Shoot to Kill: Apocrypha

Six Inch Killaz at home
↑ Iconic image shot at York Way Court in Autumn 1997 by James & James for Ritual Magazine.

For the completists among you, here's a bunch of additional material, images and links that you may find of interest once you've completed the whole story. It includes a full transcript of the Flipside interview I mentioned in the final instalment, as well as Luis' statement on the band's breakup. Enjoy!


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This isn't a comprehensive list of links to Killaz stuff on the web. You can find that at the Six Inch Killaz official homepage. Rather it's a supplementary reading list that may be of interest if you're one of the masochists who've read and enjoyed the whole series so far.

Six Inch Killaz timeline

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Pieced together with the help of Luis and Mona, here's a timeline of gigs and other significant events as we recall them. Click the event marker or text to read more. The band at the bottom allows you to scroll rapidly through years. Double-click to center the timeline where you clicked. Where available, there are links to photos, recordings, videos and flyers.

You will need Javascript enabled to see this timeline.
Due to a WebKit bug, you may need to reload this page to get the timeline to show in Safari and Google Chrome. Apologies!
Thanks to the Simile Timeline Project. Use the scroll wheel, arrow keys or click-drag to move.

Shoot to Kill - the map

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↑ View Six Inch Killaz - Shoot to Kill in a larger map

Cock family tree

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↑ Apologies to Pete Frame...

This was done as a bit of fun back in August 2005 on the draGnet v4, inspired by Pete Frame's Rock Family Trees. Since then, several inaccuracies have emerged, developed or been pointed out:

It's quite probable, dear reader, that by the time you read this, the whole thing will be proven completely false!

The King Cheetah - Six Inch Killaz

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If you read Shoot to Kill in full, you'll know that the band Cheetahs were among our best friends and most strident supporters. A few years after we broke up, Mona gave me a CD which contained some brilliant studio demos that the band, now relocated to Los Angeles and renamed The King Cheetah, had recorded.

One of the songs was called Six Inch Killaz and was about us. I was deeply touched, especially as it was a fiery and brilliant punk rock anthem that literally takes you in its hands and shakes you cold and hot. Later, slightly rearranged, it became the lead single off their debut album, The King Cheetah LP (buy it at iTunes. It's good). Here's the video for that single, featuring intercut footage of us in our prime.

↑ The King Cheetah - Six Inch Killaz. Video by Patrick Griffin.

Flipside transcript

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Six Inch Killaz - Flipside interview
↑ The Flipside interview

Miss K says:

The interview, ironically conducted just before we split up for good in 1999, is probably one of the most coherent and representative of our philosphy and mindset. I thought it was worth posting a transcript here. I now hand over to Graham, the interviewer...

Six Inch Killaz are four highly-politicized self-made women in revolt armed with a transgender rock'n'roll vision and a drum machine. There used to be five of them but then Jasmine suffered a nervous breakdown and quit the band - let's not go there. They're based in London but spiritually they're a New York band. They look and sound like they've absorbed every word of Please Kill Me and England's Dreaming directly into their blood streams and now they're ready to cut that smirk off your face, punk. Think of the Killaz as a sort of Bride of Frankenstein monster stitched together from grainy old Andy Warhol films, Max's Kansas City-era American punk, radical Situationist manifestos and a bilious attitude.

We met in their natural habitat, Kitsch Bitch, London's best punk club, prior to their gig there. It's the kind of club where half the women look like Deborah Harry and so do a lot of the men. Once a month the Kitsch Bitch crew take over the normally plush red velvet cabaret venue Madame JoJo's in Soho, West London and drag it down to their level for their Night of a Thousand Sluts club night. It was in the dressing room there that I interrogated the lipstick killers while Madame JoJo's own resident drag queen hostesses jostled us to use the make-up mirrors.

Six Inch Killaz are: Mona Compleine: Guitars & Vocals; Luis Hatred: Bass & Vocals; Holly: Lead Vocals; Miss K: Guitars & Vocals

Interview by Graham Russell. Photos (original article) by Johnny Volcano.

Graham: Let's start by talking about the whole drag angle. Dragging up is not just something you do onstage, it's something you really live and is part of your identity.

Mona Compleine: When we started the band that wasn't a big deal for us. We just wanted to be in a band, so we were in a band and that's about it, really. It just makes it more difficult for us to get gigs. We can't play upstairs in some pub in Camden so easily.

Luis Hatred: We don't want to do the whole pub toilet circuit anyway.

Mona: And we don't want to support some crap band and play The Dublin Castle. Those places are too hot, anyway. Our make up would melt.

Graham: Comparisons to Wayne/Jayne County & The Electric Chairs would seem inevitable.

Luis: We like them but we've got our own ideas and our own attitude and our own way of doing things. We're not exact copies of The New York Dolls either.

Mona: People keep comparing us to The New York Dolls and we're not anything like them musically at all.

Luis: We just are who we are.

Mona: But we do love Jayne County.

Graham: For a British band your influences are very American.

Luis: We love the whole Warhol thing and The New York Dolls and The Ramones, and Holly loves Blondie (Gestures towards Holly, who's wearing Debbie Harry t-shirt). And The Velvet Underground.

Mona: We're a New York band, really.

Luis: With a dash of Cleveland.

Graham: With what?

Luis: Cleveland.

Holly: Cleavage! Cleavage!

Graham: You're a very Max's Kansas City type of band.

Mona: Do you know the club Squeeze Box in New York? If we were in New York we'd play at Squeeze Box. There's nowhere else to play here besides Kitsch Bitch.

Graham: I know you all love the Warhol drag queen Superstars like Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis. What is it about them that appeals to you?

Luis: First of all they looked great. They had a nice "Life is Art" way of approaching things. It's not like they did the art. Their life is the art - the documentation is the thing. The books you get on them. The films were just them going about their business, filmed by Warhol. The documentation of their lives is actually the art form.

Mona: And they didn't have any choice. They couldn't do anything else. In 1969 in New York what else could they do?

Miss K: They sacrificed their whole lives to glamour. And it was unintentional - they just got caught up in it.

Graham: To play devil's advocate, they're not the healthiest role models in the world. They lived pretty desperate lives.

Luis: I don't go out deciding I'm going to have a death wish. I can only be the person that I am. I've thought a great deal about who I am and who I want to be, but I'm certainly not going to fabricate anything or be contrived in any way. I can only be me and wherever it takes me, that's where it takes me. Like Johnny Thunders says, I'm going to live until I die - isn't it?

Mona: We like to keep it real.

Miss K: It's about being for real in the most artificial way possible.

Luis: As a matter of interest, we made a film called Trashola. It's basically a film of a day in the life of The Six Inch Killaz in our wonderful Warholian apartment in Kings Cross.

Graham: So what is a typical day in the life of The Six Inch Killaz?

Luis: We get up and start snorting cocaine out of our corn flakes. And then we all shoot up before we go out. And the water's been cut off so we have to get water out of the toilet bowl.

Mona: And we experiment with make-up.

Miss K: We just lurch from one ridiculous situation to another.

Holly: (Gesturing towards Luis) She's hardcore and we're just little girls. I'm only 13!

Graham: There's a very political/Situationist aspect to the band. Everything you do comes wrapped in all these philosophies and mission statements and slogans. Like "Blow It Up, Burn It Down", "Fuck Shit Up", "Screw The Poor and Fuck the Rich", "Drugs Not Jobs", "Riots Not Jobs"...

Holly: No, "Riots Not Diets"! Do you like my shoes? (Holds up foot dangling white plastic and clear Perspex 1960s mules). My auntie gave them to me.

Mona: "Bake a cake, make a bomb," that's another one. That's basically down to me. It's stuff I'm interested in, but it's not meant to be taken completely seriously. But it's obviously some part of what we're about.

Luis: It's just that attitude that you can be the person that you want to be. People might say that's clich.d, but some things are only clich.d because they are true, not just because people say them all the time.

Mona: We're obsessed with the Weather Underground, the Angry Brigade, the SLA, the Baader-Meinhof gang...

Holly: Glamorous people!

Mona: Glamorous people and revolutionaries. And our favourite film is probably If..., isn't it? (All agree).

Luis: And Flaming Creatures by Jack Smith. Do you know his film Blonde Cobra? As a matter of fact I made my own reworking of that, I was so into it.

Miss K: Someone once said to me we'd never get anywhere because we're too ironic.

Graham: But you're not an ironic band. You're certainly not a kitsch band or a joke band.

Luis: I don't like irony.

Miss K: I like ironing.

Luis: Something I hate at the moment is bringing back this retro '70s thing. All this shit, but by lining it with fake fur and putting it in inverted commas and calling it irony, that makes it acceptable.

Graham: Tell me more about the origins of the band. You formed about four years ago at a transvestite night club in the West End called Way Out.

Mona: Luis willed the band into being.

Luis: Basically the guy who does Way Out asked me if I could do something for this talent show case he was organising for the club. So the first thing I had to do was find a guitarist, so I found Mona and he said, I've got a drum machine. So the only thing left to do is find a singer, because I was going to play bass. The week before the contest I went up to Holly and said, Will you be in the group? And she said, Ah, but I can't sing. And I said, That's wonderful.

Graham: Yeah, but Holly was wearing a Sid Vicious t-shirt at the time.

Holly: Ooh, I like Sid.

Luis: No, that had been weeks before. That's how I got to know Holly in the first place. And that was how I discovered rock'n'roll. I didn't know anything about rock'n'roll before that.

Graham: What were you listening to before that?

Luis: Hip hop. Rap music. But Holly's Sid Vicious l-shirt really did start it all off for me.

Graham: How much in common did you have with the other drag acts in the talent contest?

Mona: Nothing at all. But we did it because we thought wouldn't it be funny to make them shriek in horror at us? It was a wind-up at first.

Luis: I was throwing dog food and ketchup around onstage. Shit like that. I couldn't play a note.

Graham: Did you chose the bass to be like Sid?

Luis: No, just because it's easier to play than guitar. I'm not a musical person at all.

Graham: What were the other drag acts doing in the talent contest - lip-synching to records?

Luis: It wasn't really a talent contest. It was more just a showcase for different trannie acts. Bloody disaster. There were lip-synchs and dance acts and well, that's all been done before. You're certainly not going to make a statement or offend people by doing a mime act.

Graham: The first song you ever wrote was for that occasion, Teenage Whores.

Luis: It was basically Belsen Was a Gas by The Sex Pistols and it was originally called Way Out Was a Horse, about the Way Out club. Then we changed it to Teenage Whores.

Graham: Tell me about the decision to use the drum machine instead of a flesh and blood drummer.

Luis: It's a hell of a lot easier. We once had a drummer for a short time but he was an arsehole. Never again.

Miss K: Moe Tucker from The Velvet Underground is like a drum machine anyway. Our drum machine is our little Moe Tucker.

Luis: No cymbals. Lou Reed said that cymbals eat guitars and he's quite right.

Mona: And it's hard to play drums in stilettos as well.

Holly: (Lecherous) I like drummers! We like straight men. We could get a straight man as a drummer and we could intimidate him all day.

Graham: Would you ever get a boy drummer who didn't dress up if you had to?

Mona: It's not a huge issue. We wouldn't say you couldn't be in the band.

Luis: We're pretty loose. Whatever anybody wants to do. It's anybody's group. There's certainly no leader in the group.

Graham: Tell me more about your songs. You do a song called Jackie O, which is a one-minute summary of the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Mona: I wrote that one myself. It was just after she'd died and I just wanted to express how fabulous she was - in a minute and a half.

Graham: She's quite a capitalist, conspicuous consumption symbol, though.

Holly: She's a cunt! (Raucous laughter). Well, I think she was a cunt.

Mona: But she looked really good. Especially those pictures of her at JFK's funeral. That Warhol print of her.

Holly: No. Not at the funeral. She wasn't a cunt at the funeral.

Graham: Your song Straitjacket is based on the 1964 William Castle-directed exploitation film. That is such a great film: Joan Crawford as an axe murderer.

Mona: It's vaguely about Straitjacket and vaguely about the movie Wise Blood, where this Gothic Southern preacher decides he's going to start up a new church, The Church of No God. There's a reference to that. It's about a drag queen who's obsessed with Joan Crawford and goes mad.

Graham: You cover Blondie's Rip Her To Shreds.

Luis: That was one of the first songs we learned.

Holly: I love Blondie. I love Debbie Harry.

Mona: We wanted to do one of Blondie's songs and that was the only one we could agree on. It was obviously the best song of theirs we could possibly do. We haven't been able to agree on a cover version since.

Holly: I wanted to do Joan Jett.

Mona: We wanted to do I Love Rock'n'Roll, but then we kept hearing it every week at Kitsch Bitch.

Luis: We also covered Sister Ray by The Velvet Underground. And The Dust Blows Forward and The Dust Blows Back by Captain Beefheart. And No Nonsense by The Electric Eels.

(I ask them what they thought of the recent Blondie reunion, inadvertently sparking a heated debate amongst the band. Mona says she thought their comeback album was lame. Holly shrieks that she'll never speak to her again).

Graham: Your songs like Superstar and PIGS reflect your interest in the Warhol Superstars. (The concept of PIGS was swiped from the early '70s Warhol film Women In Revolt, in which Candy Darling, Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn establish their own militant feminist faction PIGS, which stands for Politically Involved Girls). And you are politically involved girls as well.

Mona: Definitely. Agent provocateurs.

Luis: Our song New York City is also all about Warhol and the New York scene.

Mona: It's about everything we love about New York. It's a list song.

Luis: "A train/D train/I don't mind/Up to Lexington/125/Feel sick and dirty/More dead than alive."

Graham: You stole those lines from The Velvet Underground.

Luis: There's nothing wrong with that!

Miss K: We don't steal lines. We steal couplets.

Mona: I wrote a whole song called End Times just so I could have the words "I don't know, but I've been told." And it turned out to be a not very good song, but I still wanted to use those two lines.

Holly: Ooh, I like that song.

Mona: It goes "Let the end times roll." It's about enjoying the apocalypse while you still can.

Graham: Trashola is sort of your theme song.

Mona: Trashola is just about stupid stuff that we like. "I want to live like Jayne Mansfield/I want to live in the Pink Palace..." What else is it about?

Luis: (Singing/chanting the lyrics) "Cop killer beauty queen/ Trashola/Soap opera on the screen/Trashola/Everywhere we've ever been/Trashola/Want to live like Jayne Mansfield/Trashola/Pink Palace drug deals/Oh, yeah/Trashola/Aliens abducted me/Trashola/ Sold my story for a fee/Trashola/Don't you wish that you were me?/Trashola/Fuck forever/Wait and see/Trashola." Then I make a reference to The Rebel by Camus.

Graham: I still think that Seventeen is your best song. (It's on their demo tape and features their most cutting lyrics, filthy fuzzed-out guitars and Stooges I Wanna Be Your Dog-style piano).

Miss K: It's about this ex-friend of mine. She was an aspiring actress and she got into really stupid bad shit and her life became this big comedy. She just wanted to be an actress but became a club scene queen.

Graham: Does she know the song's about her?

Miss K: I don't know. I haven't spoken to her for years.

Graham: Does the band actually all live together? Because when the fetish magazine Ritual did an article on you it implied that you all lived together in Kings Cross, but in Mona's zine Girlie she says, "It's not as if we all live together or anything."

Luis: I lived for a while with Holly and Jasmine in a flat in Kings Cross. And then Holly left and the whole place got torn down.

Holly: (In a gleeful, lunatic Divine-like voice) As soon as I left the whole place got torn down! I arranged that! I turned up with the bulldozer and they had to get out fast. We'd kill each other if we lived together, wouldn't we?

Graham: You opened for Pansy Division when they last played over here. That must've been the biggest crowd you've ever played in front of.

Miss K: They weren't really into us to start with. They were very cautious but after two or three songs they started getting into us.

Graham: You won them over.

Mona: I think more people would like us if they got to hear us. It's sad.

Graham: More recently you played a gig at a club night at The Institute of Contemporary Art and the fire alarm went off in the middle of your set.

Luis: I don't know what happened.

Mona: We were hoping to get some publicity out of that. It would've been good to say we nearly burnt the ICA down. We can always milk it for the mythology later on.

Graham: Mona, tell me about your zine Girlie and about DJing at Kitsch Bitch.

Mona: I've been involved in DIY culture for some time and done zines and published my own comics and Girlie is a vehicle for me to spout my opinions. I've been doing it for about four or five years now. It's things that I'm interested in, things about drag, about terrorists, about films I like, about the band, about Kitsch Bitch. Luis writes for it sometimes as well. The club Kitsch Bitch really saved the band. At one point the people at Kitsch Bitch were our only fans. They were the only people coming up to us and telling us we were fabulous, so obviously we became friends. (Other like-minded up and coming bands aligned with Kitsch Bitch include The Cheetahs and Cherry 2000). I have lots of records so from there I got invited to DJ. If I'm doing an early set I'll play The Electric Eels and obscure things and quite a lot of stupid '60s things I like, and Elvis Presley and Little Richard. If I'm doing a later set I'll do a more trad Kitsch Bitch set, like Sonic Reducer and Television, maybe The New York Dolls, maybe Blondie and The Ramones. But not the really well known ones. Like instead of Blitzkreig Bop I'll play Oh, Oh I Love Her So if I'm playing The Ramones. Stooges. All that good stuff. Kitsch Bitch really is the Killaz's place. They really saved us.

Miss K: 'Cause we were just disintegrating.

Graham: The club is your spiritual home. OK, I know people like Jayne Mansfield and Candy Darling and Angelyne are sort of like fetish objects for the band. They all shared this obsession with fame. How desperate are Six Inch Killaz to be famous? Do you share this obsession?

Mona: I don't think so. We vicariously want to be famous. We identify with their need to be famous.

Luis: Oh, dear, no. I want to be a success. I want to live.

Miss K: You've got to take into account we're fucking lazy.

Luis: We're lazy but we're dedicated.

Clicky-Zoomy Wall of Flyers

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↑ The Fall of Wlyers. Mmm, clicky zoomy...

Luis gets the last word

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Luis and his sneer
↑ Luis

Miss K says:

After I published the final part of Shoot to Kill, Luis emailed me his usual list of corrections and comments which I duly wove into the piece as normal. However, having read and tried to fit this final bit in, I decided instead to leave it for the very end.

It's his commentary on my analysis of the decision to break the band up. I thought it only fair that Luis, as the person who gave birth to Six Inch Killaz, and at times kept it alive by sheer force of will alone, should, as he always did when we were together - except at that final, fateful meeting, so it turns out - get the last word.

(You say that) ...the night we broke up I "gave in with only a small fight". Okay - I can talk about it now, as it's years later and it hardly matters anymore - but I felt as if I'd been presented with a fait accompli. And the shock was so severe that I could barely speak. Pauline was extremely worried, I went so long without saying anything! And looking back, I bitterly regret not putting up more of a fight.

My feelings have always remained the same: all this talk about the band "running its course" is, to put it politely as possible, utter nonsense. Such talk makes us sound as if we had no will of our own, that the very concept of a band had been dropped on us from above, and that we had gone along with it purely cause we lacked the willpower to do otherwise. If only we had held on another six months, or a year at most, I am convinced we would have had our break, and with it, the strength and will to continue.

And even if it didn't happen - so what?

We were doing what we had come together to do - make great fucking music, and do it with as much style and humour as possible. Six Inch Killaz was a fantastic group - a synergy, in its truest sense, of wonderfully talented people. That was what I loved about it most - working with such witty, talented, intelligent people! And in all honesty, I don't think any of us can expect ever again to be part of such a brilliant group of people; different, yet at the same time similar enough to be able to work together and fuse all their powers into one coherent, brilliant, inseparable whole.

This isn't just talk, by the way - I really mean it! This concept of the synergy - it successfully showed up in the work we produced, so that to my mind, it doesn't make the slightest bit of sense picking holes in our playing abilities, while ignoring the performances and appearance in which they were clothed. Or debating the good and bad qualities of our punk-Warhol design and general worldview, while ignoring the wit and intelligence of the people who performed on such a stage.

A synergy - something you very rarely find in pop music - and when the product is this great, and this memorable, who can possibly argue otherwise?

We were something else.

Luis Hatred, founder of Six Inch Killaz

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