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Rising levels

If, a year ago, someone had said that The Levellers’ new album would enter the charts at Number Five most people would promise to eat their hats. Milliners are reporting a sudden boom in sales. Words: Alastair Mabbott

Judging from the normal life cycle ol‘ a band. The Levellers should have peaked by now and begun a descent back to the primordial mud whence they and Back To The Planet emerged. In fact. the last single. ‘What A Beautiful Day’. extended their run of consecutive Top Twenty singles to seven. with no signs ol‘ the band even slowing down.

Bassist Jeremy Cunningham. calling in from a van on its way to a video shoot. has no prol'ound explanation for the band’s longevity. Apart l‘rom the contact they make with their fans through the magazine ()1: The Fiddle. which means that they ‘don’t have to make a full-on comeback every time we release an album’. he’s nonplussed. ‘We just try to write the best songs we can and try to play ’em pretty well and keep it interesting for ourselves by changing everything quite a lot.’

Behind the scenes. their support to campaigning groups didn’t end with the passing ol‘ the Criminal Justice Act. For instance. they give some office space in their Brighton studio base to a group called Justice. ‘They're involved in reporting the other side of what goes on in the civil disobedience that’s going on.’ explains Cunningham. ‘They give

Jeremy Cunningham

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‘Politics hasn't changed enough for us to want to sing new things about it, so we take it for granted that people know where we're coming from.’

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The Levellers: time to get personal

the protesters’ viewpoint as opposed to the establishment viewpoint.‘

Cunningham agrees that the climate in Britain is probably more conducive to the band than it was a few short years ago. what with the ethic of non- violent civil disobedience gaining further acceptance and decentralisation ol~ power to more autonomous regions actually a part of Government policy. Whatever. the new album Mouth To Mouth. their fifth studio collection. shows a new side of the band by putting the polemic to one side and letting them sing about more personal matters. ‘There have been

instances of it in the past. but to do a whole album ol~

introspective stuff is a bit of a step.’ he says.

‘Bel‘ore. we’d always sung about The Levellers‘ viewpoint and now we’re singingfrom The Levellers’ viewpoint. Before. we’d be singing about all our various political beliefs and wearing it on our sleeves. These days. our opinions haven’t really changed. and politics hasn’t changed enough for us to want to sing new things about it. so we take it for granted that people know where we’re coming from.‘

What ‘The Levellers’ viewpoint’ is is an unspoken area of broad agreement between them. As suspected. they don’t sit down and have policy meetings. ‘We don’t ever talk about it. things just happen and we go with the l‘low.‘

Next year is The Levellers’ tenth anniversary. with only one line-up change in all that time. so it must work. Have they thought about how to mark the occasion? With some giant Levstock perhaps“? (’unningham laughs. They haven’t had time to consider it yet. ‘Perhaps with a ceremonial walking stick or something.’ he suggests.

The Levellers play Barrowland, Glasgow on Thu 18 Sep.

preview MUSIC


Sex and drugs and big, bad sweary words are the only qualifications for entry into Bigmouth.

'I just look for the ones where I don’t look like a cunt and fuck everybody else.’

Noel Gallagher explains to ji/l Furmanovsky Oasis ’s unofficial official photographer, just what he's looking for in a band snap. See feature for more details.

‘Did you ever see Jesus walk with a skunk? Touring. . . it’s 40 days in the desert. When your imagination runs out the desert runs out.’ Primal Scream ’5 Duffy comes out with yet more classic Scream non sequiturs as he chats to the NME.

’l'm a drag queen trapped in a woman's body. A very short drag queen trapped in a woman’s body.’ Kylie Minogue reveals yet another layer to her comp/ex personality

’l’m going to get a place with high ceilings, white walls, wooden floors and some big modern art nudes hanging up. Tasteful, of course I don't want to look at private parts in the morning.’

Pop singer Louise gives her slavering fans a crash course in what to expect should they ever get invited back to look at her gold discs.

’I saw Del Amitri on Top Of The Pops the other day. The sideburns, that drummer. It looked like us in ten years time.’

Danny Supergrass has a terrifying glimpse into the future

'l'll just pull my knickers out of my arse and . . . I think my wine has fleas.’

Sarah Blackwood from Dubstar discusses. oh, to be honest, I’ve actually not got a scoohy what Or earth she’s spraffing on about You can draw your own COnc‘lusions

'I used to look out of the window and he’d be skewering dolls on spikes in front of his house and then pouring red paint on them. I was only 22 and I didn’t know what he was doing.’

Edwyn Col/ins recounts the quaint Customs of his next door neighbour when he first moved down to london

12 Sep—ZS Sep 1997 THE lIST43