- 20 Dec 17
Mr. M is a rock star of the old school who treats Stuart Clark to a 1000mph discourse on Serge, Bowie, Macca, Noel, Mani, The Ramones, mental health and lots, lots more...
You can reinforce your door, board up your windows and tie down outside objects, but nothing – repeat nothing! – can prepare you for the full force of Hurricane Tom.
A new entry in my Top 10 Over The Top interviewees - the others, in no particular order, being Mani, Amy Winehouse, Shane MacGowan, David Lee Roth, Tim Burgess, Steven Tyler, Shaun Ryder, Blackie Lawless, the brothers Gallagher and Andrew WK (okay, he’s my number one) - Kasabian lead singer Tom Meighan is funny, loud, brash, talks in rapid machine gun-like bursts and maintains piercing blue eye contact at all times. He also happens to be one of the nicest people you could hope to meet; super-passionate about his band and quick to offer Hot Press anything it wants from their Olympia backstage-rider, which includes bottles of Bombay Sapphire, Jack Daniel’s and Sailor Jerry Spiced; a sweet aisle’s worth of Haribo, which could account for some of Mr. M’s hyperactivity; a mile-high pile of Walker’s Crisps – their hero Gary Lineker will be delighted - and to offset all that sugar and saturated fat, a massive bowl of hummus.
Being April 22, Record Store Day, we start by discussing the majesty of vinyl.
Stuart: Did you manage to get any good swag today?
Tom: I can’t go to the record shop, I’d get fucking murdered! I’ve tried turning me collar up and wearing a hat, but I still get ripped apart.
I managed to get my copy of David Bowie’s Cracked Actor: Live Los Angeles ’74, so I’m happy.
Oh, man, you didn’t? Fuck’s sake… you should have bought me one, I’d have sorted you out for it! I love fucking Bowie! Can you believe he did Ziggy, Aladdin Sane and Diamond Dogs, which is my favourite, all within 18 months of each other? There was no fucking about with him, was there? Man, I fucking love, love, love Bowie! I’ve been listening to his Live At The BBC – the piano on ‘Starman’ is really fucking loud, and Mick Ronson’s guiar – it was scabrous! I love his version of ‘Sorrow’: “With your long blonde hair and your eyes of blue” – sing it with me – “the only thing I ever got from you was ‘Sorrowwwwwwww’” Fucking tune! The world’s changed, mate. Artists had so much more freedom then. The Beatles knocked out ten albums in ten years. Streaming and all that; what’s going on? There’s no point waving your fist and going, “Damn you technology!” but the romance is dead. When I was a kid, all you got to hear before an album came out was one, possibly two singles. You didn’t know what the artwork looked like ‘til you saw it racked up in Smiths or HMV or wherever. The kids still go crazy at gigs – you’ll see that to-fucking-night – but what you and I experienced when we were getting into music has gone.
I don’t say this lightly, but with its mix of Phil Spector, Motown, acid house, dub, and spaghetti western – there’s a definite bang of Ennio Morricone off ‘The Party Never Ends’! - For Crying Out Loud is almost your London Calling.
Are you saying it’s our Clash record? Thank you! Thank you! That’s fucking exactly what we were trying to achieve. Let me give you a hug, mate! (rib-crushing man hug duly administered) It’s The Clash and The Ramones and T-Rex and Bruce Springsteen. ‘Bless This Acid House’ could have been on Rocket To Russia – well, if Joey, Johnny, Tommy and Dee Dee had been around 20 years later and discovered E. They’re big anthems, aren’t they?
48:13 took something like six months to write, while Serge knocked out For Crying Out Loud’s 12 tracks in six weeks. Was he on amphetamines or something?
Hehehe, you’ll have to ask him that! I think rock ‘n’ roll’s at its best and purest when it’s just songs written on a guitar. I’m a romantic like Serge, right? I know we’ve used electronics and triggers and loops and stuff and been diverse in the past, but I just fucking love the guitars and real songs about real feelings. People can relate to it a lot more, I think, than 48:13 or Velociraptor! We’ve never had an album with so many lovely, beautiful songs on it. It’s a window into our world; you can really feel it.
It’s what I’d call an ‘adult record with a bit of childishness thrown in for good measure’.
That’s wicked, man, I agree with that. ‘Adult record with a bit of childishness…’ There should be a sticker on the cover saying that.
Before I forget: Claudio Ranieri’s sacking… one of football’s grossest acts of betrayal or something that had to be done to save Leicester’s Premier League bacon?
Claudio’s a fucking legend, man! I was gutted. His statement made me cry: “You’re my family and I’ll always love you.” I almost know it off by heart. It was like breaking up with someone. I want a statue of him in gold outside the fucking ground. Not somewhere weird in Leicester, outside the fucking King Power, a fucking monumental statue. They’ve got to do it! It’s got to be gold, not bronze or silver. We’ll play the stadium again for its unveiling.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how good was that King Power gig you did last summer?
Fifty-fucking-two! Off the register, man. Wonderful. I had a really weird time of things last year, but I got myself back on track. I had to look in the mirror, face that guy and sort me head out. Tap myself on the shoulder and calm things down. I wasn’t standing on the edge; I was dancing around it a bit. Do you know what I’m saying my friend? I was – to borrow a song title from somebody – flirting with disaster. I don’t want to go into the details of what I was doing, but I’m better. Hallelujah, man, life’s fucking good!
You’ll have lots of pretty girls at the gig tonight, but there will also be a lot of lads who don’t feel comfortable talking about their mental health. Someone they look up to like you saying, “I was struggling”, is really important.
Well, thanks, I appreciate that, I really do. I was just doing too much of whatever. Simple as that. Sometimes you’ve got to take a backseat and say, “If you can control it, brilliant, but if you can’t – stop or moderate it.”
I’ve spoken to a lot of musicians who’ve said they can’t wait for time off, but then hate it because it gives them too much time to think.
I fucking totally relate to that. It’s great being back on the road. I missed ‘em. These guys are like my brothers, they fucking helped me a lot last year. Sometimes it happens in life; it just creeps up on you. I had to sort myself out and I did. Happy fucking days!
It was great going down to Tower Records this morning and seeing 10-year-olds, as well as old farts like myself, staggering under piles of vinyl. What were the big fan moments in your life?
Like meeting people and stuff? I’ll never ever forget my first time meeting the Gallaghers. That was fucking brilliant; I was starry-eyed. We played Alan McGee’s club night, Death Disco, and Liam came down with his brother, Paul. I had this big, long red coat on and he said, “Nice coat, man, nice coat, give us a twirl…” So, I did! I was like, “We’re going to be fucking massive one day, mate.” I had a Black Rebel Motorcycle t-shirt on too. He was like to Paul, “Who’s this, man?” When I met them properly, they were fucking wonderful. They were everything I wanted them to be. I’ve watched that Oasis documentary, Supersonic, soooooo many times.
The best line being the record company lady saying, “Noel’s got a lot of buttons, and Liam’s got a lot of fucking fingers!”
Aaaaaaaaarrrrgghhh, that’s fucking funny! You don’t realise how good these bands are until they’re gone. How they just stirred it and ripped up the rulebook.
Noel is adamant about rock ‘n’ roll being – I quote – “the Roll’s Royce of professions.” Have you ever fancied trying a spot of trout farming or starring alongside Jason Statham and Ray Winstone in a British gangster movie?
When we’ve stopped touring this record in maybe two years time, I might try a few different little things. Serge is planning to do another Loose Tapestries record with Noel Fielding. I’ve got a mate I can do music with because, as you say, having too much time to think can be hazardous to your health. I’ve got loads of songs, which are all soppy and make you cry, so I could be the new James Blunt! Serge can be a soppy cunt too, as everybody will find out when they hear ‘Put Your Life On It’ from the album. Our next record might be a Walker Brothers one… “The sun ain’t gonna shine anymawwwww.” We’ll break your fucking hearts. But, yeah, I need to keep me eye on the ball and focus on stuff.
Present company accepted, the Gallaghers are definitely my favourite people to interview.
Am I one of your favourites now?
Wicked! Noel and Liam are hilarious, aren’t they? We were talking about him earlier, but did you ever meet Bowie?
I did, in U2’s Clarence Hotel when he came over in 1999 for a glorified Guinness promotion in the then Hot Press HQ Hall of Fame with Talvin Singh and Placebo supporting.
No, you didn’t? Fuck off! Can I shake the hand that shook David Bowie’s hand? (Grabs my paw in a vice-like grip) Feel the power! I interviewed Paul McCartney for half-an-hour. He was fucking a-mazing. He loved me! I was so shitting myself. I went in there thinking there’d be loads of people and it was just me and Macca – a fucking Beatle! – talking about John and George and Band On The Run, which they were doing a documentary about hence me interviewing him. The cheeky fucker actually said, “I hear you’re shitting it!” He had one of them punch-bags, which John had bought him for his 21st, and written “Happy birthday, you cunt!” on it. He got his guitar out and started singing, “If we ever get out of here…” We sung it together for about 30 seconds. Woohoo!
When I met him in May 2003 in Manchester, I asked, “Is there anything about your upcoming Dublin gig you’re particularly looking forward to?” and Macca said, “Getting to sing, ‘Mother Mary comes to me…’ for the first time ever in Ireland.” He’d never performed ‘Let It Be’ here.
It’s about his mum, isn’t it, who’s Irish Catholic like Lennon’s family. My father’s parents, who sadly aren’t with us anymore, bless ‘em, are from Donegal and Navan. My Dad’s called Thomas James Patrick Meighan, come on! We went to a Roses gig, and Mani said to him, “Ah, a plastic Paddy like me…” and gave him a big hug. We’ve got the same spirit, haven’t we? And the Gallaghers. Without Ireland, man, there wouldn’t be half the fucking amazing rock ‘n’ roll there is!