Siouxsie and the Banshees | 'Peepshow' | Released 30 years ago today | @satb_official pic.twitter.com/FB48GBnqxQ— Slicing Up Eyeballs (@slicingeyeballs) September 5, 2018
I don't write much about music these days, but I missed talking about the anniversary of Jane's Addiction's Nothing's Shocking a few weeks back, and that now feels like a mistake.
By this point in 1988, I would have just started my eighth grade year, and I do remember knowing who Siouxsie and the Banshees were, at least by appearance. And I recall the video for Peek-a-Boo hitting MTV.
If I was familiar with "women who rocked", there was the popstar model such as Madonna, or the guitar rock heroes of Heart, or metal-gilded kick-ass front women like Lita Ford (who... the guy next to my locker on the football team liked enough - I guess - to carve the word "LITA" into his leg with a razor. I always wonder if it scarred.).
Siouxsie was something utterly different and way, waaaaay more in my wheelhouse. Still, I didn't get around to buying the cassette of Peepshow for about a year after the album's release, picking it up in the same window where I'd just figured out "oh, yeah, The Cure" thanks to Disintegration and my moody, moody self.
In a lot of ways, I've been chasing the high of Peepshow in music ever since (you never get over your first, I guess). Sure, I got into some of Siouxisie and the Banshees other work, and I saw them play on the first Lollapalooza tour at the Dallas StarPlex - where Siouxise yelled at a bunch of people who'd been standing in Texas heat since noon that we should be dancing - when she hit the stage about 5:30 at the peak of Texas summer daytime heat.
To the horror of my parents, I hung Siouxsie posters on my walls and was met with the "explain what this is?" line of questioning that begins poorly and goes downhill from there. Still, the posters stayed up, so some small victory there, I guess. They couldn't prove she was somehow going to corrupt me via the power of spiky hair and severe make-up, but they didn't have to like it.* You can see the offending posters in the pics I uncovered a while ago. I know I wound up with at least one more Siouxsie poster after this picture was taken - but can't remember exactly what was on it.
|if memory serves, this one was the one that set them off|
But, like I say, I'll still put on Peepshow, which - I wouldn't have used the word at the time - but was sexy as hell, phenomenally produced, and was a great ride from beginning to end in a way too few albums are anymore. At least to my ear. It's at least one aspect of my personal high school soundtrack. Moody, atmospheric - and, very importantly to me then and now, put together lyrics that read well on their own, as poetic narrative. No simple love songs here, and even their attempt at a radio hit with Peek-a-Boo was framed out with S&M imagery. So, I dunno, not something I wanted to be explaining to my folks, anyway, I guess. But in between, Rhapsody and Killing Jar and all the rest each had their own story in a collection, and in the same era where Twin Peaks was playing on TV, peeling back a certain veneer to suburban high school life and what happened after the sun went down seemed a lot more real than during the daytime, it was an album in constant rotation.
So, go out, find a copy any which way, turn off the lights, hit play and imagine me sitting over the glow of an electric typewriter convinced I'm the next Hemingway pounding out terrible short stories while the album plays in the background.
*I do want to be fair to my parents - mostly it was bewildering when they started considering putting their foot down. We had some hard and fast ground rules, I stuck to them, and if I did - I was free to roam the sprawl of Houston, Texas (a massive, - and, frankly - dangerous city), drive off to Austin if I felt like it, go to shows on my own. So when they did ask questions, I knew something was up and it was going to end poorly.