At the final date of the 1998 Best Of tour, Tim asked me to come back stage with a tape recorder. Below is a transcription of our conversation:
T: What it is is that I’d like to make a statement, if that’s alright with you.
T: You can use it, and if you don’t mind letting the other fanzines use it…
D: Well, I don’t actually run a fanzine
T: I thought you did.
D: No, that’s John and Su.
T: Well, whatever. It was simply because I’ve been reading, in the latest one, A Sound Investment, the stuff about us not changing the set list anymore and seeing you there every night, it was just I thought what I’d better do is address it. It’s simply that we… that’s gone now .. you know, James has changed and we won’t be changing the set list very often again. There’s lots of reasons. I’m the only one that wants to change the set list and has wanted to for a year. And no one else does, and the reasons are quite sensible. It started out with the Adrian thing, and him learning a small set. And it was also that, like, if we’re playing to 4000, and maybe a few hundred people come both nights we’d be changing the set and maybe making the set not as good just for those 400.
D: I guess it’d mean messing around with the lights as well.
T: No, the lighting guy wants us to change it, that’s what he’s done for 10 years.
D: The lights last night were much better.
T: He loves the difficulty of not knowing what the hell we’re going to do next. And, it’s like we should make the set list for the 4000 rather than the hundred or two that are coming both nights. That was one of the reasons. And the other was that most of the others believe we play better when we’re playing the same songs. I actually disagree with that, but I’m outvoted. And that’s as it is. So I kinda wanted to say that, because I know people are coming with this expectation and it no longer applies. But, unfortunately, we just aren’t…
D: We’ve been coming watching you for years, quite a few of us…
T: I know. I know. I mean, I miss it, but it’s like… I also see why the others don’t want it, and obviously when we do the Christmas tour it’ll be all the new songs and it’ll be that kind of change, but…
D: Have you got anything specific planned for later on in the year?
T: Almost certainly something in December.
D: It’ll be even colder outside.
T: It’ll certainly be colder outside. You’ll have to come a bit later. Or you’ll have to bring your thermals.
D: How’s the album going?
T: Fantastic, it’s nearly platinum, by the fact that we get a platinum disc tonight, in advance.
D: On stage?
T: No, no… we haven’t gone that far.
D: It nearly stayed number 1 the week Pulp came out.
T: Yeah, even the second week we were only a few hundred copies away… and now we’re at number 3. It’s doing great. Oh, the other reason is that the last couple of years have been more about survival… like, my physical survival and other people’s kind of survival in different ways.
D: Yeah, we weren’t expecting you to come back last year, we thought it was all over.
T: Yeah. I think in a sense we probably did… or parts of us did. And changing the set list… the other reason why, which is, really sensible, is that it used to cause so many rows before we’d go on stage.
D: We’ve been outside venues sort of… when the doors have been open…
T: It could cause a lot of division, and it was like… well, you know, and in that sense “can’t be arsed” is fair enough… (refering to an article in A Change of Scenery Issue #7)
D: Well, that wasn’t the exact comment I made. The guy who wrote the article in the last fanzine (A Change of Scenery Issue #8)…
T: Well… No, I think there’s some… you see, I’m in two minds… cause I can hear those arguments and I agree… I can see the sense in a lot of them, but there’s something in my spirit that’s very upset by it not changing, and… “can’t be arsed” can be levelled as a criticism sometimes. But it’s more… it’s not so much “can’t be arsed”, it’s that we’re very chaotic… and getting us to rehearse songs… let’s say, two people don’t want to do the song, and you try to get people to rehearse it… it doesn’t work anymore…
D: Is that why some of the songs you’ve been doing, you’ve been doing with three or four members… the other guys not being involved?
T: On the stage you mean? Not really….
D: Ah, with the sessions…
T: Ah, the sessions… Partly, cause those sessions sometimes the room’s not big enough for bass and drums. It really varies. I mean, partly it’s been, you know, who wants to do that session. It’s kind of, shambolic…
D: Cause I guess it’s the first time in a long time that you’ve been doing that many sessions in such a short period of time…
T: Yes… They’ve been great. I thought the GLR was the best we’ve ever done…
D: Was the song you did at Radio 1 – the jam between playing into the show – was that actually…
T: I can’t remember it, actually. I don’t know what we were doing at the time.
D: I think Mike at the BBC was recording it.
T: No, that was just us messing around. Noone’s even listened back to it. Like, we made up a song today in soundcheck and one yesterday, but to be honest they get lost a lot. It’s like us just playing.
D: How much stuff have you got, like all this unreleased stuff that’s hidden away?
T: The new stuff?
T: Over the years? Oh don’t, I don’t know
D: Well we’ve got a tape that we’re doing on the internet which we’re basically people are sending us a tape and stamps or whatever to post it and it’s basically just the songs from bootlegs from over the years and it’s all the live songs that you never actually got to the studio.
T: We never got to release …
D: There’s some really good songs on it.
T: I’d like to hear it one day.
D: I can send you a copy. Most of them are from the eighties.
T: And the other issue, the one about us releasing different formats for the singles, again it’s something I’m totally uncomfortable with, but has been a matter of us competing and surviving.
D: If you don’t get in the charts, you’re lost.
T: All I can say to people is discriminate and don’t buy them automatically. You know, look at them and see if you want them.
D: But I mean the multimedia one was a lot better.
D: Because the remixes we thought weren’t that great. The mulitmedia was something different.
T: We’ve been stretched a few times and it’s been like … we haven’t got it so there’s been a few remixes and again it’s kind of a compromise with the survival basically.
D: Do you know what you’re putting on Runaground yet?
T: Saul, Dave and Mark with Ott did a remix. This really good one.
D: Of Runaground?
T: Yeah, it’s really odd though. It’s got like extra guitar and extra different things in. And I think we’re putting some of the GLR on one of the tapes, I actually wanted the whole of the GLR and I think there’s something else.
D: I guess it’s rarities, like on Destiny.
T: Yeah, yeah I think so, there might be, I don’t know.
D: Do you have a planned date for the album? Is there going to be a single with the festivals then the album?
T: I hope so. If we’re lucky, we’ll get a song out in the summer before the thing gets released, but I’m doing the play you see. So that’s gonna be a little bit ….
D: How that’s going?
T: We start next week
D: That’s sort of when the single’s coming out?
T: We start next week. I have a couple of promo things I can probably do and that’s it. It won’t give it as much push. (to press officer)Is that it?
D : I guess you need to go now.