Band Interview: Alien Sex Fiend (Re-published)

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

In 1982 Alien Sex Fiend formed as quoted on the “13th moon” site for ASF, “This is music to comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable.” It is exactly that; eclectic, insane, artistic music. We are now in the year 2018, and they are still going strong! Nik Fiend and Mrs. Fiend just released their newest album “Possessed” which is very special in many ways, you will find out why in this interview. They have opened their hearts and brains to us and answered all your fan questions too! In this interview we will also be correcting a few rumors about Nik and ASF. I hope you all enjoy this interview, sit down, grab a coffee, or a tea, and take a trip on Alien Sex Fiend’s private spaceship.

Staff Notes: This Interview was originally published on November 16th 2018 and was conducted by Morticia. As promised we are re-publishing all lost interview.

So Alien Sex Fiend started in 1982, is that true? Or did it start earlier before it was formed? What is behind the name Alien Sex Fiend? Did you have other names in mind, care to share? If so, what made you stick with this name?

Nik Fiend: We date the start of Alien Sex Fiend from 1st December 1982 which was our first gig at The Batcave cos that gig cemented the original line-up. Before that through the summer we’d been into the studio a few times to record ideas, but it was not “a band” as such then, different people would come in and go out. Before Mrs Fiend came into it the ideas were a bit  loose, she helped join the fragments up, she brought something otherwordly into it, something that was missing before. Whether that’s a feminine aspect or just how Mrs F is, I don’t know! Gradually it became the original four doing more together, hanging out, doing mad artwork, watching videos. As for the name, I started writing it out, drawing pictures in and around it and it looked great on the page. The 3 words were infinite it wasn’t boring like “The 3 Bongos” or “The Nice People” – it was saying something and written out on a page it jumped out at you… 

Mrs Fiend: The name is very open to interpretation, it’s interesting to look the words up in a dictionary - “alien” is the “other” and could cover outer space,

Nik Fiend: Inner space, alienation, 

Mrs Fiend: “sex” covers ,male, female, trans, neutral, any genders, “fiend” could be obsession, all sorts…! It’s also uncommercial, so we weren’t ever gonna get on TOTP! (Top Of The Pops, mainstream charts UK TV show) or daytime radio in the UK, which was fine with us, that was never an ambition.

Nik Fiend: I wanted to be in a weird underground band, so there you go!

This may be a very basic question, but what are each of your top 5 of your favorite venues that you have played?

Mrs Fiend:That’s a hard one! There are so many cool venues… Even narrowing it down to in terms of people going absolutely ape-shit there are loads..

Nik Fiend: Los Angeles, Helter Skelter - the audience broke down the barriers…

Mrs Fiend:They did that in Tulsa as well. And Japan – the whole tour was a riot…

Nik Fiend:The Batschkapp in Frankfurt was a great venue, Club Masque, the gay club in NYC on our very first tour back in 1983… Detroit St Andrews Hall was amazing, the Astoria and Camden Palace - now Koko - in London… Shows at Manray in Boston especially Halloween…

Mrs Fiend:There was the Limelight in New York, we held the audience record there…Great times in Scotland, Texas.. it’s not just the venue though, it’s a combination of the audience, the people working there, the vibe, and how the band plays… Erm is that 10?

Photo by: Monokrom Photos

 What is behind your 1986 “It” the album?

Nik Fiend: IT is such a good word, isn’t IT? IT kept coming up in the song titles around at the time – “Get Into IT”, “Smells Like ShIT” and so IT felt like a good title for that album. 

Mrs Fiend:IT was only later that we heard about the Stephen King IT book… I think it’s one of those coincidences that happen from time to time – where 2 people think the same thing…

Nik Fiend: Synchronicity! Great minds think alike! (Laughs) 

Playing shows in the 80’s did you ever randomly make up songs on stage, that were never played again and not part of any albums or LP’s?

Nik Fiend; A few times me and Mrs F had to play an encore on our own, so we’d make  something up there and then… at the Brixton Fridge (London) in ’84 Cyril Trotts To Bognor was the support act - he was a mad guy with an accordion, we got him up to join me and Mrs F- people loved it!

Mrs Fiend: There have also been occasions where there’s been some sort of technical problem during a show and the power has failed, we always have odd bits of percussion lying around to hand - just in case! And using those we’ve done some strange of versions of “One Wheel On My Wagon” (an old song, not ASF) to keep the audience - and ourselves - amused …

Nik Fiend:… While the crew try to sort out what the F is going on! 

Mrs Fiend: As far as we know  none of those moments have been recorded.

Nik tell us about the artwork behind the albums? Did you make all of it? Have you had collaborators in the past or current? Can you also tell us some of the ideas that were in your mind that poured out into artwork?

Nik Fiend: In the early days everyone had a bit of input into things in general – everyone created pages for the Fiendzines (ASF’s own magazine), or as another example, I had the concept for the “Ignore the Machine” single cover, I sketched it and woke up to hammering the next morning when Yaxi and Johnnie were putting my idea into a reality and nailing a chicken they’d bought onto a cross! Mrs Fiend added some of her ornaments to it… 

Mrs Fiend: To create a sort of tableau…

Nik Fiend: But we had to wait for a photographer to come around to photograph it and that chicken had started to smell! So that sort of creative combination would happen…

Mrs Fiend: With the “Acid Bath” cover, Nik created the main image, then everyone helped on all the lettering around the outside. With any cover “The Wolfman” used to help on layout, there are a lot of legal bits that have go on record covers…  Yaxi took the photo used on “Liquid Head in Tokyo”, “IT - The album” cover was Nik’s painting, over time Nik’s done more and more, but I do assist…

Nik Fiend: The artworks are usually created in and around writing and/or recording, so ideas from the songs will be lurking in my mind…

Photo by: Monokrom Photos

Mrs. Fiend tell us the story behind your nickname? You’ve told it before I know, don’t mean to ask about it again. But people are curious, that question was asked 4 times so we brought it in to a general band question!

Mrs Fiend: (Laughs) That’s ok!  When we used to go to The Batcave there were a lot of people around and to distinguish who was who people got nicknames, so Mike who had a blue mohican hair cut became “Mike the Blue Mohican”, if you were in a band you often got called by the band name, so Nik was “Nik Fiend” and Nick from Flesh For Lulu was “Nick Flesh” and so on. Because I was with Nik, Olli and Jon Klein from Specimen in particular, started calling me “Mrs Fiend”. Everyone liked having a cup of tea and I think they’d come round to our place and I’d made the tea, so they made up a song about me - “Mrs Fiend, Mrs Fiend brew up a cup, Mrs Fiend, Mrs Fiend hurry up!” then they presented me with a teapot with “Mrs Fiend” written on it – I’ve still got it! I don’t know whether they were taking the piss as in - women make the tea – though actually Nik makes far more cups of tea than I do! - but Nik said to me, you’ve been looking for a name so why not embrace it? So I did. It’s often shortened to “Mrs F”, even by the rest of the band and crew…

(Notes: Added into interview 11/19/18)I asked Mrs. Fiend if she could get a photo of the teapot she was given for the interview. She said could not promise a photo of it because she would have to dig out of somewhere. Well the lovely Mrs. Fiend found it! And here is the photo of the teapot! Thank you so much for finding it and getting a photo!

Photo by: Monokrom Photos

Each show you do is so unique, everyone has a different story from each show you’ve played. Some have described it as “A beautiful movie of insane, eccentricity and pure raw fun” when you guys are on stage, what does it feel like? Like a brand new adventure?

Mrs Fiend: Well I think “insane, eccentricity and pure raw fun” probably covers it extremely well to be honest.

Nik Fiend: No performance is ever the same and probably never will be. I think it’s like Mrs F experimenting on me! The sound provokes me… and brings on different moods or emotions or out of control–ness, if there’s such a word! I remember one gig in particular in Koln when I thought my chest was gonna explode, I slowed up and stopped supping the JD and just drank some water cos I thought I was gonna explode into a million pieces… that’s the sort of effect that our music has on me! I don’t do “choreographed” anything, I prefer to be spontaneous, whether that’s a show, the music, or art.

You just released a new album November 9th 2018 “Possessed.” I listened to I, before it was released! Thank you for that! It is so awesome, the music sounds like Alien Sex Fiend, but it’s also so different. Like you can tell it’s from ASF, but it’s different you know? Definitely has taken me on a trip! How long did you guys work on this album? There’s so much music and artwork included!

Mrs Fiend: It’s great that you like “Possessed”! Thank you.

Nik Fiend: It feels like we worked on it for a lifetime with what we’ve been through… the music that ended up on the album was like a refuge from various storms that occurred.

Mrs Fiend: We started recording some basic ideas, then went into the studio with Doc Milton and Mat Pod, just the 4 of us, doing everything, no outside engineers. We didn’t intend it to be the start of an album, just to have a get together, have some fun and see what happened, but what happened was really good, so an album it was gonna be! After a few sessions we pretty much had everything recorded. Luckily Doc had recorded a lot of guitar parts because he died unexpectedly in Sept 2016, that was massive shock and of course took time to deal with - and that was one of a number of bad or challenging events that happened over about 18 months - so when the idea of 35 year anthology was mentioned – which became “Fiendology”… 

Nik Fiend: At the time continuing with the album would’ve possibly been too much of a head fuck at that time, so it was good to have “Fiendology” to concentrate on instead, after that we were able to pick back up with the album again, finishing mixing the tracks, trying different mixes out, then choosing which versions to use. It was difficult representing someone who is no longer around, but we have made the best of Doc’s guitar, fully aware that it’s his legacy…

I’d been doing artwork before, during and after the whole process, I find art is therapeutic for me – better for me than legal medication! – it was great to have 24 pages in the CD booklet to fill and the gatefold sleeve, so I did illustrated lyrics to all of the songs and included all sorts of artworks. It was strange how everything came together in the end – though I don’t want to re-live that period, it was tough going…

Photo by: Monokrom Photos

Nik and Mrs. Fiend what are two crazy stories you could share with us? From past or present.

Mrs Fiend: I don’t know about crazy, but they’re funny, if  that’ll do? One time in Miami, Florida, a squad of police cars turned up at the hotel we were staying at, with their lights flashing and sirens blaring, the tour manager was inside at reception absolutely shitting it cos she thought everyone was about to be arrested, but it turned out that one of the cops was a massive Fiend fan who wanted to get a photo with us! Then there was the time that Nik did a solo photo session in colour – I can’t remember why just him – anyway the photographer’s usual printing lab couldn’t do the prints for some reason so he sent the film to another lab – this was before digital cameras – he got a phone call from them saying that they were having “terrible problems with the man’s facial skin tones”, they thought there was maybe something wrong with the film – what they didn’t realise was that Nik had his white face make up on!

What is behind “Radiant city” on your 1998 “Another planet?”

Nik Fiend: There was a brilliant comic around at the time called Mister X, he was architect who created Radiant City, it was intended to be a city of dreams but it turned into a city of nightmares, and that inspired the song in part. I played the guitar on it, a friend of mine thought it sounded like a road drill! Which is great. Mrs Fiend had these aborigine sounding samples and other effects which seemed to fit… 

To set the record straight, Nik, you weren’t a barback at the “batcave” right? Can you tell us what you did when you worked there?

Nik Fiend: No. I don’t know where the idea has come from that I worked at the bar. The real  story is this - Specimen, the band who ran The Batcave, went over to the US on tour in 1983 and they asked me to oversee the club in their absence. I managed it basically, but only for around 2 or 3 weeks, but I did not deal with any of the finance side or the bars! I made sure that things like the props, backdrops, lighting and the PA were set up ready and all put away at the end of the night. I dealt with the bands, and I also did some DJing cos the regular DJ Hamish had gone to the US with Specimen.

A fan question from my 7 year old son. He is obsessed with you guys. And loves Nik. If you saw the videos I sent you he wants to be your photographer. Haha. Anyhow. Here is his question. Nik Fiend can you do my makeup like yours and dress in Spider-Man costume with me? And can we also make a new “I’m feeling zombiefied” video together? And I wanna take your photos.

Nik Fiend: Yep, I like dressing up, but could I be The Riddler (from Batman) instead? Cos I have the jacket already, it’s green and has question marks all over it! Yes we could do a video, but perhaps for one of the new songs, which would be even better? I am sure your photos would be brilliant, thank you! 

-Fan questions-

Since Alien Sex Fiend always manages to have a great mix of humor along with the macabre,  how much do the visual aesthetics factor in for you both while you are writing new material? As a followup, are there any self imposed boundaries that you both would never cross? -Chandler Grace

Nik Fiend: No while writing new songs I don’t think about the aspects of a live show at all, as I said before I am often doing artworks in and around writing and/or recording but that could be the lyrics or picture ideas, I wouldn’t be thinking about the live show at the time.

Mrs Fiend: I think that it would probably restrict our creativity if we did, cos it would add barriers to how you’re thinking and we need to keep as open as we can to ideas. 

Nik Fiend:We don’t end up playing every song live anyway – certainly not now with over 35 years of songs behind us, and of course people want to hear the “classics”. Performances, like recordings are always different, if things were nailed down as in “they HAVE” to be like this, it would not still be of interest to me or have kept me interested for so long,. Our formula is - there is no formula! And that’s what’s continually intriguing.

Mrs Fiend: As for self imposed boundaries…  Well I ain’t getting me minge out for one! (laughs)

Edinburgh Venue 1987 or 88..fantastic gig, went home with a deflated big yellow banana between my legs!! Haha thanks xx My question is, will you ever play live in Scotland again?-Derek Wray

Mrs Fiend: I checked it was April 1987, we’re glad you gave the giant banana a good home! Yes we’d love to play Scotland again, we’ve always had a great time there. 

Nik, Around or about 30 years ago, here in the U.S., a Cambridge, Massachusetts nightclub at the time called Ground Zero, held a solo art exhibition of your works. I am curious to know if have you been keeping up with your painting; and where might one be able to view your works - - both old and new, online? -Dj Mätthew Griffin

Nik Fiend:Yes I’ve never stopped painting or doing artwork of some sort, it’s a constant. It gets hold of me, an idea comes into my head and I have to act on it, I’ve just had massive outpouring for the CD and Double Vinyl of “Possessed” as well as the CD booklet and the Vinyl artwork I did 3 Ghost Cards (exclusive to Blue Crumb Truck and Cherry Red Records with DLP)  – so there’s been a lot of artwork coming out in connection with the album.

Mrs Fiend: We’ve got to get the band website updated cos Nik has loads more artwork than is shown on the Gallery pages, but you can see some at the “Gallery”pages

Links to art:

Do you see a significant change in your audience from the 80s to today? -Astute Decay

Mrs Fiend:Older fans are more common, of course, though we always had older people in the audiences but it varies, at some festivals there are mostly younger fans. The other difference is that in the early days more people wore white T-shirts, that’s a rare sight now! At some shows people are totally dressed up but at others the audience is more casual, so it varies a lot.

Are you guys still banned from touring the U.S? -Roxy and LuLu (Moira Scar)

Mrs Fiend: We’ve never been banned, I don’t know where that misinformation has come from! Nor have we ever had any visa issues - again that’s misinformation.

When is ASF going to play in Los Angeles again? -Henry Gonzalez

To answer both questions – about gigs in Scotland and LA - first we’ve gotta get the new album up and running, then we’ll start to think about shows. But we need a replacement guitarist, well not a replacement, but… we prefer to work with guitar live, we have plans but it’s early days and we’ll have to see how it works out. What’s weird about our songs is that they are adaptable, years ago I had a “bit of a twang” - as we call it - with a guy who’s more heavy metal in style, shredding and all that, and we played Zombiefied for a laugh and it worked! It was different but it worked… lots of our songs are like that, but the songs have to speak to the person playing them... we think we have a “plan” on the guitar front but it will take time.

ASF is one of the few bands I have seen play real long 3 hour shows just like The Cure. I love that idea, who inspired you to do long shows and how long have you been doing them this long? -Henry Gonzalez

Mrs Fiend: No-one particularly inspired us to play long shows, it just happened that way. We get into playing and enjoying ourselves and time ceases to have any meaning! We usually do just over 2 hours, but it varies quite a lot. I believe our record is held by Hannover in Germany at 3 hours 40 mins! I’m sure someone out there will correct me if I’m wrong! The audience kept demanding encores and so we’d go back, do a couple more songs and it would all start again, I think we did about 4 encores that night!

Nik Fiend: Sometimes (venue) promoters ask us to go back on cos they’re worried the audience might go out of control! Other times there are strict curfews so we can’t always play as long as we’d like.

Mrs Fiend: When we supported Alice Cooper our slot was only 35 minutes! Then at the other extreme was our 30th anniversary show (London 2012) at over 3 hours cos we had a lot of songs to fit in, we wanted to play “I Am A Product” and “Attack” which were very early ASF songs that we’d played at the first Batcave gig and hadn’t played for years and years - probably not since around 1984 - we wanted to make that a special night so adding those songs into a set spanning our 30 years made it longer.

Nik Fiend: If an audience is up for it and if the venue allows – which can be a problem as I’ve said – then we’ll play as long as we can… though sometimes we have a tight schedule and we have to leave pronto to travel to get to the next show in time.

Mrs Fiend: Some of the festivals restrict us to 90 minutes which is really tough! 

Nik Fiend: We’ve only just got going by then (laughs). Cos we improvise song lengths can be variable, there’s a live version of “Now I’m Feeling Zombiefied” from Japan (1991) that’s nearly 20 minutes long and a “Can’t Stop Smokin’” from Amsterdam from ‘85 that’s about 30 minutes long ! So we’ve always done that…

Can they release a live show of them playing in Europe so that we can enjoy it here in the states because we miss out on some of their shows since they are having problems with their passports/visas and such? -Henry Gonzales

Mrs Fiend: We have not had problems with passports and visas, as I said earlier! We’re wondering if this might be from the cancelled tour from 2008? Our visas were granted, we were all ready to come over, but there were other issues going on that were completely outside of our control and that’s why the tour was cancelled – but it wasn’t our visas!  We were bitterly disappointed that we couldn’t come over to the US, it took us a long time to get over it, and we know our fans were disappointed too, which made it even worse. 

We have some live footage that’s never been seen, we’ll have to see what we can do! 

Your cover art is always interesting and does not follow the generic Goth theme. Did you have a single artist? If not, who was the bands favourite? -Ant Banister

Nik Fiend: Thanks for the compliments! Goth wasn’t around when I started drawing, I was a kid! One of my earliest school, pictures was Frankenstein, I was surprised when I saw it recently, it looks quite good!! For me there are no rules, there are enough rules in society as it is – I don’t want them imposed on me – or self imposed – on my art or my music… ASF is about breaking down the boundaries that exist. As for an artist I like, Salvador Dali is the one, he amuses me almost daily with his antics, he changed my life, I’ve never seen things the same way since!

So many artists that have become synonymous with being "Gothic" have essentially , and ironically, turned their nose up to goths who've made them Important. So my question is, Do you consider yourselves Gothic? -Lasha Lane

Nik Fiend: We’ve said it elsewhere -  I’m not going to look at it with disdain cos we might possibly not have had a career without it, without that label, I don’t know… It’s such a broad label now it incorporates much more than it did early on. It’s diversified over the years and seems to get broader all the time. We’ve played Whitby Goth Weekend and Wave Gotik Treffen which are well known gothic festivals – so what are we doing playing there if we’re not part of that?

Mrs Fiend: The only issue I have is the mis-conceptions or preconceptions that all “goth” or “gothic” music sounds the same, or that it’s “all doomy” when it incorporates so much now, as Nik said, there’s electro and the more “metal” side and so much in between…

Nik Fiend: Industrial, etc…And The Batcave was goth, no question, it was more adventurous, more far out, more interesting, than say wearing jeans and a check shirt, though nothing against people who wear those clothes, they’ve been to our gigs too and they are welcome! I got fed up with a bunch of bands who got pissed off at being called punk bands, I thought that was a let-down, it’s stronger as a collective, stronger together and it is upsetting when people diss something that others feel passionately strongly about.

Where do you find beautiful these days? What keeps you inspired? -Lasha Lane

Nik Fiend: Nature is inspiring, I still can’t get my head around how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, for a start!

Can we have a special surprise show in LA!? -Freda

Nik Fiend: Yep I’d be up for that, I’ve got me king size Rizlas ready!

How far do you think you would get on X Factor? If it was down to me you would win it, obviously! -Glyn Wade

Mrs Fiend: (laughs) Thank you. I doubt that we’d get through the front door!

Nik Fiend: It’s very contrived - not the people who are trying to get a break, I don’t blame anyone trying to get break - the judges seems to be more important than anyone else, there’s a lot of ego…

Since I started teaching in 2003 I’ve had an alien sex fiend sticker on my teachers planner. The kids at school think it’s funny and ask me about it and the other teachers think it’s cool. Unfortunately the new headteacher has asked me to remove it. What two words would you suggest I say to him in response to this? -Glyn Wade

Nik Fiend: Bah humbug!

What ever happened to Yaxi Highriser, and the rest of them, but especially him? -Andy Sean

Nik Fiend: I don’t really know all the whys and whats over it but Yaxi got to a point where he didn’t want to do ASF anymore, he wanted to try some different things, whereas for me, I’d done other things and didn’t need to look elsewhere outside ASF. Me and Mrs F were where we wanted to be.

Mrs Fiend: If you think of band relationships as being a bit like girlfriend/boyfriend or partner/partner or husband/wife – any of those sorts of relationships last a varying amount of time, sometimes weeks, months…

Nik Fiend: One night! (laughs)

Mrs Fiend:Yup ! (laughs) or years or forever – bands are the same in a way… 

Nik Fiend:Mrs Fiend:</font> The surprising thing is not that someone leaves a band, it’s more surprising if they don’t! 

Yaxi has been to gigs over the years, but he’s getting on with his own life now. We’re not going to forget him, but he’s moved on, and so have we.

Mrs Fiend: Similarly for anyone else no longer connected with ASF

Nik Fiend: Usually it was a case of something else being more important or becoming more important in their lives….

Mrs Fiend:Whereas ASF is an “all or nothing” for me and Nik…,..

Thank you for the opportunity to ask a question here, here goes: How do you feel about living in the 21st century? -Robert Hoen

Mrs Fiend: It’s better than not being here at all! (Laughs)

Nik Fiend: It’s just as strange as the 20th century was…!

Are we ever going to see a warts n all autobiography from you guys?  You must have some fantastic tales amassed over the years. -Alec Styles

Mrs Fiend: Ooooh the tales we could tell! A lot of it would be within the “what goes on tour stays on tour” department though! 

Nik Fiend: We’ve thought about it, but right now we’ve decided to get on with living IT instead.

If you could record with any persons living or dead who would you pick and why? -Alec Styles

Mrs Fiend: I’m sure Lux Interior from The Cramps would be a hoot, I reckon we could’ve had a laugh with him and Ivy…

Nik Fiend: Even just as people, I think they’d be good company and we’d have a laugh even with just a cup of tea. We nearly toured with them, there were talks about it but we’d only just finished a massive US tour at the time…

Has there ever been a moment in your career that made you guys want to give up? -Alejandro Ibarra

Nik Fiend:Yes we’ve had a few of them, but luckily they’ve been fleeting. I think everyone has breaking points, at times over the years if you’re exhausted or a bit down then yes it crosses your mind. But its like Lord Of The Rings – Frodo falls down and can’t go on, that’s powerful imagery, even in the midst of shit you’ve just gotta keep going, so that film/book spoke to me, the Peter Jackson interpretations were very well done, especially with finishing this last album, life is like that though… 

Mrs Fiend: And, of course, it’s not just being in a band that means that you feel like that.

From what movie/show are the samples in the track Seconds To Nowhere? -The last sound

Mrs Fiend: We know where they’re from and we ain’t telling! (laughs)

Get their newest album “Possessed” here:

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