Complete Strawberry Switchblade interview by subject

Jill Bryson interviewed 9 June 01
Rose McDowall interviewed 29 Jan 02
Bill Drummond interviewed 26 April 03
David Balfe interviewed 19 May 03
David Motion interviewed 2 Aug 02 & 15 April 03
Robin Millar interviewed 16 Feb 03
Tim Pope interviewed 22 June 06

Boyd Rice and Nazism

Did you ever talk about any of this stuff with [NON mainman, Spell collaborator and Jeremy Clarkson lookalike] Boyd Rice when you worked with him [on the Spell records], cos he's got pretty outspoken views on racial issues.

ROSE: He has or he did have or he's always had?

Well, has had certainly.

ROSE: I actually asked Boyd about this cos I didn't want to be tarred with that. Boyd is a really fascinating guy, he's super intelligent, he's a really interesting guy. He says he's not a Nazi. It's not politics, he just believes in the Darwin theory of survival of the fittest, basically.

But Darwin wasn't talking in social terms at all. By 'fittest', he meant which traits promoted physical survival and reproduction. Having loads of kids would be closer to Darwin's idea of fittest.

ROSE: Well he's had two! He's never said anything racist to me. I've talked to him about it and he's said he now has to be careful about things he says because people will misconstrue things. I'm sure he did wear swastikas when he was a punk, a lot of punks did.

There's a picture of him with the leader of the American Front, both of them in the AF uniform. [click here]

ROSE: I haven't seen that. I saw pictures of him in rallies where he used to do things for shock value, and with Monte Cazazza, another guy who'd do performance art things purely to shock people. There's a lot of guys that, when I first knew Boyd, were on the same kind of scene and would all be in the same magazines like Monte Cazazza, one guy who made all these mad metal things, one guy who blew his hand off, it was all mad performance art stuff and Boyd would do things that were outrageous as well.

Boyd collects Barbie dolls, you know. He's really kitsch in a lot of ways. His idea of Satanism for example - he was spokesman for the Church of Satan when Anton LeVey was alive. The idea of the Church of Satan is not to sacrifice things, it's just living your life how you please; if you're into 60s girl bands - which they both were - to celebrate that. To celebrate LIFE, not to do something that was evil. Just to be who you are and do what you want and have that freedom. It was like a kind of anarchism in a way. The way they looked at the Church of Satan is was FUN. There were rituals and all this, but they had fun doing it and they weren't harming anybody when they were doing it. There are other Church of Satans and I'm sure a lot of them are pretty dodgy, but their one seemed pretty harmless to me. And I know Boyd well enough to know that he's not evil.

I don't like people who want to harm somebody just for the sake of harming somebody. I always get asked these things about Boyd. People ask me about Doug Pierce and Boyd Rice from Death In June and NON, cos I've worked with both. The two people that I know personally and quite well are not what other people have perceptions of. The thing about Doug is he is a man of honour, if he says he'll do something he will do it. Honour and self-respect and the idea that someone's word is worth something, that friendship really means something. I have a small group of friends that I've known for a few years that I feel that close to. Tibet and Coil, those are the people that I'm really that close to, that I will always be that close to, they're like my own blood and they feel the same way.

When I met Doug I really liked the fact that he was a really strong person, a strong character that really believed in honour and self-respect and self-discipline and stuff like that. He never struck me as being a fascist. I don't know where he's going with his life right now cos I haven't been in contact with him a lot, so I've really no idea what he's up to. And it's not my place to talk about anybody else's politics anyway. I can't speak for Doug, I can't speak for Boyd, I can't speak for anybody but myself.

I talked to Boyd recently, but I haven't saw Doug for a long time, but there's no way that I would condone any of that because I think it is completely sick and my family would have been persecuted as well, because they were Romany gypsies. Doug is gay, so he would've been persecuted. There's all these contradictions - how could he believe that if he'd be front of the queue for the gas chamber? It just doesn't make sense. I'm not for people persecuting anybody.

So much of this stuff is written accusing people, it's good to give the opportunity for you to respond. We could move on and even talk about some Strawberry Switchblade stuff if you like!

ROSE: Ah, the letters were S.S.! What's that all about then? Subliminals in there.

Imagine the SS in polka dot uniforms, there's an image to conjour with.

ROSE: With flowers in their hair.