I was walking down the street on a nice sunny day in Prague, in a good mood, minding my own business, when all of a sudden a very familiar face came into my line of vision directly opposite of me. We both did a double-take and instantly recognized one another! It was Phil Shoenfelt, former frontman of the New York band Khmer Rouge, who I thought I had left for dead who I thought I had left for dead back in New York. The last time I had seen Phil was back in the ol ´80s in New York. He was with his then wife Marcia and they were both major junkies. I can remember the sight of them holding onto one another for support, looking a bit green around the gills, coming out of some seedy hotel and approaching me asking for some money. They made Sid and Nancy look like amateurs. I told them the old story about being broke and shuffled away. I had not seen either of them since that time. At the time, I thought that they would not last much longer in this world and did my best to forget. I was in shock to see a somewhat healthy looking Phil standing in front of me. I was then pleasantly surprised to find out that Phil was happily married to a Czech woman, played in several bands in Prague and Berlin and wrote several books that were published.
Phil and I are now very good friends once again. I went to see his bands and was inspired by both. In fact I was so inspired, I have been making a documentary film about his Berlin based band Fatal Shore for three years now. I am in the process of going through all of the footage on tapes for editing. I have over 50 tapes, which means over 50 hours of looking for the best bits for editing. My eyes are tired, but I am looking forward to completing this film. It was because of meeting Phil on that fateful day in Prague I got to know so many inspiring people. I hope to do justice with the Fatal Shore film for Phil, Chris Hughes and in respect and Honor for the incredibly talented Bruno Adams, who passed away in 2009. I filmed Phil´s band and interviewed him for Richard Lowenstein´s documentary about Rowland S. Howard. I would write Phil´s bio information, (I always do the writing about people, but I make an exception in this case) but fussy Phil would find some objection to it I am sure, so I will let write Phil Shoenfelt introduce himself in his own words. Click on any highlighted names above and below for information, it will take you to the specific site.
Phil Shoenfelt is an English musician/singer/songwriter/author who has lived in Prague since 1995. He is a veteran of the UK and New York punk and post-punk scenes, and during the early 1980’s was the front man and principle songwriter for the New York-based band Khmer Rouge. In the five years the band was together, Khmer Rouge was a favorite on the NY club scene, and toured in the USA supporting such acts as The Clash, Tom Verlaine, Alan Vega, Nico and Billy Idol. Returning to the UK in 1984, the band did two UK tours with The Fall before finally splitting in 1986.
Phil then began his solo career. His first single was released on Mark E. Smith’s Cog Sinister label in 1989. A support slot with The Fall followed, as well as several concerts supporting Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds on UK tours in 1990 and 1991. Two solo CDs were released on UK independent labels in 1990 and 1993. After a Czech tour in 1994, Phil decided to move to Prague on a full time basis. Since moving here, he has recorded several more CDs, both with his Prague-based band PHIL SHOENFELT & SOUTHERN CROSS and with the Berlin-based Australian band FATAL SHORE. Although Fatal Shore ended with the death in 2009 of founder member Bruno Adams, Phil continues to play regularly with Southern Cross at venues across Europe. To date, he has had a total of 13 CDs of his music released on various labels in the UK, USA, Czech Republic, Germany and Greece. The latest is Golden Vanity, a collaboration with the late Nikki Sudden, which was released in 2009 on the UK label Easy Action. At the moment Phil is mixing the new PS & Southern Cross CD, which will be released in October 2010 by Easy Action.
As well as these musical activities, Phil has had two books published to date: Junkie Love (a fictionalized autobiography) and The Green Hotel (poetry and song lyrics). Junkie Love was first published in Czech translation in 1997 (as Feťácká Láska) by Maťa Books of Prague, and has become something of a cult book for young Czech readers. The book was published for the first time in English in 2001 by Twisted Spoon Press, and went on to win the Firecracker Alternative Book Award (NYC, 2002) for best book in the Drugs Books section. Since then it has it has been translated and published in Italian by Fazi Editions of Rome. A Greek translation is being prepared for publication by Electra Books of Athens, and an extract has appeared in Erotika – Drogen und Sexualitat by German philosopher Wolfgang Sterneck. In 2006 Junkie Love was licensed to Ebury Press/Random House for UK and Commonwealth distribution, and this new edition was published in July 2007. Phil’s writing has also appeared in literary magazines such as Gargoyle (USA/UK), Garageland(UK), the Prague Literary Review, Optimism (Czech Republic), Hele (Czech Republic), Blatt (Czech Republic), Apple Of The Eye, (Greece), Morgana (Germany) and Vlna (Slovakia). He is also included in the The Return of Král Majeles, a recently published anthology of post 1989 Prague writing put together by the Philosophic Faculty of Charles University. At the moment Phil is working on a new book (Stripped), an autobiographical novel set in downtown New York in the years 1979-84.