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Welcome to the official Distractions website. We will be aiming to record the history of one of the greatest, but least heralded, of all Manchester beat groups.

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

It's tough at the side

The first part of Betty Page's interview in the 12th July 1980 issue of Sounds.

Honesty And Feeling With Smelly Feet

The Distractions tell Betty Page: "It’s tough at the side!”

So there I was, sitting as comfortably as the bass drum beneath me would allow, my delicate pink stilettos vying for space with be-gaffa’d mike stands and towels in the back of an airless Transit van with a pop group. The things I could tell you about being on the road! Well, for ten minutes, anyway, sharing this most salubrious mode of transport with The Distractions, currently touring-to-promote-the-album and on their way to checking in at a local mid-priced guest house to match their current mid-successful status.

Mike Finney, lead crooner, variously described as bank clerk / accountant / friendly uncle, and Steve Perrin-Brown, half of guitar duo and often dubbed boy-next-doorish, bemoan the general lack of ackers. “I bet Grace Jones (Island label-matess) doesn’t have to travel in the back of a van. Perhaps she’s a highly-skilled welder, though. I’d look after her leopards if she’d mend my car!"

Reality dispels dreams of Amazons with the thought of Terry’s Guest House’s scrambled eggs (apparently resembling grey armadillos) and the next gig, at the Fulham Greyhound, local London pub testing ground.

The Distractions aren’t often stuck in a fantasy. Despite the constant championing by the press with the accompany shower of superlatives, they realise they have a long way to go yet. Deemed by many to be akin to a slowly maturing wine, the time for uncorking the bottle has yet to come. Back in ’78 our own Mick Middles described their snail paced crawl to success" as essential, and that a hit single then would’ve done some harm. Two years hence, the situation seems to have reversed. Do these particular molluscs have their target in sight?

Mike: “At the time it was true, but I agree, the situation has reversed and we would like a hit single. We’re the only pop group that doesn’t sell records.”

Steve: “It’s art – it must be if we’re working, not having any commercial success but getting critical acclaim. We’ve still got a lot more snail pacing to go; it’s a very ill snail and it can be a lethargic snail too.”

Has the media overkill done any damage?

Steve: “I don’t think it’s harmful. They’re not treating us like The Police. To be honest it’s the only thing that got us out of Manchester – it’s done us nothing but good.”

I mentioned the danger of media darlings being doomed to cult status, but Steve was convinced this was no bad thing: he’d prefer true appreciation rather than vague interest. But from hit records comes forth manna, something you don’t get too much of being a bunch of cults.

(c) Betty Page, Sounds, 12 July 1980.

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