Michael Halpin Journalism

1Nov/160

Live Review: Record Collector Magazine – December 2016 Issue – Primal Scream Live @ The Victoria Warehouse, Manchester

http://recordcollectormag.com/issue-detail/460

PRIMAL SCREAM
MANCHESTER VICTORIA WAREHOUSE
24TH SEPTEMBER, 2016

View: standing, stage-right
Straight out of the traps with Moving On Up, Bobby Gillespie was on fine form, though taped backing vocals were less impressive, and vocalist Hannah Marsden, appearing on Where The Light Gets In and Jailbird, offered more style than substance. Accelerator and Shoot Speed/Kill Light also left those not au fait with Primal Scream’s darker side dumbfounded, but none of it mattered as Gillespie and co moved into Screamadelica and the beautiful Damaged. The ease with which they jump from psychopathic krautrock to country-blues says everything about their eclectic nature.

A mesmeric Higher Than The Sun followed, before an extended Swastika Eyes. Loaded was predictably loved-up, while Country Girl drew a wonderfully goofy grin from Gillespie as a mass singalong erupted. Rocks closed the set before an euphoric encore in the form of Come Together.
Not vintage Primal Scream, maybe, but the Glaswegians remain as relevant and unpredictable as they’ve always been.
Reviewed by Michael Halpin

 

 

28Sep/160

Black Grape: The Victoria Warehouse, Manchester – Live Review for Louder Than War

http://louderthanwar.com/black-grape-the-victoria-warehouse-manchester-live-review/

Black Grape: The Victoria Warehouse, Manchester – Live Review

 

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Black Grape

The Victoria Warehouse

Manchester

24th September 2016

Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse saw the first Brit Project take place over the weekend with a mix of legendary artists and breakthrough bands sharing two stages in one of Manchester’s most intriguing venues.  Louder Than War’s Michael Halpin was there to tell us all about it. Photos by Paul Husband

The likes of Primal Scream, Black Grape, Badly Drawn Boy and Dodgy lined-up alongside The Watchmakers, Glass Caves, Feed The Kid and Sitting Pretty for this unique live music event.

Of the unsigned acts, The Watchmakers held their own most self-assuredly alongside the likes of Reverend and The Makers and Dodgy, the latter churning out their back catalogue of crowd pleasing hits.

Manchester’s own Badly Drawn Boy (AKA Damon Gough) followed Dodgy onstage, cutting a lone figure – just one man and his guitar.  The charismatic individual that he is however managed to charm the audience throughout his set. ‘Everybody’s Stalking’, ‘The Shining’, ‘Disillusion’ and ‘Once Around The Block’ sounded delightful when stripped down to their bare bones, as did a medley of ‘People Get Ready/Sexual Healing and Mohammed Ali’ before Gough closed his set with a beautiful cover of Black’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

Headliners Primal Scream played a greatest-hits-heavy set which included ‘Moving On Up’, ‘Loaded’, ‘Come Together’, ‘Higher Than The Sun’, ‘Rocks’ and ‘Country Girl’ but numbers from their questionable new album ‘Chaosmosis’ meant that this was not vintage Primal Scream and the evening was stolen by the recently reformed Black Grape.

Opening with their 1995 top ten hit ‘In The Name Of The Father’, Black Grape brought the Victoria Warehouse to life and the band, albeit not the original members, sounded far better than they ever did in the 90s.  There were grins aplenty onstage and Shaun Ryder appeared to be genuinely enjoying himself.  Possibly, for the first time in years.

‘Tramazi Parti’ followed ‘In The Name Of The Father’ and it was almost too difficult to think about writing a review when all I really wanted to do was throw a few Bez shapes like I did in the days when I was a touch more agile!

‘Reverend Black Grape’ appeared too early in the set but was as rabble-rousing in 2016 as it was over twenty years ago.  Ryder kicked into an impromptu ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ style “woo-woo” but the real excitement came from Kermit who certainly seems to have a good set of vocal pipes on him.  Again, far better than what can be recalled from the mid-90s.

The groove on ‘A Big Day In The North’ and  ‘Shake Well Before Opening’ was immense and the 2016 version of Black Grape is a water tight, groovy-as-fuck band who sailed through tonight’s set with the confidence of a well oiled machine.

That confidence spilled into ‘Kelly’s Heroes’ as it slipped into ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll’ briefly before an extended ‘Little Bob’ ended the set triumphantly.

Primal Scream may have been the headliners tonight but the evening definitely belonged to Black Grape.

 

~

http://www.blackgrapeofficial.com/

https://www.facebook.com/BlackGrapeOfficial/

Words by Michael Halpin.  You can find more of Michael’s writing on Louder Than War at his author’s archive.  He can also be found at http://www.michaelhalpinjournalism.co.uk

Photos by Paul Husband. He also tweets as @paul__husband.

 

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16Dec/130

Gig Review: Primal Scream – Academy 1, Manchester – Sunday, December 15th 2013

http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/171213889-gig-review-primal-scream-manchester-academy

Primal scream, on their day, can personify the unifying power of music. Repeatedly last night, not only did they instigate a feeling of complete oneness within the Academy, they also managed to look like a band who love what they do. Something that has not necessarily always been the case for Primal Scream.

Opening with 2013, a song which hits the core of everything that is wrong with Great Britain at the moment, it was instantly understood by all who witnessed it that Bobby Gillespie’s anger at the state of the nation is not some sort of career driven false resentment designed to show that he is still a Punk Rocker.  Do not even think about questioning his motives.  When Bobby Gillespie has something to say, you had better believe that he means every single word of it.

Hit Void followed with a blaring saxophone that is a welcome addition to Primal Scream’s live shows and Jailbird, the first real crowd pleaser of the night heard the audience take the chorus and Bobby Gillespie channel his Inner-Jagger striding from stage-left to stage-right, whipping up the audience with everything he had. It may have been Sunday night but Bobby Gillespie was having it large!

Shoot Speed, Kill Light and Accelerator from 2000’s EXTRMNTR were Electronic Punk Rock personified, leaving both the band and the audience in need of some breathing space.  The problem being that the breathing space lasted a little too long.  Culturecide, Elimination Blues, Walking With The Beast, Goodbye Johnny and Autobahn 66 all of which cannot be denied as strong numbers, disappointingly kept the gig at the same tempo for too long.

There was a sense of the audience becoming restless until the opening bars of It’s Alright, It's OK put an instant stop to all of that.  One of the years best singles, It’s Alright… brought all round good vibes to the Academy with a message that, unlike 2013, suggests that there may yet be some hope for the future.

A psychotic Swastika Eyes was dedicated to Tony Wilson and Factory Records while Country Girl, as it always should, raised the roof.  Even Bobby Gillespie enjoyed it, grinning from ear-to-ear while Country Girl flowed majestically into Rocks.

Right now Great Britain needs a great band.  Not just a great Rock ‘n’ Roll band, Punk band or Indie/Dance band but a band that celebrates music as a whole and has something valid to say while they are doing it.  Despite being 26 years into their recording career, on their day, Primal Scream are still that band.  As I'm Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have preceded its better-known offspring in the shape of Loaded, you could touch the anticipation in the audience.  Loaded came complete with spontaneous Sympathy for The Devil “Woo Woo’s!” from all in attendance just as Bobby Gillespie seemed to throw some Mick Jagger style shapes once more.

Come Together, complete with Jesse Jackson’s 1972 WattStax speech is a song that in many ways encapsulates everything wonderful about Primal Scream, “Today, you will hear, Gospel and Rhythm and Blues…and Jazz…we know all of those are just labels and music is music…” and this is the point with Primal Scream.  It is acutely evident that they are not just musicians.  They are genuine music fans who embrace anything and everything that they love about their own record collections.  Their fearless notion that if you like a certain style of music, do not be restricted by guitar, bass and drums, seems to know no bounds. That all encompassing spirit reached fever pitch during Come Together and the audience carried on singing the chorus long after the band has finished playing the song.  A pretty special moment.

Moving On Up finished the evening off in style and there was hugs all round between band members for what was Primal Scream’s last gig of 2013.  New bassist Simone Butler looked to be both bursting with pride and emotional towards the end of the set and I challenge any Primal Scream fan to point out an occasion on which Bobby Gillespie has looked as happy at the end of a gig as he did last night.

12Dec/130

Gig Preview: Primal Scream @ The Academy, Manchester – Sunday December 15 2013

http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/121213815-gig-preview-primal-scream-manchester-academy-%E2%80%93-december-15

Playing Manchester twice in the space of one week, what more could a Mancunian Primal Scream fan ask for?

Following Wednesday Night’s XFM Winter Wonderland Gig at the O2 Apollo with Jake Bugg and The 1975, this Sunday’s line-up looks equally as mouth-watering.

Support comes not only from Temples (surely the best new band of 2013) but also superstar DJ Andrew Weatherall, the man responsible for the remix of Primal Scream’s I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have, which, after Bobby Gillespie had given Weatherall instruction to ‘abuse the track’ evolved into the beast that we now know as Loaded.

Sunday night’s gig is Primal Scream’s last of 2013, a year that once again has proved that despite their advancing years, they are still wholly relevant in today’s musical landscape.  It is genuinely difficult to think of any other acts this year who have released anything as culturally pertinent as songs like 2013, Cultureside and Tenement Kid.  Taken from More Light, their most critically acclaimed work since 2000’s XTRMNTR, the album has also spawned not only a guest vocal from Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant on Eliminator Blues but also one of the best singles of the 2013 in the shape of Its Alright, Its OK.

A number of inspired festival performances over the summer showed Bobby Gillespie to still be the proverbial indie pop star and also showed why Primal Scream are still such a huge live attraction, possibly being a better live act now than they have ever been.

The prospect of set list including the likes of Moving On Up, Rocks, Country Girl, Swastika Eyes, Higher Than The Sun, Come Together and Loaded as well as tracks from one of the years most highly acclaimed albums, all delivered with a still genuine punk-rock ethos, will surely make for one of the best gigs Manchester has seen this year.

Primal Scream play The Academy, Manchester on Sunday 15th of December.

 

12Dec/130

Gig Preview: Primal Scream @ The Academy, Manchester – Sunday December 15 2013

http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/121213815-gig-preview-primal-scream-manchester-academy-%E2%80%93-december-15

Playing Manchester twice in the space of one week, what more could a Mancunian Primal Scream fan ask for?

Following Wednesday Night’s XFM Winter Wonderland Gig at the O2 Apollo with Jake Bugg and The 1975, this Sunday’s line-up looks equally as mouth-watering.

Support comes not only from Temples (surely the best new band of 2013) but also superstar DJ Andrew Weatherall, the man responsible for the remix of Primal Scream’s I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have, which, after Bobby Gillespie had given Weatherall instruction to ‘abuse the track’ evolved into the beast that we now know as Loaded.

Sunday night’s gig is Primal Scream’s last of 2013, a year that once again has proved that despite their advancing years, they are still wholly relevant in today’s musical landscape.  It is genuinely difficult to think of any other acts this year who have released anything as culturally pertinent as songs like 2013, Cultureside and Tenement Kid.  Taken from More Light, their most critically acclaimed work since 2000’s XTRMNTR, the album has also spawned not only a guest vocal from Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant on Eliminator Blues but also one of the best singles of the 2013 in the shape of Its Alright, Its OK.

A number of inspired festival performances over the summer showed Bobby Gillespie to still be the proverbial indie pop star and also showed why Primal Scream are still such a huge live attraction, possibly being a better live act now than they have ever been.

The prospect of set list including the likes of Moving On Up, Rocks, Country Girl, Swastika Eyes, Higher Than The Sun, Come Together and Loaded as well as tracks from one of the years most highly acclaimed albums, all delivered with a still genuine punk-rock ethos, will surely make for one of the best gigs Manchester has seen this year.

Primal Scream play The Academy, Manchester on Sunday 15th of December.

 

 

 

6May/130

Mark Collins – The Charlatans Mountain Picnic Blues Interview

 

http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/060510326-interview-charlatans-legend-mark-collins-tellin%E2%80%99-stories-film-tragic-death-band-ma

Following The Charlatans recent announcement that they are to release the film Mountain Picnic Blues – The Making of Tellin’ Stories on May 13, Mancunian Matters spoke to guitarist Mark Collins to discuss the bittersweet period that brought both the death of Keyboard player Rob Collins and the bands most successful album to date.  We also spoke to Mark about The Charlatans plans for the future.

As Mark greeted us he instantly began to explain that Mountain Picnic Blues came about via 2012’s 15th Anniversary tour of Tellin’ Stories: “A company called Start Productions had heard we were doing a few shows and said they’d like to put one (a documentary) together.  We said ‘Go on then, as long as you don’t want us to pay for it.’  Chris, who was putting it together, showed us some of his other stuff and we went ‘alright, let’s commit it to film!”

Mancunian Matters asked Mark how he felt about the inevitable questions that would arise regarding the death of Rob Collins during the recording of Tellin’ Stories, especially when revisiting the period through both Mountain Picnic Blues and last years tour: “None of us go a week without reflecting back on Rob” Mark explained.  “He’s always with us.  We don’t feel awkward talking about Rob.  Rob was a big part of our lives and he was a big part of that record.  It’s a shame he wasn’t around to enjoy the aftermath of the record.  We still take him on tour with us because if we ever run samples live of some of the songs, he’s in there.  We just put him in a little box…he’s a lot easier to carry around these days!”

Rob Collins could indeed be “difficult to carry around.”  John Robb’s 1998 biography of The Charlatans We Are Rock describes Rob as ‘the bands Wild-man…banging on hotel doors at all hours looking for partners in crime, covering the drivers eyes on the way to gigs and generally looning around.’

Rob may well be ‘a lot easier to carry around these days’ but the affection in Mark’s voice when he speaks about Rob still reveals a sadly missed friend and band mate.

In early 1996 when Mark Collins, Tim Burgess and company set to work on Tellin’ Stories they did so by flying out of the blocks with a blitz of recording that produced One To Another, North Country Boy and How High:  “In session one we recorded those three” Mark enthused.

As the sessions progressed and the album began to take shape, the mood within the band was at an all time high.  On the evening of July 22nd 1996 however, all of that was about to change.

Following an afternoon and early evening spent in a pub in Monmouth, The Charlatans headed back to the studio at around 10pm.  Rob Collins decided to drive his own BMW back to Monnow Valley studios and on the journey back attempted to race a car containing other members of the band.  Rob tried to take a short cut but collided with several parked cars.  Not wearing a seat belt, he was thrown through his windscreen.  He died in an ambulance on the way to hospital.

Stunned by Rob’s death, The Charlatans spent the following days wrapped in confusion.  Did The Charlatans end there?  Would it be disrespectful to carry on?  A visit form Rob Collins’ Dad explained that Rob would have wanted them to continue and Jeff Barrett from Heavenly PR gave the band an impassioned speech as to why they should keep on going.

The immediate business that needed to be taken care of was The Charlatans support slot with Oasis at Knebworth.  Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream had immediately offered keyboard player Duffy’s services: “He offered Duffy on a free loan.” Mark recalls.  Duffy respectfully learned Rob Collins keyboard parts and the band appreciated his presence: “He was a great person to be around at the time.”  Recalled Mark.  “He is… playing wise…a genius but in a different style to Rob’s Genius.  It worked perfectly.”

Knebworth was undoubtedly the most difficult gig The Charlatans would ever have to play and in effect The Charlatans were grieving in public that day.  Nothing was dedicated to Rob Collins because as Martin Blunt put it at the time: “from now on everything will dedicated to him.”

Over 100,000 people were behind The Charlatans at Knebworth and what was given to both Rob Collins and their audience was the most ferocious gig they had ever played.  Mancunian Matters asked Mark if he was aware of the audience willing them on?  “I can’t really remember that gig other than walking out and concentrating on giving Duffy little nods where he’s supposed to change chords. He had five days rehearsing with us to learn a whole set.  I don’t even know whether I looked out at the crowd.  We were just staring across the stage at each other concentrating on making sure that people knew…It was a message of intent.  ‘Were not splitting up, here you go, were moving.”

Just two weeks after Knebworth The Charlatans release One To Another as a single.  It hit number three in the UK charts and Mark describes the track as ‘a monster’.  When we asked him if he had a favourite track from Tellin’ Stories he told us: “The four singles that came off it, One To Another, North Country Boy, How High and Tellin’ Stories, they all still sound great to me.”

Mark also explained to us the circumstances regarding the release of One to Another: “Once we’d done that session we said to the record company ‘We’re going to release One To Another’ and they were very good, they let us.  Rob played on those and I was thinking about this, if Rob had had his accident on week one, we might have called it a day.”

We reminded Mark about One To Another being voted the best single of the 90’s in Loaded Magazine: “I’ve got a picture of me, next to George Best.  I’m holding up our Single Of The Decade (Award) and he’s holding up his Player Of The Century (Award).   We’ve got our arms around each other holding up our trophies.  That was a good night that…”

Following Knebworth and the release of One to Another the band came to the decision to finish the Tellin’ Stories album.  Duffy would fill out Rob Collins parts, the rest would add finishing touches and the album would be complete.

We asked Mark if he felt as though the band owed it to themselves to finish Tellin’ Stories?  “It would have been the wrong thing to do to call it a day then.  It had to be done all round.  It was essential.”

In April 1997 North Country Boy was released as a single, reaching number four in the UK charts.  The same month, the Tellin’ Stories album was released and became the bands third number one album.  The reviews were full of praise, many commenting that it was The Charlatans most coherent and well-structured album to date.

Tony Rogers was drafted into the band on Keyboards for the Tellin’ Stories Tour and as a result became a fully-fledged member: “Tony’s unflappable” said Mark: “But we weren’t after someone to fill someone’s boots.  They’ve got to bring their own thing and Tony was completely capable of that.”

The tour that kicked off that spring was an emotional affair.  Within the audience there was genuine love, care and admiration for The Charlatans and the courage they had shown.  Mancunian Matters asked Mark if there was a sense within the band that the audience were doing more than just enjoying The Charlatans gigs on that tour? “Definitely, we felt like….there’s a lot of us!”

As 1997 rolled on How High and title track Tellin’ Stories both enter the top twenty in the UK singles chart.  A homecoming gig at the Manchester Nynex in November 1997 was a special night and we asked Mark what he thinks of homecoming gigs?: “It’s a nightmare! (laughs) Friends and family wanting guest lists! I hate them…! No, they’re great.  I even got my Mam and Dad there to the Nynex ones.”

Gigs at Glasgow Barrowlands and London Docklands Arena capped off the end of the tour and the end of a period that for better or worse has come to define The Charlatans. As Mountain Picnic Blues will show upon its release, The Charlatans really can take on anything and come out fighting.

Following the release of Mountain Picnic Blues, The Charlatans will begin recording sessions for a new album  in June: “Were hoping it could be finished by the end of the year…we’d like to think that we would have a 2014 release.”

The Charlatans will also be playing the following gigs this summer:

 

July 7              Delamere Forest Festival       Northwich

July 27             Kendal Calling                         Lake District

 

 

5May/130

Mark Collins Transcript of interview

Michael: Where did the idea for the DVD come from? Did it come from last years 15th anniversary tour of ‘Tellin’ Stories or did you already have the idea?

Mark: Some guys from a company called ‘Start Productions’ how’ve made films of Mott The Hoople and Love had heard we were doing a few shows and they said they’d like to put one together. So they just approached us and we said “Go on then, as long as you don’t want us to pay for it then great”.

Michael: So did they suggest doing ‘Tellin’ Stories’ as a subject or did the band suggest it?

Mark: They did. Chris who was putting it together, it was his idea to do the documentary and he just pitched it to us, showed us some of his other stuff that he’d done and we went “alright, fair enough, let’s commit it to film!”

Michael: So when you actually decided to do the Mountain Picnic Blues film, as well as well as the Tellin Stories Anniversiary Tour, obviously, because of the period that it covered in the band, you’re always going to get people reflecting back on Rob Collins and what happened. How do you feel about that looking back on it now because there’s almost a positive connection because you can still connect with your mate if you like through your music which not a lot of people get the opportunity to do…

Mark: Of course…None of go a week withour reflecting back on Rob, he’s always with us and he will be till the end. We don’t feel awkward about talking about Rob, Rob was a big part of our lives and he was a big part of that record and it’s a shame he wasn’t around to enjoy the aftermath of the record. We still take him on tour with us, he still comes away with us, you know, because if we ever run samples live of some of the songs he’s in there. We just put him in a little box…he’s a lot easier to carry around these days!

Michael: That must be bitter sweet I suppose because commercially and critically it was the most successful time of the band…

Mark: Well, it’d be nice if commercially it’d sorted us out…it sorted out an accountant who robbed us…but that’s another documentary that one!

Michael: In the Mountain Picnic Blues film is there any favourite moments? Is there any great live moments that you particularly enjoy?

Mark: I’ve not watched it! (Laughs) I’m going to watch it on Monday, there’s a screening going on at the ICA in London so I thought I’d wait till then. I thought “I’ll go and watch it with an audience.” I’ve got an idea what’s going to be in it…

Michael: So is there any footage from what you’ve seen where you think “that’s brilliant that”…
Mark: I’ve not seen any footage, I’ve got a rough idea whats going to be in it because ive spoken to the rest of the band…and I was there when he was asking me questions…and I was there when I was playing the gigs…and I was there when I was making the record and I’ve got a rough idea what going to be happening. Have you watched it then?

Michael: No, No. I’ve seen the trailer but that’s it but they’re doing a screening in Manchester as well so I’m going to go to that if I can get a ticket.

Michael: So, with the Tellin’ Stories album then, do you have a particular favourite song from that album?

Mark: A Particular favourite? Not really. I mean the four singles that came off it, ‘One To Another’, ‘North Country Boy’, ‘How High’ and ‘Tellin’ Stories’, they all still sound great to me. I mean if I go and sit in my car for an hour and drive around I will hear one of those everyday and it still sounds fresh to me on the radio, and I still get a buzzfrom hearing it.

Michael: ‘One To Another’, just to take as an example, is an unbelievably well regarded tune. Even now…

Mark: It’s a monster!

Michael: Well all four of those tracks that you’ve mentioned are…the whole album is really! But ‘One To Another’ got voted ‘Single of The Decade’ in Loaded magazine…

Mark: It did!,its funny you just said that coz I’m just looking on my wall actually and I’ve got a picture of me, next to George Best, and I’m holding up our single of the decade (award) and he’s holding up his ‘Player of the century’ (award) and we’ve got our arms around each other holding up our trophies. That was a good night that…

Michael: I read somewhere that when you started recording the album, that you record ‘One To Another’, ‘North Country Boy’ and ‘How High’ in the same early sessions? Is that true?

Mark: They did yeah. We were doing it (recording) in two week sessions and in session one we recorded those three. It was kind of different in those days, we’d just book ourselves into the studio and once we’d done that session one we said to the record company “We’re going to release ‘One To Another’” and they said “Well you haven’t finished the album yet” and we said “Don’t worry about it” and they were very good, they let us and people don’t do that…release while you’re still recording and that’s why Rob’s in the video for ‘One To Another’. We were allowed to release singles before finishing the record. Rob played on those and I was thinking about this, if Rob had had his accident on week one, we might have called it a day but because we’d made 90% of the record we had to see it through and complete it and release it.

Michael: Did it feel as if you not only owed it to Rob but also owed it to yourselves to do that?

Mark: It would have been incomplete. It would have been the wrong thing to do to call it a day then. It had to be done all round. It was essential.

Michael: I think that your fans must have made a big difference as well. The way that people were behind you at Knebworth. People were willing you on and willing you to succeed that day and even afterwards on the tour in ’97 for the Tellin’Stories album, it was more than just enjoying the Charlatans, it was more like “come on lads, keep going”

Mark: There’s a lot of us!

Michael: Exactly! There’s a lot of us! Did you pick up on that?

Mark: Definitely. Maybe not so much at the Knebworth thing because I can’t really remember that gig other than sort of walking out and concentrating on giving Duffy little node where he’s supposed to change chords and stuff because Duffy had had about five days rehearsing with us to learn a whole set. So it was concentration, do it, get in the helicopter and get leathered. That’s my memories of Knebworth! I don’t even know whether I looked out at the crowd. I think we were just staring across the stage at each other concentrating on making sure that people knew…it was a message of intent. “Were not splitting up, here you go, were moving.”

Michael: Well it’s like the statement you put out. “THERE WILL BE NO CHANGE. WE ARE FUCKING ROCK. WE’VE LOST OUR MATE.”

I Read about Duffy and the way that he came in. Is it true that Bobby Gillespie pretty much just said “Duffy’ll do it for you” without Duffy actually knowing about it to begin with. Is that true?

Mark: It sounds like something that Bobby would do yeh! I’m trying to think of the exact point…but I just remember hearing that he was on a free loan and he was a great person to be around at the time, I don’t know if you’ve ever met him but he is character wise (laughs) probably the complete opposite of Rob, playing wise – a genius but in a different style to Rob’s genius. They were ying and yang but it worked perfectly.

Michael: when Tony Rogers came in that must have been strange still for Tony? I know you can’t speak for him but…

Mark: Tony’s another character. He’s unflappable but again we weren’t after someone to fill someone boots. They’ve got to bring their own thing to the party and Tony was completely capable of that…more that capable of that and since we met him we were like “right, okay, when are you joining?…”

Michael: …because he’s not looked back really, if you look at it like that. He’s like an integrated member of the band now.

Mark: Yeh, he’s not a hired hand. He’s a member.

Michael: Obviously you revisited the Tellin’ Stories album last year and you’ve revisited ‘Some Friendly’ in the past as well. Would you consider doing it for any of you’re other albums?

Mark: Maybe…its hard to say right at this moment because were not feeling retrospective right now, even though there’s a retrospective DVD coming out…Were working on the next album at the moment, so were not thinking about revisiting stuff at the moment but I wouldn’t rule it out. I wouldn’t, maybe at some point doing ‘The Charlatans’ album or maybe doing ‘Wonderland’ or ‘Us and Us Only’, or do them back to back. I’m totally down with doing stuff like that, I don’t mind it at all but for the moment were thinking New Record.

Michael: Any idea when that will be finished?

Mark: Well, our first recording session starts in June so were hoping it could be finished by the end of the year but were in no hurry, were taking our time, we’d like to think that we would have a 2014 release.

Michael:…and you’ve got the Delamere Forrest and Kendall Calling gigs in the summer…

Mark: Yeh, July, we’ve not done Delamere for a while. Last time we did it, it absolutely lashed it down, it was a really good one though. Ive got fond memories of that one and we’ve not done Kendall Calling as a band before.

Michael: When we were talking about doing other albums, would you ever consider doing a gig where you did an album by another band? Say, The Charlatans do ‘ There’s a Riot Going on’ or ‘Searching For The Young Soul Rebels’ or ‘Bringing it All Back Home’?

Mark: (laughing)I’ve not even considered it, probably not…no….I don’t see how we could do something like ‘Searching For The Young Soul Rebels’ better than Dexy’s did it and how can you better a Dylan record? I think we’d be on very thin ice doing something like that and I don’t feel comfortable about touching other people’s classic records so I’ll pass thank you!

Michael: Okay…No problem..

Michael: Can I just ask as well. When you did the Tellin Stories tour in ’97 things seemed to grow as the tour went on and it seemed as if the band really picked up, what I’ve noticed is…and I don’t know if I should tell you this but I’ve got a bootleg of the Brixton Academy gig on that tour, the one where Paul Weller played and Noel Gallagher was on

Mark: oh…yeh…yeh…Weller come up and did Cant Get out of Bed and Sproston Green and he murdered it!

Michael: (laughs) Did he!?

Mark: Only Joking Paul! It was beautiful…it was a beautiful thing.

Michael: and I read that you did and good home coming gig at the Nynex that year, I know its not a home coming gig for all of you but do you still get a buzz when you those home town gigs because obviously they are special…

Mark: It’s a nightmare! Friends and family wanting guesrlists! I hate them…! No, they’re great,we did the Apollo just recently and I even got my mam and dad there to the Nynex ones…

Michael: Were they sitting there like proud parents?

Mark: yeah, they turned the hearing aids off and shut the windows…but no those gigs are great, just a few guest list problems that’s all.