1.I know that your band name is based on an old e-mail address of
Gazs, but if you could write the perfect headline for an article
about The Hot Rats, what would it be?
Danny: Oh (laughing)
Gaz: THE HOT RATS PSYCHEDELIC PUNK TAKES OVER THE WORLD!
Danny: Yeah (smiling)! Or, BILLION SELLING ALBUM SHOCKS THE WORLD!
Gaz & Danny: (both laugh)
2.Although youve called The Hot Rats A Strange Experiment,
the concept of the group is based on cover versions, but are there any
covers by other artists that you think better the originals?
Gaz: I definitely think that All Along The Watchtower by Jimi
Hendrix is pretty great!
Gaz: Its probably the best example in a way, because it
totally kind of eclipsed Dylans version the sort of iconicness
of the track and the guitar solos, it had Hendrixs stamp all over
it you know? Thats the idea of a cover!
Danny: Yeah, I think that some of the best ones come from more
shell-like songs, which were maybe written on an acoustic guitar or
something, which you can then do mad stuff to.
Danny: They tend to be the better ones maybe.
3.With the songs that youve covered, you said: We did
it in a way where we could put our own personality and character on
there, to give it a real nice angle. But in your minds, did you
know exactly how you wanted to reinterpret each track, or did this come
about more through jamming with Nigel in the studio?
Gaz: Yeah, we had to start playing them didnt we (looking
Danny: Yeah, we just strummed them. With this album, we found
the originals on YouTube, just in the studio about an hour before we
did them really. We wrote the lyrics down and then thought, Right,
how can we update this, or make it a bit more mental? Trying not
to copy the song basically.
Gaz: We did a couple of hours work on that really and then wed
fall on the idea. For example, with Up The Junction by Squeeze, we were
playing around with it for about an hour and it was just sounding a
bit sort of pub-rocky, and somebody had the idea of slowing the whole
thing down and tripping it out a bit. So yeah, just little ideas would
*I ask the guys if there are any songs in particular that they enjoyed
recording or look forward to playing live*
Gaz: We really enjoyed recording Fight For Your Right and I Cant
Stand It, they were a lot of fun!
4.Some songwriters believe that songs are already there and
its their job to find them. Would you agree with this?
Danny: Hmm, some songwriters believe that songs are already
there and its their job to find them (thinking). What, like
in your head?
Gaz: Well, in a way, I sort of think that kind of makes sense,
yeah! Theyre all sort of stored up there although its
tricky, because you (pausing), well, you dont know where it comes
from, but you get that initial gut feeling to just play something and
you tend to think that thats instinctive and on the spot.
Danny: What like on a spiritual level? It would be quite nice
to think that it happens that way, yeah!
Gaz: Or even in the biological or scientific sense, theyre
all sort of stored up there in your mind already and you just have to
sort of unlock them. So it is spiritual I suppose. Maybe so maybe
so, Ive always wondered where they come from (smiling).
Danny: Id like to think thats true.
Gaz: Yeah, or maybe like the song fairy comes down (laughing)
Danny: And drops one in (laughing)!
5.If you were asked to put together a TV show in a similar vein to Storytellers
whereby 5 musicians play songs together, talk about their music
/ respective careers, jam and tell anecdotes etc. Who would you ask
Gaz: Id say Neil Young
Danny: Jack White.
Gaz: Yeah, Neil Young, Jack White, Dr. John
Danny: I reckon Jay-Z would be good as well (laughing)!
Gaz: Yeah, Jay-Z and Beyonce!
Danny: Maybe not Beyonce. Who have we got? Neil Young, Jack White,
Dr. John, Jay-Z and how about Dylan (looking at Gaz)?
Gaz: I dont know
Danny: Theres loads isnt there (pausing + thinking)
Lets go with those 5.
*Gaz & Dannys Storytellers line-up in full: Neil
Young, Jack White, Dr. John, Jay-Z and Bob Dylan*
6.Last year, Liverpool was voted as England's Most Musical City
in a national campaign set up by the Arts Council but is this
the city that you would have chosen?
Gaz: I dont know what thats based on really
I mean culturally and historically, Liverpool is massively on the map
(pausing), I dont know at the moment if there is a big musical
Danny: Id probably say London, but I dont know, thats
a question for a journalist really. With Liverpool, you have its musical
history and even the accent is quite musical
Gaz: Yeah. Maybe with London, Oxford and other smaller musical
cities, perhaps theyre a bit more diverse. Its kind of weird
when you hear current indie bands from Liverpool, because theres
a total sound through all of them, whereas if you get 10 new bands coming
out of Leeds or Oxford or somewhere, theyre all going to be quite
different I think. So I dont know, I think the scouse scene is
good, but its all quite similar.
7.On a similar note, a couple of Blue Plaques were recently
unveiled in Rochdale to celebrate the towns musical heritage and
impact on the Manchester music scene. But are there any places that
you feel are deserving of Blue Plaques?
Gaz: I think somewhere down the cottages, on the back wall next
to the field of cows that was probably one of our first
Danny: Yeah, we all used to lived in a cottage where Supergrass
was sort of conceived and we spent a lot of time there.
Gaz: We used to just live down the road from here actually as
Danny: Oh yeah, by Cowley Road everyone apart from Mick
actually lived in that house at the same time. So, Id like to
see a Blue Plaque put up there!
8.As were in your hometown of Oxford today, do you have any
favourite haunts that youd recommend to us?
Danny: Well, I live in Somerset now, but we grew up here. I mean
I moved out of Oxford when I was about 20, so I just remember pubs and
things really, like The Lamb And Flag pub, going in there and stuff
that was a haunt!
Gaz: These days, Id say Blenheim Palace. Its not really
a haunt, but its somewhere we go with the kids and have a wander
around and stuff.
Danny: I suppose like the Jericho Tavern, we used to go a lot
to see music there.
Gaz: Yeah, but I dont really go out much in Oxford anymore,
I stay in my village and go to local pubs with old men (pausing), well,
I dont go out with old men, theyre already in there when
I get there (laughing)! Theres a really little guy there, hes
Danny: (adopting an old mans voice) Are you alright there?
He looks like Santas little helper!
Gaz: Yeah (laughing), but he sort of says exactly the same thing
everytime he sees you as well (laughing).
9.Johnny Marr has said that he feels the greatest achievement
for any band, is to be able to get through to the mainstream without
ever compromising their sound or what they stand for. Would you
agree with this / feel its true of you?
Gaz: Yeah, it sort of sums it up really!
Danny: I think its almost impossible to never, ever compromise
yourself at all. You know, weve done some dodgy Saturday morning
programmes and stuff (laughing), where we were thinking, Shit,
we dont really want to do this. But, at the same time, we
were playing our own songs that we wrote you know? We werent doing
it for other reasons. So yeah, Id go ahead and say that I think
were pretty good at that!
10.Like the Foo Fighters, youve always been well-respected as
musicians, whilst at the same time also being able to inject a lot of
fun into what you do from Supergrass to Diamond Hoo Ha Men to
The Hot Rats and still be taken seriously. Is this gratifying
Gaz: I dont know if its gratifying, its just
the way we live our lives I suppose. I think weve always felt
or realised, that there is kind of more to life than going on tour and
even writing songs and recording them. I think maybe the whole way that
bands can sometimes come across as so earnest, its like a lot of great
stuff in the world, you
Danny: I think its more sort of the love of being in this
band you know, through the years, its more than were just
a fun band, theres a sense that we still really enjoy
what we do!
Danny: And the fun or comical part of the band, it just lets
us indulge in high spirits and enjoyment.
Gaz: Weve also been inspired by The Beatles, not just musically,
but we used to watch their interviews and stuff all the time you know?
The way that they did interviews, I still think is great, because theres
a light atmosphere, but then they will kind of interject with serious
answers here and there, but it just has a tone to it
Danny: I think thats more the early years though (looking
Gaz: Yeah, I suppose, but even later on John would make jokes
and stuff. But yeah, its good!
11.Do you ever look back at vintage TV clips, interviews and live performances
of yourselves on YouTube?
Gaz: Not really.
Danny: I try not to actually (laughing). I looked at one interview
the other day and I was really hungover and I just looked awful, so
I thought, Shit, I cant watch this anymore (laughing).
Didnt Prince ask for some YouTube clips to be removed the other
day (looking at Gaz)?
Gaz: Yeah, he said that hed be grateful if crowds just listen
to him and not film his shows on their mobile phones.
Danny: Yeah, because people can put anything up however
bad the sound is and it can sometimes piss artists off.
Gaz: I dont think its a good thing and I dont
really like people filming at gigs. Anyway
Danny: You should live in the moment and enjoy the gig, rather
than standing there holding up a mobile phone.
12.Over the years, have you ever met any people that you admire, and
what were your impressions of them?
Danny: Yeah, weve met lots and lots of people. Musician-wise,
when we were quite young, we were on the same flight as Robert Smith
from The Cure and he came and sat down with us in economy class, as
we were on our way to Brazil. He was really sweet
Gaz: He was a really nice guy, he just gave us some bits of advice
or tried not to give us advice (laughing), he said, Dont
listen to anything I say
Danny: It was really funny (laughing)!
Gaz: It was nice to talk to him, because he was kind of a hero
of ours at the time (pausing), well, he still is now! Weve met
David Bowie a couple of times and the Foo Fighters have always been
really good to us as well, both Dave and Taylor are really supportive
of our band and they got us on board to play a few gigs with them. Both
of them have such a great vibe (pausing), well, the whole bands
really sound. So I reckon theyve had a bit of an effect on us
over the years you know? Thats how cool an American rock band
can be (smiling)!
13.For you personally, which artist / band could you not imagine
music without and what are your feelings on old groups reforming?
Gaz: I couldnt imagine music without Neil Young (without
any hesitation)! Hes provided so much!
Danny: Hendrix or The Beatles.
Gaz: Yeah! The Stones, The Beatles, Ian Dury, Tom Waits
Danny: In terms of old groups reforming, it depends, if everyones
still around and they havent played for a while, it sometimes
can be great to get your old mates together and play in a band again.
It probably gets a bit weirder if youre doing it for financial
Danny: Which is usually the case.
Gaz: If theres anyway of doing it without it coming across
Danny: But even so, its peoples work you know? So
I havent got too much of a problem with it.
14.Of all the records you own, which have you played the most?
Gaz: Um (thinking), I cant think of any particular records
that Ive played more than others at the moment how about
Danny: Id probably say Electric Ladyland maybe, over the
last 20 years.
15.Are there any records that you would like to see dissected track-by-track
as part of the Classic Albums TV Series, whereby musicians,
producers, engineers etc. talk in detail about the making of an LP now
considered to be a masterpiece?
Gaz: I think weve seen quite a lot of those programmes actually
Danny: Maybe The Stone Roses first album?
Gaz: Yeah, that would be good actually.
Danny: That would be quite cool, talking to Ian Brown and John
Squire and the people involved with it, yeah!
16.When you were younger and prior to actually making records yourselves,
did you ever look at album credits, to learn more about producers, engineers
and the equipment / instruments used in recordings etc.?
Gaz: Yeah, I suppose we did. Like when you bought an album, it
was such a physical thing it was like YOUR album that you bought
and it felt really personal, so youd read all of the credits.
I always like knowing where its recorded and stuff, which city
it was recorded in and who played what instruments and stuff
Danny: Yeah, who played what instruments.
Gaz: Yeah (excitedly), I always loved that on Spacemen 3 records,
where it would list the types of guitar used, like a Starcaster, as
well as all of the other instruments I always really liked that,
but I dont know why weve never done it. We could have done
it on The Hot Rats album, but we only played 2 instruments (laughing)!
Danny: Yeah (laughing), although I played some really weird percussions
and things like that, and I think I was actually hitting the back of
Pearls head with a rubber mallet
Gaz: She made a good sound (laughing)!
Danny: Yes, she did (laughing)!
17.Some critics have argued that in The 60s, music was much
freer with more melodic and harmonic surprises in songs
as there was less technology involved. What are your feelings on this?
Danny: Yeah, I would probably agree with that. I think its
a lot easier to iron-out mistakes now, the way you record on endless
channels to correct stuff is really easy.
Gaz: Its really hard to compare as well, because I suppose
you get natural backlashes from people like Jack White, where he doesnt
use anything post 55. Thats only happening because we had
The 80s and The 90s and Pro Tools and everything at your
fingertips sort of thing. So in a weird way, maybe we had to go through
all of that, to get a bit more of a 60s vibe you know? A lot of
the young garage bands that are now coming out, are just really raw
musicians playing live, so it probably is quite similar to back then
you know? And also, its not even comparable, because back then
it was the first time that some 17-year-old kids had ever heard rock
n roll like proper dirty rock n roll.
Whereas now, weve had it for 40 years dirty rock n
roll so its nothing new. But yeah, its quite interesting.
18.I read that you parted ways with Parlophone acrimoniously and
are now signed to Cooking Vinyl, but can you reveal any details about
new Supergrass material musical direction, song titles etc.
and when can fans expect the next album to be released?
Gaz: Well, were halfway through the new Supergrass album,
which is due out in the Spring next year. The working title at the moment
is Release The Drones, which is a bit of a laugh (smiling)!
Danny: Weve also got a song called Hip Replacement (laughing),
which is quite good.
Gaz: Musically, I think its got different elements from
all of our albums there are some harder elements, then there
are some more experimental songs
Danny: Its probably almost a bit more 60s sounding.
Gaz: Yeah, in a way. Its kind of a bit more psychedelic
I suppose we kind of did a lot of recording on the fly, just
going in and playing. Like wed play a riff and then record it,
so I suppose it is a bit 60s sounding, because wed just
get in the studio and jam and play and see what sort of turned up. So
there wasnt a lot of pre-production work you know, like doing
loads of demos and stuff. Its going alright slowly, but
were getting there (laughing)!
Danny: Yeah, itll be out late Spring, early Summer.
19.Has your career surpassed your expectations, and what have been
some of the standout moments so far?
Gaz: Surpassed our expectations?
Danny: Probably at the time when we set our band up, we probably
didnt think wed release as many albums and tour around the
world. Maybe we did (looking at Gaz)?
Gaz: I mean even now, its definitely still a work-in-progress,
theres no sitting back to evaluate whats happened, so its
a tricky one to answer really, but we always feel that theres
a door that will open at some point for whatever reason. I dont
know, were just who we are I suppose we might do some stuff
that really connects and does really well, or maybe not. I dont
know, its tricky. But we just still love what we do well
only stop when we start writing shit songs or we start really hating
Gaz & Danny: (both laugh)
20.Whats the biggest lesson that your career has taught you?
Gaz: The biggest lesson? I dont know really (thinking)
Danny: I dont think Ive learnt anything
Gaz: We havent learnt enough!
Gaz & Danny: (both laugh heartily)
Danny: It will all be alright tomorrow!
Gaz: Dont do drugs and play live gigs!
Danny: What do you mean (looking at Gaz)? We havent learnt
Gaz & Danny: (both laugh heartily again)
Danny: No, I just think that itll all be ok tomorrow
thats a good lesson! You know when you cant sleep because
youre worried about things?
Gaz: Actually, do you know what, I have learnt that lesson
yeah! Ive learnt not to worry so much over the years, like little
things, such as looking back to what was your biggest worry 2 years
ago and you look at it and you think, Well, that just went away
somewhere, do you know what I mean? So its a good little
lesson to have learnt.
Danny: Not to care about anything!
Gaz: (laughing) But anyway, I dont know, were still
21.Returning to the idea behind The Hot Rats, if you could select any
artist or group to cover a Supergrass song, who would you choose and
Danny: Id quite like Jay-Z to do Pumping On Your Stereo
Gaz: Yeah (laughs heartily)!
Danny: Jay-Z and Beyonce to cover it (smiling)!
22.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Danny: Cream buns for me I have a sweet-tooth!
The Hot Rats TM Mick: It would have to be cream buns wouldnt
it (looking at Gaz and Danny)? You could probably eat more cream buns
than you could chips.
Gaz: Yeah, cream buns then there you go. What a great finale!
Danny: It depends what mood youre in really, because if
you were like walking home pissed from the pub, then it would be chips
probably wouldnt it?
Gaz: Yeah, thats true!
The Hot Rats TM Mick: But if there were late night cream bun shops,
then youd probably eat cream buns.
Danny: Definitely, yeah!
The Hot Rats TM Mick: As it is, weve only got a choice between
chips and kebabs.
Danny: See, cakes are quite good for soaking the booze up too
Gaz: Yeah, and it will give you a little bit of sugar energy (pausing),
this has been the most lengthy answer in the whole interview!
All: (laugh heartily)
*After our interview has finished, the guys kindly
sign all of my Supergrass albums, as well as generously giving me an
autographed copy of The Hot Rats debut 7. Out of interest, I ask
Gaz and Danny if they both have their own personal collections of all
the records theyve released through the years. Although they tell
me that they dont own absolutely everything, Gaz does say that
he has lots of unreleased studio mixes and alternate cuts of Supergrass
A very special thanks to Gaz + Danny, to The Hot
Rats Tour Manager Mick, and to Pippa @ Courtyard Management, for all
of their time and help.
Oxford Set List
I Cant Stand It
Fight For Your Right
Mirror In The Bathroom
Love Is The Drug
Pump It Up
Drive My Car
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Caught By The Fuzz
(w/ Mick from Supergrass as a surprise guest)
THE HOT RATS PSYCHEDELIC PUNK
TAKES OVER THE WORLD!