Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Live @ Bristol Anson Rooms
November 16, 2007
Interview & Photography: Steve Bateman

Famously taking their name from the Marlon Brando-led biker gang, in the classic 1953 film, The Wild One. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Robert Levon Been (vox / bass / guitar), Peter Hayes (vox / guitar / bass) and Nick Jago (drums / percussion) - formed in San Francisco, California in 1998, but struggling to get gigs, recorded a 16trk demo and relocated to Los Angeles in 1999, as "the scene for new music there was more evolved." After regularly playing live, selling CDs at their shows and gaining radio airplay, they were soon noticed by The Music Industry, and in due time, signed a major record deal with Virgin Records, which importantly, allowed the three men who dress in black to produce their own albums.

Then, in 2001, when the NME was smitten with US bands, including The Strokes and The White Stripes (who formed part of the music paper's New Rock Revolution). BRMC, with their intoxicating brew of garage rock 'n' roll, introspective lyrics, effortlessly cool style, iconic imagery, brooding dark heart attitude, and a fuzzy / psychedelic guitar wall of sound - indebted to great British Shoegazer bands such as The Jesus And Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine - found themselves in the right place at the right time! One journalist accurately wrote, "The songs' multiple sonic layers, inhabit a landscape of squalling feedback and pop-tinged white noise that's seriously addictive."

With Noel Gallagher also lending his support, endorsing the three-piece as his "favourite new band," Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were invited to tour with Oasis, and combined with the release of their self-titled debut album, they begun making waves on this side of the Atlantic. Big things were expected, but then 2003's follow-up LP, the politically-charged (in places) Take Them On On Your Own, received mixed reviews and ultimately, a muted reception. With life on the road also taking its toll on each band member, Nick was on the brink of despair, and quit BRMC in 2004, having been absorbed by a whirlwind of drink, drugs and inter-band conflicts.

High School friends, songwriters and twin vocalists, Robert and Peter, had also seen their relationship with Virgin Records come to an end (due to business disputes), but were promptly picked up by Echo in the UK, and RCA in the USA, who they would then go on to deliver an album for in 2005. Steeped in country-tinged Americana, folk and blues, the universally-acclaimed Howl, was a stripped-down, rootsy, spiritual and acoustic affair, and signalled an understated departure from BRMC's trademark snarling sound / early sonic assaults.

Most importantly though, it's a record which saved the band, as it also saw Nick making amends and returning to the fold in the final stages of recording. Interestingly, both Took Out A Loan and 666 Conducer, were recorded at the end of these sessions, but were held back for the band's fourth album… And bringing us bang up-to-date, is 2007's Baby 81 (named after the Sri Lankan baby rescued in the 2004 Asian Tsunami Disaster), which is not only a return to the musical world in which the band originally resided and thrived. But, it has also reawakened the beast in Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and for me, is the best record of their career so far, as it masterfully fuses all 3 of their previous efforts together, whilst still exhibiting a noticeable edge and musical progression!

Released through Island Records / Drop The Gun Recordings, the LP features an assortment of wondrous songs, which are nearly all sequenced in the chronological order in which they were recorded. Robert elaborated, "I know a lot of bands don't do that, but I think it makes the album feel more alive, it's like a living, breathing organism. I think we all took a leap of faith a little bit more on this album, writing more current songs. We used to hold on pretty tight to new songs, but it kind of feels like people are finally going to hear where we're at right now - we're much more in the moment."

One reviewer enthused, "Baby 81 is a 13trk rollercoaster of a record!" Another, "I don't believe there is any greater thing in life, than seeing a really good band mature and grow into a truly great band!" While Peter describes this particular album as, "The sister of Howl." As a long-time BRMC fan, I had the pleasure of meeting the whole band fresh from their recent support dates with the Kings Of Leon in America, before interviewing Robert prior to the group's thunderous and gripping show at Bristol University. Which only served to heighten the fact, that this is a collective who still demand your full attention!

"What happened to the revolution?" With Baby 81 it's back in full-swing…


Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1. I once remember reading, that some of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's early aims, were "to put the 'roll' back into rock 'n' roll" and "to take people on a ride." Do you feel you have achieved this?
"Um (thinking), I don't know? I gave up on aims a while ago, but they seem to get handed to you whether you like it not, and they're not always the same as the ones that you start off with. So, I guess all the conceptualising of things when you start out (pausing), I think you turn into what you're supposed to be in life (laughing), and in music! Yeah, I kind of like it better that way, it's more mysterious and more exciting, rather than having it all planned out - that would be a little boring (laughing). But putting the 'roll' back into rock 'n' roll? Yeah, I'll definitely vouch for that (smiling)! There's a lot of music that just kind of pounds you in your head, and doesn't leave you with much of a feeling besides that - and I guess we always loved bands that could keep that roll or rhythm, or sex or soul, or whatever you want to call it. And that seemed just as important to me!"

2. What do you think the biggest misconception of the band is?
"There's so many (laughing)! It's hard to figure that one out. Probably the first one is always, "What the hell are you guys named Black Rebel Motorcycle Club for?" And I'm still trying to figure that out as well (laughing)! We took the name from this Brando film, and we didn't know all that much about the history then, so we've kind of learnt a lot of the true stories behind that - where it came from, the history of The Motorcycle Club, and that there were actually 13 Rebels. But yeah, I still like that it flaps with me, because that means, that it's hopefully still flapping with other people, and I don't like to make it too easy on folks (smiling). Misconceptions can be one of your greatest assets (laughing), if you use them right!"

3. Has the group surpassed your expectations, and what have been some of the standout moments in your career so far?

"Gosh (long pause + thinking). Yeah it's totally surpassed it - just a little bit with each record, except for Howl, because I really didn't expect us to complete that task. We put a very high bar for ourselves to try and get to, and part of me in the back of my mind was always thinking, "We're going to fall flat on our face." But somehow, we turned it around and that album was kind of a real (pausing), I don't know? They always surpassed expectations, but then that was the one where I was left pretty shell-shocked! But every night (pausing), it's actually kind of strange, because every night I wonder if this is going to be it (laughing)? You know, is someone going to quit? Or spontaneously combust? Or are we going to run out of money and not be able to tour anymore? Or are we going to lose that unexplainable fire, or gift for words or something? So each show surprises me right now - even last night - which is one of the best shows that I think we've done! Yeah, it's a pretty crazy life (laughing)!"

4. You've now toured all over the world - what do you most enjoy about other countries, and what do you most miss about the USA?
"I miss the sun (laughing) - you don't know how good it is until it's gone! It's a pretty nice thing to have around. Food - that's kind of typical - but I do love Indian food, so it kind of balances itself out, because there's so many more chances to get good Indian food. I don't know (thinking)? People everywhere we go are pretty warm and welcoming to us, and that's the most important thing! I might eat crackers and sans for the rest of my life, as long as the people are alright (laughing)."

5. And during your time on the road, what's the best bar that you've ever drunk at?
"The best bar? I actually had one (long pause + thinking). Ah, I can't remember it now, but just anything that's got a pool table and a dartboard, and I like shuffleboard a lot - even though it's kind of an old grannies' game (laughs heartily)! But anything that's an option not to get shit-faced. I don't like buildings that are purely built for that one purpose, or for desperately picking up on people. I like it when you can spend your time at least playing a game and using your brain!"

6. If you had to go shopping for someone and buy 4 LPs, 1 from the past, 1 from the present, 1 personal favourite and 1 BRMC album - what would they be and why?

"Jesus (laughing)! Alright, the past, Aftermath by The Stones. The present, I like the new Black Angels record, but I don't think it's out yet - but I guess I could buy the last one that they put out. A personal favourite, anything by Sam Cooke & The Soul Stirrers. And a BRMC record, um (thinking), I like our B-sides stuff - if they carried it. But I'd totally go to a good record store anyway (laughing), so they would have it (smiling)! With each record that we've written, we've sort of released at least 10 or 12 songs in-between each album, and I like that they're a little looser sometimes. We've just put together American X: Baby 81 Sessions, which has 7 B-sides from those recording sessions - so I'd pick that up for them! And, they could probably download all of the other BRMC records anyway, whereas this is probably harder to come by (laughs heartily)."

Parts of your music have always had a strong cinematic quality, but if you ever had the opportunity to compose music for a film soundtrack, is this something that you would consider trying?
"Yeah, and I actually talked to a friend of mine in London last night, about maybe scoring a film that he's working on right now, about Jessica White - who's some Appalachian, roots-dancing, crazy little coot! We've talked about the idea of doing it, and I mean I really love films, so I've always wanted to get into that world, but at the same time, it is important to me, so I would want to do it respectfully. I don't want to jump into it and kind of put something out, that doesn't do the film justice or the music justice."

8. And if a film was ever made about Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, which actor would you most like to play you?
"Oh man (laughs heartily)! I really don't know (thinking)? Some newcomer that doesn't have a past (laughing), and who hopefully isn't too bad (smiling)."

9. Speaking of atmospheric / filmic music, I'm really pleased to say that I've become good friends with Howling Bells, and I'm not sure if you're aware of their story. But when Juanita and Joel from the band first saw you playing live in Australia, their love and admiration for what you were doing, resulted in them rethinking / changing their musical direction. How does that make you feel?

"Oh wow (looking genuinely surprised)! I know of Howling Bells, but I had no idea. I mean I met Juanita at Oxegen Festival maybe? Or T In The Park? One or the other. Nice girl, but I guess she was playing it cool that day, because she didn't really talk to me (laughing). It tends to be that way sometimes - girls have gotta be cool man (smiling)! It's part of their Genealogy (pausing), is that right? At least the ones that don't talk to me (laughing)! But to think that we had that effect on them (pausing), I can't even begin to comprehend what that means. For any band that's out there, that's one of the main reasons for making music, to kind of pass it along - I always thought that was the job. You know, you don't always get paid for your job, so if you're lucky, you can pass something along! That's kind of the beautiful thing about music - it's handed from one generation to the next or whatever, or within it's own generation. It kind of pushes and pulls, and there's nothing better than that! I remember this thing that Richard Ashcroft said in an interview that I read years ago - The Verve were at their peak, and he said something like (pausing), I might have misquoted a little bit. But it was along the lines of, that they were "making something so special, that even he couldn't fully understand how." But I think he was maybe worried (pausing), we'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but I think he was worried that other bands may do a bad, or second-rate version of it or something. Like, "Don't even bother trying to match this because it's out there," you know? And there is some truth to that, because they are one of the great bands of all-time! But yeah, I just come from a different place - I think it is about inspiring and provoking thought and creativity, and all of those things, by whatever means. Whatever turns people on and gets them up! But it's funny hearing that from other bands, like how you've just told me of the effect we've had on Howling Bells - bands who are starting out or whatever, rather than compliments from idols and heroes, and all those kind of people. That's flattering, and that means a lot too, but it's such a different feeling (pausing), I don't know? There's something about it, where it's supposed to go forward, because it's frail and it has the frailty to stop existing if we don't. We need to breathe new life into it all the time. That's music and that's all sort of art!"

10. Joe Strummer used to use the phrase, "Like trousers like brain" - meaning that the look of a band was also part of the message. Is this something that you would agree with?

"Joe said a lot of things (laughing), and I agree with a lot of it, but there are couple of things, where he still found a way for them to rattle in my head for all of eternity (smiling). "Like trousers like brain" - um (thinking), no! I think that used to be the case, but these days, I think we've learnt to copy the fashions - everything's becoming retro and revamped so fast, and is regurgitated so continuously, that there is no definition anymore, of what or who a person is from how they dress. It was a lot fucking easier in the old days, you had The Mods & The Rockers, and you had The Socs & The Greasers you know? I do miss those times (laughing), but then again who knows? Maybe we're actually supposed to wait and see what the person has to say, who they are, rather than judging the book by its cover. I'd like to think that, but I still imagine that people judge pretty quickly. Someday we'll get there - I'll let Joe know if I see him (laughing)!"

11. The name of a band is also important, and for me, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is one of the very best! But which groups do you think have striking names?
"Striking names? Fuck, that's a good question (thinking)! Sorry I'm taking a little while to answer these. Gosh (long pause + thinking), I've got a couple of new band names (laughing), that I can't tell anybody yet - they're more funny than anything. I wish I could tell you those (laughing), but I'm going to wait for my satire band (smiling). Let me see (thinking), I'm drawing a blank on everything. Um (long pause + thinking), Joy Division. It's hard though, because some bands eclipse their name after a while, they become such a brand, that you stop thinking about how cool their name is, because they're such an institution. It's the same thing with Band-Aid and adhesive bandages or whatever - you know how there are certain products which become known by their brand name? I don't know, I'm trying to say something (laughing). But the really funny thing is, is that some of the greatest music, even if it's made by a band with a bad name, is still great (laughing)! The whole point is to totally eclipse your name! I think Bob Dylan is still one of the coolest band names (laughing), but I don't know why? I think it's because of his songs and just whatever it means you know? I don't even like the name Bob, but for some reason, Bob Dylan sounds fucking great! My name is Bob technically, but his sounds better! I guess Dylan Thomas as well, and all of the references to that. But, he made that up, so I guess that's coming up with a band name if you think about it. It's all about what it means (pausing + thinking). Once you leave I'll probably come up with a long list (laughing). I like …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, I thought that was pretty good. My Bloody Valentine, that's a pretty clever name. It's hard to think - what are some of yours (looking at me)?"
*I say that Manic Street Preachers is one of my favourites, and also tell Robert the story behind the band's name - how James Dean Bradfield busked in Wales when he was younger and a tramp used to say, "Here comes the Manic Street Preacher…"*
"Really (laughing)? That's a really good name actually! The Grateful Dead (pausing), it's hard to think of really bad bands with good names, because there's a couple, and I'm almost angry with them for using one of the great names, for shit music (laughing)! But I can't think of any right now. I fucking hate The Beatles as a band name, I don't like that and I don't think it's clever. But it's funny, because that's another one where the music changes your perception. Because when you hear The Beatles, you think, "Good Quality, Cool And Creative." But if it was a bad band, it would just be worse (laughing). It's actually taken from the same film that we took our name from, although it's spelt differently (The Beetles). We were going to take their name, because we saw it kind of not thinking about it, when we watched the film on TV, and we didn't know what BRMC meant - we just saw that on the jackets. And then when we went back to get it, we were like, "Well maybe we should name ourselves after the other gang, whatever their name was (The Black Rebels Motorcycle Club), because they seemed a lot tougher and cooler (smiling)." The Beetles thing would've have been a little cheekier (laughing), but without the 's' on Rebel, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club got more appealing as a band name after that. Love And Rockets, I like that name - they're an '80s band, and were formed by ex-members of Bauhaus after they split. I like The Doors. Nine Inch Nails (pausing + thinking). T.Rex, although it's probably another one that would be stupid, if it was a shitty band, but since it's a good band… It's a fun question to answer - I wish I had my brain attached (laughing)!"

12. If you had to choose one artist or band to be inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, who would it be and why?
"Um (long pause + thinking). I don't know if Moby Grape were ever inducted? I don't think they have been? They're really amazing and influential, but they've kind of been passed over. They're a '60s rock band from San Francisco, and they really influenced The Beatles - Paul McCartney stole a lot of the bass lines and style, and never fucking gave them credit! They're incredible and a lot of people know them, but they've never been officially acknowledged."

13. Have you ever asked anyone for an autograph, and can you remember the first time that you signed something for a fan?

"I don't know? They still make me feel kind of weird - I don't totally get it. I can actually understand it on a record, or on a vinyl (pausing), a CD I'm not so sure about? But I understand it if it's on something precious to you. But then again, that's just me and my own bullshit (laughing). As long as it means something to somebody, I should stay out of it (laughing). My Dad toured with Peter Gabriel - my Dad had a band in The '80s (The Call) - and I'd go out with him sometimes when I was a kid, and I got my record signed by Peter Gabriel. I didn't really know what that meant (laughing), but I remember that. And I had a baseball signed when I was a kid by some guy - I mean he was on the team, but I don't think he was very famous. But I liked baseball when I was 11 or 12 or something, and I went to games for a couple of summers. It was fun (smiling)!"

14. When musicians write and record songs, it's a well-known fact that some come easily and naturally, whereas others have to be laboured over until they're finally right. When this happens to you, which is the more fulfilling?

"Oh Jesus, the more fulfilling (thinking)? That's a really good question - I've never been asked that before! It's a completely different feeling when they come (pausing), when they come all at once, sometimes it's just such a really fast adrenaline rush. You can write a song in an evening if it's all coming to you, and then it's done and that's it! There's a fulfilment in knowing that all of the words are exactly what they're supposed to be, because you didn't get in the way of it. But at the same time, you feel like you're cheating somehow you know (laughing)? Like you didn't put in the work (smiling). And so it's kind of a strange mix. But then on the other side, the ones that take forever, it can be such a painful, painful process (laughing) - one of the most frustrating things in the world! Especially when it's good, and you know it is, and every single word you try and finish it with, is nowhere near the same respectable level - and you just want to finish it, for anything to be found (laughing)! But through all that pain, when you actually do finish it, it's probably a much bigger feeling of accomplishment! Who's to say if it's a better song if you bleed over each word. It's a good question (long pause + thinking). The strange thing is, sometimes they come fast and the words aren't incredible, but they're there, and they fit into a space well. But sometimes, the only regret is that you (pausing), unless it's just a truly inspired, no questions song, where the words are looking at you and they are the only possible words - which can happen. But if that doesn't occur, and it still comes fast, you sometimes get lazy, and you don't go through that painful process of trying to better it - and that's like this middle ground that plays in your head for years and years (smiling). And that's worse (laughing). Those are the worst ones!"

15. Are your songs evocative of the time in which they were created?

"(exhaling a deep breath) I hope not! You always hope that your music will last past the moment in which it's made. But it's funny looking back on songs years and years later, and seeing what they evoke in you when you listen to them. Personally, it feels like a time and a place, and a lot of the time you understand what you were going through personally - more so - when there's been that distance between them. Sometimes, when you're writing, you have no idea what it means, and then it really spooks you out when it tells you later, because you're not ready for it yet (laughs heartily)!"

16. How do you and Peter decide between yourselves, who sings lead vocals on a particular track?

"We mostly sing what we write ourselves, so whoever comes up with the melody, has the burden of having to finish the actual lyrics to it (smiling). It's kind of your punishment - "If you want to sing it, you've got to finish it (laughing)!" That's why a lot of times, Peter will do the choruses and I'll do the verses - we kind of lean on each other, so it doesn't take a few years to write it (laughing)."

17. With so much material to now choose from, how do you decide on a Set List?

"Well, I write the Set List out, and Peter will then go through it and make changes here and there. But we try to play as many different songs as possible during a tour, to keep it interesting for ourselves, and also, because lots of our fans often come to more than one show (pausing), you've actually reminded me, I still need to write the Set List out for tonight (laughing)!"

18. Is there anybody that you would love to have a jam with?
"Yeah! Living or dead (looking at me)?"
*I say that it can be both, as the question is for fun*
"Hendrix, Lennon, Dylan, Neil Young (pausing + thinking). Maybe the frontmen of some of my favourite bands, like Ian Brown or Bobby Gillespie - he's a genius! Man, there's a lot! As long as they can strum a guitar (smiling)."

19. For the past decade or so, Hip-Hop and R&B have dominated The US Music Industry. But do you think there's a much greater demand for Alternative Rock and Indie Music in America, than people living outside of the country actually realise?

"I wouldn't be the right one to ask, because I think my view is a little too narrowed from our shows and being around our audience most of the time. I mean we've been working on our following in America for so long - it's been a slower process than here - but it's gotten up to be about the same now. We've just been chipping away, but you kind of have to earn it a little more there. In the UK, the media's tied in so tightly, that news travels faster. So I don't know? I couldn't really give you an honest answer, but I like to think so!"

20. Am I Only from Baby 81, is a very memorable closing track - but do you have any favourite album outros?
"Yeah (thinking), I wish I had my record collection here, it would be so much easier (long pause + thinking). Shoot Speed / Kill Light from Primal Scream's XTRMNTR. I Am The Resurrection, The Stone Roses (pausing + thinking). All Apologies from In Utero, Nirvana."
*Robert takes out his BlackBerry*
"Maybe I'll have some more on here - BlackBerry's save you so much time, and on tour, you don't have to keep going on a computer to check your e-mail. Speaking of computers, I had my laptop stolen when my house was broken in to about a year ago, and it had a lot of music on it, so I ended up writing down as many of the songs as I could remember, that I had uploaded onto it. What was the last song on Different Class, the Pulp album, was it Bar Italia (looking at me)? I kind of like that as a closer. It's not so underrated over here, but in the States, that was a very underrated record - Jarvis Cocker's lyrics are amazing! Cop Shoot Cop… on Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, by Spiritualized. Um (thinking)…"
*I ask Robert, if he's ever heard No Surface All Feeling from the Manics' Everything Must Go LP, as that's one of my favourite album closers*
"No, I haven't (still thinking), I'm probably better with opening tracks, but we'll leave that for next time."
*Peter walks in to BRMC's dressing room and says hi again*

21. Are there any plans to release a comprehensive BRMC DVD in the future, featuring a live show, promo videos, TV clips etc.?
"Yeah, we've been talking about that for a while and we've just started working on it. It's kind of taking shape slowly - we filmed a show in Glasgow a couple of days ago and that came out good, and we're having the same company come out and do a couple more shows on this tour, so we'll see how that turns out. But you know, it's important to us that it represents the feel of our shows in the best way possible, because there are a lot of shitty Live DVDs out there, and we don't want to put anymore out (laughing)! We'll give it as much care as we would an audio record you know?"
*I ask Robert if he has a favourite BRMC promo video*
"I like the last video we just did, with Tessa Angus - she's also a photographer and did all of the photos for Baby 81, and has been documenting some stuff on the road. But she made an alternate video for Berlin, which is really cool - she did it all on her own, so we were kind of impressed! So yeah, we hope to have a DVD available eventually, and the B-sides album that we have coming out soon, has also got a video on it - it's like a short-film for the song American X. It's 9 minutes long, and is a short-story that we created with our friend and visionary artist Jamie Dagg, so I'm really proud of that! Hopefully, people will get to see that on our next tour. But just to reiterate the fact, we've always been very 'hands on' with everything outside of our music, from the artwork and visuals, right through to our merchandise!"

22. In reference to writing music and lyrics, you've talked of how "music comes first," and how you "feel like you're guided by the songs themselves, and what's right for those songs at the time." But is there one Black Rebel Motorcycle Club song, that sums up all you've ever wanted to say through music?
"No! Next question (laughing)!"

23. What's the biggest lesson that your career has taught you?

"Well, it's kind of like living your life accelerated - so you go through nearly every emotional experience and the lessons get forced upon you, whether you like it or not. Some lessons are meant to be learnt later, and all of us had to go through that in our early 20s. So it's hard, because part of you feels like you're 50-years-old now, and you've got all of this knowledge and experience and wisdom. And another part of you feels like you're trapped in a 15-year-old's body (laughing). One half of you is way far ahead, and the other half is way behind. Yeah, it's a complicated situation."

24. You all got into music "to change the world" and "to inspire another way of thinking." Do you still stand by this?
"Yeah, of course - and I think hoping for that, are definitely some of the things that keep us going!"

25. Lastly, chips or cream buns?

"Um (thinking), gosh, what would I choose? Let's see, I don't really eat a lot of pastries - I'm not really a sweet-toothed person (pausing + thinking). There's probably a really clever answer that I'm just a little too dazed to come up with for that one (laughing)!"

*After our interview has finished, the guys (who are all gentlemen) kindly sign lots of my records, including the rare book-bound version of Howl - which Peter says he doesn't even have a copy of - before allowing me to take some photographs and continuing to chat away. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have to be one of the coolest bands ever!*

A very special thanks to Robert, Peter and Nick, to BRMC's Tour Manager Harv, and to Claire @ Hall or Nothing, for all of their time and help.

Bristol Set List

Rise Or Fall
All You Do Is Talk
666 Conducer
Ain't No Easy Way
Spread Your Love
Red Eyes
Chelsea Hotel (Robert - Acoustic)
Complicated Situation (Peter - Acoustic)
Need Some Air
Head Up High
American X
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Took Out A Loan
Six Barrel
Punk Song

"What are you rebelling against? What have you got?"

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looking forward to it. (Laughs). It's difficult to say because the last few months have felt strange, it's felt like going down a plughole. I've got a real sense of vertigo at the moment. So I can't tell you that I'm looking forward to it. I will get through it and find where I land after that. That's what will happen.

Lucy: 'Taxidermy' and 'Drink Me' are quite drastically different in their musical styles, so what kind of sound can we expect from the 3rd album?
KJG: We don't know yet. We're playing a lot of new material tonight so you'll be able to judge that for yourself. When I'm this close up to it, it's really difficult to tell. I'm on a bit of a negative slant today, but usually with our music I can only hear the bits that have gone wrong rather
than anything that went right. When you reflect back on something it's very difficult to give an objective opinion, and I don't believe in objectivity anyway, I think everything's subjective. I just throw a deck of cards and
wherever they land, that's where she finds herself. I'm not really the one to explain my part in it, you must do that as the observer really, and of course that will reflect your part in the grand scheme of things.

Lucy: Do you enjoy playing live more than the creative process in the studio?
KJG: (Laughs) I don't enjoy any of it. It comes and it goes, ok? There's nothing like when you're writing and you manage to catch something by its
tail; when you're looking for those things underground that are skittering out of sight just when you're about to catch them. And when you catch them it is worth it, but it's a momentary pleasure. I've got so much noise upstairs, and I can hear things in my head that to me are absolutely devastatingly beautiful. I'm always trying to download them and get them
here, but they never get here in the right state, they're always very disabled and they don't even begin to imitate what I can hear in my head.
It's a frustrating process in the main.

Lucy: Your lyrics are simultaneously emotionally expressive and cryptic. Are you looking to be understood by your audience?
KJG: I'm always trying to understand myself, but it's like there's a point in the centre of the room, and there's a hundred windows to look at the same point from. All I can do is give you different angles on the same thing. God, you know, if I could find one conclusive thing in anything I would probably have something to put an anchor down on. But I cant, and I haven't met anyone that can. You can pick out anything you like in my lyrics, I don't seek to be cryptic. I love words for the sake of words, for me they're kind of free standing, and they don't really need to be explained. I think every word has its own character and colour and picture and the result you get with lyrics just depends how you put them together. You could just do it in a William Burroughs esque way, or throw the deck of cards, and you'd probably still find something that our tiny little minds would latch on to in order to gain some kind of emotional understanding. I don't think there's a constant, the only constant that there is for me is that there is no constant. I use myself as my canvas, I gut myself and fillet myself the whole fucking time, I'm always hooking myself out of the water, I'm always cutting my own head off and disembowelling myself, and as you can probably tell I'm quite angry about it at the moment. I'm very tired of it all, of my
process and how I find life, because it always seems to be about living and dying all in one breath. I'm getting pretty fucking tired of that.

Lucy: Do you think drugs stimulate or hinder creativity?
KJG: Well that depends on the drug, because I think most things arrive in the form of a drug really. I know in myself that if anything I am, much to my greater expense, an adrenalin junkie. My synapses don't work well enough to put pills in my mouth, I can't do that, despite popular opinion. I don't need any help breaking down, put it that way. There's not much holding it
together. If there was a drug that could put aline between two polar opposites and make them in to one thing I'm sure I would have it
intravenous, but I haven't found it. I think drugscan be a bit of a lazy way for creativity anyway, you're better off in the cold light of day in the mirror.

Lucy: As a band, you are distinguished by the extreme physicality of your live performances. Do you consciously make an effort to put on a show or do your performances just naturally come to you, and whatever happens, happens?
KJG: It's a bit of both, because you see, I think taking the stage is one of the most unnatural things anyone can do. In a way, just walking on stage actually creates an altered state - its not right, no one's meant to do that, unless you're a priest or a magician, or something like that. To put somebody who's very incapable in many ways in to that position creates a combustion reaction inside me. I know that, and I take the stage knowing that. Obviously there's all the usual things that affect my performance; if I'm on my 45th day of a tour I'm probably gonna be pretty fucking tired, so I'll be dictated by that. If I'm doing new material like tonight I don't
know what's going to happen, because we haven't built the train tracks yet. The beauty of playing live is when my drummer goes in to 5th gear or in to 10th gear, and for some reason there's something that hits me in the base of the spine and I'm gone, and that's Halleluiah for me. During the last few months a lot of strange things have been happening onstage, I think the process is changing. I don't know what's going to happen tonight, I've been having quite a tough time on stage, I feel like something's pulling me under, as if something's got me.

Lucy: So does the crowd influence your performances on stage?
KJG: Yes they do. I'm unkind enough to be pretty impersonal about how I do it, so I use them for me to kick against in effect, or to surf on, (I don't
mean physically surf). If you're in an empty roomand there's a couple of people at the back, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll have a bad show -
they might get the show of their lives. And then again when something's really heaving and going off, I get quite a distorted view of it, because I
can feel quite overwhelmed lose my sense of place in the situation. I lose control of myself. I don't know, I probably wasn't meant to do this, I
wasn't built for this. It wasn't a career option, I didn't start there and go there, I didn't pick up the things on the way. I've sort of gone round
and round.

Lucy: As the lead singer of the band, most media interest is focused on you. Do you feel pressurised by your position or do you enjoy being the centre of attention?
KJG: I've been here on this wheel long enough,(and I say this with a little bit of trepidation because I think you have to be really careful with this kind of thing, because the motivation to do it in itself I think is usually pretty corrupt) I'm not doing it for anyone else, I need a cheque through the door like anybody else does, you have to keep eating, you have to keep living. I'm looking for some sense of going home on my own terms, and people's critique of me is not relevant, whether it's positive of negative.
I do need a cheque through the door though, otherwise I'll have to go and be a butcher or something.

Lucy: What is the religious meaning behind the song "For I am the way"?
KJG: If you use the word religion in its truest sense, all it means is communion, it hasn't got any of the attachments to any written word. My
understanding of the word communion is loss of the sense. Another way of looking at it is you've got to get in to get out, and the only thing that I
know to be true is me, is this tiny little dot in the centre of the universe. It's the only thing that I know feels pain; I can see other people's pain and I can feel it in an emotional way, but not in a physical way. I find myself in the unfortunate position of feeling like I am the
centre of the universe and that everything is a projection, made by me - i.e. you two don't exist, you're something that I created. I don't wish that
sense upon anybody because it's not a good one. Through 'For I am the way' I'm saying that you've got to get in, because the only thing one knows to be true is oneself. And on a good day, if you stand on top of a mountain or go to the desert or stand in the ocean, and become completely inconsequential, linear time stops and you become everything and nothing. That for me is
communion, that's how I define religion. I thinkthere's a line in there which goes "Today the only bridge I have I burn" which sums it up really, because it is about cutting all lines of communication in order to really truly commune.

Lucy: Do you think that in the future your creativity will move from the sphere of music in to literature for example?
KJG: It's real hard to say. In a way, that sounds like a much easier life. But for all I know I'm deluding myself. I'm looking for someone to help me frame something at the moment, and someone is actually, someone's being really good to me. I would love to write, but I don't know if I'm good
enough to do it.