- 16 Jun 14
The iconic frontman and sole remaining original member of the band talks about spending time with David Bowie and Leonard Cohen, why he has no plans to release another Sisters album or return to the UK, his memories of playing in Ireland and much, much more…
In advance of their forthcoming Irish shows Sisters Of Mercy frontman Andrew Eldritch took time out from being an Intellectual Love God to answer some questions we dispatched through cyber space.
Exchanges of any kind with Mr Eldritch are few and far between so we were truly honoured he granted us a digital audience. Feast on his wisdom and wit below...
You're getting ready to play Sonisphere, do The Sisters like or loathe the festival experience?
Festivals are our bread and butter. We love them. Playing on a big stage and painting lots of different colours is our thing.
Plus, it's the only time we get to hang out with our mates. It'll be nice to see New Model Army again. Last time was in a queue at the American Embassy.
Any other acts on the bill you'll be checking out while you're there?
We'll watch New Model Army. They're our Yorkshire brothers. Chris is keen for The Prodigy and The Bronx. Ben wants to see Iron Maiden. We all want to watch Bruce Dickenson's aerial display.
In the absence a new release in quite some time has the live medium taken on more importance for you as the sole method of reaching your audience?
We love playing live, always have, although it makes some of us very nervous. It's less that the live medium has taken on more importance, and more that the recorded medium has taken on less importance. People get to hear the newer songs at the gigs. Sometimes they sing along louder to those than the old ones. Plus it's an opportunity for us to wear some ridiculous clothing.
Has the changing nature of the music industry made you more / less likely to furnish us with new meisterwerks soon? Why?
A new Sisters album would cost a lot of money and work to produce, both in terms of the record itself and the apposite press and promotion, and why? To furnish someone else with a bunch of cash for pushing paper around? Diminishing returns are killing the industry, and the industry knows it. Chris from the band has done very well for himself from the 'direct-to-fan' thing, but with respect to that, I'm not sure it's the way the Sisters should go. We're happy playing live for now. Tomorrow? Who knows.
Why did you decide to work with Jim Steinman? [He helped behind the production helm on Floodland and Vision Thing] What did you feel he could bring to the songs and did he achieve it?
We wanted to do something ridiculously over the top and he was the only one who would entertain that. Plus, he's got form in that respect. He wanted the 128-piece choir even more than I did. Did we achieve it? Those songs are still being sung twenty-five years later, so I would say so.
Are you still a Hamburg resident? If so, what has kept you there all these years?
I no longer live in Hamburg, but I will always be a St Pauli [part of Hamburg close to the Reeperbahn] resident. It's a state of mind, much like Leeds is.
You had mentioned in past interviews if the British government changed you might return there. Is this now totally out of the question and what are your views on the current regime?
The current regime are the same spivs, liars and crooks that they've ever been. 'Twas ever thus. A lot would have to change in the UK for me to live there again. Primarily the government. And the weather.
Will you be supporting Gerrard or Lahm's men over the next month?
England, as ever, unfortunately.
What are your enduring recollections of interviewing Bowie for Rolling Stone?
He was lovely, and looked fantastic. I still think that the album [Outside] sucks, but he's done so much brilliant stuff that it's a mere blip on his landscape. The most recent album has some good moments.
Another iconic figure whose brain you had the pleasure of picking was Leonard Cohen. What was the most remarkable thing you learnt about him from your exchange?
He was effortlessly brilliant. A king among men. The most remarkable thing about him was that he was open and engaging. He listened as much as he spoke. We learned from each other. As a fan of the musician and of the man, that was humbling and inspiring.
Have you embarked on any other creative endeavours between tours in the last few years?
Yes. Some music-related, but mostly 14th century Italian literature related.
And finally, any arresting memories of playing Ireland?
We've not played there a lot. Dublin crowds are always up for it. It's a party town, and we like to party. I have some very hazy and happy memories of secret gigs we did as 'Speed Kings' in the early '90s. Ireland has been good to us, and we're planning on being good to Ireland.
The Sisters Of Mercy play Mandella Hall, Belfast on July 8 and Vicar Street, Dublin on July 9.