Devilish Presley Interview, by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs

If you got all Frankenstein with the late Elvis Presley and Marc Bolan and a good dash of old-school horror to hold it together, you couldn’t get much better than Devilish Presley. Since first being hit by that bolt of lightning in 2002 by Jacqui Vixen and Johnny Navro, Devilish Presley have been making a name for themselves with their gothic glam rock n horror sound. Currently the band have four albums to their name, all self-released on their own label – November Tenth Records. As 2010 draws to a close, a year that saw bassist Pete Vincent join the line-up, Devilish Presley talk albums, tours and horror…
So Devilish Presley, I’m guessing it’s safe to assume you’re big fans of the King?

Jacqui: We are indeed. I love most early rock & roll and one of the greatest moments of my life was getting to be a roadie for Jerry Lee Lewis at the 100 Club in December 2008 – I even got to polish the great mans piano and no that isn’t a euphemism – but yeah we all like Elvis in the band, however Johnny would argue that Marc Bolan was the King.

Johnny: I wouldn’t argue, it is a statement of fact. Elvis never wrote a song, Bolan wrote all of his, a hit single every 3 months for 4 years, try it some time. They did die two weeks apart though in ‘77.

This year has been quite eventful for the band in terms of line-up changes, particularly with Jacqui’s diagnosis of RSI, so how has this affected the band?

Jacqui: I soldiered on for far too long with the bass after I had a bad fall and the
RSI developed because of that – it was really hard for me to give up playing…
I honestly think we underestimated just how much of a change it was going to be because it has affected everything we do.

I was never the main vocalist in the band even though I did always sing a couple of songs in the set. When Johnny suggested that I should become the lead singer the first thing I did was to work with a vocal coach and I found a great teacher Stevie Vann who has taught people like Def Leppard & Robbie Williams. Once we decided to get Pete in on bass it all kind of fell into place again – and so far the gigs have been great.

Having been a two-piece for so long, how has it been adjusting to a permanent third member?

Johnny: Well we did have a drummer for one tour in 2007 which was awful and we had a drummer again at the start of 2010 which was equally awful but that is just me and drummers. However having a third member as such isn’t the problem because Pete has fitted in very well with the band, he is quite a character and is always causing chaos and confusion on the road but he makes us laugh as well.

Jacqui: I think we are all still getting used to each other and it must be hard for Pete because Johnny and I have been used to doing everything by ourselves for so long.

Horror themes feature quite heavily in your music – do you have a favourite fictional monster or horror character?

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Jacqui: Coffin Joe

Johnny: The Needle Men from a book I am writing.

I understand that you’re releasing your fifth album next year, what can you tell me about that?

Johnny: It will be out in May 2011 and is called “The Dark Triad” which is a description of three personality traits and possibly the three band members. The songs are all really catchy as usual and I am really happy with the way we have recorded this album. It is the strongest thing we have ever done and has a really great sound because we were working with producer Kevin Poree at Berry St Studio again for the first time since the 2006 “Memphisto” album.

Have things progressed a lot with this album? Is there anything really different you’d like to try and incorporate in the future?

Johnny: I think the songs and arrangements are very strong and of course Jacqui’s singing is amazing on it. One thing we have done differently this time is to play a lot of the new songs live prior to the release. This album is also the first we have done without an acoustic track – and I am currently working on a solo acoustic album “The Murder Parade” but I don’t know when it will be finished.

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You’re currently about to start shooting a new video, is this for one of the tracks off the new album? Can you reveal any of what will be going on in it?

Jacqui: Yes it’s from the new album a song called “The Beast Must Die” which is a huge glam rock style stomp about an exorcist. There will be shots of us playing live and other parts where I will be tied to a bed in stockings and a straight jacket – we are hoping to go for an old black & white grainy horror movie look with only splashes of colour and I have managed to borrow a jacket that used to belong to one of The Glitter band which was worn on Top Of The Pops in 1974 for the live parts.

Johnny: To go one better, I am trying to borrow the famous Star shaped guitar the Glitter band used to use.

You’ve just finished playing two very successful shows in Europe, do you get an extra buzz getting that kind of reaction from audiences outside of the UK?

Jacqui: I enjoy any shows where the crowd get into it, when that happens it really doesn’t matter where you are.

Johnny: Yeah I agree with that, we just love to play anywhere.

People always expect a lot of rock n roll antics on tour so are there any good tour stories you’d like to share?

Johnny: When I was drinking a lot more than was good for me I was always getting into scrapes, I once bet the band I could walk along some scaffolding poles in Germany and slipped onto my most sensitive area, I came home on the plane with ice packs on my balls but thank god Pete has kind of taken over that drunken crazy role now. We have had our tour van covered in sewage after a lorry nearly hit us on the motorway, we used to have a butler on tour with us called Sheridan who was addicted to drinking absinthe and it was his job to clean the van – he quit after that.

We lived in a tower in Germany for two weeks that was full of Rottweiler’s – we were on the Slovakian national news for being devil worshipers (and that is on Youtube if you don’t believe me). More recently Pete was nearly arrested on the way to Whitby for pissing up a police station and in Poland Jacqui had a guy who is a dwarf keep leaping on her and trying to pull her nose off and we ended up having lots of photos taken in bed with him – fully clothed I hasten to add….just the usual stuff really.

As a band you’ve shared the stage with a lot of big name acts such as The Damned, The Misfits and The Peacocks, but is there anyone you’d really love to play with?

Johnny: All the people I like the most are either dead or not feeling very well….so no not that I can think of.

Jacqui: I’d love to tour with The Damned & The Peacocks again ‘cos I love The Damned and I have a thing for the singer in The Peacocks, I would love to play with The Deep Eynde from the USA though ‘cos I love their music.

Are you looking forward to your UK tour early next year? Will you be visiting any new places?

Johnny: I always look forward to playing live, I’m not sure if we will be playing anywhere new this time ‘cos we have played so many places already.

Jacqui: I would love to play in America and in Japan, not sure if that will happen anytime soon though.

Finally, what can we expect from Devilish Presley in the future? No plans to close the lid on the crypt anytime soon I hope?

Jacqui: Next year we want to play live as much as we can, we were off the road for most of 2010 and we are really itching to get out and play.

Johnny: Close the lid, never! Like it says in one of the new songs “I Created A Monster” IT ROCKS IT NEVER STOPS!!

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