A: What do you think of 2000 trees so far?
I’ve got to say, as we drove up I presumed it would be a lot smaller, and I thought it might be a bit of a shit show joke, but I was willing to do it anyway because it’s Cheltenham, and I grew up here, went to school here, and family live here, so I was like, I’m not really going to say no. But actually, when I drove up, and was ushered in by some fine stewardesses (chortles all round)
P: Oh yeah.
Some lions and lionesses…and it made me think that it was actually quite substantial. So yeah, I mean the weather’s obviously made it a bit fucking hard core, but then I do think that brings out the best in people. People willing to go bare footed, like yourself. And I saw one guy, and the lighting…and his own ability to enjoy sensations…he was just like, fuck it.
A: The crisps?
No, no. The feeling? (appears confused).
He just fucking looked at a big puddle, and took his clothes off and jumped right in.
A: Happy! (sung).
He might have been, yeah. But there’s a cynical part of me, the cynical urban dweller, that goes “Oh you cunt.” Just going to a festival just for one random one off weekend of acting really silly. How inane. Then I suddenly thought no, don’t think that. Look! He’s totally fucking loving rolling around like a pig in shit.
But that is the taste of festivals, because we don’t live in a tribal, or…we don’t live in the way that our ancestors did, but I’m sure there is still some impulse inside us wanting to live really really close to the grass, really close to the trees, and like, just not be enveloped with tons and tons of material objects. And there’s something about festivals that brings us closer to something that runs in our blood, you know, pissing in your own trousers and rolling around in mud…Maybe some people would say we’ve evolved past that but a little part of me…there’s some ancestor tugging at me going ‘go on, roll around in mud.’.
A: Well it’s quite fitting that you’ve got a feather in your hair.
And up there…there was a peacock, and a cockerel, and all kinds of stuff going on up there in the park which I love…
A: I had this crazy…spaced out…after I spoke to you, I went to the toilet in the farmhouse…completely wankered…and there were these peacocks everywhere, and then went to this warehouse filled with beer and chocolate…
Wow, that’s all that was in it? Beer and chocolate? That’s unbelievable. Do you need any more chocolate, because I’ve got some?
A: I’ve got two bars…(an educated guess would say I brandished boost bars at this point)
Do you need any of this? It’s got expresso in it… (another educated guess would presume that at this point, we were offered choclit.)
A: You probably need that to keep your energy up.
I think I’ll have it on the way home.
A: I’ve got two boost bars, and I’ve had one, so you know…
P: Got your messengers out.
PH: I hate you!
(Screeching is coming from 80s B line matchbox disaster)
I tell you what, you should watch these guys. I’ve seen them play on and off for years and they are really intense. I don’t know if you know bands like The Cramps? From years ago, fucking brilliant. Its’ like ‘ahh, stepping back in time’. But they’re also really hard.
A: Just quickly then, so we can go watch them. The festival’s got a really green thing going on. In the first issue of the magazine we had sort of a green footprint running through…does the band do anything for that, or do you personally…what do you think about it?
When we’re travelling on a bus we’re always quite conscious of recycling our plastic bottles, separate our rubbish, I must have that. There are days where our standards slip, because you’re really hung over or having a bit of a dark day and it just gets thrown out. I don’t actually eat meat, and the rest of the guys kind of do but they’re all kind of conscious and we travel a lot, especially in America and they’re all really good at going, ‘ah, do you know what, I’m not going to eat shit battery farmed meat’ and we tend to just take pride in the fact that you can be a fucking rock and roll band and still go ‘you know what, I’m not going to eat that and that. I’m going to wait until we get to a nice restaurant and find out if it’s organic and stuff. So as ridiculously thoughtful as that sounds, those sort of discussions do go ahead. There’s not a huge amount we can actually do about travelling at the moment, but there are actually some friends in Portland, Oregon, who have developed a tour bus that runs on vegetable oil. You should look them up, they’re called Grease not Gas.com. And we made friends with them on our tour.
P: Are they not a band?
Well, they’re band’s friends. Someone we know does actually occasionally go on the road with them. But unfortunately, the one thing they developed is actually too small to hold us and our gear. But we stay in contact with them a lot, and everytime we’re in Portland we go see them. They’re actually developing their ideas properly, with some proper sponsorships and big kind of…So yeah, just look them up.
A: But the thing is, using vegetable oil rises crop prices, which is raising the price of animal feed, which is raising meat prices.
I understand that argument but I still beg to differ…
A: I don’t think it’s a bad thing…I think we can probably find an alternative to the animal feed.
I was listening to a radio programme about how in fact there’s always a surplus of ethanol from corn, and there’s a surplus of all these food stuffs, they’re just not distributed in the right way. So if globally…we’ve got the fucking internet, you can GPS yourself out of a fucking hole. If you can do that then we should be able to go ‘where should we make fuel from the surplus? Ok, let’s distribute that out and sell it’. But unfortunately each country is gripping on to their own export control, so it will never happen. But globally, there’s stuff that’s getting left over that could become fuel and thereby not affect fuel prices, or crop prices. But no one has the heart, no one who has the power has the heart. But honestly if we could harness bio-diesel we would, but currently we can’t, and you feel shit about it. But to be honest, I don’t drive into work five days a week, and drive home five days a week. I go on a tour a few times a year.
A: I think it’s different as a musician because it’s kind of for the greater good.
A: There’s people who drive their kids into school every day…
I’ll tell you what I always do…well half the band have just moved out of flats at the moment, we all live in London, and we’re going to be on tour so much at the end of the year that they just moved out of their flats and put their stuff in storage, so they’re not using electricity at home. But I’ve got into this habit now that if I don’t do it I feel really bad…I defrost my fridge and turn it off before I go on tour. So when I get home I’ve never got anything to eat, but it’s like ‘why am I going to leave a fridge on for four weeks?!’ so when I leave home it goes on total shut down. So there’s a little bit of thought, I wish I could do more, and I will try to.
A: That’s great.
P: I was just wondering. You know Heart is a Lonely Hunter, your song?
P: Did you get that from Carson McCullers?
No, that was actually a song by our friends The Archie Bronson Outfit, that they didn’t finish writing. So we said, we really love that song, can we finish it and write a chorus. And then by the time they’d put their album out they’d kind of done it again.
P: Because I was listening to the album loads, and I was also reading that book, and just thinking…Is there a connection…
Well he might have had one…because the verse lyrics are my friend Mark’s, from the Archie Bronson Outfit.
P: And do you use any William Blake?
I do know some William Blake but no, I don’t think I’ve used his words in lyrics.
P: A song name of yours is a line in one of his poems.
Well yeah, that makes me wonder, I mean, I’ve got books of poetry.
P: It might have been small in the back of your mind.
It might have been in my subconscious, yeah. It was more me thinking about how I felt about someone, that I couldn’t possibly put into it. Maybe it’s just one of those things.
Interview- Ali Hewson, Polly O'shea, Phoebe Halstead; Words- Ali Hewson