Pitch Shifter: and now for something completely different (From the Vault)

“Rocktronica” is the phrase the British band Pitch Shifter uses to describe itself. But its old records through the mid-1990s were in the vein of what metalheads would call industrial.

In archive zine issue #18 we ran an interview with Pitch Shifter which we conducted when, if memory serves, the band was on tour for the Submit album, circa 1995. Here’s a video for a song off Submit, called “Deconstruction”:

Lately, Pitch Shifter hasn’t said it broke up, but band last last updated its website in 2011, and its Facebook page in 2014. In any case, below is another in our series of brief features that aren’t easy to find in the issues in which they originally appeared.

I was actually planning to run another Napalm Death interview this issue, but since I hadn’t received it yet in the mail, I decided to pull out an old dusty tape that I’ve been saving for a while but never knew what to do with. It’s a recording of an interesting conversation I once had with Jon Clayden of Pitch Shifter fame, backstage at the old 9:30 Club in Washington, DC when they were touring with Carcass. Anyway, to start things off I asked him how the tour was going and he replied:

I’ll tell you a story. The night before I was supposed to fly to America a week [ahead of a tour] with my manager to do press—just me, because I write all the lyrics—we were at a Napalm Death show in London, and there was, I dunno, a thousand people there, and we were stage divin’ and slammin’ and everything. And our manager got his nose broken; someone kicked him in the face at, like, two o’clock at night, and my flight was at six. So I had to take him to hospital.

When we got to hospital there was a psycho woman in there who’d been havin’ a machete fight with her husband. She asked us for a cigarette, and I said, “Look, just fuck off, I don’t smoke, my friend’s just broken his nose, get the fuck away from me.” And she said, “Oh, shall I break it again for him?” She tried to hit him in the nose again. Like, blood was coming out of his mouth anyway. And the police came and took her away and took statements from us and everything. And they said, “There’s no way your manager’s goin’ to be able to move. He’s gonna have to go an’ get a nasal operation under full anesthetic tomorrow mornin’.” So I left the hospital at four, got a cab at five, met our roadie, got to the airport just in time and left.

When I got to the airport—we use visuals live, reel projectors—I had all these big black boxes and videocassettes, and they stopped me for two hours at the airport. That was before I got to America, you know what I mean? When I got to America it was like, “Fuck me!”

And then, the day before we did the first gig [of the tour], I was in the New York office [of Earache Records], and I heard that our drummer had been mugged by three guys, one with a gun and two with claw hammers. They hit him once on the top of his head and once in the back. He got six stitches in each thing. This is before we started tourin’. I was thinkin’, “Someone is tryin’ to tell me somethin’.”

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