Interview with Joe Foster

Joe Foster needs no introduction. He was there right at the beginning and helped start Creation. Now running the Rev-ola label, we caught up with Joe to ask him about his time with the label and he tells us how he was responsible for the ’31st Most Important Moment in Rock History’ (Mary Chain North London riot)- NME.

Before Creation you were in the Television Personalities, how did you become involved with them?

I was at The Oratory School with Ed Ball, Dan Treacy, and John and Gerard Bennett, who were the original members

Do you still see any of the band?

Yes, I see Ed all the time…..I see Dave Musker a lot, I see John Bennett occasionally…..I see Mark Flunder once in a while….I saw Mark Sheppard on “The X-Files”….┬áThe Television Personalities featuring Joe.

How did you first meet Alan & Dick?

Too long ago to remember clearly….Alan would….

Mary Chain at North London Poly- You did the sound at some of the early Mary Chain gigs, are there any memories that stick in your mind from those days?

Chaos….and lunacy….North London Poly show, Dave out of Biff Bang Pow was doing front of house with me, I went back to check an amp during the show, jim Reid was pulled off stage by some Rugby club yahoos for a kicking, I jumped into the melee like Iggy (sounds far more heroic and exciting than it was actually, I probably looked a complete prick)…..and we escaped, only to be prevented from regaining the stage by “security”, who we had to fight too!….then it all went off and the building was trashed….I had a part time gig at the poly in the language department from which I was of course fired in no uncertain terms, so I won’t forget that in a hurry! Also Karen Parker being hit by a flying bottle at a show somewhere or other, I took her to casualty (A&E for our younger readers) and was recognised and attacked by some indie wanker who’d got hurt in the ensuing riot….allegedly….though a guy who’s up for starting a punch up in a hospital, well….what can I say…C86 yeah!!

What was the best period of Creation for you?

Anytime pre-Sony really……

Are there any Creation bands or records that you still love today as much as the old days?

All of them

The House of Love have just reformed with Terry Bickers back on guitar, how do you feel about that and are you gonna go and see them live?

Terry lives near me and I see him quite a lot, and encouraged him to go for this, though I stress I can’t claim any influence or credit whatsoever here, brief pub or streetcorner conversations can get awful blown up in some people’s minds in my experience, but I’m not that deluded yet!….I think it will be great, Terry is an excellent and exciting player, playing with friends in local bands very occasionally he was clearly the star performer he always was….yes, I expect I will go and see them…..

You publicly critisiced the label in the mid-90’s for what it had become following the success of Oasis, do you still stand by your comments?

I don’t remember what I said….I was a drug addict…a well educated and articulate one, but one nonetheless…..but I expect I probably do….I’ll go for the Zen archery option….I’d just like to say that the Oasis boys themselves are top fellows, and have always been good friends to me, so there! (They loved the Moon CD I did recently too!)

You launched Rev-Ola as a Creation subsidary before, how does it compare to running the label these days?

It was harder work then in a way, because the Sony clique wanted me to fail, and always presented it as a failure because I hadn’t got Leonard Nimoy in the charts or something! playground shit, you know….but I had Alan’s unconditional support for the project, so it was OK, just a bit of a psychological downer at times…. Alan didn’t like either of the Creation books published a few years ago. How did you feel reading a couple of books based on the last 17 years of your life?

Cav’s book was written as an “end of an era” type book, for the incoming Sony people to read and laugh at in years to come once they’d got rid of us all….little did they know, we got rid of them!!It was all based as far as I could tell on the bile of people who didn’t like us, and failed in their grandiose dreams…..I hardly recognised anyone in there, and whilst I myself *am* a fairly preposterous figure in many ways, I’m sorry, just not in the ways described….a lot of that stuff not only never happened, but logically could *not* have happened..some people tried to cover their own shabby behaviour by presenting it as a blow against the McGee gang of defilers of Indie, rather than the pathetic whinging loser crap it was..some people tried to present themselves as big music business players laughing behind their hands at we silly fuckers (where are they now, I wonder?)….and some people who couldn’t hit back were given a roasting, which is what Alan especially objected to…..actually, Paolo’s book was better, details no more accurate really, but I thought he captured the mad atmosphere, which meant that the detail was interesting, but not official history….who cares what a bunch of obvious nutters and druggies say about each other!!

What are the future plans for Rev-ola?

More of the same, different genres, same shit!…..people seem to like my approach to this stuff…..so why the hell not!….put some early ’80’s indie, Punk, Paisley Underground in there too, you know the drill, getting a bit too ’60’s at the moment…..but the Softpop will continue!…..

You were involved in setting up Poptones, how did that compare to Creation?

Easier in some ways, harder in others…..I thought we did pretty well….silver, gold and platinum straight out of the chute…..no one does that!

Do you still keep in touch with Alan & Dick?

Yes

What’s Ed Ball doing these days, do you still see him?

Ed is making films….yes, I see him and speak to him all the time…..

Is The Times album “Live At The Astrodome” a proper live album? As I have been told recently that it is a studio recording with a crowd dubbed on, possibly from a Beatles gig.

I wouldn’t put anything past the Naughty Shed!….you’ll have to ask him, if it’s true, a Chelsea matchday crowd seems more likely to me….but it may well be a live album….Ed is as popular as The Beatles ever were in some territories you know…..writes better songs too…..

Will Rev-Ola be reissuing The Times albums? If so, which ones?

Very likely eventually…..I would think all of them……until everyone screams…..I love Eddie….

There’s a scratched copy of “This Is London/Hello Europe” going for $207 on Gemm.com? Do you keep an eye on how much The Times CD’s on Rev-Ola now go for?

No I don’t have time….I’ve got reissues to do, new artists to record, stuff to write….the above is a bit cheeky though, isn’t it?…$207?….oh dear!

Finally, have you got a message for the kids today?

You mean apart from Be Reasonable…..Demand The Impossible?……I suppose…..always propose yourself as a figment of your own imagination….no one will know….

Interview:2002