Melody Maker "Velvet Goldmine", Oct'98

24 October 1998





How did you get involved with “Velvet Goldmine”?

Brian:  “it’s almost two years ago that we did it, not long after “Nancy boy” came out and our face were all over the music press at the time they were casting, and I just got a phone call. I was a big Todd Haynes fan anyway so I was really keen. I wanted the part of Jack Ferry which I didn’t get because they’d already cast. It was made for me, basically, he was me he has no words and was the precursor to them all. So, anyway, I auditionated and was finally cast as Malcolm, the singer from The Flaming Creatures. They were doing “20th century boy” in the film so we suggested we record it  for them. Then we suggested Steve and Stefan played in The Flaming Creatures as well and what happened was that Steve played in the creatures and Stefan  ended up in Donna [Elastica]’s band “Polly Smalls.”

What was it like being in film?

Steve: “It was good fun, but one of the weirdest times was hanging around Brixton Academy  when we were filming. All dolled up, not the coolest place to we walking around like that.”

Brian: "It was like making a really long video. There were certain days where you’d get there at 10 am all glammed up and you would have done nothing by 8 pm. It was a lot of sitting around, pretty boring really. We did about nine days shooting altogether. Steve broke one of my ribs on the first day of filming. Well, I ran into his elbow, I have fragile ribs. We were running down the street in our platforms and I ran into him and I just went crack.”

What was the funniest moment?

Brian:“One night, we were outside Brixton Academy trying to find the way in. We were all in full costume, walking around with Michael Stipe, and this Number 94 bus drives by and Michael says, “I dare you to go and get on that bus now.” I said “No way! You go and get on the f***ing bus Stipey”.

Has the experience made you want to be movie stars?

Steve: “No, It was the beginning and the end of my silver screen career, I’m just not made for it, It’s not my idea of fun.”

Brian:“I have a degree in drama from Goldsmith’s College, so yeah, I’d love to do more, I’d love to do french films, that would be great. I’ll wait for the offers.”

Stefan: “I’d love to. My part was quite small. I felt quite comfortable even though I looked like a very tall Nigel Tufnell [from Spinal Tap]. I really went for it. I’ve done a few school plays, In fact, the first time I met Brian was when we did “The Boyfriend”, at school.”

How do you think it would affect you as a band?

Steve: “It’ll be interesting to see what happens. The film’s not even out in America yet, but we know we’re running the risk of getting known from somebody else’s song. It’s sad how quickly people assume you’re a glam band.”

Wearing make-up anyway probably doesn't help.

Brian: "Yeah, but there is a big difference between glamorous and glam. To me, glam is lager lads in make-up. We enjoy being glamorous, we enjoy dressing-up, and wearing make-up, but we're not any way in that glam tradition, on a musical or physical level really".

At what point did it hit you that you were in a major movie ?

Brian: "When we were on stage performing "20th Century Boy" and Michael Stipe and Ewan McGregor were standing in the audience."

What was the hardest part ?

Brian: "Finding myself standing onstage without a guitar for the first time in my life and not knowing what the f*** to do. I thought "Hmm, I haven't researched this, have I ?" Steve had to be my Seventies dancing coach. He showed me some moves, lots of legs kicks and ass wiggles".

Do you have any lines ?

Brian: "Me and Steve got two lines each. I learned them on the day. I also spent a whole day practising how to sing this Roxy song "Bittersweet", in perfect lip sinch and then Todd Haynes said they wanted to do it live. But that was ok.

What did you look like in your stage clothes?

Brian: "Steve looked like one of the Jacksons."

Steve: "Yeah, Latoya Jackson. I had Jimmy Page's pant on with all this flames down the side of the flared legs and big red platforms. And I had all this mad long hair extensions in. I looked like a big sexy lion."

Brian: "We all looked pretty stupid, basically."