The happy death of Elvis Costello
A comic drama in three parts, involving the troubled troubadour in intrigues of his own devising and nightmares of others' imagination, in which he finally lays his ghost to rest…
"And they pulled him out of the cold, cold ground.
And they put him in a suit of lights."
- Declan P.A. MacManus, "Suit Of Lights" 1986
The world was stunned this past month when, after almost a year of speculation concerning physical deterioration and possible mental instability, Elvis Costello, the self-styled "knock-kneed mis-shapen misanthrope" of rock, was claimed to have executed himself in what many insiders regard to be a bizarre schizophrenic slaying!
Rumour had been rife regarding Costello's purported problems: indeed one brave journalist had made sensational reading in a recent issue of a rock weekly by describing the troubled troubadour's last desperate months, during which, sighted "at London gigs and clubs he (Costello) was a bloated, sweating presence. For whatever reasons he looked a wreck". This intrepid scribe went on to draw weighty conclusions from rumours "too difficult to substantiate, too persistent to ignore" that "tell of a troubled love life, a drink problem and an artistic stone wall." Reflecting on Costello's new recording — "an undisguised plea for compassion, for a breathing space, for a ray of hope" — the pop pundit concluded that the mediocre version of an old Sixties hit, "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", was in fact nothing less than "a harrowed howl for help". Elsewhere, mention made of the victim's penchant for "agonisingly slow self-flagellation" and "public disembowelment."
Not long after these words appeared in print, a voice claiming to be Costello's psychiatrist, a certain Dr. McManus, contacted the aforementioned reporter by phone — only a matter of hours prior to the suicide of his patient — in an attempt to force a confrontation with the troubled genius. "It was a long shot," Dr. McManus stated, "but it might just have worked."
At Costello's funeral, just as the casket was laid to rest, Dr. McManus was heard to remark with regard to his patient's demise: "Unfortunately, with Elvis it became a force of habit. When it moved he'd fuck it, when it didn't he'd stab it."
The contents of the star-crossed crooner's suicide note were read out later during the wake. "It was a good idea at the time. Now I'm a brilliant mistake."
One good thing about this whole absurd situation, I now feel I know what it must be like to be George Jones," remarks Elvis Costello, now rechristened Declan Patrick Aloysius McManus, laughing heartily. "Having all these people, y'know, like vultures nit-picking away at my so-called 'legend'. At least, as Elvis Costello, I achieved that…"
1985 was the first year since the creation at the tail end of '76 of Elvis Costello — quote unquote — that the singer didn't release an album. Not that he was exactly donkeying around: there were production chores for at least two acts, most specifically the Pogues, a short solo tour in Australia and another solo one-shot that proved to be one of the few actual musical highlights of Live Aid. ("A noble enough cause… but it was such an incredible shame that so little good music came out of such a gigantic event.") He also performed in a "cameo" role for playwright Alan Bleasdale, "a very fleeting role as a magician who loses his nerve — a human exploding card trick if you like," in Bleasdale's new film, No Surrender (see page 72). More crucially, he recorded some 18 tracks, with colleague T-Bone Burnette producing, over in Los Angeles that were to consummate a radical breaking-away from the role he felt he'd been shoehorning himself into. Finally — and vital to his state of mind — he fell in love.
Released in the beginning of March, King Of America is the first album barring his debut release, My Aim Is True, not to feature The Attractions backing him throughout. Yet more pointedly, the record, although it will be issued under the umbrella soubriquet of The Costello Show (he preferred The McManus Gang but bowed to the corporate choice) is the first determined demonstration of Costello to rid himself of his infamous handle.
"Last year I officially had my name changed back to the name I was first christened with — Declan Patrick McManus." In fact, it's officially Declan Patrick Aloysius McManus, the Aloysius part lifted from comedian Tony Hancock whose middle name provided this spot of inspiration.
"Actually I can imagine the way some people are thinking, they'll lose out on the humour yet again. Y'know, ah yes, Tony Hancock, alcoholic, deceased. I just can't seem to win."
What keeps eating at Costello/McManus is a problem that forms an irony so deliciously absurd even he has to ultimately laugh about it. Here he is, at the outset of 1986 and he frankly can't recall a time during 'the Costello years' when he's been remotely so contented as he says he currently is. "Actually I've never been as happy as I am right now. I don't have any problems as such. I feel good about myself, my life, my work and I don't want to play silly quasi-enigmatic games anymore."
Nevertheless, the press — specifically represented by the ill-informed reviewer who, in a lather of imagination, depicted Costello's ruin for the readers of NME, epitomizing the whole shabby misconception of Costello's life — seem to want to believe that the complete opposite is true. Rumour has been rife around those charmingly voyeuristic inner sanctums of the music business where, it would be insinuated knowingly, Elvis Costello has been somehow embroiled in arm-wrestling the hand of plight in its every conceivable hideous aspect.
He has been portrayed as some helpless entity — "a secret drinker," for God's sake — a broken man racked with grief about the clearly terminal nature of the break-up he'd experienced with his wife of ten years standing (the marriage in fact ended up in the divorce courts) whilst, arguably most burdensome for someone as musically hyper-motivated as Costello has always been rightly viewed to be, he was experiencing what musicologists term The Block.
The truth is he's not a secret drinker. His domestic misfortunes have not left him one of the walking wounded and, as far as songwriting blocks go…
"I mean, this songwriting block I'm supposed to be suffering from is not only nonexistent, the ironic thing is that the only time I actually suffered from anything like that was in fact not long before we recorded Get Happy (laughs). Back then I did go for six months without writing a song. Now I had written eight or nine new songs just prior to that. most during the Armed Forces US tour — and anyway, 1 was working at least one album ahead of every one just released but … yes, there was this period when I suffered a definite songwriting block, although as soon as that cleared up I bashed off the rest of that album's songs very quickly indeed.
"But no-one picked up on that back then. Nor did they … well, speaking quite frankly, I'm amazed that no-one at the time exposed the fact that I was into almost totally wrecking myself on drink and chemicals for … well, three years virtually non-stop! Really it was nothing thousands of other groups in our position weren't also doing, particularly then, but still the real irony is that when there were those influences around, the press didn't rumble it. I was into a daily thing of artificial stimulation — drinking myself into a stupor, fuelling myself on cocaine, but no-one suspected a thing.
"I mean, I look back on virtually the last ten years and Elvis Costello … you see Elvis Costello was always partly an 'invention'. Not like Ziggy Stardust so much but certainly the name — which Jake Riviera came up with in fact — and this image, y'know, of me as 'the knock-kneed mis-shapcn misanthrope of rock' was definitely calculated. I always felt this thing back then… this fear that I can only liken to a child being afraid of the dark. I needed this persona and I clung to it because if I gave the game away, I felt I would be never quite assured enough of myself. So I rationalized it — and still do to a slight extent. Elvis Costello is a good brand name, you know, like 'Durex'!
"But it got carried away and in the process I became falsely 'enigmatic', if you like, and very contrary. At the same time I don't want this to sound schizophrenic because I'm not, and the person who wrote those songs has always been me. Plus I was very, very bitter and angry and … well, the first year I played with The Attractions I was performing live almost exclusively on this level of anger and just incredible nervous energy. And then it got to that stage where I would be functioning on mental or, y'know, 'artificial' energy. But I found that as I continued, it became automatically a thing of me never letting my guard down.
"Well, I see it as having served its purpose, but now I don't need it. 1 don't need the game-playing and the whole smoke-screen, thank you, because it only clouds the issue. Like a friend recently asked me about the fact that in 'Suit Of Lights' (a King Of America track) there's this description of a funeral taking place and he — half-knowingly by this time I'm certain — asked me whose funeral it was. I just looked at him and said, 'Isn't it obvious'?"
"I prefer my own name or the name I was born with, I should say. I think Declan McManus is a beautiful name actually. It sounds wonderful and it feels closer to me. Because I've been around, right, and at the age of virtually 32 there are more important things to deal with than being the great 'enigma'. Things like' 'truth' and 'beauty' to name but two. I'm a big, strong lad now and … all that security and protection just insularizes you and it can leave you empty.
"I don't live like that and I don't have any problems. People don't bother me in the street that much and if they do recognize me they're very agreeable and courteous. The only trouble there has been is a certain tendency I find in that I sometimes get quite loony letters from certain fans. There are people out there who seem to think I know the answers to some great unfathomable question. Like there's one guy who helps run this magazine — The Elvis Costello Information Service — which I quickly should add I'm very flattered by overall, but this one guy, finally I felt I should meet him. I went along with T-Bone Burnette who is one of the most patient and sweet-natured people I've certainly ever encountered. He's a born-again Christian but never once has he even hinted at trying to engage me in any kind of conversion. We just get on fantastically well. And T-Bone after five minutes became quite intolerant towards the guy because he, having been around Dylan during the Rolling Thunder Revue, is hyper-aware of all the pitfalls of the 'enigma'. And he realised even quicker than I did that this person just couldn't be communicated with rationally. I wanted to show this guy that Elvis Costello is just as human and fallible as him and that, no, I don't hold the magic key to the unravelling of life's great mysteries. But five minutes into talking, I realized this person wasn't interested in having it proven to him that Elvis Costello is just a human being.
"So I felt maybe it was time to put Elvis Costello, the brand name, to rest as the only other solution."
- "Look at the man that you call 'Uncle'
Having a heart attack around your ankles."
- - Elvis Costello, "Man Called Uncle" 1980
It was in August 1984 down at Camden Town's Diorama venue that Elvis Costello — still staunchly adhering to his, infamous calculated moniker — first witnessed the Pogues at a 'cow-punk' one-nighter headlined by the now-deceased Boothill Foot Tappers. The effect was clearly overwhelming. In fact it compelled Costello immediately to contact the group and offer them the much-coveted support slot on the European Goodbye Cruel World tour — his last to date with The Attractions — commencing little over a month after their initial encounter. During that time, he became completely besotted with the group's shambling, Celtic-based mass of sound and as the acquaintance deepened, he asked to produce them, an offer they clearly couldn't refuse.
"No-one else was interested," maintains Pogues' leader Shane McGowan. "At least nobody who we felt could remotely do us justice in the studio."
Come February of 1985, the Pogues and Costello completed work on a single, "A Pair Of Brown Eyes", and it became clear that both parties were benefitting from the liaison. In the process of this alliance, Elvis was clearly becoming similarly enamoured by the considerable charms and salty wit of Pogues' bassist, the formidable Caitlin O'Riordan, better known as "Cait" (pronounced "Cot").
Born in Nigeria of Irish parentage, Ms. O'Riordan, some ten years Costello's junior, had already won considerable notoriety for herself as the very epitome of wide-eyed abandon, thrusting the neck of her cumbersome Fender Precision bass out at the Pogues' audience while rending the air with banshee-like yelps when the mood took her. As a bass-player she is scarcely a virtuoso but as a singer, a vocation she explored with considerable aplomb whilst fronting the short-lived but extremely worthy Pride Of The Cross, she clearly possesses a talent that has yet only been hinted at. A single, released on Big Beat (ironically it was turned down by Costello's own Imp label) entitled "Tommy's Blue Valentine" (a homage to her hero, Tom Waits, written by Pogues colleague Phil Gaston) was excellent whilst her rendition — on the flipside — of Peggy Lee's "Black Coffee" clearly denotes a flexibility of range and considerable interpretive skills that could well cause the likes of Sade sleepless nights.
By whatever of her qualities, it soon became clear that Elvis was smitten. He was seldom out of her company, often accompanying the Pogues on their almost ceaseless travels of 1985. When a group member fell foul of some ailment, he'd often stand in and was even witnessed humping gear along with the roadies. When business matters drew him away, he'd call Cait from Los Angeles (where the King Of America sessions were recorded from March through to June), from Australia, wherever, on a daily basis for hours at a time.
She, in turn, called him "Uncle Brian", her chosen term of endearment.
By autumn of last year, after the Pogues' Rum, Sodomy & The Lash sessions had been wrapped up, they were living together at a location which, when reached by phone, Costello (by this time officially rechristened D.P.A. McManus by deed-poll) would simply describe as "the Bulgarian Embassy", often hanging up immediately afterwards. Then, come December, members of the Pogues noticed an expensive-looking ring on the third finger of their bass player's left hand. Costing over a thousand pounds, the ring's appearance led to an inevitable conclusion: Declan Patrick Aloysius McManus and Caitlin O'Riordan were engaged.
The relationship has since gone conspicuously public with Ms. O'Riordan standing alone by her man — and a cumbersome double bass — as he mimes his good intentions on the "Misunderstood" video. Meanwhile her name appears alongside his on the songwriting credits for a new song, "Loveable".
So where does all this leave The Attractions? You may well ask. I certainly did only to have Costello/McManus at first defining relations with his former group as being on temporary hold … "We'll play together again if — and when — the situation arises." He dismisses rumours of antipathy between his former cronies and T-Bone Burnette, who supported him on his solo tour of '84, as "complete rubbish — I got really angry when I read that stuff in the gossip columns because it just isn't true."
The individuals in The Attractions, when I attempted to query them, chose simply not to communicate their feelings regarding this current state of flux. Facts however tend to speak for themselves: Costello and the Attractions played together in public only once last year in the early spring at a miner's benefit held at London's Logan Hall. The mood backstage was not exactly cheery, principally because this was the night the group were informed that they would not be playing behind Costello at the Live Aid bash. "They had us over a barrel," claims Costello. "Obviously the band wanted to play but it was explained that, as one of the few people along with Phil Collins and Sting, say, who could play solo, could I be the trouper and dump the band? I felt really bad but there really was no choice in the matter."
The Live Aid affair plus the fact of being excluded from all but one track of K.O.A. (although Elvis and The Attractions had in fact recorded versions of many of the songs slated for that album) and, finally, the touchy matter of having to witness the release of a "Best of" package that exclude their group name … these circumstances all add up to a degree of animosity.
Meanwhile Steve Naive has been working on a new project with former Deaf School singer Steve Allen. An EP entitled "Ring-A-Ding-Ding" is due for imminent release — not on any Costello-affiliated label, but on Warner Bros. (Naive did in fact end up contributing to Live Aid by playing keyboards on the Jagger/Bowie duet of "Dancing In The Street"). Drummer Pete Thomas has been working with former employer John Stewart over in the States.
When queried about the acoustic setting of King Of America, Costello finally opens up about his frustration regarding the last few albums with The Attractions.
"People are going to say when they hear this record, 'Ah yes, he's been influenced by the Pogues! Celtic folk or whatever'. But … this is the simple truth … if you'd heard the way I demo'd the songs on the last two albums, then the feel was almost exactly the same. The main problem was that in the studio I would always tend to get carried away. I'd never know when to stop. That why Punch The Clock and particularly Cruel World failed, really.
"On Imperial Bedroom I wrote all those songs on the piano which isn't an instrument I'm particularly a master of. I lost perspective on the arrangements on that album and particularly when I returned to the guitar for the other two. It just reached a point where I was getting so carried away trying to reflect the lyrics, the whole thing would end up sounding unbalanced. They'd sound queasy and horrific because that's what the lyric were about. That's why those albums were failures. I should have kept to the original stripped-down feel of the songs or else worked like 'Oliver's Army' where the music and the lyrics complement each other for maximum effect and that's what T-Bone showed me. He'd keep saying 'forget the embellishments. Concentrate on the song".
- "Mouth almighty, that's what I've got
Mouth almighty, telling you what's what."
- - Elvis Costello, "Mouth Almighty|" 1983
Elvis Costello is clearly not up for anything approaching the kind of encounter I had envisaged. When I last interviewed him formally, some seven years back, he had ended by telling me, "Next time, we're going to talk about morality." But the aggressive certainties of Elvis Costello have given way to the open, questioning, contradictory Declan McManus. Unguarded to the point of barely considering a question before he replies, it's this vanished paranoia that has allowed for such good-humoured antics as the telephone call to the rock scribe masquerading as his own analyst.
But even if the rumours of his death have been greatly exaggerated, the fact of his commercial stasis in recent years cannot be ignored.
"After ten years of making records you can't expect any artist to suddenly change the face of popular music overnight with one record," he says defensively.
The presence of the original Elvis (Presley)'s TCB musicians — Ron Tutt, James Burton and Jerry Scheff — on several tracks of King Of America is, however, more than a mere novelty. This unit after all played on Gram Parsons' GP — a seminal waxing as far as Costello is concerned — and "they're simply the best players for a certain style. They were great, y'know. They seemed to respect me and even turned up to hear the rough mixes. It was wonderful talking to them between takes. That was how 'Eisenhower Blues' came about — a one-take jam which happened directly as a result of us talking about the Fifties in America. They were obviously amused at the way this young limey upstart had these opinions and, of course, they'd been there, they'd lived through it and had helped create the basis of the myth. They were great and T-Bone and I made sure that we went for live takes. We set things up so that it would be so much like a Fifties record session as technology would permit. Virtually every track on the album is a basic live take. In fact, we'd never go over four takes. It had to possess that spontaneity because that's the way I work best, I now believe."
This is in contrast to its predecessor, Goodbye Cruel World, which Costello now views as a failure. Although the record's producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley clearly instigated the process, Costello refuses to condemn anyone but himself for the decision to implement a situation where "everything we recorded was done to sound … well, too calculated, I now feel. And in the process, all the inspiration was drained from the performances. It was all my fault. No-one forced me to work that way. But with Cruel World and part of Punch The Clock I was trying to deal directly with the contemporary pop market, so to speak. I wanted to make hit records and as such, felt compelled to compete in an arena where I frankly am not … well it just isn't my particular forté. Plus I felt I was trying to shoehorn too much into one song.
On the new record I made a conscious attempt to make my lyrics and tunes less … dense. I was starting to sound maybe a little pompous."
The subject of the singles market provokes some insights. After all, Costello throughout the Eighties has been forced to witness some of his finest songs — "Hi Fidelity", "Peace In Our Time" and others — flop ignominiously in a market in which he initially chose — quite rightly — to make success his number one priority. "My attitude towards singles now is completely mercenary. Someone else is hired to pick 'em and I just go along with their choice. You see, the way I view it, only half-a-dozen singles ever truly represented my work. I used to view each single like having a child. They were my children and … it reached a point where I was getting far too precious, viewing that one song as being my ambassador if you like. I can't pick hits anymore. I can't get that worked up because when all is said and done it's only a record and if people like it, fine."
At a time when this writer, for one, used to be amused and is now actively disgusted by the state of pop, this antipathy — coming as Elvis Costello was about to release easily his most focussed and eloquent work since Imperial Bedroom — seemed odd. When I queried the stance, he virtually shot back.
"Christ I think this album's absolutely incredible! And even though I didn't release anything apart from that Coward Brothers single (with T-Bone) last year, I still ardently believe that I was at least peripherally involved in helping make one of the only two records actually worth paying good money for last year."
This clearly meant the Pogues' "Rum, Sodomy & The Lash", but the other one? Costello reacts as though I've just asked him a particularly naive question, then fires back — "Tom Waits' Raindogs, of course!"
Meat Is Murder? Costello bluntly dismisses it. I don't even bother to enquire about Prefab Sprout's great Steve McQueen or the last R.E.M. album. If I'd mentioned Prince … well, Costello made his feelings on that subject clear in his live version of "Worthless Thing", whilst Madonna's form is alluded to — with a typical doggerel pun — on "Sleep Of The Justice": 1985's queen of the pop pin-ups is last year's "immaterial girl!".
"I don't want to name the obvious names and get into the usual slagging. These people have had enough publicity. Okay, how do I feel I fit into the current pop firmament? I don't, quite simply."
Back at the beginning of the Eighties, Costello and Bruce Springsteen were way ahead of the pack, almost neck-and-neck as commercial hotshots. Now, five years on, Springsteen has completely grasped the mass imagination of his country and to a leser extent Europe, whilst Costello is still held in a certain reverence — his songwriting an inspiration acknowledged by the likes of George Michael — but hasn't won over remotely the same kind of majority. As I am saying this I can sense Costello simmering. The subject of Bruce, King of the Heartland, has caused him to aim some untypically cheap shots Springsteen's way over the last couple of years. More pointedly, I recall — back in early 1978 — witnessing Costello, then the young heavyweight contender, reading that Springsteen's yet-to-be-released "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" might be titled "Racing In The Streets". The image of his face smirking with triumphant relish as he savoured the tentative vision of shutting down the Boss remains with me still.
"Oh God. I tend to get quoted as always knocking him but … I don't dislike Springsteen. He has written some good songs but I just feel, particularly now, that there's something very wrong imagewise — someone is giving him very bad advice or something, I don't know. But, well, the Rambo parallel is too obvious but … so okay, the guy's been working out at the gym but why does he have to keep showing off his bloody muscles all the time? You know, it's okay Bruce, you can roll yer sleeves back down again. Plus this mentality — 'Hey guys what should we use as a back-drop?' 'Well howzabout the flag?' I don't know. It just seems very crass to my way of thinking.
"The first time I saw him live he was really great. Then the next time I saw him it was at a much bigger venue and he'd lost something crucial in the process. Then, last year I went to see him and found myself in this audience who were all completely immersed in this orgy of mindless rapture.
"No, never have I envied his so-called ascendancy. Not for one milli-second! I would loathe to be in the position he's currently in, absolutely loathe it! When I played the N.E.C. I vowed, 'never again'. Nobody can communicate when they're performing from half-a-mile away. Even Jesus Christ couldn't have pulled that off!'
So what does Declan McManus want to achieve with his career right now? What audience does he want to reach with this record?
"The same thing I've always wanted to achieve. I still like upsetting people from time to time. I don't want a nice cosy liberal-minded audience. I'd prefer an un-sympathetic audience — frankly — at times. I was actively good at antagonising people for about three-and-a-half years for basically ignorant reasons, I now feel. I was too successful probably, I antagonized virtually everyone and got the classic rebuff. Then I started — quote-unquote — diversifying a bit and somehow ended up getting my name related to clichés I've never felt I stood for and have certainly never wanted to stand for. For example, only a complete idiot in my position would go for that 'man of the people' crap. I've never fallen for that and anyone who has deserves all the derision they inevitably get heaped on them because they are living a total, despicable lie. That's the lowest. 'Political' is another, although there have been songs that could be accused of having political overtones obviously. But 'politics' is — well, on the one hand we have Thatcher, a treacherous snob peddling a set of false images that long, long ago were considered quite rightly dead and buried and on the other side America has some faceless corporation selling them a guy who's a dangerously senile half-wit being promoted through the usual set of feeble-brained platitudes. That's politics! I mean, someone asked me once what I thought of America and I replied off-the-cuff, 'A brilliant mistake.' Then I went away and thought about the phrase and in due course I wrote the song — 'Brilliant Mistake' — which ultimately was meant to work on three levels although all three are tied to the concept of illusions. The first verse deals with the illusion of principles as found in a country's constitution, the second about the illusion of love or blind information and finally the illusions inherent in an individual's dreams and aspirations.
"That's an example of the way I aim to write, trying to make sure that there are several levels there, so that I can avoid being categorised whilst the lyric can't necessarily be tied to a single issue or a joke, say. I've always fought shy of the comic songwriter syndrome — because once the subject matter loses its topicality then the song loses its impact and validity.
"And morality begins and ends in people not in theories. That's the way I see it now. I'm not a moral spokesperson for anyone, except myself and then not always. I may be singing in the first person but that doesn't mean to say the song is automatically autobiographical. It's like claiming the Pogues might be morally suspect because they do certain songs that mention alcohol and death. That's facile thinking, particularly when you listen to most heavy metal records where the groups are actually trying to promote excess and dying young. Now they probably do believe that crap or else they're morally corrupt enough to make it seem glamorous to their audience. The "I" in a Pogues song could be some common footsoldier figure that Shane's using to tell a story but I've done that on every record I've made. I mean, I'm not attracted by the idea of death through alcoholism. Not in the least. I'll get drunk sometimes if I want to and I'll face the consequences. 'The Big Light' is a song about the proverbial hang-over and that says it all.
"That's why I can't get that worked up about the current state of pop and where I fit in! Radio is still obsessed with Phil Collins. Frankly DJs still have this warped view of 'virtuosity' whilst the 60,000 people who bought the last Pogues record are basically ignored. Meanwhile the music press these days is mostly scrabbling around either being desperately over-reverent or else slagging off music that possesses a certain amount of worth but which doesn't conform with this month's narrow trends. There's no surprise anymore, because everyone's too busy following everyone else trying to be desperately hip.
"The main factor is that, despite all this supposed progress since 1977, the single lacks the cultural value that it possessed back in, say, 1966. There's no great eternal hall of pop greatness. That's the big fallacy. It doesn't exist anymore. I just make the best record I can, write the best songs I can.
"The rest is either superfluous or else offensive. I just don't accept being referred to as a 'protest singer' or, God!, 'committed'. Christ almighty, I'll only ever accept seeing the word 'committed' next to my name when — and if — I'm actually being committed. Otherwise, forget it!"
The Face, No. 71, March 1986
Nick Kent interviews Elvis Costello.
Photos by Davies and Starr.
EC as Rosco in No Surrender.
Cover and page scans.