|In October of 2000, I interviewed
Loz Hardy for HybridMagazine.com. The interview was conducted via email
and this is the raw Q & A for that interview. Many of the answers didn't make
it into the interview because of length. It's a very good insight into what the band
went through, and more specifically, what Loz went through.
1. The last Kingmaker album wasn't distributed in the states and you seemed to
just one day not exist as a band. What happened to Kingmaker?
The 'what happened to Kingmaker' has two main sides to it. One is professional the
other personal. Professionally I trace it back to the nightmare experience we had
with the second album. The first album was on the whole peachy and left us feeling
confident and ready to take on the oyster of a world. We recorded album no. 2 and
had it all finished and were pretty pleased with it and it felt good releasing Armchair
Anarchist, bitchin' single with two bitchin' b-sides. Record co were a bit reticent
but couldn't say anything coz we hadn't put a foot, nay, a toe wrong up until this
point. Then week of release it got to number 49 or 47 or around there and they called
an emergency meeting and informed us they were unwilling to release the album without
a top forty single preceeding it so they insisted we recorded some new songs. They
became fuckheads over night and took the opportunity to do some things they had wanted
to do from the start, let me explain, from the start we had independent radio promoters
and press and they hated it coz it cost them money and they had pluggers and press
in house but they were shit so we kept ours on until that incident. It was at times
like that we discovered what unmitigated wankers the suits could be and also how
they will make your life hell in an instant coz they got the dough. The fragile egos
that run these institutions have to be experienced to be believed and their scheming
makes Machiavelli look like the Milky Bar kid. Anyway, I digress, so we recorded
some new songs and decided on Ten Years Asleep as the new single when they announced
they were gonna format all singles. I dunno if you have that over state-side but
it basically means there would be different b-sides on the 12 inch(2), cassette(1),
CD 1 and CD 2 (3 on each). So if the album has say 13 songs on it and with three
singles that means you gonna need 40 songs. 40 fucking songs! So the work load is
near impossible and plus the fans get ripped left, right and centre to boot. What
was also happening was that you did songs for the album and then b-sides but really
fucking excellent songs were ending up tucked away third song on CD 2 and no-one
heard them. By the time we got to our last album we decided that we wanted to all
40 songs up front and pick the best for the album but this meant we needed to take
a long time out to write and record. A year and a half it took us. In that time Brit
pop really happened and blew us out of the water. By the time we got to releasing
In The Best Possible Taste we knew we were well past our sell-by date and I didn't
want to keep playing and playing scaling down to smaller and smaller clubs, I found
it a depressing notion.
On a personal level, for the three months leading up to the Best Possible album tour
I had elected to co-manage the band as one of our managers had legged it this meant
going to all those friggin' meetings and dealing with the suited scum face to face.
What was i thinking? It was getting to the point where it was getting to me and i
woke up day after day deeply depressed. It didn't go away and in the end i said to
myself that if i really was that unhappy then i shouldn't just stick for the money
coz we weren't particularly rolling in it and this shit is really needs 110%. So
the day after the last tour date i went in and announced to the MD and a few others
that i wasn't willing to go on. They wanted to keep me on as a solo but i said,'no,
you are hard of hearing, i said i never want to work with you lot ever again, you
have systematically killed my deepest love of music that i have been nurturing since
the age of six and i hate you for it.' They said,'ahhhh, you're tired, we'll ring
you next week and you can maybe do some demos....' I left the building and relief
i experienced was so powerful and emotional i was ready to fly, I tells ya', the
thought of never having to deal with those brains-not-fit-for-dog-food was deeply
liberating I felt like a space shuttle pilot who'd just passed his driving test.
2. What's happened since?
For a year after that i went into hiding. I had two grand in my pocket so i hightailed
it down to London and just hid until my recording contract had officially expired.
I didn't particularly know it but i was having a breakdownus nervosus, deeply depressed
and never wanting to touch the guitar again. It took afair while but then music started
to take hold of my life once again. I started hearing music differently and was making
low key soundtrack stuff and slowly began building up a sound. It was then Justine
offered me a place to live and i moved in and we started writing together and i was
doing my own stuff as well. Some music I've found a home for on pornographic film
soundtracks under the marvellous name 'Strappadictomy' and other stuff i have kept
back for myself and am putting shit together as we speak. I joined a Samba band and
have not decided the full shape of things to come but i'll keep it low key for the
time being and just try and avoid all the wank that killed it for me before. Wish
3. Was Kingmaker's break-up hard? What regrets do you have about the Kingmaker
period of your life?
The break up was hard and it wasn't. Thing is, when you're in a band you just think
you're gonna be like the Stones and be going until fifty but the record company and
press were being such major fuckers that the fact my boyhood dream was being shot
down in flames paled in comparison. Once i was used to that the decision was easy
because i'd had three months of bleak mornings and sleepless nights that it became
untenable. I know we made some big mistakes but have no regrets and am proud of what
i did. At nineteen i had signed a record deal and just wanted to make my life exciting
and get out of the dreamy little village i lived in and see some things and miss
the 9-5 life and institutional life of education and i did that when all around were
telling me to keep it real and forget this crazy rainbow chasing. So fuck them.
4. It's rumored that you made a threat to kill yourself on stage and obviously,
it never happened. Wasn't that a little out of character?
I made a threat to kill myself when i was 25 in a egomaniacal drunken ramble in an
interveiw. I wasn't serious but my head was so far uppa my arse i could've drawn
you a perfect picture of the back of my teeth. I said a lot of shit in interveiws
and some of it was taken seriously when it was a joke and some dealy seriously shit
was taken as a joke. Dems da breaks. Out of character? I don't think so but the character
i was then seems so far removed it's like a past life to me now. I didn't commit
hara-kiri instead i killed off kingmaker.
5. It seemed like Kingmaker was bringing rock n' roll back. Would you consider
yourself a fan of rock n' roll?
I think we were a lot more straightforward than we may have come across. I think
i started off with really Dylan, Hendrix and a lot of folk/blues in my repertoire
and updated it with bands like the Pixies, Eat, the Wonderstuff and early Ants. We
were equated with the Stiffies and Neds etc but we basically just wanted to be a
rock band. I think our second album was our most confused and in then different directions
at once which did no favours but it was a battle, we knew where we were heading and
the record company, in their tunnel vision, just wanted ten other Scrape the Skies.
Same old same old...........Ho-hum.
6. I heard you worked on Elastica's new album. How did you get involved with that
and what did you do?
On the Elastica album I did the music for 'My Sex' and 'Miame Nice' and on the 'Mad
Dog' single i did 'Suicide' and 'Bush Baby'. We have also written a few they are
playing at the moment, cheif amongst them being 'Bitch Don't Work'. I got involved
because the band were in turmoil, not speaking to each other and in the midst of
a break up and me and Justine started to do some tunes which kinda caught the mood
at the time. It was good for me because i wasn't releasing anything, I wasn't ready
for that, so it was a good confidence builder and i generally liked the experienced
and think the songs are dope......in my humble but correct opinion.
7. Were you living with Justine? Dating?
Justine and i have been mates since 1992 and when i was wandering about the streets
of London, living in shit holes, she took mercy on me and said to move in. She's
been an angel. I mean, when the band broke up everybody told me, 'ah, you'll land
on your feet, you're just one of those types' and then promptly the platitudes were
flowing freely but she was the only one to actually respond by helping me and not
fobbing me off. We ain't dating and never have been, we sister and bro. We both went
through some shit, her breaking up with Damon and me getting over the band and we
helped each other through. And let me tell you, this biz is as fickle as they say,
the phone quickly stops ringing.
8. You were batted around by the press a little after being praised by them. It
seems like a shitty industry... do you ever want to get away from being in the music
business? Or do the benefits outweigh the badness?
My experience with the press was the pits. Mainly because of the weight of shit published
about the band and me personally. It became a kind of challenge where journalists
would try and outdo each other in a who-can-write-the-nastiest-thing kinda MO.When
it started to get really bad i chose to ignore it. Trouble was we never really rose
above the NME and Melody Maker level and they just bombarded us with shit. It really
did prove the old adage if you throw enough mud it sticks. I mean, in the gossip
pages you'd think people would realize that most of it is made up but if people read
that you woke up after falling asleep in a puddle of your own puke they believe it.
I didn't get the full extent of it until 1996 when, after the record co had been
sacked and restocked with new personnel, they contacted me to do a best of (which
became 'Bloodshot and Fancy Free'). I thought, foolishly, I'd go through the press
pack and pick out a few quotes here and there, even some of the bad ones, might be
quite funny..... IDIOT. For the last three years of our existence (backlash onwards)
it got worse and worse, really dark nasty shit of the if-he-was-dogshit- I-wouldn't-even-wipe-him-off-of-my-shoe,
fuck, it was really bad, really fucking acidic. The butt of every joke. It must've
made it difficult to be a maker fan and that's why i appreciate anyone who stuck
with it. I got deprsssed about it then and wrestled with it for a few months thinking
it was futile for me to go back to it coz my cards were already marked. It took a
time to get over it but i woke up one morning and thought fuck, I can either let
this get to me and waste my time worrying about the past or get over it, which i
9. Your doing solo work now? What's this about?
Even though i've not been signed or any fixed musical abode I haven't stopped writing.
Some of it went Elasticas way, some of it became porn but that still leaves a mountain
of music waiting for homes. I can't tell you where it's heading because i'm not sure
10. Are you looking to start a career from the solo thing or are you just satisfying
I really don't know what I'm planning. I am certainly satisfying a need to write
music. I been thinking bout this and y'know everybody absorbs roughly the same kind
of experiences and sees the same news and for some reason i siphon this into making
sounds and music, that's what I do. I fought against it for a while because i was
negative but i've since given in to it because it's deeply embedded in me somewhere
and it makes me feel like i'm fulfilling my role in life. It used to be that i was
as much interested in being famous as i was in making music but now it's a much simpler
and emotive drive to make the music i wanna make. I feel like the music is mine again,
like i used to when i was fifteen before i signed it away to a bunch of cloth-eared
11. How do you feel about Napster and the illegal trading of MP3's?
Not followed the Napster thing at all so i have no opinion.
12. Are you superstitious?
Yes, I am superstitious but why I'll never know, it's never served me well or on
the other hand been destructive....touch wood.
13. Do you think the internet is really doing anything for the unknown bands of
On paper the net should be perfect for new bands as a medium of getting music aired
without being at the behest of bloated record company assholes. When i was approached
by ICrunch.co.uk to put some kingmaker on their MP3 sight i jumped at the chance.
I rang the record company and requested permission to put on the origional recordings
which they denied coz they said they were worried about people being able to download
it for free. I replied by asking them whether they were at all worried about the
fact that all our CDs were available on the web through unofficial sources and said
some fuckers making money out of it so we might as well make some. They said no and
that they weren't planning on releasing any of it for a long time, if ever, basically
they were happy with it gathering dust in some godforsaken wharehouse. Such monumental
wankers. It was then it struck me how, potentially, music on the net could be a pure
communication line between musicain and music fan. No A&R people interfering
('Is the vocal loud enough, do you think?'), set your own images to it and no ridiculous
radio edits or nine different b-sides. SUCH BULLSHIT! I mean, for a few grand you
can put together enough equipment to get broadcastable results so you don't need
to rely on record companies to record your music, that has to be a step forwards.
I don't know that many people with MP3s but hopefully by the time they are commonplace
record companies will have had their heads in the sand they'll miss out. Anything
that renders them with less power is a magnificent addition.
14. What's wrong with music today?
I don't know what's wrong wiv music today. I do know that what you need to produce
music at home are finally affordable and that nothing much is happening in the mainstream
which suggests there is something happening somewhere. How, what and where I dunno
but with the net and all i think there must be some small revolution acomin'. Whenever
there is a lull in music like this something is always bubbling away underground.........