It is difficult to overestimate the impact Southern Death Cult had on music in the ’80s. A whole new movement seemed to crystallise around them and their gigs became rallying points where lives were changed and the course of alternative music shifted forever.
This was the beginnings of what would go on to be called Goth, but at the time was a multi-coloured blast of new bands, lots of gigs and fun by the bucket load. Colour and fun may not be synonymous with what Goth later became, but trust me in the early days it was heady stuff.
I had read about Southern Death Cult before I heard them and the first chance I got was a 30 minute live recording on one side of a C60 cassette (remember them?) It wasn’t what I was expecting, it was subtler and cleverer than that. It had a sound that had moved on from punk and looked to the future, tribal drums and a lack of powerchords meant that this sounded refreshingly new.
Other bands at the time had similar ideas, but it was Southern Death Cult who led the charge. Unfortunately, their time was cut short and they disbanded before even recording a debut album.
Singer Ian Astbury moved on to form Death Cult/ The Cult while guitarist David ‘Buzz’ Burrows, bassist Barry Jepson and drummer Aki Nawaz formed the excellent Getting the Fear. Despite a promising start and some excellent gigs, Getting the Fear also split before releasing an album, although a posthumous album was released recently.
These two short lived bands had a huge impact on my young life, one that has stayed with me ever since. Just one listen to either band and I am instantly transported back to a time when I seemed to have no pressing concerns other than when the next gig that would change my life was going to happen.
Sun 13 have been lucky enough to chat to guitarist David ‘Buzz’ Burrows and ask him 13 questions. Read on to find out more about getting French citizenship, Mick Ronson and following your instinct.
1. Where are you and what are you doing? How is that working out?
Buzz: “I’m in France, in my sculpture studio making a 5 foot tall Apollo 11 for a show at Don’t Walk Walk Gallery in Deal.
“It’s working out pretty well.”
2. When did you last make yourself do something you didn’t want to?
Buzz: “Ah I’m not very good at that. I don’t have to do things I don’t want to do very often… At least at the moment in my life I don’t, except I had to take a French exam as a post Brexit effort to get French Citizenship. That was a bit of a pain.”
3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?
Buzz: “Mick Ronson by miles. Going back some years as he’s been dead for a long time. But yeah.. a seriously lovely man. I met him at the RCA offices, such a gracious fella, fragile and impeccably dressed.”
4. When did you last get into an argument?
Buzz: “I don’t really get into arguments anymore.”
5. What’s your favourite food?
Buzz: “Pakistani Indian food! Italian second.”
6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
Buzz: “I consider it often…. It really is a pile of shit. I am convinced it will bring us all down. We are only primates, we aren’t sophisticated enough to communicate like that. It’s exposing just how unevolved and stupid we all are.
“I haven’t quit social media but I’m very strict about how often and what I post… and how often I look at it.”
7. What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
Buzz: “Oh there have been so many.. But a relatively recent one was here in France with Mark Manning… We had an insane time.”
8. Vinyl, CD, MP3 or Streaming?
9. What words of warning would you give your younger self?
Buzz: “I would advise myself to follow my instinct more than I did.”
10. When were you last told off?
11. What has been your favourite decade for music?
Buzz: “The ’70s.”
12. What band or record changed to course of your life?
Buzz: “The Sex Pistols of course, but in 1971 the first to really rattle my cage was T Rex.”
13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Buzz: “Cheers! Sorry I took so long!”