Seeing Stars

Zillo Music Magazine, Germany, July/August 1997

Many thanks to Berki for transcribing, translating and sending this in. Marty's answers have gone from English to German and back again, so if things sound a bit weird, you know why !
They are still considered the band of the romantic hippy-gothicism: All About Eve. At the end of the eighties still on the road of success, it became quiet around them after the departure of guitarist Tim Bricheno (who joined the Sisters Of Mercy in 1990). Two more albums were released, and since then they remained disappeared. Now three members of the last All About Eve line-up are back: bassist Andy Cousin, drummer Marc Price and the Ex-Church-guitarist Marty Willson-Piper, who replaced Bricheno in 1991. They call themselves Seeing Stars, and the recently by Borderline Records released self-titled album is a convincing statement for the timelessness of dark romantic.

"Trust your own ears", Marty writes on the cover of Seeing Stars. The music counts, nothing else. On phone, Marty explaines (the release of the album is going low key, there is no big promotion), that they are not in it for success, image, Rock'n'Roll-lifestyle, trends or zeitgeist. Most of the musicians say that, but Marty conveys such a catching enthusiasm for unhip things (country life, lawn-mowing, Progressive Rock), that you believe three boys are just doing what they always preferably liked to do and what they still enjoy doing. The album was produced in the english countryside, in a secluded studio near the Welsh border and in a record time of two weeks - including the writing of the songs. "We just sat together and tried ideas, developed songs, and when the musical structure was ready the other two guys disappeared and said: Hey, Marty, we'll need the lyrics at two o'clock" Marty explains. "Everything was absolutley spontaneous, no long preperation, no endless polishing of the production. And the recording out there in the studio was really fun, because you could make noise day and night. In addition there was this pub from the 16th century nearby, where we went every evening drinking self-brewed beer and eating freshly-prepared meals. It was fantastic."

That was two years ago. One reason why Seeing Stars wasn't released at this time was that an american record company, which wanted to release the record, went bankrupt a few weeks before, the other reason was that Marty was doing an acoustic-tour with the Church and subsequently had to organize his move from Stockholm to England (whereby the transport of his 18000 records was the biggest problem). He now lives close to Glastonbury and enthuses about the green hills and the little tranquil English villages around.

"I think the Seeing Stars album is, at least by the lyrics, more orientated at the urban living" he says. "But in the long run you're influenced completely when you live in the countryside. You simply feel better. I don't believe in the myth of urban living. For me, the cities are not the place where you meet the cool people, you just meet deplorable characters. If they were so cool, why then do they live in far too expensive flats, wear sunglasses in the dark, drink Cappuccinos and think they are important ? - I attach no value at all to this adulation of 'real life' und all the violence. I don't need songs from Rap-Bands which sing about how much they hate women und how cool it is to have a weapon. Why is attacking people so glorified? Why does nobody preferably read a good book some time, takes a walk in nature, kisses someone you love, does something good for someone else or picks up some garbage instead of throwing it there?"

No question: once a hippy, always hippy. Marty doesn't put it this way though: "I've grown up in the seventies, but I'm not a loafer who wants to live outside of society. I'm a workaholic. I preferably want to improve something." The seventies have not just formed Marty's social attitude but also well the way he considers music and the business belonging to it. "I just can't get along with this image-thing" he sighs. "In the seventies it made no difference at all how the bands looked like. Nobody cared about how Pink Floyd looked." [Right, that explaines at lot (a comment by the author)]. "They had an image consisting of psychedelic colours and patterns and that was the good thing about that. Today I still listen a lot to Progressive Rock. Early Genesis-albums, early Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant, Tangerine Dream, Can, the first LP of Emmerson, Lake And Palmer. My taste doesn't change just because the trend changes. And there's something else I don't understand." he continues. "Nowadays it somehow seems that music always has to make you move and dance. It's all about 'groove'. Music never animated me to move but to think!" And now the enthusiast comes through again: "Music is something that stimulates your brain! Dave Gilmour's guitar or Jaki Liebzeit's drums go through my head, not through my legs. I'm interested in the melody, the lyrics, the tension, the atmosphere!"

Meanwhile all three Seeing Stars are into other projects. Marc Price plays drums with Del Amitri and Andy Cousin has founded a band called Lucynation with his girlfriend. And Marty, still a steady member of The Church, works with Julianne Reagan, singer of All About Eve, on an acoustic album, whereby it's not yet clear if it will be released under the old bandname. "For me it's always an All About Eve-record if Julieanne sings." Marty says. "'Mice', her first solo album, could have been released as All About Eve. If Roger Waters had released his albums as Pink Floyd, he certainly would have had more success. And we're not in the position actually to release records with an obscure name in the hope that people will like it, no matter who's behind it. If you've built up a good name and still do what this name stands for, then you should use this name without further ado, I think. I still don't know who will be on this album besides us two, but as long as Julianne sings, All About Eve is justified."

It may be lasting some time until this record is finished. Until then, Seeing Stars is more than a plate-warmer whose discovery is more than worthwhile. Trust your own ears.

Contact address:
Seeing Stars
c/o Borderline Music
Gamlestadtvaegen 1
1502 GBG Goeteborg, Sweden

Return to Seeing Stars page.
Return to Interviews page.