A Collateral  Dedication 

Don't Crucify Them....

Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction 1988

I still remember  very well, when I first saw this band playing live, back in 1988 in London. I also remember exactly every single minute of my first interview with this dark looking guy, who sized up and down on me with a, - I'm not really in the mood - attitude. Almost close to a heartattack, with wobbeling knees, I was sitting there intimidated, trying desperately to get my questions about the music and band done. Although I couldn't help the feeling, that nobody in here took me seriously. And thanks to the spectacular appearance of this group, I had the impression not to get outta there alive. Jesus wept with all fivedimensionals Jack The Rippers meets Stephen King's tommyknockers. At this very moment I wished myself  in the most far away galaxy of the andromeda fog just to get out of sight of the biting sarkasm of a Mark Manning.Only the circumstance, that Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction had shot like a rocket through the milkyway, oh sorry, I mean the musicbusiness, and the chance of a decent salery, let me stay to the bitter end. 
Even my female espirit was useless, whatever reasons for. But it was probably due to the fact that I never owned a Claudia Schiffer beauty & slim shape, and I will definately never have one. But I did love this rockband from the very start. On one hand because of their straight-ahead-dirty- Rock'n'Roll, what  you can easily sing along with, the real bad Image, which seemed so ultra cool to us, or was it this - 'kiss my ass' - attitude, which left the conservative society far behind. Anyway, these 30 minutes backstage at the Marquee (I think it was the Marquee - not quite sure anymore) had been digging deeply into my memory and gave me some influence on to  my further path as a music journalist. At least what was up to strategy and empathy. And if  guitarist 'Cobalt Stargazer' hadn't encouraged me with a  funny smile from time to time, which seemed to say: everything is half as bad, - those 30 minutes would most probably have got down to  only 10  and I would have fled shattered with a ground zero selfconfidence. But instead, I left the backstage area in a victory mood and with the feeling I had given contra to the biggest macho in this entire universe. With an interview I would earn a 200 quid and the fact, and I had interviewed my favorite band, topped by a cheeky grin of Cobalt. 
Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction were quite popular at these days. With a fiction name, borrowed from a comic-mag., a Bruce Springsteen Song, and an outfit, that would have got the Hell's Angels troups  jealous, the band, consisting of Zodiac, a former graphic designer, Cobalt Stargazer, Flash Bastard, Trash D. and Slam Thunderhide,  had conquered the heaven of Sexism Macho-Hard-Rock'n'Roll.  It dropped in like a bomb. And even Motörhead, who had always been on a high level refering to popularity went into the shade of Zodiac Mindwarp. The group tasted their success beyond the limit. And if you read the autobiography of Mark Manning/Zodiac Mindwarp you get the impression, Klaus Kinski's lifestory is a fairy tale compared to that. Bloody hell! If everything is true,  written in this book, then I'm surprised, that this good men haven't ended up in a madhouse yet or haven't changed their complete life-attitude within the following years. (Maybe they have  now, I don't know!) But it was probably a healthy portion of indifference which saved Z from going insane. With three kids from three mothers, endless affairs, booze excesses and other extremities, there is nothing left in Mark Manning's life, which could lift him out of this indifference. Yeah, maybe another no. 1 smashhit in the english charts. But even that, he'd probably react with a shrug of his shoulders. 
But let's go back  to these glory days of "Tattooed Beat Messiah" . In the end Zodiac Mindwarp was shaken  by the same problem like  many other successful artists.  .  For everything what follows after the first highpoint The expectations for so-called shootingstars are generelly very high  whether it's from the fans point of view or from the media side. Zodiac was hip, their videoclips  scandelous 'till kitschy weird. They let nons heads explode within the clip for Prime Mover and turned behaved school girls into rock bitches. And the clip for Backseat Education beat everything what's up to kitch so far, but -  par'exellence. No, they couldn't fulfill the just mentioned expectations, but it wasn't really because of a lack of musical quality. It was more the difference of  the sound demands.  After the waves of "Tattooed Beat Messiah" had calmed down, and some bandmembers had called it a day, Mark Manning and Cobalt Stargazer a.k.a. Geoff Bird brought the band back to life in 1991. With some new bandmembers they released the album "HoodlumThunder" with the smashsong "Elvis Died For You". Indeed, it was a record, which went even one step further, what was up to these just mentioned musical demands. But actually this was the reason why fans didn't accept it. The result was a drop off with a longlasting aftermath. They gave it another try in 1994 putting out "One More Knive", which contains the excellent track "Evil Jesus" and my all-time fave-song "Dr-Jekyll & Me".  

Apart from that, the band had to face a legal battle against one former bandmember. They decided to quit, rather than to get sued an awful lot of money. Mark Manning had started to get into poetry, by writing columns in papers and books accompanied by Bill Drummond of KLF.
They did a column in the Idler magazine and wrote the book
"Bad Wisdom". Later on there were even more books of Manning published with titles like: "Get Your Cock Out", "Crucify Me", Fucked By Rock" and his latest one "Collateral Damage". Some of them are simply tour diaries, stories which lets you forget the believe in the good side of Rock'n'Roll. Only that longterm friendship to his buddy Cobalt let Zodiac Mindwarp come back again and do another album after eight years. As he says so...

click CD-Cover for review &  discography

And now almost exactly these eight  years later I'm sitting here again in front of Z, only with the big difference, that I'm not shaking in fear and waiting for my very last minute alive like 15 years ago. No, I'm  rather curious what had changed after that long period of time. Visual he hasn't changed a lot. The thick eyeglasses don't let me have a closer look at his eyes, which usualls reflects a persons soul. The long hair has exchanged with a neat short cut. Not because it's more fashionable now. It's just more conviniant as Z says.
Beeing in the middle of his  fourties, he surprisingly  kept in good shape, which might be due to the fact of a maybe  now healthier lifestyle. "No", he utters, " I don't think, I've changed a lot. I'm still irresponsible, foolish and mad. But I rather leave it up to others to judge me. To describe myself wouldn't be very logical. Apart from that, nothing has killed me yet. I have never regret anything in life. Why should I? What  happened in the past  has happend. You can't change anything afterwards. I have no time, to sit in a corner and cry. That's pure waste." Mark Manning is not a person who swims in self pity. His pride and slight arrogance wouldn't let him do this anyway. But what had got him to remember his musical ambitions again. Should this be a new start, a new chapter or just the continuing of old stories dressed up in new clothes? " I had been sitting in a room alone for a very long time writing books. I just felt, it was time to go out there again and do some music. Also Cobalt who is one of my oldest friend,  persuaded me to go on the road again. He owns a recording studio in London, where we hang up very often. We are producing bits and pieces, throw 'em away or put them together to a song. In the end we had about 90 songs finished, and Cobalt said: 'come on. let's do it again'. We chose these 11 best tracks, made this album, and sometime later we were offered this tour. So why should we have refused.

Zodiac Mindwarp a.k.a. Mark Manning - March  2003
click on pics. for a taste of "Planet Girl"

 The music hasn't changed over the years, neither has the individual look, what's up to Zodiac. But the image has done in a way. It used to be an image which had been timeless. But the effort to keep it ahead and alive was tiring. They still do wear leather jackets. But those are not black  and covered with stuts. The nowadays- jackets are brownish in a rather commercial normal-every-daytime-style. Cobalt Stargazer is still the funny nice guy, only his formerly slim shape has improved  towards a slight brighter silhouette, which reminds me more of a modern Hip Hop meets rapstyle cowboy. However, the style of music hasn't changed in that direction fortunately, neither has the attitude. The  image you can still find  in the music, where the sex-macho-impulse  is still given, - with a little eye twinkle of course. But that's the most important thing, ain't it?!"We don't do all these things for other people", says Z, "we do it mainly for ourselves. If you like it, - fine, if not, - I don't care." Z has become older in his mind, I have found  out. The wild egocentric of the Eighties has moved to make space  for an excentric ignorance, which has got nothing to do anymore with the overwhelming Rock'n'Roll-Sex-Monster-Type. No, I don't feel insecure anymore, interviewing this guy. I'm not scared to death anymore to get killed or whatsoever. And I'm not shy to stand the stinging look. No honestly, I even start developing a little bit of what you'd call symphathy for this querulant. (By the way, this here now, is already  my fourth hinterview I have done with this guy over all those years!) 
I Am Rock“ is already an old hat for the band . It came out in 2002  in the US. and they did a club tour in America.  In Europe it was released 4 months later.  Why is it exactly the title track,which is Z's favorite song on this CD? „I guess, because people can sing along with it." Anyway that's rather not an egoistic statement, is it?!.... Compared to that song, Z  finds the last track on the record "Christmas Eve On The Reeperbahn" unnecessary. "I don't like this song at all, but Cobalt insisted on this piece to be put on the album. And he's responsible for the music as well, so I gotta be kinda diplomatic, don't I ?" - Ain't that nice??? 

In the meantime the chapter „I Am Rock“ is done. The tours have been completed, whereby Z ensures me, that he rather prefers to play anywhere else than in England. The band has finished the next album. "Yes we've got pretty much everything ready. 
 Okay, we are really curious, what's coming up next.
One thing is for sure. We don't have to wait another 10 years for a new album, and a Mindwarp-life-philosophy . By the way, the 47 year old doesn't give a lot for musical influences. " I don't buy music. I just listen to the radio, but I don't have a big opinion on music." He once again looks at me through his spectacles, not remembering this very first interview of mine back in 1988 - (thanx god for that!) and gives one last comment to the question about his future ambitions: "Rock 'till I Drop".

click Pic for Live Review 2003

 I wanna dedicate this story to Cobalt, who helped me to keep my selfconfidence 15 years ago in London, and who once again helped me to get back my selfesteem 15 years later. Though  this time, he probably hasn't got the slightest clue why........ 

click on pics above for a taste of Planet Girl


They don't look & seem that bad, do they...
<<< the other part of  the Love Reaction 2003
Tex Diablo (Bass) & Robbie Vomm (drums)

Memoryshot  March 2003
He's somehow got this certain something in his eyes..... 

  click logo to read review

I did translate the hole damn thing into german,- just to let ya' forget 
about the glory  side of Rock'n'Roll - 

...and last but not least  h e r e   you can view a few pictures more....

    publ. may 2003 Unipress/Westpoint West-Austria

 World Nature Festival Gig 14th and 15th of August 2003 in Munich   click :  H E R E

 Wacken Open Air Festival 5th of August 2004  click . H E R E