Saturday, 28 April 2018

Q & A with Micko Westmoreland

To celebrate the announcement that Micko Westmoreland & The Mellotronics are not only playing live on 29/04/2018 at The Talking Heads, 16-22 The Polygon, Southampton.. but also on 03/05/2018 at The Roadtrip & Workhouse, 243 Old Street, London - Each member of the band has agreed to answer a few questions for The Rebel magazine. Today, last but not least, it's the turn of Micko Westmoreland
You sing and play guitar in The Mellotronics. How long have you been performing and who were your musical heroes? "I’ve been performing all my, but seriously. I got my first guitar from an auction in the early 80’s, I was around 11. Very soon after that I was playing Ziggy Stardust/Get down and get with it at school assemblies, there was a great band scene in the town where I lived and the Art teacher, Malcolm Arnold organized proper gigs for us all to play at called ‘the Rockshops’, I still have recordings on cassette, there legendary, well at least for those involved. My first loves were Toni Iommi’s guitar playing and Pete Townsend’s playing and writing, he was like a lead rhythm player and his guitar parts always served the song. I’d watch the best bits of Tommy on VHS after school. I’d eagerly await Top of The Pops each week and would literally pray for ‘my bands’ to move up the charts so I could watch them on the show."
Your set features tracks from the Yours ETC Abc album as well as a few new songs. Are there any of your songs you particularly admire of feel excited about playing live? "Every once in a while you write a new song that pushes the bar a little higher. I wrote one last year called ‘Noisy Neighbors’, about certain characters I had experienced whilst living in social housing. “Is she 49? no more like 80, 1mm of extra makeup added per year”. “Apparently there’s no bed in the flat, just a spitfire on a table and boxes and boxes of model making kits”. All true! It was also the first track I worked with on with Jon Klein. When he sent me his first guitars over I listened to it ten times in row."
In what ways are you a bad person and what would you like to change about yourself? "Good question, I think too much and sometimes embroider opinions in my mind. I convince myself I’m right, maybe in part I am sometimes, but it’s not a good way to go. It can flip over to imbalance, not see and understand things for what they really are. It’s much better to behave more instinctively and to trust your intuitions. Self-awareness is key to evolving as a person. I think about my behavior a lot so it’s all work in progress. I very much apply this to the band, as I view it as more of a collective than anything else and they are such a great gang to hang out and play with."
What is the worst film you’ve ever seen and what is the best film you’ve ever seen? "Peter Greenaway has made some good films and a few turkeys. A Zed and two noughts I used to loved when I was in my teens but I re-watched recently and found it pedantic, the use of symmetry in every shot. The Draughtsman’s Contract is excellent though. My favorite of the 21st century without a doubt is Mulholland Drive, the first time I saw it I’d had a very peculiar day and ate some food from a supermarket where there had been a power cut and the fridges had been off a while, so there were signs up ‘Consume at your own risk!’. After the film I threw up at 3 in the morning, never could quite tell whether it was the movie or that burger that had made me take a turn. From the last century I love Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard."
What are your desert island discs? Do you have any singles or albums that you couldn’t live without? I think there’s 8 allowed. Here’s 4 mainstream and 4 a bit more left field. I love, Low by David Bowie, Computer World by Kraftwerk, Real Life by Magazine and Scott Walker sings Jacque Brel. I also like Iso Tomita Snowflakes are dancing, The Veritgo soundtrack by Bernard Herman, Thursday Afternoon by Brian Eno (a record some would argue is hardly there) and Spirit of Eden by Talk Talk (no, not the communications company!). I believe I’m allowed to take one object too, that would have to be a radio, so I could check the shipping forecast.
What is your idea of beauty in nature? "I meditate twice a day without fail, I couldn’t survive without it. I’ve found it has energized my life, changed my behavior, values and attitudes. It’s like cynicism in reverse and I find more and more it informs me of who I am everyday. I make no apologies for this. I believe that how your life is, is directly connected to your state of mind. I could go on, but I guess the point is that we are nature, it’s integral to our being, some of us know this but others have forgot and I find that Meditation re-informs us of this little life lesson."
Micko Westmoreland and The Mellotronics photographed by Natalie Hitchcock. Left to Right: Jon, Jenny, Nick and Micko. Top photo of Micko by Keiko Yamazo 2nd photos by Ashley Jones.
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