Melody Maker | Info Freako | 6 November 1992
I'm writing to ask about the masks worn by Transglobal Underground. Where do the masks come from? What are they made of? Will we ever get to see the faces behind them?
Sarah Hopkins, Leicester
Here's TGU's Count Dubulah with the low-down:
"The first masks we used came from Nepal, where they were traditionally placed outside of temples to ward off evil spirits. Anjali and Ella from the Voodoo Queens brought them over to Britain, and Andrea from Mambo Taxi suggested that Transglobal Underground wore them. She basically thought we were far too ugly to show our faces.
"We wore them for our first photo sessions and it wasn't a pleasant experience. They were made of hardwood and were incredibly heavy. We had to bind them in place with string which cut into the skin and we had to keep our heads at painful angles to make sure they didn't fall off.
"When we started playing live, we had lightweight resin casts of the masks made by a London company called Complete Fabrication. They're responsible for a lot of the weird and wonderful objects you see in television adverts. Their studio is this amazing place full of gigantic cherries, Yorkie bars bigger than human beings and exploding toilets.
"Although the new masks are a lot easier to wear than the original ones, they still get pretty uncomfortable by the end of an hour-long gig. They make you sweat like crazy, you can't breathe properly, and you can't move around because you can't see a bloody thing in them. It's a very bizarre feeling. You tend to drift off into your own little world. It's a bit like being in an isolation tank.
"There have been occasions at gigs where one of us simply can't take any more and rips his mask off. If you've seen that happen, you'll know why Andrea came up with the idea of us wearing them in the first place."