By now Dear Readers, you well know that Dork loves A Character. But we weren’t prepared, at all, for Lazarus Kane. After ‘Narcissus’ first pricked our ears up, ‘Night Walking’ came along to blow our minds with what might be one of 2020’s finest bangers. So we thought we’d try to find out more about this mysterious character. And we did try, we really did. What followed was one of the maddest conversations we’ve ever had as the secrets spilled forth. Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Lazarus Kane.
Hi Lazarus, how are you?
I’m alright, man. I’m just at home in Bristol. I’m not doing much, I’ll be totally honest. Doing a lot of thinking, which is good, you know? Keeps you fit mentally. To be honest, every day’s a weekend right now. But every day is also a weekday. So I’m in a constant state of guilt, it’s horrible. It’s like being Catholic but not having any respite ever. Which I guess is just being Catholic.
There was never gonna be a good time for a global pandemic to come, but it came at completely the wrong time for you, didn’t it? Because everything was starting to cook nicely for you.
Yeah, yeah. Well, we had a single planned, and then, yeah, we got all these shows lined up. It’s a real shame, but hopefully, it’ll pass, and we’ll get to do some more shows for the rabid fans. I’m missing it so much. But you know, it’s time to write and think about getting ideas together. It’s a sort of a blessing in disguise in many ways. You end up thinking back to why you started doing music in the first place.
Why was it that you first got into music?
I had quite a religious upbringing. I grew up in the church, singing a lot of hymns and all those kind of funky psalms. All the good stuff. The upbeat absolute liquid bangers of Christianity, all the hits. So that was my first introduction. Well, no, that’s a lie. I listened to my parents play a lot of different types of music. But yeah, my first experience actually being involved in music when I was a young whippersnapper was in the Christian faith. I’ve always liked really rhythmic music, and I think it translates into this project, it’s very, very rhythmic. It’s very physical, you feel it before anything else.
Your biography lists some interesting facts. You sound good for a man in your eighties.
I have great vocal exercises. I put it down to Manuka honey and lemon every other day, it keeps the pipes really lubricated. Honestly. Who did I learn it from? I can’t remember. I think it was someone who didn’t sing, but told me that they were ready if they ever needed to. I think it was Slash or someone. He was never gonna sing, but he was always ready. He still is. What’s that other band he was in called? I can’t remember. Machine Gun Kelly or Purple Gun?
That’s the one, that’s the one. What a name. So yeah, my age shows physically, but inside I’m a wound spring ready to unleash my thoughts on the world.
I understand that you were born in a town called Sheepsclaw, any particular highlights?
Well, every year, there was the sacrifice of the sheep for the claw. Because it is the only town where sheeps have claws. And so we’d make a nice necklace out of the claw as a group, but you have to kill the sheep. It was a day of death and renaissance in terms of the necklace, which is given to the youngest child of our town. I did get it once, but I traded it for a Superman lunchbox. I got in a lot of shit for that, but it was a really good lunch box. I didn’t really stay there too long because my parents were travelling as part of a travelling Christian commune. I’d like to go back someday when they lift my fugitive status, try and find that lunchbox and my necklace somewhere.
You’re obviously a well-travelled man, how did you end up in Bristol?
Well, like all the greatest stories, I was in love with a woman, and I moved here to be with her. We have since parted company, but I had nowhere else to go and no money. So I had no choice but to stay here in this luscious green rolling city. It kind reminds me of San Francisco but with less tech giants and more West Country fat people. Well, fat people as far as England goes but you know, this is England. It ain’t got nothing on America. People here are slim compared to people back home, fucking hell. But yeah, it’s got all the hills that San Francisco has with less tax evasion I guess. I like it here, man. People like drinking here you know, they don’t like it back home.
And you’re often spotted in South London, that must be very different to Sheepsclaw? You were in town with Squid a few months back.
Well, there’s a lot of sacrifice in Brixton, but only of dignity. That was a fun night. I mean, what hasn’t been said about Squid that I can say. Apart from they are horrible, horrible people. The worst. I actually had a dream about them last night, it was really weird.
Lockdown dreams have been out there, haven’t they?
Mmm yeah, I’ve been eating a lot of cheese as well. So I had a dream that we were playing a festival and I was with Ollie and Louis from Squid. They were about to play, and there was a secret guest on before them. So we walk down to the main stage, and there are thousands of people there. It’s going crazy. Everyone’s whooping, cheering, it’s that time of the evening, you know. All these pyrotechnics were going off, and out of the smoke, it was Rage Against the Machine, but they were playing on the roof of the stage. It was amazing, but I had to ask, well, why are they playing on top of the stage? It was kind of awkward to watch because I was craning my neck. And then Zach de la Rocha fell off the stage, but he had a bungee on him, so he just bungeed straight back. And it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, and then I woke up, and I was by myself.
Their comeback shows are gonna be disappointing now if that’s not what happens. Back to you, ‘Narcissus’ marked your return to the limelight, didn’t it?
Oh yeah. I wrote the demo a long time ago. Bringing it back to those goddamn Squid people, I read an interview with Ollie, and he said he just sent it to [super-producer] Dan Carey. So that night, I had indulged quite a lot and got home and thought, fuck it, I’ll just send it to him. I said, “Hi, my name is Lazarus Kane. And I’d love to work with you.” I really liked how physical his stuff was, really rhythmic. I sent a demo of ‘Narcissus’ to Dan, and he got back to me and said, “Yeah, I want to do this”. So I had to assemble a band, and we went down to London, and he was like “Okay, just start playing and don’t stop until I say so”. You know, he has all the smoke and the lasers, it’s crazy. There’s like eight of us in there, and it’s like really hot. I’m in my kimono, I’m sweating, and everyone smells like shit. And it was amazing. Hell of a day.
And ‘Night Walking’ came next. That is proper banging.
Thank you. I would love to have done it with Dan, but we just ran out of time.
You’ve also got a song about Harrison Ford, is he a close personal friend?
He was. I haven’t seen him for a while. I knew him when he was a carpenter on the Star Wars set, I was a big fan of his work. He was really known in Southern California for his bird feeders and bird-boxes, he was THE guy. He told me he got this crazy job on this crazy space opera film. And I was like, man, what the fuck. I mean it pays the bills, but don’t forget the bird-boxes. It gives you bread. And he was like no, this is just like space-crap. Space. Crap. I don’t know who they were trying to cast as Han Solo but probably someone like Jean-Claude Van Damme. Some musclebound fool. Schwarzenegger. Stallone. And Harrison’s just there, y’know? I think the casting director just saw him and said, oh who’s this guy. I put in an order for a birdfeeder, but I never got it because he obviously went stratospheric.
A sad loss for birds around the world.
I tried to talk to him, but I wasn’t allowed in the studios back then because of a thing back in the day with Chuck Norris. And he was getting bigger, and he said, “could you house-sit for me?” And I said, “yeah sure, I don’t have anything on”. So I wrote ‘All My Own Stunts’ about my relationship with Harrison. It’s definitely on the surface an upbeat song, but lyrically it’s almost a homo-erotic exploration of male friendship. Almost I stress. I hope to see him again one day, but he is crashing planes every other week, that’s all I see of him now. Classic Harrison, couldn’t let the birds go man. He’s always got to fly. You take the bird-box out the man, but you can’t take the man out of the bird-box. What was the question? Oh, yeah. We live very different lives now, but I’d love to see him before he crashes into a blazing inferno.
It’s inevitable at this point. What’s next for you?
Well, I’ve got a lot of ideas floating around. As you probably guessed, I like doing stuff people aren’t necessarily expecting, you know? I just want to keep exploring and keep pushing the boundaries of what people expect from a Lazarus Kane song. Where we go from here is an interesting question for sure. I don’t know man, I wrote something today I think which may be the answer, but who knows, man.
Taken from the July issue of Dork, out now.
Words: Jamie MacMillan