How to interview

Written for Collapse Board

I start to wonder if he’ll ever answer.
“Rome,” he says.
Good, good. That’s a start. OK, get him to elaborate.
“What did you like about it?”
“It was nice,” he says.
Did he really just say that? I wait for him to continue.
He doesn’t.
Well, that’s it. I mean, I’m out of questions. Panic.

A Clam, says ex-Kerrang! man Jason Arnopp in his book How to Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne and Everyone Else, is “the interviewee who opens his mouth to say some words, then shuts it again after saying the minimum required of him“. A 16 year-old fanzine hack, I was faced with a bored, tired Richard Ashcroft who gave only one-word answers to this rookie unprofessional.

“Zere is no reality!”
We both look towards the door. A middle-aged, portly, dark-haired woman has burst into the hotel lounge and made such a declaration, and stands impatiently, waiting for a response. I think she’s Dutch or something. European. Strong accent.
“Pardon?” says Ashcroft.
“Zere is no reality!” she repeats.
Oh, good grief. I’ll just stay quiet and let the obviously more professional one of us explain to her that we’re in the middle of an interview and ask her politely to leave us alone.
I glance over to Ashcroft.
He gets up and walks over to her … and then begins to argue with her that there is a reality and she is obviously quite wrong.
“MY CAR!” she squeaks, pointing at the window. Seconds later, she waddles out at top speed to chase the tow truck down the road.

I suppose you could make it up, but why would you? I somehow convinced Ashcroft to pose for photos in the Mad Hatter’s Teacup Ride down by the seafront – wonderful snaps long since lost – and Nick McCabe gave me a signed 10″ of ‘Gravity Grave’. A great anecdote, fine photos and a great single – but the interview, let’s face it, sucked.  Continue reading

Death In Vegas interview 1997

I did this interview for my fanzine in 1997, though looking at the text it’s probably a co-write between Claire and me – we’d take turns to type them up while splitting a bottle of Jack, each editing the other’s words. 

If you haven’t seen Death In Vegas or haven’t got a copy of their album then you must be deaf, braindead or a Bon Jovi fan and we send you our deepest sympathy. They are without doubt one of the best and freshest dance outfits around.

Masterminded by Richard Fearless and Steve Hellier, Death in Vegas began over four years ago and have their first album, Dead Elvis, out on Conrete. The singles – Twist and Shout (a cover of The Beat’s 80s single) and Rekkit both went down a storm and they now enjoy a nice slice of radio airplay. This year they have toured with The Chemical Brothers as well as performing at Glastonbury and the Brighton Essential Music Festival. We managed to catch up with Steve at the Southend stop of the Chemicals’ tour and ask him a few questions.

We decided to subject Steve to a game of Wiggly Worms, where different coloured tailed worms bob up and down in a big plastic apple and you have to pick them out. The questions, which were colour co-ordinated with the worms’ tails, were hastily thought up over a cup of tea in a beautifully greasy Southend cafe. Right: let’s begin.  Continue reading