Sean Crawford (Yak Face)

Sean Crawford
Yak Face, Mon Calamari (Return of the Jedi)
Interview: 2006

How did you get cast for Return of the Jedi (being heavily involved in the New Romantics-scene back in the early eighties)?

We (Tik and Tok (Sean & his colleague Tim Dry, who played Whiphid in Star Wars)) were well known in the UK as mime artists in the eighties. Lucasfilm was looking for mimes that had had experience of performing in prosthetics.
The actual character’s heads where already created so it was a matter of your size got you the characters.

Back in 1985 they made a toy of Yak Face. It became one of the rarest Star Wars figures.
It took almost twenty years before they made a toy of Whiphid, Tim’s character. Sean, does this make you feel superior to Tim in any way?

It was so rare it took me twenty years to see an original 1985 Yak Face figure.
I can’t take any credit for the passion collectors get to acquire one. But I do see the pleasure it gives to them when they show me their original mint Yak Face. I do have a used and abused one for myself now and I treasure it.

But in answer to your question there has never been any competition between Tim and myself although I was thrilled that Yakface was a famous collector’s figure.
I wasn’t smug and when the Whiphid made a showing, I was very delighted for Tim.

In the eighties you worked with some heroes of mine, the likes of Duran Duran, Gary Numan and Depeche Mode.
Why is (in your opinion) the New Romantics-scene ‘dead’ nowadays and are the music charts dictated by less superior bands than back then?
Oh, don’t tell me that the fashion just got out of style.

Wow that’s a big question and it would take a book to cover.
My views are based on the UK scene. I think the economical environment changed people’s attitude, which was reflected in the music.
In the early eighties there was wealth and prosperity which was reflected in the entertainment being glamorous, uplifting and experimental.

Then came the economic depression, a reality check and a feeling of anger with attitude.
Enter the dark days of rap and hip-hop. (It was at this point Tik and Tok took a long lunch break).
There is a New Romantic-scene today but it is under the genre Electronica.

Suppose you could do the soundtrack from Star Wars…. eighties style!
Which songs from which artists would you include in the movie, and why (and for which scenes? The opening credits for example would be….?)

Ahh no songs please! It’s not a West End or Broadway show. Visual music by Giorgio Moroder or Ryuichi Sakamoto would have been interesting.
I would have like to have thought we could have added another dimension to the bar scene music.

What’s the best memory you have of being in Return of the Jedi?
And what’s the craziest thing that ever happened to you at a Star Wars convention?

There were long hours of waiting (which goes with the job) which we took advantage of on the third day of filming.
We had a truck deliver our music instruments and converted our dressing room into a recording studio and that passed a lot of the time.
Then there was what any young twenty-four year old would do: smuggling in groupies for shag parties.

Unfortunately I can’t say anything crazy has happened at a convention but some of the party’s have been fun.
At Celebration III Steve Sansweet had a party in his hotel suite which about a thousand people turned up to. In Tokyo we had the most bizarre Abbey Experience that I can not put into words.
At NewStarcon we had a party in our suite and which Ronnie and Reggie Dome took over.

Does your new Slightly Deranged EP have any Star Wars connections?

Yes, a lot. Tim and I have a great deal to thank the Star Wars conventions for because it brought us back to together to create more music after twenty years. On the EP there is a track called ‘Bad Girl’ which was written after a convention in Germany. It is very Euro Electronica.