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What's new in iJamming!...
Tue, Oct 23, 2001
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN: "Flowers is Echo & The Bunnymen's finest hour since Ocean Rain."
HEDONISM:
An intrigue of early 90s New York nightlife.
NEW CHAPTER now online
From the Jamming! Archives:
U2 interviewed in 1984.
"It's not U2 that's creating this great art. . .There's something that works through us to create in this way."
MUSING ON A SEPTEMBER MOURNING
PART1:
My immediate reaction to September 11
PART 2: Messages from friends & family overseas
PART 3: Observations & quotes from others.
PART 4: LINKS
PART 5: COPING - 2 weeks later
iJamming! Wino/Muso:
JOHN ACQUAVIVA
"New world wines are just too techno for me."
Featured albums
(Hub, Slumber Party, DJ Harry, Spearhead, The Who tribute
)
Albums that sound different since September 11
(Charlatans UK, Arabian Travels, Cafe del Mar, Sugarcult)
Featured wine region 3:
SOUTHERN RHÔNE WHITES
Featured wine region 4:
SOUTHERN RHÔNE ROSÉS
iJamming! interview:
Jesse Hartman, aka LAPTOP
"Every New York band knows the meaning of failure"
MIX Albums:
Who, what and why you should bother (DB, Spooky, Jody, RSW, Bad Boy Bill)
FEATURED Wines (Langlois Cremant de Loire, Honig Sauvignon Blanc, Campbell's Muscat, Brumont Gros Manseng, Dr Frank Gewürtztraminer, Daubree CoteRotie, Dry Creek Chenin Blanc, Mas Saint Laurent Picpoul, Quivira Dry Creek)
The iJAMMING! interview: DAVID SYLVIAN
"I don't think people realize that life can become so exciting and interesting that it can draw you away for long periods of time from creating music - & why not?"
From the Keith Moon archives:
the JEFF BECK interview .
From Homework to the Disco:
DAFT PUNK
grows up and dumbs down
The iJAMMING! chat:
MARK PERRY

"If I was asked why Sniffin' Glue was so important, it was the way we conducted ourselves, the style of it, just the attitude. It had attitude in abundance didn't it?"
The Return of Shoegazing:
DOVES take New York by swarm
Forgotten Classics:
THE CHILLS: Brave Words
THE iJAMMING! Book Review:
SNIFFIN' GLUE: The Essential Punk Accessory
Musing with SALLY TAYLOR:
"I'm not interested in what the major labels have to offer."
From the JAMMING! archives: PAUL WELLER ON POP
Featured wine region 2:
CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES
From the JAMMING! archives: ALTERNATIVE TV
interviewed in 1978
TRAVIS.
Fran Healy explains why "you cannot own a song." (And why Liam Gallagher "is going to turn into a really great songwriter.")
Featured Artist Web Site:
LLOYD COLE
From the JAMMING! archives: The Story That Spawned Creation
Featured vine:
VIOGNIER:
Finally, a worthy rival to Chardonnay.
The iJAMMING! interview:
BOY GEORGE.
"Once you've had your go, what-ever it may be, they want you to piss off, and they can't bear it if you come back, they can't bear it."
SUPERDRAG
They love rock'n'roll but they don't want to deal with the hassle
From the JAMMING! archives: RAYMONDE in 1985
The full iJamming! Contents
The iJAMMING! interview!
FRAN HEALY from TRAVIS
Part 1

Are you having these conversations when you're with Oasis on the road?

No. We've sat. And Liam's played his songs and Noel's played his new songs and they're brilliant, I'm a massive fan. It's a total privilege to sit and listen to another massive songwriter who I look up to. Liam, he is going to turn into a really great songwriter as well. Everyone was slagging him off for 'Little James' and I think that's really unfair, because I don't think you can break songs down into simple things like words, I think there's a spirit that goes with it, that's far more important than the sum of it's parts, I think he's going to turn into quite a good songwriter myself.

Really?

Yes.

Because 'Little James' hasn't done him too many favors.

That's the production. I heard it the other day on acoustic guitar and when I heard it on the album I was thinking 'they've just lumped all the music on top of that'. They've covered it up, you can't really get the emotion of it, That's something he'll learn. I think what Liam has at the moment and it's something that I've got - and any artist has got - is laziness.. That's one of the hallmarks of an artist, if they're bloody lazy there's a chance of them making something that's quite good - if they sit down and do it. Because he's got a lot of good ideas. And I've been like, you've got to finish this. You've got to. Because I said for me, I used to have all these ideas and that was it. I'd get a hit off it, I'd be like, 'I've done this.'

...The idea was the thing?

Yeah. And you would never finish it.

I know all about that.

Yeah, but if you just push it a little bit further...That's the difference between being a professional and an amateur, or being an artist and someone who just diddles. You just push it a little bit further and it makes such a difference.

I know what you're saying.

For Liam anyway, that's something he's got to do himself. You can't make someone do that. You can say, you've got to finish that, it's brilliant.

As an Oasis fan then, did you feel any embarrassment in pushing them off # 1 in the UK album charts?

Not at all. I was glad it was us and not a piss piece of junk. I was sad that Oasis were off the top of the charts, but I was glad it was us. It was like, a proper band knocked a proper band off the top.

And I assume Oasis were a cool about that.

Oh yeah. They don't give a damn, they really don't care. That's what's brilliant about Oasis. They're genuine people who love music. When we're playing our set, every single night on this tour, the whole band is watching us from the side of the stage. That's fucking brilliant. We do the same. I don't see us as their competition and they don't see us as theirs. We're almost in the same band, like pedalling the same thing, the same emotion, because at the end of the day when you go on stage you're both basically being the match to the taper that is a crowd singing, a whole crowd of people singing, and both bands have that effect on people. So you're kind of almost in the same band, if you know what I mean. It's almost like you're a tag team.
"I think McCartney was the more artistic out of him and Lennon. Because Lennon was too self conscious and self-consciousness is the enemy of all art."


Photo from the Travis web site
www.travisonline.com

That brings us back around to bands selling records to people who don't normally buy albums. Because I think that's what happened to Oasis when 'Wonderwall' hit, they suddenly sold 2,000,000 albums to people who don't normally buy records. And what they've found now is you're talking about you should go back and get a deal every time. My theory is it always take s two albums for people to drop off. I'd say you're guaranteed at least half your audience will buy your next album, it's the one after you have to worry about. So Oasis are obviously finding some of that. And I think what's interesting is you're in the boat this year that they were in four years ago.

We're aware of that. We have other bands' hindsight. You go 'Oh God if I'd known that' but you can if you look at other bands and what they went through. You look at things and go, Okay. Oasis had their blow outs and their drugs and their whole thing, and basically for us, you've just got to watch that shit. The temptation to get out of it is so massive because it's such a bizarre thing you're in. You want to numb yourself to it sometimes. When you're standing onstage or when people are asking you for your autograph, regardless of how much you're up for it or how much you like it, there's got to be a moment when you go, 'Fuck, you're just the same as me, why are you asking? Why am I so much more special than you?' And that's freaky, it does your head in. That's probably where the desire to get numb and get out of it comes from. But at the end of the day I want to lose myself in songs. I want to put out quality records and I don't want...Basically I would be embarrassed to put out something I thought wasn't that good, and you've go to basically try and put out the best thing you can possibly do at that moment in time.

(At this moment we get interrupted by the publicist, trying to hurry us up. Fran asks her to hold the other interview back for a while.) I know from seeing you at the Bowery Ballroom that you love to talk. People don't introduce songs much anymore.

I know. It's just communicating stuff. I used to go to gigs and it was like, I'm down there and you're up here, and I don't like that. Because I don't think anyone is better than me, I think everyone is the same. I want people to talk to me like I'm standing next o them on a stage, or they're standing next to me in a crowd, and I always wanted it to be that if ever we got in that position, we wouldn't be like that. I just do it naturally anyway. I just chat.

People use words about you that I do think are applicable. Words like personable, and charming. I'm talking about both you as a band and you personally. There was a lot of charm radiated at the Bowery Ballroom. I think that obviously appeals. And the songs are very personable, you think of the songs as your friends.

The way I think of it, is when you get the record you don't feel the songs belong to anyone else. They don't belong to that band, they belong to you. I think a lot of times when you get a record it's like, you're aware of the band massively when you're listening to it. And I don't think that's fair. You've go to make something whether it be accidentally or not - with us it's totally accidentally, and I don't know how you get it on magnetic tape, it's selfless in a way. It's 'This is not ours,' it's mutual. You're building it in a mutual area so people can come to it without you being there almost. And in a way that's the album. And it's achieved live in a way as well.

Part of that leads to...I hear in Travis a lot of Paul McCartney. What I want to get at is Oasis really took up the John Lennon aspect of the Beatles and to me there's a complement of you being together on tour because you're the Paul McCartney side of the Beatles. You're the romantics, the song. Do you agree?

If you have that thing in a band (that the Beatles had), you get elements x and y to make up a thing, I don't have that. I don't have another person in the band, neither does Noel, to write against, to compete against. You've got to wait for things to come on the radio to turn you on. I went to art school and there's an art side to it. But I think I have a lot more in common with Paul McCartney because I'm not afraid to be melodic. And I think McCartney was the more artistic out of him and Lennon. Because Lennon was too self conscious and self-consciousness is the enemy of all art. But he portrayed himself as being really arty, you know with Yoko and the whole way they lived their life. But I met McCartney last year with the whole band, we had him or two hours, and it was amazing, and I came away thinking, he is the most artistic out of the band. People when they think art, they think the guy with the beret on, and the smock, but the best artist is invisible. If you call yourself a fucking artist, fucking forget it. I mean, I do sometimes, but in the loosest sense. But I think I have a lot more in common with McCartney as far as that is concerned. Because I don't want to be an "artist," that whole in two little fingers "artist" they suck man. I hate all that. It's just ego man. And ego is the enemy of all art. Art is something that has got to be neutral. Good art is a container. Bad art is biased, bad art is context, You've got to create something that is almost like a container, for people to put whatever they're feeling to put into it. And I think that's a good thing. Or you just let yourself be a channel for whatever it is out there.

It's interesting. What I was saying does hold up. And maybe in that sense that's why you and Oasis are getting on, as almost like one band, because you've got your McCartney side and your Lennon side.

I think that's a really really fucking fantastic point actually.

Well this next point you might not feel is fantastic. But one reason I hadn't seen the band before is that I genuinely wasn't struck by the first album.

I don't blame you man. I don't blame you at all. I think the one thing that turned a lot of people on to us on the first record was coming to see us. When we made that album, Dougie had only been in the band for x amount of time, we were thrown into this thing.we made this record that had great songs on it but there was a confused element there as well. But it was just the confusion of the first day at school. And I think a lot of critics, a lot of people didn't like that because it wasn't a brave record. There wasn't a confidence there at that point. And I think people love buying confidence. If you listen to the vocal on 'House of the Rising Sun,' it is the most confident vocal ever. And I know for a fact that was recorded in fifteen minutes. It's not down to time, it's down to that person in that point of time and that alone. For us, that first album studio wise wasn't confident. But when you saw it live, it was. And that's what switched a lot of people in the first stage around to us. Like, they're not shit, they're actually really fucking good!

For me, it was extra nice because I didn't have 'The Man Who' before seeing you at the Bowery. So it was like seeing a totally new band. Which was a novel experience. And it was great to be blown away by a band not knowing the songs. That worked for me, and I'm sure that will work when you're playing to people in America who have no idea who your are.

The whole thing is it's worked with every single person who has ever got into the band, and that goes for us and our managers and our record company. They've heard it on tape and said 'Oh that's interesting' and that's it. Then they've seen us. There's an emotion there that if you can somehow get on record...but how the fuck do you put that on record? It's nigh on impossible.

I'm curious whether the song that is added on the album, 'The Blue Flashing Light,' is from personal experience. I know you had a hard time with your dad.

No no no. The thing is, I didn't have a hard time with my dad. My parents split up when I was like one year old. I just feel strongly about things like that. Because I've always grown up and there's been friends who have had trouble, who've been beaten up, I've seen friends at school who've been through that. I was never touched, no one ever hit me. One of the things I hate is injustice, it's hard to blame someone for a start, because it's a pattern that's always been there. To blame that person you've got to blame five generations. Or maybe even two, because I think a lot of domestic violence in the late 20th Century came from two wars, at the beginning of the 20th Century and in the middle, and you had a lot of kids whose fathers beat them up because they had a lot of anger and a lot of issues that they carried out of a war with them, and they carried it into their house after the war. And I think that's one of the things that caused a lot of that aggravation. . . We did that song as a B-side and I brought it home and my girlfriend, who's this mad German woman, she's great, she says "You must put this on the record." I'm saying "Oh baby I can't put it on the record" and she says "You must" and I'm saying "but baby, it's not going to fit on the record, the record is really la di da di da," and she says "No, But you must" and I say "Fuck, okay we'll put it on as a hidden track."

What comes next?

We're coming back to LA in September, to start the new album with Nigel Godrich. He's finishing the Radiohead album and then we're going to go in with him in September.

So people will have a field day keeping the Radiohead comparisons going?

Absolutely . You've got to keep all that stuff going. The thing about Nigel is he will make a record that makes your stereo sound fantastic. Whether you've got a shitty little stereo or a great stereo, he makes that stereo sound fucking amazing.

I read that your first singles went to #40, 39 and 38 respectively in the UK.

Yeah. 'U16' Girls was #40. 'All I Want to Do is Rock' 39. Then it went 38, 31, 16, 13, 10, 8 and then 1 with the album. We haven't had a #1 single yet. But they've moved in the general direction. I just got a call today actually. We went into the charts last week at #138, and this week we're at #135. We sold more records this week in America than last week!

Sounds like you've started the right way in America. Because it can be a long slow haul watching a record climb in America.

That's the best. I hate short journeys. In sex, we're always going 'How long can you do it for?' And the music industry is like, "How quickly how can you come?" What? What the fuck? You want to have a long slow love-making session with a record, you don't want to just blurt it out in the first week, and then the next six months you're feeling that empty feeling you get.

It's a great comparison. Because with your songs, with the possible exception of 'Why Does It Always Rain,' those aren't immediate songs. And the album is an album you go back to and back to and back to and then it becomes your friend. But it doesn't wack you over the head. I think the problem for a lot of bands who try and write those kind of songs is that people, especially in America, are like "Where's the chorus? Quick, quick, sorry you've lost your chance." People are used to the quick in and out bang session because they feel it's the only way to attract anaudience!

We were in germany and we were doing an interview, MTV or something, and this girl, it's her first day at work, the camera goes on and she says, "I was listening to this record and I think it is a good record to fall asleep to, to eat to, and to fuck to." I was like, there you go, that's three fucking major things covered there, that must mean it's a good record!

INTERVIEW CONDUCTED APRIL 19 2000

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