man with the trilby and spare C-90, Tony Strutt, had a conversation with the jester of
rock, Nick Sanderson, who was heckled by Jim Reid and Ben Lurie at a Freeheat gig.
Nick: I have been in some of the greatest bands on this planet.
My rock C.V. reads like some of my favourite records.
Jim: But its always loser bands.
Nick: I was just coming to that.
You were in the
Nick: They were good them.
Jim: Was that when Bill and Ben were still in them?
Nick: Correct. Unfortunately, it wasnt THE Bill and Ben, it was two blokes, a
bloke called Adam Peters, he made some bad mistakes, he played the cello parts for that
Bunnymen album, Ocean Rain, and he used to work for a lot of people. I moved down to London from Sheffield with another
band and then I joined the Gun Club on and off and thats how I met Romi. Did that for a couple of years. World of Twist were my mates anyway so they asked
me to join.
They were a cabaret band before, werent they? I have one of their early singles and it was
average back of a pub stuff.
Nick: Sort of. The first gig was like that
too. We were throwing things, like fuck
off, the singer was a bit Tony Christie.
Are they still involved in music?
Nick: Tony went a bit odd for a bit, he is a lot better now, he was pretty ill, he got
to the point where he didnt want to sing anymore.
So he was trying to get me to sing and I was no fucking way, who do
you think we are Genesis? From
behind the drum, if I wanted to do that Id do it in my own band, because he is a
Was Earl Brutus after this band?
Nick: Yeah, when all that went actually, I jointed the Jesus and Mary Chain about the
time that World of Twist was falling apart for a bit.
I know you played on Munki.
Jim: Youre on the Sound of Speed EP.
Nick: And I went on this tour with them to the States but they were completely toured
out. You were werent you? You were fucked.
Jim: Yeah, we didnt get much sleep.
Nick: They had just done the Lollapalooza thing then their drummer left and I did the
arse end of it, then I did Snakedriver and a couple of things, then I did Stoned and
Dethroned, then I Hate Rock n Roll, then stayed on for a bit but then I had
Earl Brutus. At that point it was half JAMC
and half Earl Brutus, but Earl Brutus was a band that could only be formed by a
semi-middle-aged man. I though, fuck, before
I die I have to form this band because it cant be done by a 17 year old, it could
only be done by a middle-aged twat.
Jim: I remember, when you first started talking about Earl Brutus and you said you were
playing this gig and were all going to wear blue safari suits, and I was
like: you what?!
Nick: We have just played at 93 Feet East, it was quite good, and we played the
Ben: That was great.
After that, we are doing some stuff in February, we wanted to do some recording, we done
some in this ultra-cool studio behind the pictures in Notting Hill Gate and its all
people smoking weak joints and being tossers trying to be cool and then they got Earl
Brutus there. The engineer used to sneak off
to play pool so we never came out with a recording, we came out with bits, so we are doing
some more recording with Ben and Jim, when Ben gets back from Australia. You have to do it with people who know what
its about otherwise youre pissing in the wind.
interview by Tone
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British Sea Power
have a massive sound and a massive buzz
around them after their first two singles. Remember
Me is a killer of a guitar track that kicks you in from the start and never lets you
caught up with the
band post gig at the Dublin Castle.
The band are Yan (vocals and guitar), Martin Noble
(guitar), Woody (drums) and Hamilton (bass). They
also have a set of girls called The Jonathan Mooreheads who dress up as 40s Land Girls and
arrange the set.
Why the name, because
British Sea Power sounds more like a gas or electricity supplier than a
Yan: Well, we wanted to be different and offer value for
money, as most companies do, it was quite a ridiculous name which is why we were attracted
Noble: Its historical, its the name for the
British naval force, and the name itself mentions the sea which is a good thing to have a
name about, just the whole name, you can read a lot into it.
Is the band a full-time job now youre on
Yan: It is for me, it has been for four years now.
Woody: But we still arent making any money.
Yan: Its early days.
Woody: Were spending a lot of money on the birds and
The history of the
band: I believe you were based in Reading?
Yan: Thats where we were based.
Woody: About three years ago, it was a slow process.
Because there arent
a lot of venues on Reading?
Woody: When we started up there were, but by the time we
started to gig there werent.
Youre now in Brighton, which
youve described as Camden-on-Sea. Is
it a better place to be based?
Yan: There are a lot of small people doing things, rather
than there are big venues. There are lots of
bars and clubs. Do you mean better than
Reading? [Tone: yeah]. Its getting very trendy and now its
quite expensive, its almost like London now.
Releases to date: there has been Fear of
Drowning, which everyone says sounds quite like the Cure. Do you agree?
Yan: I dont really listen to The Cure, I only know
their big hits so I think its because its a bit echoey and slightly dark but
with a nice melody.
Noble: We are thinking of re-recording Fear of Drowning for
the album and maybe as a single later on.
From what Ive heard,
the stage show is a bit weird with stuffed owls and lots of trees.
Noble: There is a plastic heron, a plastic owl and a
So its like a show rather than just four guys on stage.
Yan: Yeah, I thought it was quite normal
in a way.
Noble: Its strange how people have
Yan: I think more people should just make
Bands dont these
days. I believe you do a lot of jumping
around that freaks a lot of people out.
Yan: Does it freak them out? It helps me, I think it helps this lot and I
think it helps everyone because it is a distraction so they can take it all in. I just though, well you read about good people,
really good people like Iggy Pop, so you just expect it, if you want to be a really good
band you have to try something.
Nowadays, its not the done thing.
Yan: Well, thats just because
everybody is worried about feeling stupid really.
And if you get up on stage everyone is going to look at you anyway?
Yan: So we might as well
Influences: The names
that have been thrown at you so far are the Cure; the Teardrop Explodes people say
that Fear of Drowning was the best thing the Teardrops never recorded; and Echo and the Bunnymen everyone says that Remember Me is a Bunnymen riff.
Yan: I have no idea really. We do come in strongly at times. I think we did listen to those bands when we
were young. Rather than revive them,
its just one of our natural references.
How did Rough Trade become involved?
Yan: Geoff came to one of our gigs on his
own, I dont know how he heard about us. And
he said he wanted to work with us and release our records.
Good thing or bad thing?
Its been good. As far as I can tell, he just wants to release
records by people he loves and people who feel the need to make music, which is just
The Rough Trade website
doesnt say much about you.
Yan: I dont think they know a lot
about us yet, which is a good thing, they are saying do what you want, which is what we
want to do.
interview by Tone
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are Jim Reid, Ben Lurie, Nick Sanderson, all of whom have played in the Jesus and Mary
Chain, assisted by Romi Mori on bass. The
band released the Retox EP on 18.02.02. They
were interviewed by Tony Strutt late October 2001.
I believe you originally started as TV69 as all you
people, or were there other people involved?
Well, it was just me and Ben at that stage. We
didnt really have a band at that time, it was just the two of us trying to get it
together but the time the four of us got it together we more or less decided we
didnt like that name, we changed it not immediately, we spent like ages trying to
think of a good name so we came up with Freeheat.
So when was this period, because I believe Munki came out in about 98 and you went
off to the States?
I cant remember. (to Ben) Do you remember?
Well, before the Mary Chain split up, we knew, we werent expecting to split up then
but we thought we would take a break. I think
it was about 97. In 97, we did a
bunch of demos of which a couple are in our set now, so in 97, me and Jim did some
demos, just in the summer, talked about TV69 and when the Mary Chain exploded
I believe William left after two songs and you carried
on without him?
Well, not that night; what happened , yeah
It all happened the night before really.
The night before we all had a big altercation?
I didnt, I just went to the bar probably.
And the next day, we thought the band was over anyway and we thought wed go out in
style on our last day by the pool drinking champagne and then it turned out that we were
doing a gig that night and we were slaughtered, or me and Jim were, and we went on stage
at The House of the Blues. Played a few
songs, big disaster, I was the last to walk off. Nick
probably knows the details better because by then everything or rather everybody walked
off stage, I was like: I better go too.
There was no point in hanging around, we suddenly realised this is pointless.
The first English Freeheat gig was 1 July 2000. Had
you done any before that because there were planned dates at Shepherds Bush Empire with
Sonic Youth. Was that confirmed?
It was just unfortunate timing because that was four days before and we wanted our first
gig to be our own.
And there was an England game on.
Why the name Freeheat, apart from not liking TV69?
Well, he [indicates Ben] hates the name for a start.
I dont know, we needed a name, we had gigs, we couldnt decide on
a name and it was the best of a bad bunch I had. I
like the name, he fucking doesnt, theres nothing wrong with it for
Well, we booked that gig at the Monarch and because of the Mary Chain they were fine about
booking the gig but they kept ringing up saying whats the band called?
and I was like: Ill tell you tomorrow.
The sound of Freeheat is very dirty rock n roll at its best, very raw. It sounds like the early days of the Jesus and
Mary Chain. Do you feel towards the end or
mid-period JAMC that you lost direction and that you regained it on Munki?
Not really. I thought the Mary Chain always made good records. I think that the Mary Chain made lots of mistakes
but it was never on record. Munki was great
but the difference was me and William werent seeing eye to eye about anything and
then it stopped becoming anything like a band at that stage, so there was no point in
continuing in the studio. I wasnt there
when he was recording his songs mostly and he wasnt there when I recorded mine. It started off with a good band vibe but it took
so long to make the record
I think it took about two years to record and by the end
of that two years we couldnt stand each other.
Are you on better terms now that youre not working
We are, but thats because we dont share the Mary Chain any more, yeah much
Because he has just had a new baby daughter now?
No, he has a son, a wee boy and he has a stepdaughter from a previous relationship.
Do you feel that if the Mary Chain came out now,
rather than 84, that you would have the same effect?
If it sounded exactly like it did then, no we wouldnt, because that music was right
for that time, and I think if we were kids now and we were starting now we would just
naturally be different anyway because there have been so many more things happening in the
last 15 years and we would have absorbed all of that as well and the Mary Chain, I think,
would have still sounded apart from everything else but not in the way Psychocandy was. It was that record for that time.
I believe you have played more dates in the US than the UK.
Does playing in the UK scare you more because youre more accepted in
No it doesnt scare me. It just feels
like there is more interest and tolerance.
And they are more open-minded?
When you go to America, there does seem to be a feeling that people want to hear what
youre doing. In America, being in the
bands weve all been in, people sort of respect it and here, its like you have
to apologise because, Christ, I was in a band like the Mary Chain in the 80s. Sorry, Im 40, sorry, forget it , who cares;
people dont see it like that in America.
If they are more open-minded and more into music,
does that worry you a bit that you are a British band and youre ashamed of
where youre from as a musician?
To be honest, I love to be in a band again, who had a record deal and all the things that
go with being in a band. Id like it if
the band paid the bills but the truth of the matter is if it doesnt then we can live
with it, it would be nice as long as we enjoy doing it.
Did you enjoy working with Lupine Howl in the States?
In the end it was just one date in New York, the CMJ thing.
The promoter thought it would be a good double bill. Sean, Damon and Mike, all were looking to form a
band and Jim and I went up and spent a day with them.
It might have ended up as a band but they are in Bristol and we are in
London. It was impractical for a couple of
lazy people like us, we dont really know each other that well.
Theres different attitudes. We went up
there and got tanked up and theyre sitting in the corner and getting stoned.
And theyre really good musicians.
Theyre really good musicians and Im asking Ben to tune my guitar.
To date, youve only released one EP in the States,
any reason why it wasnt released here?
The UK version has four of those tracks on it, we remixed the American version for here. We didnt do a good job on the mixing for
America. We did this tour in July and CMJ and
we thought we got this gig and we had a profile and we wanted a record out, so we did
that. We mixed it in my bedroom, we though it
sounded great when youre up against my speakers. We have since learned how to use
the living room also; all this should have happened six months ago.
(to Jim): The way you write with Ben, is it similar to
the way you write with William, is it easier or just different?
Well, we write the songs together.
On one of those demos, generally one of us writes a song.
It is kind of different
Its a bit like the Mary Chain, how we wanted it to be. Jim would go: heres a bit, have you any
ideas? There is no preciousness about it, but the only song we have written as a group is
No One is Gonna Trip My Wire. Our
laziness is going to be our downfall. We got
a set we like.
(showing band their set list from their first gig): Has it changed much?
Its grown but not by much.
William, with Lazycame, has gone into singer/songwriter mode. Freeheat is a noisy feedback band. Do you feel if you didnt do this, there
would be less interest in the band?
Ive never thought of it like that. Weve
just done what we felt like doing, to be honest.
In the beginning with the Mary Chain, the idea was to be a band that sounded like you
could have Shangri-Las songs but performed by the Birthday Party or something. At the time those were the bands we were listening
to. And they all thought the Velvet
Underground; where that came in was that there was a coupling that came in of a marriage
of sounds and stuff, and I think that is something that has never left me. I always liked the two extremes like nice
The Jesus and Mary Chain were the biggest band out of Scotland since the Bay City Rollers
and since then we have Belle and Sebastian. Do
you like them?
I like one or two of their songs. To be
honest, I think theyre a bit boring.
They are a bit twee.
The other thing at the moment
They should be burnt, fuck it.
I find it a bit too traditional, they dont update it, they dont bring it into
the 21st Century, their records could have been done in 1966.
I cant see the point in it, myself.
Do you like post-rock?
Never heard of post-rock, sorry.
Its basically updated Krautrock, samplers, electronic music but done in a modern
Give me an example.
Im not that keen on Mogwai. Im
hideously over taught. Are the Beatles still going?
Pauls got a new single out.
Didnt one die?
The JAMC were on WEA. Now youre not on
a major, is there less pressure because youre doing it for yourself?
There is less pressure but it is a different picture, there is no record deal, we
dont even have a manager, we got nothing. We are setting up our own equipment. We would rather not do that, if truth be told, but
its like we have done those tours of America and it was completely different from
anything we have done with the Mary Chain. With
the Mary Chain, we used to get nervous before going on and stuff, like every gig was like
a possible nervous breakdown and it all depends on that one gig. The rest of your life depends on this one gig,
this gig is so important. Now we have done
that tour of America, set up our own guitars and we play music that is fun. Its not ideal but it was fun.
Are there other obstacles that you have had to deal with as Freeheat?
The biggest is the fact that we are a bunch of lazy fucks basically, and thats the
truth. Alcoholism is a big problem. We drink a lot and all the time.
Is the Sister Vanilla project still going?
Its almost finished, its been dragging on for ages. What is going to happen is
we are just going to stop it soon and say thats it.
The bits me and Jim are doing, were getting there.
Poptones is going downhill but if Alan McGee approached you, would you have considered it?
Yeah, definitely considered it. It would have
depended on what they offered.
Anything else youd like to add?
Buy our fabulous record.
interview by Tone
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a six-piece from Glasgow who record for Andmoresounds records. The band are: Lee
Thompson (drums), Gavin Dunbar (bass), Kenny McKeeve (electric guitar), Traceyanne
Campbell (guitar and vocals), John Henderson (vocals) and Lindsay Boyd (keyboards). Soundshound
Tone spoke to John Henderson at a
pre-Christmas 2001 ROTA gig.
I believe youve done two or three
singles and one album?
Well, we have done three singles and one album, yeah, but the first two singles are a
different line-up basically. The first two
singles were the same line-up and after the second single Your Sound came out,
basically the lead guitarist left, he wasnt into what we were wanting for the future
of the band and we recruited Kenny. Richard
Coburn used to drum with us; he drummed at the first Bowlie which was our very first gig,
which was a bit daunting for our first gig, no soundcheck or nothing. So this line up has been together for about two
and a half years just working on the album and, because we have all got jobs, it has been
difficult to get the album done. We brought
out Eighties Fan (the third single) in July, it has done really well and the
album was out three weeks ago and so far, so good.
The songs seem
to be quite picturesque and like drawings but your name, correct me if Im wrong, is
taken from a 1985 Nico album which is quite a depressing album.
We were up in
Greenwich at the observatory today and camera obscura translates from Latin as
darkened chamber. Our original
guitarist, that was his name because we didnt know what to call ourselves and he
said Camera Obscura and we said OK. He
has since left and we are not keen on the name to be honest but were stuck with it,
so we just have to get along with it, none of us like it.
of Belle and Sebastian is going out with Traceyanne.
I believe he mixes the gigs, has he produced anything?
Eighties Fan, the single, and he did some string arrangements on the album. He helps us out basically when he can come to our
gigs and he helps out on the live sound and he has been great for the band and when
Richard used to drum for us that is how we got the Bowlie gig, which was nice, but we are
good friends with all of them.
A few friends
that have liked the band for a while have remarked that since Stuart came aboard, the
sound is more Belle and Sebastian than your old sound.
True, or was it that you werent that pleased with the old sound anyhow
and youve moved on?
didnt come in to help us until we were halfway through recording the album and me
and Tracey like stuff like Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra, those kinds of songs. Stuart has no influence at all in the music we
want to make, he doesnt suggest anything. We
are very aware of every review we get, they always mention B&S and it has its good
points and bad points but we just get on with it. The
next album will be different.
How did the band get together
Me and Tracey
met at college - same old story, you know. She
played guitar, we realised we liked the same kind of music and then wed go into her
bedroom and try and write some songs. Tracey
is the main songwriter and I try and help out. Then
we put up an ad looking for a band and it snowballed from there, we met Gavin and then
Lindsay who is now our keyboard player, and who runs Andmoresounds Records, and gave him a
tape, he put out our first couple of singles and that was that.
You will be
branded twee, how do you feel about that?
We are called that in Glasgow but, to be honest, I couldnt
give a toss.
We hope to release an EP maybe in Springtime and after that we
want to get into the studio and rehearse new songs because we are a bit fed up with the
same set, because no-one else has heard it as much as us, and just take it from there.
back to top
The video for Christian Girls was one of the funniest we've seen. Where did
you get the idea and is video a Hefner medium?
Content of the videos is the only thing we have consciously denied
ourselves control over. We use directors we like and let them do what they
want. Usually we use an up and coming director called John Hardwick, though we
used a different guy for christian girls (though he was influenced by Hardwick.) Johns
getting a bit famous now and so maybe we couldnt afford him...he always makes us look
stupid and also if you look at all the videos theres definitely a homoerotic agenda thing
going on as well which we didnt twig until the Good fruit video. Videos not really a
hefner medium...its too fucking expensive. We'll be paying for those for the rest of
our lives even though we're very proud of them.
You're very prolific. Where do you get your inspiration and
do you ever worry that you'll wake up one day and only be able to write "da doo doo
doo, da da da da"?
Those are great lyrics!! Darren writes a lot of songs. I think he
finds it easy. Hes not tortured by trying to say the right things I guess. It must get
harder though to write new stuff after 4 albums. We will be slowing down in 2002 anyway.
We're looking forward to the ICA gig. Why did you
decide to feature your quieter, less well known songs?
It will be the last show we do for a while and we wanted to have a
chance to play some of the songs which we really like and which we dont feel we can get
away with with say a wild moshing saturday night Manc or Barcelona type crowd.
Does Dead Media represent a new direction
for the band? And why the fascination with synthesisers?
I think we wanted to try something new, every album has sounded
slightly different, synths were always there from fidelity wars on.we just brought them to
the foreground. Old analogue synths have such a sweet sound and we were lucky to
have access to a bunch of them. The other thing is that no one seemed to have been using
them as a tool for accompanying songs anymore, in the way that bands like the Cars or say
the Thompson Twins did.If those aren't cool reference points theres nothing I can do about
What were your feelings about the other, bogus, Hefner and
have they gone away now?
None and no.
Is vinyl still important to you?
well we still do vinyl copies. We still love it but its getting
harder and harder to do.EMI got rid of all their staff over 50 years old which complicates
matters.We will still do it when we can.
You've said that the ICA gig will be the last for a while.
What are you doing after that?
I have an album out in the new year so does Ant. Johns busy and
Darren has a new puppy. Hefner has always been a band of four songwriters doing Darens
songs so we've all got plenty to be getting on with. Actually I think Darrens busy working
on a book.
You have something of a reputation as a low-fi indie band
who are big favourites of John Peel. Is that fair and do you ever get frustrated by it?
It's a great honour to be liked by John Peel and we would never turn
down a session. We do wish we sold more records it would make feeding ourselves and making
the next release easier...but thats certainly not John Peel's fault! As for Lofi, its
never been an agenda, just the way things have turned out because we're not great
musicians, and we record very fast, and we cant be arsed/afford to do the amount of turd
polishing that other bands do in the studio to make their records sparkly.
interview by Ged
back to top
is 21 years old; is this the album youre most proud of?
wasnt the first album but the first good one was Underwater Moonlight. Its one of the albums Im most proud
of, its certainly the best Soft Boys album. I
have made albums since that I like as much probably; I think I Often Dream of Trains was a good album and Fegmania, that little patch in the mid-80s, and
then I like a record called Eye that I did
in 1990; that had too many songs but it had some good ones on it.
like saying: is it better to be 20 or 40? Neither
is, its just different. Life isnt
a means to an end, its just a series of moments that you make the best of. Moonlight
was the work of four young guys in their mid/late twenties and I thought it was pretty
good really. Im glad it has survived.
bands were there before the Soft Boys?
shall we call them? There was The New
Stooglie Brothers, which would have been the first one featuring Rick Stooglie, who has
now sadly deceased. Then there was the
Beatles, which was the codename for this band that I had in art school. We played down the road in Kennington, at the City
and Guilds Art School, that was my first public performance.
played three times actually. As I was a
student, they let me bring my band. On the
first date, one of my art teachers got into a fight and knocked the Christmas tree over. The second one, the PA broke down after two songs. I was bitterly disappointed because I was having a
great time. I remember I looked forward to
those gigs for months; it was as special and rare as having sex in those days! My God, I might have sex tonight! Oh my God, Im going to have a gig in six
weeks time! I have been playing gigs
for centuries now and nothing has equalled the nervous thrill that went into playing the
City and Guilds Art School in Kennington.
we had Robyn Hitchcocks Worst Fears, up in Cambridge, which was one of my flatmates
and my girlfriend of the time, and that turned into Maureen and the Meatpackers. I moved to Dennis and the Experts, which was
Morris Windsor, Matthew Seligman, this guy called Rob Lamb [brother of legendary DJ/Oval
Records label owner Charlie Gillett]. Matthew
left and was replaced by Andy Metcalfe, Rob Lamb left and was replaced by Wayne Lowe and
it was the Soft Boys.
made it special?
was the first time that I connected with people who were really good musicians. These people could play better than me but it was
like a body without a head and I was the head. I
started writing songs in 1970 but they were crap until 1977.
the bands name mean anything?
yeah. I suppose it came from William
Burroughs, you know The Wild Machine and The Soft Boys. I pictured The Soft Boys a bit like civil
servants, you wouldnt see them but they had a huge influence. My vision of them was that they had been
filleted, they had no bones so they could slide under doors and then come back up, like in
the Terminator movies, so they could get anywhere, through a keyhole or under a door. They would be bloodless, like they had been
drained like Halal, but they would be alive and they also had a tremendous sexual appetite
in some ghastly way that was left to the imagination.
I thought this is too good so I wrote Give it To the Soft Boys.
in one sense we were all very soft, we were middle class, mothers boys,
wouldnt hurt a fly, couldnt confront anyone never mind each other, very nice
people who avoided eye contact and really liked Monty Python and kind of laughing at
things quietly in silent laughter.
you feel cheated at the time because the Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes were exploring
the same sort of territory and they took off?
I did. I felt quite sour about it all which
never helps because no one loves you when youre sour and angry! They were a bit younger and in some ways they were
more sort of post-punk that us. They were
people who had been through punk and had decided to get onto a bit of a psychedelic trip
where we were pre-punk and we didnt really adopt psychedelia, it was already there
in our system. They discovered
psychedelia and decided to wave it as a flag where we didnt wave it as a flag, it
was what we were anyway. A lot of them were
from Liverpool, so they were probably a lot more outside-world friendly; Cambridge is
about the reunion?
we represent isnt around much. Its
a really good psychedelic dance band but not in the Primal Scream sense; its sort of
psychedelic pub rock, which could but a put down but thats what it is.
the albums 21st birthday and Kim and me had been doing some stuff
together. He has an album out called
Tunnel into Summer and Im on three tracks of that and he was on my last
Warner Brothers album. So we got used to
playing together again so I looked for a label and got in touch with Morris and Matthew.
the artwork going to be the same?
sister did them [the models on the cover of Underwater
Moonlight] and, yeah, it is the same characters and they are going to be on it. Sadly, we had to burn them because they had become
flea or rat-infested or something. They were up in the attic for years.
fuller version of this interview is in Independent Underground Sound Magazine Issue 7;
details from email@example.com
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David Lewis Gedge
(Cinerama and Wedding Present
Richard of indie talked to soundsxp hair consultant, Tone, on the last date of the
Cinerama 2001 tour. This is an edited version
of the interview that will appear in Tones fanzine, Independent Underground
Sound - See bottom of page for more information.
Cineramas live sound is
more like the Wedding Present its louder and more rocky - whereas on record
its more lush. Whys that?
Well, I wanted
to recreate the sounds of the recordings but I soon found out it was quite difficult
[laughs]! At the first gig [at the Falcon in
London], we had strings but you couldnt hear them and they couldnt hear
themselves. And though I suppose its
quite a big place here [The Mean Fiddler, London], in general, the stage sizes are not big
enough to physically get everyone on. So I
soon aborted that idea. Then I thought, okay,
Ill try recreating it with the use of samplers and keyboards. That sounded OK but it
I dunno. They were real
samples of cellos and things but I think theres something different about someone
sat there playing a cello and someone hitting a keyboard: it sounds sort of synthy and I
hate that 80s kind of synth music. So that was stage 2 aborted.
So now I have
slimmed it down
its like the Wedding Present with a keyboard really! It seems to work better. Weve rearranged some of the songs so that
instead of orchestration it is now guitar parts and Im definitely happy with that. But we did a thing recently at Maida Vale for Peel
and there we had a nine piece with strings, trumpet and flute, and there its fine,
its a massive room, with top engineers, great monitors
so it works. But until we get big enough to play the Royal
Albert Hall with an orchestra[laughs]
The sound is more
romantic/cinematic than the Wedding Present. Do
you think thats because youre getting older and your ideas are changing?
No, not really. Its something I always wanted to do. In the Wedding Present I had a couple of stabs at
it. Like we did Falling, the
theme from Twin Peaks, which was quite cinematic. But
it was always a bit of a struggle cos I was always trying to put my views over three
other people who have different ideas. Because
we were so well known as a guitar band it seemed alien to the whole idea of it to suddenly
bring in a flute player. People were going,
What? Wheres he going to stand? !
do you think Steve Albini brings to the Cinerama sound?
He brings a harder sound and, I
think, hes just the best engineer Ive ever worked with at capturing the sound
of drums, electric bass, guitar, and theres no-one that Ive worked with who
can have that clarity, that power, that depth. Theres
a darkness to it as well which Va Va Voom [Cineramas first LP] really missed. Its a nice album and a good pop record but I
dont think its gonna last the test of time as much as Seamonsters [Wedding
Present third LP]; it hasnt got that depth, that kind of intensity.
Bizarro and Seamonsters
(second and third Wedding Present albums) have been reissued [see reviews]. I believe you asked the other two chaps whether
they wanted to do some gigs but they werent interested?
Well they [the
record company] phoned me up and asked if I would be interested in doing a little tour and
I said yeh I wouldnt mind, its been like four/five years
1997 were the
last concerts I think. So I rang up the
others. Simon [Cleave], the Cinerama
guitarist, was in the Wedding Present as well, said yeh fine Ill do it. And I asked the other two and they were kind of
mmmyeahmmm whens it gonna be and I got the feeling they werent
biting my hands off. But to be fair,
theyre doing different things now.
you a bit hurt by that?
Not hurt no,
cos I didnt expect them to be sat by the phone waiting for the call [laughs]! I kept it open really
I didnt want to
put them under too much pressure. They
didnt say No, but then they didnt say YES!
So I thought, well Im quite happy in Cinerama, Im really enjoying it so
Im not gonna try and persuade people.
youve moved on yourself anyway?
To a certain
extent. But I was involved in the remastering
of those two albums - Id not played them for three or four years - and I thought I like these LPs, they do stand the
test of time pretty well I think, unlike other records of that era. So I was excited about the idea of playing them
live. Hence, Cinerama started playing Wedding
Present songs anyway and I really enjoy doing that. So I feel like Ive got the best
of both worlds! At the same time I dont
rule out a Wedding Present tour or album - but dont not rule it out, if you know
what I mean. Classic fence-sitting situation, Im afraid!
Would you consider putting
out a solo record under your own name?
Im not sure
I would cos I always think its a bit naff [laughs]; yknow - The
DAVID GEDGE album. When I started
Cinerama I didnt have any plans at all, Id thought Id do it and see what
happened. I didnt have the name for the
band. I didnt have a band really, it
was just me and Sally [Murrell, Davids partner].
I thought of releasing that as just me, then thought no. And then we got people in to play live. But Im happier with a band name really
cos Im a bit shy I think [laughs]!
Also, I think if you go solo
you lose a big part of the following.
Well, I was quite
naïve. I dont know why I thought this
but I just assumed that everyone would know what Cinerama was. It was ridiculous to think that. In the last few
years people have been coming up to me saying that theyve just realised that
Im in Cinerama and that they really like it and wished theyd known before. Hence, we started putting lots of stickers on
things, making it known really
. In a way I wanted to divorce it from the Wedding
Present cos its a new project, I didnt want people getting too confused.
But I think you can go too far with it: getting too precious with it really.
So what got you into music in
the first place?
Well, I think that
Ive always been interested in music. Again
I think its a bit wet to say it, but Ive always been a big fan of
radio. When I was growing up I was always listening to the radio and being inspired by it. I always thought that Id like to be a DJ or
in a pop group or something. People ask
When did you decide? But I didnt decide really, it just always
seemed the obvious thing. But when the
Chameleons [a local band who were school friends of Gedge] had some success I thought I
can do it as well and thats when I started Lost Pandas really.
When was the Lost Pandas
Well, the Lost
Pandas was the name of the final line up of the band I was in before the Wedding Present,
but it spanned
. I dont know
since I popped out of my mummys tummy
[laughs]. I always wanted to do it. I was in bands at school, at university, and it
was always the same kind of thing, two guitars, bass and drums and me as singer. It went through different names and then it just
happened and the Lost Pandas was the first one that got really serious and that was
probably around 1982/3.
You went to school with the
Chameleons who started in 81 and signed to Epic.
Did you learn from their mistakes?
learn at all! [laughs] In fact, it was the opposite.
I think it was the kind of kick I needed.
I was at university when they signed to Epic and I was shocked. As far as I was concerned they were my mates at
school. They had a band and I had a band,
they did some gigs and soon they signed to Epic. So
I thought, well it can be done, you can actually get a record deal and make a career out
of this. Then I left university shortly after
and it was kind of an impetus: we can do this, we can do demos and take them to people and
get a record deal. So it inspired us I think.
John Peel has always been
there from the start. Were you quite
surprised that he liked you as soon as he heard you?
Ive always been a massive fan of that programme, as everyone knows [laughs]!
Ive listened to it as long as I can remember: I think Ive missed about six
programmes! My taste in music has always been
in the same kind of area as his the Fall, guitar bands and in some ways I
think it has influenced me to make records that wouldnt sit uncomfortably in that
programme. It would be kind of bigheaded to
say I knew that he would play us I didnt.
In fact, we took quite a few demos down before the first single in the hope of
getting a Peel session, but we never got one so I was getting a bit worried. But it was good to get acknowledgement; that we
did fit into that sort of genre, and that we were able to get played by Peel.
Has he done anything to
embarrass you ever? Or said anything on air?
embarrassing me really [laughs]! I think he
quite likes the idea that Im this kind of person who has had a bit of success but
still listens to the programme like the trainspottery listener that I am! And I do, like, a chart, the Festive 50 thing,
which I think he thinks is quite funny. And I
think he thinks Im not very pop-starry.
With the Wedding Present you
used to tape gigs from the mixing desk and run a live tape club through the fan club. Can you see you doing anything like that for
Id like to. But I got to be honest with you, its a real
pain! Cos we used to tape every concert and it was inevitably me, cos no one
else could be bothered, doing it. Id have to listen to about 20 cassettes, of a
concert I just finished doing and know back to front.
Id think this is a really good
concert and then get to song #9 and the tape runs out and so I try the next one and
its oh no, the bass is far too low all the way through it or something
and it used to take me absolutely ages. It
was our first drummer who started doing it actually as an alternative to people having to
buy bootlegs. I think it was good that we did
it and we got to about 17 tapes or something but it was a real hassle. I think theres a place for it. But Im not a fan of it myself. I always think that live tapes or live CDs are
quite disappointing cos I think a concert is actually being there. Its loud and its live and its
the human interaction but a tape...its like I dont wanna hear this song [live]
I wanna hear it on the album which is ten times better recorded. Funnily enough our drummer in Cinerama has been
taping [gigs]. So maybe one day Ill
listen to those and find a good one!
Have you done other gig only
items? I know you did a Wedding Present 7 once.
I think weve done a few things
like we did the Sucker 7 available at gigs and it was also
available by mail order. But I dont
like that exclusivity thing, really. I
dont believe people should be forced to go to a gig just to buy a single. Especially if they live in Inverness and the
nearest you play is Bristol!
Why did you stop playing
encores? When was the last time you played it with the Wedding Present?
I think we stopped
doing it in the mid 80s really. Ive
always been a little uncomfortable about it. When
we first started playing small clubs it was really obvious when it was going really well
and in the dressing room you hear the crowd is really going for it. I think thats fine and I think that is a
nice thing to do. But as you get a bit more
well known you can literally do an encore every night.
I started thinking that Im not actually keen on it, its a rock
tradition, and I think its a bit hackneyed. And
seeing those bands who do a set list and draw a line at the bottom and write three more
songs its so premeditated. And
Ive seen bands who, yknow, hardly get any applause [does quiet polite clap]
and its ok back on stage and play another three songs. I just think that
its like a film.
You go and see a film, and you say oh its a good film but they
dont then show another 15 minutes!
last single and the current one [Health and Efficiency] youve done 7 foreign
language versions. Whats the idea
behind that? And are they truthful to the language or are they basically get
I think the French ones OK
cos I did French at school and Ive always liked it. And of course we did a Wedding Present song in
French as well [version of Why are you being so reasonable now? English and French
versions are now on the George Best CD]. And
the girl who translated while I was doing it is French so that ones fine. The Spanish one Im not so sure about
cos we did it in America and it wasnt actually a Spaniard, it was an American
student of Spanish and Ive subsequently found out theres quite a few mistakes
[laughs]! Ive never spoken Spanish in
my life so it took a lot of time, that one. The
French one was quite easy. As for the reason,
I dont have one really. Ive
always been interested in languages I suppose, in English as much as any other. And its quite fun.
done four new tracks for a Peel Session which have not been released, apart from the
single track. Are there any more? How far you in [to the new album]? Have you done the
whole thing yet?
Well, theyre three or four
tonight that are even newer. And I think
weve probably got enough stuff to go and record an album but Im not completely
sure. Some songs are not completely finished
yet. Weve booked some rehearsal time
after the tour so well go in and have a look at the whole thing and see what
interview by Tone
back to top
Inspiral Carpets were one of Manchester's biggest bands of the late 80s to early
90s. The band stopped as a unit back in '94 and since then Clint Boon has become a
DJ and fronts the cabaret style Clint Boon Experience. Meanwhile Tom Hingley had a
short break and formed The Lovers with ex-Lotus Eaters' Jerry Kelly, releasing one
single. He has now gone solo and last year released Keep Britain Untidy as well as a
new album, on the way. I caught up with Tom, pre-show a while back at the 100 Club.
The first time I
became aware of you was because of The Inspiral Carpets but did you do anything before
because you were not the original vocalist of that band?
I'm from Oxford
originally and I used to be in bands with my brothers. this was in the late 70s, all
shit punk bands. A brother of mine used to have a band called Ashtray and the Dogends and they used to do gigs around Oxford and at one point people would turn up
thinking The Sex Pistols were playing. Then I used to playwith some mates that I
used to know from Manchester Poly. I had a band up there called Too Much Texas and
we supported New Order at the Hacienda. We did a Peel session and put out a record
on Uglyman, called Hurry On Down. We supported the Inspiral Carpets before their
singer and bassist left and I auditioned for the vocals and joined them. So there
was a bit of music before the ICs.
The rise of the
Inspirals was a slow one. Did you think at any time this isn't going the way I
wanted it to?
already done quite a bit before I joined them, really. They had reached number 3 in
the Peelie Festive Fifty and supported the Wedding Present. Not really. It was
a magic time in Manchester, one of the biggest things since punk. It didn't get out
of control like with some bands.
So how did it work
within the band? Did you write the lyrics, with the guitarist and Clint?
I don't know. I guess so. We all used write songs.
It wasn't just one person.
Were you a bit
overwhelmed when you signed to Mute?
Not really. As a band we were always.... a bit like the
film 'Almost Famous' that sort of tells it as it is.
Who came up with the
idea of the Cool as F**k T-shirts?
Well Clint drew a cow on a T-shirt when we played On The Other Side Of
Midnight but my wife used to make clothes, a lot of those Indian tops.
I suppose I worked out that you could make a lot of money out of clothes so
we got them printed up in that place. They did really well.
I don't think anyone
apart from James had done so well on shirts....
Our manager said
that we had sold more T shirts than records. I wish that was true because then we be
better off than we are. It was like a cottage industry band, we did things for ourselves.
Like when we did Top of the Pops, it was like bloody hell, we are on TOTP! We were
outsiders, we don't deserve to be here. It's not our natural home but I think a lot of
bands feel like that. It's like when Noel (Gallagher) worked for us, Clint said
"He thought Noel had learnt how to write songs off him' and I have said since
"Noel learnt how not to write songs off him but he learnt a lot from us".
The first stuff you
released was on your own label, Cow Records...
we set up a label with Eastern Block. They had 808 State, A Guy Called Gerard, Ed
Barton, Biting Tongues who were one of Graham Massey's other bands. They put out Trainsurfing which was our second singlePlane Crash was our first.. So we toured the
first record with me singing on it and then...
Why did the
first singer leave?
not for me to talk about because Steve was a top bloke but I think it was a
personality thing. I think him and Clint worked against
each other's presence for whatever reason. I don't really know
why, I don't think he was ready to be a professional musician.
Mute bands, sooner or later, you end up having remixes done. Were you happy with
of them were great but some were awful but the record industry changes and
what's big one month isn't another.
last Inspirals album Devil Hopping you were, or at least seemed to be, the biggest band on
the planet. Then you did some dates and I suppose the band split though it was never
Tom: I don't think
we ever did split, we just decided not do anything anymore. It's like good bands like New
Order say they never split up. We lost our deal and some London accountant said we owed
them the best part of 40 grand, which we didn't. We were offered a deal with Nude but the
money was n't enough to make it work so we went our separate ways....
the others up to now, other than Clint?
Graham is an entertainment officer at Sheffield University, Craig has a
record shop at Apex Palace called Criminal Records. Martin, I did some
recordings with him last year.
later you formed The Lovers with Jerry Kelly...
teaching at Reading at the moment.
with Keep Britain Untidy, you went all GLR friendly on us (ie acoustic singer/songwriter).
Is that because of limited resources?
I just did the
record and I wanted to do it all myself because I got disillusioned with a band. The album
took 3 days to record and mix and it's sold about 2000 copies. It is what it is and I'm
proud of it. It's at the other end of TOTP and I'm 40 now so... I have been doing this for
two years. In the last year people have said they are doing this because of Tim
Buckley/Nick Drake.... it's like Coldplay. But if I was 16, would I be listening to this?
No I f**king wouldn't.
What I find
listening to popular so called indie of now is it's angst ridden. Would a young kid want
to listen to that? I know we grew up with Joy Division so can we really complain?
Division sang in a mock American accent, so he was slagging off their whole culture.
Nowadays things are so dispiriting, if I was 16, I'd be into some of the nu metal bands
and rock bands. A lot of 12 to 16 year olds dress like American kids did 10 years ago. But
it's better than dance music.
this shop about?
have a shop in Apex Palace called Mad Dog. My wife makes all the
clothes and I have run it for about 7 years.
see an Inspirals reunion?
like Clint says on his website, Never Say Never. I'm sure it
will happen, we have been offered silly money to play Reading and two of the
V festivals but Clint doesn't want to do them. I think it will happen
but you can fall into the trap of just doing a lot of old stuff and then the
band will get bored but there is a whole album's worth of material that
never got released. They are nice people to spend time with but we
wouldn't go back because we have all learnt a lot.
Are you all
older and wiser?
The thing is we were always the ugliest so we can't get any uglier!
back to top
recent Mean Fiddler gig we caught up with Jamie of hotly tipped Blackburn band, Tompaulin.
Were you happy with
Track and Field?
Yeah - Track and
Field were brilliant. Id do everything
with Track and Field but they cant
its a bedroom label. But the thing with Track and Field is that
theyre more professional than any label weve ever worked with. The tour that we did with them with Saloon and
Great Lakes was so well organised. Theyre
in touch with so many indie organisations all round the country, where they didnt
just rely on an ad in the paper. Track and
Field are so on top of their game that they let people know. We introduced them to the Loves. The Loves sent us a demo tape ages ago and I rang
them and said their demos great and I passed it onto Steve who wanted to do a single
straight away. Theyve done a couple of
Peel sessions now and theyve done a bit of telly and weve played with them,
obviously, a few times. And that was really
nice and that was because of Steve and Paul and Track and Field. It was like an open house really; you could send
stuff to them and theyd listen to it.
The trouble with
Track and Field is that in 5 years theyll be the new Creation. I said to Steve that Its a Girls World
is like Upside Down for us, and that I wanted to stay but we couldnt.
In London people go
dont go to it because its too trendy and the crowds too hip.
Yeah. I dont get to go all that much except when
were playing but the last time I went to a club night at Track and Field, I felt the
same way: the hyper-cool kids looking down their noses kind of thing. All the really cool indie kids go and theyre
miles cooler than me. And its really
funny cos Im in one of the most successful Track and Field projects.
NME is not worth
When we did a Track
and Field gig we got a massive review in the Guardian.
And weve done NME gigs and had four lines and they think you
should be really grateful. I noticed on the
cover of the NME on the tube today Forget New York, these are the new British guitar
bands. And so that ones
lasted about three weeks. You get really
cynical. Thats why Ive given up. And
theyve not been very kind to us either. Ive
tried to hold on believing cos I really loved it as a kid.
I know you
dont like them but I like Starsailor
really because its not the music of Starsailor that I dislike, not even the band. Theyre a band from Chorley and Wigan and
traditionally weve always supported bands from up there so the new manifesto is to
support Starsailor and good luck to them. It
was just the coverage and I shouldnt really say anything more about it but
theyre really young and being manipulated by a major media force.
Do you think
youre more professional than when you first started?
Im wary of the
term professional. We are to a
degree getting more professional. Im
really proud of the album and I want to sell it and I dont go for the idea that
its cool to only sell a few records. I
think that good bands should be on Top of the Pops.
Like it was at one point think about the Mary Chain
and the Smiths. Thats always been my goal, to get the band really, really, really
well known because in a world full of Travises and the Stereophonics, we should, and
Kicker should and Camera Obscura should and the Loves should - cos why not?
Have you all still
got your day jobs?
Yeah. Absolutely. We
havent done any publishing yet, weve never had an advance and weve never
had a wage. Weve never made any money
out of any records and the most weve been paid for a gig is £200. We divide it equally - were all down as
writers anyway. Weve never had any of
that so itd be nice. We paid for every
single one of our recordings before this album. Wed
go in at 9 in the morning and come out at 5 the following morning having done all the
Carcrash EP in one go. And when we did
Girls World we only had enough money to do that track and then we four-tracked the B
Do you think that
will change with Ugly Man?
Yeah. Ugly Man agreed to pay for an album and then they
agreed to finance a five-day tour. Its
not like breaking the bank but that was OK with us.
Why did you sign to
Ugly Man? Is it just a one-album deal?
Well, weve not
signed a contract with them yet. For someone
to give us ten grand to record, on a handshake, was a good thing. It would have been Track and Field if they could
have afforded it, undoubtedly, but they couldnt, which is not to say we wont
release for them again. Were talking to
them at the moment about doing a 10-inch. Which
Ugly Man will also let us do. Guy came
up to Blackburn and had a beer with us and said he would do it and hes a big
Dexys fan, hes a really big New Order fan
we just agreed to do it. He did it on faith really, on trust. We hummed him the new songs in the bar, no
instruments. Me and Lise sang him some bits
and pieces and he went, well the words are great, go and record it. And he booked it the next week. Thats why we did it.
Youve done 2
John Peel sessions. Did you enjoy that
Loved it. The highlight of my life, doing John Peel
sessions. The thing is about the Peel studios
is that its a BBC studio, its about two doors down from where the orchestra
record, its got a grand piano in the middle and theyre just really, really
good at what they do. I think when we
released Bootboys, wed have been happy with our lot if youd said youve
got to do two Peel sessions. Id have
been ecstatic because I sort of mark the careers of bands by whos done them and who
hasnt done them and who they ask back.
Since Yesterday by Strawberry Switchblade live and youve done it on the Peel Session
as well. Why did you choose to cover them
other than William Reid or Dexys or Brian Wilson or whatever?
Well because I think,
and Ive always though, that Strawberry Switchblade were absolutely perfect pop. Absolutely perfect.
To a degree they
were like you 20 years ago.
Yeah. I think so. They looked like the Mary Chain which
was great for me, they looked great and they had an attitude that pop bands now, even the
sort of ones that you want to like, dont have. They had a punk attitude, they were
really aloof and serious but they made air-sugar pop songs that, like us, were quite dark. Since Yesterday, I love it, its a great
melody, sounds great, it was released on a really cool label and it was a big chart thing. It really suited us and we just started knocking
it around. It was like it was written for us.
Have they heard it?
I dont know if
they have or not. Weve dropped it from
the set for a little bit now. But I want to see it back.
The thing was to get a recording of it so thats why we did it on the
Peel Session, which Id like to release that Peel Session version at some
point. So Id like to buy it off them
and release it. Its a great version.
disappointed that Kevin Rowland never turned up for the Peel Session? Cos he was going to mix it.
I was personally
disappointed but not surprised. He wrote me a
really nice letter and he had a night out with Stacey, Staceys in London, and he
sang North in a bar to Stace.
Is that one you
We swapped North for
an artwork. We wrote it - but we swapped it. We dont own it any more. He sang that and he liked that. But I actually wrote Second Hand Republic for
Kevin - that was written early doors, just after Bootboys, and the four-track demo that
was on Its a Girls World was a demo for Kevin Rowland. But Kevins had a really hard time and he
doesnt want to record. Hes been
really nice to us and thats sort of enough. I
ended up getting worried that it wouldnt go well for him if he did that - it could
only be good for us. Im still waiting
for him to come back with a killer album and it might not be the right thing for him.
mention the B&S words
how do you feel?
I think its the
pictures of me with the acoustic guitar. I
dont understand it because we talked about noise bands and soul bands and all sorts
of bands from the beginning. Katie and
Emma are really into electronic music. Lee is
into mainstream rock music which is great, he likes the Beatles and the Stones and stuff. And then youve got Ciaron whose main
influence is writing who brings up all this really left field stuff to the band which we
sort of popularise and make palatable. And
then Stacey: I always thought the first time I heard her sing, if I could be in a band
with her, you could write Mary Chain songs and have them sung by Aretha Franklin. Then it became: Ill sing as well and
well be Lee and Nancy.
Were not a new
acoustic band; its because we didnt have any equipment so we recorded acoustic
songs. You just have to stop worrying about
it but it does upset me now because every single review still says Belle and Sebastian -
either theyre coming out of their shadow or they dont match up to them, when I
think the aims are totally different. You
do end up thinking fucking hell, Stuart Murdock doesnt think you sound like
them and you dont think you sound like them but you think youve got some
sort of common interest in that you hope that your words are intelligent.
How do you decide
whether youre going to sing a song or Staceys going to sing a song?
Staceys songs for her, specifically for her. Weve
got a really good song at the moment that were demoing called Theres a Name It
Hurts to Say which was written for Stacey to sing from a male point of view. Its about a girl who works on a sex line who
falls in love with a guy that keeps ringing her, a guy who wants her to be this girl
whos left him and he wants her to do it once a day.
Theres lines in it have you eaten anything? and have you
made the bed? and they have this really pure love affair in this really sordid way
on the phone and that was written for Stacey.
The original idea was
like Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra that Lee would sound quite dark but he would actually
be the sweet one and Nancy or whoever else was backing later on would sound really sweet
and actually be the dark one. That is
deliberate and that goes on a lot. In Richard
Brautigan, I sing these really naïve things and Stacey sings this really dark line
So the wind wont blow it away/ dust/ dust/ American dust in this really
sweet way but its really dark. Thats
how it works.
I believe you were
going to do festivals this year. You were
down the bottom of the bill at Guildford.
We did Guildford,
yeah. Guildford was ace we won at
Guildford. It was one of those days when we
went on, we played this tent, it was empty - we still were unsigned - and by the time we
were on Strawberry Switchblade, it was absolutely packed.
I regretted pulling us from Reading and Leeds then. But it was the Strokes, etc and I just didnt
see where we fitted into it. I still
dont know about Tompaulin at festivals.
rituals? Listen to Psychocandy before you go on stage?
No. I listen to Psychocandy every day though when
Im at home, before I go out. Gig
rituals? No, because we do everything,
were too busy moving drumkits and buying strings.
Nobody works for us except our manager. I
always wanted us to have a manager as soon as there was interest in us and weve had
three. And the first two were appalling,
gangsters, and didnt get on with the band, made the wrong decisions for us. The people who are doing the press for us, and
weve always had lots of press, theyve never managed bands before and they do
press about New Order and stuff, they rang us up one day and said listen, well
fucking manage you, youre just making a mess of everything. Which was really nice. That works really well cos theyve got faith
Has the way you
write songs changed?
Yeah. Cos Stacey moved to London. Me and Stacey used to share a flat with Ciaron and
we spent the first 12 months of our existence writing loads of songs and Stacey was always
there to do melodies and try things. Its
changed now that theres just me and Ciaron and Lee there and I have to send Stacey
things. So the process of songwriting is taking a lot longer and we dont get to
rehearse in Blackburn any more, which is a shame cos it was good to get out of
London and do that, but we cant afford it so we rehearse in rehearsal rooms down
here. Also the stuff that me and Ciaron
wanted to write about has changed. I
dont really like the band but Ive always liked Pulps writing, When Ciaron started writing new things and I
started writing with him I thought: these are a bit Pulp-esque.
In the short term
Id like to do a really good support tour because Id like to play to more
people. I really want the album to sell. Were not in a position with the deal
weve got to make any money out of selling the album so its not for that;
its just that I want people to have it and I want to rise above the indie
loser tag. Id like to have a
major record deal. The Bunnymen, the Smiths,
they had that sort of money to do what they needed to do.
They made records that changed your life. And
thats what I want us to do.
youd like to add?
Weve made a
really good record that were really proud of.
And although the Town and the Citys wonderful, I love it, the new
stuff weve demoed is even better. And
the thing Ive noticed about other bands Ive really liked, you know the bands
that make THE debut album, is that not a lot happens to them after that. Or they actually go on to make better
records, like the Mary Chain, like Dexys: Searching for the Young Soul Rebels isnt
the best album. So its like a taste of whats to come.
back to top
Kristin Hersh has long been one of Americas finest female
writers of songs on the 4AD label. Her new
album is `Sunny Border Blue` named after a flower as she hates naming records. On this album, she did almost everything on it. For its release, we were invited to a mini press
conference and before I got to ask any questions, these are the things that came out of
Kristin Hersh went to hell and back for these songs. Before she wrote nice songs for nice people,which
she thought were quite dull, but with this
one, she spent six months in the studio and feels passionate about this record, the most
she has felt since Throwing Muses.
The Muses do reform 2 to 3 times a year but they look down
the set list and the songs are older and older and its we are dead and people fly in
from Sweden and New Zealand for these shows. The
songs are bitter and bringto head the loss of her son, about the loss of her band and the
trouble in her marriage and they are not going away.
They dont judge it either way, I just deal with it.
How did Michael Stipe get involved with `Your Ghost`? Did you go to him or the other way around?
had my demos that he took off my business managers desk, he is based in Athens and
worked with R.E.M. and he just said Can I have this? and he would call me up
while I was working and say What are
you doing now? and I say I
thought a cello is like a melodic bass and its not,its
scary, it sounds like a horse and with the celloist you tune the E down to a D to play the
tune, so it was just like eeeeeer and I couldnt mic it and I had this little song on
top and this blurrrr at the bottom and I said I had trouble micing this
instrument and he said Little
D,ha, it was like yeah, so we talked
about micing cellos, while `Your Ghost` was playing and he fixed all my troubles and his
voice was right between the cello and all my pop stuff.
And I just said Michael, just sing on it, I promise it wont be
released , it wont be a single and you wont have to do a video or anything and
then I forgot he is Michael Stipe.
I someone else phoned you up and said you need to do this
but was it strange from Michael Stipe?
guess he thought I might Fuck it up somehow, by making it into an actual record. I had met Michael when I was 17,he was listening
to the band before we had made records, its
not like we hanged out a lot but he is one of those people who makes a lot of friends in
this game. He is a friend and we toured with
them. He is the only rock star that I
acknowledge, he talks like Michael Stipe, he
has just got this thing and he is that thing. He
really is a star and deserves to be and he in not an arsehole
Would you like to work with anyone at all?
dont have this, we shall jam gene. I
do see what people do and I think that is
Could you see yourself working with Tanya again?
would love to, we both would love to but we are both singer/songwriters who play guitars so we are the last person we
need, we see each other a lot and we keep up on each others music. She has just made a solo record too, so we are
trying to tour together and we just played in the Muses a few months back, but there is
not a lot I can offer unless Id learn the trumpet.
Why did you choose to record the three Muses songs on the
never me that decides those things, I do what ever myh husband tells me to do because I never know what singles are coming out, so it
was like youre doing these Muses things live so, so lets go into the studio
and play live in the studio and we will have these tracks and we can use them somewhere and thats the story, not a
What were the tracks?
were `Cry, Baby, Cry`, `Hate My Way` and another one.
Well, I kept on refusing to do `Hate
My Way` and every night I do it anyway so I said Really Im not doing this
again, so he made me do it again but in the studio.
Is the reason you are still doing music, the same as when
you first started?
it is, I think for a while it was habit and I just remembered why Id started in the
its like it started off moving me really hard and I just fell away and got really
fucked over for having started a band in the first place and it took a while to get that
back. Where Im lucky to be
working at all, hearing the nature of what I do, Im lucky to be working so long and
putting records out.
Do you find being on 4AD and advantage?
yeah right. I dont know, I love 4AD and have been there longer than anyone that works there but they have always had a one album deal and
there is no such thing in this biz, they just say lets do another album
and I take that and they have a nice set up, really nice people, not people who are just
interested in their pay cheques.
Do you listen to a lot of records?
the ones I get free, this is an old persons answer, I listen to most of my friends,
Vic Chestnut, Giant Sand, Williard Grant Conspiracy is cool, I know theres a lot
that I dont recommend.
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Ant is the
solo project of Anthony Harding , who is the drummer of Too Pures current biggest
band on their label, Hefner, who are sort of The Smiths of today and are a pile of fun,
live especially. Ant, the solo project shows
a different talen and I think Ant is a better songwriter than Darren Hayman, Hefners
songwriter. Ant is working on an album for
summer release and the next Hefner album will be out in September. I spoke to Ant at a Track and Field gig in
I believe Hefner started off as you and Darren and
Darrens from Scotland, you dont sound Scottish?
Im from South London, we met at art college and we were both writing songs and
playing guitars,so we both became friends and started playing together, a bit like Lennon
and McCartney, very cheesy sort of songs.
So you played guitars, so how did you end up as a drummer?
drummer, basically, when I was about 10 or 11, I used to drum in bands and I stopped and
learnt how to play the guitar, so Darren knew I could play the drums and when he started
Hefner, he wanted someone who he knew well as a friend.
Tonight you were playing a classical guitar and playing
chords, which is something you dont do on a classical guitar?
honest answer is you dont break strings,and my sister had a classical guitar and I
found it had a nicer tone to it and it sounded more original.
Did the Ant solo project start before Hefner?
songs started way before Hefner, when I met Darren, twelve years ago but its only
since being in Hefner that I had a chance to release them.
Now Hefner have their own label, would you put it out on
know, its like I try and separate them as much as I can because people find it hard
to deal with when someone from a band is trying to do something different and they think
Oh, his band is quite popular so he is trying to cash in on it, and sometimes
you get people who like Hefner who dont like what I do.
To be honest, I wouldnt associate the Ant thing with
Hefner, because your songs are different to Darrens, yours are quite sensitive and
with Hefners songs, I find most of them are about smoking, sh and drinking?
So to a degree, Hefner is the band that fronts songs about
Darrens s life really?
Is there an album?
working on an album at home at the moment, Im hoping by the end of the summer, I
should have a proper album of 10 or 12 new songs.
Hefner, all my friends agree with this statement, are a
great live band , but you have yet to pull it off on record?
difficult because we record live, the thing is, we put on too many extras on top to make
it smoother, maybe we should leave it as it is.
Are you all happy with Too Pure?
can be difficult, they are a small label, we cant compete with bands that get in the
charts. I guess so.
You did remixes on the 7 singles, why?
Pure wanted us to do multi format singles so we decided, if we wanted to release a 7
as well as 2 cds then we wanted it to be completely different.
How did Fortune And Glory find you?
Hendricks used to play in a band with a member of Hefner a long time ago and he set up his
own label. He saw a few shows and was
interested, so far I have always released records with people who are friends because they
will push it.
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Lupine Howl is the new project formed from the ashes of what was
Spiritualized. Lupine Howl started off as a three piece consisting of Mike Mooney, Sean
Cook and Damon Reece. Since then Damon
cant commit full time to the band anymore to other commitments but still plays and
writes a good percentage of the bands first album `The Carnivorous Lunar Activities
.Lupine Howl`. We spoke
to Liverpools Mike Mooney.
The first single was released in January of 2000, how long
were you together before that?
Sean and Damon had been playing together in Spiritualized for 3 to 4 years, Sean had been
in them for about 7 or 8. We started working
on material in about May/June of `99 and we worked through the year up to Christmas, then
we released the first single, so we have been going for 16 months now.
I know Jason sacked all of Spiritualized but would you have
done a side project if you were still all in Spiritualised?
sure we would of done, we were talking about it, before we were sacked but in a way, we
knew we were going to get sacked , things werent going well, simply because we asked
to be involved more.
There have been three singles to date and the new one `125`
has been quoted as benig a drug reference in Liverpool, true?
How would you describe your sound, its quite
psychedelic, prog rock, quite heavy, intense?
would describe it as that, its subject to change though. If you look at `125`, the two songs on the b
side, we are going to go more mellow and possibly abstract psychedelia.
I believe you have another project called `Applecraft`?
I have yet to hear any Applecraft, how do they sound?
quite different, its a bit more Brian Eno, more spaced out, more mellow and gentle
and the live version is quite rootsy and folky, no electric guitars just acoustic.
Do you fit in with the `Ochre` sound?
hard to say. I like the Ochre sound but, when
I talk to Talbot about it, he wanted to branch out a bit anyway. So I think, we are different to most of his stuff
but he wanted to go down that avenue a bit more, I think.
Have you now got a stable line up because you started off
as a three piece, then you had Portisheads Adrian Utley playing with you, now you
have Alex Lee from Strangelove in there, but these are all musicians from Bristol?
this line up will be the line up, as much as it can be because its the best one so
far, even though Adrian and John from Portishead are fantastic musicians, they are busy
with Portishead and it was never going to be that stable a line up, where this one feels
When did you first become interested in music because I
believe you played with Julian Cope, Echo and The Bunnymen at some point?
the Psychedelic Furs as well. I got
interested in music, when I was 16, I met a kid in school who could play quite well and I
started playing drums and he showed me some stuff on guitar and it started from there.
How do you feel about doing heavy guitar music in the UK
when the UK audience has gone off guitar based music?
like it really because its always good to go against
Can you remember the first time you met Julian Cope?
was at Club Zoo in Liverpool, when he was doing a month residency with The Teardrop
Explodes at their height and we took to each other straight away.
Can you see yourself working with Julian again?
course, he has mentioned it.
Did you work with Paul Simpson at all?
was in the Wild Swans for a few days, I was the bass player before they kicked me out,
because I wasnt good enough.
interview by Tone
back to top
Mark Eitzel was the driving
force behind the beautiful works of San Franciscos American Music club who produced
six albums between 1985, starting off with `The Restless Stranger` which most people
including myself didnt get to hear till the CD re release in `98, this album is a
great way to introduce yourself to the work of Mark Eitzel.
That album is only available on U.S. import but it is the only one of the three
releases by A.M.C. that is still available, the other two being the last two releases on
Virgin. Lost now are the classic albums that
are `engine` `California` and `United Kingdom`. If
you want to hear the works of Mark Eitzel several of his solo albums are still in the
shops including his album `West` recorded with R.E.Ms Peter Buck. Back in October last year, Mark spent every Sunday
evening at Londons 12 Bar club previewing new material as well as a few A.M.C tracks
to the select few whol sold out the venue in that month.
On the third Sunday, Mark agreed to give me an interview, and he was the
perfect gentleman, and I would like to thank him for the many evenings that his music have
kept me company.
You were born in San Francisco in 1959?
You started listening to music at a very early age, so I
believe, you were listening to the Beatles in `65?
I believe you got into Punk Rock really early on?
when I was 17 years old.
Was that while you were here?
when I was in Southampton, I started writing songs.
What were the bands you were listening to and impressed you
at the time?
Adverts, The Stranglers, Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and The Banshees before the album, before
the first couple because they suck, The Damned.
Is that what made you want to get up on stage and do your
I have never heard anything by your first two bands, The
Cowboys and Naked Skinnies, were they punk sounding?
Yeah, we were punk, we werent very good, we
did Dead Boys and Sham 69 covers and stuff like that.
I have never been to San Francisco or the States, was it a
healthy scene at the time?
When I moved to San Francisco it was dominated by
Flipper, I wasnt into it because I wasnt into hard drugs and everyone else
was, so I didnt get into it. Drugs
always make a scene hard or struck up and exclusive and I have never been into that and I
found it to be really homophobic but it couldnt be racist but if it could, it would
be like Eminem.
I believe you met the members of American Music Club
because they came to one of your gigs, when you were in the Naked Skinnies?
met them at this punk rock club, the night I got banned from there forever and Vudi was in
the crowd there. He put the band together.
going on about American Music Club, because it is covered in the book, but was it the band
you wanted to produce the music you wanted?
No, I wasnt happy from when it first started
because they are really strict musicians, they werent very free, they didnt
like to improvise, they didnt like to write songs, they left it up to me to write
all the songs, which is why Im still doing music because I had to rely on myself
because I had no one to do anything else.
So no the whole it wasnt a happy time?
It was a
happy time but like the drummer would try and make everything like a new wave perfection,
like all the beats had to be, he had a B.P.M.
year and everything had to be in perfect time, which is such a fucking bore, the band kept
on rollin` so there must have been something there.
I did find with the first album, it was very new wavey but
with second `Engine`, it was like the birth of Mark Eitzel, the storyteller.
I wrote all those songs, with `The Restless
Stranger` I didnt write them all. I
came up with some of the lyrics and some of the guitar lines but I only wrote half of the
was more your baby?
Well, not really, it was arranged by the band, it
was a group decision to say well and we lost a drummer, Im not sure who played no
`Engine, but we had other drummers so.
Were you happy with the book `Wish the World Away` by Sean
Body on the whole?
whole, I mean, you know, someone writes a book, the story of your life and you think of
all the clever things you did and all the music people you have met and all the incredible things you have seen and what comes out is an
alcoholic stumbling over your own demolition, its weird work, I have talked to Sean
about it and he is cool, I like him, I dont hate him.
I dont read much, I read the opening page to the
chapter and I was like Oh, forget it but then its about me and I dont even
like looking in mirrors.
I believe you are a big book reader?
a big one.
Would you like to write a book or do a book of poetry?
a really, really terrible poet. Im a
really bad poet, horrible, horrible, horrible poet, horrible.
Apart from the American Music Club, you played with Toiling
Midgets. Is that something you just fell
were in the next rehearsal space to us. And I
liked the drummer, he ended up being in AMC and the Midgets.
With every album release, you were well received and I have
found the audience to be loyal, but I have found with the solo material it feels like you
have moved on, but you still get stick for it?
didnt get stick for moving on, it was just the first album was not up to
peoples expectations, its like light jazz, a middle aged record, I read that
in a review but who cares? It wasnt
that but the truth was I kept back songs I really wanted to play because they were too
dark and I wanted something lighter and I kind of blew it that way, but I dont think
it was a terrible record.
After that you did the `West` album with R.E.Ms Peter
Buck. Did you enjoy it?
wish we could of spent more time on it.
Because it was written really fast wasnt it?
written fast and recorded in a week, I just wish I could of added on, I like it, its
I know a lot o people who dont like it because
its more a Peter Buck record than a Mark Eitzel record.
just wish it was more his record, that is my only regret that we couldnt call it the
Peter Buck/Mark Eitzel record but we couldnt because of legal reasons, and I feel
sad about that.
There was talk of `West 2`, I take it its not going
With each album, you have used different musicians. Are they the people available that you think will
suit the songs?
Mark: Yeah, pretty much so, who I like and who I can get.
Are there any projects
you would like to get involved with, because you did a
remix for The Paradise Motel and that is something you havent done before?
worked on that with them. Not really, I just
want to finish my stupid record, Im trying to write this musical with this guy. I want that to be done and I cant think of
I believe there is an American Music Club tribute album. Is that something you came up with the idea for?
called Paul Austin came up with it. He is in
a band called 1Willard Grant Conspiracy1. Its
really good, I love it, but Paul came up with the idea.
Is there anywhere other than San Francisco that you would
like to live?
could live here.
interview by Tone
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