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Quotes by and about Virgin Prunes

“The Virgin Prunes are a mirror to you. To look in that mirror or turn away is your choice…”
From “Art Fuck”, an early unreleased Virgin Prunes song.

“The energy, the vitality, the r’n’r spirit radiated from the Virgin Prunes and anybody who’s ever come in contact with them is amazing. Their ideas alone are enough to knock walls down and those ideas, combined with their very singular, truly unique qualities about their visual communication… make the Virgin Prunes a force… healthy and… vital on the modern beat scene…”
Dave McCullough, in “Eleventh-Hour Rock”, a two-piece interview with U2 and the Virgin Prunes in Sounds magazine, July 12 1980

“We’ve never attempted to air a particular ideal or philosophy… not like some other ‘thinking’ bands… Psychic TV for example… we don’t want converts, just an audience. No, there’s no hidden message in the Virgin Prunes… we’re not in the philosophy/religion business… If we’ve any specific aim, it’s to make people think, shake up the fossilised parts of their lethargic minds… to perceive that there are more facets to reality than their nine to five existence.”
Guggi, in “Virgin on the Ridiculous”, an interview with Helen Fitzgerald.

“Like the original surrealists, they aim to expose the ritualised absurdity of everyday life by confronting the whole fiasco with a fun-house mirror of their own making. It’s a mirror that embodies an evolving and parallel system of codes and beliefs whose very existence represents a hot-blooded, living commentary in preference to a posed and dry critique. Consequently, when pushed to discuss their intentions, they invariably falter under the strain of trying to pin down an open-ended series of observations which beg reactions and not explanations.”
Ian Pye in “Beasts, burdens and tales from the crypt”, an interview with the Virgin Prunes in Melody Maker, 27 March 1982.

“The Virgin Prunes have refined the live part of their activities into a unique combination of theatrical sketches, primitive ceremonies that include temporary dives into wild lunacy, hard-driving rock sections heavy on the beat and the distorted bass, long wails of undiagnosed anguish, undecipherable actions and comical routines – everything fluctuating between the grotesque and the beautiful, all choreographed but unleashed amidst a reconstruction of someone’s beloved but horrendous living room: plants, crucifix, gas heater, television, tea cosy; lace drapes optional.”
Claude Bessy in “A Beginner’s Guide to the Virgin Prunes”, an introduction to the band in MasterBAG, 10-23 June 1982.

“Apart from the Prunes’ (very commendable) attitude of finding time for life’s outsiders, and delving for the worth that’s hidden in the unlikliest places, they do have this ‘thing’ about sexual stereotyping, and the subverting destruction of the same. They’re none of them gay, nor interested in transvestitism in the glamorous, effeminate way. They don’t cross gender barriers so much as crunch them.”
Paul Du Noyer in “Quest for Fire”, an interview with the Virgin Prunes in New Musical Express, 3 July 1982.

“If Macbeth had been performed by Lou Reed to an audience of snuff-fanatical homosexual priests inside Chartre cathederal, the result would’ve been identical. So you see, the overtones and implications arising from this group are portentious and terrible.”
Valac van der Veene, in a review of the Virgin Prunes’ London Heaven gig in Sounds, 6 November 1982.

“To properly understand the Virgin Prunes you’d have to go and live in Dublin for at least ten years. You’d have to experience the overpowering narrow-mindedness of the place at first hand – the pernicious maintenance of jaded and hypocritical religious morals, the smothering claustrophobia… It’s a society built on mind-bending paradoxes and guilt-ridden inhibitions… it’s crazy to think that, in a town where it’s easier to buy a slice of dope than 20 Rothmans, it’s a criminal offence to obtain contraceptives! The Church still has its stranglehold, and is effectively more powerful than the government… sin is still a far more powerful deterrent than any mere judicial system, and guilt is mightier than the sword. Beginning to get the picture? To understand why the Prunes can’t operate in half-measures – why they have to deal in extremes just to survive.”
Helen Fitzgerald in “Dressed to Kill”, an interview with the Virgin Prunes in Sounds, 11 December 1982.

“The [New Form of Beauty] video is finished but Rough Trade wouldn’t release it because they thought it was too heavy and too uncommercial… and cost too much… the book we didn’t finish… it was written by us all, it’s not just a book, it’s got short stories, poems… drawings, photographs… people we know have written things for it… I think the book would be a nice way to end the band. That could be in ten days, ten months, ten years… whenever we decide.”
Gavin, in Alternative Megazine issue 8, February 1984.

“… they sometimes hit the mark, elsewhere fall flat on their fannies and also often fall prey to a self-importance that imbues repetitions of more venerable avant-garde experiments with more significance than they merit. Prunes propaganda had them charting a novel language, but they were’t the first to discover tape-loop and allied technological tactics.”
Bill Graham, in “Prunes Greatest Hits”, a review of Over the Rainbow in Hot Press magazine, 21 June 1985.

“In performance, as documented in Sons Find Devils, it would seem the VPs aspire to restoring the world to a state of savage grace by exorcising it of all its civilised sophistication and sophistry… At first sight, their appearance is undeninably astonishing. The most glamorous of rock’s glam savages, they quickly illustrate that looks alone are not enough. Their visual gobsmack hardly survives the wretchedness of their theatrical routines, supposedly improvised, but suspiciously similar and worn out from one concert to the next.”
Biba Kopf, in “Uncontaminated Fruit…”, an unidentified review of the Sons Find Devils video and “Faculties of a Broken Heart” book from sometime during 1985.

“The Prunes truly have no rivals. Only Dublin could have spawned their intricacies, their perverse and outrageous humour, only England could have failed to see their brilliance. If the Prunes had come from Manchester, their history could have been quite different.”
Helen Fitzgerald, in “Rainbow’s End”, a review of Over the Rainbow in 1985.

“The problem with the prunes is that they are no longer lost. Being lost is loveable because it’s absolute freedom. But the Prunes have been lost so long that lost has become home. And where do they go from here?”
Neil Taylor, in a review of The Moon Looked Down and Laughed in New Musical Express, 1986.

“It was not entirely taken for granted that the Prunes would work together again either. But after much consideration Gavin decided that there was a lot the Prunes had yet to do. ‘I wasn’t going to let the Prunes die without revealing their other sides so there was a new challenge and we said “go for it”.'”
From “The New Virgins”, an interview with Audrey Gaughran in the Hot Press, 11 September 1986.

“What we loved about the Virgin Prunes – and what still fascinates me about them – is that so much of their output was either indefinable or else unfinished. Seven-part projects dwindled to five, videos dematerialised, and unlike the produce of your average Cult or Mission, so much of their music remains fathomless.”
Neil Taylor in a review of the 1988 re-issue of Heresie in New Musical Express.

“Irish people are into a more communal thing. They love the idea of community, communal music. That’s why everyone wants to be The Waterboys and nobody wants to be the Virgin Prunes. Community and confrontation don’t go well together, which is fair enough but a bit cosy.”
Gavin Friday, in “The City that Time Forgot”, an article about the “nouveau hippy” scene in Dublin in The Face magazine, sometime during 1990.
“Each Man [Kills the Thing He Loves] was a summing up of all the things I couldn’t say in the Virgin Prunes. I got all those love/death/sex things under control…”
Gavin Friday, in a 1992 press release for his Adam ‘n’ Eve album.

“… if you look back, the Virgin Prunes were never obviously dark, there were surreal pop elements all the way. I mean ‘Baby Turns Blue’ was crazy pop! It wasn’t punk rock and it wasn’t noise. Yet we could go from either extreme, from ‘Heresie’ to…”
Gavin Friday, in “Paradise Lost”, an interview with Sandra A Garcia in B-Side magazine, February/March 1993.

“I think the Village, and the band that tried to hang on to that childhood dream, the Virgin Prunes, was nothing more and nothing less than a few young men trying to come to terms with a world around then that could not contain them. What made it so special was that they did it in public.”
Caroline van Oosten de Boer, “Re-release and Rest In Peace”, 1994.

“I’ve buried the corpse, it’s a very respectable grave, and I visit occasionally with flowers. I have no regrets about the Virgin Prunes. They were a wonderful, histrionic, special thing. But they’re gone. And they were right to go, because the magic and the spontaneity started going anyway. Also, I think, get a life, move on.”
Gavin Friday, in “Gavin Friday” an interview with Aillinn and Ariel in The Altered Mind magazine, issue 13.

“Punks were the bastard children of Ziggy Stardust, as were the Virgin Prunes. Without the Sex Pistols and Bowie I wouldn’t be in music. The Prunes connected with punk’s DIY ethic, but performance-wise, Bowie was always there.”
Gavin Friday, in “Happy Birthday Mr. Jones” in The Irish Times, 4 January 1998.