Which do you prefer playing, gigs or festivals?
Probably gigs, just because of the volume. There’s something about having a wall behind so that the sound bounces off. It’s a contained space where you can generate more energy. Having said that, I love festivals, but it’s just not quite as easy. You don’t get a sound check, and we’re a very musical band so we need to hear each other. When we hear each other well we play better. So festivals sometimes can be a bit challenging, tonight was quite hard work.
What’s the worst gig you’ve ever been to or played?
I don’t stay at bad gigs, I walk out very quickly. The worst gig I’ve ever played? Some of our early ones weren’t that hot. We used to be terrified on stage. At some of our early gigs we used to rush off stage after 20 minutes. We were very shy.
If a gig’s going badly do you get off or soldier on?
Oh, always soldier on, always look for a way out of why the gig’s going badly. Tonight it was hard because we were having so many technical things going wrong. My best trick is to look out into the audience, and find someone who’s really enjoying it and just sing to them for a bit. Their enthusiasm bounces back.
What was the first gig you ever went to?
Steve Harley in Cockney Rebel in Leeds town hall.
What’s the best piece of tat you’ve ever bought at a festival?
We were playing at the Lola Poluza festival, going on before Korn, and the audience were all shouting “faggots” at us. After the second day I went out into the festival arena and found this amazing clothes stall that had sparkly mirror ball shirts and dresses and so we bought one for every member of the band. They were selling them off because no one else was going to buy them at a macho festival, so they were about 5 or 10 dollars each. So we decked the whole band up in these mirror ball outfits [laughs] so we could be “true” fags. I mean we didn’t look like “fags”, I don’t want to offend people, but we ended up looking like their idea of what “faggots” were meant to be, which is what they were screaming at us every day. We were just playing to it and we had a great time, it was wonderful.
What’s the first thing James will be doing when they leave the festival?
Get back to our hotels, get some sleep, because we haven’t really slept for about a day and we’re going off to play Dublin tomorrow. I think we’re all looking like zombies today.
What are James drinking?
James are drinking whatever they can get their greedy hands on in the other room. I drink water. That’s just me, the others are all alcoholics. They don’t know it yet, they’re not trying to come off though [laughs], they’re just enjoying it.
“Nothing is capable of being well set to music that is not nonsense” do you agree or disagree?
They must have been tone deaf.
What’s your favourite instrument?
Today it’s the accordion.
What’s your favourite song?
Today it’s “Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. Tomorrow it’ll be something different.
What’s the first thing you do before going on stage?
Try to warm up my voice; I take some Chinese herbs for my throat. The other thing is dance, backstage.
What’s the first thing you do after you’ve been on stage?
Take of my earpieces and pull off bits of Sellotape from out of my ears, and off my body.
What’s you’re favourite place in the world?
San Francisco, or thereabouts.
“Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom, if you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn” Charlie Parker – do you agree?[laughs] It won’t come out of your horn? [laughs more] I like the quote. Yeah, I mean that’s more my experience, and I definitely sing from my horn.