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are prepared to pay for a ticket of course (goes pale at the thought!).
Oh just the thought of it Spud. The obvious question, which famous names have you interviewed?
Oh blimey – in 25 years? How long have you got? And that’s not being big-headed or showing off. Some of the biggest names, depending on your point of view I suppose, have been Damon Albarn (twice – once with Blur and once with The Good The Bad And The Queen), Coldplay, Oasis, The Prodigy, Bill Wyman, Paul Weller, Manic Street Preachers, Robbie Williams, Take That, Billy Bragg, Status Quo, Pete Doherty, John Lydon, Siouxsie and a couple of members of The Clash.
As for the worst, that would have to be Ash who despite having agreed to the interview ahead of a performance at V a few years ago, decided to only send the drummer Mark Hamill who, clearly drunk and bored, proceeded to answer every single question with a monosyllabic yes or no grunt. Those Gallagher brothers Liam and Noel weren’t much better either.
Gossip? I couldn’t possibly say – I’d never get another ticket – but you’d be surprised at how often these people seem to need to go to the toilet.
Honest answers now Mark. Have you ever written something you may have regretted, an
Damon Albarn and Paul Simonon on stage
embarrassing quote or a prediction maybe?
Actually it’s more a case of what I didn’t write.
It was years ago
when Take That were just starting out first time around and were playing at a school in South Woodham Ferrers (in really deep and darkest Essex) one Friday lunchtime. Me and a
colleague had agreed to go and
Wow! What a list Mark. Who were your favourites and why, and who would you be glad never to see again and why? And do you have any juicy stories or gossip that’s printable in a family mag?
Damon was good because he’s always interesting and actually thinks about what he is going to say. The same goes for the Manics, Billy Bragg, who I’ve interviewed loads of times cos he’s from Barking (just down the road), John Lydon and, many people will be surprised to hear, Pete Doherty. Paul Weller was good too because he’d always been a bit of an icon to me growing up as a young Jam fan and because he was actually keen to sit down and have a chat after first asking me if I’d "mind" watching him and his band run through their set ahead of setting off on tour. It was the same with Mick Jones and Paul Simonon from The Clash, who to me are still the greatest band to have ever lived and probably always will be. In fact the first time I tried to speak to Mick I was so starstruck I could barely speak. It’s the only time I’ve ever been like that.
watch them and do an interview but when a young Robbie Williams himself actually phoned up on the Friday lunchtime to ask if we were still coming, we blew him out and buggered off down the pub instead with the immortal words: “We’ll never hear from them again!” Still it’s not as bad as a promoter friend of mine who turned down an early Oasis gig with the line: “You’ll never make it with a name like that!”
Ouch that’s got to hurt. It’s the quickfire round now. Knowing you are an old punk rocker, who would be you all time favourite band?
I’ve already told you that. Easy – The Clash.
One of mine too. What’s your most memorable gig?
Oh there’s too many really – at one stage I was going to two or three gigs a week which is close on 150 gigs a year.
If I had to pick a top five though I would say in no particular order – a Primal Scream all-nighter on the Screamadelica tour in 1992; Theatre of Hate, UK Decay and The Meteors
on the same bill at The Lyceum in London in 1981; The Libertines reunion show, with Chas & Dave, at The Forum, Kentish Town in 2003; Blur at Mile End stadium in 1986 and anyone of many at the late-lamented and now-demolished Friars in Aylesbury where we had the likes of The Clash, The Jam, Bauhaus, The Police, PIL, The Damned, Stiff Little Fingers, Simple Minds, U2 and Echo & The Bunnymen playing on our doorstep. Happy days!
What’s your favourite festival?
For old time’s sake I would say Glastonbury but I have to say it doesn’t look a patch on what it was like back in the 1970s and 80s before the big fence went up and they let the police in and locked the travellers out.
I go to V every year in Chelmsford which gets a bit of a bad press, mainly from people who’ve never been, because it’s a bit ‘festival lite’ and is seen as too corporate and not cutting edge enough. Sure it’s a bit too poppy nowadays and full of middle class-types but so’s everywhere and Glastonbury and Reading have been sponsored for years now too.
On the upside, the toilets are the best on the festival circuit and it’s just down the road so I can meet up with lots of old faces and go home each night – I’m too old to sleep on the floor anymore.
I know what you mean it certainly gets harder with age (although I’m not that old am I?) What current band is doing it for you at the moment Mark?
There’s a few about – although many of them are better live than they are recording with modern production methods making everything a bit bland. I am looking forward to the new MGMT album though and the second album from a London band by the name of Silvery –they’re like a hybrid of Blur, Sparks and Buzzcocks. Also keep an eye out for a couple of new outfits in Parties In Belgrade and No Machine.
And finally, what was it like being on the receiving end for once?
Hard work – but quite good fun. It brought back a few good memories.
Nice one Mark and a big thank you for taking it easy on me. I’ll see you on Sunday in Camden for your birthday, checking out the remaining Mescaleroes – Joe Strummer’s old band.
yourChesham • April, 2010 29
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