Sunday, April 25, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
SP: I’d been living in Italy for a while and had just moved back to Manchester. Mike suggested that we do some stuff and I said OK as long as we did new material. The idea of being an oldies act has always horrified me.
You mention a few gigs in Manchester and Liverpool in 1995, where were these and how were they?
SP: The gigs were good. We sounded a lot better than in the early days, partly due to the fact that technology had moved on and we could actually hear each other. It also helped that there was a considerably better chance of everybody on stage being sober. There was an issue, however, in terms of context. In the '70s we emerged from our audience. In the '90s it was very difficult to say who our audience might be.
You’ve said in previous interviews that you were influenced by the Velvet Underground, Beatles, Bowie and Roxy Music. While the 1995 demos are unmistakably The Distractions, were you further influenced by any scene or band in the 14 years that had elapsed since the group split up?
SP: Influences are always hard to spot. In a way you get influenced by everything and nothing. I mean, two of my favourite bands are the Cramps and Mazzy Star but we don’t sound anything like either of them. Similarly, there was a period (and I’m talking about something between two and five years here, I can’t really remember) where I refused to listen to anything other than Scott Walker and Miles Davis but I don’t really see that coming through. I admire Stephin Merritt and Jarvis Cocker as song writers so maybe there’s something there but, basically, if Mike and I start playing together, for better or for worse, it sounds like the Distractions.
Given the famous names who’ve commented favourably on The Distractions over the years, how frustrating was it that sales didn’t match the critical acclaim poured upon you around the time of Time Goes By So Slow and Nobody’s Perfect?
SP: At the time it was very frustrating given the fact that good reviews have no nutritional value so you can’t eat them. Luckily I’ve found other things to eat since.
What music do you find yourselves listening to these days?
SP: It goes through stages. I’m very fond of French and Italian pop music from the 1960s and '70s but sometimes I’ll go through long phases of listening to Western or Eastern classical music or jazz. What I’ve heard of the new Magnetic Fields album sounds good and I think Timbaland’s a really interesting producer though he may have passed his best now. This could go on and on so I’ll stop.