Dick from Citizen Fish have been around for a while in the musicbusiness. Subhumans, Culture Shock and now Citizen Fish, very good bands veryone. Here´s an interview with Dick done in the late june 2001.
Trotsky and you have been together all the time haven´t you
Subhumans time, how is it to play with some one for so long time?
-Actually not all the time, cos Trotsky wasnt in Culture Shock , from 86-89 I
hardly saw him at all! ´But yeah me and trots are good friends, playing
together at so many gigs we've developed a similar sense of humour and
patience and all those things that make people relaxed around each other.
I'm sure that if he left the band it would be very odd even thinking of a
replacement, not just cos he's a good drummer but cos he's a good mate.
Why did Subhumans split up when they did?
-Before the Europe tour in nov 85, Trotsky said he was fed up with shitty
gigs , which led to a band meeting about where we were going with the band,
and the outcome was that we couldn't agree on whether to keep doing the same
music and types of gigs, or to try to 'get a bigger audience' [?]....so we
reached no conclusion, did a couple more gigs, recorded '2929 split vision'
[side 2 of which is probably what we would've sounded like if we'd carried
on?]....and that was it!
And you had Culture Shock for two albums, what happened with
-Three albums....and babies! Both Bill and Nige had pregnant girlfriends and
the imminent need to earn some proper money to support the kids, which meant
doing a lot less gigs, and me and Jasper wanted to carry on doing loads of
gigs....so we split up.
Do you have any contact with the old members in your groups,
someone of they have any groups nowadays that you know?
-Three of the old Subhumans lineup are now in Citizen Fish, which
leaves...Bruce, who is back in the subs, cos we reformed to do tours in 98
and will be doing more gigs next year when time is available.....Paul and
Bill ex-culture shock aren't doing music anymore, and unfortunately Nige,
c-shock guitarist, died in 93.....
The way you you write your lyrcis, how could you write that
you have any program nowadays or do you write it all for hand?
-Its all by hand! usually in notebooks on a bus or in a pub or before i go
I understand that your lyrics is imortant, do you get many
on your lyrics?
-A lot of people do like the lyrics, cos they tend to say something and not
just be love songs or beer chants.
The name Citizen Fish, have it a deeper meaning or
-The citizen side of human nature is the 'civilised' side, surrounded by
concrete and timetables and laws and screens; the fish side is the free
thinker in all of us that prefers freedom, open natural spaces and social
co-operation rather than being labelled and manipulated. in the western
world, we are all citizens and we are all fish! Some people are more one
thing than the other....
Your covers is always a little bit different, who come witht
for the covers?
-Doing artwork is a pain in the ass! Sop we sit round and the final cover
comes from a mixture of ideas being rejected until theres only one left! The
collages are done by me, not specifically for the album, I mean I just do
them cos its fun, and some fit the lp title... Jasper went mad with his
paint pot over the faces collage for the 'active ingredients' cover, the
'postcard' cover was a flyer for a gig in Vienna....the 'thirst' beer bottle
label was based on Zywiec beer from poland!
Is it important with a cover which sticks out?
-Fuck yeah! or no-one will notice it!
Which band do the best covers?
-Crass did a lot of excellent covers with G's collages. Rudimentary Peni's
twisted thin pen artwork was excellent.
You were on your own label Bluurg first, why did you go to
after that, and why Honest Dons´now?
-Bluurg was distributed via Southern records, [it still is], but they dont
sell much, so as we [citfish] were doing well in the USA, and cos we knew
Larry Livermore from ages ago, and Lookout [his label] were independent of
majors and a well-known label over there, we decided to go with them. this
was good until 'active ingredients'/99, when Lookout sold very few copies
and seemed to lose interest in us [they were mostly interested in the
Donnas]; so we said goodbye and went for Honest Dons, cos we knew Fat Mike
and he liked us and he's successful without being a major label and he is an
Old Punk who knows what we're about! and Fat/Honest dons are very good at
pushing bands, this interview is one of 12 via email this week, which is by
comparison fuckin overload!
Are you still giving out records on Bluurg?
-Only odd things at the moment, such as the '3rd psycho' cd and the subhumans
'unfinished business' cd/7". I do too many gigs to carry on releasing
records, and I'm really a crap 'businessman'!
I have all CD´s with you except Third Psychologoical
report,how can I get it? -Tell me your address! [everyone else has to send £6
[Eurocheck made out to R.Lucas, or raw cash] to Bluurg/2 Victoria Terrace/
Haven´t any bigger label ever wanted to have your music on
-Someone wanted to do a Subhumans 'greatest hits' record once, so i told em
to...go away quickly! [fuck that!]. short answer is NO, and thats fine...
What is your thought about major label, and your opinions on
punkbands who is on them?
-Major labels are corporate soulsuckers who only exist to make profit from a
commodity, and they have no essential connections with the music they sell.
they exist to get rich. when they buy out punk bands I wonder what those
bands imagine will happen, perhaps they think they will get rich themselves?
with the few exceptions [like the Offspring] most bands get given a huge
advance, which they soon learn has to be paid back to the company either by
selling a shitload of records [which some do, but most dont], or to cover
the costs of promo videos, etc; this often means the band are in deep stress
trying to fulfill their contracts to pay back the initial advance, and their
creativity meanwhile gets second place and they start putting out shitty
records...music and money do not naturally mix together anyway, and when
money becomes more important than music, the music dies. As for punk bands
on majors, well some bands have a lot more to say than others...is punk an
attitude or a catchy tune?
What does punk mean to you, is it more important with punk now
it more important in the beginning of your career?
-It´s an attitude! punk music changed my whole attitude at 17 when it began,
and the anarchist message from Crass lent serious idea developement to the
'go-mental' days of the Pistols. It also led to me singing in bands, having
a social life, travelling, more-or-less everything really! The fact that
there are zillions of punk bands around the planet 25 years later is proof
that punk is more than just a trend.
How does the average fan look like? Is there any change of
you compare with the Subhumans time?
-Average....18.654321 years old [young!], blank tshirt, spikey hair and baggy
trousers....its that Green Day look! The next day its 27.987654321 years
old[er], thrash-band tshirt [black], messy dreads and dirty jeans....there
is no average, it changes from town to town, depending on the strange local
cultural forces in action! however, in the early 80s there was a lot more
spikes leather jackets mohicans chains studs.....generally speaking.
I saw you as Subhumans in Borås Sweden in Rockborgen, is it
you remember? Or is it difficult to remember all places you have been to?
-What I did, and still do, is write down all the details of all the gigs I've
done....so, whereas i cant actually remember the gig at all [sorry! there
are too many! 1505, to be exact], ´I CAN tell you that it was on the 4th
november 84, we played 16 songs, played both 'Human error' and Pperoxide'
for the 100th time, and about 100 people turned up...and we played with
What do you know about Sweden?
-I know where it IS, the beer is very expensive, theres a lot of trees, Charta
77 were the last and first band we know from there, we aint been there for
ages, and Gothenborg went off the other week at the Euro-conference!
How is it to be a punkband in England right now?
-It seems punk is once again the flavour of the year, due to the american
influence, and even tho a lot of that influence is generated by the major
music machine, its good that it can lead the Yoof to discover smaller more
independent punk bands and ideas. its still annoying that everyone [Joe
public, at least] considered punk to be dead and gone until MTV told them
Is there any other good bands there right now?
-P.A.I.N., whose 2nd lp 'O.U.C.H.' just came out- punk/ska/dub/political; the
Bus Station Loonies, insane ciderpunkhappytunes! BaySix are a good local
How is to live in England , I mean politically and so on?
-Blair just got reelected with the lowest turn-out in 90 years; people are
told the economy is great and food is cheap and the foot-n-mouth is under
control, so they stay with the same government....cynical people dont
believe the 'spin' but vote labour anyway, cos the Tories are fucking racist
and dangerously out of touch...its becoming a one-party state, as labour
have no competition now, and so they feel free to drop all socialist
principles and are giving poweer to corporate business by privatising more
than even Thatcher did! The latest idea is for businessmen to run the
education system, how fucked up is that? Meanwhile there is growing
realisation that globalisation is in the wrong hands, cultures are being
destroyed for western world profit, Bush is a disaster, cars suck, Reclaim
the Streets is a serious movement and a positive force not to be dismissed,
possession of a 'small amount' of cannabis is no longer an instantly
arrestable offence [about time!], cctv cameras are an illegal invasion of
privacy, and go vegetarian is now common sense instead of a 'hippy' idea!
First, last and most expensive record you have bought?
-'Schools out' by Alice Cooper....'Destination Nowhere' by the Eccentrics
[from Lincoln]....£12 for a Stooges bootleg
Idols when you were small?
-Francis Lee, who played football for Manchester city...the wombles!
How much do a band of your size sell approxiemately?
-Between 5000-20000 over say 5 years for one record
Which of your records have sold the most?
-The day the country died [subhumans] cos it came out first, i guess....its
got to 100000!
Do you play songs from your whole career, any Subhumans songs
you´re out and play?
-no. only as the Subhumans do we play Subhumans songs
We played Pretty Vacant once for a laugh, but generally, no.
It was done a tribute CD to Subhumans, wasn´t it, how does it
when bands do such a thing?
-Curious! Good, but odd....never did like cover versions much, so to have
been in the band being covered was a real twister in my head!
What do you think about the new way to communicate with email
internet and all that stuff?
-Email's great, saves time and postage, but destroys handwriting...computers
are another screen, like tv and windscreens, too much time spent not seeing
the real world.
You have an own website, who does it and is it important to
-Guitarist Phil does it, cos he's got an electric brain; its good to let
people know where we're playing and provides a quick way to make contact.
its not too important, cos well we managed withourt it for years, but it
speeds up communication.
Do you have any favouritesite yourself?
If you could choose five band to play with Citizen Fish from
history and now, which five band would you choose?
-Operation Ivy, Ramones, RDF, Adverts, Fish Brothers
Futureplans for yourself?
-The future is postponed til i've sorted today out
Futureplans for the band?
-Keep doing this [same as ever...planning leads to disappointment]
Something more to add?
-I hate this eternally last question! buy life size, cos its good! really!
chunks of socially aware bouncy punk rock!
The pictures come from Citizen Fisg website.