This is an interview I conducted with Brighton band The Flesh happening last Summer. Thought I'd stick it up here in case anyone wanders through.
The Flesh Happening
With a feverish lust like a fire in your chest / You drug and you fuck till there’s no fucking left / Your mind is a mire of hunger and hate / Your body’s the temple that you desecrate
The name is perfect for your band. Where did it come from?
Oliva Spleen – front-man, lyricist, homosexual explorer, undisputed focal point of the band and owner of an incredible soporific pan-European accent says the origin is “A cheesy pulp novel about gay wrestling. It’s really funny. I only just managed to get hold of a copy because they won’t send it to
Can you describe your sound?
Oli: “I just feel like I can’t say anything, I can’t be bothered to say anything with
Well tell me about your lyrics Oli, and where they come from.
The frankness and shocking quality in some of the sepulchral acts depicted in his lyrics are extreme, even by the Marquis De Sade’s standards, though Oli’s actions onstage go someway to convincing us that they are all true. “Mostly all are very autobiographical” he begins. “Some use character based stuff to communicate stuff that might be harder to talk about in the first person. The Jacques Brel thing of talking through characters that David Bowie ripped off and we’ve ripped off – Like Waste – everyone assumes that song is about me getting fucked up the arse and passing on the disease, but some of the stuff like Hitler and Jesus is just about nothing, it’s like a nursery rhyme and Shit On Me…I’ve never had anyone shit on me…..intentionally.”
Is that because you’ve never met the right person?
Oli: “Yeah, about recycling”
Oli: “Most of the songs come from lyrics that sound good or stupid, then I add them to more lines that sound stupid to make a big thing that sounds stupid. Useless Pumping…I didn’t even know that was about wanking…”
Rich warms to the subject: “The only lyrics I like are Rent Boy, Shit On Me and Hitler and Jesus”
Oli: “You don’t like Waste?”
Oli: “You know, when we first got this band together he said that ‘Everything you write is shit, why do you bother, everything you write is shit’, then I went home and just wanted to kill myself. Then people told me that
So how collaborative are you as a band?
So how collaborative are you as a band?
Oli: “People say those are our strongest songs.”
A lot of your songs are quite aggressive sounding, musically and lyrically…
Oli: “And the screeching”
“I don’t know why people say I’m scary I have no desire to dominate other people” Oli replies, exasperated.
Oli: “Well I’m sorry”
Oli: “That’s very kind of you”
Where does the inspiration come for your outfits?
Oli: “I like fisting gloves because they’re good for fisting and I like leather ‘cos it’s made of dead things, so I try and combine it all but make it feminine. My Grandmother was a big influence – she was the person who I used to dress up with when I was four and put make up on and then go back home and my dad would be like ‘Oh, I see the boy’s been wearing make-up again’ and he’d growl, he would never talk to me or look me in the eye and I thought I’d done something really bad but I never found it a perversion…I did find it a perversion when I put on my fathers clothes and got an erection. But the weird thing was that it was a normal thing like a suit and I though he’d get really stressed and growl at me like he had when I’d been wearing my grandmother’s make-up and find it offensive because I’d found it so sexually ‘Eeeeurgh’…oh I was only four like, but he actually went ‘Oh, the lad wants to be like his dad’ and gave me a pat on the head, whereas I’d found it more normal to be dressing in my grandmothers clothes, fur and make-up. Masculine stuff felt more like a perversion. I feel more normal in extravagant clothing and the gay wear like fisting gloves, bondage cuffs and gimp masks and all that other stuff, but it’s essentially…..My grandmother in a gimp mask.”
Would you play any cover songs?
Oli: “‘He Hit Me And It Felt Like A Kiss’ by the
Oli: “Scurrying! Not swimming”
Oli: “I just had this idea in mind. He does like us but I don’t know if he’s that far into it.”
Any plans on releasing a single?
Oli: “Oh yes, that’s right and I had to force you into doing it again.”
Oli: “That’s quite good.”
Ben: “Haha, no, I’d just like to have an album out to leave a legacy.”
The Flesh Happening are all about decadence and excess and also tragedy to a degree, so I wonder about their potential to fit into the Rock and Roll cliché hall of fame.
Rich: “We’re a hideous rock and roll cliché, the rock and roll standard – one drum, guitar, bass, singer with the personalities – we are it. Oli will kill himself and the last ten years of his life people will say he’s the most talentless person on the planet. One day I’m going to write a horrible acoustic folk album that will probably get completely ignored,
Oli: “I’ve already done the sex one…”
Oli: “…and the drugs one almost killed me a few years back”
Oli: “What, having AIDS? I want to die of a mystery disease that no-one’s heard of.”
And with that, it’s time for them to all go separate ways for previously arranged engagements.