Devilish Presley are a London based punk/goth/rock band that formed in 2002 and are made up of Jacqui Vixen and Johnny Navarro. 2011 sees the release of their fifth studio album, 'The Dark Triad'. The album features songs with subject matter such as sex, drugs, humour, alienation and horror. Both members are vegetarian – and despite their previous album being called ‘Flesh Ride’, this couple definitely won’t be eating any animal flesh, or riding on it, any time soon... that’s for sure.

By Harriet Woodcock





Harriet Woodcock: The ‘triad,’ in Johnny’s own words, refers to ‘three personality disorders… Narcissism, Machiavellianism and Psychopathy’. Is there a reason you’ve chosen to write an album with such a psychological subject matter?
Johnny Navarro: Disorders, if you've got them you know you've got them and if you haven't got them you should get them, I think Freud said that - but he was probably doing a lot of coke or something...I write about what I know best, me.

HW: Jacqui, you spent time with vocal coach Stevie Vann in preparation for this album. What did that involve? Was there a particular vocal style you wanted to achieve?
Jacqui Vixen: I was very keen to get some tuition to make sure that my vocal style wasn't going to harm my voice - particularly after the RSI I had suffered due to playing - and so I was put in touch with Stevie. I went a couple of times a week for six months and I told her I wanted to be able to scream for an hour night after night with no loss of power. She has worked with AC/DC and Def Leppard and understood what I was on about right away.

HW: Do you write songs and lyrics collaboratively or is it more a case of whoever does the lead vocal takes the lead with writing the song?
JV: Johnny writes all the lyrics and we work on the music together, we always have done it that way so it doesn't matter who is singing the lead.

HW: Is there ever any rivalry between you when it comes to vocals? How did you come to the decision that Jacqui would take more of a lead vocal on 'The Dark Triad'?
JN: No, none at all, Jacqui accepts that I am superior and that I can hold my breath twice as long as her if I want too!
JV: Oh sure. Actually it was his idea because when I had to quit bass Johnny suggested I become the lead singer, and the original idea was for me to just sing and to get in some other members - but as it turned out I took up guitar, which doesn't hurt my arm, and we have been able to continue as a duo.

HW: You’ve toured around the UK and Europe. Was there a country or city in particular that made you feel either welcome or unwelcome? What's a tour memory that you'll never ever forget?
JV: We have our favourite venues of course, but to be honest in most places there are always folks who make the gig worthwhile. For me, my favourite memory so far was travelling on the tour bus with The Damned for 3 weeks - it was very hard work but we had a great time.
JN: We have met so many fantastic people by being in this band, slept on their floors, got drunk together and 99% of the time we get treated very well. I can't think of a place that has made us unwelcome, but there are too many to mention that have made us very welcome indeed.

HW: For you, what has been the best way of spreading the word about your music? Do you think websites like twitter/myspace/facebook/ are important or is it more about the number of gigs you do or CDs you give away?
JV: I think you need all of those - you do need to give free mp3s away online and you do need a presence on all the sites you've mentioned, but Johnny is the expert there to be honest - I rarely go online these days. But you can't beat playing live to form a lasting bond with people.
JN: Since we have been in existence MySpace has come and gone and I have actually deleted our MySpace because it has become so useless. Facebook is king at the moment, I do like Reverbnation and Last FM, but Twitter I only tolerate. I think it is really important for a band to have their own website though and we always have (thanks Madderz). But you need to do everything and you need to do a lot of it - I am stuck with being online all day sometimes - I like talking to folks - but I have to put time aside for writing etc. I make a point of not going online on gig days 'cause I want to concentrate on the day at hand. Of course all this promotion and live work is pointless if you don't have a tremendous amount of charisma and good cheekbones like me....ahem.

HW: You’re both veggies. Were you veggie when you met or has it been a case of one influencing the other?
JN: I've been vegetarian since Morrissey told me to become one and I am very grateful to him. I never try to influence people about it, there isn't any point doing that in my opinion, I do lots of things that are bad for me.
JV: I've been veggie since I was at college. I grew up on a farm in Australia by the way so I have heard all the arguments for both sides. I do what I like and I don't go out of my way to influence people about it - but I have noticed some meat eaters try to lecture me - or at least take the piss, it's not like I sit at the table handing out leaflets. I have always promoted Manic Panic make up and products in the UK and no one has a problem with things like that, but order a veggie roast in some places and suddenly everyone has an opinion.

HW: Would you ever consider becoming vegan?
JN: I have stuck to not eating meat for years - I don't know if I could maintain being completely vegan but I am trying and so is Jacqui - however in some of the places we tour even decent vegetarian food is hard to find, and very late at night forget it.

HW: In the first single from the album, ‘The Beast Must Die’, you sing ‘I don’t know why the beast must die.’ Although in the song this is in reference to an exorcism, would you be adverse to the idea of this being read as a question of animal rights – why must animals die for humans to eat?
JN: I wouldn't be adverse to the idea but I would be telling lies if I said it had occurred to me before you mentioned it. However if it only made one person stop eating meat like ‘Meat Is Murder’ did me, that would be great, unintentional but great.

HW: On your album 'Memphisto' there is a song called ‘Prick Up Your Ears'. In Spain this month a man faces a jail sentence because of his cruelty towards a puppy, which included cutting off the ears, nose and tail of the animal. What are your thoughts on this?
JV: God that poor pup, what an evil bastard.
JN: My first thoughts are, if I am honest, where does he live? And baseball bat or hammer? I don't know what can you say about something like that. I used to be a volunteer dog walker at Battersea Dogs Home for a few years and nothing people do to animals surprises me. It sickens me, but it doesn't surprise me. My own cat came from there and he had his eyes burnt with cigarettes. I saw emaciated dogs left in sheds that had been forced to eat carpet, puppies burnt with acid, dogs left on the motorway etc etc. and then you get idiots saying “I care more about people than dogs” - yeah yeah yeah - well a guy like that one is probably on his way to becoming a serial killer… or a Bullfighter.

HW: Despite recent legislation that makes animal abuse punishable under criminal law in Spain, clearly this is not enough of a deterrent for people such as the man referred to above. What more do you think could be done to prevent animal cruelty rather than just punish it?
JV: I don't think anything would work with people like that, and sadly no matter how ill they make us feel - there are a lot of sick and twisted scumbags out there. Does the law in Spain prevent him from ever owning a pet again - I hope so?
JN: It is a mistake to think you can educate people like that I think, the only answer is to punish them, it's not much of an answer but it is the only one there is. Some members of the human race are despicable - and all you can do is protect as many animals as you can from them.

HW: There's a song on 'The Dark Triad' called 'I Created A Monster'. The other year it was in the papers about cloning animals including pets. What are your thoughts on cloning an animal or human? Is it wrong - or can you see any benefits in it?
JN: I can see the benefits in cloning myself - I could have a great drummer and bass player that I got on with straight away - I wouldn't have to spend all day on the internet because ‘I’ could do it while ‘the other I’ did the washing up. I sometimes think I'd like to clone my dog 'cause he is getting old and I know I am gonna miss him...
JV: I don't know I am too old myself to think about stuff like that - it gives me future shock. Anyway I think we know what will happen, they will clone animals for food and organs to make corporations money and they will clone the rich, the royal, and the politicians and Soylent Green will be people like us.

HW: Is there anything you'd like to create artistically/musically that you haven't yet?
JV: We are already writing the next album and there will be a brand new single that isn't on ‘The Dark Triad’ out in October with a new video as well. We are always working and we still feel we have a lot more to offer. The band’s morale is very good at the moment and we are ready to rock.
JN: I'm hoping to get my book finished, ‘The Phantasmicon’, and it will be published next year, it’s kind of like 'On the Road' for the ipad generation.

HW: What sort of fans have you created? What's a typical Devilish Presley fan like?
JN: Intelligent, witty, good looking, suss, and about to purchase ‘The Dark Triad’.
JV: A person who thinks for themselves.

HW: Finally, going back to the album, the seventh track is titled ‘Is There Anybody There’. Do you ever feel frustrated that there is something you want to communicate through your music that is falling on deaf ears - that isn’t being recognised by the fans or people listening to it? And what do you most want people to get from 'The Dark Triad'?
JN: I hope people listen to the album and feel ever so slightly less alone for a time, I hope they play it when they are getting ready to go out, I hope they play it with the windows open to annoy their neighbours - maybe they will, maybe they won't - it no longer frustrates me if they don't.
JV: I hope they realise that I sing because - I am a singer. But I 'use' them for it because I need ears.

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