It's the third coming for John Squire in his latest incarnation, THE SEAHORSES. Will it be
stormy waters or plain sailing? Words: Fiona Shepherd
WHEN THE 'l‘ in the Park line—up was first announced. the early inclusion of John Squire‘s new combo The Seahorses generated the same hyper-curiosity as Black Grapc’s debut did a couple of years ago.
A few months down the line and the prospect of a Seahorses appearance is
’5 didn’t want to leave the Roses and disappear. I knew I was going to start another band. It went really quickly, so there was not time to assume the
mantle of the tortured artist.’ John Squire
anticipated with total familiarity. After a debut single-turned-Top 'l‘hrec hit and the release of the album [)0 l1 Hui/“self. the quartet can be worn as comfortably as a pair of slippers. 'l‘hat's the whirlwind world of showbil. for you. Some contrast with Squire‘s prcyious muckers. the procrastinating Stone Roses.
‘I did feel a certain pride in turning the thing [meaning the album] round really quickly.‘ says Sqture. ‘I didn‘t want to leave the Roses and disappear. I knew I was going to start another band. It went really quickly. so there was not time to assume the mantle of the tortured artist.‘ he remarks wryly.
l)(» I! l'riurs'r'ff has had the desired commercial impact — at least initially — btit there have been critical raspberries all round. lneyitably there have been criticisms of the new boys in the gang but since singer (‘hris llelme‘s songwriting contributions to the album stand their ground easily next to Squire‘s. maybe we shouldn‘t be so quick to criticise Squire‘s choice of fellow travellers.
The Seahorses: they wanna be adored
He admits he didn‘t have a specific idea of what he was looking for initially. ‘I had a rough idea of what I didn‘t want‘ he says. ‘I didn‘t want a screeching rock singer — I got a few tapes from people who thought I was looking for Robert Plant — and I didn‘t want a shrinking violet.
‘I wasn't looking for people when I met Stuart [Fletcher the bassist who was the first recruit]. I didn‘t go looking for Chris either — a tape came to me. It was a chain of coincidences. l was resisting picking all my band from York once Stuart and (‘hris were in because I didn‘t want to be the outsider.‘ But the outsider he became when drummer Andy Watt was recruited. And from there bonding commenced . . .
‘You can’t really judge people‘s personalities on first impressions. We didn't get to that until we started working together . . . and I found otit they were a bunch of tossers.'
Aw. shucks. As an example of how paternal Squire feels to his young(er) charges. here‘s an exchange between him and the twenty-year-old l’letcher on influences:
Stuart: ‘l'm a very percussiye player and that influences the way other people play off me.’
John: ‘.\'o. influences are things that you like.‘
‘But I think I play in my own style. I don't have an influence.‘
‘So you‘re totally original."
‘l‘m not totally original but I wouldn't say that l sounded like someone specific.‘
‘You‘ye got a lot of Smurfs records -- they‘ve got a percussive style.‘
If Squire impisth keeps his hand on their toes this much. then surely his audience should be on guard too. Pending the recording of ‘Smurf ls The Law". there could be far more dynamics in store. Let's hope so.
The Seahorses play The NME Stage on ,, Sun 13 Jul. ‘" i“
'1' IN THE PARK
Main Stage, Sat 12 Jul.
IT’S ALL BEEN quiet in the Kula camp for the last month and a half or so. At least in Britain. The guys have been off touring America for the third time, 'doing major cities, the fun ones and not all the boring ones in between,’ explains bassist Alonza Bevan. ’So it’s San Francisco, LA, Chicago and places like that as opposed to the mid west.’
Even better for the tantric voyagers is that America seems to be turning on and tuning in to their psychedelic guitar mantras. ‘I think they're intrigued,’ considers Bevan. ’There's certainly nothing like us out there at the moment which is both good and bad for us. You want to be able to get your stuff out there on the radio but they’re playing whatever it is that grunge has evolved into.’
When Kula Shaker return to the UK at the beginning of the festival season, it's likely they'll be flying into a shitstorm after singer Crispian Mills gave the NME a few na'i've quotes about the significance of swastikas. His words promptly blew up in his face. ’Poor bastard,’ is Bevan’s response. ’I think he was quite shaken about it and quite hurt because he's been called a fascist and he isn't. We’ve spent the last year and a half singing songs about peace and getting above this whole race thing and then to get called fascists at the end of it. . . Well, it’s a bit of a joke really but not a very funny one.’
By the time Kula Shaker have finished a festival-packed summer of Vedic-inspired love and peace, it's doubtful anyone will give much credence to the idea of Crispian with a side-parting and jackboots. Old hands at festivals, Kula Shaker tend more to the old hippy ideals of being at one with nature at festivals. ’You’ve got grass under your feet, not tarmac or concrete. It's a natural environment. It’s good,’ sighs Bevan in a pastoral daydream. (Jonathan Trew)
Kula Shaker: at one with nature
27 Jun—10 Jul 1997 THE llST9