The not so free world: Clams ‘Warmduscher’ Baker interviews meatraffle

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warmduscher meatraffle
Written by Clams Baker

Hello Ransom Note and fellow lovers of music in the not-so-free world!

Clams of Warmduscher here and I have the pleasure of sharing a few questions with a friend and family member, Zsa Zsa Sapien of Meatraffle. Their new album is out now

CLAMS BAKER:  It’s no secret I’m a fan of Meatraffle for many reasons and have been a part of it’s history since moving to London in 2008. Your knowledge and passion for music is a common bond we share, so these questions will be quite easy. Can you tell us what it was like growing up in one of earth’s greatest cities and its best part in my opinion, Battersea?


ZSA ZSA SAPIEN: Battersea was great growing up, we had everything, adventure playgrounds, gangs, sound systems (Black Unity), a fantastic Jazz dancer called Jazzman of Battersea, everyone seemed to have a pair of roller skates back then, we had a youth club called Devas that was visited by scumbags like Rolf Harris and Princess Michael of Kent but I did get to meet Pele through the club at a film premiere as a representative of the club, I was the star child! I am really proud of coming from Battersea, not proud of being British, can’t wait to get my Italian passport, my wife is Italian, she can speak in Calabrese dialect and I think has connections with the ‘Ndrangheta criminal organisation, she was also brought up in Battersea.

Loads of people have mentioned Battersea in songs, Squeeze, Morrissey and Kraftwerk also Battersea Power Station appeared on the cover of a Pink Floyd album. The only Communist MP (apart from one in Motherwell) was voted into parliament by the people of Battersea in 1922, the gentleman’s name was Shapurji Saklatvala also known as Comrade Sak he was from India, we also had the first ever black Mayor, John Richard Archer.

CB: Can you talk us through your journey of metal, jazz, dancehall, pop and the current state of musical affairs?

ZZ: My first real obsession in music was I guess the UK Jazz dance phenomena, that inspired my song The Horseshoe. My mate at the Devas club, Linford, went to all the clubs like Dingwalls and The Horseshoe that had DJs like Paul Murphy and Gilles Peterson. Linford gave me a list of records to get by people like Herbie Handcock, Barry Miles and Cal Tjader but the songs would be on albums that were mostly crap but had one fantastic tune on it, so we kind of bought albums as singles if you know what I mean? I’d go to Soho to places like Record Shack that was in a dark basement, you have to remember record shops back then were terrifying places to go, you’d walk into the room getting stared at with a countenance that said “what the fuck are you doing in here?”

Sometimes I think of my friend Linford and would love to meet him again and thank him for introducing me to this fantastic sub genre, but it all ended when I hit this brick wall called Heavy Metal, in a weird way it was like my jazz, really fast music! I gave away these albums when I went through a year zero scenario, some of those albums are worth hundreds of pounds now, what an idiot, I was obsessed with a band called Venom that was fucking fast and talked about Satan and being buried alive and then there was Metallica who I really liked but they went shit after that cunt, James Hetfield started shooting Giraffes for fun! Celtic Frost was way better, more arty.

At the same time Hip Hop started and everyone played rap at my youth club I loved KRS ONE and Public Enemy also London Posse but I pretended not to like it because I’ve always hated populism and trends, I used to literally fight for the tape deck to put on Black Metal or Fight Fire With Fire. There was so much great musical things going on like these Reggae sound tapes which were fucking amazing, live recordings of sound systems like Saxon and Sir Coxone, hardcore as fuck!

"I think Public Enemy put me off Elvis a bit and the punks never liked him."


CB: Is there any truth to the great rugby caper at The Falcon, Clapham junction in the 90s where you single handedly wiped-out a whole crew of knuckle dragging rugger buggers with one pair of wire clippers?

ZZ: Yeah, I was a heavy drinker in The Falcon at the time back in the 80s, that piss head chef used to drink there, Keith Floyd. Now it’s very important to remember if you are from Battersea, Clapham Junction IS NOT in Clapham, it is in Battersea and anytime a yuppy called it Clapham they would get a slap!

There was a great barmaid there who I can’t remember her name but I really liked her in a platonic sense, she was white South African and amazingly not a racist, she was nuts, used to wear seven watches on one arm! Probably from dead dads and uncles.

So on this day they had this big rugby game on, I detest rugby it attracts a lot of officer class, Friekorps-types, Kulaks and yuppies and one of these toads got a bit fresh with my barmaid pal and made her cry, which of course made me cry, I was full of rage and about to glass the cunt but then I thought I’d like to metre out some of their own medicine, which is Corporal Punishment, so I ran out the back and went up Lavender Hill to Halfords to buy some pliers, not cheap, went back into the pub and watched the game from the other side of the bar. I waited until England were about to score a try… you see the bar is circular, in fact it is the longest bar in Europe, I quickly went around the other side so nobody could see me, I went to the power cable and cut the power supply, a big fucking bang and some of the volts went in my arm and gave me a nose bleed where the sparks must have hit my brain! I ran out the back door and came back to my pint around the other side… hahahaha… people were going nuts with anger! I looked at the barmaid and we both winked at each other and burst out laughing. True story!

CB: Can you fill the listeners in on some of the characters and figure heads that shaped your existence and current state of affairs musically, politically and socially, including the great Stevie Dundee, a man named Henry whom I’ve forgotten the last name of and the one and only, Tingle Nosebleed? 

ZZ: I first met Stevie Dundee in the Falcon, he sold the Socialist Worker outside Clapham Junction train station, I think he was an ex-Celtic hooligan, but Marxist/Leninist right through to the marrow, he introduced me to CLR James and Victor Serge, he is an intellectual but  anti-academic, real class warrior but very suave and cool like Malcom X, a snappy dresser like Lenin, loves soul and reggae music! A perfect specimen really, Stevie really turned me on to revolutionary politics, life changing stuff!

And of course you Clams! The inimitable Clams Baker, my brother-in-law, you was the one that got me believing in making my own music, just recorded me in session as I said that I couldn’t make music! You just gave me a bass guitar and told me to find a solution for my disability and then eventually we made our first song “Gay Metal” you did a brilliant video for it based around that film starring Al Pacino called “Cruising” I think… that was probably the first Meatraffle song based on Rob Halford from Judas Priest who I absolutely love!

I think these two people were pivotal in my progression into creativity plus my dear old Grandad, who was a hard Jewish boxer from the East End of London, taught me boxing and painting with oil colours. My beautiful Grandad.


warmduscher meatraffle-1

"Worship not where you are from but worship where you are at and appreciate the people in your own era"


CB: Fill us all in on the Dash, whether it be Dainty or Demented, and let us know how it’s gotten you right here right now?

ZZ: The Dainty Dash is my preferred method of fleeing, always leave on a joke or say you are going to the toilet, never say goodbye to anyone, it’s so depressing. Leave in silence!

CB: There’s no such thing as artificial intellect when you’re dealing with nails and hammers, so let us know what the future brings?

ZZ: I always thought AI was a farmer’s greeting! I’m not really thinking it will be a problem, it’s all futurephobia, I mean are you telling me the robots will claim for royalties and then moan about the shit rider you get at UK venues? I think the problems are now in the present like what HI or what Human Intelligence is doing to our planet, wrecking the environment… fuck AI chat it’s so boring!

CB: Your thoughts on Frankie Valli, Elvis and the eternal afterlife of Barrington Levy?

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons? Well “The Night” I absolutely love, very cool bassline with some kind of dark moody underbelly that swerves into some type of Northern Soul uplift, I love that song and “December 1963” is a great song, I think Gerry Polci, the drummer sings the main vocal on that and then Frankie comes in later with his mad falsetto. Great band.

I think Public Enemy put me off Elvis a bit and the punks never liked him. I think because he was loved by the conservative establishment in America, I remember the story when he died when there was some punk event at a venue in London and everyone in the audience cheered when they heard the news, but Danny Baker was there and got on the mic and started slagging them off and saying you wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Elvis, I mean he is probably right, punk guitar music basically is a rip off of Eddie Cochran and people like that. But as I got older, I got to love quite a few Elvis records.

Barrington Levy was huge for me growing up as a kid, “Here I Come” with the anthemic “I’m broad, I’m broad, I’m broader than Broadway” I used to wonder if he was talking about Tooting Broadway in South London! Hahaha! “Murderer” was also big and “Under Mi Sensi”, but my favourite was the lesser known track called “Work”, I’m sure in the dancehalls all the women did that spontaneous line dancing thing like they did to Cameo’s “Candy”, what a tune that is too! Barrington has always been highly respected amongst the new generation of Ragga stars with so many collaborations including the likes of Cutty Ranks and also credit to the amazing rhythm twins, Sly and Robbie who did a lot of his production work. I believe you [Clams] met him at a festival recently, didn’t you? And Dawn Penn! Wow!

CB: Share a wish and a dream and make the kids want to take care of the world first?

ZZ: I wish people would just be a lot more thoughtful of other people around them, worship not where you are from (Nationalism/Patriotism) but worship where you are at and appreciate the people in your own era, the teachers, the doctors and the nurses that have got you to the point you are at today, we may have never made it without them!


Lovesong Industrial Complex and Smallest Gang out now on all streaming services and YouTube:

Base and Superstructure, the third studio album from Meatraffle is out now on Blang Records. Upcoming live gigs here.

Red and Black vinyl and CD pre-orders plus gig tickets available here.

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