Earlier this week, Art F City tipped us off to a fun interview from Baltimore news station WJZ in 1986 featuring The Cure. The interviewer asks Cure fans why they love black and admits to being a stuffed shirt before asking what their parents think about their goth look. Singer Robert Smith also begrudgingly makes an appearance. We decided to go back in time and see how the mainstream media treated other bands and musicians. Spoiler alert, in case Siouxsie Sioux’s supremely annoyed facial expression didn’t give it away already, there are varying results.
“The dominant color: black. It was on the eyes, in the hair, and draped around the body.”
Fred Graham interviewed Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford in 1986 for CBS. The interviewer gets points for being prepared and actually doing some homework, even if some of the questions are totally eye roll-worthy — like asking if Rob’s music encourages kids “to get out there and dope up.”
“I have a fiction book about a serial killer. I have another autobiography coming out.” And thus begins an interview with Ministry lead singer Al Jourgensen. The musician basically comes on the local Texas news program to talk about moving out of the El Paso area. Bonus: the interviewer calls Ministry a “classic rock band,” and Al does the weather.
Rolling Stone critic Charles M. Young doesn’t hide his distaste for Kiss in this news interview, calling the band “paganism for pubescence.” The interview was conducted in 1979 before Kiss revealed their out-of-makeup look, so we get some funny shot-from-behind chat time with members of the group. Also, it’s fun to note that Kiss’ money man was a buttoned-up ‘50s throwback.
A very good-natured Joan Rivers interviewed Gwar during the late 1980s, which is a bizarre juxtaposition all on its own. Joan is charming as everyone’s very concerned grandmother, and the banter is all in good fun.
The most British interview ever. “What would you normally be doing on a bank holiday if you weren’t here?” one Good Morning Britain host asks. “I gather you’re a bit addicted to Space Invader machines,” she says earlier. You can almost hear future drug-addled Dave Gahan audibly sigh with relief.
Siouxsie and the Banshees
Siouxsie Sioux can’t even with this interview on Australian TV. Sounds host Donnie Sutherland is clearly not her favorite person, as the singer rolls her eyes around in her head like two marbles, tugs at her t-shirt like she wants to jump out of her skin (Pork Helmets!), and dismisses Sutherland’s questions about her love of music, Robert Smith, and more.
David Letterman interviewed Nina Hagen on his talk show in 1985. Sadly, he cuts her off multiple times and doesn’t ask anything of actual substance, but Hagen charms as always. The two discuss hair extensions and UFOs.
The first surprise in this 1985 interview with Grace Jones and Johnny Carson is that Grace Jones and Johnny Carson have friends in common and almost had dinner together. Grace flirts with Johnny (he was Scorpio!) and chats briefly about getting cozy with Roger Moore for A View to a Kill. We learn part of Grace’s family thinks she’s the devil and that she, like the rest of us, doesn’t want to sit through boring interviews with insecure men.