Eighties Matchbox BLine Disaster

Anne-Marie Douglas 21/08/2007

The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster @ The Cockpit, Leeds 01/08/07

Hurray, The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster are back after a two year sabbatical following their departure from island records. GIITTV's Anne-Marie Douglas had a good old chat with them in the dressing rooms at The Cockpit, Leeds, mid-way through their 'In the Garden' EP Tour, discussing festivals, mash potato and the new EP, to the etiquette in men's urinals, voodoo, festivals and Yorkshire day!

AMD - Hey, how are you all? How's the tour going, you're about mid-way through now?
TEMBD - Yeah it's going well. It's good to be back on the road basically, it's cool. There's loads of people, it's good that after all this time…the last time we toured was over two years ago, and just that so many people are still bothered to turn up, we're still playing sold out shows and people seem to be really into it.

AMD - You've said in a previous interview that you like playing in the North because people are always up for a good knee's up, so you'll be looking forward to the Leeds crowd then?
TEMBD - Yeah we are yeah.
AMD - And its Yorkshire Day today…
TEMBD - Yorkshire Day! What's that then?
AMD - I'm not entirely sure what it means, the crowds here tend to shout 'Yorkshire' whatever the day!
TEMBD - Oh, not Lancashire then, I'll tell my girlfriend, she'll be pissed off its Yorkshire Day! There's a bit of healthy rivalry there…I think if you started a band in the North though, it'd be quite a different experience you know.

AMD - Has the new material from the EP had a good reaction from crowds on this tour?
TEMBD - Yeah, I think everyone is pleased we're back on the road, new EP and that, it shows in the performance. The new EP is available to download now and its out in the shops the first week in September.
AMD - The release date was delayed, what caused the delay?
TEMBD - Just one of those things

AMD - I love the tour pictures on MySpace, they really capture the atmosphere, they're all on stage though, there's no off stage pictures of the tour so what I'd like to know is, is it true 'what goes on on tour, stays on tour?'
TEMBD - we're probably more well behaved when we're on tour, than off tour really!
AMD - Are you really?
TEMBD - Yeah!
AMD - Do you have a pact though where you wouldn't tell anyone what really goes on?
TEMBD - Well nothing goes on, nothing goes on! Well all the usual stuff that goes on in a young mans life goes on…bands who think it's cool to talk about that kind of stuff are shallow really, it's just a bit of bravado. I mean, to be honest, I don't think I've ever been on tour when I've not had a girlfriend and I've been well behaved, I've always told my girlfriend everything, it's an awful thing to cheat, it just ruins lives, I hope I'll never do it again, like, well you know.
AMD - Is it like the thing though, if it goes on in another country it doesn't count?
TEMBD - No! That's just bollocks, it's like if you're badly behaved and deceitful you know; then that's what happens. I think the thing with us and 'what happens on tour stays on tour' is more the mania and the mental breakdown; it's the cabin fever and the out of character behaviour. Its more the bands that have never taken drugs before or been laid before, they get really excited, because they can, you know, but also we have to sort of play it down because we don't really get any groupies…

AMD - Soooo, who've you been listening to on the tour bus?
TEMBD - It's a van, just a van! Joy Division, Radio 2...oh that reminds me, I forgot to listen to desert island discs cos we always get asked that question, so I thought I'd better become acquainted with it…
AMD - So did you plan your listening beforehand?
TEMBD - Yeah I did. Stooges, Joy Division, the Donnie Darko soundtrack, we also play a bit of Dead Kennedy's.
AMD - I love those guys.
TEMBD - And The Cramps as well, we've been getting into The Cramps recently.
AMD - Well you've been compared to them…
TEMBD - Yeah, so we thought we'd better check them out!
AMD - I saw you at Leeds Festival a few years running, though admittedly it's a bit of a blur…
TEMBD - Was it the one with the horns?
AMD - I don't know anything about horns! One time may have been Reading…you played Lost Vagueness this year at Glastonbury, how was that?
TEMBD - It was really good, the best festival experience I've ever had actually.
AMD - Did you stay for the whole weekend?
TEMBD - Yeah, cos I haven't been to a festival as a punter since I was erm. well, yeah it was good, amazing, it was like being on Mars; it was a very muddy and magical time.
AMD - Have you been there before?
TEMBD - well yeah, we played there on the Other Stage a few years back, well were all there and not there!
AMD - I went to the Secret Garden Party festival last weekend and it was the best festival I have ever been to.
TEMBD - Oh yeah, a friend of mine went there and that's what she said as well, everybody was on acid weren't they?
AMD - Yes, yes they were! So, where would your dream venue to play be? Anywhere…
TEMBD - erm, Penrith. Oh I know, The Crow from Withnail and I I'd love to play in there, I'd have liked to have been playing while they were in there, you know, yeah, or we could do a tour and you'd have to bring a pheasant!

AMD - hmmm, another thing I'd like to know is what that all about a free Ouija board with the 'In the Garden' EP? I was really intrigued by that, it might get you in some trouble I'm thinking?
TEMBD - but they might be quite glad…
AMD - well yeah, but whose idea was it?
TEMBD - well I think its like, you don't operate machinery when you're drunk, so you should never play with a ouija board when sober, it's the same principle really.
AMD - so what are you saying that you need to be shitfaced to operate a Ouija board or shitfaced to listen to your music?
TEMBD - no, not at all, definitely not, our music is well, just take it as it comes, take it easy baby. It's a nice piece of artwork and I wouldn't ever dabble in the dark arts or encourage anyone to do so. For the next one we're thinking of giving away like a voodoo head or something.
AMD - How've things developed since your departure from Island?
TEMBD - Well slowly but surely I've found, it's taken us a while to get to where we are now. We've done so much writing, we've got about three albums worth, and during the past two years or more we've discarded so many tunes and I think if we'd stayed on that label or if we'd signed with another label straight away, the album we could have or would have released then would have been rubbish. It's like, having all this time has enabled us to develop a sound that we're happy with and generally right good songs. Personally I think the past two years of struggle has been a good slap round the face and I've been able to rediscover the music and get to know myself again and being in a band so yeah, I'd say it's one of the greatest things that ever happened to me.
AMD - Will some of that material end up on an album then, or b-sides?
TEMBD- yeah, b-sides and album
AMD - I read about Sym getting lost in America and I was thrilled about this…
TEMBD - Thrilled? Well it's alright for you love!
AMD - Well yeah, it was fascinating, all the different sightings of him that were posted on My Space, it was really funny! I was excited, how did he get back in the end? He did get back? This isn't a pretend Sym?
TEMBD - You were excited?! That's a good question actually! We never really though of that. But yeah there were sightings of Sym with Richey Manic having a few drinks in Goa and some in Thailand..
AMD - Yeah, there was stuff on there saying that you weren't going to come back!
TEMBD - Well, I just lost my passport really!
AMD - But it's easy to get them to sort another one, I think you just wanted to stay lost?
TEMBD - Well I did, that's what I did! I was only there for like another 32 hours or something…
AMD - Is that all? 32 hours? That's rubbish! You could've been gone 32 days, 32 weeks?!
TEMBD - Well yeah, but I was on my own, and I didn't have any money.

AMD - What's your opinion of music reviewers? Have you ever hunted one down or do you not give a shit what they write really?
TEMBD - No bad press is good press, well I think being a critic has got to be the biggest blag ever. It's, with all due respect, just your opinion, so if you can get paid, or have people read or listen to what you say about something and them take it seriously then that's quite lucky for you.
AMD - Maybe the trick is not to take it all too seriously…
TEMBD - Well you can't, I mean, there was this guy from a newspaper who spent an afternoon with us and seemed alright but then what he wrote wasn't really that objective you know, which was fair enough but it was kind of personal you know, and I just thought well why didn't you just act like a nob to us at the time and then we could've had an arm wrestle or something and you know he could've written about that and it would've been more interesting.
AMD - And did you say anything to him?
TEMBD - Well no, he'd gone, he'd written the review, and we read it afterwards in the paper so…
AMD - you should've been able to respond really.
TEMBD - well, there could've been an address that you could send hate mail to. Well unfortunately, too many people do believe what they read in the press, so irrespective if you're reading between the lines, so whether or not you're getting good press or bad press, I think people take it all too seriously don't they.
AMD - This next question isn't really in keeping with the band I've met so far, but I'll ask it anyway, I've heard tell from some local bands that have met you on tour before that you, to put it politely, like to 'party', would this be an accurate description or a gross misrepresentation of your characters, going back to what you were saying earlier, that you're more well behaved, it's probably not true is it?
TEMBD - To be honest, we go out of our minds anyway, we may go through a phase of complete hysteria, and it all depends on what day of the week it is.
AMD - What about this tour then; In comparison with other tours?
TEMBD - I think this is the least of everything tour, we've showered the least, we've slept the least, done everything the least, I think if we were in a staying awake competition we'd probably win hands down.
AMD - I don't think you'd beat me.
TEMBD - We'd try! We beat Keith Richards, we stayed up for four months. The point is, it's not something we're really proud about.
AMD - It's not big and it's not hard.
TEMBD - No, it is mind crippling though and we wouldn't be where we are today without it! I think it's a disease though…
AMD - What, staying awake?
TEMBD - No, well that can be, when you go to a party and you never come back, it's definitely an illness…but we're coming to terms with that now.

AMD - I looked on your forum today and you seem to have some very dedicated fans, apparently you have a 'cult' following in the South?! Do you have any good stalker stories? There are people on your forum going to a few of your gigs on this tour…
TEMBD - Not any particular ones really, I think people find us hard to approach or something because we don't get anything especially manic in either direction, but there was this French fan, who'd like arranged a four course meal with dessert and everything and we didn't know her, we'd never met, well we met her before once, but we didn't know her and we'd never arranged to go round there and she never told us she was cooking…she gave us a nice spoon!
AMD - A spoon?
TEMBD - Yeah, it was a silver spoon, rock n roll with gravy Yeah, we've got some great fans we've had for years that follow us, but they're more like friends now really. There's a guy on this tour who's coming to every single gig. People often a bit afraid though, I remember reading this story about this bloke who couldn't piss in the urinal next to Sym and I just thought, how ridiculous, how bizarre!

AMD - How close are you all? If you do fall out, who cries, who sulks and who storms off?
TEMBD - We do all of those things!
AMD - What about?
TEMBD - Well you know if you're drunk or tired, collectively really though, the amount of time we've spent with each other and the amount of arguments we've had have been pretty small really. I've argued with girlfriends much more, I think we get on quite good.
AMD - What's your plans for next year? Album, Touring?
TEMBD - Oh yeah, all of those things.
AMD - Are you doing any more festivals this year?
TEMBD - Well probably not, well we'd have liked to, but they're all booked at the beginning of the year so…but this is like a festival isn't it, Yorkshire Day!
AMD - Any outrageous diva requests?
TEMBD - What? Like what would we demand?
AMD - Yeah.
TEMBD - Well, a grill, you know, an oven…I quite like fried mash potato sandwiches with melted cheese.
AMD - Surely not! You can't fry mashed potatoes?!
TEMBD - Yeah you can! It's partly what bubble and squeak is, mash it up, fry it, put it on a bagel, add cheese and grill it…
AMD - Ask me a question…
TEMBD - eeerm
AMD - I have foxed you now…
TEMBD - Did you puke before interviewing us?
AMD - Puke?
TEMBD - Yeah, a lot of people seem to puke before interviewing us…
AMD - No, I went for some cocktails!
AMD - So as if I haven't already asked silly questions, I have more. Favourite Muppet please?

TEMBD - oh, those two old grumpy guys!
AMD - Desert Island Disc?
TEMBD - The Stooges - Raw Power
AMD - Iggy and The Stooges are playing at the end of August in Leeds, I'd really love it if you played too; can you fix it for me please?
TEMBD - Yeah, of course, where is it?
AMD - At Harewood House in Leeds, kind of an all-dayer I think, for charity, please fix it for me.
TEMBD - Shall we write to Iggy…please fix it for us! Well, we'll do our best for you.
AMD - Ok, thanks! We'll leave it there then, it's been good to meet you and enjoy the gig.
TEMBD - Yeah, thanks and you too.

The “In the Garden” EP is out now.