Costello wanted to play "Radio Radio" on SNL. Columbia Records, Costello's US label, on the other hand, was interested in having an already-established song performed on SNL, to stoke the fires of interest in the band prior to the American release of My Aim Is True and This Year's Model. In the event, Costello began the SNL performance by playing "Less than Zero." However, after a few bars, he turned to the Attractions, waving his hand and yelling "Stop! Stop!," then said to the audience, "I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, there's no reason to do this song here," possibly referring to the obscure story behind "Less than Zero," which was written as a reply to British fascist Oswald Mosley. He then led the band in a performance of "Radio Radio." Costello was banned from Saturday Night Live for twelve years.
EC: What it was about was that I said the most outrageous thing I could possibly say to them - that I knew, in my drunken logic, would anger them more than anything else. That's why I don't want to get into why I felt so effronted by them, because that's not important. It's not important because - they don't mean _anything_ to me. They don't even mean anything now - I don't feel any malice in the way I feel that they probably exploited the incident to get some free publicity.
My initial reaction - I can tell you now - to seeing Bonnie Bramlett get free publicity out of my name was that, "Well, she rode to fame on the back of one E.C., she's not gonna do it on the back of another." But that was before the consequences of what had happened had sunk in - that was a flip way of dismissing it.
GM: Did you have any idea of how dangerous, or how exploitable, or how plainly offensive, what you said would be in the public context?
EC: No, because it was never intended - if I hadn't been drunk I would never had said those things. If it had been a considered argument, I probably would have either not pursues the argument to such extreme length, or I would have thought of something a little bit more coherent, as another form of attack, rather than just an outrage. Outrage is fairly easy. Not in terms of dealing with the consequences, but in terms of employing it as a tactic in an argument.
« Older Forced to fight... | The Losers Cover Gallery showc... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt