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Benny Profane - Interview Part 3

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 22 / 10 / 2006

Benny Profane - Interview Part 3


In the third and final part of his interview with Room and Benny Profane frontman Dave Jackson, Anthony Strutt talks to him about late 80's group Benny Profane's recent reformation for a one-off gig and his most recent band the Dead Cowboys

PB : When did things start to take off with Benny Profane ? DJ : We didn’t have a record label at the time, so we put out ‘Where’s the Pig ?' via a friend’s label called Subpop which is funny because of the Seattle label now. Things were a bit slow to start up again after the Room. We sent a copy to John Peel, but he didn’t really pick up on it though. He played it, but it was nothing special. It wasn’t until we released ‘Devil Laughing’, our next single, with ‘Stitch’ on the other side that things began to happen. Peel started playing ‘Stitch’ a fair bit and raving about it, so he gave us another session, and after that we did loads of sessions for him. I think we ended up doing four for Peel in the end. PB :. How do you compare lyrically where you were coming from in Benny Profane to the Room ? There are more drinking songs. It’s not Americana, but there are cowboy songs. DJ : Someone reviewed us before Americana existed and called us Scouse Americana (Laughs). I suppose Benny Profane’s lyrics were kind of cartoon like whereas the Room was quite serious and quite romantic.At the end there of the Room there were songs like ‘Jackpot Jack’ and ‘Jeremiah’ which are quite story like. PB : They are quite cinematic in a way. DJ : I think I was more interested in images. With Benny Profane I wanted to write a kind of dirty magical realism so it was gritty stuff with............. PB : I had never heard anything like ‘The Burger Based Song’, by anyone before. It is really unique. Benny Profane lasted five years and did two albums and a number of EPs. How did Benny Profane fade out and when did you become Dust ? DJ : Tensions arise even with best friends It was just one of those things. It was funny playing last night. It was like being back with the family. I really like these people. It was good fun. Why did we split up ? Things were changing. There was the whole indie dance thing going on. It seemed like you had to be grunge or indie dance and we didn’t fit into either. Joe McKechnie was getting more into dance music, and lots of people were doing ecstasy. Joe was the first to leave and then Robin Surtees decided to leave. I can’t remember how it happened but there was just me, Becky and Liam Rice left, and so we got Ian Johnsen in on guitar and eventually became Dust. PB : Did Dust release anything ? DJ : We did a cassette album called ‘Suck My Dreams’. We were meant to do an EP, but there was a short flow of money and we couldn’t afford to stick it out, but we weren’t looking for a label. There were two versions of Dust, and there were two albums worth of Dust material. One is like indie garage and the other one is heavy metal garage. Maybe we will stick them out. PB : You have released two albums with the Dead Cowboys, ‘Comings and Goings’ and ‘Twin Evil Stars’. Did you give it a few years break between Dust and the Dead Cowboys ? ‘Comings and Goings’ didn’t come out until 2000. DJ : No, we just carried on in a way, The Dead Cowboys came out of Dust. Greg, Milton joined us from Barbel who had played support to Benny Profane on numerous occasions. We asked him to join Dust when our second guitarist left and then changed our name to Stripwax . We did this metal stuff for fun but we all liked country music, and wrote the song ‘Upside Down’ which appears on the ‘Comings and Goings’ album. We really liked that, so we then wrote some more songs about heartbreak and started playing a few cover versions and eventually became the Dead Cowboys.. I went back to college in 1993 and did a Creative Writing degree. For a long time we just played parties and the odd gig in Liverpool. Oddly enough the Dead Cowboys have been together the longest but have released the least stuff. It wasn’t until 2000 that we thought we should put something out. We had stopped doing just this straight country stuff and gone back to our indie roots by that stage. PB :I thought ‘Twin Evil Stars’ sounded like a mature version of the Room, but with more grooves. DJ : I think it was just a case of doing what we have always done whereas before we were just trying to express our love of country music, but then we saw the rise of Americana. PB : It must have looked like you were leaping on the bandwagon even though you weren’t. DJ : Exactly, so we moved away from it. For us music categories don’t really exist. I suppose when you write songs everything that you are comes out in it. PB : What are you doing now ? DJ : I am doing a Phd at the moment and I’m writing a fantasy novel , an urban fantasy novel and a screenplay based on it and for my thesis. I’m writing about how fantasy novelists reflect upon their own background, their childhood, and their upbringing in their books. PB : Are the Dead Cowboys a long term thing then ? DC : I think the Dead Cowboys will always exist but at the moment Greg has got a lot of stuff going on and Becky’s moving up north to brew beer, I have been thinking about doing some stuff with Joe McKechnie and I have also been doing some recording with John Head from Shack. His idea was for me to produce something from scratch, sing them to him, and he was going to work out the best backing for them, so we had a few rehearsals before Shack went off on tour. We’re planning an EP or an album’s worth of stuff. It is good fun. PB : All three bands, the Room, Benny Profane and the Dead Cowboys have MySpace pages up. How much do you think that has helped them? DJ : I don’t think last night’s gig would of happened without MySpace. I suppose when I was young and bolshy MySpace would have gone against everything I believed in, but in an odd way I like it now. It makes you less closed off. PB :. Anything else you would like to add? DJ : Thanks for coming up. PB : Thank you and thanks for putting me up.

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Benny Profane - Interview Part 3

Benny Profane - Interview Part 3

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Interview with Dave Jackson Part 2 (2006)
Benny Profane - Interview with Dave Jackson Part 2
In the second part of a three part interview, Dave Jackson talks to Anthony Strutt about the recording of his early 80's band the Room's final album 'In Evil Hour' which was co-produced by Tom Verlaine, and after that group's break-up the formation of his next band Benny Profane

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