all the touring and stuff Jeffrey
went back to London and I went back to Berlin and Bad
Seed-ed some more. Around this time my communication
with Jeffrey got less and less because there wasn’t actually
anything pressing. We’d worked really hard making the Mother
Juno thing happen and whatever tours after that.
So a lot of time we’d take a break and decompress. At this
point his health started taking a turn for the worse. His drinking
and drugs took a turn for the worse again and I think he did a
lot of hiding it from Romi. I’m actually not really sure
what happened during this period. Then Jeffrey would call me to
rehearse. Since Berlin’s not far from London, I would just
go and rehearse. And I had gotten sober again. So my life went
in a different way. Being around drinking and drug-taking wasn’t
really - y’know whatever. And so I wasn’t around a
lot and I think Jeffrey and Romi were very much in their own life.
They lived together and were together every day. Romi was really
a good thing for Jeffrey because her and her friends took care
of him – or tried to take care of him. I don’t know
how you can take care of an unruly person but they definitely
tried. Although I was friends with him, I just wouldn’t
hang around because I wasn’t interested in that sort of
life style anymore - of going to have a drink every night. Actually
I was really starting to lose interest in The Gun Club again.
It was a weird period for me. I think I was going through some
crazy confusion again and I think I was really itching to do something
on my own. And I think I was moving in my life in a different
direction and I was definitely moving geographically in a different
Hide and Seek
Hide and Seek – I still really like that
record. I don’t think it’s the best record but I think
it has its definite really great moments. And I think some of
the songs are really great. Jeffrey chose to produce it himself
and my input wasn’t as much as it was – it was very
much a Romi-Jeffrey collaboration more than a Kid and Jeffrey
collaboration and that probably had more to do with the fact that
Jeffrey was really into guitar playing again and they lived together
and were lovers and also band-mates. So they were in their own
world. And that’s the whole thing about the couple thing.
Somehow I didn’t feel left out. I was kind of like, “Maybe
this is really good” - because I was looking to pursue some
different kind of things.That
record we did in Belgium. I remember I came and did what I did
and then I left. I didn’t have a lot of input. I didn’t
stay around and say when we were mixing. I was just a player on
think we were playing live a lot during this period. There’s
some live records from that tour. The shows were not all good.
Jeffrey was getting drunker and drunker and more incoherent on
stage and it was annoying. We had been a really tight, really
great band. I remember playing and Jeffrey had taken a lot of
Valium and we were saying, “You’re playing out of
time and really slow.” And he would be insisting that he
wasn’t. And it started to get really maddening – stuff
like that. And I was still busy with The Bad Seeds and that was
not only artistically satisfying but lucrative. So it was almost
like, “I don’t have time to be fucking around with
this fucked-up-ness.” I love Jeffrey and I think he’s
an amazing thing and this band is really amazing but there’s
something really wrong – something dark and wrong. Usually
that wasn’t something that would be very daunting but this
time it wasn’t a good fucking up. It wasn’t motivating
the creativity. It was brining it down. And I think that there
was a lot of frustration with where the band was going. And the
success of the band was not getting more – it was getting
less. Mother Juno was somewhat of a comeback but after
that we didn’t sustain the kind of popularity to where we
could go to the next thing or whatever. And I think it was because
people were just sick of seeing this fucked-up man on stage and
that was no longer that entertaining after a while.
stuck around because it was my band with Jeffrey. And what else
were we going to do? We’d been through dark periods before
and come out of them. So I was waiting around to see if we’d
come out of it – or he would come out of it. And I think
we kind of did for a moment because then, actually Nick Sanderson
had left the band after the Pastoral Hide and Seek tour.
And we went through a series of drummers. We had this guy Nigel
who was in The
Cult. And then we had this other friend of Nick’s.
And then we ended up doing a series of recordings with Desi, Desperate
from the Fur Bible. Then I got really excited again because we
did this EP with “Sorrow
Knows” – and that’s a song. The
music was really interesting again. It was again another thing
where I thought, “Oh my god this is cool. Jeffrey wants
to be… cool.” We were listening to Captain
Beefheart and David
and the influence got a bit off-track again and mixed up and it
became interesting for that one EP.
EP, after Nick Sanderson had left and we got Desi to come in and
play drums again - Desperate, after a series of drummers. It was
good because I had been losing interest in the band until Jeffrey
came up with this little crop of songs which were “Sorrow
to the Kingdom,” which was actually a really
old Gun Club song – I think one that might be on that Early
Warning or something. It old-old-old – even I didn’t
play on it – it might be from around Fire
Speck” – that song is great. We did have
one last, for me, one last spurt of “OK, things change.
These songs are really good.” The song “Sorrow Knows”
is basically a riff that we just played and that was just something
that kind of happened. Jeffrey just had the riff and wanted to
make a really long dance song. It’s not a traditional dance
song. The way it turned out was really great. Jeffrey was really
into guitar playing so there’s a lot of soloing and stuff
going on and we had a lot of interplay and pieces of things sliding
together and going in and out of each other. So that EP gave me
a little hope for sticking around a little longer.
moved to Los Angeles at this point and decided to pursue my own
things and that’s when I think I think I met Sally
Norvell and that’s when I started working on
Congo Norvell and deciding that I had to do my own trip. The Gun
Club – for me – I kept seeing the popularity going
away and really seeing Jeffrey going away and my heart wasn’t
in it anymore. And I believe that’s probably what I told
Jeffrey. I don’t even remember. Most of my departures in
from bands are not big dramatic moments in life -it’s just
going on to the next thing. I think I told Jeffrey, “Look
I can’t do it anymore.” And he said, “OK.”
In your relationship the other person decides they’re not
in love with you anymore, there’s not really anything you
can do to be in love with you anymore. So that was kind of the
situation with that. It wasn’t that I didn’t love
Jeffrey or believe in him but the circumstances were too stacked
against me staying in the band and it didn’t seem worth
my while and it didn’t seem like some thing that would make
me happy and it didn’t seem like it was going to go anywhere.
And so that was it. I said, “No more. I’m staying
in LA.” He said, “Fine.” He made another record
and I started Congo Norvell.
Jeffrey and Romi’s relationship ended and Jeffrey ended
up getting deported from England and ended up having to come back
to Los Angeles. And Jeffrey obviously called me since he was in
Los Angeles at his mother’s house. We didn’t immediately
say we were going to do something. I could see Jeffrey was really
bad off. I was being a friend to him because his relationship
had ended. But he was getting in a bad way with drinking –
like in a severely bad thing. And his mother lived up the street
from that bar The Viper Room. So he would just go there and hang
out every night because he could get in for free and drink for
free and kind of befriended that kind of Sunset Strip nightlife
sort of world.
was a bit, excuse me, "gun shy," of being around. And
I was on my own trip. I believe, around this time I had started
taking drugs again and a series of horrible things happened in
my life. My father died. Friends were dying. There was another
crazy wave of people dying of AIDS. And I was starting Congo Norvell.
I would talk to him a lot more on the phone than I would see him.
people got together and convinced Jeffrey that he should do a
show at The Viper Room and they would find a band and they said
to ask me - like an oldies show, sort of. You know, just play
Fire of Love, Miami, whatever – just rock
it out. Jeffrey asked me to do that and I was like, “Why
not? That could be fun.” So he got a band together with
some guys: This guy Mike
Martt - who had been in Tex
and The Horseheads and these guys who had been playing
with Wayne Kramer – all very cool guys. And I think Mike
really got it together.
I think a lot of people at The Viper Room saw something that was
seriously wrong with Jeffrey’s drinking and behavior. A
lot of people had seen it. His parents and his family had tried
to help suggest putting him in rehab. He would go and come out
and escape like a lot of people do – and insist it was OK.
did a show and it was really fun and really great and people were
really excited and people were like, “You should go on tour.
You could make a lot of money. Just play these songs. This is
what people want…” And me and Jeffrey talked about
it and we said, “That really sounds like a totally miserable
idea to us.” That’s never what we were about and always
what we were running away from. Maybe in a way it probably would
have been smart because it would have been very financially lucrative.
And probably would have made a lot of people happy. But it really
just seemed like it would have been a hellish experience to be
an oldies act. I’m not big on the comeback acts –
as you can see. I’m always still trying to do something
different and that’s not my scene at all. Musically, I can
visit my past and I can draw upon my past but I’m not interested
in reliving my past – at least definitely not musically.
did a few shows though. We actually played a benefit concert for
this friend of mine Travis John Alford. We were raising money
for him to make this record. He was a friend of mine who was dying
of AIDS and trying to finish this record. So me and L7
(Bozulich) and the Geraldine
Fibbers and The Gun Club and I think even Congo Norvell
played. I did double duty. And we made concert and raised a lot
of fun and it was really good. And that show went really well.
somehow someone convinced us to do another show a few months later.
Jeffrey had gone really downhill physically. He was completely
bloated and really out of it. People said they really liked the
concert but I remember, not so much that the band played horribly,
but it was just a bad vibe. I knew something was really really
bad. And that kind of was the last thing I did with Jeffrey.
think finally his family insisted that he do something about himself.
People were trying to get him to go to rehab but he wouldn’t
do it. So he went to his father’s house in Utah. And he
was finishing writing his book Go Tell the Mountain because
Rollins had commissioned him to write a book. It
would be a lyric book and prose and biography of the story of
The Gun Club. And so he had been writing that and at this point
I had moved to New York with Congo Norvell and I’d actually
been talking to Jeffrey again because he was at his father’s.
He was sober again. And on the phone he was the Jeffrey I had
always known. And we were laughing about stuff and making a plan
that, if he got his shit together again, he’d come to New
York and I’d do something with him. I was looking for musicians
in New York to play and just different things because he was bored
as shit in Utah.
day he called me and then I didn’t call him back for a few
days and then I called and I got his mother on the phone and she
was like, “Oh I guess you heard…” And I was
like, “Heard what?” But I knew exactly what she was
going to say. She was like, “Jeffrey went into a coma and
had a brain aneurism and he died yesterday.” And I was completely
devastated and shocked. It’s weird because I kind of knew
it could happen and everybody could see that that was what was
happening, but its kind of you don’t know until it really
happens. And so it was a really sad and horrible time.
last conversations I had he was very up and very happy and he
was actually reading me stuff from his book like he was reading
all of that stuff he was writing about channeling Isaac Hayes
through the Tokyo radio tower. It was really insane stuff and
he was reading that to me and we were completely hysterically
laughing on the phone. And that was my last conversation with
him. Which was, in hindsight, a nice last conversation to have.
But yeah… So that was the end of that.
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York Night Train would like to thank Hellione for
thegunclub.net the photos.
to a free MP 3 of The Gun Club play "Yellow Hands" live
to10. "Music to Remember Him By": Solo, Die
Haut, and Congo Norvell (1988 - 1998)
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