From England with Horror – Interview with Mick Mercer
1) Mister Mick, how do you feel to being interviewed from a South American country like Chile?
Mick : I am very pleased. I find South American bands very interesting.
2)We see that he has devoted much time to the music as many of us in this website, for that reason we ask about if you never learned to play an instrument or play in any band?
Mick : I played very bad bass in a couple of bands but nothing worth talking about.
3) In the moment you started your activities, how do you remember the Political situation in England?
Mick : 1976? Britain was very poor, there were a lot national strikes, the right wing was on
the rise. It was horrible. Things improved for a bit, but then Thatcher came along!
4)Before you fansite Panache had some work in the area of communications remember? Where the name did came and what were the most memorable bands that could work there?
Mick : Panache was my fanzine, but I honestly can’t remember where the name came from!
I interviewed a few of my favourites early on, like The Adverts, Gloria Mundi, Ultravox
(when John Foxx sang with them), then onto Goth, and it did 55 issues in the end.
5)For those who have not known Panaché you could describe them in some paragraphs what was?
Mick : it was pretty rough and ready and was me typing things up on sheets of paper as
columns. Then you would cut the columns out and lay them out on a page with
photos or illustrations and you make your master page, then you take those to a
printer to get them printed. You staple the printed pages together and sell it at gigs.
6)What mark to the end of Panache??? Do you think Panache leave some legacy?
Mick : No legacy, no. There were many great fanzines around. I stopped it in the early 90’s.
It just wasn’t needed any more. I now do something similar as a free pdf magazine
online (The Mick) which you can find on my website > http://www.mickmercer.com
7)We understand that you had the honor of naming a musical and aesthetic genre called the punk Goth, after hearing an album of Joy Division, true or just a rumor? Otherwise it is said that Ian Curtis not takes it too well that’s so true?
Mick : No! Not me. That isn’t true. I doubt Joy Division wanted to be called Gothic. Tony
Wilson the man behind Factory Records described their music as Gothic, but he also
described it as other things as well, so he wasn’t saying they’re a Goth band. And
they weren’t. They were successful before the Goth scene started.
8)Do you think the Post is or was necessarily punk Goth music? In addition to those you consider Pioneers of these genres?
Mick :Some bands were influences on Goth (like Joy Division , The Cure y Siouxsie & The Banshees ) but they were all successful and doing their own thing before theGoth scene started. Goth was a big scene by 1983, but the first two main bands were UK Decay and Bauhaus , then people like Sex Gang Children and The Danse Society . Other bands also drew the audiences together in the late 70’s very early
80’s. Gloria Mundi, early Ultravox, Adam & The Ants , Killing Joke , Theatre Of Hate …fans of those bands would be seen a lot at all early Goth gigs.
9)What do you think was the need for birth of punk Post or what is the difference with current Punk rock? On the other hand what kinds of people were hearing these bands; socioeconomic, political condition, you can remember?
Mick : The need for Post-Punk came out the desire to create music which wasn’t as one-
dimensional as Punk, that’s all it was. It still had the powerful energy of Punk. Later on things were milder, with less tension in the music, and that was called Indie. The same thing can been seen today. Indie music is so bland that people are looking to Post-Punk for excitement and inspiration.
10)In what parts of England has started to manifest all this obscure movement? What were the premises that housed this music???
Mick : Goth was mainly England. There were a few bands from Scotland and Eire/Northern
Ireland but not many. Mainly England. Started in small venues but that band UK Decay were important because they toured regularly, built up a big following and invited cool early Goth bands to support them at bigger venues.
11)Have you ever had trouble with the police for their dress or you’ve heard?
Me? I was stopped by the police a few times, but never got into any trouble apart
from being locked in the cells overnight when drunk.
12)Do you believe that goth music had to be born from punk to have been able to publicize?
Mick : Goth happened naturally. But it happened because a) Punk happened and b) Punk
showed how easy it was to form a band. People wanted to start their own bands
with a darker feel, imagery and personal lyrics instead of statements, but they were
inspired and excited by Punk, which is why early Goth bands all had such different
approaches but were full of energy.
13)After Panache, in what other media did you collaborate? And what was the band that has enjoy more collaborate?
Mick : I went on to work on music papers like Melody Maker, Record Mirror and NME, and to edit magazines called Zigzag and Siren. I kept my fanzine going all through those years. I wrote about loads of bands I liked the most, like Ausgang , The Dancing Did , Dead Man’s Shadow , Sex Gang Children , Action Pact . .
14)We understand that now you have your own radio show, how was this? Before, you had participated in something similar? You had some appearance on television?
Mick : I have been asked to do television but I would find it too boring, and have been
asked to do radio before but I’m not mad about it. I do a little internet radio show because it’s enjoyable. It’s three hours, live every Sunday night, but because of the uploads you can listen when it is most convenient for you. I am playing to people that
have friended me on facebook. The shows are uploaded to Mixcloud. I genuinely try
and make it interesting and will continue to try and do so. All the old uploads are here
15) What do you think of the relationship between the underground and
the media??? What has it evolved from the old days and now?
Mick : It is no different now than it was before. Mainstream media finds the underground
uncomfortable. I personally believe this to be a good thing.
16)How have been generational changes for the movement?
Mick : It changes through time. Goth is the longest-running underground scene which
remains constant, because it is always evolving. Things like Punk or Mod
tend to come and go in waves of action. Goth develops in its own way and creates other off
of it. It helped Post-Punk become popular again, and Steampunk developed out of
17)What do you know about Chile? Do you know something about their bands?
Mick : I don’t know much about Chile itself but when I did my last big music book (Music To
I tried to get as many South American bands in as I could, and that included
some from Chile. Whenever I do a book I like to include bands from the whole word,
not just a few countries. I have reviewed Chilean compilations found through the
Zombified blog on my own Facebook page, and recently played The Fallacy on my
show. My favourite Chilean band would be Espejos Muertos.
18)Sound pretentious but you’ve done everything you wanted as a person in the media?
Mick : Yes, I guess? I just want to do more of it and to do it all better. I am starting to write
novels now as well.
19)A question a our reader asked us is: Because of the conflict that exists in Chile about The smiths, you attended smiths, were Post punk?
Mick : Is there conflict? By the time The Smiths came along it was always clear which
bands were Post-Punk (which was dying out) and which were Indie. The Smiths were very much an Indie band.
20)What can you tell us about yourself, your musical tastes, how tall are, hobbies, favorite food? Adding a question from another Mexican reader, What is your favorite band of all time?? How tall???
Mick : 6 foot 2 inches. I am vegetarian and have been since I was a child, so I
like India and Italian food best. I like Goth, Post-Punk and Punk music mainly. I don’t
have time for hobbies as all my spare time is spent as a volunteer with a cat charity,
helping find homes for stray cats. My all-time favourite band that is no longer active
was a British band called The Dancing Did. My favourite band that exists today is
Ataraxia from Italy.
21:) What was the novel that you recommend to a novice reader to delve into your work? For the rest which is the meaning of your books?
Mick : My books look at Goth at the time I write them. The first book I wrote (Gothic Rock
Black Book) was a history book about the scene, because it was the first book on
Goth music ever published. Since then I have tried to reflect what is happening at the time I write each book.
22)What are your plans for 2015?
Mick : Getting all my books onto Kindle, bringing out a new novel, a book about bootlegs,
and I am writing a new book about the state of Goth now. I will also be continuing to
do my little radio show, because it’s fun.
23)Any message for your readers to give a finishing touch to this interview?
Mick : Don’t be bothered if people don’t share your interests. That doesn’t matter. Much of
the finest creativity always begins underground, and much of it stays underground.
Stay true to your own talents, and if you want to get involved with something artistic
just do it. Don’t wait for someone else, just do it yourself. You will amazed how easy
it can be, and the freedom you feel because of it. And thank you very much for the interview.