Supergrass Bonus Quotes
Interview by Mark Redfern
Photos by Wendy Lynch

As you will read (or will have read) in our article on the band on page 68 of Under the Radar Issue 4, interviewing all four members of Supergrass can be something of a task. It’s a fun task, to be sure, but it’s also not easy to make sense of everything that was said in the aftermath. The most important thing we wanted to get across in our Supergrass article was the playful dynamic of the band, as the foursome bantered back and forth like good old friends, cracking many a good natured joke at another member’s expense. Below are some quotes from our interview with the boys, conducted poolside on the roof of their hotel, that we couldn’t fit in the article. The breaks in the actual interview are represented by the subject headings. Also find on this page more photos of the Oxford, England, band taken by UTR co-publisher Wendy Lynch in an overgrown abandoned West Hollywood lot. Supergrass’ latest album is entitled Life On Other Planets.
The Characters:
Gaz Coombes: Lead singer and guitarist.
Rob Coombes: Gaz’s older brother and the band’s keyboardist.
Danny Goffery: The drummer.
Mickey Quinn: The bassist.
Mark Redfern: The interviewer and Under the Radar’s Senior Editor.

Britpop
Danny Goffery: That Britpop - it's a real question that comes up in nearly every interview. "What do you think about Britpop?"

Gaz Coombes: It was a big thing in the mid '90s. A big movement, but not to us.

Danny: I think to a lot of the bands as well - none of them really kind of admitted to it, and said we are a Brit-Pop band.

Gaz: I think someone like Damon (Albarn of Blur) almost kind of fell into the trap of it, saying ‘Brit Pop is over.’

Danny: I read an Radiohead interview and the headline was "We killed Britpop."

Gaz: Things like that, we don't really care, we don't know when it disappeared or when we got out of it or when we were in it.

Mickey Quinn: It's kind of weird one anyway, because it’s not really a very well-defined scene - I wouldn't be able to say what it was. British Popular music that’s been going on since the beginning of time.

Mark: Well not since the beginning of time.

Mickey: Well people banging rocks together or whatever.

Bob Coombes: Brit-Rock, British cave men.

Mark: The other funny thing I've seen in the press lately with your new album was you guys are the Britpop survivors and Sleeper and Menswear all those bands broke up.

Bob: I suppose it's just come round to that time now, seven years. Maybe more of the bands have now disappeared.

Danny: We killed them all off.

Gaz: Yeah, we've actually killed them.

Danny: We had to get our feet in the door someway, so just killing off your rivals.

Mickey: Like Survivor.

Gaz: I mean fuckin’ hell, let's just get to the future - it's always looking backwards.

Danny: You’re on one of your waffling on moods aren’t you?

Gaz: Is that waffling? No I was just saying it’s weird how you look back…

Mickey: Now you’re waffling.

France
Mark: You wrote some of the album in the South of France, right? How did that influence the songwriting process, if at all?

Bob: We had loads of accordions.

Danny: It wasn't really. I don't think we specifically, well maybe we did, we did kind of go over there to write songs, but there's also the fact of just getting out of that kind of wheel of finished touring and a little break and everyone just kind of drives and meets up, it just to go away together and live together. Just to get that sort of energy before we went into the studio.

Mickey: Strange how the Cote D'Azur is quite similar to LA, that is kind of a weird thing and our using Tony (Hoffer, who produced Life On Other Planets and is from LA). I don't know if that had anything to do with it. But I remember when we were down at the Cote D'Azur, it's got kind of a Californian kind vibe. I mean a lot different in other ways, but there is sort of a theme running through that.

Danny: Especially maybe Cannes. Cannes is quite LA.

Mickey: Don't know if that's subconscious...just occurred to me.

Bob: Things like listening to Nostalgique, the radio station over there, influenced a few aspects of the record. It just kind of speaks for itself. Sort of French ‘60’s music. But there is some international stuff on there and it's quite cool and we'd just listen to that a lot.

Gaz: We just got into the whole vibe. You get down there, loads of wine and good food and we're cooking each night, making good food and listening to music. Yeah we had mini disc players, we'd just record little bits and pieces every now and again. It was just to get a good feel together in a relaxed vibe. We'd been on the road for about two years, so we were into just writing some cool songs and just chill out.

Danny: "I've got an idea!" while you're lying on the lounge at the pool. “Oh, fuck I've lost it.”

Mickey: "Pour me another glass of wine, please."

Album Title Re-think
Mark: Have you been asked a lot of stupid questions like Do you believe in life on other planets and all that?

Danny: Yeah. It's something you really have to think about next time.

Gaz: It doesn't matter. It's a good title.

Danny: It's alright. It’s not fuckin’ brilliant.

Mickey: It's better than what you came up with.

Danny: What's that?

Mickey: I can’t remember.

Danny: Sweet smell of Supergrass.

Mickey: Sweet smell of my ass.

Gaz: It's hard to say - anything without it sounding cliché, because it's what everyone's said before.

Spinal Tap Moments
Mark: What is the most Spinal Tap thing that's happened to the band.

Danny: One of them, we were arriving in Glastonbury in 1995 in a helicopter and you could see everyone was like, “wow, I think it's the Rolling Stones or someone.” No one knew who we were and we got out and they went “who the fuck is that skinny little bloke?” We went "yes."

Mickey: Any more? One each.

Danny: Don't look at me, I'm thinking.

Gaz: I’m sure there’s been a few wandering through the backstage and stuff trying to find the stage. One was w/the Jennifers with the parcel carrier thing we thought might be quite funny. We found it in the dressing room before the gig and thought it would be good if our guitar tech wheeled me on me stage and I'd sort of have my guitar and I'd be like a statue - completely still and then I'd jump off the carrier and go into the song like Hey! And it'd be really rock and roll. So he started wheeling me on stage and it was all going alright and then the leads started getting caught up in the wheels and he started going like that and then I sort of stumbled off it a bit and my guitar didn't work properly and just kind of did that and Hello! We're the Jennifers! There was an old lady there going (clapping). For a minute, it was going to be one of those greatest rock and roll moments, but it probably won't translate very well - I suppose you had to be there. I think we were just completely stoned before the gig and just thought it'd be really good, like yeah, I'll be a statue and just jump off at the last minute.

Marc Bolan’s Spinal Tap Moment

Gaz: It might have been a really good story: Mark Bolan when he came over to the States after he made it big in England. He came over on one of his first tours and he had this similar stage set up. He'd start off the gig and he'd be lying on this star and they'd sort of like winge it up, the star would go like that and there's this big star with Mark Bolan on it and he'd jump off. All his crew would be sort of pissed off at it, because of his ego; he was a fuckin’ maniac and really horrible to everybody. So, the first night of his tour they just did it really quickly and he fell off really badly. It was really good. He must’ve been so pissed, he probably fired a dozen people.

The Brothers Coombes California Connection
Mark: I read that you're originally from San Francisco?

Gaz: My family lived just outside, in Mountainview for three, four years. I was about five I think.

Mark: Is that where you were born?

Gaz: No, my little brother was born there. Bobs and them went to high school and I went to nursery. We were really a little kind of American family for a few years.

Mark: Does it feel like a kind of homecoming coming to the West Coast or does it not really mean that much?

Gaz: Yeah, no it does. Especially when you go to that area - it's a really weird feeling. It's like when you go visit places in England or wherever and you go and visit an old house and you feel quite at home there. So, you feel at home every time, really.

Bob: I find it really weird - the smells of places.

Gaz: Yeah that's what gets me.

Bob: Just walking into a 7-11. Or, just the evening on the west coast, the air.

Gaz: I’ve got nothing but amazing memories, it's just brilliant.

Recurring Nightmares
Mark: I have a weird question: do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?

Gaz: No, not for a while, but I remember - have you ever seen Jaberwokie?

Mark: I know of it.

Gaz: I was in this forest and suddenly this massive force came from behind and just took me from behind and I was like hovering along and just going really fast shooting through the air, this force, going really fast and just went smack, straight into a tree. Really fucking fast, like 100 miles an hour. And then I was on the floor. But I felt like my brain was hanging out and I could feel the wind going through my brain, like an open wound or something, it was really sensitive. And I think I was dead. And it kept coming back every couple of weeks or so. A bit of anxiety or something.

Danny: My favorite dreams are sexual ones, but they aren't really reoccurring, which is sort of annoying. No, I have really weird ones like it’s almost like I’m not really quite asleep especially if it's pitch black it just feels like everything just grows massively. All the objects are huge.

Gaz: Have you ever had ones where objects are flying around?

Danny: Ones like where you kind of look through the darkness. It's really weird and everything sort of buzzes and gets massive. I used to quite like it and I used to try and concentrate and do it. It's otherworldly. (To Mickey) You don't remember your dreams because they are too sort of hurtful.

Mickey: I just say that to impress girls.
(Laughter)

Gaz: To frighten girls.

The Next Supergrass Album

Mickey: I reckon that is one of the sad things is that you probably go through five different moods for albums that you could do between the albums when you're touring and stuff and come out with quite a good concept for the next album or whatever and then six months later you've probably moved on and got another concept. By the time you come round to make another album, you've lost about three albums. I suppose someone doing the b-sides for the formats and stuff we’ve probably got two or three other albums with just of the b-sides and we've already done like two different sessions for b-sides for these singles that we have off this record. And explored quite a different thing there, like “Electric Cowboy” off the first one. That's a completely different direction that would be worth pursuing. And then the one we just did recently at Toe Rag studios in London, which is just a really old four track studio, like the late ‘50’s vibe. Kind of like a White Stripes vibe, just trudge them out, everything just has to go really fast. And that’s another vibe you could do for a whole record. All of this sort of stuff is going to be built into the next record probably, all these different atmospheres we’ve had a go at.

Mark: The song I really like on the new one is the last one, “Run,” which is different from everything else that you've ever done.

Mickey: Yeah, I mean there's elements of that in Sofa (of My Lethargy) maybe, there’s always some sort of slow one. I think that came together pretty well, really.

Mark: Has kind of an epic quality to it that you don't often explore.

Mickey: Yeah. I don't know, I mean I think we could get quite a problem doing sort of bombast and all that stuff because it's very easy to lose it on that and become U2 or something. But I think the chords held it together for that.

Mark: Do you play that live at all?

Mickey: Yeah, we do and some nights it works really, really well. Some nights it just works.

 
Check out these two official Supergrass sites:
www.supergrass.com
www.childrenofthemonkeybasket.com
Also check out this great Supergrass fan site: www.strangeones.com