After the release of a 7'' single and a live album back in 1982/83, Christchurch, New Zealand's Desperate Measures split and lead singer Eugene Butcher moved to London. After a couple of well received reunion shows in the early 2010s, Eugene put a new line-up of Desperate Measures together and the current band are releasing a new mini-album, 'Rinsed', on the 3rd September. Eugene kindly took the time to answer a few questions put to him by BBMATB on the album, some shows they have coming up in October, and recommended a couple of bands from the current NZ scene.
Desperate Measures are Eugene Butcher (Vocals), Gaff (Guitar), Ricky McGuire (Bass) and James Sherry (Drums).
'Rinsed' is out on the 3rd September on Easy Action Records and is available on 10'' vinyl, CD and as a download from the Desperate Measures bandcamp page www.desperatemeasuresnz1.bandcamp.com.
You can also pick up the '1984' EP and 'Wasted Again' cassette from somewhere like Discogs but they might set you back a few bob!
Hello Eugene, thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions. First off, could you tell us how Desperate Measures got together again after nearly forty years away?
I was back in New Zealand for a holiday in 2010 (I moved to the U.K in 1984) and we had the chance to reform Desperate Measures to support the U.K Subs in Christchurch. We did, and it went really well. We then supported Peter and the Test Tube Babies in New Zealand also. Returning to the U.K I wanted to keep the band going so we got a new London lineup together.
And had you known the current guys in the band - Gaff, Ricky McGuire and James Sherry - for a while before they joined the band?
James joined us back in about 2015, and a chance meeting with Gaff resulted in him and Ricky joining. It has really taken off since then.
How easy (or hard!) was it to put the new mini-album 'Rinsed' together during these COVID straightened times?
Well there wasn't much to do except write songs so they came together between me and Gaff fairly easily. We just demoed them on a tablet and then when we could rehearse with the guys they came together very quickly.
Where did you record the album? Was it a studio you were familiar with?
Andy Brook really brought the songs to life in the studio - The Brook Studios. The last album he produced was Status Quo! Gaff and Ricky had worked with Andy before and said he was brilliant - and he was!
Do you have a favourite track (and why) from the album?
'Flowers At Your Door' was one where I tried to write and sing something different and it came out great. I said I wanted strings on it (not very punk!) and Andy nailed it perfectly. We are very proud of that song.
There's an original demo of 'Lost Angels' (along with a live in the studio version) which was written with Chris Sheehan from The Starlings and Babylon Zoo. How did you know Chris?
Chris was in New Zealand's number one band in the 80's, the Exponents, and Desperate Measures used to play with them and we were mates. Chris moved to London and worked with some big name acts including the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, whose studio we went into one night and wrote and recorded 'Lost Angels'.
And the cover of ('Don't You Give Me) No Lip'; a favourite of yours? Did you first hear it from the Pistols version?
'No Lip' is a great cover by the Pistols. Hopefully we do it justice. I know we do live.
You're supporting The Professionals on a 13 date UK tour in October - Is there any gig or venue you're particularly looking forward to playing?
Gaff wants to play his hometown Liverpool. London will be good cos 'The Garage' is a great venue, but really, we just want to get out there and play these songs to people.
Are there any favourite gigs that you've played, either all those years ago in New Zealand or with the reformed Desperate Measures since you got back together?
The Rebellion festival is always great. We played an aftershow party for the Clash in New Zealand in 1983 which was amazing. Joe Strummer was really cool. Playing the 100 Club is always great fun.
Hailing from the New Zealand punk scene, do you still take an interest in the scene over there? Any bands from there currently you'd particularly recommend to readers?
I haven't been back for a while but our mates Sawdust are good and The Rabble were really great until they split a few years back.
Obviously the music scene has changed immeasurably since you started over forty years ago. The downsides are pretty well documented but do you feel there are any areas where the music scene has improved since the early 80s?
Not really ha ha. Spotify and streaming is killing music. Social media does help get your bands message out though.
And finally, what plans for Desperate Measures going forward into 2022?
We are looking forward to the Professionals tour. We also play the big HRH Punk festival in Sheffield Oct 3/4th. Then we have a bit of a special Christmas show planned in London. We seem to be being offered some really great tours for next year too so we will make a full album in 2022. Thanks for taking in the interest in DMs! See you at a show and
come and say hi!