Phil Stubbs

writing on film, music, TV and more

INTERVIEW: Fuzzy Fallout

Phil Stubbs met We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It at the Manchester International venue in July 1986. The all-girl band was touring the UK with the other acts on the Vindaloo record label. Photo by PS.

The Vindaloo record label, whose recording artistes are Ted Chippington, The Nightingales and We’ve Got A Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It record, toured the country in the Summer of 1986. Fuzzbox headlined every night of the tour except in Manchester where Ted headlined due to his apparent massive following. I met Fuzzbox here in Manchester, just after their soundcheck; they had to shout to overcome the subsequent soundcheck from The Nightingales.

Phil Stubbs: Where are you all from and how did it start? 

“We’re from Birmingham”, said the foursome in unison, with a heavy heightened Brummie accent. Vicky eagerly continued, “At a nightclub, a friend said: ‘Oooh! we haven’t got a support band!’ So we said: We’ll be it, we’ll be that very support band, which you desire. Thus henceforth and forthwith, we were a band. We formed on the afternoon afore ye gig, and there we were. Brilliant! We came up with three quite splendiforous, wondiforous songs.

“I think it’s wrong to say we’d never played before because at school I was really good at the triangle. Jo could just about play the acoustic guitar.”

Tina: “I could play the toilet paper and comb”

Vicky: “Tina is also a trained opera singer, as is obviously apparent.”

So, what would you be doing now,  if all this hadn’t happened?

Jo: “College, work, and boring stuff like that”

How do you feel to be portrayed touring as part of the Vindaloo package?

“It’s not part of a package. It’s a record label on tour. I think it’s really nice”, said Vicky

Do you like touring?

“It’s pretty knackering, but it’s quite good. It’s really hard work!”.

Vicky added, “We don’t get any rest. look at the bags under my eyes!”

What makes you laugh, except Ted of course?

“When Vicky tells a joke on stage and nobody laughs… Anything really”.

Where did the name come from?

Jo: “We had this Fuzzbox and we used it in every song. Somebody asked us what our name was so we said: We’ve got a Fuzzbox and we’re gonna use it. We were offered a second gig, for some inexplicable reason, and we were going to change the name but they said that we could not play if we changed it”

What bands do you listen to?

All: “Lena Martell, The Dooleys, The Goombay Dance Band”

Tell the truth!

“Wham!”, replied Tina, “I’ve just bought the new double cassette thing. Brilliant!”

What do you think about the comparisons between you and the B52s?

Vicky: “The only reason people compare us is because we have female vocals and we’re lively”

What future do you hold as Fuzzbox?

“I’ve got a sparkling career ahead of me… a pretty Fuzzy future, I reckon”, said Jo.

Tina: “Being realistic, I reckon about 72 or possibly even 73 years. That’s a conservative estimate because I don’t want you to say I’m bigheaded”.

How do you go about writing material?

Vicky: “Normally, we come up with the words first. Me or Maggie write the words, then the bass line and drums, and it all just fits together.

Jo: “Tina does nothing except she wrote the words for one song”.

Do you believe in God?

Maggie: “No”.

“Maggie – you said you did”, said Jo.

Maggie: “I believe in something totally different. I believe in the power of the inner self which is something people relate to God”.

Jo: “It’s all really heavy for us being ignorant like me, Tina and Vicky are!”

Are  you vegetarians?

Tina: “Me and Maggie are’.

Vicky: “Me and Jo are avid hamburger eaters

Maggie: “I don’t know why you slag me off just because I read books, Jo. I’ve got an intelligent view on things and I’m vegetarian. I think it’s something to be proud of, not slagged off about, quite honestly”.

Jo: “I’m not slagging you off”

Maggie: “No, it’s just a typically ignorant type of attitude. You wouldn’t read the books anyway. You don’t read anything!, I suggest you do read”

Jo: “You’re not in a position to slag me off”

Maggie: “I think that’s highly arrogant and ignorant”

Jo: “I think you’re highly arrogant and ignorant imposing your views onto us”.

Maggie: “I don’t ever impose my views onto you”

Jo: “As soon as I criticise any of your views, then you come down on me, and call me ignorant”

Maggie: “But you are ignorant”

Instead of slagging off each other, is there anyone you all hate?

Vicky: “Thatcher: She’s a plonker”.

Maggie: “I only hate Jo”

Jo: “I only hate Maggie. She’s a big fat slag”

Fortunately the argument didn’t last long and Fuzzbox went on to play a terrific set.

As Maggie says, “We’re adding life to a dead pop scene. Indeed we are. It’s dead, dead, dead and we’re live, live, live!”