Cathy Simpson talks to The Blueskins about music, festivals, The Beatles and lazy journalism...
Strong Yorkshire accents a gogo, it's The Blueskins.
Strong self-belief reminiscent of the young Gallagher's and a cute tendency to chip in on each other's sentences, like married couples do.
Ryan Spendlove: vocals, guitar
Maff Smith: bass
Paul Brown: drums
Ritchie Townsend: guitar
It seems tough to break into the music industry if you're from outside of London so have you found that being from Wakefield has helped or hindered you?
Ryan: I think it's helped us. It's helped us more than if we were from a city like Liverpool or Manchester because bands from there find themselves getting caught in a scene, people expect them to have a certain sound. Whereas coming from Wakey, there isn't a scene, well not yet anyway- there will be soon.
Describe your sound, describe The Blueskins.
Ryan: Rock and roll soul.
Paul: Blues mixed with something extra.
Paul: We don't even know.
Maff: We're just following it, we go with it and see what happens when we start jamming.
When did you get together?
Maff: About two years ago.
You toured with the 22-20's, how was that?
Ryan: Yeah, it were good. It was good to play in front of different people instead of what we've been used to with home gigs or pub gigs. It brought out people from even outside of Yorkshire, it was a fresh new audience and it was great to play our music to people who've never heard it before.
How did it go down?
Ritchie: Really well.
Ryan: Yeah, good. It got an excellent response.
And you played Leeds festival too...
Ritchie: We played the Carling stage.
Who else did you see? Did you hang around for the whole festival?
Ritchie: Me and Maff did. We saw the Libertines, the Polyphonic Spree, Blur, Beck...
What did you think of Blur?
Ryan: Not bad, but we walked up to the Carling Stage where Billy Bragg was on, and ah, we should have gone and seen him.
On the subject of other bands, what do you think of the Darkness?
Paul: Nice novelty act.
Maff: I think they're alright as a one off just as long as it doesn't spawn a whole new generation of spandex-clad bands. I mean, I actually quite like them, they've got catchy tunes and everything.
In the press you've been compared to a young Led Zeppelin and to the White Stripes, what do you think about that?
Maff: I don't think we sound like either of them, but to be compared to them in some ways, yeah it's always nice.
Ryan: It's just easy journalism.
Maff: It's good to be compared to such bands as them cos they are bands that we listen to ourselves which is great. But I don't think we sound like any of them really. Our songs are a bit different.
X-ray magazine described you as 'the equivalent of mouthy teens drinking at a bus stop'. I don't like those mouthy teens, so why should I like you?
Maff: We're not mouthy!
Ryan: And you're the one who's got a drink, not us.
Maff: We smoke far too much pot to be mouthy teens, I don't know where they got that from.
Ryan: There's all sorts of poxy shit like that knocking around.
Who inspires you? What sorts of bands do you listen to to get excited about music?
Ritchie: The Beatles, and I used to listen to Oasis as well but they're shit now. The Beatles took over my life as these guys would tell you.
Maff: He thinks he's George Harrison! Or sometimes Paul McCartney.
Ryan: Or Ringo.
Paul: He has a different Beatle for every day of the week.
Ryan: I listen to a lot of 60's stuff, and I've been listening to a lot of 1920's blues, like really early stuff recently, like Blind Billy Johnson, Robert Johnson, stuff like that.
Paul: I like psychedelic stuff.
Ryan: Me and Paul are probably more into the blues and Maff is...
Maff: I like the Clash and the Jam and funkier sorts of stuff so we've got a good range.
Do you bring these influences into your music?
Ryan: Yeah, I think that's why we've got something a bit different, because of all our different tastes. We're not aiming to sound like any style.
So when it comes to song writing, how do you put your songs together?
Ryan: What usually happens is I'll play a melody and write some lyrics, and we sort of bust it together while we're jamming.
The music press has also put you down as a garage band, it seems to be a tag that they use a lot at the moment. The garage scene seems to be undergoing a second wave right now with The Strokes releasing a second album and loads of new bands coming out who were inspired by them in the first place, so where do you think you fit into all this?
Ryan: I thought Craig David were garage?!
Maff: We're gonna have our own category like bungalow or shed or summat.
Do you think that'll work? Because it seems to me that people need the idea of a genre to get excited about bands, almost to be told it's ok to like them.
Maff: But if the music's good enough then it can make a genre, if one good band comes through then it has a wave effect.
Ryan: Genre's come and go and once all the dust settles on the garage scene everyone will just be forgotten about.
Maff: We want to write timeless songs.
Ryan: There's one or two songs that you could say might be garage, but then there's others that are just as far removed from garage.
Maff: Hopefully people will see us as more than just these songs which they think of as garage, and that will lead on to them seeing us as just doing what we're doing.
What was the last album you bought or were listening to?
Maff: Mine was a Kings of Controversy 12"
Paul: Babylon by Bob Marley.
Do you like anyone more contemporary?
Maff: I quite like the Libertines.
Are you going to start wearing a Free Pete t-shirt?
Maff: Nah, maybe a Keep Pete Clean one!
Where do you see yourselves in two years time?
Ritchie: Behind a guitar.
Maff: Playing bigger gigs. Playing concerts...with the Beatles!
Ryan: We just want to play to as many people as we can live, that's what we want to concentrate on more then anything, to emphasise that we are a live band. I think it's good to have a cd that when you go to see the band live, the band is better than the cd, you know, no over dubs or things like that, just the soul.
If you weren't doing this, what would you be doing?
Ritchie: Working in Morrisons.
Maff: I'd be a professional footballer. Or I'd like to be.
And so the conversation meanders off to how David Blaine manages to shit in his see through box and about how he could probably make everyone shut their eyes through the power of his mind if he wanted to crack one off.
Ryan admits to accosting Dolf De Datsun on MTV Malaysia whilst wearing glittery lipstick and utterly stoned; who knew such rock and roll talent could come from Wakefield?