Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith
|Stick Action Man in the draw, fidget and think about girls. When that all gets a bit much, rush for a guitar. Find that your mates have already done the same. Form a band and try to take the noise you fill a cold garage with, down to the local. Sing your dwarved heart out to an audience ten years your senior until someone notices you. Before you know it, bus drivers think it memorably witty to greet you with an alright, and kids are out to mimic your facial hair, forcibly cultivating sideburns.
|Gaz Coombes, now definitely Gareth to all
present, stands a decidedly well-versed 21 year-old. Hair
now recovered from the crew cut that last year was too
well reported to win him any anonymity, he sports a
halfway bushy facial rug, a nod to the mood of the
moment. All the outward signs of maturity are there; the
effortlessly brilliant second LP, the sure-footed
decision to stay off the promotional bandwagon, but the
grown up Supergrass are, like Gareths
beard, a little scatty around the edges. Their nonchalant
approach to the press and the industry generally is, on
closer inspection, in need of a few more years of
grooming before it sits as fully formed as their records.
For Supergrass, despite their impossibly adult fluency as
musicians, make for the lousiest of pop stars.
But the big news today is not that a career as a notable musician is not built on tunes alone. Todays news is far from public knowledge. Last night Danny broke his wrist punching a car.
It was my own fault, which was a bit silly on the first night of the tour really he begins, but there you go- road rage. It was the other blokes, the cars fault. Im quite a passive person, but I lost it really. There was a bloke who cut behind us in a traffic jam- no one was going anywhere anyway so...
There is a tidy irony in the fact that what makes for a great tale of rock n roll abandon is also the source of some embarrassment for this drummer. Hes had to tell the road-crew and support (the glam sham Spacehog) that theyre going to be twiddling their thumbs for the next twenty days, and, more directly Mickey and Gareth are out of a job until he heals. Their dates suporting Oasis look safe at present, but they look a little disappointed on the whole, crammed in to the conference room of one of Nottinghams more bar-pricey hotels, though this may just be the effect of the company theyre in.
Where better to see how Supergrass deal with the varying shades of the spotlight. The afternoons conference encompasses the promo and press allsorts, be they bottom-end kids whod face chilly Nottingham in their M & S knickers to pose for a family album shot, or rushed, frothy-mouthed management types, busy executing and asserting, headsore from over-exposure to a cellphone. Danny in particular, would probably rather be in bed right now, and its a pity that a little gratitude isnt reflected in the quality of question posed. Its like Kilroy he half-jokes. Close enough, for someone will ask them later if they have any embarrassing sexual antics to relate, if theyd consider endorsing monogrammed Elastoplasts or eau-de-Grass bodysprays, or who the nicest person is theyve ever met. To these, their answers are suitably dismissive. Welcome to student journalism lads.
Despite the inexplicable choice of Late In The Day as the last single, In It For The Money proved the band could suit themselves musically and still be a profitable concern. Recorded in the idyllic backwaters of Sawmills studios, it retains the rootsy brattishness of I Should Coco yet is resoundingly less direct and upbeat in its commercial appeal. It is also the sound of a band striking out alone, without the help of Sam Williams, their one-time manager, producer and co-writer.
He was really good for the first album, but he was also very hands on. begins Gareth. He gave us a lot of freedom. It was sort of down to us, but the first album was what we wanted to do at the time. Last time I dont think we purposefully tried to write really amazing chart-topping pop songs. It was really enjoyable, just getting in there and really getting into it, the three of us, without anyone. Its down to do with whats happening at the moment. Danny finishes this for him: Its like anything. If youre a painter, or something and youve got an idea of how you want it to be, you sort of do it yourself. So we did it ourselves, without someone else making it sound how they wanted it.
The slow home sales of the LP are little cause for concern, as Gareth resumes: It sort of did better really. Everywhere apart from England and France it did better. Were happy with it and itsgood fun playing it live as well. Its up to everyone else though, isnt it? We just make the album. Its not our fault, well I suppose it is really... (laughs)
Nothing to do with the quality of the album. A shitty tour last November didnt help anyway Danny offers, self-mockingly at first. All the other tours have been quite good really. In Brazil we played in front of 50,000 people. All you had to do was fart in the microphone and theyd all jump around. That was quite a laugh.
Mickey continues: Same with doing festivals because it isnt actually your gig. You dont feel all arrogant headlining the show, as though everyones turned up to see you. Its quite nice if theyre out there to have a good time anyway, and you sort of join in with them.
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