The Press Article
WITH THEIR EPONYMOUS NEW ALBUM, ENGLISH BAND SUPERGRASS MAY FINALLY BE GROWING UP - BUT DON'T TELL THE BOYS. BRONWYN GARRITY TALKS WITH THE BOYS IN THE BAND.
"Wake up, Mick!" "Clean up your act, Danny!"
It's not the nicest way to treat three sweet and charming boys, but trust me, it's the best way to get the lads' attention. Criticism keeps them "reaching." Supergrass- Gaz Coombes, Danny Goffey and Mick Quinn - gave me this tip themselves during an evening's battle over a chocolate dessert at Junno's restaurant in Manhattan's West Village.
We four (the band boys and me) are sitting snug in a dim booth at the corner of the room. Along with them come a crew - three PR people, two managers, Danny's girlfriend, and Danny's girlfriend's friend - who eats at another table. Frontman Gaz, brunett and muttonchopped, is at my right, sipping a tequila sunrise and smoking like a fiend as Danny, the drummer and Mick, the bassist peruse the menu. They're a scruffy-looking lot, with dirty hair and easy smiles.
Gaz, who is clearly the ringleader of the group - and also quite a looker with amazing, piercing eyes - talks to me about their recent trip to Japan. "The audience jumps around and goes crazy. but there are these odd silences in between songs," he says. "It's quite weird, we just sit on the stage and it's really quiet and they wait for you to say something. You just learn to talk through it. Then, every time you say something they go 'Ahghaah,'" Gaz says, laughing. "They were really sweet."
Danny recalls that the interviews were the strangest part of the trip.
"You're sitting in for these really odd interviews and you answer the question, and then it goes through an interpreter for about five minutes," he recalls . "During that time we just sit and talk about what we just said and stuff, like, 'What did you say that for Mick? It's crap.' Hopefully they don't translate that." They all break into laughter.
But never mind the laddish behavior. Supergrass, their third album, which will be released in the US this month, is a hit in the UK. The band is succesfully making the transition from the straight, big, splashy, frenetic guitar rock of their earlier records. I Should Coco and In It For The Money. The newest effort is boulder, broader, and smoother, with instruments-laden, vintage '70s-style weirdness and a fully developed sound . It displays, perhaps, a personal appreciation for the classics, which the band kind of admits. "It would be a compliment if Neil Young liked it," says Gaz. The other two nod in agreement.
The Britpop band's music is sounding surprisingly...mature. It's evolving and critics are taking notice. Danny , who is 26, says seethingly, "Maturity! Oh I hate that. It's boring and old." Sipping his drink through a tiny, red, stirring straw, he continous,"We're not at all mature."To prove his point, he sticks his tongue out at the baby of the group, 23-year-old Gaz, who responds with a squeal and as gross a wagging tongue as I've ever seen since junior high.
"When we were packing up our stuff," begins Danny, "I found Gaz's dirty pants and went, 'Ewwwwww,' like this, and I threw them at you, Gaz, remember?" Gaz argues while he does not consider himself mature, but rather "well traveled," he likes that Supergrass' musical progression is being recognized. "We've grown up. Our music has grown up. It's really a compliment."
With talk of music, the band becomes earnest and silent, and wise 30 -year-old Micky adds , "This is our third album, and we'd hope looking back that we'd have something challenging by this time... As for being immature, I'm not allowed to be immature. I'm very sober nowadays."
"My dad always used to get really crap cars, "Danny recalls. "He would think they were classics. He used to pick me up from youth-club discos in the winter, and everyone would go:'Hey! Look at that old man in that car!' and I'd go: 'Hey! That's my dad actually." He sips his milky cocktail thoughfully. "As I get older, I can see his point of view."
"I don't know what would make us think that we were 'it you know?" says Gaz. "It's always good not to get 'it,' whatever 'it' is that might make you think you're 'it.' It keeps you reaching." Then he ask me if I like the album. I want to be composed, and respecful of their penchant for criticism. But I gush, especially now that Gaz is looking me in the eyes. "Hell, yes, I do, I can't help it," I say. Gaz just smiles and downs the rest of his sunrise.
I ask what will it take for the band to let Gaz's brother Rob, Supergrass' "unofficial fourth member" into the group. Rob's been working in the shadows for about ten years now as their keyboardist. Where is he?
"At home," says Gaz mysteriously. As far as what will it take for Rob to get into the band. Gaz tries to explain."It would take a lot," he says.
"It's all about his haircuts , really," insist Danny. "Have you seen his?"
"No," I say, "But I've seen yours. Why'd they let you in?" With this I get the universal Supergrass seal of approval, a collective schoolyard jibe: "Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww," they say in unison.
Gaz gets serious. "Oh you know, Rob became involved after the first record, when we played live. There's some piano of his on the first album." Danny spells it out. "We just said to him, 'you can play in the band, but you'll never be one of us.' And he ran to Mum. And she said," 'Gareth, don't be so awful to your brother. Go to Rob and say sorry. Of course he can be in your band.' So now he's the fourth member," admits Gaz. "Because Mum said."
It's around 9 p.m. now, and Supergrass and company are grabbing their coats and preparing to leave. We stand inside, waiting for their limo. When it arrives, Danny says, "OK, then, bye!" and kisses me on the cheek. Micky holds up a hand in farewell and heads out. Gaz pats me on the arm, like an old friend. They're off, having left me with the bill. Lads!
I turn around to get my own coat and notice two waitresses standing partially hidden between the bar and the pillar. One of them looks shaken but is smiling. "That was Supergrass," says the composed friend.
"She loves the singer - so cute."
"So you're fans?"
"She is," says the calm one. "I don't know them."
Bronwyn Garrity, Nylon (US Magazine), April 2000