Longpigs Edinburgh: Liquid Rooms, Mon 13 Sep.
Longpigs, it has taken you such a long time to get around to putting out a new album that everyone will have forgotten that your first album went gold and you were rather thoughtful and lovely. Are we to assume that you have been lounging in swimming pools for three years and, if so, haven’t you gone all wrinkled by now?
’If only that were true,’ muses bassist Simon Stafford. ’We went on tour, with Echo And The Bunnymen and Suede and U2, and that seemed to go on for ages. Then I had a kid born, and I asked if I could have a month off; and Crispin said he needed to write some songs anyway, so we all took six months off . . .’
Frontman Crispin Hunt, one of the original Intense Young Men of Britpop, takes up the tale.
’We needed that. We’d been playing two hundred gigs a year. Life becomes like Groundhog Day. You have very little to say to each other. It's like having three wives. You end up getting annoyed with the way somebody sniffs after they say the word "perhaps". Which inevitably affects the . . . children you give birth to together!’
Ah. So what of the new children, born of happier times?
"They’re very good. Very much easier to bring up.’
Simon agrees: ’Your first album builds up in you from your teens and you feel like you need to shout it all out. With your second album you can relax a bit; it’s happier,’ he ponders. 'Though it does still have that . . . cape-swirling aspect.’
Indeed, the new album pulls no punches on the amateur dramatics front. It’s an eccentric mixture of rock dynamics, vocal acrobatics and stylistic twiddling. ’It would have been easy to do exactly what I dislike the Manic Street Preachers for,’ Crispin says, 'and make the album everyone expects. It's much easier to give birth to something not knowing whether it's going to be a boy
Longpigs: Piaf meets Public Enemy
or a girl. Or a chicken. I was conscious of what our next record should sound like; and when it came out sounding like . . . Edith Piaf mixed with Public Enemy, it was scary at first.’ He’s come to terms with the oddity he's created, though. 'You could have sex to it, couldn’t you? Most indie music you can’t. Unless you have very quick, spiky, uncomfortable sex . . .’
As if that wasn’t enough, the 'Pigs promise a spectacular live set with all manner of flamboyant extras not common to your average rock ’n’ roll show. The drama kings are back - prepare to swirl your cape. (Hannah McGill)
' The single ’B/ue Skies’ is out on Mon 27 Sep, followed by the album Mobile Home in Oct.
Class act: Lee Griffiths
So we won’t catch him supping champers with Tones and Cherie? As if . . . ’When you’ve experienced life at the wrong end, like I have, how can you then start getting above yourself and falling for it?’
But then again . . . 'In reality my life's going to change; it already has. But whatever, I'll be writing about experience. Working class is an attitude, not just a way of life.’
How very New Britain. But never mind the politics, what about the tunes? Griffiths has the voice of an angel. A scally songsmith cum project poet, he’s charmed press and punters alike with his melancholy tunes and
Every fortnight, a new spring of talent bursts forth. Getting us damp this issue: Lee Griffiths Who he? Lee Griffiths is a 25-year-old singer-songwriter from the wrong side of town. Expelled from school at an early age, wee Lee drew lyrical inspiration from his Moston background, picked up an acoustic guitar and taught himself to play. ’If I hadn't done that' he grins, ’l'd
34 THE LIST 9-23 Sep 1999
probably be talking to you from Strangeways just now. Or Outreach.‘
Bad boy makes good - bit like Oasis then? Are you cruising for a bruising? For Griffiths, Oasis are the embodiment of the evil, socially aspirant nouveau riche. ’They sold records on the back of being working class, they spouted working class bravado, and then they were like, “Well fuck you, we’re off to Primrose Hill, got enough money to keep us in charlie for the rest of our lives." ’
determined dedication. ’I don't sleep. My mind’s constantly working, I start feeling guilty if I’m out having fun ’cos l feel like I’m neglecting myself. Even when I’m relaxing I'm thinking about tunes, man.’
With that much dedication, he’s bound to be good. Far be it from him to disagree. 'All I can say to you,’ he quips, ’is get your order in for the third album now.’ (Nicky Agate)
- Lee Griffiths plays Glasgow: King Tut’s, Fri 17 Sep.
This issue: Jake Shillingford of My Life Story
Name a new band you'd trust with the future of music.
I would probably leave it in the more than capable hands of Subcircus, but no one seems to like them except me. Name an album that’s an unrecognised classic.
Manic Pop Thrill by That Petrol Emotion.
Which artist or record first made you want to make music?
‘Ballroom Blitz’ by The Sweet. My father walked into the room and switched the TV off when they were on Top Of The Pops. I'd been wanting to make him do that for a long time.
Name a song you wish you’d written. 'Reward’ by The Teardrop Explodes. Who was the first pop star you had a crush on?
Fay Fife from the Rezillos.
What song makes you cry?
'Wichita Lineman’ by Glen Campbell. Finest song ever written by the finest songwriter, Jimmy Webb.
Name a band or artist who has influenced you that people might be surprised by?
Tony Newley, who is sadly no longer with us. He was the last great entertainer, he married Joan Collins and Bowie ripped him off. I had the privilege of meeting him at this one- man show at Fairfield Halls in Croydon. He gave me some great showbiz advice. Something to do with longevity and wigs.
Name a non-musical influence on your music?
The rise and fall of Tony Hancock. Who would be on your dream Top Of The Pops?
’See No Evil’ by Television; ’Bomber’ by Motorhead; 'Magic Garden’ by Dusty Springfield; ’Jean's Not Happening' by the Pale Fountains; ‘ldentity’ by X-Ray Spex; ’All The Young Dudes' by Mott The Hoople; ’Sparky’s Dream’ by Teenage Fanclub; 'lndia‘ by The Psychedelic Furs; and 3 Nancy and Lee medley with Legs & Co. Hosted by Gia Carrangi and Tony Benn.
Name a gig that changed your life. Soft Cell's last ever concert at the Hammersmith Palais, in the mid-80$. It was an emotional occasion and an incredible coming together of people from all walks of life.
I My Life Story play Strathclyde University Glasgow, Tue 21 Sep, and The Venue, Edinburgh, TBC. Their sing/e ’If You Can ’t Live Without Me Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?’ is currently free/y downloadab/e off the internet
(h ttpl/swww. m y/ifes tory. uk. com).