Remember when VICE made that documentary about a guy called Steve who injects snake venom into his body for a laugh? Turns out he’s one of the most interesting people we’ve ever met and has at least 200 music industry stories that are way better than your best one. They involve everyone from Kurt Cobain and Slash to Kevin Shields and Shane Macgowan. Let's start with the time he ruined his career by taking a shit on the NME.
Carrie were a four-piece guitar band signed to Island Records and EMI in 1996. I was the singer and wrote the songs. I had been in a few indie bands since 1988, but this was my first experience on a major label with a boat-load of money thrown in my face. Back then I was considered a total sell-out for signing with a major but fuck it, I bought my first flat, a mountain of weed, and since Kurt Cobain had long been dead by then, we all turned a blind eye.
The excess and greed of the late 90s was fast approaching and my band were infamous for out of control spending, drug habits, and freaky sex. Each time a company took us out to dinner we would order as many expensive lobster tails and caviar as we could. Not to eat, but to stash under a table, racking up insane bills just for fun. We were worse than all the banker wankers combined. I remember meeting my new label mate, Jarvis Cocker in an Old Street rehearsal room and telling him we had just signed to Island Records. He replied – “Well, that’s your first mistake. You are now fucked.”
In my first interview with Melody Maker, I predicted that my band would burn out in three years. This came true - but for a reason none of us would have predicted.
When Carrie got signed, I had long girly-hair and my image was extremely androgynous, flirting with cross-dressing, make up, and songs of alienation and real girl-power. As soon as I realised Placebo were doing the same thing I cut my hair off and totally changed my image; I never wanted to be compared to anyone else. Later me and Brian Molko would co-write a Placebo single together.
This was pre-Jackass and my dirty protest film was passed around tour bus to tour bus as I slowly became the underground rebel fighting against corporate scum and lame music press. Carrie’s first Radio One A-List single, “Molly”, was about being fucked by your girlfriend with a strap-on. Extremely subversive, but sounding like a catchy Beach Boys influenced pop ditty, I don’t think anyone really bothered to check the lyrics.
Heroin and large cash advances are never a good mix for any band, a cocktail that would eventually kill my bass player Zac Foley, he of ex-EMF “Unbelievable” fame. Zac was also world famous for his unfeasibly large foreskin which he would delight in sticking large fruits inside or squeezing to make the sound of a quacking duck. To this day, he is the funniest human I have ever encountered and half of the video that I made contained his crazy party antics. I remember he and I walking around the crowd after a show telling fans we were collecting money for the just-dead Princess Diana landmine fund. Zac had his cock out and opened up his tube-like foreskin while kids lined up to pop one-pound coins into it. After 33 pound coins were crammed inside like an overstuffed Xmas stocking, he walked up to the bar and emptied our winnings for more drinks. Zac would often wank openly in our tour bus and try and wipe his freshly cum-drenched hands on your face for a joke. “What’s wrong? Are you gay or something?”, he’d ask, as you tried to avoid getting a sticky nose. Once, he received a gig review in which a journalist wrote: “Had his parents been Jewish he would have been robbed of his only talent!”.
We went on a coked-up rock-rampage across the UK and Europe, touring relentlessly and hitting all the major summer festivals. Even Kerrang! and other rock bands would bow their heads to Carrie’s love of blood, semen, and destruction. Standing on stage every evening in an adult-diaper doused in blood soon got tiring and by late 1998, I had had enough of major label excess and hatched a plan to sabotage my career.
My great love for Cuban magic mushrooms, snakes, stoner rock, and pot, inspired me to come up with a video idea which would help my planned nose-dive into my record company's cold retarded heart! They’d recently offended me by offering my then-girlfriend money to help me lose weight for an upcoming beach shoot in Costa Rica, to which I took great offence. One morning after an intense comedown I woke up possessed and ready to film a freak-out tirade against the NME by cutting myself to pieces, using snake venom, and defecating all over what I saw, at the time, to be a shitty sell-out music paper. I put on some sexy lingerie, some classical music and took quite a few deep breaths of Ween-approved gourmet marijuana before pressing play on the old school Sony video camera.
Over the next fifteen minutes I basically turned into Jeff Goldblum in David Cronenburg's classic remake The Fly. This all had to be done in one take and I am no studied actor. I made a Dennis Hopper style rant about the NME being the same as Coca-Cola and accused them of corporate cock sucking! Funny right? I then proceeded to pull my pants down and crap on their cover which featured Marilyn Manson (whom I admired and didn't think belong in their magazine).
I put some silly touring antics on the end of the video and sent 4 VHS tapes with Carrie Home Porn written on the front to different journalists at Kerrang, Melody Maker and NME. To say "the shit hit the fan" would be bizarrely accurate. What I thought of as just a weird little art horror comedy film, others did not. Apparently a bunch of freaked out people at said magazines all thought they were watching a recorded suicide. I was not ready for the phone calls and press that quickly followed. Management told everyone I was at home recovering. A few weeks later my band was dropped from both Island and EMI thanks to the video incident and also corporate mergers. Over a million pounds had been wasted on my music and I felt relieved after the fucking I had given them. I had journalists coming up to me for the next two years asking if I was ok and I would just look at the ground and say yes. I played the Brian Wilson game and enjoyed it.
Years later I finally started to confess to close friends that I had faked the whole thing and didn't actually shit on the NME. You see I am a typical clean freak American who would never dream of defecating like that in my own front room. The real comedy aspect of this story is that I had moulded a Mars bar to look like a turd and shoved it up inside myself. I remember it was 10am and as I pushed it in I had this weird feeling of "What the fuck are you doing?!" come over me. I was so high I just carried on and what you actually see squirting out of my ass at the end of video was just caramel and chocolate. Look Ma! No smell and tasty too. The other funny thing is a few years later I started a new misanthrope band called Little Hell which received rave reviews in NME. Apparently shit crime does pay.
Now that teenage angst didn't serve well and I am 47 years bored and old, I often wonder if making my short 1998 film was such a good idea. Perhaps I should have just played it safe like all the other cunting bands at the time who learned that if you just rip off Coldplay you will earn tons of Christian cash. But I had always lived by the rule Friends Don't Let Friends Buy Christian Rock, so as I sit here writing in the slums of Highbury and Islington, I ask myself who is the real rich man anyway? Chris Martin with all his huge houses, first class travel, and beautiful Hollywood wife or me with what I've got…..?
It's him isn't it?
Here for the first time in the public domain is THAT video. We’re so sorry.
Read more like this: