were doing it all the time: knocking a band down, building a band
up, it all depended on who they liked that particular week. They
were playing God. But NME, for example, could be entertaining and
factual. Look back to the late 70s, Joy Division period, there was
a lot of intellectual stuff, it was very dense and coming from a
much weightier angle.
do you think people have moved on from the weeklies over the last
think that people eventually were fed up. When people follow something,
and like something, they don't like to be told that what they're
listening to is shit. I find that really insulting sometimes, when
I listen to a record and really enjoy it and then a journalist tells
me that it's crap.
think people generally follow something with a lot of fervour. This
is what British music has been about since the 1950s - youth movements
and collective consciousness, about people moving en masse. Like
the huge Manchester thing, y'know? The press do help to build these
things up but when they're bored of them, they just pull them down
and leave people feeling "well, if that's not the big thing, what
is the big thing?" That bred a kind of insecurity and people didn't
trust the press any longer.
stopped reading the press because I was sick of trying to read interviews
that were just non-interviews. Loads and loads of text by the guy
who was writing it and a little bit by the people he's interviewing.
It didn't leave you any more enlightened about the artist.
you think the decline of the music press is part of a wider cultural
never been explained to people why the press has been disappearing.
There's a larger question to be asked: what's been happening to
the music industry as a whole? Why hasn't the music business ever
been regulated in the way that an engineering firm is regulated?
If you work in the music business, why can't you have a union representative?
Why can't you have holiday pay?
in a band and getting signed up, you're possibly in the worst working
conditions you could ever be in. If you get a 9-5 job, at least
you know when you're going home, if you get sick you know you're
going to get paid for it, you get holiday pay and all the other
benefits. And when people start victimising you, you've got somewhere
to go to get redress.
was frightening as a kid. I was very insecure, having a council
house and rent to pay, and you're like that when you're young -
worrying about having no money and nowhere to live. I was quite
insecure during Spaceman. Spaceman were terrible at sorting out
money and making sure that everyone had a fair split and that was
one of the reasons I left. The Darkside was a lot more money but
a lot more money was embezzled and stolen. The split between the
members was unfair too. I began to resent the fact that I wasn't
getting paid for writing any songs, so I stopped writing songs for
when it's all over you go from earning.. well, in The Darkside we
never really earned much more than £100 a week, but that was at
a time when The Stone Roses were getting about £60 a week from Silvertone.
But you go from that to the dole and once people shut the doors
in the music industry they never open again. It's funny how people
will talk to you one week and then not talk to you the next week.
That's what made me cynical about doing this again.
companies are stupid. They just hoover up cocaine and spend money
like fools. We had a bit of that in Alphastone 'cos we'd been asked
to go to Chrysalis to talk about publishing so we got our hopes
up really high. The guy put out some really confusing signals -
he said that he liked us and really wanted to see us but at the
same time he'd put us on hold for weeks on end and kept saying the
same things. We got to the point where we thought he was trying
to let us down, but why couldn't he just tell us? And we had some
interest from Interscope, they were all over us like a rash and
then next minute they couldn't do anything for us.
got to the point where I thought that if someone comes up to us
after a gig and says "hey guys, great gig, do you fancy signing
a contract?" I'd probably just say "not really." [laughs out loud]
I'd be really defensive and I'm not sure how I could deal with any
is Alphastone's press coverage?
a bit insular - we live in Rugby which isn't the best place in the
world to communicate from. We've also been on a borderline of..
whether we want to get back into the music business or whether we
don't. We always keep the band together because we really enjoy
it and say that if something happens then we'll go with it. But
as time goes on it's looking more and more unlikely that that's
going to happen. We're not really a working band, we just release
our records and hope that something is going to spark.
never expect to be reviewed in Q and Select and their like because
we'd be competing with the mainstream. The mainstream is very much
set up to, not exactly keep people like us out, but we're just not
in those channels; a small band on a small label like Enraptured,
against the Manic Street Preachers? I mean there's some much demand
from the majors to fill the paper up with their bands and their
adverts, their plugs, their reviews.
you can be independent of the music industry if you want to. You
can set your own web site up as my friend Will Carruthers has just
done. He's done a very good album and done a web site to sell it.
I think that's great. It's bypassing everybody who could possibly
do you harm and going direct to the people who want it.
is interviewed about Alphastone here.