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BEASTELLABEAST: [STEVE 'STELLA' NEW & BEATRICE BROWN] - BRIGHT STARS BURN FASTEST - INTERVIEW BY MEL

Steve New or Stella Nova as he likes to be known is the musical arranger/producer with Beastellabeast, joined on vocals by the delicious Beatrice Brown.
Let’s start with Stella, his biography is just dying to be told, and should be! He began his musical exploration at the age of 14 playing with the London Jazz Youth Orchestra, he later auditioned for the Sex Pistols, rehearsing with them for a few weeks, worked for Warner Records as a post boy, but most known for his superb guitar playing during his time with Glen Matlock’s post Sex Pistols band The Rich Kids at the age of 17. I met Steve on many occasions during this period, he was stylish, definitely the prettiest star,
unquestionably
one of the finest guitar players of this era, he’s kind of a legend. He’s played and recorded with many names over the years, Alan McGee, Public Image, toured with Iggy Pop, worked with Mick Ronson, Glen Matlock, Sid Vicious, Johnny Thunders.
There’s many a tale about Stella, running off with Wendy, who was Bernie Rhodes then girlfriend, later marrying her in Memphis and producing a daughter, a long battle with addiction, drug adventures with Steve Marriot, Iggy Pop, Ian McLagan and Mick Ronson, being rescued by Chrissie Hynde, an altercation with David Bowie, dating Patti Palladin, a brief liaison with Nancy Spungen and coming out as a transvestite. Steve/Stella’s full story is begging to be told, he’s had nine lives and more but still around to talk to Mudkiss today. Let’s find out more about what Stella’s been doing and also a phone chat with Beatrice…but only so many hours in a day.

We aren't going through a life and times of Steve (although I would dearly love to) we're trying to focusing on the music, with him and Beatrice. Firstly I chat to Steve, later I chat with Bea, which I will interject into this interview. Yes we are ‘hanging on the telephone’ with Steve & Bea. I pick up the phone in anticipation, Steve/Stella answers and in the background I hear the strains of relaxing, jazz music as we chat. It was great to hear Steve’s voice again after 30 years, we chat a while then progress into the interview.

Mel - How do you like to be addressed Steve or Stella?
Stella - My son calls me Stella, my partner calls me Stella. No, I prefer Stella, it’s weird cos a friend of mine gave me that name; it’s not a name I choose. My friend Nazarin she said to me one day “you look like a Stella to me”.

Mel - Isn’t your daughter called Stella? [Rusty Egan had actually told me this].
Stella - No, my daughters called Diva. I wouldn’t name myself after my daughter. I call it my Red Indian name, because you know Red Indians never choose their names, the head of the tribe always says “you are Grey Bear” or whatever. I thought "oh that’s cool" and I didn’t choose the name it was given to me by a friend. The name my parents gave had too much baggage attached to it.

Mel - You’ll have to tell me off if I keep referring to you as Steve by mistake.
Stella - Don’t worry

I chat to Bea and pose the question…

Mel - Do you call him Steve or Stella?
Bea - Stella! Sometimes I call him Steve but mostly Stella, but most importantly he is really kind and he’s not full of bullshit, he’s damaged just like the rest of us. He is an amazing, amazing friend, he will never tell you a lie, he will always tell you what he thinks and that’s a real blessing!

Let's find out how Stella & Beatrice met?


Mel - How did Beastellabeast come to fruition?
Stella - I’d returned from America, I'd been there for five years, just studying, becoming a Dad and hanging out. I came back cos my Sister was dying, she died of Cancer in 1996 that’s when I came back. I tried to stay in America but I’d overstayed my green card, so it was a big hassle for me to return, which really fucked me up cos I had a wife and kid there, so I couldn’t return.
So, I got a job working on the Titanic Exhibition in Wembley, it was weird cos I hadn’t been in London for years. Just coming back I had a completely different view of how to go about things. The only person I though was cool who was working at the Titanic Exhibition was this young girl Beatrice, we used to take cigarette breaks together. I told her I was a musician and stuff like that and she goes “Oh yea I’d like to do something like that”. Anyway it turned out that she was living really close to my apartment and so I just told her to come round and see me. So, Bea would often come round and see me, and hang out, I was actually recording an album at the time, ‘Here Comes Everybody’ , have you heard that album (Mel – No) it’s an album I did for Alan Mcgee. It went under the name of ‘The New’. Alan suggested that so I said “Yea fine”, that was my first solo album, and I was recording that when I met Bea.

Mel - What year would this be?
Stella - It was 1996/97. When I was recording Bea said “I’d like to do something”, so I said “Go on then I’ll set a mic up”, I remember she just started bellowing (laughs). I had to say “no were recording, you don’t have to shout”. So, she stopped bellowing and she had all these words written, she used to write and write, she was still at School. In the end we got two tracks done, which are on the McGee album. One’s called ‘Livewire’, and one’s called ‘Quiet’, and in fact both are on the 2nd Beastellabeast album. That was actually when me and Bea started, they are really, really good. Mojo Magazine even said “Livewire was a perfect single”. Alan wasn't putting out any singles, which was a drag, because I thought it would have been a hit.

I chat to Bea asking her about her relationship with Stella….


Mel - Bea, you met Stella at the age of 15, how do you think that meeting him has influenced or shaped your life?
Bea - I’d say pretty massively. I think when we met he gave me a bit of sanity in my life. I was pretty on the edge and I used to go round his house for cups of tea and listen to music. Yea, we worked on the Titanic Exhibition together, and we’d walk around holding hands and everything, chatting away. We didn’t stop talking whilst we were there, it was just like meeting an old friend, really straight away and I’d go round his house, do my weird raps for him, he was working on his solo album then ‘Here Comes Everybody’. I ended up being on two of the tracks, those are gonna be released on the second album of Beastellabeast. We just got working, we didn’t stop. I’m going back to London, as I live in Cornwall, to record the third album.

How’s he influenced my life? He’s kind of…(Mel - Like a father figure?) in a way but more of a collaborative mentor, he has really helped me break any learnt formulas and then deconstruction over the creative process. I had so much chaos inside me and still do, he’s not afraid of that, he doesn’t try and control it he taught me a lot of discipline in music. He has introduced me to some incredible musical influences in my life.


Mel - Do you think if you hadn’t met Stella your life might have taken a different path, or you might be a different person?
Bea - It’s hard to imagine, cos I’ve been working with him for 12 years, so it feels like…(Mel - You’ve know him all your life almost)…in a way yea, all through my teens and my twenties, yea, I’ve grown up with him.
Stella’s not afraid of really pushing music, really pushing any kind of genres and breaking any genres, breaking the mould and learning constantly. I mean I’ve never met anyone who’s such a lifelong learner, I go round his house and he's learning jazz riffs now, he is still learning on the guitar, which is incredible cos he is an amazing guitarist, but to go round and see him practising!

Mel - Is he a perfectionist?

Bea - He’s an absolute perfectionist when it comes to his work, he has helped me become a perfectionist about my lyrics and he always say I’m like Captain Beefheart, cos I used to turn up at his house with a plastic bag full of lyrics which were all higgledy piggledy. Now I have them all filed, all together and organised, the way we write songs…I mean I don’t sit down and write the verse, I look  at my writing and it comes from a more diary/poetic. I write poetry and then it somehow finds a rhythm with his music and it always seems to work.

When we do work, we work really easily, the songs come fast, we found our own method because we are both Londoners and when your brought up in London there is a chaos around you and to be conscious in that environment, a conscious human being, being aware of what’s going on in the world you don’t wanna write songs which are just like ya know an opiate. You want to write songs that have some kind of edge or reality to them, that is expressing that chaos and expressing your experience in an honest way. There are so many influences we just recorded a track which has Greensleeves, Shakespeare, and kind of Djanjo style, there’s all sorts of style going on???

Mel - How would you describe Stella and your relationship?
Bea - Well, he is an eccentric genius and all that goes with that, sometimes he is incredibly difficult and that’s part of it, that’s part of his creativity. I recognise him, like I totally recognise myself and I get it.


Mel - I know the story about how you both met but can you take us through your background into the creative world, you’ve done quite a bit of stuff yourself.
Bea - Yea, apart from Beastellabeast you mean? I’ve had an exhibition at a gallery called Pure Evil, and another one due in Dec. I do paintings, a lot of the paintings goes onto the albums art work. There are loads of drawings on MySpace which are mine, and it all feeds the kind of landscapes I am writing about and painting about. The same with the film ‘Mouth To Mouth’ that I acted in, I really did a lot of work with the director at the writing stage, a lot of workshops, told her a lot of my experiences of being involved in the traveller scene in Europe and London, the New Age traveller scene and living on the road.

Mel - Hence the photos taken in the caravan?
Bea - Yea, that came from me, that was about my experience. The film’ Mouth To Mouth’ was about a bunch of street kids that were living on the road and living in trucks, other than that it’s about a cult, I never joined a cult.

'Mouth To Mouth' the movie - www.mouthtomouthmovie.com

Photo: Bea also had an acting role in 'PARIS 60'


Mel - Did you go to university and get any qualifications or were you self taught?
Bea - I dropped out of Art College, but I’m back doing an art degree now. I’ve just started my first week at University. So, it’s going alright, it’s pretty hard to kind of start learning, within an academic institution. I paint and I act, it’s all part of the same language which comes from a vibe, which is about expressing something.

Check out Bea's Artwork - gallery.me.com/pureevil#100397

Beastellabeast...

Mel - Stella, obviously Beastellabeast is a play on both your names?
Stella - Well, sort of, I was actually thinking of Brian Gregory, as when he left The Cramps he had a band called Beast, did you know that? Yea, so he put together a band called Beast, and then he died, which was kinda weird. I actually remember thinking to myself “oh no if I called my band Beast, it means I’m gonna die” and of course it seems to be leading to that. I was thinking of his band Beast, I thought well he’s dead we can call our band that. I thought the name up and it was the outcome of his band and I guess me and Bea, I think Bea pointed it out that our names were in. I’m not that bright!

Mel - Oh I’m sure you are! Can you explain the philosophies behind the band?
Stella - Well Bea didn’t want to cut it as a pop singer, she did have offers from people to join sort of all girl groups and stuff like that, but Bea is actually a really talented painter. She does the album covers and leaflets; she’s done exhibitions and stuff like that. As a painter she is amazing, I don’t think her real desire in life was to be a rock star, pop star, I think I roped her into it a bit. Like me and any performer we’re just attention seekers, she loves performing, and a little bit of limelight maybe.

My philosophy has just been music, I stupidly, always loved music, it was like one of those scary things, when I signed with The Rich Kids, to EMI I remember thinking “Wow I can do all the music that I wanted to do”, but the people that I was thinking about was Stravinsky, and Zappa. Then I realised after being signed to EMI, that they weren’t actually interested in stuff like that cos they didn’t sell millions of records. The music business was only interested in sales figures, and they didn’t really care about what type of music you made, which to me at the age of 17, I thought Fuck! “How come they don’t realise that these people are great and they don’t sell millions but they piss on these other people.
So, I guess my philosophy and Bea’s has always been we do what we do and that’s it. If somebody wants us to do a record, like I wouldn’t take on a producer, (Mel – You produce all your own music?) Yea and a producer would want you to do stuff in their style that they have created for record companies. The money always came last which I guess a lot of people would think was really dumb but…


Mel - So you never made any money?
Stella - No, I’ve made money, but not as much as I could of done. I turned down an offer to join Duran Duran. I remember talking to John Taylor about that, he reminded me in L.A. I think I would of died, because I came from a pretty dysfunctional family, at the age of 18 had I been as big as Duran Duran were. I mean John got pretty fucked up, I think I would of…it’s like Sid as well..20..21. I had no one standing behind me saying “No you aint’ doing that”, that’s not a good thing when your really, really, young, and your being surrounded by people that just want to exploit you.
What were you asking again….Oh the philosophies of BeastellaBeast, yea we do what we do and I am afraid that is what we do, we were never gonna bend our backs for anybody else.

Mel - But your finally doing stuff that you like and the music you want to play?
Stella - Yea, the ‘Beastellabeast’ album is the best thing I have ever done. The second album is even better.

Mel - (I ask Bea the same question) Can you explain the philosophies behind Beastellabeast?
Bea - That’s a tough question, I don’t think our work is in anyway reactionary, for me a lot of the processes are bioelectrical; it’s about finding a third reality. I don’t just want to reaction to what’s going on around me, I want to put something more, bring it through myself.

Mel - Is it about fantasy kind of stuff?

Bea - It’s about painting imaginary pictures based on experience, using words. I think there is something going on in the industry which is really fascist, brainless soulless, generic and that really worries me. I think it goes to show what kind of world we’re living in were we’re told we have freedom of speech, we have civil liberties, were as really we don’t. I think that somewhere in the foundation of Beastellabeast there is that sort of freedom of speech, freedom of expression.

Mel - You'd like to shake things up a bit?
Bea - Kind of, but I don’t wanna be sensationalist in any way I just wanna be myself and I kind of see things going on and want to put that into my work. I want my work to go into the world. For Stella its different, cos I write words and Stella writes music, and music it’s more pure form, it’s a vibration, it’s noise, its escape.

Mel - He makes your words come to life does he?
Bea - Yea, he does and I see it that he paints the landscape with the music. So he’ll make a landscape and I’ll come and make a story around the landscape.

The album...

Mel - So tell us about your album ‘Beastiality’
Stella - It’s great, the single did really well and I’m really, really proud of it, the second one is coming up soon. The second one we’ve just had manufactured, you’ve got the first one

Mel – No, I haven’t got anything at the minute, Rhys is sending it me, you were gonna post it.
Stella - Oh, yea I was gonna send it yea, it’s all recorded at mine, we mixed some of it at the Throbbing Gristle studio, it took ages, it’s really good, I guess it’s a pop album. When you hear it you’ll be able to write about it. You say what you wanna say about it.


Mel - I’m hoping to get two discs in the post soon.
Bea - Great yea, you’re in for a treat, cos the ‘Beastiality’ album is like the most pop album record we’ve ever written together, that had a lot to do with the record company we were working with at the time, that’s not a bad thing I don’t think.  It was interesting to have a contract and write under those circumstances though, but then to lose the contract....we had to go on and just write without someone looking over our shoulder. To write solely for yourself your not answering to anyone, that’s really freeing. Also we’re not trying to fucking impress anyone, we’re trying to make music that’s real in this world.
There’s a lot of karma in ‘Beastiality’, there’s ‘Final Mistake’ that was about being part of a circus that was about me, meeting crazy traveller geezers.

Mel - Was it scary life on the road?

Bea - Not scary, it was enabling, it taught me a lot, it was like being on the edge of the world and taught me a lot. It was traumatic, a lot of people fell off, and yea it changed me but also made sense to me I suppose.

Mel - So, a lot of this album was inspired by your travelling?

Bea - Yea, and it was also inspired a lot by the death of my friend Francis and the death of a few others as well. There’s a lot of grief gone into that record, I was kind of a bit nuts when I wrote the lyrics to that.

Photos below: Beastellabeast live by Nazarin Montag

 

Mel - So there’s quite a lot of sadness on the album then?

Bea - Yea, but you wouldn’t know it, I was staying up late a lot, writing on my computer, and just finding odd ways of writing, then finding songs from that. ‘Crazy White Moth’ is about a girl making sense of this and finding it’s just another day?

Mel - So when you write you’re really bringing yourself out like a catharsis for you?

Bea - Yea, it’s a big catalyst definitely! It moves things in me, it’s like do you want to continue to manifest chaos in your life or do you want to find a more ordered life, then make more chaotic work? So, the more chaos I have been able to put into my work the more calmer my life has become, it doesn’t keep manifesting into me it goes out into the world and it’s better off there!

Mel - Oh, it’s getting very deep this interview isn’t it

Bea - I know


Mel - What are the songs about, and which is your favourite on the album?
Stella - I don’t have a favourite, but the lyrics are Bea’s, the songs are about life I guess. I do all the instruments except for Pedro Ortez on real drums, whose big moment was playing with David Bowie at Live Aid. Pedro is a great drummer, but I do all the instruments and all the programming, and Bea the vocals.

Mel - Where can we buy it?
Stella - Well I was in HMV in Oxford Street, and it’s in there! Most shops are gonna have it.

Beastellabeast....inspirations...the past and present

Mel - How do you describe your sound, it’s been noted as avant garde…
Stella - Well I let other people do that, I’m not one for labels. I guess its rock music gone mad.
Bea - It’s a bit fried chicken and seven sisters, it’s a bit maniacs on the street, it’s a bit Fresnel, it’s a bit adult bard, orchestral and a mean ass guitar. It’s pretty free music, not free, it reminds me of the world, more than anything really, there's grief, there’s love, there’s hell, there’s war, there’s chaos, confusion, there’s perfect structure going on, there’s history, silence, typewriters!


Mel - Sounds interesting! Laughs. Who do you cite as musical inspirations?
Bea - Mostly music I listen to at home that Stella has given me. Yea, he played me ‘Dark Vegas’ by Troy Harken the other day and it blew my mind.

'The Final Mistake' - Beastellabeast


Mel - I can hear your music playing in the background, what’s the music ?
Stella - Oh, its Duke Ellington do you know how many albums he put out when he was alive? (Mel – No?) its so funny cos these days people put out one album and if they don’t make it they get dropped, Duke Ellington when he was alive released 500 albums. When I found that out I was like “fuck”, I mean I have 29 albums and they are all brilliant, since he died the compilations there are thousands. Duke, there’s a natural connection, onto Miles Davis I think.

Mel - I seem to remember you used to like Kate Bush, didn’t you have a crush on her or something?

Stella -
Laughs - I think she had a crush on me. I had a dance with Kate, I remember when she was at The Rich kids signing party at EMI or was it her party? I can’t remember but I actually had a dance with her. Fluke! She was good, in fact Youth did an album with her, and she’d be able to do stuff any time she wants. I mean  her philosophy is really cool, but she was signed by Dave Gilmour from Pink Floyd, she actually used Pink Floyds out-takes on one of her albums from ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’.

Mel - What inspires your music?
Stella - The people that I listen to. My influences are Zappa, Duke Ellington, Miles Davies, and I guess all the people when I was learning to play guitar, a lot of it was blues. I write the music, and arrange the songs.

Mel - Who or what, influences your song writing? And do you have a special way of writing, what kind of subjects do you write about?

Bea - Well I think my life’s changed a bit recently, becoming a mum, in turn there’s a softness and a forgiveness, before I used to write with a lot of rage and grief. I was in a lot of grief with ‘Beastiality’. I sit down and read books about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and I’ll find words in those books, strange words then I’ll put those words onto a page, I’ll find a song there, or I just use a stream of consciousness and I’ll try and find a rhythm structure. A lot of it’s about…well I’m learning about, really interesting in quantum physics…as a layman, but kind of basics of quantum physics, artistically it does a lot for me, it really inspires me.

Mel - What’s the strangest place you’ve ever penned a song?
Bea - I wrote a song on the back of a bus ticket, ‘Scarey Things Kill’ which is on ‘Beastiality’.I don’t do that so much anymore but I used to write on my hands, or on my jeans, I’d write poems on my jeans all the time, then just read them off my jeans.

Mel - Stella you started off in The Youth Orchestra didn’t you?

Stella - Yea, I started off in The London Youth Jazz Orchestra, which didn’t last that long. I was about 14 or 15 I think, but yea I’ve always loved orchestras, brass and stuff like that. I love rock n’ roll, I got all the Iggy albums on CD this week, cos I didn’t have them on CD, like The Stooges, were fucking great.

Mel -Well you played on Iggy Pop's ‘Soldier, Solider’ album didn’t you; he doesn’t credit you for it or something?
Stella - Well, I thought I played on it, there is rumour that he wiped my guitar. I don’t know, it’s not one of my favourite Iggy albums anyway. It’s interesting cos James Williamson is in town right now, and I was doing a session for Matlock a few days ago and Glen was saying he was gonna get James to play on a track but James hasn’t played for like eighteen years, and I said to Glen “ come on he hasn’t played for like 18 years, he’s gonna be a bit rusty”.

Mel - What was it like meeting up with Glen again, and playing with him?
Stella - Oh, I see Glen all the time, I haven’t seen him for a while, he’s really cool, like my big brother. There all older than me, I haven’t spoke to Rusty in ages, oh but I’ll tell you who called me yesterday Midge Ure, it’s cos I’m ill I think?

Mel - (Stella is battling with cancer) I’ve got to ask you this, are you getting better?
Stella - No, no, no, I found out last week I have to start another chemo which is more extreme, it’s actually spread to my lungs as well, so this could be my last interview but I’ve gotta make it for Christmas for my son Frank. I’ve gotta do that!

Mel - I’m sorry to hear that, I won’t put that in the interview Steve.
Stella - Well I don’t mind, its ok, I’m not sure I’ll be around! Well no, it’s not getting any better, its terminal.

Mel - Sorry to hear that!
Stella - I kinda knew that a while ago, you just have to get your head round it. I’m lucky I’m surrounded by people that are pretty cool.

At this point we are cut off, Steve’s battery fell out of his phone…so I was left literally hanging on the telephone for a while! But service was soon resumed.

Stella - My partner Laura is a theatre designer, she does sets, and costumes, and she has been very supportive.

Mel - I wish you all the luck Steve, now I don’t know where to go from that!

Stella - Thanks.

Mel - What sort of current music are you listening to now?
Stella - You mean people who are making music now? Oh I heard a band the other day, they are Japanese and called something like Bowio, do you know any Japanese bands? They just released this 12 inch single, I heard that in a record store, cos I actually buy albums all the time, I buy about 20 albums a week. I’m not buying new releases.
Bea - I don’t really listen to new music, laughs, but there’s a good band called Starvation Box that I really like at the minute, good singer, rock n roll band. I don’t listen to new music as I think it rubs off.

Mel - Are you similar to Steve in that you like all kinds of music?
Bea - Well, I really like Robert Johnson, The Labelles and Beefheart is a big one for me.

Mel - You always end up going back to the old stuff don’t ya, I know I do myself?

Stella - Well, I really only got into Duke Ellington in the past year, but I’ve known about him all my life. So his music was new to me, whose current that I like?…hhhmmm nobody!

Mel - Any plans to play the North West at the moment?

Stella - No, we haven’t done any shows outside of London, oh yes we did South End. (Laughs) We have a gig on the 20th, that’s in London but I’m a bit worried about that because my chemo is coming up and I’m wondering if that is going to be happening at the same time.

Mel - It’s a shame you couldn’t have played at the Mudkiss Party on Oct 11th @ Belushis all dayer.
Stella - Oh really (Mel – it’d be nice to meet you again, your welcome to come along) Is that next Sunday? Maybe I will make that, I am actually finishing my third album, there will be a Beastellabeat third album. Because of the position I’m in it’s more important that I get my work out there, although I love gigging. Gigging is the best thing in the world, but Midge was talking to me about wanting to do a gig.

Mel - A Rich Kids reunion?
Stella - I don’t know, but that has been mentioned.

Mel – That would be great actually.
Stella - I said to Glen that I’d do it, I think Glen would do it, I know Rusty would do it, it’d be fun cos we did have a laugh even though we made a pretty bad album, it was my teenage years, and having your teenage years being on the road and doing Telly and stuff.

Mel – You were a teenage pin up
Stella - Yea, better than going to college, playing them was much better, (laughs)

Rich Kids with Steve New on vocals singing 12 Miles High (Performing on the Tv show Revolver in 1978 , performing "12 Miles High".

 
Photo: One of many magazine shots of The Rich Kids in 1978 (kept in a scrapbook for many years by Vanessa) L - R: Rusty Egan, Steve New, Midgre Ure and Glen Matlock.

Mel - I suppose this leads a little onto my next question, I know when we’ve spoken on line before, you said you had no desire to talk about the past. BUT if you could go back and do it all again is there anything you would do different or change?

Stella - Yea, ermm, No I wouldn’t have done anything differently but I wish in the end I would have been surrounded by people who were looking after me a bit better, but that could be to down to my family as well. (Mel - Well you can’t chose your family) I really enjoyed what I’ve done but I wished I’d been more productive, put out more albums, but in the climate that I’m working in it’s pretty difficult to get an album out anyway, unless your just releasing stuff online. The fact now everyone can record albums at home is really good on one level but it also means there’s more shit out there, cos everyone is making records, a lot of people making records who aren’t musicians.

Mel - You have your own studio at home?

Stella - Well, I have my own flat but its’ a studio yea, it took me years to get that together. If I’d had loads of money it’d be so much easier. I guess If I had made loads of money I would of got a studio, but as I said I’d probably gone down the abusive road a bit harder.

Mel - I’ve just added another little question for the people that don’t really know you.

Stella - Oh, there’s loads of them…

Photo: Steve New next to Sid

 
Mel - What did you do musically after The Rich kids…a quick round up!

Stella - Iggy, Public Image, Pearl Harbour, Thunders, I didn’t do any albums but gigged with him, Vicious White Kids, see that was gonna be the next band, then Sid died. Sid was a really, really lovely guy and I’m really mad that he’s a symbol, cos he was actually a gentle person and it’s bizarre that, when he really was just an asthma suffering art student in the wrong place at the right time. I was talking to Glen about it the other day, especially when he got thrown into Rikers Island prison, there is a rumour he killed himself cos he was so scared of going back to the jail, which I can believe. He died so young, there is so little known about him. I think the Viscous White Kids would have been huge, cos Sid as a front man was great, and then there was me, Glen and Rat (Scabies) and we were all mates. It’s sad that we got one rushed gig out of it.

Mel - Out of all the musical partnerships you’ve been involved with, who or what are you most proud of to date.

Stella - Beastellabeast, but the other thing that really affected me was working with Ronson. Mick was…WOW…I mean that was the best thing that happened. Just being in Mick’s presence and watching him work and he was so encouraging to me. Mick used to say to me……………like when we were doing a guitar take Mick would say “you can do it Steve, you can do it, go in there and do it”. Mick was a genius, as an arranger and a musician I mean the records that he made; it was Mick that did ‘Walk On The Wild Side’, which is one of the most beautiful records ever!

'Sky' by Beastellabeast


Mel - So Bea, what are you most proud of to date, it could be anything, like the birth of your son?
Bea - I’m really proud of my family and me, I’m really proud of my partner and really proud of our son Isaac. We’re doing great!

Mel - Stella, I interviewed a friend of yours James Stevenson, he cited Mick as the reason he picked up a guitar in the first place.

Stella - Yea, I mean I wasn’t actually a Bowie fan I was into Bolan,  T Rex were my heroes, but when I first saw Bowie on Top Of The Pops, and the guitar, the guitar solo on ‘Five Years’, I was like WOW!! Then I got ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ and I discovered this guy Mick Ronson, and I love ‘Slaughter On Tenth Avenue’ that’s a beautiful album. Then Mick went onto work with Dylan.

Mel - Did you ever play on the Marc Bolan Show?
Stella - No, but I did meet Bolan, just before he died. It’s funny cos when I was about eleven a friend of mine, was working at a property agency and he found out where Bolan lived, it was really close to where my Mum lived so I used to get on my chopper bicycle, cycle down and stand outside his house, but I never met him then, but I did meet him briefly before he died. There’s a lot of bad stories about Bolan, he was apparently a bit of an ego maniac, but the records are fantastic, the first T Rex album was the first album that I ever got. That’s the album which has ‘Ride A White Swan’ on it. It had a picture of Mickey Finn and Marc Bolan on it and a brown sleeve, I still listen to that and we might do one of those tracks. We might do a song called ‘Jewel’ cos that is still one of my favourite albums yea.

Photo Credit : Peter Kodick Gravelle 

Mel - Hey, I read somewhere that Billy Idol wrote a song about you from his Generation X days, it’s called ‘Heavens Inside’, I have no idea if this is a rumour or if there’s any truth in it, just what I read.
Stella - Well I did hang out with Billy and I used to stay at his flat, and I worked with Generation X …Really? What’s it called again?

Mel - ‘Heavens Inside’, it’s only what I read somewhere a long time ago and have no idea how true it is, you’ve never heard that before then, you’ll have to have a listen to it. [*I had it confirmed today 11.10.09 by Perri Lister who was Billy Idols ex partner that he did indeed write the song about Steve New!*]
Stella - I tell you what song is written about me, well this is what Mick Jones told me, there’s a big Audio Dynamite song called ‘Bottom Line’, do you know that song? (Mel – No but I’ll have to have a listen to that) he told me he wrote that about me and I actually really like that song. I guess it’s quite flattering.

Bottom Line
So when you reach the bottom line
The only thing to do is climb
Pick yourself up off the floor
Anything you want is yours
- Big Audio Dynamite 1996

Mel - Did you go to Mick Jones exhibition?
Stella - Yea, I did, as I said to Beatrice who I went with, it’s just like going around Micks house. Yea, but somebody said to me not everyone is lucky enough to go round Mick’s house, and I said yea. I like Mick he’s been a good mate to me.

Mel - Are you still planning to write your biography?
Stella - No! I don’t think there’ll be time.

Mel - You could get someone to ghost write it?

Stella - Err  you could do it?

Mel - haha I don’t think I’d have time, but I’d love to listen to some of your stories though, many untold I should imagine.
Stella - There is a lot but there are stories that never got out there, and won’t ever get out there. There are some, one’s that are like…bimey!!

Mel - Well, there’s probably some you don’t want your kids to read as well?

Stella - No, my daughter Diva knows a lot of it. It’s interesting both my kids are named after Zappa. Frank is called Frank after Frank Zappa and Diva is called Diva as Zappa's youngest daughter is called Diva.

Mel - Right! I’ve been to Zappas grave.
Stella - Really? In L.A. I used to walk past Franks house, I found out where he lived. Yea, that was a bitch him dying, fuck I saw him play a couple of times.

Mel - Ok this is the final question, what would you like to get across to people reading this…any last words?
Stella - Just do what you really, really love, find something you really love and do it! And if you’re doing something you don’t love stop doing it.  There are so many people doing jobs their unhappy with. Do what you love, don’t do anything else, it’s a waste of time!


Mel - Sounds cool Stella. Well it’s been lovely talking with you, I wish you all the luck with your health and everything.
Stella - Alright Mel, I hope we can speak again, I’ll try and get to that thing in Camden.

Mel - I’d be great to see to you again

Stella - God bless Mel, thank you, bye.

Mel - The final word, what would you like to say to the people reading this?
Bea - Time to wake from your slumber!

Mel - That’s great!...thanks Bea, we chit chat a little more…

Beastellabeast on MySpace - www.myspace.com/beastellabeast

Interview by Mel 02/10/09
Caravan photos & Beastellabeast live taken by Nazarin Montag
Photo of Steve thanks to Peter Kodick Gravelle
Artwork by Beatrice Brown
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