related, but the coverage that you're getting this time
can't be compared with when TRB played Austin. This
time, you're getting radio spots about every half hour
from Club Foot and Spotlite Productions.
That's wild. Really great. So we might have more
than eighty people tonight. Here's hoping, anyway. I
mean, by the time this comes out (in CONNECTIONS), we'll
find out. (There were 300 at Club Foot to hear Tom
Robinson and his group that night. Ed.)
I sure hope so. You made CONNECTIONS, too. We
estimated there were 200 at the Armadillo when you were
here in 1979.
Yeah, I think 200 would be about right. It's really
depressing when you're in a place that holds 2,000 and
there are only 200 in the audience.
There was no publicity to the gay community in
Austin before your appearance at the Armadillo.
The gay part of Sector is altogether more satisfactory than TRB was. TRB was this kind of more or less
conventional mid-70's rock band, with songs like Glad to
Be Gay grafted on top of that, from my sensibility as a
writer. You know, it's 1981 now, and with Sector songs
like Can't Keep Away, "down in the tearoom, watching
the walls," it all fits in much more integrally.
The band has more friendship - dare I say it -
love on stage between the members, and has more style
in terms of how the men look and feel and approach the
music. It feels much more coherent, and I'm very happy
with it. It doesn't make money, it isn't successful
like the TRB was, but, I feel so much more whole.
I'm hoping the Sector 27 album will do pretty good.
It seems a lot stronger than T. B 2.
I'm much more proud of it, but then, it represents
a much larger chunk of my life. It's sort of a culmination of the last year and a half of work to finally release the thing. Even then, it's only like a calling
card for Sector 27. It's not, "this is the future of
rock and roll as we know it," or "this is all we're capable of," or anything like that. It's like our credentials, musically. "If you like this, stick around, because we got plenty more." At the same time, that Invitation song is our statement of intent, our manifesto:
'".one of them bastards notice when we're gone." People
can Take or Leave It. They like us or they don't.
;;re you going to sing Sing if You're Glad to Be Gay
not going to sing any of the old songs,
barring possibly Bully for You. (Co-written with Peter
Gabriel) We had the choice when we formed the band.
There was a reputation still extant, various tours that
had been done, and hit records that had been achieved.
We could have made a "Tom Robinson Band Mark Three" or
just called it "TRB" and gone out, although we were a
completely different group, except for me. We would
have got plenty of bookings because of the name and
kept the EMI recording contract, instead of being dropped. When we played concerts, we would get an instant
reaction, because people would hear songs they knew. You
can always please an audience by singing something they've
heard and they'll sing along, and you know you'll get an
encore, and win them over and everything. We could have
made quite a lot of money, in short, by doing that.
But . . . Stevie B is twentyish, ten years younger
than me. Stevie is a young kid, but he's a really talented guitar player. He's just like a prodigy, but, he
can't play like Danny Kustow could, in the old band.
Danny has a very distinct guitar style, and if Stevie
tries to imitate that, he comes off very badly. So, if
he had to learn the old songs, and play those licks and
everything, he would always be a second-rate Danny. This
band would always be regarded as a substitute, and all of
us, well, all the others, would feel themselves to be
substitutes. And the audience would feel it, too. They
would all way, "Why did the original lineup break up?"
We said no to the easy option and started trying to
win a reputation in our own right. Sector had to begin
from scratch. We figured we'd go ahead, write our own
songs between the four of us and win our own reputation,
bit by bit.
Now, we're playing to audiences that never heard
of Tom Robinson. And couldn't give a shit. They see
Sector 27 and go, "Wow! That's a hot band! What a great
guitar player! What's his name? Stevie B, huh? Right."
And he's the first Stevie B, now, not the second
Danny Kustow. I think if we'd been playing the old songs,
then it would have been necessarily inviting comparison
and cashing in on what went before. We didn't feel that
was very honest, especially with what we had to offer.
I think if we manage to succeed, if we do'start to break
even financially instead of losing money and running
into debt, then it won't be any skin off our backs to
play the old songs.