Michael Allen: My brother’s record collection, my mother’s take on life, my father’s beliefs, and my sister’s social life when I was 13 to 16 years of age.
MVRemix: When did you first begin making music? How old were you? How did it all begin?
Michael Allen: I first picked up a bass guitar when I was at college with Marco Pirroni. In 1975, I was 16. Myself, Cliff, who was my best friend from school, and Marco used to go back to Marco’s house and listen to records and fuck around. Marco was friendly with the likes of Malcolm Maclaren, who told Marco about a group he was managing. He invited him down to take a look them. Marco asked me along. We turned up at the 100 Club in Oxford Street and watched a group called The Sex Pistols.
MVRemix: ‘A Question Of Time’ by The Wolfgang Press is an amazing song. Throughout the years, has time been your friend or enemy?
Michael Allen: Time is neither. Time gets blamed for all manner of things. People are in denial about their lives and how they live them. Time comes too easily to hand as an excuse as to why they did or didn’t do what they should or shouldn’t have done.
MVRemix: Who is Derek The Confessor?
Michael Allen: Me, of course.
MVRemix: In The Wolfgang Press song ‘She’s So Soft’, you have a line that states, ‘She’s a man’. Is ‘She’s So Soft’ about a transvestite?
Michael Allen: No, it is about my first-born and her mother.
MVRemix: Jah Wobble played bass on the remix for ‘Chains’. How did this collaboration happen? What was it like working with him?
Michael Allen: We had met a few years previous. I have been a fan of Wobble for a long time and we talked to him about producing, what was eventually to be our album ‘Queer’. That never happened, but we kept in touch. So, when we were looking on our final album for people to remix tracks of their choice, Wobble’s name came up. He chose to remix ‘Chains’.
MVRemix: How have you evolved as an artist? As a musician?
Michael Allen: I have learnt to listen. I have learnt not to play an instrument and not to write songs.
MVRemix: Do you have any regrets?
Michael Allen: Of course. I would not believe anyone who told me any different.
MVRemix: The sound of The Wolfgang Press has evolved in many ways. Was this intentional or spontaneous?
Michael Allen: The intention was never to repeat ourselves, which is something I think we achieved.
MVRemix: How did the cover of ‘A Girl Like You’ by Tom Jones happen?
Michael Allen: By complete accident. Our publisher, at the time, was asked to send some songs to Tom Jones for listening to. He had a CD sampler of various artists he had on his roster. I think he pointed Tom Jones in the direction of a Love & Rockets track. Ours was the track before or after. Tom heard our track, liked it, and got in touch. The publisher, however, took full credit for this and dined out on the story for months, as is his way.
MVRemix: The Beatles or The Stones?
Michael Allen: The Kinks.
MVRemix: Spectrum or Spiritualized?
Michael Allen: I don’t know of Spectrum.
MVRemix: What are some of your favorite films?
Michael Allen: ‘Fitzcaraldo’, ‘Casablanca’, and ‘The Loudest Whisper’.
MVRemix: These days, what is a typical day like for you?
Michael Allen: I get up at 6:30 am and try not to wake the children. I go to work, come home, and try not to shout at the children. Go to bed.
MVRemix: What are some major misconceptions do you think people have of you or Geniuser?
Michael Allen: I don’t believe anyone gives us a second thought.
MVRemix: Are you in a romantic relationship these days? How has touring, recording, and the rock and roll lifestyle affected relationships?
Michael Allen: I am with the mother of my four children. It’s the other way round for me. Relationships affect everything I do, thankfully.
MVRemix: What do they think about your music?
Michael Allen: Both my parents have passed away many years ago. One sadness that I have is that my mother never got to meet Tom Jones, as she was a big fan.
MVRemix: What is the best thing about living in Europe?
Michael Allen: Living in London. Knowing you are surrounded by so much history is very moving. I also love the dirt and noise.
MVRemix: The song ‘Christianity’ is a powerful track about not accepting religion. Were you raised Catholic? Do you believe in God? Would you consider yourself a spiritual person? Please expand on the inspiration for the song.
Michael Allen: I was brought up by a father who was a socialist and held no religious beliefs. One of the most important lessons I learnt from him was that I am as relevant as anybody else, no matter what their station. At the same time, I was told to treat everyone with respect until they gave you reason to withdraw that. Respect does not have to be earned. I believe Jesus, fact or fiction, was a good man. Sadly, religion has very little to do with anything he did or said. The motivation for the song comes from my thoughts on religions intolerance of anything different, which is one step away from hate. Religion is a very closed cult.
MVRemix: Are there any unreleased Wolfgang Press tracks that you think should have been released?
Michael Allen: No.
MVRemix: What was the biggest mistake you have made in your career?
Michael Allen: Not working harder.
MVRemix: When you pass away, would you like to be buried or cremated?
Michael Allen: I haven’t decided. Both my parents were cremated and that’s what I thought I wanted. But recently, my sister died and she was buried. I like the idea that we all know where she is and we can visit her.
MVRemix: What would you want on your epitaph (your gravestone)?
Michael Allen: Bollocks.
MVRemix: What are some future releases that fans should look out for?
Michael Allen: If we are fortunate enough to complete the required number of decent songs and someone is willing to put those songs out. Then, that would be a future release to look out for.
MVRemix: What is next for you?
Michael Allen: To work with The Breeders.
MVRemix: Any final words?
Michael Allen: I’m searching for the words that haven’t been spoken.
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"Time gets blamed for all manner of things. People are in denial about their lives and how they live them. Time comes too easily to hand as an excuse as to why they did or didn’t do what they should or shouldn’t have done."