copies of my records and burn the master tapes so each one of these will be a limited edition so that any artist who gets a hold of this will realize this is a personal gift to them.’ Forget the industry and forget people telling you how to perceive it—listen to what is coming out of the speakers and let’s see if I can touch your heart with that.
PART TIME PUNKS PRESENTS THE HOMOSEXUALS WITH THE DEADLY FINNS AND UV LIGHTS ON THU., MAR. 26, AT THE PROSPECTOR, 2400 E. 7TH ST., LONG BEACH. 9 PM / $5 / 21+. MYSPACE.COM/THEPROSPECTORLONGBEACH. AND THE HOMOSEXUALS ALSO WITH THE SILVER APPLES AND SHARK TOYS ON SUN., MAR. 29, AT PART TIME PUNKS AT THE ECHO, 1822 SUNSET BLVD., ECHO PARK. 10 PM / $5 / 18+. ATTHEECHO.COM. THE HOMOSEXUALS’ LOVE GUNS IS OUT NOW ON SERIOUS BUSINESS. VISIT THE HOMOSEXUALS AT ASTRALGAMOUR.COM OR MYSPACE.COM/THEHOMOSEXUALS.