It's a Tuesday. The pub is pretty much empty. The first band have just finished playing, and I meet Neil, drummer with Gorilla who has also been watching. Asking if there's any chance of a 10 minute interview,we wander to the room which is known as the dressing room I guess. There the rest of the band are sat, along with various other people.
My automatic sensor kicks in, and I spot the video camera that's being manhandled by someone before I spot the rest of the band. Hmmm. After being offered a seat, and just chatting away a bit, we get ready to start. The camera is still being manhandled. Someone should outlaw those things as dangerous weapons, especially when pointed in the wrong direction. Not a deep interview, due to a lack of deep questions from yours truly. More a chat. So let's go and meet the band shall we, that's John - vocals, David - bass, Andy - guitar and Neal - drums. Which is handy, because that's how they're lined up, from left to right, in the picture. Decent of them to do that. During the interview at various stages some will come and go. But that's not really a relevent point is it.
(Gorilla pic nicked shamelessly from Metal Hammer.)
We've been talking a few minutes when the interview proper starts. And it starts around what's currently happening. (Which of course by the time you read this, has already happened)
Neil has already started, Yeah, we're doing a gig in Derby on the 14th, and then supporting Skin on their tour after that, what's that, about 7 dates. We do a mini-album after that, which is recorded, but we're going to kind of mix it and everything. So that's in the pipeline.
Is that going to be the existing material that you've been playing live up to now?
Yeah, I should imagine Outside (the new single) will be on there, and Who Wants to Save The World Anyway. It'll be kind of the set we've been playing chips in Andy. Neal continues as the phone rings in the background, It'll just be good to get the songs out, but obviously live, there's certain songs that go down well, but they're not quite Radio 1 singles, y'know, so we'd rather put them out, and people who can be arsed will go and buy it. The people who can't be arsed can go fuck themselves and buy it later finishes Andy before lauging at Neal's fuck themselves viewpoint.
The last time that I spoke to you, you were hopeful that WWTSTWA would be easier to get hold of. Do you know if that's been the case?
John returns to the room after watching the band playing now. He advises Neal to play like the drummer at the moment. Cigarrette dangling constantly from the mouth.
I'm working on that. You know like those nicorette's. I'm going to get some of them and wean myself into smoking properly. He returns to the question. I think that the last single was like, you always have these problems with certain distribution companies. The next single is going to be done by Pinnacle, which is what Shutdown was done by. We thought that was kind of everywhere, so hopefully it will get in the right shops.
Was Shutdown re-released, as I seem to have found more copies in the shops in recent weeks than ever before.
We know for a fact that the record company have sold them all to Pinnacle at least. so they must have gone out late. And with WWTSTWA having bits of press in like the NME, cos we hadn't done anything for a while, cos of the fuckup with Earache, maybe people are hearing now.
There's a strange banging sound that's going on is put down not to the band playing at the moment, but to a tap! which doesn't really sound healthy.
Last night, there was this woman doing an interview, who just had a mad head says Neal, to much amusement. And that's where this interviews title came from. I expect some 'zine somewhere to do an interview called 'The guy's a shithead' referring to tonights interview. If so, send me a copy! Anyway.
I can't remember what the fanzine was called. I don't care says John. It was so bad reckons Andy, that the Beekeepers who were watching gave her a standing ovation afterwards. The classic was not so much the standing ovation, we were shouting "more", obviously totally taking the piss, and this was brilliant, she turned the tape recorder off, and we were going more, more, and then as soon as we stopped shouting more, she turned it back on and went I've been asked to do some more, and fucking tried to ask another fucking question. Which obviously amuses the band no end. I've been asked to do some more, I mean, who's she telling that to. She gets home and she can't remember that she's been asked to do some more!
Ok,so that's not really got anything to do with this interview, but, fuck you. I'm writing this not you! Hey, sarcasm again. Anyway, onwards. Last time, you had certain expectations or hopes for the single, so have you been satisfied with it in terms of the press. Cos there doesn't seem to have been much up until now (see the Kerrang! rant)
It's the usual thing where we're really happy with the single, but I mean, we were talking about this today, it's really weird when you start employing someone to do your press. I mean, the last single the NME reviewed was through me and Andy phoning up, and I sent the single over to the bloke. got it reviewed. The Melody Maker review was through us. As soon as you take someone on, it's like a business then. You get fuck all is John's less than enthusiastic view. It's just a buisness, and they just take the money and they think, well, i've got 10 bands to do. I'll do them today, and the others ...
Unless its Radiohead of course.
But that's the point, you get to a point where if these people have a band like Radiohead that are handed to them on a plate then that's all it is. Cos magazines do want them then. It's forcing the smaller bands in which is what you've got to do. And when you do it yourself, you're on it all the time, you don't give up.
The door opens, and the sound of the band outside reduces things to an inaudible level, so that all that's on the tape is 'woahahwoa. How many times has that happened to me now? You never read that it happens in all the proper magazines. Am I just inept, or ill fortuned. Don't answer that one. So we pick it up.
That's just a general thing. Unless you're careful, you get fucked over and you don't know it until it's too late.
Given the little bit of press they have had, I was wondering how John felt to be related to David according to Metal Hemmer.
To laughter John admits we're not related, we're more like lovers.
That explains it then, don't think we'll pry too much more into that one! You mentioned that you're doing the Skin dates, and you did one down at the Borderline in London with them. How did that go?
It was surprisingly good. I mean, we thought that the crowd wouldn't crossover. The whole scene has changed so much that it's not as if you turn up and there's an 80s metal crowd. It is mad. Cos I mean, you kinda do the gig and you do your own thing, and I mean, everyone's there to watch Skin, but the funny thing was the "rock" moment. They fucking suddenly loved that. And we came off stage, Skin were really into it. The management were really into it. People were coming up and saying they were really into it, and it was just mad. We were like, don't you know we were just taking the piss. But they were totally cool blokes y'know.
At this point, the various, er, tactics, for dealing with the rampant hordes present at tonights gig are discussed. Which I ain't going to tell you about. Well, apart from the planned finale. Neal starts the concept off, you start playing a solo right, really madly, we'll pack the gear up, put it in the van, and you carry on playing in the van while we drive off. Sooner or late you'll drop out of range. That would be a total ROCK moment. Well, you've got the camera. yeah, Rob can be there filming it. Sadly, it doesn't happen. No really, it didn't. Maybe one day!
Last issue you may have read the Pitchshifter interview. Well you should've done anyway. And in it, JS talked about the governments plans to get people into work, especially the young, and how it would've affected Pitchshifter. I wondered about the bands views on this, given their experience over the years in the industry. A slight disagreement in viewpoints follows.
It'll seriously fucking knacker a lot of young bands. A lot of bands who are just on the dole. Andy differs slightly. I'm so kind of torn though. But look at the other bands who think I am fucking IT and they're a bunch of fucking shit. Yeah, but you're saying they're shit, but that's your opinion. But there was a guy on Midlands today .... Andy doesn't get the chance to finish. Look at the Beekeepers for a start, they're an established band and they're doing alright, Xentrix were alwats on the dole. Sabbat. I'd say it was the majority of touring bands on the dole.
Is it going to make it harder for bands to make inroads in the first place?
I'm sure the best bands will find a way. But it won't be the best bands, it'll be the more determined people reckons Neal. Well, maybe or the richer kids. Which will make shit bands. It's going to be a bad thing. Decent bands don't come from rich parents, that's a fucking fact. Oasis you would've thought come from very rich parents. Oasis are just fucking pub rock. Pretty good pub rock..
No they're not!
Good pub, laughs John, but not good pub rock.
I think Oasis are the most money oriented band. Every time Oasis right, they've got the fucking greatest management, Noel is very good, the rest of the band are just pretty kind of ... they've got a great leader in Noel. He's got an even greater leader which is their manager, and it's purely money run. Like the last album, it's just bang it out, let's get it fucking going. They make out like they're the biggest band in the world, that's bullshit. They only place they're fucking massive is here, I don't know anywhere else where they are massive. Every time they go to America, they split up or something. In my view, that's purely because the manager's going What's bigger news to The Sun, you're splitting up, or you're selling no fucking tickets to gigs. Let's split up then The only photo we've seen of their gigs in America is that one where Noel's sitting in that Irish pub or something. Says it all. And they went to Australia. All of a sudden they've got a thirty strong entourage on a plane, and they're sat there smoking fucking spliffs, SMOKING SPLIFFS ON A PLANE, er, I don't think so. And they're fucking throwing things around and people are complaining. Think, it could be brilliant for the manager to just get John the guitar tech to moan. Thirty seats on a plane, they're sat in the middle. Do you honestly think they're going to have a tourist next to them going er, he threw a chip at me. That is not going to happen.
Must be honest, I love people having a dig at Oasis. But anyway, it brings up nicely the new moral question that I'm working on. It's still in the development stage really, and needs a bit of work, but this seemed like the ideal opportunity to give it the initial test run.
So, if you were given the opportunity to use the people behind a band such as Oasis, and the resources, and the guarannteed press coverage etc, would you take it. Given though, that you would have to give up perhaps some of your own freedom.
That's a really difficult question, because if you were given that seriously, I think you would say but fucking hell shouts John at this stage. Not in answer to the question, but the timing was nice. Anyway, back to Neal, if we did go with that, and give up that you'd be able to go back and pick it up. But the point is, it takes patience and real kind of integrity but. Yeah, but Andy tries to get his say in. Please, please, yeah, it's you next. Bands like the Prodigy and stuff. It can be done. That's the point. The Prodigy have cleaning up in America and everywhere, and they don't even make out how big they are anywhere else. The only band that do that, are Oasis, and that's because they're not. Ok yeah, who the fuck am I, Yeah, how many hits have you had laughs John. Andy is still trying, unsuccessfully at the moment to have his say. Exactly, that's the point that they would bring up, how much cash they've got. Being in a band isn't about being rich, making more money than someone else. Sure we all want to be rich. CAN I SAY MY BIT NOW shouts Andy. The answer still being no. And I will be there buying my lottery ticket again for this weekend, of course I want to be rich, before anyone fucking moans, of course I want to be rich he finishes, anticipating the response from the other guys. Right, can I have my point now. Yeah, you've had your say John teases. Go on then Andy. Right, the whole thing about this give up your credibility for fame and all this. All the bands that actually get somewhere there's a number of them that have had to slog away for years, but then you don't know about that, because the whole business is made out to be like dead easy.
I don't agree. That's not the industry saying that, I reckon that is the masses. The big point about crossing over, is that you've got to cross over to people who don't give a shit about bands or what they actually stand for or anything. That is why bands like Oasis are doing well, because everyone knows a couple of brothers who are like them. That's their whole selling point. It's not so much the press saying they've had an easy time, it's just the general public that think all of a sudden oh, this is their first single.
Well, for what it matters, which it doesn't. Since I've started doing this 'zine, I've seen a little more and heard a little more about what's going on. Bands that you think are making it, they've got the album out, doing tours etc, and then you hear maybe closer to the truth about what goes on behind it. It's a bit scary.
Yeah, it's like, say what Guns'n'Roses used to do when they had an album. They'd put like a four page ad in Kerrang! but someone else dead small could put an ad in the same size, but it doesn't mean that they're doing as well. It's like with Pulp, they've been doing it for fifteen years before whatever.
But the good thing that we're finding with these dates is that the live gig still pays off. Altough it's a lot slower than being on telly or radio, we're picking up people wherever we go. Our mailing list apparently has gone up by about 300 - 400 in two weeks. What you've got to remember is, that the people who can be arsed to go out and see gigs they kinda stick with you. I think the people who see you on TFI Friday, they'll buy the single, if they can be arsed to buy the single. It's a massive difference. 99% of the public don't give a fuck.. They don't go to gigs, they go to fucking Concerts instead.
Or the pub. If you've been lucky enough to be on the end of me whingeing about the apathy of people in this country when it comes to supporting up and coming British bands, you'll know that those are sentiments I wholeheartedly agree with. Rather than spend say a couple of quid to go and see a band play in at town pub, people will go down their local pub instead, and sit there complaining about the state of the music scene in this country, while the new, fresh, energetic bands are slogging their way to nobody. But when those bands managed to break through, then the people will go see them. When it's more expensive, harder to get close to the band, and in some cases, when they've lost all the energy and something which made them so great in the first place.
Andy's take on it. We played in York, and it was like, probably the weakest turnout of the lot, it was still alright though. But he was saying "But It really pisses me off when people turn up weeks later and they say, oh you had this lot on. Suddenly doing something, and why didn't you tell us about it and he said, you should've turned up for all these unknown bands". The classic with that was, it was St Patricks night, so everyone was down at the cheap Guiness bar, probably spending 20 quid. But you can't really force people to come and see your band.
One thing I'd meant to ask, was what the song Superstar was actually about. Up to know it's been described as being about Andy, being Superstar because they were the only lyrics, and something else.
Nah, Andy said it was about Andy. I thought it was John said that. Nah, John wouldn't say that. Reckons David. Cunt kicker maybe reckons John. Well I think it's about me is Andy, perhaps biased opinion. But eventually the truth possibly emerges. It's about the new wave of British artists. Shame, I thought it might be about hero worship of Marilyn Manson. Oh no no, certainly not. Well, there goes the Kerrang! cover then.
Are we having a set list? Neal enquires. Yeah, why not reckons John, and they enter a discussion about which new songs to play, which order, and all that kind of buisness. And other discussions amongst the band. Well, it is only a few minutes before they are due on. There's talk of a gig at The Vic in Derby in a few weeks time. They promise to hike the prices just for me. My demands for a spectacular lighting showing in return for the increased price is ultimately not really met. But there again, the prices weren't increased either. Instead, they played another excellent gig in front of their home crowd. But still, it's time for me to leave now, and for the band to prepare for the final few minutes before playing to those screaming hordes. Again.