BY CLAIRE BUTLER
(ROYAL HOLLOWAY AND BEDFORD NEW COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON)
It's a miserable, rainy late-Autumn London afternoon. We've been hammering on the stage door of the LA2 for the last ten minutes, steadily getting wetter and wetter. Finally, a confused looking roadie sticks his head round the door and ushers us into the warrwen-like backstage area.
Ensconced in their dressing room (more like a broom cupboard), CJ and Hugo are steadily working their way through the rider and happily expounding on almost every subject under the sun. At various points during the interview, Pete, Willie (the King of Misery - but lovely with it) and Mark wander in to say hello. Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Honeycrack...
Hugo is currently puzzling over whether he has any disgusting
"Farting", he eventually suggests.
"Going to the toilet" counters CJ.
"I've been called the Gunkmeister" Hugo volunteers "Due to... er... expectorations and coughing on stage"
"He's a drummer", adds CJ.
Well, that explains everything.
"Britrock is just a trend, it's just the press lumping the bands
together. Due to the demise of a certain band (CJ and Willie's
previous band, The Wildhearts, had just split up at this point) we are
now carrying the flag of 'Britrock'. We don't get enough coverage...
It's not like we're in Kerrang! every week." CJ is not impressed by
the mainstream music media. After the well publicised break with the
Wildhearts and the sudden decision of the press that rock music is cool
again, it's easy to understand his bitterness.
Hugo continues: "It doesn't mean anything. All of a sudden, the NME and Melody Maker have decided 'Oh, it's ok to like guitar bands'... fuck 'em"
"The British music scene... it's just... it's OK. I don't like any of the bands." CJ pauses, considering his options "I appreciate a lot of them and what they're doing. There are hardly any American bands coming out over here. The charts are all British bands, I prefer American bands. My favourite band at the moment are Satchel, and I really like the Brad stuff too. I don't listen to any of that Britpop stuff at all. It's getting a bit... retro."
How would you describe your own music?
"I'll tell you what it's not. It's not lounge jazz". (Cheers Hugo!)
Grinning, Hugo explains further.
"It's rock 'n' roll, man. It's the only music I really want to play. It encompasses such a fuckin' wide variety of things from rap to, y'know, whatever"
I'm gald we've got thart all sorted out.
CJ, would you sell your soul for rock 'n' roll?
"Absolutely not! As a consequence of me believing in neither God or the Devil, who would I sell it to? Sainsbury's?"
"Rupert Murdoch! Nah, I could recommend a lot of bands who should sell their souls."
Care to name names, Hugo?
Honeycrack are well known for their outspoken opinions on the subject
of drugs, so what do they think about the campaign to legalise
"It's prohibition, basically, isn't it?" Hugo argues.
"As much as people scream and shout, the country is too backwards. There's the old Victorian mentality still there" Cj adds "Alcohol kills more and is socially acceptable. There are even alcoholic drinks for people who don't like the taste of alcohol! - Hooch and stuff. What is this?"
"That really gets on my fuckin' tits.", Hugo announces "If you don't like alcohol, don't drink it!"
What's the stupidest question you've ever been asked in an
"God, there are so many!", CJ laughs.
"D'y'know Frank Zappa's maxim on music journalism?" asks Hugo "People who can't write writing about people who can't speak for people who can't read."
Many of the tracks on Honeycrack's debut album, 'Prozaic' deal with
weighty issues such as homelessness and rape. This begs the question
of how political they really are.
"I'm afraid, like many people, that apathy has kinda set in with me." Hugo sighs, "I used to read the papers all the time and get terribly het up, go out and vote and this and that. It becomes overwhelming very quickly. Political parties always seem to be more interested in scoring fucking points off each other than actually getting together and solving issues - that's exactly what it's about and I find it very, very depressing. I think it's a symptom of the times. More and more, watching the news or reading the paper just seems like pointless voyeurism."
How many members of Honeycrack does it take to change a lightbulb?
"Remember that question about the stupidest thing I'd ever been asked....?" CJ laughs, "I've just been asked it!"
This interview was conducted a little under a year ago, just before the
band's headlining show with Jocasta and A at the London Astoria 2. Due
to circumstances beyond this writer's control, its publication has been
delayed until now.
Unfortunately, the band are no longer with us, having broken up earlier this year. This interview is published as a tribute to their unsung genius.
I'd like to thank the band and their management for their unstinting patience and generosity in granting this rookie journalist's prayers. Also, thanks are most definitely due to Lizz Raikes, without whom, etc....