Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 74 - STEVE DIGGLE
BUZZCOCKS - STEVE DIGGLE
"Lets just break the rules and get on with it." Steve Diggle, guitarist, singer, Buzzcocks
ABOUT STEVE DIGGLE:
Steve Diggle is a British singer and guitarist and originally joined the iconic punk rock band Buzzcocks as the bassist. On the recent Salty Dog Cruise, Steve joined the show to talk about the early days of the band and how they paved the way for DIY (do-it-yourself) records in punk rock and coming to America for the first time. He also talked about the attitude the Buzzcocks brought to everything they did and how it influenced an entire generation, and what it is like to continue to tour with the band and on his solo work. Read the full transcript below.
ON THIS WEEK'S FUELED BY DEATH SHOW
D-Man is a little sick but that won't stop the show. On Science, the guys talk about the helicopter we are sending to Mars, and what that means for space exploration. Then on The Roast, its the time of year where Senior Pranks happen, but can they go too far? On The Update, the next Mug is revealed and the first look at the collectible pin set from the Worlds Strongest Coffee. Watch the full episode here.
DEATH STAR OF THE WEEK:
The first guest on this brand new segment is none other than Gail Dunmyer. On top of her charity work and love of Death Wish Coffee, Gail is also an artist and beekeeper. Meet Gail Dunmyer:
Jeff: What is this like, playing a fricking cruise ship? I mean, you guys are killing it as always anyways, but it's surreal to someone like me who's absolutely never been on a cruise ship before, but then to see you guys rocking the stage. Is it surreal for you guys too?
Steve Diggle: Surreal and it's crazy as you think. I mean, they asked us would we do it last year and we were doing about 80 shows around the world, so we said we can't do it. We've made it this year to do it. I didn't know what to expect really. I thought, "We're on a boat. How can that really work? Sounds okay, but where are we going with this?" Then the next thing, there's a great atmosphere on here and there's a good vibe with everybody and I'm having a really good time. A better time than I thought to be honest. I mean, we've run into Flogging Molly a few times over the years at different festivals, didn't really know about this. Like, sing on a boat, that's crazy, you know what I mean? It's like, what the ... Are you sure?
Jeff: A bunch of punk rockers in the middle of the ocean. We were saying, "Are we going to our doom? What's about to happen?"
Dustin: Is there going to be fires? If there is, sign me up.
Steve Diggle: To be honest, back in the day a little bit, in the old days with some of them early bands and even ourselves in them days, there might have been a bit of trouble on this boat.
Jeff: Oh, totally.
Steve Diggle: But now it's kind of mellowed out into something else, which is interesting. But it's been an amazing atmosphere. Once you get onto the stage and the whole there, you're just doing a gig. The first one was kind of steady sailing, but there's kind of a little bit on the stage when I'm kind of moving around ... I'm moving to the left, I'm moving to the right, and I'm thinking, "If I move too fast, I might go straight down." You could kind of feel it. I know I had a glass or two of champagne for a while, but I thought ...
Dustin: Is it the open bar, or is it the waves? Maybe a mix of both.
Steve Diggle: Yes, so it is ... I realized I've really enjoyed it now.
Jeff: Yeah, no. It's such an experience. I'm so happy that Flogging Molly decided to create something so random, that on paper, like you and I were saying, doesn't seem like it's gonna work. Might not be a great idea.
Steve Diggle: Didn't fight in the punk rock wars for this.
Jeff: Exactly, right?
Steve Diggle: But at the end of it, it works.
Jeff: Yeah, and I hope that they do it for years and years to come, it's incredible.
Steve Diggle: What's great is we're in the corporate world of all the bullshit and people trying to sell you shit all the time. On the TV, "You must buy this and that," and Taylor Swift and Beyonce. Down to about four people really that sell 10 billion albums every ... These are people that have got the passion for music, in a different way. There's the music business, which has gone out to sea in another way. It's kind of nothing to do with us. This is like, rock and roll guitars, plugging in and stuff, whereas the corporate world is just kind of ... If you get a chick dancing to a video, you're only trying to see how short the skirt is. You don't really know what it's a song of. But this kind of stuff, it changes people's lives. It means something in a different way, so it's putting them all on a boat like this, that's what we're dealing with here and that's what good about it. People are in there, the guitars, noise, a bit of fun, and life-changing things.
Jeff: Yeah, it's incredible. Speaking of life-changing things, I wanna go all the way back: what got you to pick up a musical instrument? Where did that stem from?
Steve Diggle: Well, the music scene at the time was like ... It was like the progressive rock thing. Now I liked a bit of that. I went to see Yes once and all that kind of stuff, because that's what was going. You'd drop a tab of acid and that's it, then watch them do a whole song, which is like one song's a whole album. Movements and fine orchestrations and you get ... but you know, I was like 20 years old, and I thought, "Fuck! Remember when bands had three-minute songs? People like The Who smashed the equipment and told people to fuck off."
Steve Diggle: That sort of disappeared. So it was like, you need to make [inaudible 00:04:49] in your life. So that's how we got back to the short songs, bit of energy. Also singing about stuff that was relevant to us and the human condition. We connected a lot of ways with people that, "Oh I feel like that too" or "I've had that", and all that. Rather than singing about mushrooms in the sky and stuff. It's like, "Fuck yeah! I'll go pay my bills too!", and "My life's fucking shit, so let's celebrate". You know? All kinds of things. You know, there's heavier themes with the Buzzcocks as well.
Jeff: Oh, of course.
Steve Diggle: And the songs, and the music, and all that. That was the importance of it, really. Trying to make music that was relevant, and some preciousness and passion and all those kind of things
Jeff: Was it tough to navigate the music industry at that point because there was all of this progressive rock at the time? You guys were, I mean, coming out there and being as real as possible. Was it tough to navigate?
Steve Diggle: A little bit, yeah. We made our first demo, and really we set out to make the most un-commercial music possible, you know? We made this demo - we made these four songs and it was like... We come from Manchester originally, which is two hours away from London. Two hours on the train, two hundred miles. It was like, "If we go with these tapes, they'll probably laugh us out of the building or something."
So we came up with the idea of making our own record. Now I know back in the '50s, you used to do it in the states, but everybody's kind of like, "If I do a nice song, I'll get a deal from this big kind A&R man." And you gotta suck dick and do everything else, right? What the fuck? Somehow we come up with this idea for, like, five hundred pounds - say, five hundred dollars equivalent - we could make a thousand records to the people we're playing to in Manchester. It seems like a stroke of genius now, but at the same time it was also a stroke of necessity. If we make our own record, we don't have to do all that, begging records companies, because that would shorten our interest. As soon as we did that, that inspired a lot of other bands to do it because we was the first on the block back in -
Dustin: So nobody was DIY at the time?
Steve Diggle: No, we kind of invented that.
Jeff: Wow, no shit! So how did you go about recording that album? You just did it in your basement with a four-track?
Steve Diggle: A four-track EP! We got some money and bagged some studio time. We kinda did those songs live with a couple of overdubs. Very quickly, it was just an afternoon, maybe four hours?
Jeff: It's punk, you don't need -
Steve Diggle: We had this guy, Martin Hannett, who said he was a producer, and I don't think he'd been.
Steve Diggle: When the engineer was making us sound good, he started pulling all the things and making us sound [inaudible 00:07:54]. But we got this great, unique sound. It was a sound that was like... To quote Yeats, the Irish poet, it sounded like a terrible beauty was born - except [that's] about the Irish troubles.
The engineer's making it all nice, like with the Eagles or something, and he's [inaudible 00:08:13].
Dustin: He's making it unique.
Steve Diggle: I don't think he knew what he was doing, but between all that, he was kinda working like a dog but he had this spirit of like, "Let's just break the fucking rules and get on with it like this."
So we made the four tracks, and thought if we take it to the record company... You gotta go through all that process and to be honest, it was so out there that they would've gone, "What? What's this? Sorry, sir, there's the door."
So we put that out and that kinda set the whole place on fire; the whole country was like "The Buzzcocks have made their own record!" We got all the major record companies, CBS, all these people - they wanna sign you up.
Dustin: And how did that go? Did you say, "Fuck you?"
Steve Diggle: We took about a year to sign up. Malcolm McLaren, the Sex Pistols' manager, said, "You should sign soon before this thing goes." We go, "We ain't signing to anybody." Because then you're told what to do. The Clash had just signed with CBS, then they're singing songs that the record company wanted. So we took a little time with it. We had put our own record out, we had the audience that was there. What we had done was pull the carpet out from the record companies' feet so they didn't know what that punk rock thing was.
You can't plan these things, but that was how it all started to evolve.
Dustin: Almost seems like a perfect storm.
Steve Diggle: Yeah, yeah, but we never envisioned all this. It was like, "If we can't get a deal, funny enough, we can make our own record." Even that took a while to... Now it seems so easy, but back in that day, it was just like, "Well, if we do that, at least some of the fans can hear us on record." So it went like that.
Jeff: Was that the moment when you guys as a band were like, "OK, we can do this as a career?"
Steve Diggle: We never thought it would be like that, really. It was kinda like, just go for the day-to-day thing, really. You know, now you hear these people say, "My music career," and all this; it was just like, "Well, if we've got a gig next week and maybe one the week after, we'll see how we go." We never sat down at a table, marketing and planning things, and all that fucking bullcrap they do now. It's like, you don't know what's coming; you could be dead tomorrow, so...
But also, the main thing about our first EP is it touched a nerve with people. It touched their souls and their minds were going, "I feel like that too." That EP - our thousand sold within, minutes, days. It was faster than an email. Like, "How do people in Scotland and America, and Mexico and all that stuff, how do they know this record's out?" I don't know how. In those days, if you wrote a letter it could take three or four days...
So certainly, people relate to all that. And you can't beat that; that's more powerful than any marketing.
Jeff: That's authentic.
Steve Diggle: We didn't have billboards, we had nothing. It was just like, "I got it. I heard that record," and away it went from there.
Jeff: I attribute that to a lot of - the success of Buzzcocks - of what you guys are. Because you're authentic, you've always been authentic. At the end of the day, that's gonna resonate harder with anybody than this flashy girl dancing with the short skirt, like you were saying. I think that is an incredible and inspiring way to look at what you do.
Steve Diggle: We never tried to sell or plan things. Who do you think we are, Green Day? [Laughs]. I'm sorry, I know they love us but some people say to me that they're not the real deal, they're manufactured. I'm not gonna say that but... [Laughs].
Dustin: I've heard it said.
Steve Diggle: I love them, but we have heard it said. The difference is that we made the music, we didn't want to be seen going out to all these flashy nightclubs, and all this kind of stuff. Making [inaudible 00:12:31] with chicks hanging off of you -
Dustin: Leather pants.
Steve Diggle: But let me just say this: when we eventually signed this deal, this guy Andrew Lauder used to come to the gigs with a lot of these A&R men - and to be honest, after that first record, we had people taking them out the sleeves, the plain sleeves and putting it in the picture sleeves; Me and Pete did a couple of them and then we'd go to the bar around the corner and [inaudible 00:12:56].
So, we realized we had gigs and couldn't carry on making the records. So, eventually we signed this deal and one of the reasons being we wanted to have artistic control of what we do. You don't want to sign the deal and then they go, "Here's how to walk and talk." "Don't tell anyone you're married" - that's what they used to do in the '60s. Not that we were, but all that stuff. "Don't do this and that." You know, record companies.
Then we said that the first record on the major was going to be called "Orgasm Addict." [Laughs]. So they got the release day. Now the A&R guy, Andrew Lauder who signed us, said "That's cool with me," but the pressing plant wouldn't press it and it got delayed three weeks while they negotiated. They go, "We're not printing this filth!" Because back in the day, '77, yeah. And now we've got the rappers calling people "hos." But at that time, it wasn't like that. So, "Orgasm Addict? You gotta be kidding me! Your first release on a major label?"
Dustin: So did you see a big change when you started working with labels, or were you able to keep things negotiated on your terms?
Steve Diggle: Because we negotiated on our terms, it's like, that's the first single. Now everybody knows - everybody's had a fucking wanker [inaudible 00:14:23], they know what an orgasm addict is. And, we go "That's modern poetry really! It's not just filth!" Depends on which you look at it.
Dustin: It's artistic.
Steve Diggle: I gotta say, the amount of people that say, "When I bought that record, when I was like 14 or 15," their mum and dad would hear it upstairs, going "What are you listening to?" That's how sophisticated it was, and that's how innocent it was in some ways.
But what was great was getting that out on the major label, and the next one to come out, "What Do I Get?," the b-side was called "Oh Shit," so they came out again.
Dustin: Did that one get delayed?
Steve Diggle: Yeah!
Jeff: Of course! Speaking of those days when that's coming out and you guys are catching fire, I'm always curious from bands that are catching fire in your hometown, in your area, and then you come over to the States. What was it like when Buzzcocks finally came over to the states for the first time?
Steve Diggle: We took about two years to come over, because we was doing well in Britain and we still got all that Top of the Pops thing, all that chart stuff, we was having chart hits; it was needed for their and we were doing a lot of shows all down Britain and stuff. Certainly, like you say, we all caught fire, certainly this punk rock thing came like carpet bombs. But like I say, it was all word of mouth, it's an amazing thing.
And it's like, "Yeah, we've gotta get to the States at some point." Somehow it turned into two years before we got here. We played two nights at Irving Plaza, and the Ramones came to see us. Unfortunately, it was live on the radio and the drummer pulled the ID down, which was probably sacrilege in those days. Then the radio went mad and some five borough cop backstage, so we were just told to run. So we couldn't meet the Ramones. "Sorry, Joey, Johnny. We've gotta go, we been in trouble."
We did the two nights there, and then we ended up doing things up the coast to LA. The first gig was the Santa Monica Civic. The reason I know it was two years is because a lot of people went by the bus to sign things, saying "We waited two years for this!" We didn't realize it was that long. So we did the Santa Monica Civic. I do remember Elvis Costello was playing the Whiskey, and I thought, "Well if he's playing there, we're gonna playing some fucking dive bar somewhere." But Santa Monica Civic was sold out. On our first tour!
Dustin: So the reception was incredibly well when you came to the States.
Steve Diggle: Yeah. That two year delay, really, which wasn't a deliberate thing -
Dustin: But it built up anticipation. It's almost you were trying to market!
Steve Diggle: But, it was like, "We'll go there one day, if somebody saw us out on the tours in Britain.
Jeff: What was your personal impression of the States when you got to come over here?
Steve Diggle: Well, going to New York, playing at the Lexington Park Hotel. It's that classy thing, the '70s, it was the films "Kojak," with the steam coming out. People like David Bowie had come to New York before. It was like, "Wow, that must be great to go to New York." And that was amazing, it's like we touch base. I think we spent the first five hours drinking Budweiser in the bar.
Dustin: Is that the thing to do when you first come to America?
Steve Diggle: You can get Budweiser in Britain now, but at the time, it was like, "Huh, this is the American beer."
Dustin: It's like going to Ireland and going straight for the Guinness.
Steve Diggle: Exactly that kind of thing. But you know, it was exotic, New York, and the States itself. You gotta remember, we grew up with Batman, the '60s one, and all the movies. All the preconceived things you have about it. So it, was always good. We always said, you gotta kick ass in America, so embraced that, as we do. Looking at America, they don't give a fuck about what you're wearing, it's about this. That's why a lot of British bands don't kick ass when they come over here. Some of them fail.
It was magical to come to the States. Making it from Manchester to London was a big deal, then the next thing is New York and everywhere else in the States.
Jeff: And now you guys have been all over the world, and you're still going strong. You talked earlier - how many shows are you guys playing a year nowadays?
Steve Diggle: Well, we did eighty last year, and we did a ninety the year before and said that we would take it a little easier, then before you know it, it's like we're up to eighty.
Jeff: I'm sure a lot of that's the festival circuit.
Steve Diggle: Well, it's festivals and shows. Some of this, your kind of like fly to it, for a festival, you're kinda back the next day. Then the next day you might be in Spain, or the week later. Some of that goes on. You're forever jumping on planes. But that's been my life, and I kinda like it. Some bands go on the road and all that, but I kinda like it. That's what I signed up to do and that's why I'm here.
Dustin: So it still has some magic for you.
Steve Diggle: Yeah. I mean, you get people when you get to my age, "Oh, this on the road business; I miss my wife, my kids," and all this kinda [Laughs].
Dustin: But you're meant for the road.
Steve Diggle: Some cokehead down here [crosstalk 00:20:48].
Jeff: This is a perfect moment for this question then. On this show, we ask all of our guests this: with your entire career - and you have an absolute love for it, like you love what you do and you get to do that - what fuels you to keep doing it? What fuels you to wanting to keep doing eighty shows a year, and going out there?
Steve Diggle: I mean, we don't have to do it. I've got houses and things like that. I could sit down and just... We gave a lot in the beginning; it was important to do this kind of music and make the songs. You try and do what you can with it in the songwriting, and all this kind of stuff. The songwriting's always interesting as well, and the band working together. It's about the people, really. When you get up there and connect - you know, sometimes you might be a little tired when you go, but after two songs, it's like "Whoa, I'm getting..."
You get two juxtaposed things: You get the band and then you get the audience. But in between it becomes this magic. That's where you see god, Jesus, the devil, and every other fucking thing.
Dustin: It's your moment of zen.
Steve Diggle: Yeah, the moment of zen. The whole of life's sermons. You know, there's people in the audience with problems; the wife has just let him, you gotta pay the bills. But for a moment in your life, you can feel alive. That's the magic thing. It's like, you can feel it with the audience. Something to take away for that hour and a half or whatever it is, and that's very important, really. For me, that's really what it's all about. Otherwise, I would have been a car salesman, or something else.
To have that and to connect with people like that - you know, you may have heard this a little bit before, but there's something magical, and that's all we've got, really, each other. That shared experience - you can feel it in each room everywhere you play, but it's still fundamentally that thing underneath. That's what keeps you going. If you go in there and think, "I'm just running through the motions," if I felt like that, I'd give up tomorrow.
I've got my house in Greece, I've got my house in London - I could retire swimming. But I'm gonna rock 'til I drop. You know, it's the belief in people, that shared thing that we had at the beginning, the rock 'n roll thing. The first time I hear Chuck Berry, or the Beatles or the Kinks or something - there's something in it that's it's the best thing you could ever have. You could have the biggest car in the world, the biggest house, even the biggest cock, but if you ain't got music there... it gets you through a lot of things, really.
Dustin: Is there any music that you hear nowadays that you're inspired by? Or is it slim pickings for the most part?
Steve Diggle: No Chuck Berrys. It is slim pickings. I do it, but we're all into Facebook and the phones.
Dustin: That's what's nice about this, right? You get the fuck away from it for a hot minute. It's nice.
Steve Diggle: I can't get reception, I'm like, "Why am I [inaudible 00:24:16]"
Jeff: It's an excellent feeling to be disconnected for a minute. But what you're talking about is exactly again the ethos of Buzzcocks. You're so authentic with it, and if you're authentic in life, I think that's what makes life worth it.
Steve Diggle: Yeah, I mean some people it's about stardom and show business. It's never like that for us, we're not impressed with that, so we don't mean anything. You don't see the greats hanging about with those kinds of dudes. Even Bob Dylan will check into a motel somewhere because he's already recognized in a big hotel. You don't seem them with big cars and people's faces on the news.
It's about the life-changing, shared experience thing. I'm in love with the music and the power, and like on this boat today, there's a lot of feelings, a lot of things that - the people we're dealing with, they're getting what you're doing. That's so important. You know, you're asking about new bands and stuff and it's kinda lost it's way. Now, with fucking Steve Jobs - actually, he's three weeks older than me, same age. When I died, I thought "Would I rather be me or would I rather be as rich as Steve Jobs and die. Because iTunes's giving all the money away. For a young band now, you put a record out and you're not gonna get any money. If nobody hears you, you're not gonna get an audience where you get money from them to play. So it's very hard anyway for a young band and it really saddens me. Spotify giving everything away, and all this corporate stuff.
Dustin: We talk about it all the time on the show because it happens, the same thing, to actors, where it's like now with technology, anybody can make a movie, anyone can make music on their own, which seems like a great thing, but the downside of that is that everybody's fucking making music and their own shows -
Jeff: If everybody's doing it, is anybody listening to it?
Dustin: How can you discriminate against what you're actually going to like, and... Too many goddamn choices!
Steve Diggle: What I like to say it that it's like Christmas; you know, you open up the box of chocolates, and you eat the full box of chocolates you feel sick. So you go on YouTube and you can see everything, or Spotify. Nothing's precious. You don't listen properly, I just feel sick after. It's so much different than the old days, with the records. It was precious.
Dustin: You would sit down and digest it and listen to every word, and learn the lyrics.
Steve Diggle: It's a whole experience. You take it in.
Dustin: But now people are flipping everywhere.
Steve Diggle: I can get on the next, you know. And you have lesser [inaudible 00:27:26] for it. You know, it's like you're in that dilemma, like are you sounding old because you remember the old records, and vinyl and stuff. And you see the difference and no one can exist in this digital world. So, you wonder how they can function and do it. What we need is an indie virus to fucking spot it all. Fuck Spotify and all that.
Dustin: Especially after being on this boat and being away from my phone for a hot minute it's like, "Oh, shit, that's why things were cool!"
Steve Diggle: Yeah, I've started to realize I have a book in my bag, Last Exit From Brooklyn, and I thought, I've had it in my bag for ages and kids are going to hotels and all looking - so I started reading it again.
But you know what we should do, we should make a movie about putting a virus in all this Spotifys and that.
Dustin: I love it.
Steve Diggle: So then we'll bring the music in.
Dustin: That's what I'm talking about, it's happening.
Steve Diggle: The movies -
Jeff: I frickin' love it. Genius idea. We'll do it. I'm so happy that the Buzzcocks are still in the world, still kicking ass, and even though the landscape nowadays is really tough for new bands, it's incredible that you guys are still doing it and still who you are.
Steve Diggle: We gotta keep going and keep the faith. You gotta keep the faith with people. And even though, sometimes the young kids get put down by these - there are a lot of young kids out there that kinda still know about the guitars. It all comes in waves, I'm sure. I get the feeling now, like "Enough of that kind of downloading stuff. Let's go see someone in the local bar playing and appreciate." They're not going "Isn't that so over, you gotta be Lady Gaga if you want to get anywhere."
That's like going to the moon for a kid that can't afford a guitar.
Dustin: I think culture will kinda get tired of the shininess and what's going on with technology now, and they'll get back to the authentic side of things.
Steve Diggle: And I know there's a lot of computer geeks and stuff, but at the same time, there's a lot of people - I can kinda get this feeling - that are like "You know what? Bands used to make music." Some of those young kids discovered the Beatles, and Zeppelin, and the Sex Pistols. There's still elements of that.
Dustin: And we see vinyl coming back, which is like -
Steve Diggle: 70% is coming back.
Dustin: We need that tactile thing in our lives, and technology has kind of ripped that away from us. I think we'll just find our way back.
Steve Diggle: I've never downloaded a thing in my life. I've had a dump but I'm not a downloader. Deep down and dirty. I've never downloaded things, I've never seen Spotify. Fuck that.
Jeff: Movie about a virus, I'm in.
Steve Diggle: But also, let me tell you this: when we went to five months, I just brought a [inaudible 00:30:29] and called it a space [inaudible 00:30:29]. And the box said the four albums I've done in between the Buzzcocks. I keep working in between.
If you look up on Steve Diggle Facebook -
Jeff: I was just gonna say that, the best way for fans to follow you is your Facebook? OK, awesome.
Steve Diggle: I still do underground there. I don't let a lot of people on. People who want to put [inaudible 00:30:56] on my Facebook are the fucking kids. But I just do it that way. I don't even got even sponsored fucking Facebook, and all this kind of stuff. If you wanna know where to get in touch with me and where to buy the records, it's just there. There's no billboards. I know I'm getting genuine people. I've sent these records around the world. The distributor person hadn't seen 'em. But it's a low key thing, but I kind of like it like that. You can start touring the levels of this and that. I kind of like sending vinyl and CDs to people. I'm sure there will be a CD revival soon.
Dustin: That would be weird. I don't know about that.
Steve Diggle: It's around the corner.
Dustin: When that happens, I'll remember this conversation. I think CDs were the worst invention ever. They get scratched up like crazy.
Steve Diggle: The reason I'm saying this is that when I put the record out, some people wanted CDs. I was thinking, I did the vinyl, but people wanted CDs so I did the CDs. I was thinking, "I need to find my CD player and set it up," because they sent me a test pressing.
Dustin: Blow the dust off.
Steve Diggle: How do I do this now?
Dustin: Which side do I put it on?
Steve Diggle: Should I jump on it and see if it breaks first? But I put it in and it sounded amazing. Not as good as vinyl, because it's a shorter way. Vinyl's got the bass and the top wave like the ocean.
Dustin: But a CD's gonna sound a million times better than an MP3.
Steve Diggle: Oh yeah. By that time, that big wave form like the sea it's chopped each time. The CD chops it. But the MP3, it's like they're nothing.
But I put the CD on thinking that I'm testing this as a test press, at the time, and I was blown away, going "Wow!" My CDs are all packed away in the fucking roof somewhere, like everybody's. Take it down to the local shop and go, "That's it. That's my life right there." It sounded amazing. And I never thought - I haven't put a CD on for about eight years, or something. But wow, this is amazing!
So I'm selling CD box sets now, maybe to do that for the physical thing. They've gone to Russia, China...
Dustin: That's excellent!
Steve Diggle: But the fact that people want the CDs, I find that cool. At least people want something physical.
Jeff: Again, it's the physical thing.
Steve Diggle: That was a big step down at the time. Like, "You're kidding me, these things? I can't read the information on the back."
But it's stevediggle.uk.com for the marking.
Jeff: I'll put that up in here too.
Steve Diggle: But folks can just get in touch with that, and then they'll get it the next day or the day after that. I could have signed these to record companies, but it's like we're in an underground world, like we're back at the beginning. The records sell, they make enough. I don't want to be talking to people going, "Oh, you want to do this and that?" Start jumping upside down on a video and stuff. That is the longevity thing about it, and the honesty thing.
I don't want to make a silly video. You know the crazy videos where I'm fucking dogsick and falling over. They get about ten billion views, but it's like if you do something like that in the video, people believe what I was doing. Like the words, and the music. Do you really want to see me do that? Just to sell a load of records? Then the people that will buy them are not the people who really should be buying them. I'd rather sell less for quality. Back to square one with it.
Dustin: It's nice to know you're holding up your end of the bargain.
Steve Diggle: Still punk rock at the end of the day!
Dustin: You're playing your role man, that's awesome.
Steve Diggle: If you hold the truth, people know the truth out there. People know inside when you listen to the records, the old records and the grooves, or the CDs and whatever now, they kinda know when you're bullshitting. Some people, some songs, when it's all made on the computer, song candy, it's just saying "I want a hit." But it's those other songs where, once you've heard it, your life's never the same again.
That's the thing about a great song, you know, like I'll never be that person again before I listened to that. Changed my life. Those are the ones you want really. And that's why I try and stick to, because it's about life and death for me.
Jeff: That's the best outlook. It really is, especially in this business. It gives me hope.
Steve Diggle: We gotta have hope with it, and we gotta have the belief in all that stuff. And I'm sure a lot of young kids as well - the MTV or whatever, that's corporate control. That's money music. This song is saying "Give me your fucking money." It's not saying anything about you or your heart or your mind. You known them songs. They stink of corporate fucking money. Harvey Weinstein, but they're calling it a fucking song. Raping you for your fucking bucks.
Jeff: Well, thank you so much for what you do in the world, and thanks for sitting down and talking with us.
Dustin: Keep crusading, sir.