The Battered Wives

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Opening act for Elvis Costello & the Attractions, November 1978:

Excerpts from 2008 interview with Battered Wives drummer Cleave Anderson:

How long was the band around for ?

It got going around the middle of ’77. I quit at the end of ’78. We got too much like big rock stars. We toured across Canada with Elvis Costello. There was a fair amount of controversy. We had to change our name. We were called Battered Wives but we got kicked off of several of the venues during that tour until we agreed to change our name to the Wives.

So it happened on the tour.

Yeah before the tour.

I thought it was some sort of label pressure.

We were starting to be billed as the Wives on the tour. We went back to Battered Wives, but their next album was released under the name of the Wives. We were billed as the Wives a couple of times on tour but as soon as we went on stage Toby would walk up to the microphone and the first thing he would shout out was ‘What’s our name ?’ and everybody would go ‘Battered Wives.’ ‘Fuckin’ right’ and then we would kick into our first song.

What was Elvis Costello like ?

He didn’t talk to us. He was reclusive. He would record every night and then go into his hotel room, but the Attractions…. we would have fun actually because we were playing these concert halls like soft cedar venues like the O'Keefe Centre more or less across Canada. So the shows were at 8:00pm. We would play this twenty five minute set and I would just sit on the side of the stage because the Attractions were just a fabulous band.

Pete Thomas was a wonderful drummer. I was just have my eyes glued on him. The whole night was over at ten and we would go into town as the new wave contingent and every town had a little new wave bar and we would go in it. So the band was great. The three guys would go with us but Elvis was …. We were getting a lot of publicity on it and he wasn’t that happy with the way things were going. I don’t think he was happy that they had chosen us to get on the bill. Maybe I am rationalizing it because I didn’t get to meet him or anything.

But that makes sense out of it all.

Yeah well he had purposely made a statement to avoid the United States. He was going to come to Canada to play.

Oh really ?

Yeah. I don’t know what the premise was exactly but American culture, he wanted to avoid it. He wanted to come here to the colony and to Britain. And I will tell you that I know that those guys were shocked. They were in these tour buses and they had no idea it was going to take that long.

Was that around the time of "Heat Wave" ?

It was before "Heat Wave". "Heat Wave" was 1980. this was ’78. It was his first time in north America. I still have the t-shirt. It was the "Wake Up Canada" tour. It would be like twenty hours from Regina to Saskatoon and they were like ‘okay what have we got ourselves into ?’ They were not used to that sort of stuff.

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