"It's true it's true! He does a one handed thing on his keyboards an' he's like that (gestures as if raising a cape over his face and making spoon ladling, curry eating motions with the other)"
A Grand Day Out.
"God, do we have to answer any more bloody questions? I've been talking solid for three days..."
"Hey, Richard, how many have you had? You been drinking all afternoon? You're bloody interviewing us? Heh heh... Hey, why can't we have a beer? Can we have a beer? Go and get some fags Andy."
Hardly the most run of the mill opening gambits at an interview, you will agree. Still I Am Kloot are right. I have been drinking all day (but there again, it wasn't a normal day, I reason. I needed several strong ones to get over the hour long walk I had whilst trying not to get lost in the Jordaans. No, don't ask, but some advice to all of you. Use a map in Amsterdam, even if you've lived here for a while).
I Am Kloot are in town (at the Desmets studio to be precise) to do a set of interviews and a short set to be broadcast on '3voor12' to promote their new album "Gods and Monsters". I am second to last on the interview list, and feeling tired and emotional.
Anyway, cheers lads, here's to the gig you played at the Patronaat last year
Pete Josbon: God, which one was that?
IN: You kept calling a friend of ours "dad" throughout the gig.
Johnny Bramwell: Oh God, yeah, I remember that.. heh heh.
IN: And here's to the Music In My Head Gig last year...
Pete: Is that the one with Ian McCulloch out the Bunnymen?
IN: Yeah, that's it, we went to see him specially actually, cos I was the biggest Bunnymen fan ever.
Johnny: I don't think you were actually
IN: Bet I was...
Andy Hargreaves: Bet Johnny's got more records than you..nerrr...
Johnny: Nah..Bet you didn't go on Crystal Day, eh? Eh? See?
IN: (abashed) No, I saw em first in 1985 and then on their last tour in 1988.
Johnny: Yeah, well we were in Japan once, and we played, we were only there once, and we played for an afternoon, and after the gig I was getting pretty leathered and anyway I'd had this massive sleep deprivation. McCulloch walks in. As I've just said I was a massive fan so I went over to him and started talking to him, telling him loads of this that made no sense, telling him what a massive inspiration he was to me. And he was totally freaked out by this
Pete: 'Cos you jumped on his chest.
Johnny: Yeah, I jumped on his chest...
Pete: When he was standing up... You were totally drunk man, it was marvellous.
Johnny: And anyway a few months later we bumped into Will Sergeant at another show, and my girlfriend at the time was a massive Bunnymen fan too and anyway she was talking to him. And suddenly, Will sort of went "Yeah, yeah, I'd better go" and he was off. And what had obviously happened was that Will had clocked that I was "the guy who attacked McCulloch". Then he came back later on and he was laughing his tits off about this. Mac must drive them mad at times.
Pete: McCulloch is supposed to be a very very funny guy tho'... Oh, hang on lets get these in first (cue more drinks)
IN: I'd better ask you lot a proper question now.
Andy, Johnny & Pete: Fuck it! Fuck it, why bother?
Johnny: We've been talking for days man, days.
Pete: Ah come on man, get these into you.. Cheers
(everyone else) cheers...
IN: Actually I have to ask you one thing, Damian (our glorious co leader on Incendiary) saw you at the Haldern Festival in Germany. And he was laughing about the fact that you were stressing about having no beer crate on stage.
Johnny: Yeah, I always stand on a beer crate on stage.
Andy: I think we ran out of beer, I think we were rationed at that festival.
Pete: Fuckin 'ell... German efficiency gone wrong. Which one's Haldern again?
Johnny: The one with the bloody big lake. The one where my amp broke down.
Pete: God it was bloody hot, that gig, and no beer. It was a good crack that.
IN: Bands seem to like playing Holland and Germany...
Andy: Yeah, yeah, we do.
Pete: It's a bit more open minded here, its cool 'cos you can try out stuff and the audience seem to be saying, (adopts a strong Mancunian brogue), "come on then, lets 'ave it... Impress me if you fuckin can"
Johnny: Well people are much more into it, you know, they are prepared to listen to you, and talk about anything; like me and you could talk for hours about Ocean Rain for example. But in England all people tend to talk to about is what do you think of the Strokes, for example and how do we fit into the new wave.
IN: Does that put you off?
Johnny: Well it is boring a little bit. And it doesn't really apply to us at any rate.
Pete: Who gives a fuck anyway.. But it's true, it doesn't apply. I'm a fan of music and I like to keep up with new stuff but...
Johnny: And its difficult isn't it? You can listen to new stuff, and you can identify with it but it's difficult, being in a band, because its always a question of whether you want to be identified with this new wave of fashion and whether it gets in the way of what you do. But to be honest we don't have much choice anyway because we have been judged by the press not to be part of any of it at all (cue a long Johnny B laughing fit).
IN: I was having an argument in a pub about this point...
Pete: You were 'avin an argument with a pub, you..
Andy: "Hey, you, you're a bar you.."
(Lots of I Am Kloot laughter at my expense)
IN: No, hang on, would you go into a bar at midnight and order a cup of tea? Some girl did and I had words...
(I Am Kloot fall silent)
Johnny: Like bloody Coronation StreetPete: And you got quite worked up about that?
Johnny: Yeah, but it is quite weird behaviour, innit?
Pete: Bet it wasn't a proper cup of tea at the end of it either, was it
Johnny: Lukewarm bloody water. The water's never hot enough here. And a bloody biscuit. The water has never got near been boiled, it just gets warm, and no more.
IN: It's the same with Benny and Hot... (there now follows a long discussion on the merits and history of adding hot water to Benedictine. It's the only time I command true silence through the interview).
Pete: Do you remember that interview we did at Haldern, that's where we had the warm tea. It was bloody embarrassing, cos we were sat in the background and some guy was interviewing Adam Green, and Adam Green said nowt the entire time. Anyway we sat there rolling around and pissed ourselves laughing. Poor sod.
Andy: He's a bit special that kid. I tried latching on to him at Haldern back stage, but there were nowt about if you know what I mean... So I gave up and left him to talk to himself.
IN: We're supposed to interview him..
Johnny: He were dressed up as Robin Hood at one stage.
Pete: No, that's when he was in the Mouldy Peaches. Good luck on your interview.
Johnny: Take a nice line of cheap speed when you interview him, (more I Am Kloot laughter at Incendiary's expense).
IN: Hey I heard you lot slagging prog rock in a previous interview. What about bands like Amon Duul 2 & Ash Ra Tempel? You know Krautrock? You can't slag that...
Andy: No I've got nowt against Krautrock.
Johnny: Fuckin' ell take it easy Richard. We were taking the piss.
Pete: I mean every album's a concept album, but its the word itself. It has too many bad associations. I just think of Rick Wakeman with gigs on ice, and all that relates to is cocaine. Yes did a gig at an ice skating rink with ice skaters, did you hear about that? I mean why? It's preposterous in this day and age.
Johnny: I'd like to see it...
Pete: He did a gig in France and apparently this old guy gets on stage, and Wakeman's thinking who the fuck's this cunt on stage? So Wakeman runs over and knees the cunt in the groin and throws him into the audience, and gets back to the keyboard... Anyway the "cunt" turns out to be Salvador Dali, (cue incredulous, raucous laughter).
Andy: He's really got his finger on the pulse there hasn't he? Name me one person who looks like Salvador Dali, (more laughter).
Johnny: How the fuck didn't he recognise him?
Pete: He must have thought it was the guy coming to deliver his curry. He used to get a curry on stage.
Johnny: It's true it's true! He does a one handed thing on his keyboards an' he's like that (gestures as if raising a cape over his face and making spoon ladling, curry eating motions with the other)
Pete: With a naan bread..
Johnny: Its true, you look incredulous Richard. Anyway, listen to this; I was in a band when I was about 15, we were all Strummer wannabes at the time. We were in "Ashton Town Hall Battle of the Bands", so we were there with the Bible according to Joe Strummer. And everyone else were just in these heavy metal bands from Ashton, and we were in this shabby room with about forty people in it and there were all these guys in heavy metal outfits with spandex, the lot, all the clobber. They were all watchin' us play after they'd played. Anyway during the gig one of them started walking towards the stage with all his gear on and started playing with the equipment. And I just lost it with him and booted him and stamped on him. And all he was trying to do was sort the mike stand out, cos the stand had got loose. And I thought he was trying to make some rock statement..
IN: I'd better go...When are you over here again?
Pete: We're here in May for a couple of gigs (for your information readers 13/5 Vera Groningen, 14/5 Melkweg, 15/5 Nighttown) so we'll see you again. We'll hook up for a pint.
Actually we hooked up for a swift pint in the radio studio bar prior to them going on air. Incidentally, the short set was a blinder, despite Johnny's soundcheck grumble that he sounded like "Tom fuckin Waits" opening with Twist and following up with tracks off the new album Gods and Monsters, The Stars look Familiar, and Over The Shoulder. The Dutch red carpet crowd lounged around, air kissed and seemed suitably happy, even when confronted with the emotional, cine noir tales that I Am Kloot specialise in. Oh, and in case you were wondering about the new album, (seeing I asked not one question about it), its marvellous.
Words: Richard Foster