Monday, 29 November 2010

Q & A with Chas Hodges

(Above: "I don't mind havin' a chat but you can't stop giving it that" Chas at the 100 Club Nov 25th)

I really enjoyed your show at the 100 Club. How many times have you played there and did you ever go and see bands there yourself?
Chas: “Must have played there 30 or 40 times. Have turned up for Skiffle nights or Rock'n'Roll nights to see & play with old friends.”

One of your special guests at the 100 Club show that I saw was the pianist Roy Young. I'm interested in his former band Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers because Dexy's Midnight Runners used to do a great cover of their song One Way Love and I've read Elvis Costello say in interviews that he really wanted his band to sound like them. Which of their albums would you recommend / what do you think was special about them?
“The band always consisted of great musicians & Cliff Bennett was always particular about sound. Even before I joined them I thought they had the best sound around. E.M.I. do a good C.D. package but I wish more live stuff had been recorded. That's where Cliff & the Rebs really shone. Live on stage.”

There was a film out several years ago called Backbeat (about the Beatles in Hamburg) and more recently there was a bio pic of Joe Meek. You were in Germany with the Beatles and you worked with Joe Meek - do you feel either film was accurate?
“My time in Germany with the Beatles was a little later. 1966. I think the film dealt with their early 61/62 years. The Joe Meek film had some flaws as far as accuracy was concerned but in general it portrayed the era very well.”

You've done quite a few covers of songs made famous by Jerry Lee Lewis. Do you think all the early big hits he had are his best stuff or do you rate much of his later work? The late John Peel (like me) had a soft spot for some of his slightly over the top self pitying country songs like "Come As You Were" (From the album Pretty Much Country.)
“Yes, my all-time favourites are his 50's stuff but he certainly made some Country records that put the rest in the shade. One of my favourite later recordings is 'You're the One Rose.' He told me his dad used to sing it. Unlike Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino who as soon as the fifties were over, so were their best recordings, Jerry Lee was offering some even better piano playing for instance. In the 63 tour when I & the Outlaws backed him his piano playing was the best it's ever been. I was lucky enough to be there. I always say that Jerry Lee taught me the piano. He did, but he didn't know. It was just watching him every night on that tour & trying out the bits I saw & heard at the end of the night that I gradually began to become a pianist.”

How enjoyable was Jerry Lee Lewis to be around? Did you feel relaxed in his company?
“Most definitely. When musicians click like me & Jerry Lee, there is just a certain look on stage you give each other mid-song, in times of a fleeting meeting of a special synchronised musical moment. He has quoted me as his all time favourite bass player. His guitar player Kenny Lovelace told me so.
Jerry Lees fleeting mid-song look has told me so.”

How well did you know Gene Vincent? Do you rate Ian Dury's lyrics in the song Sweet Gene Vincent?
Chas: “I thought it was a great song. I knew Gene pretty well. We were on the road together for about six months at the end of 1963 into 1964. We all slummed it together in the band wagon. I remember all the band & Gene kipping together in one room while on the road. We had a great laugh. Crates of beer.  There's some stories in 'All About Us' by Chas Hodges. John Blake publishing. In the first half of the book before me & Dave got together.”

Dury always heaped praise on Charlie Gillett and described him as being his mentor. In one interview he said that originally when he sang "Wake Up & Make Love To Me" he tried singing it in a Barry White style accent and that it was Charlie Gillett who insisted he sang it in a London accent. Did Gillett help or offer you advice and did you have a similar period where you were unsure as to whether you should sing in an American style or not?
“As far as me deciding to sing in my own accent rather than the mid-Atlantic style, that came to a head while touring America with Heads, Hands & Feet. I felt a fraud singing to Americans in their accent. So when I came back I called Dave & told him of my new idea. We had known each other for some years. I said I'm ready to give up bass & take up piano as my instrument & start writing songs about things I knew about & sing 'em in my own accent. Did he want to form a duo? Dave was slightly unsure initially but then fancied the idea. And so we did. Charlie Gillett was so into honest music & his encouragement was so crucial in our early beginning.”


Morrissey says he is proud of the fact that he was written songs with odd words that got in the charts. For example he had a top ten hit with a song called Suedehead. Stereotypes by The Specials features the line "He drinks his age in pints and drives home pissed every night". Are there any words you're proud of shoehorning into hit singles?
“Not in particular singles but I do remember doing a live version of the 'Sideboard Song' in the early days (pre-recorded) & juggling a couple of lines around to end up being 'his arseholes hanging in rags' & 'kick him in the bollocks if he comes round here.' They edited out the 'arseholes' phrase but we got away with the 'kick him in the bollocks' portion. They played it around tea-time of a Saturday afternoon. Can't remember anyone complaining.”

Garry Bushell champions lots of comedians and musicians I like (including Chas & Dave). However, he does seem to enjoy playing the the part of a non p.c. pantomime bad guy and just can't help winding people up. In this interview with the Independent ( http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/garry-bushell-for-garry-england-and-st-george-675384.html) he's described as "frighteningly right wing". Are there many things Garry says that make you groan a bit or is he all good in your eyes?

“Garry was the first journalist to slag us off when he was working for Sounds. Then was the first journalist to admit he had got it wrong & declared himself a fan. I love Garry dearly but do not like his 'England Forever' views. I do not go around saying I'm proud to be British. I go around saying I'm proud to be part of the Human Race.”


My favourite comedian was the late Peter Cook and like you he was a Spurs fan. Did your paths ever cross?
“Unfortunately no as I was a fan.”

You and Paul McCartney are both fans of the Hofner bass guitar. What are the advantages of having a hofner / what makes it special?
“It was the best value for money bass guitar available when we both took up the instrument. I bought mine in 1959 perhaps about a year before he bought his. Mine fell into disrepair in 1963 when I bought an Epiphone & then later a Fender Precision. They used my original bass in the Telstar film. They got it restored for me. I used it on my solo album which came out last year. The bass still sounds great. In fact better than the Precision. Paul is like me. His ears tell him what's good. Not who made it.”

Jack Clement (the legendary producer at Sun Records who discovered Jerry Lee Lewis) holds you and Dave in high regard. Does getting praise from someone like him mean more to you than getting a Brit award or a gold record?
“Yes!”

What are your future plans? Will you and Dave ever record again / will this tour really be your last?
“This tour will be our last then we will both go ahead to do what we really love doing for the rest of our lives. Dave is a master builder & restorer of gypsy caravans. There is nobody better in the country. If not the world. He loves driving his horses & loves playing his banjo at home.
I love writing, recording & being on the road.”

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Q & A with Eva Masterman

(Above: "The Shape Of Things" detail, 2009)


The Rebel: When did you first start working with clay? What are the best and worst aspects of using clay?

Eva: “I first started seriously working in clay in my second year at university, so about Christmas 2007.  I find the best aspects of clay are also its worst:  what draws me to it is the unpredictability and the way it can seem to have a life of its own.  I use it in a way that allows the material to lead the form, trying to work with the faults and ‘mistakes’ that happen during making.  Unexpected things can happen when a piece is fired.  If you get complacent or leave it for too long whilst building large structures, the form will collapse or crack.  This can be unbelievably frustrating: several times I’ve been very close to completion, left a piece overnight, and returned to rubble.  However, usually, this goes on to inform the piece and betters it.”

On your c.v it says you worked for a while at White Cube. Did you used to day dream about having your work shown there? Are there any artists represented by white cube that you respect much?

“Of course I daydreamed about having my work there!  Who doesn’t?  The reason I originally decided to apply there was actually because they had Rachel Kneebone on their books:  she makes beautifully intricate, white porcelain, figurine-type things, I just love them.  I thought perhaps if I worked where she showed she might decide she MUST have me as an assistant.  As it happened I could only handle a month or so of invigilating there so never actually met her.”

(Above: "Darkness Rising" 2008)

You curated a show called Sex, Art & Videotape. Did you enjoy the experience? Often people say curating is a thankless task or more trouble than it’s worth?

“I’ve curated a few other shows since then too:  I really enjoy it.  In my own work I’m pretty solitary, on my own in my studio, so it’s brilliant to have a chance to interact and organise other artists and involve myself in the more practical side of the art world.  I’ve exhibited my own work in every show I’ve curated so perhaps I’ve had an ulterior motive to having control over what goes where, but making a whole, cohesive experience for the viewer out of disparate parts has always been a very satisfying exercise for me.  It’s fair enough that lots of people don’t like it but as thankless or as hassle-full as it might be, it’s an integral part of any show and someone has to do it!” 

(Above: "We're Family" detail.)

What are you currently working on and how is it going?

“I’m currently working on a large, fluted structure, something like a trumpet head, out of Jesmonite.  Eventually there will be 2 of them, one hanging over the top of the other.  It’s too early to tell how it’s going, but considering it’s for a show in less than 2 weeks you’ll be able to tell for yourself pretty soon!”

What's the story behind your piece, "Stump - what good are you to me?"

“It was my first successful piece in clay and to do with issues I had at the time about my sexuality.  To be blunt, it was based on a shrivelled penis I saw at the Huntarian Museum…take from that what you will.”

(from 2008)

Are most of the artists that have had a big impact on you male or female?

“On a physical level, the ones that make my spine tingle tend to be male:  the sheer scale and simplicity of form of pieces by Anish Kapoor, Richard Serra and David Nash overwhelm and inspire me.  However, the pieces that I really connect with and stay with me on an emotional level (which, for me, is the whole point of making art – to really connect and communicate to others a personal feeling, so that through that communication, it becomes something universal and bigger than yourself) are always women.  I guess simply because I am a woman.”

What was the last great show you saw?

“David Nash, Yorkshire sculpture park”

Where I live is freezing. How warm is your home and studio?

“Well I live in my studio at the moment so both are bloody freezing!  I can see my breath as I type.”

(Above: "The Marks You Left" 2009")


Do you agree with Oscar Wilde that "All art is quite useless"?

“I suppose it depends whether you take it literally or not.  It’s true that the majority, if not all, art has no ‘practical’ use: it can’t be used to fry an egg or fix a car, but then I don’t think it’s meant for practical use.  Art has always been a major aspect of our society and an integral form of communication and expression.  It can be cathartic and empowering both on a personal and a political level, so in that sense I would say that it has a very important ‘use’ (though I wouldn’t say that ‘all’ art is completely ‘useful’ in this sense either – there’s a lot of tosh out there!).”


( Eva and 34 other artists are featured in a group show called 'FREAKS' at Shoreditch Town Hall Basement Which runs from the 9th until the 16th of December.)

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Q & A with Kevin Armstrong

Find out more about guitarist and producer Kevin Armstrong here: http://www.kevin-armstrong.com/


        The Rebel: How happy were you with the Dancing In The Street single and video? Out of Bowie and Jagger who had the best moves?
        Kevin Armstrong: “I thought the Dancing In The Street single was a bit cheesy but it was made so quickly as a tagged on bit of time after a session for the Absolute Beginners soundtrack that I suppose it was never going to be that great. It was, let’s remember, a charity record and in that regard it may have been a very worthwhile thing. I think Mick Jagger took it to New York sometime afterwards and added some more players to it for a later version. The band didn’t even know it was going to happen until minutes before we did it. I’d had a swift rehearsal with DB and MJ at a meeting the night before but was asked to spring it on the band at the last minute for some reason. We all got invited to the video shoot in Docklands straight after and watched David and Mick camping it up together all night for the cameras. I hesitate to say who had the best moves because that’s the kind of guy I am!”

        Bowie said recently that he wrote the lyrics to Absolute Beginners when he was “trying to convince himself he was in love with somebody”. Do you see yourself as an absolute beginner?
        “For years I’ve considered myself an absolute beginner. There may have been a moment when I thought I knew a thing or two but experience paradoxically has taught me to be wary of that and always keep an eye on what can be learned from whomsoever I happen to work with. There is always something new to be gleaned from even the most surprising of sources. The minute I close my mind to that I might as well just stop making music. Of course there is stuff that long practice teaches you but bad habits can form if you forget how to sometimes rip it up and start over with an open head.”

        Absolute Beginners features a sax solo by Don Weller and a keyboard solo by Steve Nieve. Don and Steve are both very respected in their field – were they nice chaps?
        “Don Weller I don’t remember I may or may not have met him but Steve of course I knew well. He is a very gifted musician and a good laugh too. We laughed a lot on the Last Resort season we did and a lot of good natured piss taking went on.”


        What did you learn from working with producer Clive Langer?
        “Clive’s approach was very calm and persuasive in the studio I think he is a very intuitive producer with a way of going with what feels good to him in the moment. I don’t think he spent a lot of time racking his brain about stuff. He was just a very gentlemanly presence and very good company which is so important when wanting to get good performance from musicians. That said I think it may have been possible to underestimate him as he can appear to be a slightly shy person. I think he has very strong opinions about music and realizes them by stealth. The relationship between him and Alan Winstanley was a great balance. Alan the cool technician very quietly organizing the nuts and bolts and Clive the dreamer and critic able to steer the creative process in the right direction without having to worry precisely how it could be done.”

        Steve Nieve and The Playboys were an excellent house band. Did you hang out with each other outside the TV show and did you ever do any live shows together?
        “We never gigged together outside the show but we definitely hung out and played some music too in each others recording sessions and stuff. Steve and Pete could be quite wild guys and a lot of naughty fun was had. I saw a fair bit of Steve Lawrence too as he had a little studio in town where we use to hang. Once we were rehearsing for the show at Nomis and Robert Plant popped in and sang with us for an hour. That was good!”

        Tin Machine got some good reviews and some very, very bad reviews. Melody Maker journalist Jon Wilde ended his review with a message to David Bowie – “Stand down man, you’re a f***ing disgrace.” Do you think this behavior from journalists is unacceptable or quite funny and which comments from journalists about your work has stayed in your head?
        “I don’t have a lot of time for the opinions of music journalists really. They are completely entitled to sat whatever they like of course and I can understand how one could get upset but for most people it’s water off a duck’s back. So many records (or films or books) have transcended the initial reactions of critics be they positive or negative that one has to get it in perspective. There was a review of Propaganda live once that said something about me “axe grinding beyond the call of duty” which slightly upset me when I read it but it was probably true so what the fuck!”
          
        Who was the best one in Eternal?
        “I’m sorry I couldn’t name even one of them. Though I played on several of their tunes I think I only met them once and they probably thought I was the tea boy or something. I remember they were all nice looking girls!”

        Tell me about the Friends of Ireland project? Do you have Irish roots?
       “My family roots are Scottish on my dad’s side. My involvement with the Irish music is all as a consequence of my friendship and working relationship with John Reynolds. I have done work recently with Sinead O’Connor, Andrea Corr, Shane MacGowan, Maire Brennan, Damien Dempsey and Paul Brady all produced by John.”

        As a teenager I loved watching you on The Last Resort and saw you jam with various legends. Was there anyone you met on that show that you were in awe of?
        Well Roy Orbison really.. I mean how legendary can you get? Unfortunately we were all wearing stupid silver wigs and spandex catsuits as that weeks’ show had a Star Trek theme so we look like a right bunch of tossers and I won’t be showing that one to my grand kids!”

Morrissey's album Bona Drag has just been re-released with six extra tracks. The music for several tracks on this compilation were composed by Kevin including a rare track called Oh Phoney. There's almost too much info about the records Morrissey was releasing at this point on this site here: http://motorcycleaupairboy.com/
Kevin says: "I like the song He Knows I'd Love To See Him (although as a player I could have done it more justice a few years later). I'm proud that what you hear in that song is exactly what I wrote and nothing got changed. morrissey just wrote the song on top of my completed guitar instrumental which is exactly how I imagined the process happening with him and Johnny in The Smiths."

              
        

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Q & A with Georgia Hayes


You can see more of Georgia's great paintings here: http://www.georgiahayes.com/about/

The Rebel: Can you remember the first painting you ever made?
Georgia Hayes: “Satisfying my obsession with horses and the smell of oil paint I used a model of a horse and a wine glass and some fruit.  I was trying for Rembrandt.  Lots of dark colour and highlights.  I didn’t finish it but it is encouraging to see I have got better.”
Which writers and poets inspire you?
Lewis Carol, Gertrude Stein, Bachelard's Poetics of Space, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley - WH Auden, Seamus Heaney,  T.S. Eliot, Dostoyevsky,  Thomas Hardy's poems, Barry Schawabsky, Rumi, Thomas Mann. Marian Milner.” 
Do you agree with this statement by Delmore Schwartz: "Existentialism means that no one can take a bath for you." 
“I agree as long as you shut the bathroom door but maybe if you leave the door open you could at least share the bath water.”
Do you suffer from existentialist angst?
“No longer but I remember.”
Does painting make you happy and/or make you feel in control?
“Happy when it is going well, miserable otherwise.  When I feel in control I end up feeling bad as the painting comes out looking crafty and boring. It’s not easy to give up control.”
What's the best exhibition you've seen this year?
“Tal R at the Camden Arts Centre (I think that was this year) also Cranach and Rose Wylie here and there.”
Who are your favourite comedians / who makes you laugh?
“South Park, Eddie Izzard, Monty Python, Steve Bell, Ben Elton, Fawlty Towers.”  
Which do you know more about - Islam or The Rolling Stones?  
“About the same amount which means that I know too much about the Stones and almost nothing about Islam.”  
Do you relate to this quote by Willem de Kooning, "I make pictures and someone comes in and calls it art."?
“Not really, sometimes I know its art but nobody comes in and says anything.”
What is your favourite art gallery or museum and why? 
“The British Museum because I like the variety of stuff from such a wide range of countries and times.  The National Gallery because it is full of wonderful paintings - I had a book of them when I was a child, so it was like meeting old friends, some of which I still like and others I only got to know since I came to visit.  The Prado because it has Las Meninas and other great Velasquez paintings.  N.Y. Met for the Papua New Guinea figures downstairs. I like Tate Britain for the buildings interior but miss the old pre-Tate Modern hang.  The things I hate about modern museums are the buzzing mechanical guides, the amount of wall space given to info and the crowds standing reading.” 

Friday, 12 November 2010

Q & A with Young Rebel Set

www.myspace.com/youngrebelset

Described in the NME as suppliers of "Life-affirming graft rock” , 7 piece band Young Rebel Set are currently working on their debut album.
(Photo above by Lawrence Watson)

The Rebel: Can you tell me a little bit about Stockton-on-Tees. If I was to spend a weekend there which parts of your home town would you recommend I visit?
 "Stockton's a large market town in the heart of the North-east of England. There's nothing really much to see or do, unless you like pound-shops or awkward pubs."

 Did you grow up with a lot of music in the house, books on the shelf and art on the walls? 
"The majority of us in the band all grew up with a definite love for music with guitars or pianos sitting there, wanting to be played at any given moment." 

What was the first song you ever completed and what was the name of the most recent song you’ve composed? 
"As a collective, the first song we came up with together is a song called 'Common Touch' and the most recent song we've all sat down and wrote as a group is 'Overworked and Underpaid' - a self explanatory stab at working life in general."

Do you own an iPod and do you think the iPod changes our relationship to music?
"The iPod has definitely changed peoples relationship to music as, when we were growing up it was all about casettes or CD's - to actually have the physical form of music and hold in your hands. Nowadays, music is just little snippets of information flying around as mp3's. There's no physicality involved anymore."

What goes through your head when you're on stage in front of a large crowd? Do you try and single out happy poepe having a good time?
"I think because there's so many of us in the band we always have fun when we're playing live and i think that rubs off on the crowd. So it's good to see people having a good time. The one's who don't like it, shouldn't bother coming."

 What are you strengths as a band? Do you have a secret weapon? 
"Sheer volume of band members is always a positive in many-a-situation, as there's always someone there who you can turn to at any given opportunity. If i told you what our secret weapon was, it wouldn't be a secret anymore!!"

 Journalists have compaired you to The Clash – What is your favourite Strummer & Jones track?
"It's got to be 'Spanish Bombs' hasn't it? What a melody! The hook is amazing and the rawness of the delivery is fantastic."

Who picked your band’s name? What were you nearly called?
 "I'm not even going to bother letting you know what awful names we came up with, you can see how bad we are at those type of things by the fact we picked Young Rebel Set as the best."

What do you want the band to achieve in 2011?
 "We're really looking forward to releasing the debut album early next year and seeing how people respond to it. We're also looking forward to a lot more widespread touring as well as concentrating on writing more songs."

What’s the best song you’ve written so far? What would you like to be judged on?
"Our best song is for other people to decide. It's obviously subjective to opinion and taste as well. I suppose we'd like to be judged solely on our song-writing but that very rarely happens so we'll just have to wait and see what the pre-mortem obituaries read."




Thursday, 11 November 2010

Q & A with Kip from The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart


Esteemed Brooklyn quartet The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are about to release a new single called “Heart in the Heartbreak”. For more info: http://www.thepainsofbeingpureatheart.com/
The Pains singer Kip kindly agreed to answer a few questions…


The Rebel: Where are you and what are the vibes like?
Kip: “We're in Vancouver, Canada - the vibes are extremely good, owing to the beautiful mountains and glowing, lovely Canadians all around.”

Are there any bands, albums or films that always cheer you up?
Kip: “David Bowie's "Hunky Dory," Weezer's "Blue Album," Smashing Pumpkins' "Siamese Dream," and Supergrass' "Life on Other Planets" or "I Should Coco" usually do the trick. Also, when T. Rex is on, you can't feel bad. It's against the rules.” 

How are The Pains getting on? Is everybody in the band happy at the moment?
“Kip: Yeah! We all get along really well. We didn't become a band because we answered classified ads looking for "musicians" - we were just friends first, and that dynamic is pretty crucial in terms of everyone just genuinely enjoying each other's company in the extreme close-confines of touring in a van for extended periods of time. I totally recommend starting a band with people based on if you get along, more than if they can play. You can always learn to play later, but with all the things you go through, it's good to be with people you genuinely love.”

Do songwriters work best when then heart has been broken or their dog has died?
“I feel all that stuff about torment + art doesn't really apply to us - especially the "art" part. We just write pop songs about feelings. Hopefully they are catchy feelings.”
A lot of how people perceive "artists" is routed in 19th century Romantic notions of the artist as aloof, isolated from society and unconcerned with material gain for her/his work-- but some of the greatest art ever made was made by people being hired by "The Man"(Kings, The Pope) to write a symphony or paint a cathedral. Is that really any worse than some band sound tracking a candy commercial?
We haven't of course, but no one has asked either...
Anyway, it's almost 2011 and there is still this pressure to affect this profound, tempestuous, Byronic persona that seems, at best, an unnatural, dated idea of why people do things like write songs. I mean, I'm just a kid from the suburbs who likes to do it because it's fun. I wear sweatshirts, i don't do Heroin. Writing songs and playing them is all I really want to do, ever.”

Do you have a typical fan or are the audience of your shows quite mixed?
Kip: I think the people that like our music are strange in non superficial ways. People with ideals that are sort of at odds with their reality.  I appreciate that sense of conflict. But it's not something that comes across in a distinctive "look" in the audience.

Do you think most people could write interesting lyrics for one decent album but would struggle to make a follow up? (Do you believe that everyone has a good book in them?)
Kip: “I think everyone should have a good book with them.  I've just finished "Our Band Could Be Your Life" and was amazed, as always, by how much bands today owe to the true trailblazing indie bands of the 1980s. Bands like Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers, Minor Threat, Beat Happening - if any band complains today about life being hard, they need only read a page of that book before they realize that what is possible today must be understood as the result of incredible body destroying/life affirming dedication, sacrifice and unending hard work that established the infrastructure of what we now take for granted - indie clubs, indie labels, indie distributors, etc.
 As for "following up" our first record... I just think that there's no pressure on us. It's not like our last record was Nevermind, Ziggy Stardust or Never Mind the Bullocks. It was a self titled indiepop record on Slumberland/Fortuna Pop about sex, drugs and cardigans.”

Can pop success spoil things, have you had any unwanted presures because of your increasing fame?
Kip: “I think "fame" is an idea that is reserved for people like Lady Gaga, Kanye, Jay-Z and all that. We're not the sort of band that anyone outside of weird music obsessives (like ourselves) has ever heard of, much less knows something about as people. The only time anyone has ever "recognized" me, I happened to be in a gay bar. It seemed pretty fitting.”

Who do you love most in the world?
Kip: “My family, especially my Mom. Even when I was a really big loser, working in a call centre recharging people's prepaid calling cards and not really having any ambition in life other than playing music with my friends, she always believed in me. Now I am a medium sized loser, so I think she's very proud.”

What are your favourite boys and girls names? 
Kip: “Am I going to be a father soon? That would be... surprising.”

Who are you jealous of? 
Kip: “No one, really. We are doing the thing we love and the fact that we  get to do it is the best thing ever. So many better bands than ours that we loved growing up never even got to do half the things we've done so far, so we feel really grateful that people like our songs, come to our shows and let us exist.”

Of all the cities you've visited which was the most special? 
Kip: “New York City, it's home! But really, it's not a joke when we say that all the places we get to see, people we meet and shows we've gotten to play so far have been special. It's sort of a running joke, so I don't say it out loud to my bandmates anymore, but I'd always say, "I could totally see myself living here" almost everywhere we've gone.”

Do you have a note book on you all the time just in case you're struck by an idea for a song? 
Kip: “Nah, I figure if anything is actually good I'll remember it. If I forget it, it probably wasn't that memorable.” 

Do you believe in Homeopathy?
Kip: “We love homos!”

How much time have you got for Jesse Jackson? Do you see him as one of the good guys? 
Kip: “I would be honoured to shake his hand.”

What bands made you want to be in a band and do you think you're making music that's as good as their music?
Kip: “Our music is much worse than the music that inspired us to make music. I mean, we'll never be as cool as the Pastels or Nirvana - but It's also not a culture of one-upsmanship with us. The bands that inspired us never prided themselves on being these super massive famous bands, but instead just doing what they wanted to do, and being aware that probably not a lot of people would ever care.  The Aislers Set, My Favorite, Orange Juice, Black Tambourine, Yo la Tengo, The Ramones, Teenage Fanclub, The Exploding Hearts - I could go on for a really long time. 
We have always striven to be different than the "bigger is better"
sort of bands out there. We don't measure quality of what we do based on playing bigger shows or being in more magazines or any of that. Our ethics, our aesthetic is weird and sort of resistant to the machinery of "rise-through-the-ranks, now you're stars" indie. We care far more about how much our music matters to the sort of people for whom music matters a bit too much. Those were the people we were growing up, and we just want to be the band we would have loved when we sat around diners all night eating french fries, drinking coffee and talking forever about the bands we loved."

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Q & A with Lee Maelzer

(Above: "Bride Mannequin" 2010)

The Rebel: Your latest exhibition is called Trusth Is Heresy and it’s on at the Magnificent Basement, 128 Farringdon Road. Where does the title come from?
Lee Maelzer: “When I was twelve I dreamt the phrase ‘Truth is Heresy’. I woke up thinking it was really clever and meaningful. Realized long after that I must have heard the legal term ‘truth is hearsay’ on telly and morphed it. But I still think it’s a remarkably apt little catchphrase. It’s hard to avoid being a heretic.”


Are you happy with the venue/ has it been hard to hang the work?
“I am happy with the venue. It has been hard to secure the venue. Hanging will be a doddle.”

Did you have final say it what works were selected to be shown? Who hung the work?
“Yes, although I will take advice. I’m not clear on who will hang it yet.”

How did you end up being a painter? Or, Who inspired you to become a painter?
“I found out I could do something well that felt natural. You’d be a fool to question that. A friend of my mother and her elderly dad encouraged me and told me that it was a viable career choice. I did not know this. Childhood inspirations were Munch and Millet from books. I still seem to be wrangling with the beauty/distress conflict in my work. And I had a jigsaw puzzle of Bruegel's children's games that I did over and over again.”

Someone told me Dexter Dalwood said that when he had Paul Rego as a tutor she encouraged him to reveal more of himself in his work and zoom in the aspects of the work he felt uncomfortable with. Is this good advice/helpful?
I couldn’t reveal more or feel more uncomfortable about it! But for some who skirt around things, yes.

Of all the men you know what percentage would you say were either slightly mad or had emotional problems?
“Men are and have always been the backbone of my world. But okay, 99%.”

What are you bitter about?
“I have forgiven everyone. Now it is only my height.”

What would be a perfect day for you?
“Sex, coffee, food, painting, food, painting, friends, booze, food, sex, start again”

Do you have a motto or life philosophy?
“The above.”

What would be your desert island discs?
“System of a Down: Chop Suey, Sonic Youth: The Sprawl, Korn: Wicked, The Fall: R.O.D., Faith No More: King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime, Queens of the Stone Age: The Blood is Love, New York Dolls: Frankenstein, Rage Against the Machine: Sleep Now in the Fire, Sunn O))) & Boris: The Sinking Belle (Blue Sheep), Bill Callaghan: Eid Ma Clack Shaw”

What is art?
“The ineffable. I never know why so much waffle surrounds it.”

What questions would you like to have been asked?
“No no, these have been very charming.”


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Q & A with Spectrals


“One of the most exciting new UK bands around” Vice
 “Mysteriously enigmatic” Drowned In Sound
“Dreamy” Pitchfork
“Immense” Rough Trade
 “Heavy-hearted British gloom and infectious sun kissed, breezy melodies” Transparent
For more info: http://www.myspace.com/spectralspectral
(Above Louis Jones a.k.a Spectrals photographed by Liam Henry)

The Rebel: What are your plans for today?


Spectrals: "I've already wasted today".

When you write a song is it always: music first, lyrics later?

"I do both simultaneously and then put the bits together."

Who has given you more pleasure with their music - The Gallagher Brothers or The Everly Brothers

"The Everly Brothers are one of my favourite bands and Oasis are chill too."

Were you popular at school and are you in touch with many people from your school days?

"I still see my mates from school."

You did a cover of my friend Billy Childish's song Little Bettina. Which of your songs would you like to hear him sing?

"Peppermint."

Are you an ambitious man?

"No."

What can you tell me about your song "7th Date"?

"If you play it backwards it sounds like "First Date' by Blink-182."

What's the best venue you've played so far - where would you like to perform?

"I like the Deaf Institute in Manchester quite a bit. I want to do  Royal Albert Hall."

Paul Young once had a hit with a song called "I know what made Otis blue". Do you know that feeling and have you ever felt as though you were "All cried out" or that it "was raining in your heart"?

"All the time."

Did you follow Phil Spector's court case? Did you feel sad when you saw the photo of him in prison without his wig?

"It was sad. I think they should let him out."

What's the best thing about Yorkshire?

"Spectrals."

Did you design the sleeve of your debut ep on Moshi Moshi? Where is the photo from?  

"My buddy Stephen did it - http://www.stephenduffy.co.uk

The photo is  from outside my house."

Who would you rather get stuck in a lift with out of Elvis Costello or Tom Waits?

"Elvis Costello."

What advice would you give to the 14 year old Louis?

"Pretend not to like girls."


Link to purchase EP:

Monday, 8 November 2010

Q & A with Terry Edwards


The Rebel: Which of your friends do you tend to drink with most often?
Terry Edwards: “The thirstiest ones.”

Who are your favourite saxophone players?
“Earl Bostic,  Davey Payne,  John Zorn, Ornette Coleman.”

Who is the nicest Blockhead (in their current line-up)
“Do you really expect me to reply anything other than "me, of course!"?”

What are your favourite things / reasons to be cheerful?
“The Very Things. My cats cheer me up hugely.”

Do you prefer dogs to cats?
“Of course not. Cats rule. No contest.”

Who was your favourite Beatle?
I've always been a George fan - his love songs are a delight, the mega two-drummer sounds on All Things Must Pass is magnificent and he had so much humanity (probably got John & Paul's share when it was dished out...) And he was into Formula One.

I’ve heard it said that “Women go crazy for a sharp dressed man” What help or advice can you offer me?
“Check the charity shops for vintage suits by Burton, Dunn & John Collier. I buy new from Reiss.”

You've worked with quite a few big names in the music world. Is there anyone that you are still slightly freaked out by the fact they know you?
“Any of them really! I got taken aback when I went to shake Nick Cave's hand after playing with Spiritualized & he ignored it to give me a big hug instead!”

You’ve written a book about Madness called One Step Beyond. Have you ever hated Madness? Has a song like Baggy Trousers or House of Fun came on the radio and made you cross?
“Some songs are better than others. I've never 'got' Driving In My Car particularly. Having said that - duff songs aren't really their forte, are they?”

As well as being in Gallon Drunk and The Blockheads you also take part in The Spatial AKA Orchestra led by Jerry Dammers. Will the orchestra ever release a DVD or CD? And what's it like working with those people?
“Jerry favours a DVD. I'm trying to get him to do a vinyl-only picture disc in the meantime.
It's a fantastic band to play in - loads of great players & very little in the way of ego. Me aside, that is.”

What were the best things about being in The Higsons?
 “Releasing my first records, befriending John Peel who was such an important part of my life, having a song written about you (Listening To The Higsons by Robyn Hitchcock), visiting America for the first time.”

(No one reads the NME anymore, there's no John Peel or Top of the Pops. How do young bands and musicians get themselves heard?) What is your top tip for young bands?“Play good music and surround yourselves with people you trust.”

What project are you currently working on?
I've just finished an album in homage to the late, great Alex Chilton. It's called Clich├ęs, based on his covers album of the same name which, in turn, was an homage to Chet Baker. It's out on Dec 6th, the download sing "I'll Go Crazy" (the James Brown tune) is out a week later. Here's a video of another tune from the album, "Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5zL9-PTN6g> Plug plug plug !!

Which are you best at playing - Scrabble or Chess?
“Scrabble, but I'm no great shakes at either.”