Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sisters are doing it for themselves

When I was working as a journalist on the 1997 edition of Dour festival (where they forgot to put me on the list so it took a lot of persuasion, frantic conversations through walkie-talkies and finally the need to cut up my bus subscription so that they could make me a photo pass) I heard the following story from a volunteer who was working at the backstage.

One of the headliners that year was new wave veteran band the Sisters Of Mercy. Well ,they're not really a band ; it's just a singer that doesn't know how to sing, a guitar player of limited ability and a monotonous tape loop. But still, they did have a hit or two during the 80s and this, combined with an uncanny ability to make truly horrible covers of good songs, does make them legendary in a somewhat perverted way. And, being a bunch of over-the-top old twats, they revel in their faded glory and tend to behave like the superstars they are manifestly not. For starters, upon arrival, the Sisters said that they refused to play until it was entirely dark. This somewhat upset the time schedule of Dour festival, it being July and all. They also demanded a dressing room that was entirely isolated from the rest of the backstage and they generally behaved like assholes.

He won't thank you and he's not serene

And of course, they also had some very specific food demands. I'm not sure what it was that they wanted, but it might have included lots of (black) beluga caviar and a teppanyaki of roasted bat. Anyway, as their designated personal assistant -a hapless volunteer girl- was bringing them their food, she went to singer Andrew Eldritch and humbly asked him what he wanted to drink. Upon which the old bastard, completely ignoring her, blankly stared at some point in the distance and breezily said: "Don't talk to me, talk to my manager."

I still have some Sisters Of Mercy vinyl and CD's lying about here so if anyone needs some stuff for target practise, feel free to send me an email.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, but you truly have no idea what you are talking about.

A band like the sisters of mercy is big enough to have several bookers and managers; These fill in the festival IN DETAIL what should be present for the artist. The 'stories you heard' are only by one part, namely, the ones who worked at Dour (all volunteers and most of them not even getting one briefing with instructions); The festival probably received an elaborate wish-list of drinks and foods, and if these are neither present (they never are, at Dour) nor anyone informed, you get disgruntled musicians.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Blunderpop said...

Of course, big bands (and most not-so-big ones) have several bookers and managers. And needless to say, festival/concert promoters do screw up rather often when it comes to riders and wish lists - I know we have!- but I feel that artists should always behave professionally, and not like some spoiled kid, when something goes wrong*. It's not as if they didn't get paid or anything...

* of course, this doesn't count when you're being utterly ripped off or when things get totally out of control (stories, anyone?).

8:18 PM  
Anonymous boots said...

I bet the anonymous is Dr Avalanche, The Sisters reliable drumcomputer, programmed to react on every blunderstory published on the Sisters

1:31 AM  

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