You had such a huge following in Japan, that Michael Jackson had to re-arrange his tour, to not clash with yours. Why do you think you went down so well out there?
Pete: You know, if I knew of any sensible reason why, I'd bottle it and sell it to people. It just seems they loved the visuals and the music. Japan's a pretty repressed country, there's not much youth rebellion, and we represented something from England that was buoyant, self-expressive and rebellious. I think that's why they adopted it. There was something about us that was a bit edgier than most of the other British bands that had been exported to their country, and they just went crazy for it and have continued to do so.
What's your opinion of the '80s revival. Do you think it's any better the second time around?
Pete: It's difficult for me to think about it really. I tend to operate with blinkers on and I didn't really pay that much attention to what was going on in the '80s and I don't pay that much attention to what's going on now. All I know is that, as much as possible, I've tried to remain the same and use technology to advance ourselves, but still in the same direction. I think sometimes there were mistakes made by the record companies and the media, when they assumed the '80s revival would be all about artists like Kim Wilde or someone like that. The '80s revival going on now in the underground clubs, the electro-clash thing, is more like what was going on underground in the '80s movement; stuff like early Human League, which I think is fantastic, and groups like The Normal, who did 'Warm Leatherette' were part of underground scene in the '80s and never really got mainstream. The interesting part of the revival is that they're now getting more exposure. I don't really think there's much need for a Sinitta or Kim Wilde revival, although what they did served its purpose at the time. I don't think that's the element of the '80s that the youth culture are interested in now.
Are you a fan of all the electro-clash stuff about at the moment?
Pete: I don't know that much about it really. I do know that we've been adopted in a big way by the electro-clash movement. I keep getting mentioned in articles about electro-clash for my image and the music that we did, and generally being on Top Of The Pops with these more edgy records. I do like to think there's going to be a new youth-orientated movement soon, with something with a bit more expression than Gareth Gates. There's been nothing since punk that's been a youth culture movement and I think this one is going to stick. It's been bubbling underground for a while now and it hasn't yet gone away. More people are taking notice of it, and there's more and more press about it. It's kinda nice to be seen as the grandmother of that movement.
Where did you go out in the '80s?
Pete: Well, I lived in London from 1985, but I've never been a club person, so I didn't go out to many. I was never a regular and I certainly didn't go to 'Taboo'. I saw the musical and I thought it was fantastic. I think it's unbelievable how they managed to recreate what it felt to be living at that time. It's a wonderful show!
If someone was to do a musical of your life, who would you like to see play you?
Pete: Oh, Nicole Kidman...no scrap that, Jennifer Lopez!
Didn't you know Courtney Love when she was a punk groupie in the '70s?
Pete: I didn't know her as a friend. In fact, I knew her as the exact opposite of a friend! At that time, she was just an extremely loud, obnoxious American who appeared on the Liverpool scene. She used to strike fear into the heart of me when I was on my way to work every morning, when I ran my clothes shop. It was positioned at the back of what was the hip, hang-out record shop, called Probe Records. But I used to come to work dressed up in the most ridiculous, potentially offensive, outfits, which wasn't wise in some areas of Liverpool. I would desperately try to make it to the shop without anyone saying anything, and I think most times people were too shocked to say anything. I'd have black contact lenses in, waist-length bright red hair and all kinds of ridiculous clothes, but I was just experimenting with my image and I wanted to see what impact it'd make on people. I knew though that if Courtney Love was still hanging around in that area from the night before, attention would have been drawn to me by her very loud voice yelling abuse at me! I used to pray as I turned the corner on Whitechapel Street that Courtney wouldn't be there! But, I do have a lot of respect for what's she's achieved and how she's coming through the death of her husband. I think she's a very intelligent woman and it's her intelligence which nearly causes her to explode with rage at times. In those days though I really wished she'd never got off that aeroplane. I'd never have fought back though, because if someone's shouting at you it's just them saying 'look at me', kinda like an over frustrated urge to poo! You know, they've just got to let it out! It's more frustrating for them if you just ignore it.
There's also the rumour that you had a fight with a member of Siouxsie and The Banshees. Is that true?
Pete: Yeah, yeah, yeah. He started the fight and he came off worse. I would just say that his attempt to pour a drink over my head was not taken lightly. I told him not to do it and once he did, he suffered for it! If someone's going to invade my space with that amount of aggression, I'm more than able to respond. I'm not going to stand there soaking wet with a pint a lager all over me. He came off very badly, but it was a matter of self-defence and dignity.
Read on to find out what Pete has to say about his image...