Victoria Holdsworth talks to The Glitterati as they make a welcome return to their hometown.
I caught up with the boys from The Glitterati, on a swift visit to their home town of Leeds to play the Cockpit, to chat about where they are now and what's happening after the recent success of their debut album. The boys are in fine fettle this evening as we sit down for a Q & A session for Leeds Music Scene.
The lads wanted to say 'Hello' and give big thanks to the readers of LMS who have supported them thus far on their journey to rock'n'roll semi stardom.
In no particular order complete randomness - GO!
John: We like randomness.
So when you were gigging around Leeds all those years ago, did you ever imagine you'd have the status you have now?
Paul: What, the small room of the Cockpit? [laughs] Well, we always hoped and believed in what we were doing, so when things started to go well, you look back on those times and think yeah if it hadn't been like that then in those days I don't think we wouldn't have had such a good grounding early on.
John: I remember playing the Duchess years ago and it was the first time we'd played there and thinking, fucking hell this is like the biggest thing ever! It's all relative really, innit? You reach a certain point and then it's like something else then something else.
The Webster's dictionary describes the word 'Glitterati' as 'Beautiful' and 'Celebrities' - so tell me what's the most beautiful thing about being in The Glitterati? and when did you first realise you were 'famous'?
Paul: Like John was saying earlier, you don't really notice it as you're going along because when you do your first headline show and there's kids coming and knowing your songs and things like that, that's a big thing for you and it's the same as you move up doing bigger things. Like our first single which charted, just different milestones along the way, it was stuff like going to America, things that you think seem so far off and you can't abandon and then when you get there you see that things are actually working out, I don't think there was a defining moment and still don't really. We walked round Leeds today and we weren't mobbed. [laughs]
John: Yeah! We're not famous - we're infamous!
How has that changed you then individually and as a band?
Billy: We all hate each other now. [insert chuckling here]
John: Yeah we were really tight when we started out.
Paul: I don't think anything has really changed, we were always hoping that's what was gonna happen, nothing has changed because this didn't happen overnight and we were close before anything did happen.
What has been your worst experience as a band to date?
Paul: On our last tour we had to stop a gig in the middle of the first song, we had a full beefy sound system but the feedback in the monitors just became so loud that we were just stood for three minutes all with our hands over our ears looking so rock n roll [laughs] but it was just so loud, it was like a plane taking off, but I'm sure there's been worse than that.
John: Wasn't it Norwich when we went on before the doors opened.
Paul: Yeah, we actually went on the Wildhearts tour, and actually went on stage before the doors opened [sniggers still in disbelief] as our slot as support band. That was quite mad, it was the first time our record label came to see us as well, so they could see what they'd wasted all that money on [laughs] and they saw this band just playing in front of just a sound man.
What drives your music?
Jamie: Guitars mainly. [sly grin]
John: A desire not to be on the dole really.
Paul: We're all ambitious but our main ambition is just to be playing music like we have been for the last three or four years. We're just gonna carry on. When we first started out it was like "let's be the biggest band in the world!", but as you move forward you deal with a lot of shit and you just kinda want to keep going at it especially when you see so many bands just fall away.
Do you keep a track of your download market?
Paul: Our last single, the download was completely messed up by the label and you couldn't download it, but it wasn't available to anybody but we're not too up on our download stuff even though we know it's a big part of it.
So you're not too worried about it then?
Paul: Maybe we should just get other people to worry about it.
John: I don't think that necessarily bands or anyone who is creating anything should be aware of their commercial gains or anything, I just think then you may as well be a fucking consumer project and not a band and stop trying to work out some underground market.
Paul: Most bands are far too stupid as well which is what people don't realise [laughs] and it should stay that way, they're only in bands because they couldn't get good jobs and at the end of the day computer stuff is like hard isn't it? [smiles] Even me emailing you back for the interview arrangements I was struggling you know. [bless his little leather socks]
Do you still draw on the same musical influences you did when you were younger or first started?
Paul: We're influenced by a lot of bands that we were influenced by at the start. Obviously when you start a band you're influenced by these and everything else along the way that you like. We are mainly influenced by classic bands; bands who like really went on and were album bands and not just fashion bands of the moment. I think you're influenced by everything as you go along but if someone asks you which band was it that made you want to be in a band you always stay with them as your main influence.
And who were yours?
Paul: Guns n Roses. I remember seeing them, and the first time I saw them on a video, playing at The Ritz in 1988 and it was off some late night Channel 4 thing that my brother had taped, and I remember watching it like every night for two years. I recently got it again on DVD and I still knew every single second of it.
Are there any bands around at all new or old that you would recommend to anyone reading?
John: Well I'm pretty much disillusioned and very disenchanted with everything that's coming out at the moment that's contemporary guitar based.
Paul: There's nothing for me around right now, I mean there probably is and I just haven't found it yet.
John: Rather than people checking out new bands, I think people should just stop listening to XTC and fucking New Order and that shit, just forget about it man it was good for like 20 minutes, 20 years ago.
Paul: A lot of these bands around now, half of them are just copying them but you know they're trying to be different, and you know they've just put on a little skinny tie because they've seen someone else have success with it, and it's like every time it comes along you get probably just two good bands from each scene and then you get a thousand bands who don't realise that even that bandwagon has passed. I go out and still see twenty bands a week in London and you know they're just going to be like the Arctic Monkeys or whatever. I think you should just do what you're into, regardless of whether it's fashionable or whether it's gonna make you sell 10 million records.
Who would be your dream band to support?
Billy: Don't say Guns n Roses again Paul.
Paul: Elvis for me. It would be quite a big gig that wouldn't it? [laughs] Or Aerosmith, Bowie, T Rex or The Rolling Stones, when they were good.
John: Maybe The Who.
You'd trust yourself round Pete Townsend then?
John: I'm too old for him though aren't I?
Paul: Paedo in Speedos! That was a great headline! Oh, that was Gary Glitter.
John: I might consider Pete Townsend.
Paul: [laughing] Hey if you get us a gig out of it, you've slept with worse.
Who would you like to play you in a rockumentary of your career?
John: I think probably Ruud Van Nistelroy or Rio Ferdinand - ooh wait a minute Steve Guttenburg.
Paul: Hulk Hogan.
Billy: Leo Sayer!
Nic: Noel Edmonds.
So you didn't fancy writing an England world cup song then?
Paul: We did it's just no one wanted us to. [laughs]
John: God I hate our world cup song, it's just bollocks.
Have you heard Showaddywaddy's?
Paul: Yeah Showaddywaddy, that's what you need, someone who's not gonna take it all seriously. It's like how many football matches are you gonna go to where people sing that Embrace song? It's never going to catch on.
What's the most shameful record you own in your collections?
John: Probably a bit of Lionel Richie, I've got some shockers.
Paul: Barry Manilow, although I'm not ashamed of it, I absolutely love it! Barry he IS the man!
John: What's yours Billy? Limp Bizkit?
Jamie: I'm sure I've got worse than that.
Time for a reader's question - If you could liken your music to a piece of fruit, what fruit would it be?
John: A banana!
Paul: Yeah a banana most definitely.
John: A large banana mind, in fact more of a plantation. [Form an orderly queue please girls - or boys]
Have you enjoyed the endless touring? And how do you cope with the endless pressures it creates?
Paul: Well since November we have only done three gigs as we were touring constantly last year and this year we've just concentrated on writing. We've done a gig like this tonight to just come and play and try out some new songs. We didn't advertise this gig or anything we just wanted to come and play our new stuff.
John: We're just enjoying being comfortable at the moment but we do love playing loads.
What are The Glitterati's plans for the next 12 months then?
John: [joking] Splitting up and gonna do solo albums. [laughs]
Paul: Awe man, we're just itching to record our new album because we've got all the songs, so as soon as we can get that done, we'll get out on tour like last year, we did a 28 night tour and a 35 night tour, it's what we're about really, we're not interested in doing all the videos and stuff that goes with it, we're not just doing it to get girls and money and all that shit, we just love to get up there and play live, it's the one thing we really get pissed off about if we're not doing it, we can live without recordings and any of the other stuff I mentioned before.
And when should we expect The Glitterati's next release then?
Paul: Hopefully we'll be releasing a single in September but it's all a bit up in the air at the moment, hopefully September and touring off the back of it.
Do you know what it is you're going to be releasing yet?
Paul: Not quite sure yet. If they start booing at certain new songs tonight then we'll have a better idea [laughs].
And with that I let them get ready for the set with a last word from Paul.
Paul: I just wanted to say thanks as well to everyone at Leeds Music Scene who has supported us - cheers!