Stewart Treize is my friend (12.02)

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When I was 14 I put an ad for pen pals in Smash Hits that consisted of David Bowie song titles formed into a sentence. I got hundreds of replies from all over the world. Stewart Walden (he wasn’t called Treize back then) was my favourite – he blew my mind! I’d never met anyone so smart and funny and bad and brilliant. Twenty years later he is still a true original and he is still my friend. Here’s a little interview with him.

What is your earliest memory of me?
1. You put a pen pal ad in Smash Hits, something about martians in the bath? Memory fails me.

2. Early letters (Sept 1983) in which you and your friend (M… something) were hanging out with The Sid Presley Experience. My letters were huge vast things with too much sellotape wrapped around them.

3. First met Aug/Sept 1986. I used Neil Campbell’s address for mail, and you came to visit and I found you sitting on Neil’s doorstep, huge fluorescent pink hair, pill-scribbled leggings, mirror shades. You stayed a few days, then at the train station me and Neil were sat with you on a bench, waiting for your train. We decided to start a magazine, and were trying to think of a title. Neil took one look at my crap beard and said “Goat”. In November you returned for the ‘Public Hanging’ gig that Neil put on. (Con-Dom, The Strolling Ones, Omming For Woks, Redemption Inc.) and we were all scared of Mike Dando until we heard his accent.

How many times have you changed your name? What did you change it to?
Changed from Walden to Bizarro in 1986 after Neil Campbell called my brother Martin “Mr Bizarro” after a Monochrome Set b-side. Changed back to Walden in 1989 after The Wedding Present called their album ‘Bizarro,’ and I didn’t want to be mistaken for a fan. Changed from Walden to Treize by deed poll in 1996 with my partner, so we’d have the same name. Treize is the name on my passport. Watch this space for future changes.

Please list all the bands you’ve ever been in
Stewart Walden And Neil Campbell; Neil Campbell and Stewart Walden; C and W; Smell and Quim; Nancy Lee Billy; Barry Manilow Pinkle-Winkle; 27 August; Hebetation; Kazoo Orchestra; a; The Strolling Ones; The Creation Room; ZZ Bottom; Um; Um Sugarplum; RKD; Oozit; us; Elvis Lives And The Credible Stamping Bosanquets; Sheep With Attitude; Unplayable Records; Sneezing; Well Crucial; Neil/Richard/Simon/Stewart; Tape Hiss; The Same; Dr Walden and Andy Pandy; 10 Inch Orange; Wingsnack; The Stewart Greenwood Jazz Quartet; Cucumber Sandwich; Ivy’s Oxford Breadfruit; Hammond Mullet And Sarah Felchmore; The Monotony Commission; Cheetah’s Crimbo; z; Black Hunger; Prick Decay; Off; Skeleton Pudding; The Ultimate Roof-Racks; Stave; Quench; The Flying Ko’s; Stewart and The Sex Addicts; Stewart Bizarro And The Restless Maggots; Nihil; Stewart Walden/TUOB; Gay Animal Women; Stream Ov Abuse; Helter Skelter; JIPAC; Sneezing; Redemption Inc.; The Prankster’s Circus Of The Obsurd; The History Of Gardening; The Cheeky Monkeys.

This list is neither complete nor in chronological order.

What was your favourite?
My favourite is always whichever I’m working with at the time, or the one I’m currently listening to. But if you wanna be Sue Lawley about it, I’d have to choose Tape Hiss. Why? A line-up of myself on drums and vocals, Neil Campbell on guitar and vocals, and Richard Youngs on guitar and vocals. Booked into the studio for four hours, but within two hours we’d recorded all twenty-two songs AND listened to the playback afterwards. So we left. Nothing else, ever. The tape was released on Richard’s No Fans label, but those rabid American collector’s don’t seem to know about it.

How famous are you?
In 1995 there was a minor disagreement between Mr Simon Morris and myself over who was the more famous of the two of us. We each thought the other was the more famous. So we held a vote. For the next twelve months, voters could vote their choice, sending their votes to Stan Batcow. At the end of that time, we held a ‘Walden vs Morris’ evening, at which some of our bands performed. These included Cheetah’s Crimbo, a band I formed that night, comprising people I’d never met before, and didn’t know if they could play or not. The band were awesome, and I sang Richard’s lyrics that he’d written for the Tape Hiss project, and not used. In the end, it was very close, but I got slightly less votes, which in my opinion means I won. (Hey, American politics copies British tape legends!)

How do you spend an average day?
Let’s take today as an example. Saturday November 2nd.

Party last night, home about 2am. Switch on the World Service and fall asleep. Wake at 8am. Switch to Radio 2 for Sounds Of The Sixties, followed by J.Ross. Get dressed, same clothes as yesterday mostly. Fill water butt. Kettle on, a pint of Assam tea. Bowl of cereal, a pint of coffee. Feed small kitten. Read a chapter of “Ginger Geezer”, the Vivian Stanshall biography. Lose fight with small kitten. Catch bus into town. Visit library to check e-mails. Write this stuff.

Later I expect my day will proceed as follows: Shopping, bus home, cook and eat lunch. Charge up my mobile. Go to the wood, find a large dryish piece of tree, drag it home, chop it up for warmth. Set up my portastudio and Casio, record some music for my forthcoming album ‘The Inexhaustible Quest For The Cosmic Cabbage,’ lose another fight with the kitten, put away the music gear, let the kitten chew the remains of the headphones. Make more tea. Read ‘The Guardian,’ while listening to the new Tori Amos album. Have a sandwich. Go back to the party (it’s a 3-day event) with a bottle of cheap red wine.

Apart from the party this seems fairly typical at the moment.

Describe yourself in ten words.
Very very very very very very very very very annoying.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I can’t remember which questions I’ve not yet replied to. I’ve had another idea for a band. A rock band that can’t play, called The Shambles. Know anyone who fits the bill?