Six months is a long time in the wonderful world of pop. Last spring the world thrilled to “New Jazz”, the sound of Rip Rig and Pigbag. Both claimed to be above the marketplace, but that didn’t stop Pigbag having a Top Ten hit.
There followed a brief tour of Japan, a month-long vacation in Bali and a long reshuffle. Now they’ve returned with a new drummer, an American singer and a desire to be taken seriously. Is there life in the new Pig or are they flogging a dead horse?
“We’ve been taken really light-heartedly in the past,” complains Simon Underwood, “dismissed as a party-type band. Music does have to be fun, it’s not labouring. But because we’ve laid off for a long time we hope we’ll be taken more seriously than a band who only want you to dance.”
“We don’t want to be regarded as an escapist band. We don’t mean that we won’t smile but that there’s a serious commitment to the music which we hope people recognise”.
Simon is unhappy that Pigbag have been dismissed as African imitators, anti-fashion freaks and, worst of all, as a fad. “It’s not what we did with ‘Papa’ that matters but what we’re going to do. We think intently about where the music’s going but not in terms of trends”
“Groups now are being accepted for the obvious. We want to do the unexpected all the time: if you give people what they don’t expect, you’re giving them something to think about. The real power in music is hidden at rock gigs which are more like football matches. We’re after a constant freshness…”
In constant search of the new, Pigbag have finally added vocals to a number of new tunes. In steps New Yorker Angela Jaeger to sing up a storm. “We’ve never wanted to be a singer with a backing band,” explains Simon.
“We hadn’t been ignoring vocals on purpose. The voice is such a basic instrument we were bound to use it someday.” As for Angela, she regards her voice as an instrument and enjoys improvising.
“Most singers sing a song from beginning to end, they can’t vary like the band varies. Pigbag are a unit of people experimenting with sound. They’re determined not to repeat themselves…”
Pigbag have a new single, “Hit The ‘O’ Deck”, a new album, “Lend An Ear”, and are currently appearing at a theatre near you.
By Mark Cooper – February 26, 1983