Elvis Costello is still shying away from being called a cancer “survivor” after a minor 2018 bout with the disease. While promoting his newly released album, Hey Clockface, he addressed the situation, telling Britain’s The Independent, “It was turned into a melodrama by The Sun and other people who couldn’t care less whether you live or die and have no empathy for anybody. It was not an insignificant problem but it was fortunately one that could be dealt with one-time-only.” Costello went on to say, “I won’t subscribe to the description of myself as a survivor of anything, that sounds melodramatic and self-pitying and I never would’ve told anybody had I not had to give a credible reason for why I wasn’t going to be in Manchester on a given night playing with the Buzzcocks. Pardon me if I don’t have a lot of time for discussing my brush with mortality, but I didn’t have one.” Elvis Costello was on tour with the Imposters when Covid forced the world indoors. He recalls performing at London’s Hammersmith Apollo back in March and telling the audience, “we’ll keep playing as long as they let us” before launching into 1991’s Mighty Like A Rose classic “Hurry Down Doomsday (The Bugs Are Taking Over).”

Costello remembered, “I woke up the next morning and thought, ‘the game’s up.’ I saw the holes in the crowd in an apparently sold-out house in Manchester, and even at Hammersmith at the interval there was about half a house. We thought ‘Wow, people have really taken this seriously’. . . Two weeks later I’m reunited with my family after two weeks of quarantine when I get home, I’m in a little cabin on Vancouver Island going, ‘where did the world go?'”

SIDE NOTES

  • On November 6th Elvis Costello will release a six-disc boxed set edition of his 1979 classic third album, Armed Forces.
  • Back in September, Costello said of the upcoming collection: “I think Armed Forces holds up pretty well. And the package includes three live recordings ranging from the summer of ‘78 to the summer of ‘79, so it traces the development of the Attractions as a live act, from a club combo to a successful pop group — it’s quite interesting to hear. I had expert help in photographing my handwritten notebooks. So you’re getting something.”

CHECK IT OUT: Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ 1979 Armed Forces track, “Busy Bodies”: