Thursday, 1 August 2013

Underneath the Rock

For those brought up on radio silence from LS3, the publication of UTR, the Sisters’ own magazine, during the early and mid 90s was a golden era of communication, with Andrew Eldritch himself writing replies to fans’ questions, interviewing his own heroes, and helping to keep the fanbase informed and interested during the long gaps between releases (little did we know …).
As soon as I saw a copy in 1991, I signed up as a subscriber, and noting that contributions were welcome, set about writing an article about the band’s cover versions, both live and studio, and the conclusions to be drawn from these choices. In those pre-internet days, checking sources and verifying facts was a lengthy and inexact science, but eventually the copy was in a form I was happy with and I submitted it, using the name of a local Chorlton (cum Hardy) estate agent (whose signs seemed to be everywhere locally at the time as the mini recession continued to bite in the North of England).
To my surprise and delight, the article was duly published, as were further features (on, for example, The Sisters’ support bands, a review of gigs at Brixton Academy etc) as the magazine went from strength to strength. This coincided with the Sisters’ most active period since the early 80s, and UTR reflected this, with Scot Kenny Garden at the helm, and the magazine went glossy (after its matt beginnings). These were the golden days of the gig at Sabine’s living room, the sponsoring of FC St Pauli and Sisters Gegen Nazis. Garden himself conducted what many believe to be one of the best interviews with Eldritch as the glasnost period of TSOM reached its zenith.

Sadly, as the band became more inactive once more, and subscriber numbers began to dwindle, the magazine became a visually impressive but content-light effort which seemed less related to the band themselves until the final issue (XV) appeared in late 1996. For many, Glasperlenspiel would fill the gap, for others the Official Website became the new go-to, but in reality UTR has never properly been replaced.


  1. Hi Nikolas - for the record, I was General manager of the Reptile House from 1991-96 and editor of Underneath the Rock from Issue One until Issue Fourteen. Kenny Garden was my touring assistant. As such I am very interested to know to which interview this refers to: "Garden himself conducted what many believe to be one of the best interviews with Eldritch as the glasnost period of TSOM reached its zenith."

    Ian Clenshaw

    1. Hi Ian Thanks for the comment and for the correction. The interview concerned was in UTR #6. For the issues around that time, the editor of the magazine was listed in each issue as "K" which I assumed (clearly erroneously) to be Mr Garden. UTR was essential reading for all TSOM fans and you can all be very proud of a high quality, informative and seminal publication. Cheers Nik