The Press Article
The Leeds String Incident...
...And other eerie stories from the Supergrass UK tour. In this exclusive diary, the three lads scribble down their thoughts on Steven Spielberg, choking toddlers, "manky" teatowels, and saying "bell-end" in a Spanish radio interview. Please excuse shaky handwriting...
Thursday May 1, 1997
Pre-production rehearsals. Worked hard on the show all day at the Brixton Academy. We played the last two weeks in Europe with just the four of us onstage (including Gaz's bro Rob on Hammond), but for the UK tour we've got the mighty Hornography on brass and Satin Singh on percussion too, which means we can do a lot of In It For The Money that we couldn't really do justice to live as a four-piece, so we have been working on a lot of stuff for the past week. Despite all the hard work, I still found time to complete a few more levels on Tomb Raider. We've got a PlayStation on our bus, which helps pass those miles on the road. In fact, I almost didn't make it onstage last week in Barcelona due to my Tomb Raider addiction. Apparently, they're making a record with the Lara Croft character from the game - think of the money the record company will save on advances and all that.
Pre-production during the day, but managed to escape early and met Sam. Bit of a bonus on the old footware front when Bryce (our manager) turned up at the Academy with about twenty pairs of new Ben Sherman trainers that our press officer managed to blag for us. I would just like to state that we love it when companies decide to give us lots of free clothes and I am particularly open to offers.
Went for drinks and whooped the night away in a bar after visiting this psychic convention at the Irish Club. A Northern guru told me I would lead "a very healthy life" - managed to ponce a fag off him later. Got quite excited as the Election results rolled in.
Friday May 2, 1997
Had to do loads of regional radio interviews in Manchester in the afternoon. Mike (our regional promotion bloke) took me and Mick along in his jeep. One more question about Steven Spielberg or Calvin Klein and I'll scream. We did loads of TV and radio interview last week in Europe and (as usual) they became increasingly bizarre. Mayte (from EMI Spain) had to act as our translator in Barcelona and all was going well until the DJ asked us whether we would consider posing nude for photos if we were asked, to which Danny replied - on live radio - that he would, but only if there were lots of close-ups of his bell-end! Mayte stumbled over this translation - perhaps this was for the best. This wasn't as bad as Bologna though, when Danny said "wank" live on Italian TV. If you listen closely to the broadcast you can hear Chris (our other manager) laughing in the wings.
Feeling pretty nervous about the show tonight as it's the opening night of the tour - lots of reviews being done tonight. The theatre looked huge at soundcheck.
Travelled to Manchester at lunchtime on the train from Euston with Sam, Daisy and Alfie and our brass section Hornography (as well as our friend Sadie and her posse).
Quite an eventful journey as it happens, as Sadie's baby choked on a piece of bread and we all had to turn him upside down and slap his back before he turned blue. Then the train stopped and we sat on the track for about an hour just outside Stoke or somewhere with four kids to keep amused on the hottest day of the year so far. Later we found out that the train stopped because the smoking compartment at the front of the train had caught fire and they had to evacuate everybody and replace it with a new carriage. There were lots of journalists in the smoking compartment travelling to Manchester to review the gig, so God knows what they were up to.
It was cool when we made it to the hotel (The Jarvis - have they got one in Sheffield?) because the girl on reception was a massive Supergrass fan so we got upgraded to a swanky executive suite and she sorted us out the hotel babysitting service for the evening.
Got a taxi to the venue in the afternoon, but I was too early for soundcheck which meant that I could sit on the grass outside and bake in the sunshine for a couple of hours. Had a chat with Andy (Smith) from the Sunday Times and some fans who were hanging around outside the venue kept trying to ply me with drinks from the pub next door. Sam and the gang turned up (with the baby sunblock which was very handy) and we all sat around and drank while the kids ran about and hid in bushes and stuff.
The gig seemed to go pretty well and the crowd were well up for it. I couldn't believe how loud the scream was when the lights went down and we started up In It For The Money. The theatre seemed to go on for miles when I looked out from the stage.
Had our photos taken for the Sunday Express after the show in the kitchen at the Apollo, which was covered in biscuits and beer within minutes.
There was a bit of a do in the "green room" which was a bit ropey to be honest and didn't look like it had been decorated since about 1972. We had lots of friends there from Oxford (including the mighty Colin Radiohead). The Nubiles supported us at this show as Hurricane #1 had to pull out at the last minute (they got TFI Friday and had to go film it in London). there were no refreshments when everyone piled into the room so Bryce and Simon (our press officer) went on a mission to locate beer for the thirsty media throng - Simon spent over £200 on beer and the Manchester Apollo were trying to charge him £102 for a bottle of vodka (which we paid in the end) when I last saw him!
Saturday May 3, 1997
We all drove up to Glasgow during the day on the bus - Mick on the PlayStation as usual. Played a few games of Fifa Soccer when we managed to get Mick off Tomb Raider. Chilled out in the hotel for a couple of hours before soundcheck.
The gig itself was brilliant - the whole floor was shaking in the Barrowlands for most of the time. The fans were really loud again, too. Too hot onstage, though - I was dripping with sweat for most of the show. At one point I could only find a manky old tea towel to wipe my face with.
Lots of journalists at this show too. Had a big "all mates together" photo taken with hurricane #1 in the dressing room after the show (bet everybody gets cropped out when it appears except Gaz and Andy Bell!). Alan McGee was around too.
Went back to the Hilton and had a bit of a mental night. At about 3am the wedding party in the bar got out the bagpipes and danced the Highland Fling around a table to Scotland The Brave - aren't crossed swords on the floor supposed to be traditional? It all got out a bit boisterous then on the wedding party front - load of blokes in kilts started singing Alright at the tops of their voices and were shouting for me to give them a song on the hotel piano.
I must say I was quite tempted by a number of items in the Hilton hotel shop - especially the model of Methyl Cat, which according to local legend killed 1,206 dogs in the Glasgow area.
Sunday May 4, 1997
Aberdeen Music Hall
There was a great piano in the dressing room and we ended up playing all the songs from the Bugsy Malone film after the gig...and we managed to run out of Guinness.
This was one of the best gigs for us because at least they had a really nice shower unit and somewhere to lay out a towel, T-shirt and sponge bag for once. One of the few times that I wasn't smelly on the bus all the way to the next gig.
Monday May 5, 1997
All: No diary - our day off!
Tuesday May 6, 1997
Leeds Town & Country Club
The Leeds string incident...
All went well until we started playing Sun Hits The Sky. Gaz managed to break a string at the start of the first verse. We had to stop while Gaz changed his string. We started again and at the exact same point in the song I broke a bass string (the first time in three years). We then argued amongst ourselves onstage as to where we should start the song (for the third time) and only managed to settle the whole thing by getting the audience to vote on where they would like us to start the song. We started at the beginning (cheers!).
Later on, at the aftershow party, Maff (our cover artist) was extremely drunk. Bruno Brookes turned up for some unexplained reason. Maff said, "Oooh, I know you!" at which point he put Bruno Brookes in a headlock that Giant Haystacks would have been proud of. Maff was last seen talking to a fruit machine for at least half an hour...
Q - July 1997