Cerys Matthews likes her booze, admits she's no lady and loves to hit the lap dancing clubs. Welcome back, CATATONIA, the sauciest band on the planet. \‘JO'ds: AlastairWalker

IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE A POP STAR T0 have a pint and a chinwag with. it‘s likely that (‘erys Matthews would appear high on your wish list. Despite being catapulted into the big league by the incredible success of ‘Mulder And Scull)“. ‘Road Rage' and the album International Velvet. (‘atatonia’s frontwoman with the stratospheric voice has remained very much attached to Planet liarth.

As if to prove just how firmly rooted she is. Cerys has come straight to this interview laden with bags from a prolonged bout of retail therapy. If any band deserved a shopping spree. it's Catatonia. They've been busy recording a new album and undergoing a whirlwind of gigging including some recent Australian dates. And then there are the collaborations. (‘erys used to sing about Tom Jones. now she's singing with him. having recorded a duet for his new album.

'We're knackered. but we’re still raring to go.~ she says. ‘We‘ve always been a busy band. and in some ways it‘s more of a slog before you make it. Then again. it can also get even harder. It’s nice to be popular. but it does mean you don’t get much peace.”

The thing (‘atatonia like best is playing live. Anyone who saw them supporting the Manic Street Preachers at (ilasgow’s Sli(‘(' in December will remember Cerys. bottle of wine in hand. sparkly tiara on head. bawling out the ‘every day when I wake tip. I



'I like to try out the local lap dancing haunts when we're out ontheroad. The human body's very beautiful and


Cerys Matthews

thank the Lord I‘m Welsh’ line from ‘lnternational Velvet‘ like some valley-born Janis Joplin.

‘l‘m no shrinking violle she says with magnificent understatement. ‘The thing about being in front of a crowd of people all singing along and jumping tip and down is that. although I‘m not super—confident. I am ready to be myself and not be pushed around. Not that they'd try!‘

(‘erys is an unabashed fan of living it large. Legendary for her alcohol intake. she is also a fan of a form of entertainment traditionally beloved of perspiring males.

‘1 like to try out the local lap dancing haunts when we’re out on the road.‘ she ‘l'm a big fan of all dancing. but there aren‘t many chances to go to the ballet on our schedule. It’s more comfortable at lap dancing clubs anyway. You can drink all the way through the performance and don't have any trouble getting people to go with you. l think the human body's very beautiful and they’re pneumatic ladies.’

(‘erys always refers to other women as ladies. ls she genteel at heart'.’

‘ln this day and age it's far from easy to stay being a lady.' she laughs. 'lt‘s even more difficult with a mouth like mine.’

By contrast. the recording sessions for new album. Ifquu/ly (‘lll'S‘t’d .‘lllt/ Blessed could not have been easier.

New songs come to us all the time. it‘s not like we lock ourselves in a dark room and force ourselves.‘ says (‘erys. ‘\\'e're always keen to get back in the studio. The music for us has to be fresh and evolving - you can only play the old songs so many times before you‘re longing for new ones. It's kind of like recharging your batteries.'

It took a while for (‘atatonia to get where they are today. They sat for some time at the back of Britpop scene. creating few ripples with their debut album Way Beyond Blue.

‘\\'e‘re glad success didn‘t come too soon. as maybe we'd have fizzled out along with bands like Sleeper.‘ says Cerys. ‘lf we have to go down. we‘d prefer to go down on our own ship. rather than burst with the Britpop bubble. I’m much happier doing Sinus/I 11m and going on '10,) ()l The I’m/ts between Bzi‘witched and The (‘orrs than being part of some Britpop thingf

lior the meantime. however. the world is theirs. which only leaves one question. What‘s in the bag. ('erys'.’

‘l’ve just bought a new tracksuit for one of our crew.’ she laughs. 'lle’s been wearing the same one while we tour for donkeys now. and it’s beginning to stink out the bus. Actually. he started stinking the bus a long time ago. lieurghf

Catatonia play Glasgow Barrowland, Sun 14 Mar. Equally Cursed And Blessed is released on Blanco Y Negro on Mon 12 Apr. The single, 'Dead From The Waist Down’, precedes it on Mon 22 Mar.