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Keep on the ’grass

Gaz Coombes takes time out from his fatherly duties to tell Eamon Sweeney how Supergrass are going to rock like demons at Witnness

Eamon Sweeney, 10 Jul 2003

A seasoned summer festival attraction, Supergrass are unquestionably one of the must sees of Witnness 2003 alongside The White Stripes, The Streets and Mogwai. No other band better encapsulate the delirious and (hopefully) sun-kissed thrill of being at a festival. A blast of ‘Caught By The Fuzz’ or ‘Going Out’ and your weekend is truly complete.

Prior to the start of the ’03 festival season, Gaz Coombes became a father for the very first time. His partner Jules gave birth to a baby girl called Raya May a month ago, and Gaz is still on a paternal high.

“She is absolutely beautiful,” he coos. “She is still a little Yoda like, but she is already gorgeous like her mum. Now we’re all fathers in Supergrass. For ages I was the only who wasn’t. I’m lucky in that we’ve had a lot of time off lately so I’ve been able to be around with Jules. Poor Mick was in Japan when his daughter Daisy was born and had to leg it back, so it was great to have been there.”

The proud father is looking forward to a return visit to Ireland after a veritable Ambassador stonker last October.

“I’m delighted that we’re doing Witnness,” he beams. “It’s the first time we’ve done a festival in Ireland and I’ve been told by people that it’s a great one to do. For ages, I’ve wanted us to do a full Irish tour for a week or two weeks, but logistics have meant it hasn’t happened.”

Summer festivals mean a lot to Gaz, who has had the chance to check out some cracking ones over the years.

“I have very good memories as both a punter and performer,” he says. “Especially unforgettable for me was Roskilde in ’96 or ’97 in Denmark. Al Green went on after us and he was sensational. I’ve never seen 20,000 people so happy. It was one of the all time best vibes. Also, T in the Park in ’95 will live with me forever. I Should Coco (‘Grass debut) had just come out and ‘Alright’ was everywhere, so it was just mental! Apart from that one, I really like the V Festivals because the facilites are so brilliant and it’s geared for bringing children, so the whole Supergrass family will be out in force for that one! And Glastonbury obviously, because it’s just something else entirely.”

After a festival circuit sprint around Europe, it’s back to America where Gaz, Mick and Danny are beginning to whip up a serious fanbase.

“Life On Other Planets is doing really well across the Atlantic, which is lovely ’cos we didn’t expect it to,” he offers. “The great thing is that over there we are thought to be a very fresh and new band, which is a nice chance from the Britpop survivors tag at home! I do think that as a band we are only starting. Like four albums, that’s nothing compared to my heroes! We are still in our early phase.”

Finally, what is the Gaz Coombes festival essential he can’t leave home without?

“Ehm… The band? That would help wouldn’t it!,” he giggles. “The tourbus is important too so you can hang out and sleep. Gosh, we’re lucky to be in a band aren’t we? Nah, let’s keep it nice and simple. A few beers and a bit of smoke and you’ve got all you need.”

They don’t call themselves Supergrass for nothing.

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