On April 12th 2003 Oghma Productions put together night of punk at The Living Room in Providence, R.I. with Tommy & The Terrors, The USM, The Sleazies and Mad Parade and 999.
Miss Lyn, Carl Biancucci and the infamous Helanie Saad made the trek down. Miss Lyn and Helanie were "old pals" of 999, always back stage with 999 just about every single time they played in Boston, NYC & R.I., way back when, in the days of yore!! Helanie, world traveler that she is, has seen 999 and Nick over the years in the UK and Europe. But for Miss Lyn this was an exciting time, seeing her old friend Nick after 18 or so years apart!! Many worlds and many lives had passed since then yet it seemed just like old days again!
To celebrate the recent rebirth of The BGN on the web Miss Lyn decided to conduct an interview with Nick Cash and, of course, enlisted the help of her friends Carl and Helanie….here's some of what came about over from that evening…..
ML - How come it's taken this long for you guys to come back to the states?
Nick - We've had management difficulties. We used to be managed by Ian Copeland but now we aren't so it's been difficult to get over here. That and the fact that work visas and getting into the country in general is so much more difficult now.
ML - How long has it been since the band played?
Nick - Well in England and Europe we've never stopped playing. We've never gone a year that we didn't play at least once.
ML - How long has it been since you played in the States?
Nick - We've managed to go to the West Coast a few times But I think the last time we played was in New York City 18 years ago! Boston and Detroit are some of the best places to play. We feel badly that we can't get there more often. They're difficult to get in to. I love playing over here though. When we first started out the sentiment was "Don't sell out, don't go to America!" but we thought we'd try it and we loved it! You know, music breaks down barriers. And it did when we came here.
HS- Yeah, you used to play at the Paradise all the time, like every 6 months!
Nick - Yeah, yeah The Paradise, I felt like I lived there.
ML - Have you been releasing records all along?
Nick - No, not for a while.
ML - The last one I got was 13th Floor Madness.
Nick - Ha, 13th Floor Madness. We were trying for a new sound. The Beatles had Sergeant Pepper, we had 13th Floor Madness but it didn't work for us.
CB - Are you guys writing any new stuff?
Nick - Yeah! We're doing a couple tonight. One of our new songs is called Absolution, religious overtones you know. But everyone wants us to do the old stuff really.
ML - You have a new bass player
Nick -Yes, Artur. I've known Artur for about 18 years now. He's an old friend so when John left he stepped right in. He's played with The Lurkers and The Business. He's a really great guy.
ML - What happened with John? Why'd he leave?
Nick - We lost John in 1985. We needed new management so John decided he was going to try his hand at managing us with a friend of his. He tried a few gigs but it didn't go as well as he thought. Punk had died off. He came to us and said "I want to leave on a high." We figured it was the right time, so he left us.
ML - I remember the first time I heard about 999. I was living in Maryland, just outside D.C.. Kim Kane from The Slickee Boys came over and said "Miss Lyn, I just bought this record I think you might like." And he held out the first album. I was a fan from the first second I saw the cover!
Nick -Oh yeah, the one with all the bright colors.
ML - Yes, it's all white and you guys are wearing bright colors and Nick, your lying on a piano I think.
Nick -We designed the album packaging ourselves. We wanted something bright.
HS - You were art students, right?
Nick -Yes, we were.
CB - So what bands do you like now?
Nick -Mad Parade are great. They are from L.A.. They've been helping us out on this tour. They lent us their equipment, amps and things. Green Day is pretty good but they're really influenced by the original early punk music.
CB - What about The Damned?
Nick -The Damned are great. They manage to get the Goth people but the music is the same really.
HS - Yeah, Captain Sensible is so funny. He still comes out in a pink tu-tu.
Nick -I was in a band once with Ian Dury we dressed up as women. I rather liked it actually. It was quite fun really. I don't do it anymore but I made a pretty good looking woman you know.
CB - How long is this tour?
Nick -11 dates on this tour. Providence, New York City, Hoboken, Hollywood, San Diego……most of the gigs have all been sold out.
CB - How was San Francisco?
Nick -Oh, there were punk transvestites at the gigs. San Francisco is a strange place; tables and chairs sticking out of walls. People playing chess outside. I'd love to have stopped to play but I didn't have time. But it's great to be back in America. Everyone is so enthusiastic and everyone is so helpful.
CB - How's the English punk scene?
Nick -It's healthy but there aren't as many places to play. Plus there's more disposable income over here. Over here gas is $2 a gallon, in England it's $8 and everything else is priced accordingly. The economy is bad, so it's hard. There's more stuff coming out here and there are more places to play. Do you get a lot of house music over here?
CB - No, it's not as big here. Hip Hop is big over here.
Nick -But it's going back to bands, isn't it? That's why we came back.
HS - A few years ago in L.A. you said "We're not Punk, we're New Wave."
Nick -Well, we're not really New Wave. It's hard to put us in a category. I thin the bands that were more original survived and we survived. My music will probably out last me!
ML - It will! I mean 999 has some true classics!! "Homicide" , "Emergency" and "High Energy Plan". Great stuff! There's a Boston band called the Kenmores that cover "Homicide". I'm sure there are bands everywhere covering that stuff! Have you ever thought of doing a 999's Greatest Hits type recording?
Nick -We've done three of 'em!
CB - You guys have always had a reputation as a great live band.
Nick -People like us because we get people going. I've always preferred the bands that came up through the pubs. That played a lot.
HS - When are you playing London again?
Nick - Nothing booked right now but we'll be in Germany for the Holiday In The Sun festival. Three days, a huge event, The Damned and lots of other bands and we give a few new bands a chance as well. I like playing those kinds of shows.
HS - Didn't you play Japan recently?
Nick -Yes, for the first time not long ago. They are all there at 8:30 going crazy. When you go on stage they sit down. They were very polite, they have a heirarchy over there. We asked for booze and they refused to give it to us before the show. They said "No, you'll fall down drunk!" They have strange views of us westerners. It was fun to go to the markets and see 999 stuff. They have so many wild fashions over there!
ML - Do you still get Groupies??
Nick -Ha! Yeah, they're 12!! Well, it's a terrible time right now, with AIDS and everything. When I was young I would sow the oats but now you have to be so careful. It's really sad. Those days of free love in the 60's and the 70's are gone now.
ML - Well a lot of time has passed since then!
Nick - My hair is falling out but I shaved it all off. It's rather punk isn't it?
ML - When you're touring; does it feel the same now as it did then?
Nick -Well a few more aches and pains now. Can't tour too much now. All my friends are dying. So many people are gone and I want to live!! But this is kind of fun, it's like the old days really. All these kids here tonight all have the same uniforms on don't they? In L.A. we did an all ages shows and 12 year old kids were coming up with albums for us to sign!