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NINA ANTONIA & JEROME ALEXANDRE: JUST A WARNING TO THE CURIOUS  INTERVIEW BY MELANIE SMITH

 
Liverpool born author, Nina Antonia, is renowned for chronicling the lives of the outsider. She made her literary debut with ‘Johnny Thunders – In Cold Blood’ which remains in print 24 years after it was originally published and is regarded as an iconic text. She also wrote the first authorised biography of the New York Dolls ‘Too Much Too Soon,’ a semi-glam memoir ‘The Prettiest Star’ and the now ultra rare ‘Peter Perrett – The One & Only’ as well as contributing to numerous publications including Mojo & Uncut. She is currently working on a new title, ‘Burned Youth’ – the price of transcendence. Nina can be coaxed out of the woods for spoken word events and has performed at venues in both Brighton and London, accompanied on guitar by Jerome Alexandre.

When not accompanying Nina on his Vox Phantom, Jerome Alexandre, formerly of the Skuzzies, can be found with his new band, Deadcuts. Featuring Mark Keds (Senseless Things/Jolt) Mark McCarthy (Wonderstuff) & Joni Belaruski. Deadcuts are the new palette for a weary metropolis, arch-exponents of feral mysticism, haunting riffs and perilous poetry. Following sold out shows at the Signal Gallery and the Macbeth, Deadcuts are working on their debut single.

It’s been awhile since I interviewed Nina & Jerome for Mudkiss and I’d heard that they’d both been busy. On a meltingly hot day, myself and Phil King met them as they appeared from the shadows for a photo-session in the gloriously Gothic John Ryland’s library in the heart of Manchester’s oldest quarter. It seemed an appropriate setting.

MEL: Firstly I’m interested to know which bands you like to go and watch, and what was the last show you saw?

JEROME: Last Christmas I went to see Death in June’s 30th Anniversary tour at Camden Underworld. It was superb! The stage was covered with sun-wheels and there was a real pagan spirit in the air. Douglas Pearce played a lot of his back catalogue as well as some of the new songs. Death in June have been one of my favourite groups since I was a kid. When I was 14, I saw them play at Charlton house and felt a personal connection to their songs and imagery. Their music seems to reawaken a dormant part of the soul. I’m not that impressed by contemporary bands, especially the ones that reflect what has gone before rather than finding their own voice and adding to it. You would think in the current climate, they’d have something new to say, but they don’t. It seems to be universal, as well. Mark Keds (Deadcuts Vocalist/guitarist) was saying that he’d gone to see this band from San Francisco and that they were a bad version of The Cure, who I love. If bands aren’t copying The Libertines, then they are revising The Clash, Joy Division, Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, whatever, but if they aren’t authentic then how can people relate to them?

NINA: A lot of entertainment is simply product, like mall muzak; it has no real meaning or substance. I saw a clip of a new band called Scum and they looked like young bank accountants and their music was very synthetic. They reminded me of Aha. Words are important to me so I can’t understand why they’ve called themselves Scum, I expected that they’d be punky or skuzzie or that they’d referenced the 70’s film, ‘Scum’ which is about Borstal boys but they were neither. Everyone is a politician now, smudging reality and meaning.

JEROME: When I was in The Skuzzies, I started to see how far things had gone. One night after a show, a young A&R guy from a major label came backstage. He seemed nice enough and said that he enjoyed the set. Then he asked me what kind of music I liked and I told him that The Doors had been an influence and he looked blank faced. I said to him ‘You are in A&R and you don’t know who The Doors are?’ Besides selling hundreds of thousands of records, they are probably one of the most important bands of the Sixties.’  If he is an example of the kind of person who is sent out to scout for acts, then what kind of chance does anyone with any depth have? You have to have some kind of reference beyond television talent shows. There is a new generation of very hungry kids out there, I know because that’s who come to see Deadcuts.

MEL: Are there any bands around which you do think are truly original?

JEROME: I thought The Dead Weather were really great, I know they’re targeted as a super group but they had a really interesting sound that was separate to everything that was going on at the time, That’s the way a great band should be, they should get out there and grab your attention, I like a band from the states called The Blood Wisdom they’re very mystical and melancholy and mix 60’s psychedelia and Industrial themes together really well. I have always been impressed by people like Boyd Rice who has constantly reinvented himself, he started in what was considered noise then he did some real poppy stuff with Rose McDowall, and what has been termed “Apocalyptic Folk” with Death In June.

MEL: I must admit I am not familiar with his stuff, but I did briefly check out his website. He is electronic?

JEROME: Kind of… I’ve been a fan of his for a long time and one day I checked out his favourite reading list on the website.  It said something like 'Here are the golden texts of the world’ and Nina's New York Doll’s book was included in it.  I just howled and ran into the bedroom to tell her but she was fast asleep. I think I startled her and she was like "get out!

NINA: Never wake an insomniac unless the house is on fire. !!

JEROME: I was like “Boyd Rice really likes you; we’ve got to meet him, write to him”. And lo and behold Nina wrote to him and he responded.

NINA: We wanted to go and see him at the Mute Festival but the tickets were £35 each, so I wrote from London and explained the financial dilemma. I said something along the lines of ‘I’m a great writer but the royalties aren't so great.’ [laughs] He e-mailed me back and said he would put us on the guest-list, which he did.

MEL: You have got a friendship going with him now?

NINA:  Jerome introduced me to the world of Skype, which I’ve found difficult adjusting to but it’s enabled us to speak to Boyd on a regular basis. He asked me if I’d write the preface to his book ‘Twilight Man’ which came out earlier this year. I was more than happy to do it; it recalls his adventures of being an Alarm Agent, patrolling the night time streets of San Francisco, in the 1980’s. It’s extremely atmospheric and has a contemporary film Noir quality, which is very appealing. It’s ironic that for an English author, the best projects have generally come from the US.  I did a reading the other night in London, and some of the audience said they were shocked when I started my performance because they thought I was going to be from New York. That would have shocked me too, I’m from Liverpool.

JEROME: What is interesting though is that through this Nina is now going to be writing a book about Boyd.

NINA: I’m interested in subjects that challenge society one way or another and as I say in the intro to ‘Twilight Man’ Boyd Rice is the ‘Renaissance Man of the Apocalypse’. He was the first ever signing to Mute Records; I’m not interested in writing about guitar orthodoxy forever. At the London show, he played a bass guitar with an angle grinder which made the most unearthly sound ever. One could hear a thousand Gibson’s weeping at such an affront. It was kind of cathartic. Do you remember that game Kerrplunk in which this strange structure is held together by brightly coloured plastic toothpicks and you have to pull it apart? That’s what Boyd Rice does to culture. He’s the master of sardonic pop, a historian of distortion.

JEROME: There’s another twist as well. Boyd, Nina and I are all in a film made by the Australian director, Richard Wolsencroft.

NINA:  Richard is best described as Australia's answer to Abel Ferrara; he’s made several films and runs the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. He came to London ostensibly for a rest but ended up shooting more scenes for his latest project, which is based on W B Yeat’s poem 'The Second Coming'.

JEROME: Prior to arriving in London, Richard had been filming in different locations across the world, shooting scenes with Boyd and his partner Karin as well as the writer Gene Gregorits and the former porn star Michael Tierny who’s uncle was the actor Lawrence Tierny. He plays the old crime-boss in ‘Reservoir Dogs’ the one that gives the guys their colours……. ‘You’re Mr Red….’ And so on.

MEL: So the film is called The Second Coming?

NINA: Yes. I haven’t seen any of the footage yet, only stills. From what I understand it’s about a gathering of people linked to the oncoming apocalypse. Read Yeat’s poem, we are all crawling to Albion apparently. It also happens to be one of Peter Doherty’s favourite poems.

MEL: Ahh so this is were Peter Doherty comes in?

NINA: Indeed. We are all threads in the same tapestry! Jerome and I are in the more magical sequences, by the Bolan tree and saluting Pan in the woods, recalling the spirits of Albion, before England was torn apart by property developers, motorways, greed. For our main scene, we ran off into the woods at midnight. It was snowing and very quiet and beautiful.

JEROME: It was very spontaneous, just a few ideas thrown together no script or anything, Richard wanted to shoot straight away and we had to be quick so he wouldn’t get snow on his camera. There we were running down the stairs from our flat with skulls &candles, occult symbols and an Athame. (ritual knife) We performed a rendition of Crowley’s “Hymn to Pan.”  At one point, a couple walked by looking a bit freaked out. I heard one of them say ‘Quick, we need to get out of here-they might sacrifice us!” haha.

MEL: Thought you were performing witchcraft? [laughs]

NINA: We were saluting the Old Gods, the Horned Ones, England’s past but they’re still in the trees and the woods and the water. The scenes of us in the woods are more about the magical and the pagan. Yeat’s was in the Golden Dawn with Crowley, that’s the connection we were evoking. Jerome is the lead on the English sequences so he eventually left the woods and made for Camden for an evening with Peter Doherty. You get a glimpse of their friendship and I believe Peter reads the poem. 

JEROME: Yes, he reads it. It was just the usual stuff we do like running around Camden like deranged bats at midnight; we also jammed one of his new songs together in his flat.

NINA: I believe the film is being edited now. One really nice thing that has already come out of it is that Jerome and I have been working on a spoken word project called ‘A Warning To The Curious’ with a talented composer/pianist called Miro Snedjr. We recorded a track with Miro called ‘Hex’ last year and Richard said he wanted to use it on the film soundtrack. He also requested a couple of tracks from Jerome’s new band, Deadcuts, as well. We’d love to go to Australia for the premier.

MEL: So, is it like an art film?

NINA: It’s part art, part road movie. It’s kind of wrapped itself around the spoken word project in a sense. We called it ‘A Warning to The Curious’ after an MR James story, which sets the tone, spooky/experimental recordings with a view to performing them live with Miro. I’d like to master the Theremin.  

PHIL: I’d like to ask about the monetary side of things, are you making anything out of your act?

NINA: I get book royalties but the payment is erratic, you can never judge. These things ebb and flow, like life. I suppose it’s La vie Boheme! Art must always come first. It is a struggle, that’s why unless we get into gigs on guest-lists, we can’t always afford to go.  It’s not snobbery, its survival (note to Anton Newcombe of Brian Jonestown Massacre) especially in London, which is exorbitant.

JEROME: We live by our means. We don’t have like a lavish lifestyle, quite the contrary. Saying that I do feel that we live in paradise, we live on the edge of a nature reserve. Each day I wake up and I always smile because it’s the most gorgeous serene place. There are woods everywhere. It’s very secluded; I’m not a people person. I am not anti social but I just feel like London especially has become like a cesspit!

MEL: What happened to The Skuzzies? Your album came out and then the band just seemed to split up?

JEROME: We released our debut album through Easy Action last year and got great reviews from the likes of Classic Rock, Vive le Rock and Artrocker. However there was some instability in the ranks .In December 2009 we were doing some dates on Babyshambles last tour. During those shows I discovered that Nik and Laura were seeing each other which eroded my faith in the band. I had also relapsed badly and felt estranged from them. By the time I had got myself together, their relationship was falling apart which made it an intolerable situation .We couldn’t even rehearse without screaming at each other and even though our rehearsal room was free we barely used it. There were songs written for the next album around 30 in total that got left by the wayside and I was tired of playing the same set over and over even though the audience loved it. Still we had a great few years together, the highlight of which was playing Nottingham Rock City to 4000 kids who genuinely loved our set.  I will always remember The Skuzzies fondly and still get letters from people telling me how much the band meant to them. Besides, we got to record a track with Peter, and that’s eternal.

NINA: If it hadn’t been for The Skuzzies, then you might not have started working with Mark Keds and Deadcuts, that seems like a natural progression. Jerome and Mark had known each for a long time. Mark used to play in Senseless Things and Jolt, he also co- wrote ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ for the Libertines. I think this one of those interviews where everybody is one person removed!!

JEROME: Mark called me up and said he wanted to start something new, and before I knew it we were writing together every-day and the rest happened really fast. Bass player Mark McCarthy (Wonder Stuff) joined then Joni Belaruski on drums. It was exciting because I’d seen Senseless Things and Wonder Stuff on Top of the Pops when I was growing up and realised I’d have to step my game up. Deadcuts have already achieved a lot in a couple of months.

NINA: Deadcuts are more moody and sophisticated but it still has a feral quality.

MEL: It’s a lot darker

NINA: Their songs have great titles like ‘Pray for Jail’, ‘Replay at the Witchtrials’ and ‘I Don’t Bang’ (laughs all round)

MEL: So you are all in it together writing the words and music?

JEROME: It’s a collaborative process. We’ve done two sold out shows, one at the Macbeth in Hoxton and the other at the Signal Gallery. There is a new breed of audience who are hungry for an authentic band, that’s were Deadcuts come in.

MEL: You seem to have a fascination with the dark side, figures like Aleister Crowley & Charles Manson where does that come from?

JEROME: Real outsiders go above and beyond moral convention. When I was 17, I bought a copy of ‘Charles Manson Superstar’ on video. I became really interested in his case, which was like a modern day witch trial. He wasn’t even allowed to defend himself because the judge was convinced Manson would hypnotise him. I don’t condone the Tate murders but it’s also my belief that Manson didn’t order the killings. There is evidence that suggests a wider conspiracy was at work. I also really like Manson’s music. It’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before. Another odd tie here is Boyd would visit Manson in Jail and interview him.

NINA: The aspect of the Manson story that always interested me was that he worked with Dennis Wilson, who used one of his songs, namely ‘Cease To Exist’ for a Beach Boys album. However, Dennis failed to credit Manson and changed the lyrics. Understandably, Manson was rather peeved allegedly an attempt was made to pay him off with a motorbike. I like the contrast between the incredibly wholesome image of The Beach Boys, juxtaposed with the Manson myth but it illustrates the true power- play. Wilson was like the Sun king whilst Manson was the shadow-side.

MEL: So what about Aleister Crowley?

NINA: If you are interested in the tradition of English occultism, then Crowley is the corner stone.

PHIL: Jimmy Page bought Crowley’s old house, didn’t he?

JEROME: Yes, Boleskine House in Scotland. Jimmy Page originally wrote the score to Kenneth Anger’s “Lucifer Rising” whilst residing there. It’s amazing but apparently never got finished so Anger ended up using Bobby Beausloiel’s (member of the Manson Family) Soundtrack instead. ‘Lucifer Rising’ is a film dedicated to the memory of Aleister Crowley and features Donald Cammell as Osiris.

NINA: Donald Cammell made ‘Performance’, which strangely enough ties into my latest book…..

MEL: ‘Jeunesse Brulee’?

NINA: That’s the French title; the English title is ‘Burned Youth’. Again, it’s about interweaving stories, much like this interview. The premise of the book is transcendence and the price people pay to pursue their dreams. It contains four essays, Michele Breton, the young French actress who starred in ‘Performance’, Nico, Nancy Spungen and Peter Doherty. The themes are universal yet unique, passion, tragedy, magick and an introduction by Peter Doherty. If I hadn’t have met Jerome, then I probably wouldn’t have met Peter. Actually, one of my favourite memories of them was watching them play ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory’ in the upstairs room of a pub.

MEL: How and when did you and Peter meet Jerome?

JEROME: I first met Peter in about 2001. I was coming out of an Alec Empire gig with my former girlfriend, Heidi. She had dated Carl Barat and knew Peter well so she introduced us. Peter had undeniable charisma and lent forward and kissed my hand like an effete poet which kinda impressed me as this was the height of macho posturing in Indie back then and homophobia was rife. We began to meet up at his one bedroom flat in Whitechapel where we’d jam into the night, discuss which records we were fond of, serenade fans and other extra curricular activities. As a Clash aficionado I was dead impressed when he told me Mick Jones was producing him and we had a funny agreement which was if I introduced him to Peter Perret he would introduce me to Mick. Since then our friendship has grown mainly because unlike many others I never betrayed him or sold him out to the press - there has never been any ulterior motive. Peter’s one of a kind, a true gentleman a great song-writer and the only person that can get away with calling me at 6am.”

MEL: Nina apart from Peter, have you ever met any of the other characters in your book?

NINA: No, it’s the first time that I haven’t. I have always written about people that I’ve known but I also wanted to write more extensively about women and this has provided the opportunity. Several years ago, I wrote an essay about Nancy Spungen which Caroline Coon put on her website saying it was a proto-Punk feminist statement. I wanted to dismantle the Nancy hate machine. Punk in particular has developed this very narrow vision. I wanted to look at Nancy from a different perspective and via Mudkiss, was introduced to Den Browne. He was very helpful because he talked about her innate intelligence and the difficulties she encountered in her relationship with Sid. Den didn’t judge her. I’m not sure why there are these self-appointed sentinels of Punk with a vested interest in keeping the same old stories circulating.

JEROME: Johnny Thunders tends to be another Punk scapegoat, I find it hilarious that certain self-appointed Punk Tsars blame the entire late 70’s Heroin epidemic on Johnny and the Heartbreakers as if they had come from Evil America with some Zombie vaccine and shot the whole of the British punk scene up. One only has to skim the surface to find out the truth.

NINA: You get people commenting that didn’t know Johnny Thunders, that weren’t around trotting this stuff out and you think, what before Johnny Thunders arrived in England, it was a drug free country? There was no heroin here? You’ve got to be kidding. Certainly, Johnny was a hero to both Nancy Spungen and Sid Vicious. Undoubtedly heroin has a very malign influence and it spreads through scenes but you can’t over simplify complex scenarios. Sid’s mother was a heroin user. I’ve seen quotes attributed to Sid about his childhood. When you grow up in a using environment, it sadly becomes ‘normalised’, so who introduced heroin to Vicious? There has to be a better solution than scapegoating. Don’t forget that Nancy also faced the same accusations.

PHIL: For me as a young man listening to songs like Lou Reed’s ‘Waiting For The Man’, it looked incredibly romantic.

NINA: That was Lou Reed’s artistic statement; apparently he hadn’t tried it when he wrote the song. Certainly, rock n’ roll has glamorised heroin but the truth of it, for most people, it’s just a fucking nightmare.

JEROME: Rozz Williams once said “Heroin is the great escape-but it’s also the great escape to nowhere”.  Prohibition has never worked ….did you know that the pharmaceutical company Bayers invented Heroin? Although they’re probably better known for creating Aspirin. The truth of addiction is hard to convey and the media are often painfully unaware.

PHIL: Tell me about your cufflinks?

JEROME: Huh? (squinting in the late afternoon sun)

PHIL: Aren’t they ……..Nazi emblems?

JEROME: Uh no…. the Swastika is an ancient symbol that pre-dates the Nazis by thousands of years, it’s a symbol of good fortune, and can be found at the shrines of Buddhist temples. These cufflinks were originally bought in India and given to me as a gift; if you look closely you can see they are facing the opposite direction to the Nazi variation. The ring I’m wearing is the wolfs-angle rune which shows the balance point between light and darkness, good and evil, the true reflection of God and man (and was also a gift). It’s well documented that the Third Reich embraced mysticism and the Occult but that’s as far as my interest goes! Did you know that a lot of the rituals that the Nazi’s practised weren’t only inspired by Nordic practices but also from Freemasonry? Hitler had a Jewish Clairvoyant called Eric Jan Hannusen who predicted Hitler’s rise to power, however when Hannusen was shot the pact Hitler had made with him was broken and ultimately led to the Reich’s demise. I believe that by delving deep into these mysteries and extremes has made me a better songwriter; one should always attempt to go above and beyond.

PHIL: Do you see yourself as being particularly religious?

JEROME: No, but I appreciate both The Old Testament and Anton Lavey’s Satanic bible!

PHIL: In effect to believe in the Devil it follows on you also believe in God?

JEROME: Actually a great deal of Satanist’s don’t believe in either, but if there is a God then surely he would also be the Devil? What seems to be happening is you get one sect of people dressing in black claiming to be disciples of darkness and another dressed in white representing light .As far as I’m concerned both are ignoring the balance factor which is the first secret of magic. Don’t get me wrong both have very valid ideas but Magic and mysticism is a very personal thing and shouldn’t have to be defined in such obvious terms as white and black.

MEL: This is for both of you, what’s the wildest adventure you can recall?

NINA: I can tell you one of the strangest. When we saw the stills of the sequences that Richard Wolstencroft filmed of Jerome and I on Barnes Common, we are surrounded by rays of white light, even though it was night and there was no other light sources. We counted them, and there are 7 rays, which has a mystical meaning. As a post-script, on one of the pictures that you took of us in the John Ryland’s library, two little blue orbs can be seen.

MEL: Jerome who have you played with in recent times and who would you like to play with that you haven’t?

JEROME: I got to play with Billy Rath last year, which was amazing. What happened was I got a phone call from Steve Dior saying “Hey come on down and do some songs.” I said ‘Great! Let’s start rehearsing.’ he said ‘No, we are doing a gig tomorrow.’ Of course, I knew all those Heartbreakers tunes anyway. Getting the chance to play those with ancient scumbags was an honour’ [laughs]. I got to experience a whole new level of hitherto unexplored scumbaggery. At one of the shows, Texas Terri jumped onstage for “Can’t put your arms around a Memory.” She’s a really great person. The audiences were great too; from 18 year olds to 50 year old punks. If I had a wish list it would be to guest on a Queens of the Stone Age album or to make an esoteric album with Jimmy Page, but to be honest I’ve played with everyone I’ve wanted to so far, Mick Jones, Billy Rath, Peter Doherty, Andy Clark (My rock n’roll mentor who played keyboards on Bowie’s ‘Ashes to Ashes’.) TVP’s Dan Treacy, Captain Sensible, Nina, and now I’m in a band with Mark Keds.

MEL: Let’s get back to your writing Nina. You recently appeared on Resonance Radio, reading from your work

NINA: That was great. It was for Johny Brown’s late night radio show ‘Mining For Gold’.  The evening was dedicated to ‘Lost Souls’ a specialist subject of mine and then Den Browne did a Q&A session with me before reading his own material on ‘Life with Sid & Nancy’ a bit like an urban Archers !! Johny has created something really unique, the mixture of literature and music with his radio show plus I love what he does with ‘Band of Holy Joy.’ Again, it’s a certain almost pagan sensibility, tapping into the esoteric frequencies with music and art. The studio at Resonance is quite small but it became like a Tardis, we managed to fit Jerome in with an amplifier and two guitars because he creates moody backdrops, whenever I read.   I’d love to do a spoken word event in Liverpool or Manchester. I was a bit piqued that the Tate in Liverpool did something on Glam and didn’t get in touch. Hang on, I’m from Liverpool, I wrote ‘The Prettiest Star’ which is steeped in Northern glamour, not to mention The Dolls. Guess I’ll never be a home coming queen but maybe it would end up like Carrie!!!

PHIL: Do you keep in touch with any of the remaining New York Dolls?

NINA: Not now. For me the New York Dolls was Johnny Thunders, Jerry Nolan, Arthur Kane, Sylvain Sylvain and David Johansen. The recent incarnations don’t resemble the New York Dolls that I loved.

MEL: What fascinates you about the people you write about? You seem to have certain empathy with them, where does it come from and why do you care?

NINA: I’m interested in people that are at odds with society, probably because I am. I prefer artists outside of the mainstream, characters who create their own universe, the thorns in the side. Nancy was an outsider; she challenged everyone and paid the price. The establishment has to be challenged but it’s the outsiders who eventually bring about change, especially in the arts. It can be a slow process, it may take decades but that’s how the wheel turns.

MEL: Apart from writing your new book, what else have you been up to?

NINA: I’ve done several sold out readings for Ace Stories at the Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton, which was just fabulous. I usually do either prose pieces or poetry set to music. In London, I’ve performed at Water Rats and done a Q&A session at the Barbican. I get incredibly nervous, but adrenaline gets me through as does a glass of wine! I do wish one could smoke on stage though; I do a number called ‘My Best Friend Is A Cigarette’ when the mood takes me. Last month, Jerome and I did the Horse Hospital for Plectrum – The Cultural Pick. I love words, music and literature. Although I enjoyed working for the music press, there was only so much I could find to be truly passionate about. This way I don’t get jaded.

MEL: Was there some connection with Morrissey, because I noticed he made a comment on one of your books?

NINA: We corresponded around the time of the Dolls reformation; we were exchanging e-mails on a regular basis. He always signed his name M. Morrissey is an incredibly witty guy, great turn of phrase and I value the time we were in touch.

MEL: Is there anyone that you would love to write a book about, which you haven’t yet?

NINA: I’ve always been quite wilful, writing what I wanted to write rather than going for safe options. I’d love to do a high gloss Nancy Sinatra style book that would be fun! I’d also like to chronicle the lives of Crowley’s ‘Scarlet Women’ but I need to find an offbeat, sympathetic publisher willing to take a chance which is hard in the current financial climate. The Boyd Rice project will also be challenging, not least because we live in different countries, but I’m not drawn to easy conclusions or comforting subjects. The Dolls have found acceptance now but back in the day it was a different story.

JEROME: I think nowadays Nina is really focusing on the future. You have to keep moving forward. Neither of us are fans of the re-hash punk to death clan.  

NINA: Punk has been rinsed to death, it’s another brand. I get a bit tetchy about categories, I don’t like being tagged ‘A Woman Writer’ ‘A Punk Writer’ ‘A Glam Writer’, I’m a writer exploring the jagged edges of pop culture.

JEROME: Genre specifics seem to overwhelm the subject. The Skuzzies got called an indie band and compared to The Libertines because we had Peter on the album. If that had really been the case, Peter would never have recorded ‘On The Corner’ with us.

PHIL: Does your subject take over your day?

NINA: When I’m working on a chapter, I take the phone off the hook and immerse myself in writing. It’s almost like a psychic journey; you have to enter another realm disconnected from ordinary life. It’s  a literary exorcism, but I think the book I will always feel closest to is Johnny Thunders ‘In Cold Blood’ that was the starting point of my journey.

MEL: Finally I believe you are going to give Mudkiss readers and exclusive on news about a film version of ‘Johnny Thunders – In Cold Blood?’

NINA: I’m really thrilled because ‘In Cold Blood’ has been optioned along with those years that I was involved with Johnny, to an American production company. It was always a dream of mine that the book would one day be optioned to someone with similar aesthetics. Johnny more than deserves a cinematic afterlife and I am excited that he is finally getting the opportunity. I’ve only just signed on the dotted line so there’s not a lot I can say at this point but things are moving along. Contractually, I can’t mention any names but as the situation develops, I’ll be happy to give more information so stay tuned and watch this space.

www.facebook.com/pages/Nina-Antonia/181663438574844
www.facebook.com/jerome.alexandre.37
 
 

Interview by Melanie Smith, with assistance from Phil King
Photos by Melanie Smith www.mudkissphotography.co.uk

[Check out my previous interviews with Nina and Jerome]