hey’re opportunistic bandwagon jumpers; they’re talentless wideboys who just got lucky; they’re uncouth Scouse gits. You name it, The Farm have been accused ofit. This, ofcourse,
are, in fact, one of the most successful independent bands of recent years. ‘Independent‘ no longer being a derogatory term associated with bands who couldn’t sell records but were media darlings, rather it is a celebration of Do-It-Yourself pop music with considerable commercial appeal. After seven years of unremarkable single releases and record company rejections (‘I remember A&R men used to say to us 5 you’ve got to start writing songs like The Proclaimers,’ laughs lead singer Peter i Hooton. ‘This was 1987. Six months later, house music exploded, they haven’t got a clue. they’re all looking into a crystal ball
to go it alone and formed their own label, Produce. Less than two years later, The Farm have had a Number One album with their debut, Spartacus, and a quartet of Top 40 singles, including last Christmas’ ‘All Together Now’. Whatever way you look at it, Hooton’s assertion, that what began as a cottage industry has ‘turned into a fucking skyscraper’, is hard to argue with. It’s not surprising, then, that the band are currently enjoying Top 30 success in America with
I their first release, ‘Groovy Train’.
} Signed to Reprise, the same label as Frank i Sinatra, they, along with the likes of KLF,
3 Jesus Jones and EMF, are spearheading
. what many are labelling the ‘British
l invasion’. The term, however, is not one
I Hooton is particularly enamoured with.
I ‘We’ve been lumped in with it, but we
i always deny it. I hate that sort ofjingoism
; and patriotism. It’s nothing to do with what
E country you come from, which city, if you produce good music and you’re from the
! moon it doesn’t fucking matter to me. We’re g certainly not getting offthe plane with
Union Jacks plastered on our heads.
‘We didn’t go over and think. “Let’s crack
couldn’t be further from the truth. The Farm
and they always get it wrong. ’), they decided
America” — the standard cliche — all we thought was, “Fucking brilliant, we can go and look round Manhattan.” That’s the way we view things. I think if we started analysing business plans or how much we’re spending — obviously that’s important - but we’ve got people who we trust to do that. Maybe we’re dickheads for doing that, but only time will tell.’
While the band’s future in America certainly couldn’t look brighter, in Britain the backlash is well underway and front covers are becoming thinner on the ground. The Farm’s ascendancy, you see, was intrinsically linked with the ‘baggy scene’
3 typified by the likes of The Happy Mondays ‘ and The Stone Roses and now, as is the way ' of the fickle music press, this scene has been
officially pronounced dead. So where does
; that leave The Farm? Completely unfazed is 3 the simple answer.
‘They first started calling it Scally,’ Hooton argues, ‘and then when The Farm were included they couldn’t call it Scally because we were meant to be the original Scally band and we would have no part of it, so they
I started calling it indie/dance crossover.
Then they realised, when they started talking to people who had coined that phrase, that it was supposed to be a joke. So they binned that one and then they started using baggy which was the most hilarious of the lot. What does baggy mean? By the time they were using baggy, which presumably was a cut of clothing, most people were looking like neo-mods. It’s all a load of bollocks.’
Bollocks or not, what cannot be denied is that after the massive success of ‘Groovy Train’ and ‘All Together Now’, the performances of the two follow-up singles have to be viewed as relative failures presumably a disapointment to the band. Hooton, not surprisingly. disagrees.
‘Not really. I thought “Mind” would do a little bit better but “Don’t Let Me Down” was the third single off the album and the album had just been at Number One. You see, your fan base is like the people who buy the NME and Melody Maker, and they get
- you into the Top 40. What happens with
songs like “All Together Now” is that you cross over into a completely different market and people aren’t necessarily fans of the band, they just like the song. “All
i Together Now” ended up selling over 300,000 records and we know for a fact we
haven’t got 300,000 diehard fans. There’s
A 50—80,000 who will come to see us on this
tour and some of them might buy the single, some of them will probably tape it. I think we were spoilt a bit with the first two singles going so well. Obviously we’ll be disappointed if “Love See No Colour” [the band’s forthcoming single, already at 20-1 with the bookmakers for Christmas No 1] only makes 31 but at the end of the day all you aim to do is write a good song.’
The success or failure of the single will, however, do nothing to alter the press’s strange perception of the band. Clearly. earnest and intelligent lyrics are all too often ignored and the band are portrayed as laddish cartoon characters much in the same way as their manager Graham ‘Suggs’ McPherson’s former band Madness were.
‘I think we’re a combination of both,’ Hooton claims. ‘There’s not that many bands like us, we have a good time. I’m not saying other bands don’t have a good time — but we don’t see ourselves as pop stars. I know that’s nothing new, but we don’t do it as an image, that’s the way we are.
‘You go to the Smash Hits Awards and we stick out, we were never meant for this. We had a communal dressing room with Marky Mark, Dannii Minogue, Jason Donovan and then you see The Farm huddled in a corner taking the piss. You know, there were no drinks on sale so went to the local pub and came in with our shopping tray full of beer and then you see the others doing their loosening-up exercises. So we are cartoonish in a way but no more or less cartoonish than the likes of Marky Mark, it’s just he’s a pop star cartoon character and we are the cats in Boss Cat— urchins.’
The Farm play the Barrowland, Glasgow on Sun I .
They may be spearheading the so called 'British invasion' of the US charts but, as PETER HOOTON
plastered on their heads.
“ I hate that sort of iingoism and patriotism. It’s i nothing to do with 3 what country you
explains to James Haliburton, The Farm will certainly not be getting off the plane with Union Jacks
come from, which city, it you produce good music and you’re from the moon it doesn’t
The List 22 November— 5 December 1991 11