So, the Flowers of Romance did eventually get finished, thanks to a kick up the arse from Martin Atkins and the studio skills from Nick Launey who produced the album. The Manor sessions were complemented by a couple of weeks at the Townhouse where Martin added further to the album. No sooner had the sessions been completed at the end of October then Martin and I went off to the United States for the first of our Brian Brain jaunts to the big new world.
Martin had given Birth to the Brian Brain idea off the back of his association with PiL, being the eternal opportunist he figured that this would give him a passport to greater things. In a way he was right, it seemed booking gigs in smaller US clubs was a breeze and from his tiny flat in Willesden, by hook or by crook, he managed to cobble together some dates and once the visas were sorted off we went!
We made 4 separate visits to the states during the early eighties plus we did further dates while Martin and I were both playing for PiL. They were always mad car crash tours, fuelled mostly on alcohol, bluff and bravado but we had a real hoot along the way. John Lydon turned up at one of the gigs, midway through our cover rendition of PiL’s “Careering”.. Much to Martins surprise and embarrassment. Of course, it would have been hilarious had John had the bottle to get onstage and perform it with us properly but he preferred to mosh around the front of the stage acting the goof instead.
We met up with John at a later date, in a club somewhere in NYC, where he joined us for a couple of beers. I said hello and as I had heard that he was now living in NYC asked him where he was living. “In a loft space on the Lower East Side, near the river” was the reply. Now I didn’t know that this particular area wasn’t the most salubrious in Manhattan, and that the back of his building was a frequent hang out for gay sex encounters so I casually remarked “Oh, that sounds nice” quite innocently and not really knowing what else to say. John immediately span round, fixed me with that wide dark-eyed stare of his and through taught lips hissed “Don’t play that fucking game with me sonny” and held my gaze until I looked away.
This was John all over, he thought I was taking the piss (I wasn’t) and his immediate reaction was to attack. I found it all too funny so just smiled and walked away to get another beer. It was the second time he had spoken to me and both times he had strayed into smack in the mouth territory. At that point, ending up as his bass player was the furthest thought from my mind and was left thinking he was a complete and utter cunt.