cyclops zine
copyright 2001

Do you consider yourself a musician or a painter?
Both and neither depending on the company.

How does your music affect your art?
They walk hand in hand, fist in glove... I wouldn't be doing the paintings right now without the years of punk rock and would never have done the punk rock if I hadn't gone to artschool in Leeds and met the Mekons...

How does your art affect your music?

How does your childhood in Wales affect your work?
I grew up in a seaport town that was pretty thriving when I was a kid in the sixties. Coal and Steel were the big industries that fed the port and they were choked to death in the 70s & 80s - now its a bit of a ghost town and it makes me very angry. I hope that comes thru in the art and the music. Class, power, greed, neglect, the forces of mammon working against us etc.

I was in Wales once. It's absolutely beautiful. Do you miss Wales?
I was there only the day before yesterday and it is very beautiful and very terrible... No beauty without blood!

Wales to Chicago, why Chicago?
I fell in love and dragged myself thousands of miles for a kind word or a smile.

You are so prolific, three bands, solo work and all your art shows. How do you find time to do it all?
I'm brutally efficient and highly compartmentalized.

You seem to be very closely tied to Bloodshot Records. Can you tell us about your relationship with them?
Purely physical but it does seem to be lasting. I am their token limey socialist. They let me do whatever I want and pay up on time.

I first became aware of your work from the cover of Hank Williams' "Alone With His Guitar." How did you get involved with that? Was that painting specifically for the cover or was it an existing painting?
I did it for the cover from a photograph they suggested. I tried to make it really cluttered as the album was so empty... full of ghosts and echoes etc.

Can you tell us about your technique (painting)?
Long process of layering, scraping, minute attention to detail. Basically I create a very unstable surface with acrylic s and pastel on top of each other and work on top of that with Sharpies, felt pens, white-out, gunk, snot and whatever come to hand.

What inspires you to paint?
Seething resentment and a need to eat.

How did you develop your current style of painting?
Slowly developed over the last 6 years or so - heavily inspired by print making/etching.

Why the current series on Country artists?
They're semi-autobiographical... The musician as foot soldier, cannon fodder and ultimately waste to be discarded. The optimism and nostalgia that bubbles up from those old promo-pictures. A love of Country music.

Do you listen to music while you paint? If so is it the artist you're painting?
Not really - I like to listen to NPR fund-raisers 'cos they are so boring...

Do you paint from publicity photos?

I've noticed a skull with "No!" on its forehead in a lot of your paintings, including mine. What does it mean?
Old Daddy No - death, negation, the power of darkness.

What was the basis for the Elvis you did for me?
A cool photo of him in a western shirt. I like the young Elvis very much.

Is there any other subject you would like to do a series of paintings on?
More on South Wales soon I fear...

What are you proudest of?
My son Jimmy.

What are your plans for the future?
To keep things as interesting and chaotic as possible, to keep all my plates in the air, to be a good husband and father, to drink less, to earn more, to fix the sink, to stay warm, to sing a duet with Sting or Bono...

Thanks so much.
Thanks to you!

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