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Interviews Tommy - June 2003 -

The following is a transcript of a video interview. You can download the video & audio versions on the downloads page.

And the question awards are... I shall open them... We have questions...

What is the idea behind the new album (if any)?

The whole album is about surveillance, CCTV cameras, voyeurism things like that. About Violence, about lots of things, us, strange things that we usually talk about... man.

Is the new album a radical departure from LYMTF, or is it a more natural follow-up?

I definitely think the album is a more radical departure from when it was called Love You More Than Football. Love You More Than Football was when we were still on Gut and basically Gut were trying to force us to still be like a hit making band, you know what I mean like?

I don't like to say it like, but like they always thought we could be The Beautiful South. I personally like the Beautiful South but I don't wanna be them, you know? I wanna keep in the tradition of Space, a weird band you know? Cos thats what we're all about. So its definitely not a natural follow up to LYMTF no. Its gone even weirder than Spiders I think.

Was it hard to record, after all that happened with Gut, etc?

The record I thought it was going to be hard to record after leaving Gut and that but actually it was like a cleansing experience, it was brilliant because after doing LYMTF - being too commercial it was great to write songs back with Steve Lironi, just doing songs that we just wanted to do you know? Some of the songs we were actually just erm we started off with about like 14 songs and half of them never even ended up on Suburban Rock and Roll, some of them we've given away free on the internet and stuff like that already. But lots of them just happened when we were there in the studio.

(just having a swig of tea)

Has Jamie's departure changed the sound much and if so, in what way?

The only way I'd say that Jamies departure has made any difference to Space is erm I dunno, you do miss him being the nutter on tour and things like that and he was a good character. I appreciate that and I still really like him you know, and I hope he does well for himself but erm there was just two bands in one basically Jamie needed his own chance to fulfill his artistic development as we... shall we say? And erm good luck to him but just he wanted to do his songs, I wanted to do my songs. I always wanted an album with just my songs on, which probably sounds a bit egotistical but it wasn't about that you know, its just about, you want an album to sound a certain way its gotta have a certain feel to it and with two different people writing it took off too many different styles you know. Jamie was into his style of like Rock and Roll laddish thing you know what I mean, whereas I'm more into experimental and stranger outlooks.

The photos from the album look very exotic, where were they taken?

Someone thought that the photos on the album were exotic, but I think they were done over the water in the Wirral so I suppose you could say that was more exotic than Liverpool like. It was by a nice little beach but it was only just outside of Liverpool you know? Not that exotic.

Why the sniper sight on the cover?

The sniper on the cover of Suburban Rock and Roll is basically just to add to the surveillance and the voyeurism and the thought that theres someone always watching you through your window, you know? You can't be doing anything, you can't be playing with yourself, you can't be erm, you can't even make a cup of tea and poison your best friend because theres always someone gonna be watching... and they might shoot you through the window – stop you poisoning your best friend, so you don't really know who is the criminal there do you? You for poisoning your friend or the sniper for shooting you, say he was a hero

What are the planned singles for the album?

The planned singles for the album at the moment... I think its going to be one called 20 Million Miles From Earth which is like, I'll say it myself its very Spacey, Its got all the elements. I dunno what else to tell you the truth. One of the songs I personally would like to be a singles well I always pick songs that shouldn't be singles cos I like the strangest songs. But my favourites called Punk Rock Funeral I'd like that to be a single but i don't think it would be a hit, and theres still people out there who will want it to be a hit.

What's your favourite track on the album?

Another favourite song on the album of mine is a song called Quiet Beach cos its just a really cool, mellow song about suicide, about wanting to walk into the sea and not come back out and listening to the sea singing to you, its nice to hear the sea sing.

When's the tour and have you got any surprises in store for it?

I suppose the tours gonna be round about the same time as the album which is hopefully August, early September. I'll just be honest with you, you know what its like with record companies. Every time we always say to you and we put a date on the internet and they always say, we tell you and then the record company always say “well yeah we'll put it out that date” but then it usually ends up like a few weeks later or something like that, so, but they've definitely said to us August early September. So we'll be doing a tour again so fingers crossed. Its definitely coming out though we're not blagging ya honestly!

Er I suppose on the tour we've got a few surprises, its going to be very suburban surveillance orientated.

If you could steal one song and say you wrote it which song would it be?

If I could steal any song who would it be, what song would it be? Its gotta be off Lady and the Tramp, I'd say it was... I don't even know what its called “I am Siamese if you please babom bom bom” yeah I like that one.

Is this the final Space album?

This is definitely not gonna be the final Space album so don't worry about that if you are worried about that, which I hope you are. Because we've already wrote most of the songs for the album after this and we're actually gonna play erm as well, when we do the tour as well as just doing some old songs and this album, we're gonna play a few off the fourth album as well. So you'll be able to hear them.

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Strange! I think a woodchuck could actually smelltheroseskidda! no erm, I think about a box of matches probably, which then could set fire to things, so he could burn more wood... a lot of wood.

If there are any lessons to be learned from your dealings with Gut, Jamie and The Music Business in general, what advice would you give to anyone interested in a career in music?

Theres a lorra lessons to be learned from like being on Gut and losing Jamie and the music business in general. It just makes you realise that you're basically, I'll just be honest like, when you're there and like even when you're in America and you're having hits and that you think its never going to end, you think that its never going to be like hard times you know. You think that you're gonna be like U2 or something like that you know? But it just doesn't happen like that with some bands, some bands have gotta work harder at it. And like I feel sorry for the bands who give in you know, because if you just keep going... and I'm glad sometimes that, I'm made up that we got off Gut and we didn't release LYMTF because I think it would have been a big mistake, It would have been too nice an album, It would have been a step, it would have been more like Tin Planet but like the not nice elements of Tin Planet. There were some cool songs on Tin Planet, I love it you know what I mean but some of the elements I think LYMTF was going more that way instead of going more on from Spiders which is the original band you know what I mean? When we first started it was all about that, that was the style we were into and just basically having hits sometimes the record companies start to pressurise you to keep it up and keep on having hits after hits you know? We weren't about that you know we were about experimenting and doing something different and not being like anyone else. Well not deliberately trying to be anyone else. I don't know. And erm I'm glad Jamie was in the band, Jamie was like great in the band you know? We had some great times and that but you know, at the end of the day these things happen.

Was 'Raymond' based on a real person called Raymond?

The song Raymond someone asked me about, was it based on a real person called Raymond? Well it was actually, he was a friend I used to know from Cantrill Farm where I was brought up. His name was Raymond, a lovely little fella, glasses on, a cool lad erm couldn't get a girl. The song was basically about him... there you go.

Any other pre-Space stuff available beside the “Hit the North” cd (Australians)?

Is there any pre-Space stuff thats available besides the “Hit the North” CD? God I can't believe someone's got that! With erm the girl who loved her man enough to kill him on. The only things, I don't think anything else was released but I know I've got like cassettes of stuff that we did like, live gigs like when I was in the Substitutes and even a band before the Australians I was in called Hello Sunset and Franny was still in them, it was just me and Franny and two other lads you won't know, we were in a band then. I've got cassettes of them, so if anyone I suppose wanted them I could get Yorkie to run some copies off for you. Pretty rough like but you could hear what we used to sound like years ago.

Is Mister Psycho based on a particular person?

Mr Psycho isn't based on one particular person, its just based on the person thats inside all of us. I think theres a button to be pressed in anyone you know? And I think it could be pressed in anyone watching this or just any friends you know what I mean? Its just... theres something in there thats just gonna press that button and turn anyone into a psycho and I just hope it isn't you!

Would you ever get any tattoos or piercings and if yes, where and what of?

Tattoos and piercings? Would I ever have a tattoo and piercing? I always wanted a tattoo, I used to have my ear pierced... crazy guy! But thats healed over now and I'm too scared to put an earring in it. Er tattoos, I always wanted a Speedy Gonzales tattoo but I just never got round to it but I'm sure I will one day... but I don't think theres enough room on a hemorrhoid to put a Speedy Gonzales tattoo do you?

Do you consider the Kinks as an influence on your music?

Do I consider The Kinks as an influence to our music? Definitely, I think I would have always been a story teller anyway because I've always told stories but like when thats one of the bands thats just like one of the best story tellers ever you know? I actually missed out on seeing Ray Davies was playing not so long ago and I missed it. I was gutted but I definitely think the songs you know - Village Green Preservation Society... I think! Great albums you know what I mean? If I could write one song as good as Ray Davies I'd be a happy man!

Would you ever like to work with Jarvis Cocker or Suggs on a song? Or anyone else?

Would I ever work with Jarvis Cocker or Suggs? I've only ever met Suggs like, hes sound. We played supported Madness once in London, which was a strange gig... us, Catatonia and the audience was full of skin heads and that, but I think we went down alright you know? Because we had songs like Neighbourhood and stuff which is a little bit skarry a bit special sounding. So I think we went down all right. I'd love to work with people like that yeah, I don't know about Jarvis because I don't really know much about him, you know what I mean? I like Pulp, but I've never really thought of that like. I'd prefer to work with Elvis or Roy Orbision or anyone else whos dead.

Do any of you do karaoke? If so, what songs do you do?

Karaoke. Its something I couldn't do, I think I'd be more nervous doing karaoke than performing at Glastonbury! I know theres actually people who do Female Of The Species and songs like that on karaoke and I'd love to sneak in the back of a club somewhere and see someone do it, that would be cool. But I wouldn't do it myself no.

What is the best place outside of your native country to play a concert?

Best place to play outside your native country has gotta be America, cos its just like... I've gone on so much about erm I hated it when I was there, I couldn't stand it and you just basically, I know loads of things went wrong and that but you're just an idiot you know? You're actually getting the chance, people don't get the chance to go to these places you know what I mean? If you're in a band yourself, you're not gonna get a chance – its hard to get a chance to go to America and play to these different people or anywhere, Germany anywhere. We were idiots you know, getting all “I wanna go home oh I wanna go home” - you're just an idiot, basically for just turning it down you know? Its fantastic to play in like Birmingham, Alabama or New Orleans, its cool.

Who are your main influences?

At the moment I've talked loads about me main influences and things... at the moment me main influence stuff is all like Bert Kaempfert stuff or like Oxfam gear you know... records you get from Oxfam and stuff like that whats making me buzz at the moment. Get down to your local Oxfam and buy your records there! I mean you have to sift through some rubbish stuff you know what I mean. Don't be going for all the 80s stuff or 70s stuff or nothing like that. You want the old stuff you know what I mean like James Last and Norrie Paramor and loads of stuff like that you know what I mean. Just get into all that stuff... its easy listening but its like theres some cool stuff out there you know what I mean. You don't have to be, you can just forward all cheesy stuff and listen to the, theres some great stuff like.

What do you do in your spare time?

In my spare time? Basically what do I do in my spare time, I like gardening because you just you can forget about anything you know and then again you forget about things but you do a lot of thinking and also I collect monster toys and sci-fi toys, things like that you know like all the Universal stuff and sci-fi films like the Metaluna Mutants and all weird stuff anything from like old films, old monsters and stuff. I collect that stuff so I enjoy looking around places like that and thats basically what I do with my spare time. Sad!

There is no album is there?

Someone's asked... There is no album is there?! There definitely is, don't... To tell you the truth mate, theres been times when I've thought theres going to be no album, we've had that album, the albums there, done and as times when we thought, when Mark thought he could put the album out himself and singles and stuff and we tried to do it ourselves and its just too hard. We just thought we could do it you know what I mean? But its too hard thats why we've had to get a record label to put it out, and we're sorry its delayed it you know we thought we could do it and we couldn't so we've had to get the help of another label to actually get our album out and I'm really sorry if its made it take too long but the album definitely is coming out I swear it! You know its definitely coming out! And theres an album after that one coming out you know? So just don't worry mate!

How happy are you with the new album?

I'm soooo happy with the new album, I can't wait to get it out. Its actually truly what Space sound like and I just can't wait to get it out and I'm even buzzing even more on the album after that because that sounds even more like Space. You know I can't wait to get them out – get going again.

What do you think about Liverpool's bid to become the City of Culture?

Liverpool's bid to become City of Culture, that'd be great you know. Just Liverpool's such a cool place you know what I mean like theres no other place like it on the earth like Liverpool as far as I'm concerned you know I love a lot of places and that but Liverpool is just like to me... theres nowhere like it and for it to get recognised. Cos everyone knows its the true place of culture, theres so many cultures going on in Liverpool you know what I mean? Its whats fantastic about it you know? I love it, the art, the music, the different cultures going on. The china town, everywhere you know its just like an amazing place, its just as good as anywhere else in the world its just whoever else gets a go, so we deserve a go definitely.

Will there be any more Music For Aliens?

Theres definitely going to be more Music for Aliens cos thats what I love to do. I love to erm put... its just cool right – they're songs that could easily have been on the album we just love writing experimenting and that but we wrote that many songs we had to choose certain ones for the album and we've got certain songs for b-sides, but they're songs that're just, they're all just songs that we absolutely love but we just thought basically because the album took so long, is taking so long, basically we thought lets give people some music to let them hear what we're doing and what's going on and what we sound like you know? So there.

What was your favourite Jamie song?

My favourite Jamie song's gotta be I love Gravity, that was fantastic, thats the best song he's ever written. But I also really liked One O'Clock because that was going to be Jamies single but politics never made it happen so I like them two.

Do you think you'll achieve commercial success again, and is that important to the band?

Do I think the band will ever get commercial success again? I dunno mate its up to whether anyone, basically its up to whether people go out and buy it you know, we just do what we do. I don't know I just write songs thats all I can do i can't do anything else I just write songs and I'm just glad someone wants to put the songs out so its up to other people to like them I'm sure like theres a lot of journalists out there who'll be gutted that we'll be putting another album out because they hate us and that but thats fair enough but I'm sure theres gonna be people who love us and can't wait for us to come back you know. I think theres a soft spot for us somewhere there I'm not really bothered to tell you the truth as long as theres people who're actually into us for the songs and not just we're a passing phase or something like that you know. I want people to be in us because they're true Space fans you know.

What is delaying the new album?

Basically the reason the new album has been delayed is basically we're sorting out the new contract and erm its all that lawyer's thing you know. Its annoying us, if you're fustrated imagine how much we are... because like we've actually wrote the songs we wanna get them out there you know what I mean because we want you to hear them. Its just arghh, its just lawyers and all stuff like that you know... they just like write to them and say they want this, they write back and say they want this, or you can have this and it just takes months and months and its just a nuisance you know. Hopefully they've said to us its going to be like end of August, early September so fingers crossed again.

Do you guys think your new album is better than LYMTF?

Do I think our album is better than LYMTF? By Miles! By miles and miles because LYMTF was a desparate album there were some good songs on there and I loved working with the producer – Andy Hughes was brilliant but its just because basically we didn't work with him again because the whole thing was tainted, the whole thing got spoilt. This album just like pours honey on LYMTF you know what I mean, it just kills it dead.

Any chance of touring Australia in the next... oh I dunno, 10 years or so?

Any chance of touring Australia in the next ten years? I'd love to go to Australia. I'll be honest with you, we had an Australian label who were buzzing on us saying they loved the album and things like that, said we're gonna get you out here and then all of a sudden that just died off. We don't know why, they haven't even told us like or Mark our manager hasn't told us. So we thought we'd be out there now but basically once we get the album out thats when we can talk about other places because I'm sure the record company will wanna see it doing well in Britain you know? Once it does well in Britain thats what they do, thats when you go to other places. I'd love to tour Australia.

What were your inspirations for the name of your albums and the name “Space” itself?

What inspired us to name our albums and our band? The true reason we called ourselves Space is just because basically because the musics out there you know what I mean? It sounds tacky and that but thats what it was. We thought we were like recreating some new psychedelia you know? And thats where it was, thats what I'm into like all things space and all that like you know as I say I collect all sci-fi monsters and stuff like that. I watch sci-fi films and buy sci-fi albums and stuff you know. I'm not like a trekky or a star wars person, I'm more into like the 50s stuff you know? Like 20 Million Miles From Earth which is named after one of the songs on our new album, no we named our song after the film - things like that you know? I love all the 50s stuff!

Spiders was called Spiders because we just wanted to hear something that was just like horrible to some people you know and just wasn't an easy album to like loads of people liked it cos it had spiders and scared of spiders but its not just about being scared of spiders its the whole thing of like spider webs and being stuck in a spider web and you know that type of thing. And just being itchy and dirty and you know like that! Just thats what the musics about.

Tin Planet was called because of the whole recycling thing, because we were recycling bits of music we were into and recycling tin and stuff like that you know? And thats why the album Mike Badger did all the tin stuff because he was into recycling stuff himself for his art, you know it was just like the whole recycling process.

You're not going to throw the towel in on us are you?

Space will never throw the towel in because why should we? Because you know I've thought about sometimes about going solo and all things like that or breaking up and forming a new band but It'd just be Space in a different format you know? And we are Space, I am Space you know, the whole band is Space you know, Jamie was Space when he was in Space but now hes just another part of Space out there doing his own thing but you know anyone whos in and whoever joins Space will be Space. I could never throw the towel in and as long as I'm writing good music you know I said once I'd know when I was never writing good music but at the moment I'm writing the best music we've ever written. I don't feel like we're pressured to have hits and things like that and you know we're just writing good songs.

When did you play your first gig, who was it with and where?

The first gig I ever played? Well actually the first gig I ever played was with a band called Hello Sunset in the Mayflower in Liverpool to about 20 people but it gave me the bug you know to keep going. To just like “Yeah this is a buzz, you know this is great playing to people”. First Space gig was at the Flying Picket in Hardman Street – that was just me, Jamie and Jamie Island that was the first Space and that was just fantastic you know what I mean? The sound was a bit different back then we were like the Sex Pistols a psychedelic Sex Pistols or something. That was the first gig we ever did.

CD or Vinyl which do you prefer?

CD or Vinyl which do I prefer? I'm afraid I'm gonna be a trainspotter and I prefer vinyl I just love it you know? I just love all the crackling at the start of the record, thats why I like to put crackles all on our stuff and we always try to release vinyl as well. It just depends whether the record company will let you you know – if you make demands they just tell you where to go! But just vinyl's my favourite – Coloured vinyl! I used to collect coloured vinyl records, sometimes I'd buy a coloured vinyl record just because it was coloured vinyl - which is sad!

If you could own anything in the world what would it be and why?

If I could own anything in the world? I'm not gonna say nothing profound or anything like that you know? Basically I'd like to own total rights to our music and to our choice of what to put on things like that because so I could give the best music to the people who're listening and get it out there you know? Thats a hard question.

What was your favourite childhood toy?

My favourite childhood toy was an old tangerine my mum bought me for christmas, it stood there on my shelf and I watched it rot and decay, like my life.

Are “Space” the Band still a viable option?

Are Space the band still a viable option? That sounds... what does that mean?! That sounds like we're a commodity or something like that – we're not a commodity! We're viable as long as we write music and as long as people like it and are into it you know? Course we're viable, we're pliable as well, we're tryable.

Have you done the video for '20 Million Miles From Earth' yet?

We haven't done the video for 20 Million Miles From Earth yet no, because its always the way whenever you're on a label and things like that and you've chosen the song like you thinks going to be a single, usually you do the video about two weeks before the single's out – its usually a big rush job, you usually just get someone, you get your ideas for it and give them in. Someone just says right you've gotta be here at this date at 6 O'clock in the morning and lets get it done and then they do it usually in a day and then its usually like finished and done and dusted by the end of the week. So they usually – thats the way they work you know so its going to be just before its out.

And tatty bye and I just hope these questions have been answered in the way you wanted them to be and I'm sorry its took so long for the album and I can't wait to be out there gigging and seeing youse all again... don't forget to come up and say hello cos you know what we're like, we're a very approchable band so come up to us, say hello, say whether you like the record or you don't like the record you know? We don't care we just wanna be out and just playing to youse again and meeting youse again, so, until then... ... bleugh!

I'm a wacky guy!