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the official distractions website

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 30, 2013

Pure pop with character

Here's the third and final part of the amusing interview by Betty Page in Sounds in July 1980:

Honesty And Feeling With Smelly Feet

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

Consensus was finally reached; if The Distractions must be filed under “group identity”, this is what it’s to be: “Honesty and feeling with smelly feet.”

The debut elpee “Nobody’s Perfect” treads a fine line between pure pop with character and pap, as in disposable.  Steve recognised the danger of crossing that line: “When the pressure’s on to do a second album, meet deadlines, then you start writing second rate stuff, drivel.  It’s very frustrating as I see my main job as writing new songs.  They just get stockpiled and I go stale.

“Everything in rock ‘n’ roll happens six months later, which is a stupid system if you’re supposed to be halfway creative.  I don’t reckon anyone can last longer than three albums unless they’re exceptionally talented.”

The release of the latest single, Eden Kane’s “Boys Cry” was by no means a calculated move, it transpires.

S: “I didn’t want it out – Pip and I were dead set against it.  I saw it as grovelling to Radio One.  We can’t do Eden Kane songs forever more.”

Mike: “It was done as a joke at first, in one day, for a B-Side.”

Alec: “It turned into a monster, kept growing and just took over, but it’ll be the last cover version we do.”

Band/label democracy ruled, despite Steve’s feelings that it was a duff song with embarrassingly cloying lyrics. 
Apart from such minor disagreements, The Distractions are at peace with Island and most of The World.  Happy with the album too – and please note producers Phil Chapman and Jon Astley did not produce The Sweet (tsk, tsk, DMcC).  Mr Chapman is, however, Manchester’s equivalent of Phil Spector, I’m told.

The next single must be a new song, not another from the album like “Stuckina Fantasy” which Pip (lady bassist) says Island decided was an instant song after they'd had the album for three months.

When I ask if anything else should be set straight, Pip gets her oar in: “Yes, I’m not gay.  Everyone keeps saying I’m gay.”  This remark stuns the rest into silence until Mike pipes up: “I’d better go break the news to Joanna.”

Seems a good place to end... except for one thought.  Ponder the image problems they’ll have it they carry out their threat and produce a scratch ‘n’ sniff kebab concept album...

(c) Betty Page, Sounds, 12 July 1980.

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