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The Secret ‘Sleazy’ Futon

Bee photo by Sleazy
Bee photograph by Sleazy

When Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson first moved to Thailand in the early noughties, he stayed at my apartment in Bangkok until he found his own place. At the time, I was putting together my band, ‘Futon.’ Initially, there were just four of us: Gene from Thailand, Momoko from Japan, and David and me from the UK. Sleazy became so involved in those early days that he used to call himself ‘the fifth Futon’- a reference to the ‘fifth Beatle’, an informal title that is often applied to Beatles producer George Martin.

Sleaze was even present when we auditioned Gene and Momoko for the lead vocalist position. When David and I couldn’t decide between them, because they both blew us away, it was Sleazy who suggested that we use them both.

Those studio recordings of the audition actually became the first Futon single, ‘I Wanna be your Dog,’ a cover of the Stooges classic. I enlisted the anchors at the TV Newsroom where I was working to translate the lyrics into Thai, which is probably why many native Thai speakers who know the Stooges original, remark on how weird the translation is. 

We had the A-side but still needed extra tracks for the CD single, so Sleaze offered to do us a remix. The Coil Mogadog Mix was likely his first since Nine Inch Nails, Coil aficionados can report back on that. 

Soon after the ‘Dog’ single came out, we secured some live shows, which meant we needed an out-front sound engineer. Sleaze jumped at the opportunity to travel to remote parts of Thailand and mix our live shows. He also came along to our first shows in Japan. 

Futon ‘Dog’ Video

When we filmed the MV for our first single, with an English director, Sleaze was off in the UK working with Coil. He returned to Bangkok just as the ‘final’ edit was finished.

“You, can’t release this,” he said upon watching it, echoing our reservations. 

“Tell the director you want to do a ‘band edit’ and get me the masters.” A few days later he’d worked his magic, it was like a different video, he totally transformed it. This became a pattern, which left a trail of angry directors but some great music videos. 

When Throbbing Gristle got back together, Sleaze had less time to work with us but would still reach out occasionally to check what was happening. One time in particular, I remember he rang to ask what was happening, I told him that we were struggling to build a website. 

“I can do that for you.”

 “I thought that you were getting grief for not finishing the edit of the TG live shows?” 

“Yeah I am, they’re giving me a really hard time, but it’s so boring so I need an excuse to step back.” 

A week later, he’d built our first website and not touched the TG footage. 

Sleaze was helping Futon right until the band split. In what must have seemed like a return to his Hipgnosis era, he took the cover photos for our final album, Painkiller. He also mixed one of the album tracks, ‘Morning After Pill’.

Photographs by Sleazy

Ever the enigmatic puppet master pulling strings from the dark, and as he had done countless times in the past, with Hipgnosis, Coil, PTV, NiN, and Throbbing Gristle, Sleaze relished standing in the Futon shadows, with a cheeky grin that bespoke his immense satisfaction in being an essential player in the whirlwind of mayhem and mischief, all unfolding center stage under the blazing spotlight.

Sleazy at Futon’s Club Rehab in Bangkok
Sleazy at Futon’s Rehab club in Bangkok