Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, GG Allin, Gene Vincent, Screaming Lord Sutch. These are just a handful of front men I wish I had the privilege of seeing in their heyday. These men all brought a certain charm, charisma, and unsurpassed insanity to the stages they ungracefully sullied with their presence. The crowds went wild for them, as we’ve watched on countless youtube videos, in fascination of a time where being shocking wasn’t about commercial success or imitating something “cool”, it was an actual sincere performance of true freakish behavior. These days there seems to be a severe absence of authentic frontmen, the appreciation of the role has greatly faded in such a way that it’s become all but extinct amongst so many other great musical feats from our past.
Well, that is until a couple weeks ago when I caught the South London based band, Fat White Family, who have come to the States eager to enliven an American audience, and was completely captivated by their frontman, Lias Saoudi. Their live show sets the soul on fire, and Saoudi, who stalks about the stage in a maniacal fit, seems to be the source of their searing inferno.
I spoke with the lovable rogue, and asked him a couple questions before he and the rest of the band hit the road on their upcoming west coast tour.
Mark E. Smith and Lou Reed.
If you could have seen any live show who would it have been?
Well it’d have to be something ethical, something that was meaningful. Like that Michael Jackson Heal The World tour, yeah something like that.
What is the best show you’ve ever seen?
I think because of how personal and up close it was, it’d have to be Damo Suzuki at The Windmill in Brixton. He does this sort of traveling band thing, where he goes to different cities and just plays with local musicians, so it’s always a different band and improvisational. I remember seeing that and being really inspired, because he’s just making it up as he goes and gets into this zone and plays mad krautrock. It was really cool.
Try not too get too drunk because it makes you heavy and when you start feeling sick after two song, thats never any good. At least for me, I try and avoid any beer or red wine and red bull man, because after a show you don’t want to stay up staring at a wall in your hotel room.
Any other advice?
Try and stay bitter I guess. Make sure your life is hard, if it’s getting good ruin it somehow, you know? Cheat, lie, and deceive yourself. All that kind of stuff is good and solid grounding.
What is your ritual before a show?
Basically I spend the time pacing up and down frantically right before a show and use the toilet about two or three times.
What sort of sentiment do you want the audience to walk away from your show with?
Any sentiment really. It doesn’t matter if its positive or negative, I just hope there is a reaction. Even if someone found it boring thats still a statement.
Do you find shocking the audience is more difficult in this day and age?
As opposed 1950s or 1850s yes of course, to an extent thats definitely true.
I heard you covered yourself in your own feces at a performance in England, can you tell me about that?
I mean I was a bit drunk, and I guess you wanna do everything once. I was really pissed off at the venue because they were treating us like shit, so it was kind of a dirty protest. They weren’t giving us any drink tokens and I remember getting drunk before we went on and thinking, fuck these people man, because we were selling out these shows and if you’re still going to treat us like dirt then I’m going to cover myself in my own shit. It’s nice to know what it feels like to be covered in your own shit, and having people repulsed by you. None of my band would let me come near them except for Adam who was too spaced, and let me kiss him. But yeah, I don’t regret doing it, and I don’t rule it out. Sometimes you get a vibe, man.
I back that! Ok, What are you expecting from LA?
I’d like to get completely off of my face in LA.
What does that mean?
Like, smashed. I’ve been told by the Fat Possum guys that down there there’s a lot of weirdoes and freaks. So I imagine we’re going to have to up our ante a bit. Apparently it’s more loose in LA, and I look forward to that immensely. And I hope it’s still sunny.
Nov 4 – The Echo, Los Angeles, CA
Nov 7 – Red 7 – Austin, TX
Nov 8 – Fun Fun Fun Fest – Austin, TX