Countdown Magazine Australia May 1989
[submitted by Justin Whyte]


The image may be peroxide-blonde-trash but Wendy James is not a girl to be taken lightly. Call her a dumb blonde and she'll tell you to rot in hell! Ask Wendy what color undies she's wearing she'll ask you to shove your question somewhere unprintable. Lisa Tilston braved the wrath of Wendy and came out alive.

Things would be a little more precious and less cheap if you didn't get asked what color pants you wear. "I hope the people who like us are more interested in the records than what kind of make-up I use." It would take courage as well as stupidity to ask Wendy James, singer of sonic groovesters Transvision Vamp, a question like that.

The diminutive blonde bombshell is not the type to suffer fools gladly. But, for the sake of the pop perverts amongst you, we can safely assume she is wearing pink knickers. Why? Because she is also wearing a pink jacket, a pink shirt, pink shorts, pink gloves, even a pink cnd badge and a huge pink flower in her hair. Wendy's one of the few people who can wear pale pink from head to toe and not look like either a total bimbo or a sugared almond. She was once described as having ' Brigitte Bardot's eyes and Margaret Thatchers stare' but thats not fair, her gaze is cool and direct, neither challenging nor defensive, but an indication she is prepared to stand her ground. Persistence has paid off for Transvision Vamp who were written off by some before they really got started. Their first single 'Revolution Baby', gained them plenty of attention but barely dented the charts; 'Tell That Girl To Shut Up' fared rather better, but it took the arrogant, brattish noise of ' I Want Your Love' to get them their first major hit. "It takes alot of pressure of the album" says Wendy, "because we were wondering how many people would be interested in it, and now we know quite a few are. "It's the next step up for Transvision Vamp after having people say that we were never going to have a hit, even though we'd only released 2 records before that one. It's rewarding for and for the people who've believed it would happen". "It's also nice to shove it up the assholes of some people - not that I'm a malicious sort of person, not at all". Certainly a year ago British Magazines were more interested in Wendy James' sex life than the music her band made. Does Wendy think the early press coverage was premature? "It seemed right at the time, because alot of people were talking about us and getting excited at the prospect of us having a hit. The record didn't deliver but at least it put us in the public eye. The band vehemently deny that ' I Want Your Love' is anymore conservative or accessible than their previous singles. Certainly it brings back something of the grit and energy of the Seventies to the chart. To compare the likes of Pasty Kensit and Debbie Gibson to Wendy is to compare airhead frills and flounces with a slice of pure attitude.

"Kylie Minogue's saying she should be so lucky to fall in love and it would be really good if a boy took care of her - poor Little Miss Lost, all I ever wanted was a boy to take care of me!" "The girl in I Want Your Love is saying she doesn't need any of the affections that come with a relationship. She s stating quite frankly what she wants and what she doesn't want. There's a big difference between us and the way other bands with a girl singer present their music, Girlie songs tend to more demeaning of the towards the female, the female is the weaker part of the relationship. That will never be the case with Transvision Vamp, because personally I am never going to be at the beck and call of any man and our songs are going to reflect that". Wendy as you'll have realized by now is a woman who speaks her mind. She's serious and quietly spoken, nothing like the peroxide trash queen she portrays on stage, but her words reveal a steely determination. " I don't think that I am particularly outspoken. I'm just honest I dont feel the need to sensor what I say for the sake of getting a good response. There are certain subjects I feel strongly about, but I wouldn't say I was anymore outspoken than someone else with a brain . It must be annoying when people get carried away with the dumb blonde imagery and underestimate your intelligence? ( One review of Wendy called her "the non thinking mans blow up doll ) "People who say things like that can go and rot in hell. How on earth could a stupid opinion like that upset me? All the sexist rubbish about boys liking the band more than girls, well if they only like us because of the way I look then they're very stupid and they shouldn't have paid 4 pounds to get into a gig just to see what I am going to wear"

"On this tour we've had loads of girls coming down saying your the girl in the charts with any guts."

"I know if I was 14-years-old right now. I'd rather see me on Top Of The Pops than some twat dancing about in a flashy designer dress singing about how she wishes she could find the perfect boyfriend."

"I should think a certain amount of girls see me as a rolemodel: far more probably appreciate Kylie Minogue at the present time. But that's fine - they can go home and watch Neighbours. I know there are a quite a few girls out there who are into the band, especially the fact that I'm a girl."

I used to buy the music papers every week and whatever Joe Strummer or Johnny Rotten said, I would live my life by it."

"What counts is whether or not you like the music, and whether it is going to make you do something for yourself, because when I was growing up that's exactly what music did for me."

"I'm only 22, so I was too young to actually be a part of the punk movement, but when I was 14 gigs were still pretty raucous, and it made me feel this is what I wanted to do. So if our gigs do that for people now that's terrific."

"I think if we carried on without playing live for much longer we would have been in serious shit, but now we've proved that we can do it. It would be great if we could influence people in the same way that Blondie, Marc Bolan and The Rolling Stones influenced us. To be worthy of going down in the books with bands like that would be brilliant.

"But we don't wan any of the sycophantic bullshit that comes with fame, like cocaine or fast cars and designer dresses; we'd rather be left alone to do what were here to do and that's make music."

So Wendy if your not the 'non thinking mans blow up doll'.......just how would you like to be remembered?

"Well apart from being an ok singer, for being an honest person and full of integrity."

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