The Plague Naraka fT Margot Day
The Plague was a powerful force in the growth of the 80's goth scene. The Plague album “Naraka” is a classic. "It is almost as if she sensed the timelessness of the band's music even from the outset of their beginnings... the Plague sounds as fresh today as it did in 1987; only viewing it in hindsight clearly indicates the prophetic visions that our chanteuse, Margot Day, seemed to channel while the rest of the world was falling apart. The Plague helped usher in this trend of music that spoke of the desolation of the streets as well as the forlorn melancholy of love-gone-wrong... Margot Day, then as well as now, remains a glittering living muse; inspired as much as she is inspiring". - Mike Ventarola
The Plague at the Limelight 1987. Featuring Margot Day on Vocals and flute, Bones on Bass, and Christian on Guitar. The Plague Concert from the Naraka Album. Clips from Plague concert on the song SoBeautifulSoDeadly on the SACRED CD. Lyrics by Margot Day and Carmen Bohn.
Margot: "Hot, sweaty, sexy, dirty, dark, intense rebellion! Graffiti and drugs were everywhere and no despair. Freedom, oh such freedom. The Plague, as part of the gothic genesis was right before AIDS really hit hard, and way before the war on drugs. Orgies were common, and cross-dressing was part of the fashion. Anything goes... I remember a unity between the punks and skins and even some of the left over glam rockers. The anarchy was against the normals, against society, and so there was a convergence in the underground. And a passion against the establishment because it was soooo strong then, and we were unique, exotic, uncanny and different.."
Press: ..goes beyond the limits. . . --Jack Rabid, ROCKPOOL . . .Their music is an interesting blend of heavy rythms and light, Gothic melodies eerily layed out by Margot’s seductive vocals. The effect is powerful, hypnotic, and soothing, all in a very chilling way. . . 'Never Die' is a real masterpiece. A delicate weave of just the right ingredients to perfect the spell. Now this is magic! --EARWAX . . .really good, lots of fun. --MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL . . .I have to recommend this. . . --FLIPSIDE . . .brilliant mysticism. . .--SMASH APATHY . . .The Plague presents some pretty impressive talents, mostly in the person of Margot Day.,the group’s lead singer and flutist. Day is a graceful and dynamic vocalist around whom The Plague wisely build its sound. . . Overall, the group has succeeded in its fusion of tough, muscular rhythms and fluid, ethereal overtones. . . --LIVELY A MELODY MAKER The Gothic genre has grown and grown, as the bands continue to groan. I have probably felt more boredom watching those bands than scanning the papers for West Ham results, but a once interesting idea occasionally throws up oddities still. “Make of this what you will,” bellows Mathur, delivering it discus-style. I make a cocktail dress only to be arrested down Old Compton Street, but not before succumbing to the dark rites within. It’s simple. The photo, of three disheveled lovelies, sunning themselves in a coach which deserves Vincent Price as its driver, says it all. Forty five grave with more style, cold and cunning. As though Kate Bush was having a mental breakdown, Margot Day howls in ethereal fashion down the endless corridors of the songs, flute warbling away in “Vampyre”, reminiscent of Bauhaus “Dard Entries” uplifting in gloom and silence. The Plague have this way with perfume and decay. Maddening with their thumping drums, they invest “murder” with the growling guitar and busy bass, abruptly disheveled in “Never Die”. Impressively disorientating, spookily effective, they hold you captive with dripping guitars and tick tock percussion. “Dirty bodies in the night, stinking needs and rotting lives,”sings Margot, ever the sweet-talker. “Now I want to kill them all, hold them tight and squeeze their balls.” Saucy! ---Mick Mercer URBAN RAG The Plague is a New York band that has been around for a couple of years and have now put out their first album. . . a strong first album too. They have a dark sound with quite an edge to it. Singer Margot Day has a voice that a lot of people would say has a kind of a Banshees/4AD sound, but has style all her own. Margot also plays the flute, this adds a nice touch to a few of the songs. . .--Geddy UNDERGROUND Hotsy- Tasteful and Tenacious. . . classic. . . Poetry! --Daz Igymeth
This interview was conducted by Deathrock.com (Mark Splatter) December, 2000. The Plague were a New York City deathrock band in the mid to late '80s, with roots in both punk and gothic. They were fronted by the domineering presence of the exotic margot Day, dressed in torn leather and vinyl, backed by Christian and Bones on guitar and bass. Since then, Margot Day has been a solo artist in New York.
DR: When did you start with the Plague? MD: Late one night in the 80’s I was walking through the dark forest in upstate New York, I heard a voice, mysterious, dark, evil, beautiful and ethereal (I followed the voice but never found anyone). Green and Black visions filled my soul, entwining the Dark & Light - the essence of the Plague was born. Back on the lower eastside of NYC (which was very slummy at that time) while living with Christian- my lover and guitar player- we started writing songs on a 4 track …Bones the bass player just appeared - he just happened, he was meant to be. Bones was brilliant, powerful and his darkness filled the bottom end of Plague..DR: What was the Plague about to you? How do you feel about that material now?MD: The Plague was my soul, my NYC family - the drummers came and went - but the 3 of us had a deep level, past life connection..I still love the songs. The Plague songs are full of visions of pain, passion, pleasure, and longing for immortality with "Vampyre" and "Never Die". Songs of power, life, death, sex, and magic, as in "Empress", "Suicide Queen", and "Murder".
DR: What kind of music were you listening to during that time? Did it directly influence you?
MD: I lived in the club scene. Almost every night our black clad tribe of strangers and friends, children of the night, went out. We lived, played and performed at Danceteria, Limelight, Cat club, Pyramid, CB’s etc..I heard music music music, I was immersed in music — its all a blur now — I was weaned on everything from Bauhaus to the Cure to Siouxsie to the Ramones, to David Bowie to Violet Femmes to the Dead Kennedy’s to Ministry to… Did the music influence me? Yes, It was my life DR: Were there any bands on a similar level to the Plague? Were you Friends with any bands? I can recall one New York Band from '87 called Of A Mesh. Ever hear of them? MD: Yes we played on the same bill as Of A Mesh, and also Nausea, Ludachrist, False Prophets [a great NYC punk band], Farenheight 451… White Zombie (with Rob Zombie) where around too, as well as many other great bands…
DR: What were shows like with the Plague? Did you have an elaborate stage performance?
MD: The shows where wild and intense. The elaborateness of the stage show came from the pounding rhythms, mixed with luscious melodies. The show was very visual with our tattoos, our blood and pain, our being half naked with torn leather and vinyl…this was the stage show..our lives where the stage show.
DR: Were there any other songs for the Plague besides what appeared on the album?
Many other songs where never recorded. We never recorded "Having Fun In Hell". Or "Mantis" .. But some of the songs on my latest album where originally conceived during the Plague time, such as "Neptune" and "Sacred Life". Also "So Beautiful So Deadly" is made of samples from the Plague song "Suicide Queen" from when we did a show at CBGB’s.
DR: What was the Wildest thing that ever Happened with the Plague?
MD: The Wildest thing? The Plague’s very first show. In a abandoned building amongst hundreds of punks and skins, we opened for the Cro-mags and the Bad Brains with the song Food For Vultures. I remember the anarchy, the rush, the power, the freedom of releasing that first song for the first time. DR: Your music now is less rock oriented than the Plague was. What influenced your progression?Did you accomplish what you were trying to do with The Plague, and then move on? Or is What you are doing now more what you always wanted to do? MD: Humans have evolved, music is evolving, I am evolving from playing my flute and meditating and listening to every sound without amplification, to The Plague as loud and powerful as rock can be, to electronic music using all of the sounds and samples of the universe, this is evolution..And yes I did exactly what I wanted to do, and now I am doing exactly what I want to do, only now I have the technology at my home to create what I hear in the collective consciousness and the sounds that are haunting my mind come alive as I truly hear them, for now, with the new technology, there is more freedom.
DR: In your Bio it says that you’ve worked with many well known people. What was your work with Nick Zedd (the NY independent filmmaker, Director of one of my favorites, "They Eat Scum"). What did you do with London May (of Samhain)?
MD: Ahh, Nick Zedd, I was in-love with him. We lived together for a few months. I think I may have broken his heart (if such a thing is possible). What an experience he was. Nick Zedd was pre-Plague and a big influence on my life. I had just returned to NYC and Nick showed me the underground world he lived in, full of dust and slime and rebellion, we lived on nuts and passion. He kissed me, bit my throat, and his fingers squeezed my soul - The Plague song Vampyre was inspired in part by Nick. I helped shoot one of Nicks films-and Nick’s first time in Drag was in my dress. Nick introduced me to Richard Kern and Jim Thirwell (NIN). Richard did a film of Christian(The Plague Guitar player) strangling me with blood squirting everywhere, for the stage back drop of Jim Thirwell’s live show. Nick was a very memorable part of my life.London May was one of the drummers that played with us for a short while.
DR: You’ve embarked on a successful solo career. What happened to the other guys from the Plague?
MD: Christian disappeared; Bones has gone on to play in various different groups, such as Missing Foundation and Disassociates.
DR: What are your musical plans for the future?
MD: Of course more live shows. I’ve done a lot of touring in the last few years. From NYC to Texas to California. I am available to play in any large festivals, put the word out or email me at Also I am recording new music and working on several music video’s. I am my own web mistress and will be updating my website with lots of new photo’s and a few video’s soon.
DR: One last question - on the Plague LP, you thanked Joe Truck. Is that the tattoo artist? I have a tattoo by Joe Truck!
MD: Yes Joe Truck is the Tattoo artist. He played in a band called the Braineaters that was on the same bills with us often. Joe Truck was a good friend and strong supporter of The Plague.
REVIEW: Margot Day/The Plague - The Plague MP3
By Mike Ventarola During the latter part of the 1980's, many bands in New York City were undergoing a musical transition for a post disco, post punk rock hybrid sound called New Wave in order to capitalize on the growing MTV trend of "alternative" music. Others bucked this trend and took their punk rock angst to a more somber and dark level and began the trend that eventually became known as Goth, borrowing from the name given to the stark and ornate architecture from a bygone era. The Plague, featuring Margot Day, was one such band at the outset of this Goth explosion. They have often been credited with being one of the early progenitors to the sound and style, along with other bands such as Bauhaus, Specimen, et. al., ... The Plague's self-titled album was initially met with much excitement from the little indie record shops that sprang up in the city at that time. Word of mouth made it a hot selling item as new fans jumped aboard this type of music that seemed to speak to their dark natures in ways that the glam pretty new wave bands couldn't.The Plague's vinyl album eventually sold out, never to be seen again except on bootlegs that managed to travel around the world a few times. With the advent of new technology, Margot Day has re-released this classic body of work.., making it possible for fans, old and new, to experience the Empress of the Goth underground on a much wider scale.This recording creates a bittersweet longing for this era when the genre was still in its transitional stages and not overcrowded with pretension. It was a period when there wasn't a snob appeal categorization with Goth, death metal, doom, punk, etc., simply because these genres had not been as yet named. All alternative music was placed together, so one could simply hear the darker bands along with some of the New Wave artists, with some veering towards a darker side of the musical spectrum. The Goth genre had barely become warm when the corporate labels started to pour excessive amounts of money and PR into campaigns designed to coddle and cultivate the underground bands for the next hot attraction. Once a band was in the label's lair, the music "giants" had the bands recreate their sound for a more mass-market appeal. Blondie was only one of many bands that underwent such a transition from punk to pop. This was an era before the Internet and the power brokers of the major labels reigned from the ivory towers to determine the music choices of the generation. Independent artists found it quite expensive to pour every dime they had to cut a record, find a distributor and then try to find additional cash to promote their gigs. Fans of the underground were true supporters in every sense of the word. They were fueled by the passion for music that dared to defy the constraints of society and the dull idle thinking of the major market. The small shops that carried items catering to this bohemian lifestyle became a boon for many longing for alternative artistic expression. Despite the ardent fans who embraced the scene, most did not have the financial resources to support the many endeavors in the underground. Band's anticipated the day that they were offered a contract simply because it meant more exposure and they could make a full time living from their music. Without the major assistance of a major company, most bands would fade into obscurity simply because there was no financially practical means of networking to reach a larger core audience. Margot took some time out from her busy schedule to give us some highlights of life during that era.MV: When did The Plague actually disband?
Margot: Spring 1988, and at the time it broke my heart. I felt total desolation. I went in search of my soul mate and then lived on dreams and pain. Fortunately my muses stayed with me and I went on to sing and sing….
MV: Describe life in the lower east side during that period. You touched upon it in the interview that is posted on your website, but I want to get a feeling for the element that was around that seemed to spark the muse for so many people back then.
Margot: Hot, sweaty, sexy, dirty, dark, intense rebellion! Graffiti and drugs were everywhere and no despair. Freedom, oh such freedom. The Plague, as part of the gothic genesis was right before AIDS really hit hard, and way before the war on drugs. Orgies were common, and cross-dressing was part of the fashion. Anything goes... I remember a unity between the punks and skins and even some of the left over glam rockers. The anarchy was against the normals, against society, and so there was a convergence in the underground. And a passion against the establishment because it was soooo strong then, and we were unique, exotic, uncanny and different - very "Us" verses "Them. "MV: What was the musical environment like while you were gigging? Margot: The environment was exciting. We played with many great bands and we played everywhere. From the dark dingy lower eastside basement shows to the main stage at the Limelight. We had a strong following that came to our shows. MV: Was Goth more popular then or now? Margot: We were not popular to the normals; we were considered pretentious and frightening. The Gothic life style… We were the dark clad tribe, we were the magic ones, and we were the ones that made-love in the graveyards. High fenced in graveyards, where we escaped the cement and asphalt to drink red wine and lie in the moonlight. We entwined what others couldn't or wouldn't understand. Our music was about immortality, death, pain and the supernatural. Unique, and elite, we embraced the darkness where others didn't dare to tread. I am thrilled that from the spark that was gothic then, a fire has grown, and Goth today has spread around the globe. MV: How have your stage shows developed since the early days? Margot: I was very very young then…The Plague was known in part for our live shows, wild and erotic… my shows are still called wild and erotic. Having just gone on various mini tours from Seattle to NYC, my voice is more intense and I'm more able to sing with the muses and part the dimensions then ever before. MV:The cover of The Plague depicts Day as the driver of an antique horse-drawn carriage bearing her other band mates. The image helps to conjure subliminal impressions that declare that the work is classic, driven and eternally stylish. It is almost as if she sensed the timelessness of the band's music even from the outset of their beginnings. Naraka paints a sense of summer in the city during this period of time. The punk element was privy to seeing people in the gutter, strung out from whatever chemical of choice they had imbibed in. They also saw the horrors of a world that the so-called normals of society refused to acknowledge, such as the homeless, the runaways, the abused as well as people suffering from illnesses without the health coverage for obtaining adequate medical attention. "Sweating in the city, charred bodies remind me of you, people lying in the gutter, people crying in the night, people fighting for their lives, people dying by the knife…" In a sense the song is almost prophetic in what is seen on a more massive scale these days in major cities across the globe. Never Die harkens back to the age when real instruments were used. Guitar, drum, flute and bass combine beautifully around a song about immortality. It could also be stated that this song helped to give rise to the growing vampire theme in music as well. "I have the mark of Cain, I am one of the special ones, don't give me the last rights, I'll live forever in the afterlife…" Empress boldly opens with a heavy sound that segues into an alternative ballad. It gives us hope in sorrow and darkness with a world ready to swallow us whole. "On the road again, it's a wet moon tonight, wear your cape of darkness, wear your cloak of light, for only you can find your way, In the dark-eyed night, you are the empress of laughter/ you are the empress of sorrow/ you are the empress of dreams…"Suicide Queen really gets in with the fast speed of the punk era without losing a step. This song was also sampled on a later song Day recorded entitled SoBeautifulSoDeadly. "The razor blade shines, it wants your blood, flirting with death, run for your life, running on the razor's edge…" On Murder guitar and flute open the track that progresses to dire lyrics of murder, sublimated as a reverse metaphor for a sexual release. "Danger rides in the dead of night, he crawls up and down my spine, danger rides in the dead of night, he crawls up and down my thighs, now I found you drowning in the red rum, you were the darkened one…"SoBeautifulSoDeadly is a bonus track on the MP3 CD that was not initially available on the vinyl recording. This is a song of longing to get away from the present world that seems unenduring and inescapable. Samples from Suicide Queen are strategically placed within the song. This track is part trip hop and part Middle Eastern and demonstrates the progress of Day as an artist to venture into a multitude of sound and still come out sounding fresh and unique. Paradise of Pain is sonically the darkest song on the album and demonstrates the rise of the Goth movement as it veered from death like lyrics to also begin to include haunting sounds and macabre chord changes. The Plague deals with subject matter that ranges from death, immortality, murder, and suicide. This was not exactly the type of lyric content that made the music industry comfortable. Their blindness to elements of society that were not pretty only helped to alienate the consumer further. Eventually this gave rise to an ever-growing body of consumers who patronized the indie market that the major labels did not anticipate as impacting on their bottom line. Today, however, they are singing another tune as they realized their blunder and are starting to lose money in record-breaking figures. However, during 1987, the time of The Plague's release, the period gave rise to songs such as Heaven is a Place on Earth by post Go-Go's Belinda Carlisle along with U2's With Or Without You. This was a major transitional period in society as the AIDS crisis was in full swing, taking away friends and loved ones in record numbers. Death was everywhere and most people were afraid to talk about it. Society had begun to veer towards an element of paranoia and avoided anything that dealt with mortality. The music companies fed this paranoia by providing the masses with songs that had religious undertones to embrace the "New Age" that was to dawn. Yet in the underground, they saw the harshness of the real world firsthand and realized it had to be dealt with as a part of life and its ever flowing cycle. The Plague stands out as a body of work that demarcates a timeline period in New York history. It demonstrates that the underground, though part of the outer fringes of society, gave a voice to our discontent, angst and ability to see reality in all its abrasiveness. The CD sounds as fresh today as it did in 1987; only viewing it in hindsight clearly indicates the prophetic visions that our chanteuse, Margot Day, seemed to channel while the rest of the world was falling apart.
CLICK HERE FOR THE DISCOGRAPHY