1) Since many Madchester “baggies” embraced the Joe Bloggs look back in the day, do you think if it wasn’t for the drug culture associated with the Madchester scene, Madchester would have gone done a different fashion route? After all, rumour has it, ecstasy didn’t feel right when wearing tight jeans!
Without it, I don’t think the music in the clubs would’ve had the same impact it had, that’s for sure.
Yes, I’d say Ecstacy was a major contributor to the clothes worn by most during the ‘Madchester’ scene. And definitely regarding the club music of the time (Acid House)Without it, I don’t think the music in the clubs would’ve had the same impact it had, that’s for sure. Let me explain. In them days, you had an E and the hairs on your whole body would stand up, the rushes you got was something that was truly special. You’d get the hard pounding drum beats, sub bass and the mad sounding keyboard noises (ie Humanoid). Put altogether with the feelings off the E, this produced the perfect combination for 8 hours of dancing your tits off. As a headline I read once put it ‘It enabled white men to dance.’ I’m not condoning drugs, but that’s what I got and saw off everybody around me at the time. We’re talking late 87-93 here. As for the Joe Bloggers clobber. For me and my friends, it just wasn’t the attire of choice, we much preferred Gio Goi. We did wear baggy tops, nice fitting semi flared jeans and a cool pair of adidas or converse trainers etc, that was our ‘norm’. Must give credit to Phil (and his brother Lenny) Saxe for their stall in the Arndale Market, they sold the jeans of the day for us lot. Some people I saw used to wear 26″ bell bottoms, but we swerved them with a vengeance haha. When you’re off your napper though, the tunes are pumping, the lazers and strobes are blinding, the club is filled with dry ice and you’re sweating the last 48 hours of calorie/liquid intake out of your system, the last thing you need wrapped around your legs are a pair of ‘shitstoppers’ agreed. Gotta be a ‘loose fit’ man.
2) So often musicians are critical of their own work, saying that they wish they had done things differently. If you were to record ‘Chicken Rhythms’ again, would there be anything you would change or include in the album?
Ian Broudie did a brilliant production job on the album, made us sound like a proper band. The only things I’d have added/changed personally (that I didn’t at the time) are, added some vocal harmonies and recorded my lead vocals with a bit more bite and intent to them. Roughed them up a bit more
3) What’s the biggest difference you have noticed in Manchester music and culture in the last 20 years?
There doesn’t seem to be a new scene of its own making. I mean, there’s loads of great bands around in Manc, always has been and will be, they’ve got the attitude, know how, tunes and ability, it’s in the blood. Maybe I’m wrong? I’m sure there will be loads of people who disagree. But come on Manchester, we’re the capital of music, we gotta take the power back!
4) Is there a band or bands out there that you would love to work with?
The truth is, all of my time, passion and effort goes into the only band that really matters to me, Northside.
But, maybe one day I’d like to have a massive jam in an open field, on a hot summers day, using a shit hot generator and super loud PA (everyone would be invited and it would be free) with all my muso friends. We could just freestyle. Record it live, chop it up in the studio and then put it out as a one track album, give it away as a free download or for a small donation, with all proceeds going to young struggling musicians, somert like that would be good to get involved with.
5) Who is your biggest musical influence?
Crass for the lyrics and artwork. SLF for the power of Inflammable Material and for always being ‘my’ band. Bowie for his chameleon, songwriting genius. Big Audio Dynamite for their innovation and credible pop songs. New Order for everything they did. PiL for being true pioneers. Nick Drake for ‘that’ voice. Yellowman for making me laugh by singing nursery rhymes with adult themes. Talking Heads for changing my whole outlook on music. Ragga Twins for them beats! Small Faces for ‘All Or Nothing’. Vini Reilly for his mesmerising guitar work. David Gedge for mending broken hearts. The Chameleons for recreating my childhood in North Manchester. Acid House music for opening up my mind to a brave new world. Echo And The Bunnymen for ‘My Kingdom’. Polly Jean Harvey for being herself. Katy Jane Garside for her passion and vunerability. Martina Topley Bird for outsinging the birds….the list goes on and on
6) What are your musical plans at the moment?
My immediate plans are, getting the set just right for the upcoming Northside ‘Reunion Tour’ gigs in April/May. It’s sounding ace at the mo, can’t wait for the tour! I’ve got a few more things up my sleeve regarding future Northside plans, but, they’re going to germinate inside me for now…
You can catch Northside at Manchester Academy on Saturday 3rd May 2014, tickets £15, plus £1.50 booking fee.