Connect with us


Stevo of Some Bizzare Information: ‘The delay in any sort of recognition is outrageous’ | Punk

‘If I needed to go to warfare, I might have joined the military,” says document business maverick Stevo, reflecting on his life within the music enterprise and his document label Some Bizzare [sic], house to artists together with Mushy Cell, Cabaret Voltaire, the The, Psychic TV and Einstürzende Neubauten.

Nevertheless, wanting again on Stevo’s journey, it does generally appear like a warfare. He has been stabbed and repeatedly headbutted; he terrorised document labels, even threatening to shoot Seymour Stein of Sire Information within the kneecaps; he was banned from the Sony constructing after attempting to strangle somebody from the authorized division; and he instructed an workplace intern to plant a faux bomb below a music government’s automobile. For many years, he has additionally been locked in bitter, and public, monetary disagreements with artists from his personal label.

“I’ve by no means met anyone like him,” says Wesley Doyle, writer of Conform to Deform: The Bizarre and Fantastic World of Some Bizzare, a massively participating and entertaining new oral historical past of the label. “It looks like a misplaced world,” Matt Johnson of the The says within the e book. “There was a interval when Some Bizzare was probably the most thrilling unbiased document label within the UK.”

Now 60, Stevo has been quiet in public for a very long time. This his first newspaper interview in practically 20 years – one he makes clear that he will probably be recording from his finish. He isn’t buoyant concerning the e book. “It’s a disgrace you don’t have management over your personal narrative after such a fruitful profession,” he says. He’s additionally offended that it has taken this lengthy. “The delay in any sort of recognition is outrageous.”

Stevo signed and managed Soft Cell duo Marc Almond (right) and Dave Ball while he was still in his teens.
Stevo signed and managed Mushy Cell duo Marc Almond (proper) and Dave Ball whereas he was nonetheless in his teenagers. {Photograph}: Fin Costello/Redferns

He brings up Tainted Love, the massively profitable 1981 hit by Mushy Cell, a band that Stevo signed and was managing when he was nonetheless a young person – Marc Almond had been impressed by his “present of the gab” and the truth that he hitchhiked from London to Leeds to see them. That recognition is overdue, he suggests, “once you assume {that a} teenage boy can knock Rock Across the Clock out of the Guinness E-book of Information for [what was then] the longest-running document within the historical past of the American charts”.

Earlier than this, within the late 70s, Stevo was working DJ nights on the Chelsea Drugstore on the Kings Street in London, having persuaded his mum to purchase him a cellular disco unit on rent buy on the promise that he would repay her together with his DJing charges. Taking part in the commercial sounds of Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, he additionally placed on gigs by the likes of Fad Gadget and DAF, then landed his personal weekly chart in Sounds journal, showcasing new digital music. The standard of those artists spawned an thought for a compilation. He pulled collectively a powerful bunch of soon-to-be synth-pop behemoths – akin to Depeche Mode, the The, Mushy Cell, B-Film and Blancmange – and launched Some Bizzare Album in 1981, in some ways setting the tone for the sound of the following decade.

Stevo was an unconventional business determine. The music author Beverley Glick described him as “like a bricklayer in new romantic garments”. Extreme dyslexia hindered his capacity to learn or write, and he was compelled into work moderately than helped in school. “Training fully failed him,” says Doyle. “From the beginning, he didn’t really feel he had a lot to lose.” However, Stevo clarifies that the label’s misspelling just isn’t all the way down to his dyslexia however extra a celebration of ambiguity.

Stevo, actual title Stephen Pearce, ditched his surname as a result of his brother, imprisoned twice below the Race Relations Act within the Nineteen Eighties, was a member of the Nationwide Entrance and creator of Bulldog, the NF’s overtly racist newspaper. Stevo’s refusal to observe that route resulted in him being bodily attacked; graffiti close to his household house in east London learn “Kill Stevo” and “Stevo is a traitor”. When Stevie Marvel’s radio station, KJLH, later performed Tainted Love, it was an enormous second for Stevo: “My brother was incarcerated, I’d misplaced my surname, however Stevie Marvel thought it was cool.”

Cabaret Voltaire (Stephen Mallinder, left, and Richard Kirk) were signed to Stevo’s Some Bizzare Records.
Cabaret Voltaire (Stephen Mallinder, left, and Richard H Kirk) have been signed to Stevo’s Some Bizzare Information. {Photograph}: David Corio/Redferns

Getting Stevo to speak concerning the heydays of Some Bizzare is hard. He avoids questions, or provides replies that don’t reply them, and we find yourself in a continuing loop speaking about attorneys, contracts, accountants and business grudges. His experiences have clearly soured him and there may be an inescapable air of paranoia.

“I really feel like I’ve been victimised,” he says at one level, however in relation to what’s not completely clear. “I ought to have put a chair over his head,” he says at one other level, referring to how he felt about Almond’s present supervisor, when he heard how little Mushy Cell have been paid to have their music included in Damien Chazelle’s La La Land.

Some Bizzare had a singular mannequin. Stevo signed bands to his label, paid for all of the recordings and manufacturing, after which offered the completed albums to majors – usually touchdown six-figure advances for bands whose artistic course of remained intact as a result of the album was already carried out. “Most unbiased document labels needed to be unbiased of companies, however I needed to be unbiased and work inside the companies,” he says within the e book. “My ideology is: exploit them. Worldwide firms are there for use and that’s all they’re there for. The folks in these firms are sycophantic parasites.”

But the experimental teams Einstürzende Neubauten and Coil have been very vocal about their displeasure with Some Bizzare. Coil even went so far as to reissue their album Scatalogy, initially on Some Bizzare, with Stevo, Pay Us What You Owe Us! plastered on the entrance. Stevo feels that is bootlegging, sustaining that he has watertight contracts, all bands are welcome to an audit and that he has by no means been sued by any artist.

Earlier than all of the fallings out, he had constructed a status for provocative antics and advertising and marketing smarts. “Stevo would throw petrol on a hearth that shouldn’t have been began within the first place,” Visage founder Rusty Egan says in Conform to Deform. He as soon as despatched a document firm a teddy bear with a cassette tape strapped to it full of contractual calls for, “as a result of you may’t negotiate with a teddy bear”. He took weekly shipments of jellybeans and, as a part of one document deal, demanded that he was despatched the flashy private workplace chair of the corporate MD. When attempting to safe a deal for Psychic TV, he despatched nine-inch brass dildos to document firms with the band’s title etched on them.

skip previous publication promotion


Matt Johnson, pictured here in 1987.
Matt Johnson of the The, pictured right here in 1987, credit Some Bizzare Information with being an thrilling indie label. {Photograph}: Michel Delsol/Getty Photos

“It isn’t about attempting to do issues for the shock,” he says now. “It was about breaking down this silly construction and to show it throughout.” Stevo was extremely profitable at this. He bought obscure, noisy, weirdo bands large offers, put them in world-class studios, and sometimes into the charts. He even satisfied a document firm to fund a groundbreaking characteristic movie – shot in Peru, Bolivia and New York – to accompany the The’s Contaminated album.

Regardless of bands finally leaving the label one after the other and it ending in monetary problem, Stevo thinks his enterprise mannequin stays a terrific thought. “Identify me one label that’s working in that template now,” he says. “It doesn’t exist … but it surely’s of profit to everybody. If everybody’s bought that freedom, then it’s such an exquisite factor.” Releases slowed down considerably within the new millennium, and in 2008 there was a compilation launch with artists from the MySpace period, but it surely didn’t have a lot affect.

The query of cockup or conspiracy hovers over Some Bizzare’s legacy. The e book, which options greater than 80 interviews, leans extra in direction of the previous. “Ripping folks off is an excessive time period,” says Doyle. “He simply didn’t know what he was doing. I don’t assume it was malicious. He had the artists’ curiosity at coronary heart. He got here from a troubled background, embraced all this outsider artwork and put it within the mainstream. It comes from a very untutored place and I believe that’s sort of lovely.”

Once I ask Stevo to replicate on the legacy of Some Bizzare, he takes me down endlessly twisting conversational paths that wind up at his concepts for the NHS. “You might ban playing and make the bottom flooring of all hospitals the one place you would gamble,” he says. “All the cash goes to the nurses and medical doctors – they might be so stinking wealthy.”

It’s one among many wild digressions, but additionally somewhat glimpse of the madcap thought processes that after made Some Bizzare such a definite operation. “For good or unhealthy, he was a larger-than-life character in an business that’s now so gray, company, politically right and sterile,” says Johnson. “He was one of many final nice British document business eccentrics.”

Stevo is satisfied Some Bizzare has a future and there are growth plans in place. “I wish to create the perfect on-line document label that’s ever been created,” he says. “The factor that drives me is to have goose-pimples on my arm and tears in my eyes – to create one thing wonderful. I can get that. I’ll get it.”

Conform to Deform, revealed by Jawbone Press, is out now. Stevo and Wesley Doyle will probably be in dialog at Tough Commerce East on 28 February.


This text was amended on 23 February 2023. Stevo DJ’d on the Kings Street in London, not in Dagenham, as beforehand acknowledged.


Supply hyperlink

You have to wait 30 seconds.

Generating Download Code…

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *