The Press Article
Oh No, It's the Festive Fan-ish Inquisition
The Supergrass boys answer your probing questions...
We've only just plonked ourselves on a plush west London hotel sofa to embark on the Yuletide interrogation that is NME's Festive Fan-ish Inquisition, when Supergrass drummer Danny Goffey shrieks: "What's this?! 'I want to know why Danny gave me an STD???' Sheila? You know who I am?" It's not exactly the usual seasonal message of goodwill.
As Danny stares at the offending note, singer Gaz Coombes goes in for the kill. "Dannyyy..! Actually, I can remember someone called Sheila. Ha ha," he laughs mockingly, prodding the squirming Danny.
Meanwhile, quiet, grinning bassist Mickey Quinn creases up and almost falls off the sofa.
Y'see, it doesn't take much for these former schoolmates to regress to playground taunts. And being asked shedloads of questions posed by NME readers doesn't help much, fuelled as they are by pints of Christmas cheer.
So without further ado, wrap up warm and let's go.
What's your favourite Christmas cracker joke? (Bob Jones, Cork, Ireland)
Danny: "Did you know Gary Glitter hasn't really gone to jail? He's just gone to Tampa with the kids! Oh, I suppose that's not really a cracker joke, is it?"
Gaz: "I can't remember any. It's more than 11 months since last Christmas! Oh yes, I've got one. A bloke goes into the doctor's with a pork pie in his ear and a sausage up his nose, and the doctor says, 'You're not eating properly.' (Bandmates stare at him) Maybe you had to be there..."
Danny: "How about, a man walks into the doctor's with a roll of clingfilm wrapped around his groin, and the doctor says, 'I can clearly see your nuts.'"
Mick: "Maybe we should write our own cracker jokes. 'Supergrass Christmas Crackers'! Yes!"
If you were to copy Mogwai's 'Blur: Are Shite' T-Shirt idea, who would you say were shite? (Lee Faith, Huddersfield)
Danny: (Grinning like an insane five-year-old) "Poos!"
Danny: (Taunting) 'Bags: Are Shite'? Nah, people! Rugby players!"
Gaz: "Arsenal. That'll do."
If you had a Labrador that looked like Brett Anderson, would you put it out of it's misery or try to love it despite its hideousness? (Sproutmaster, Sproutland)
Danny: "I'd probably try and market it as a freak show."
Gaz: "I'd give it to a blind man."
Danny: "That's very Christmas-spirited of you."
Chopper or BMX? Discuss. (Opthalmik Raczinski, Liverpool)
Gaz: "I think BMX too. But then I used to have a Grifter."
Danny: "Choppers were quite cool, but not that practical. If you pulled wheelies on Choppers, you couldn't really control them well as they had big back ends."
Gaz: "The only good thing about Choppers was you could customise them to look like motorbikes. Get a gear stick and stuff."
Danny: "What were the green ones called?"
Gaz: "They were Strikers. Then you had Bombers as well. All the hard kids in bomber jackets had bombers. The were the mountain bikes of the past. All the spods had racers, going to school on their pink racers given to them by their mums. mind you, I used to have a dynamo on mine for my lights. You'd get them things from cereal packets too that you put in the spokes to make them sound like a motorbike."
Danny: "(Mistily) I miss them days. Cycling around naked."
If you could have a one-night stand with any television personality, who would it be? (Amanda Mann, Internetland)
Gaz: "Loyd Grossman. he could charm me with his transatlantic accent."
Danny: "(Thinking very hard for a long time)..."
Gaz: "You're taking this seriously, aren't you Danny?"
Danny: "Anneka Rice."
Do you think the current music scene is over-hyped and that it's nothing more than a bunch of mediocre '70s pub rock dressed up as cool? (Fleagle30@hotmail.com)
Gaz: "I think the scene at the moment's more about a dodgy kind of pop music that's marketed so much it's easy to sell. People have been shown Steps and Vengaboys so many times that's what the market becomes, that's why bands like us are finding it's still a challenge. It's hard at the moment."
Danny: "Yeah, but we don't worry about it though, and we haven't changed. it's still all about writing songs and playing live."
NME: But who are the worst pop offenders at the moment?
Danny: "We don't really like slagging bands off. Apart from really crap ones. Like Steps."
Is it true one of you LSD in drinks at your mother's 50th anniversary? (email@example.com)
Gaz: "It wasn't anything to do with my mother! You leave my mother out of this!"
Danny: "It was my mum, but it wasn't her 50th anniversary. Me and some mates at her wedding. Actually, not her wedding, I wasn't around then. Her 50th birthday. Did she know? She does now."
Is there any song you regret writing/releasing, or any aspect of the band's history that any of you regret? (Clare Hansford, Southampton)
Gaz: "Maybe being on the Dead Man On Campus soundtrack, 'cos it was a really crap film. We didn't even get to approve the song so it was a bit of a waste of time."
Danny: "But we got a week's holiday in LA 'cos of it though."
Gaz: "Yeah, so we haven't really got any regrets about anything."
Danny: "Not about anything we've put on record certainly."
Which Muppet characters do you relate to? (Phil Acton, Cardiff)
Danny: "Gonzo and Animal."
Gaz: "Rowlf the piano player. or Grover! Supergrover!"
Danny: "(doing a Grover impression) I'm Supergrover! I've got some tapes with some wicked songs from Sesame Street in a superfly sort of style. Really funky stuff. Everyone loves the Muppets."
What would be your favourite thing to be addicted to? (Jared Franicesvic, Auckland, New Zealand)
Gaz: "Oooh, Jared! Interesting! I'm already addicted to my favourite thing!"
Danny: "What, smoking hash?"
Gaz: "No, things like... erm... things like, er... (embarrassed silence)..."
Danny: "Well I'm not addicted to anything but smoking hash."
Gaz: "But you can't really get addicted to hash, can you? So stuff like chocolate. Pasta. Or hurricane-chasing."
Danny, in Top Gear your dad always used to rave on about really rubbishy, average cars. Was he only doing this because he was in it for the money? (Alex Mack, Internet)
Danny: "I think he just liked rubbishy, average cars. He was a dedicated follower. Somebody has to be . He did bring a few Ferraris home on test drive though, kept 'em for a couple of days. but he's not on the show any more, he writes and makes car promo videos. he got sacked 'cos he had a scrap with (former presenter) William Willard. Pulled his toupee off."
Gaz: "Didn't your dad leave 'cos he didn't like Jeremy Clarkson?"
Danny: "(In mock horror) Sshh" Don't go there! Let's change the subject."
Who is Melanie Davis (referring to the B-side of single 'Going Out') in your world? You see I am called Melanie Davis. And since it came out I've been wanting to know just who it is that you're singing about. She sounds like me. (Melanie Davis, Minneapolis, US)
Gaz: "Strangely enough, it's YOU, Melanie Davis! Actually, it's not really about anyone."
Danny: "Yes, erm, actually, we can't go there 'cos we're going to get sued if we do. We did know a Melanie Davis, but it's not about her. oh no. it's a bit of a touchy subject. Somebody's not very happy about it, they want some money off us. Someone that we used to know has got a bit shirty."
Gaz: "She never touched me!"
Danny: "(Laughing) She never touched me either! No, stop it, we can't go there!"
What was the last record you all bought? (Anil Rana, Calgary, Canada)
Danny: "The Doors' 'Absolutely Live'. It's quite rare. I paid about eight quid and was really chuffed. I heard it was selling for about 20, 30 quid."
Gaz: "That's weird, 'cos mine was The Doors' 'Morrison Hotel'. I'm not really a massive Doors fan either. I just happened to come across it. And I bought this double Sinatra album, live, where he chats between the songs and you can hear people clanking glasses at tables like the Brit Awards. it's called something like 'An Evening With Frank Sinatra'."
Danny: "Oh yeah, and I bought an early set of Beatles interviews - 'In My life'. It's really great."
Do dirty boys get rock? (Suzanne George, Aberdeen)
Danny: "What, hard-ons? What does that mean?! Do only dirty boys get rock'n'roll music? Are we dirty boys? Where's she from? Aberdeen? That explains it. Actually, no it doesn't."
Gaz: "Do smelly girls get stoned? That's my answer."
How was it working with the King Of Hip-Hop, Ali G, and did he give you any useful tips (Ali G worked on a drum'n'bass remix of 'Sun Hits The Sky' to be broadcast on his show)? (Mark Stacey, Redditch)
Gaz: "It was just me actually. It was wonderful working with him. he advised me not to dress like a tramp. that was about it. It was good fun."
I'm a chiropractor. Have you ever been to one? (Dr Matt Koenen, Iowa, US)
Danny: "Ummm... no. Actually, maybe I have and didn't realise it, 'cos I've had my back realigned."
Gaz: (Looking at another question elsewhere on the sheet) 'Why are you guys so damn badass?! Charly Long, US'. (Chortling) Is he taking the piss or what?! Erm, sorry, what was the question again? Yes, I have."
Why are you guys so hairy? (Ernie The Teabag, Tetleyland)
Gaz: (Mock anger) Are you calling me Monkey Man?! (Brandishes fists, then sits back down again) I'm not amazingly hairy. I've got some hair on my arms. I've got some on my face."
Danny: "You haven't got any pubes, though. and I've got the hairiest back."
Gaz: "Yeah, you've got a hairy back and I've got some hair on my face and lots of hair on my head. I've not really got a hairy chest either."
Danny: "Mick's got hairy nipples."
What is your favourite type of monkey? (Opthalmik Raczinski, Liverpool)
Gaz: "(Indignant, but laughing) I'M NOT a monkey! I'm a human being. Mine's Monkey from the 70's TV show."
Danny: "Or the monkey from Jungle Burger (bizarre animated porn film beloved of teenage boys the world over). Yeah, the big masturbating monkey in that. He's a big monkey that spanks himself off in the corner every time he sees Tarzan's Jane. he's got a very thin, long penis this monkey."
Gaz: "I think most people do. Though I haven't. I'm..."
Danny: "(Interrupting) Do you remember when we went to the zoo, there were lots of monkeys shagging each other. lots of little young monkey shagging each other, with red arses."
Gaz: "And their monkey mum was saying to them, 'Stop shagging, you two.' Mmm, monkey sex."
I read this article that said most people who are truly gifted in the arts are all a bit mad. Being talented musicians, would you agree with this statement? (Mary Kate Melnick, Florida, US)
Gaz: "There's a little bit of our brains that are a bit mad, certainly."
Danny: "Yeah, I think maybe 'overactive' is more like it, thinking about lots of shit in your head all the time (winks at the NME snapper) That's especially true of photographers. I don't think doing what we do, you're ever going to be totally down-to-earth."
Gaz: "In this business it's hard to be normal. But then there's always been a bit of us that's a bit crazy."
Danny: "But it's good. We tend to write songs about mad people quite a lot too. We're probably talking about ourselves."
School's shit. What did you do to liven it up a bit? (Anna Tawse, Aberdeen)
Danny: "Did speed and dope and tried to get off with people."
Gaz: "Made rock'n'roll music in the drama studio. Our school was Wheatley Park Comprehensive in Oxford."
Danny: "Left our shirts untucked. Cut our ties short."
Gaz: "I used to wear white socks 'cos that was really rebellious."
Danny: "pick on kids. Stuff like that. back in 1945."
Will there ever be a proper B-sides album or a live album? (Gary Collins, Canada)
Gaz: "Yes, it's certainly one we're planning, the B-sides. We've got so many good B-sides now."
Danny: "(Looking at another question) 'When will we release a good album worth buying?' That's from Johnny no Mates, that is. The fucker."
Gaz: "Can I answer that one? Shove it up your arse, you fucking old c---!"
What's the worst Christmas present you've ever received? (Gen Walsh, Halifax)
Danny: "My grandma made me a really terrible zip-up cardigan. It's sky-blue with flecks of yellow in it."
Gaz: "Jules (Gaz's girlfriend) has it now and she really likes it."
Danny: "That's 'cos she's mental!"
Gaz: "I don't really want to offend anyone, but bad deodorant or aftershave would be mine. I got a bottle of Hai Karate once."
Mick: "Mine is probably plants. I just kill them."
Gaz: "No, plants are good!"
Mick: "Not when I have them. I water them to death. I even manage to kill cactuses eventually. And this air plant somebody gave me died. I put it in the airing cupboard. Didn't realise it needed light too. It died really quickly."
What do you think of Andy bell joining Oasis, seeing as he's from Oxford too? (American fan, Internet)
Danny: "I think it's really great as he's got a young child to support."
Gaz: "They've just got all the redundant Creation musicians to join up, haven't they?"
Couldn't you have tried just a little bit harder on the last album? (Tom Hammett, Bideford, Devon)
Danny: "Probably, that's true."
Mick: "You can always try harder, can't you?"
Are you afraid of computers crashing for the millennium? (Ronnie Cartwright, Whiteabbey)
Gaz: "No, I think it'd be really smart!"
Danny: "Yeah, anarchy! We could all go out looting!"
Gaz: "People will just open their doors and walk outside and realise there are people they can talk to. There's an old book called Break Down. It's in the future and it's got to a point like now, where everybody's buying everything through their computers, just doing everything on them, and no-one will go out of the house. Then one day they all break down, and they go outside, and it's sunny, and everything's beautiful. I wish that would happen sometimes."
Danny: "I'm only worried because I've just got QBase (computer equipment for making music). I've spent ages on it, making lots of recordings, and it's got to a point where I've got it all set up and I've got all these songs on it. And I don't know what I'll do if it crashes."
Gaz: "I'm only worried about aeroplanes 'cos we'll be flying."
Mick: "I don't really care about computers. I'm more worried about pissheads putting my windows in."
Danny: "Mick's bought a house near our old school and we used to knock on the windows and leg it when we were there. You still get at four in the morning, don't you?"
What is the meaning of life for you? (Claire Nelson, Wellington, New Zealand)
Danny: "Get on with it and deal with it!"
Danny: "But then you're just bringing unwanted children into a hateful, meaningless life. The meaning of life might not be life. it might be death. Then new things happen."
Which is best: pie or cake? (Andy Roberts, Stafford)
Danny and Gaz simultaneously: "Cake, it's sweet."
Mick: "Cake. More variety, less gristle."
What's in your pockets at the moment? (Lucy Brooker, London)
Mick: "(Rummaging furiously and emptying guff onto the hotel glass table) I've got some tobacco, Rizlas..."
Danny: "Mickey's got fucking half the army in his pockets. I've just got a phone, lighter and a credit card. And a box of matches. And a card to get into our BBC dressing room (where they were filming Later With Jools Holland)."
Mick: "I've got a BBC pass... my car keys... my chequebook... Sophie's (his daughter) nursery book... a nursery bill... another nursery bill..."
Danny: "Is that a final demand for the nursery bill? Starting her off as you mean to go on?"
Mick: "(Ignoring Danny) And that's it."
If you had the chance to punch somebody in the face and get away with it, who would it be? (Magnus Ritland, Norway)
Danny: "Quite a few people. Nazis."
Mick: "It would have to be you, Danny."
Danny: "(Spluttering) You'd never get away with it, fucker!"
Mick: "But the point is, I could. You'd never let me get away with it in real life."
Danny: "I'd hit child abusers. And Gary Glitter."
Mick: "No, I'd still rather hit Danny."
If you had a fight, who would win and who would be the first to ask for his mum? (Richard Eccleston, Wednesfield)
Danny and Mick simultaneously: "I'd win!"
Mick: "No, I'd win and Gaz would be the first one to ask for his mum AND he'd lose. We've had fights before, but not serious ones."
Danny: "I came to blows with one of our tech guys, one of our crew, and gave him two massive black eyes once. That was a pissed-up fight though, wasn't a malicious one. It was really sad, I was watching it the other day, as we have it all on video. it was on our first tour of America, we were in our tourbus. it involved a vacuum cleaner."
Gaz: "I'd lose and I'd be the first to ask for my mum? You're dreaming, baby! Hey fuck you, man! Does anyone want a fucking fight then? You c---s! Fuck the lot of you c---s. I tell you why I'd ask for my mum, 'cos she's fucking hard and she'd really sort the pair of you out. She'd be on a level playing field with me. I'd be like, 'Eileen, come here, sort 'em!'"
Small stocking or large sack? (Liz Thompson, Australia)
Danny: "Small stocking."
Mick: "Large sack (both burst out laughing). You're only saying small stocking 'cos you can't be arsed to fill up a large sack with presents."
Danny: "Alright, personally large sack, but for other people, small stocking."
How old were you when you found out the truth about Santa and how did you react? (Carley, Manchester)
Mick: "My parents were really honest with me, they told me when I was really young."
Gaz: "What like, 'Mick, he doesn't fucking exist, alright?!'"
Danny: "I can remember exactly. I was staying up in bed waiting and I saw my dad coming in at two in the morning, putting out the scones and sherry, and I had a torch and shone it on him, and was like, 'Aha! gotcha!' and he was like, 'Ooh, you crafty bugger! Here's your fucking stocking!'"
Mick and Gaz: "Scones?"
Danny: "I was only 17."
For Christmas, would you prefer to be given a Blur CD, a Charlatans CD or a Britney Spears CD? (Laura Sawyer, Maine, US)
Gaz and Mick: "Britney Spears."
Danny: I'd be happy with either. Can I have The Charlatans AND Britney Spears?"
Have you considered making a Christmas song? (Stian Pride, Norway)
Danny: "We already have, haven't we?"
Gaz: "We've done 'Little Donkey'."
Danny: "Yeah, we did a punk version of 'Little Donkey' live in the old days, and we did a punk version of 'Walking In The Air', that went really slow, and then went. 'Warrrgh! We're walkin' in the aiirrrrr...'."
Gaz: "My voice was still like Aled Jones' then. It hadn't quite broken."
Danny: "We were going to do 'Alright' and just have sleigh bells in the background too. Maybe we should do 'Little Drummer Boy'. Why don't we release something with just sleigh bells on it?"
Mick: (Deadpan) That's really clever."
Danny: "Maybe we should do 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas' by Slade. Oh, that's Roy Wood, is it? No, I mean the one by Slade. 'Merry Xmas Everybody'."
Mick: "'Once in Royal David's City'."
Danny: "Yeah, we could do it Lou Reed style."
Gaz: "(singing in Reed style) Yeah, 'Once in-uh royal David's cideeee stood a lowly saddle shed'."
Danny: "(With a lascivious grin) 'Oh Come All Ye Faithful'. that gets everyone up in church."
And with that, they're off, pints in hand and fags on the go, to wassail the wealthy and worldweary in the hotel bar with their interpretation of carols in the true Supergrass spirit of Christmas. One where if the telly's crap, you can always stick on the video of Jungle Burger, have a friendly scrap with a vacuum cleaner or loot your local electrical retailer when the millennium bug strikes. And a Happy New year to one and all.
Jody Thompson, NME - 01 January 2000