black market baby

black market baby, an interview

boyd farrell and ian mackaye
Ian and Boyd
photo by Brian Kiviat

Boyd Farrell and Tommy Carr of Black Market Baby came up to radio station WMUC one Thursday afternoon. This is a fairly accurate account of what they had to say about the band, their recent LP Senseless Offerings (F. of Y. records), and things. Also in the studio were the famous (infamous?) Brian Kiviat, and Derrick Hsu, of Fountain of Youth.

This interview was conducted in the fall of 1983. Since then the band has undergone some drastic changes. Scott left the band and Keith Campbell was reinstated in time to play the Girlschool show. They recorded some new material, and some of the new stuff will be included on a Flipside/Enigma compilation LP. Tommy Carr left the band to explore other realms. Myk Dulfi left the band and is playing guitar in Iron Cross. The band is planning to reform and play around with a new drummer and bass player. Anyhow, in light of the fact that new material will be out soon, and the fact that this interview pertains to the Senseless Offerings LP which is pretty neat. Ahhhhhhhh give me help.

Vicki S.

VS: Why don't you introduce yourselves to our listeners?

TC: Hi, my is Tommy Carr, I play the drums.

BF: My name's Boyd Farrell...

TC: With an F.

BF: And I block the bottles.

VS: Tell me about the song Downward Christian Soldiers, since we just listened to it.

BF: What it comes down to is I was home one Sunday, very bored. I was watching one of those PTL Club things and it just got to the point that I got so aggravated about what they were saying. They're all sitting around in these really nice suits and plush sets saying how they need money to build more PTL Club temples, places of worship and it just seemed pretty ridiculous—sitting there in such splendor and, you know people are starving...

TC: Exploiting religion.

BF: Yeah. It's just kind of a reaction to that (exploitation).

VS: Why don't you give a brief history of the band.

BF: Okay. It started in...

TC: Feb. 1980.

BF: Well, it started before that—that was like when we did our first gig. It actually goes back to...

TC: That's when I started playing. That's when I consider the beginning of the band.

BF: Well, let's go back to the history—you didn't start the band. Anyway, what happened was—I was hanging around in Bowie, MD, pretty much bored with what was going on out there, so I hung out in the city. I saw a lot of bands. I saw the Penetrators, who I thought were excellent. I saw this band, the D.Ceats, who I thought were pretty good. I was hanging around with my chum at the time—Paul Cleary—who now plays bass with Iron Cross. Paul and I decided we would get a band together and the first person we wanted to talk to was Keith Campbell from D.Ceats. His band was having hard times and I pretty much pirated him out of that band. We now had a guitar player. We decided we needed a drummer. There was this kid...

TC: Hey...

BF: Who was like 16 years old at the time, who I thought was very good, which, was Tommy Carr, of course. I wanted to go after him. Keith said he didn't think we could get Tommy. But through perseverance and getting him out there and playing with us—he decided to join and that's how the band started off.

BF: Then we went on long a while. Many beers and other things...

TC: Love lifes, love...

BF: Yeah, we lost Paul. I think the excess of fast living caught up with him—at the time—and we replaced him with Mike Dolfi (bass), who was from a band called the Resistors. We went on our merry way again. In the meantime I quit a couple of times. Then the last time I quit we reformed with Scott Logan (guitar) who was from Tommy's original band, the Penetrators. Keith wasn't a part of this thing—and that's, how it stands today.

VS: Okay. Now you can redeem yourself for the song Gunpoint Affection. You get lots of flack for this one I bet.

BF: Yeah, lots of it: From my mother, my wife, my daughter—and shes only 16 months, everybody that I run into—from the female sex—is pretty much against that song. But that song was written about a TV movie. That's what got me started. It was called the Other Victim. I mean it has been a while since I've been out raping and pillaging cities—

VS: But you have?

BF: No.

VS: It's written in the first person that is pretty powerful.

BF: Yeah, thats what throws it off. It's really just kind of a demented love song. I know that sounds weird—but that's what it is. It's not to be taken seriously. I'm not advocating any kind of rape. I must point out at this time that one of the first benefits BMB ever did was for the Rape Crisis Center.

VS: Okay, we'll listen to that song now, Gunpoint Affection.

BF: Ewwww...

VS: Tell me about This Year's Prophet.

BF: That song is directed towards a lot of HC bands—especially on the west coast.

TC: One singer in particular.

BF: Yeah, but I don't want to name anyone at this time. There's a lot of these singers out there who are too political and like they keep these messages coming and force it on everybody. They are just as bad as the people they are rebelling against.

BK: They couldn't be from San Francisco, could they?

BF: Well actually they could be.

VS: The music, it's different from the rest of the album, it's slower, much more pondering.

TC: Well, I did write the music. It was just an idea I had for a song. I attempted to write some lyrics...

BF: But he can't write yet...

TC: Yeah—it was just an idea. Boyd handed me some lyrics. The lyrics went right with the music. So we got a song out of it. It also leaves room for the future, so we can write other songs that aren't so boxed in, so ddddddd sounding, so we can have a little room to move.

BF: Yeah, and the tempo of the album is pretty fast. I think its a welcome relief to put it at the end. And if you've drank a lot and you're about ready to pass out—its a good song to listen to.

VS: Okay, now I can ask you why your voice sounds so nasal on this song.

BF: Oh, I had a cold.

VS: You try to stay away from tradition?

BF: We just do our own thing, man. This band is—not intentionally—the most...you really can't predict anything we're gonna do. Sometimes I wish you could—then we'd be a little more organized.

TC: There have been a lot of changes day one till now. There have been personnel changes and personality changes.

VS: Well you've managed to survive the many local trends. Are BMB hardcore?

BF: Well...

TC: Let's go to another question.

BF: No, I wouldn't say were HC. It's pretty weird. The more new wave, new music crowd consider us HC. But the hardcore punks consider us more in the middle. We've had gigs turned down before, they say, "Oh, you're too HC," or, "You're not HC enough." But we just grin and bear it.

BF: Everyone in the band is a better singer then I am. That's why I'm the lead singer. That's the kind of logic this band has.

VS: We're going to listen to another song, from the 45. Youth Crimes. Youth Crimes is fairly popular with the crowd...

BF: Yeah, THE CROWD. The Roller-coaster kids. Being in a band in this town is equivalent to riding on a roller-coaster. One minute up, one minute down.

TC: It's like sex...

BF: This song was recorded in 1981—Skip produced it. You'll notice there are a lot of mistakes. We went through a few cases of beer while this was being recorded. On the last line of the first verse its supposed to be "They don't hear what you say. They don't see, they're too blind," but I sang "They don't see what you say, they don't hear they're too blind," so I got it backwards. Just a little bit of trivia, in case anyone has that single.

(We listen to Youth Crimes)

VS: We were going to compare World at War on this record with World at War on the Connected compilation record. But we're not going to. But tell me why you decided to use two live cuts on this (Senseless Offerings) record.

BF: I didn't decide to do it. Derrick did. He kept pushing for two live cuts. I did it on the condition that Keith play on it.

TC: Direct the question to Derrick.

VS: Okay, Derrick, why?

DH: Well, to fill up time. So I wouldn't have a 30 minute LP.

BK: I'm glad 'cus those songs are so hard to find, you have to go out and buy those compilations.

BF: Well if everyone wasn't so damn cheap. That's one thing about you students. You never have any money. Every time we play I get 20 million calls to get put on the guest list—but I understand, I'm sorry.

what's BMB going to be doing next year?

BF: Who's to say? We could break up tomorrow or have a big hit. I couldn't even begin to speculate. There's so many things that can happen.

TC: Yeah, we have so much to do. If we do the things we intend to anyway.

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© Dementlieu or respective authors 2005