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Creatures feature

Drummer Budgie talks about life with Siouxsie Sioux

Legendary British drummer Budgie, of Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Creatures, and partner of iconic punk, new wave and goth heroine Siouxsie Sioux, spoke with Creative Loafing recently while prepping for the tour that brings the whole gang to Atlanta. The two-hour show will feature highlights of three decades worth of songs that Siouxsie and Budgie have produced, both as the Banshees and the Creatures, along with selections from the duo's recent release, Hai!, an experimental melding of their familiar sounds with international instrumentation.

Creative Loafing: How are the rehearsals going?

Budgie: Well, we are ready for it, whatever it may throw at us. You never know what to expect when you try something as radically different as what we are trying: the combination of Japanese Taiko and western drums and instruments. In your mind, you think, 'Yes, this is going to be fantastic.' And it will be, but it's not as straightforward as you may think. The different nature of the two types of instruments takes a lot of work, a lot of listening. It's not a matter of pluggin' in and going, 'Let's bang through some old songs.'"

How are you planning the set?

Well, that was the other nightmare: Where do we start? The whole reason it's called 'An Evening with Siouxsie' is so we don't have to go, 'Oh, this is Banshees, and this is Creatures.' But having said that, there was even more material to choose from. We didn't want to reduce our options, so we came up with quite a long list. I think we'll be working in songs over the course of the tour. Right now, we have a batch of 25; some of the songs from Hai!, some old favorites and maybe some obscure things we've never played before, but everything will sound quite a bit different.

In retrospect, what do you think about the Banshees reunion tour from a couple of years ago?

We were kind of excited about it; we didn't know what was going to happen. But by the end of it, we knew the reasons why we weren't working as Siouxsie and the Banshees anymore. Straightaway, you are restricted by your reverent past. We are proud of what we've done, but when you've been together a long time, you know when there's the spark you need to go to places uncharted and you've got to go together. Perhaps we all were finding different priorities in life.

Since the Banshees never really recycled its past very much when it was going, do you think reunions of long-standing acts are a good or bad thing?

I suppose if you stop doin' what you did and you regroup to revisit what you did, then to me, that's fun. There's many people that do that. It's a kind of 'Didn't you used to be ...?' kind of thing. To me, I'd like a reunion to revisit and rethink and we quickly realized it was just a matter of revisiting. It was hard to go back there, because, as you just said, we've never dwelt on what we've done. It's a nostalgia thing. But collaborations with people in different parts of the world, as we've done, is not easy. It'd be far easier for us to do what we're known for, but it's more of a challenge not to, and it's the stimulus we need. We're not gonna dodge past what we've done, but we wanna have a bit of fun as well.

Your show in Atlanta is on Sept. 11. Any thoughts on the occasion?

When it happened, it was hard to believe. Knox, our guitarist, lives in Manhattan and he was in France with us, watching it on television. But now, in some ways, you mark the occasion and rise above it. You've got to go on, got to keep moving. But I tell ya what, though — the beginning of the show is very reverential. Wherever we are, it'll be a strong spiritual statement. And that's what Hai! was to Siouxsie and myself, a statement of intent. This is what we believe in.

lee.smith@creativeloafing.com