Sound of Confusion: 10 Reasons to Love Prolapse
by Everett True, Melody Maker
1. They're funny
That's misleading for starters.
Frightening, moving, scary, hypnotic, totally f***ing exhilarating...yes. Funny...well, OK, but only cos singer Mick has such a laconic, self-deprecating humour on stage.
2. Live, they've got the potential to be absolutely crap
"Live would be alright," argues Tim (drums) "except there's always this big Scottish bloke jumping around at the front."
"That's the best bit," says big Scottish Mick (voice), affronted.
"It's shit," shoots back the drummer.
"We have the potential for complete disaster," mediates Dave (guitar), "cos there's no organised rhyme or reason to it. It's complete chaos, but complete chaos that everyone's totally dedicated about."
"I'd like to see us live on telly," says Pat (keyboards), "if I wasn't in the band. It'd be different - or abysmal - but at least it wouldn't be as dismal as something like Echobelly or Menswear."
"We aim to be as good as the Cranberries," sneers Mick (bass).
3. They sound like all the bands you missed out on first time round
Maybe I should explain. The reasons given here are the band's, not mine.
One Prolapse trait is to be self-deprecating. (Another is to have vans break down two miles outside the venue on the side of a motorway, get drunk on subsidised beer and end up spending the night in a creche. As happened at Brighton Uni recently.)
The first time I met Scottish Mick, he insisted on singing half my back catalogue to me (songs even I had forgotten existed) and claimed that Prolapse are "the C86 band it's OK to like." Ugh! Damned by faint praise. The second time (in a venue on Brighton seafront), he and fellow singer Linda had a truly scary argument on stage, which ended up with punches being thrown. Theatre? Possibly.
The sixth time (at Reading Festival), he made a point of buying me back an owed drink - "cos no one ever buys me drinks" - and seemed very nonplussed when Eric from Hole informed him he'd just told Danish radio Prolapse were his favourite UK band (wouldn't you be?)
Anyway, I seem to be straying off the point.
Prolapse reckon the main reason people like 'em is cos they sound like all the other bands those people like. What a refreshing, wryly honest, viewpoint...to a degree. So, try Nurse With Wound, Savage Republic, Huggy Bear, The Legend! [sic], Prolapse, Prolapse... oh this is silly.
The reason I love Prolapse is for the way Linda screams at Mick "what's your excuse?" and asks "do you blame me?" so quite and scared. The reason I love Prolapse is for the way the guitars fade away on Every Night I'm Mentally Crucified (7000 Times) from the new album so sonorously; the way the guitars collide and collide again on the truly righteous Strain Contortion of Bag; the pounding of the drums. The reason I love Prolapse is...
"Do you want us to sing a C86 song for you?" asks Mick the bass. "Go on, name a band."
4. They're like a 'care in the community' band
"We're always willing to extend a helping hand to outcasts," explains Mick the voice. "We have nutters come up to us in Torquay, people who say we're the first band they've liked since the Sugarcubes, and then keep writing us strange letters. We take 16-year-olds to the pub and get them pissed. Well, alright, we didn't buy that boy any drinks, but we were nice to him, and we sang New Order songs to him as well, and he looked really scared."
"While all our fans will be soaring the heights with their fanzines and maagazines," he continues, "we'll be down in the gutter, drinking... piss."
5. They own cats
Yesterday, a friend lent me her copy of the video to Breakfast at Tiffany's, purchased only a few days before. Small gestures, which mean so much. Even though the ending's all wrong, and George Peppard doesn't deserve to be in the same frame as Audrey, it's till... look, you can't go to New York City and not visit Macy's, Tiffany's, run through several stop signs, fall in love with the first apartment cat you meet, and spend at least one dawn watching the sun come up over the Chrysler building.
Prolapse, you know, are people who understand this. They own cats. Prolapse, you know, are the kind of people who - if they lived in New York - would wear cut-price feather boas and get into arguments about David Gedge's parentage in bars between 7th and 8th streets.
When I was in Texas recently, I played a tape of Flex, the hypnotic lengthy opening track of Prolapse's new LP, Backsaturday, to King Coffey, drummer from Butthole Surfers. "A violent Stereolab," we all cried, delighted. It was perfect driving music for the humidity. Only problem was: the volume refused to go beyond a certain point. F*** it. We sang bawdily along anyhow.
Last night, I slipped Backsaturday into my CD-Rom player and blanked out. It felt like the world was ringing, falling through my ears. Prolapse understand the terror of solitude.
6. They're nice people
"We're a very nice, approachable, easy to work with band," says Tim. "We are."
"Ay, we are," agrees Mick the voice. "We sing nice songs, and if someone buys us a drink we're even friendlier. And our records are shite."
7. They read books
Unfortunately, I forgot to ask which ones.
8. They're romos
Oh f*** off, Mick. You're not.
Prolapse are just about the most un-stylish band I can think of. With the exception of Mick's black jumpers and Linda's boots, they have a dress sense which makes Mark E Smith look like the Fourth Earl of Argyll. Dressing down? Down and out. That's not to say they don't have their own style, however... but they're far darker than today's crop of young hedonists.
"A lot of us just like the darker side to things, musically," explains Mick the voice. "We went to Ian Curtis' grave. Tim's got mud rubbings of the inscription on a pink bit of paper, which he carries with him everywhere he goes. It was four days before the anniversary and the grave was completely boggin'. In the same graveyard is one for Edward Woodward... "
"Even though he's not dead," interrupts Mick the bass.
9. They play every last song like it's their last
"Maybe next week we won't be here," muses Dave. "Then we can sit around in a pub pissed, feeling really cynical and twisted, saying, 'I used to be in a band, you know.'"
"It's the best way to record," states Pat, "thinking that you're gonna split up afterwards."
"Every gig could be our last," says Linda.
"Every gig sounds like it's our first," Tim corrects her.
10. They argue constantly
"We're a low rent Gallagher brothers for people who can't afford the real thing," states Mick the voice, finally.
Methinks thou dost protest too much.