You oughta figure a no-nonsense band with a name like “The Music” are no-nonsense kinds of guys. And you’d be right.
The Music are- Robert Harvey: vocals; Adam Nutter: guitar; Stuart Coleman: bass; Phil Jordan: drums. Crossing over a few generations of fans and a world of influences, these guys don’t play themselves as kiddie heartthrobs or tattooed bad boys or any of the schlock dominating music videos today [See Taste of Chaos tour]. Nighttimes.com caught up with Phil Jordan, drummer for The Music, as they begin a new tour of the US with Kasabian. And what do The Music think about us in the USA?
NT: Lead singer Rob’s online diary on the band’s website expresses some fear about the US and worries that listeners here are controlled by MTV and Rolling Stone.
“I’m with Rob on that,” says Phil. “There’s almost hyper-media going on with the younger generation. We were the first generation to get that, the MTV generation. The situation at the moment is that everything’s deteriorated so much. I just worry for the kids who have to listen to that shit.”
NT: Don’t you think the kids are smarter than that though? The kids I talk to aren’t buying that package. They’re looking for new sounds and anything that isn’t the norm…
“I think what you’re describing now is a small pocket of people. That’s not the majority that we’re talking about. There’s a vast majority of stupid people.”
Phil says that initially, the first album wasn’t as big as everyone thought it would be, and that left the band feeling vulnerable to criticism and advice from the label.
“The second time around, we listened to the record company and manager on a lot of things…videos, how it works, where we’re gonna tour, and…it’s done more damage than good, I think.”
“It’s driven us insane. They say, ‘This will help you really do this. Tour America for a long time, it will definitely break you. Release this song. Release that song. Release this song. It’ll do you really well.’ And we all thought, ‘well, you probably know better than us…’ and it turned out that they didn’t know!
Last in St. Louis with the Vines for an unusual and moving performance, Adam the guitarist had just lost his grandfather and couldn’t play. St. Louis was treated to an acoustic performance with guest vocalist Craig Nichols of the Vines (see our review). Since that 2004 American tour with the Vines they’ve been all over Japan, Australia and New Zealand, back home in the UK, and now they’re back again to the States.
“We’re really big in Japan. Famous almost,” he chuckles. “We’ve been touring so much, you know, and we’re just dying to write music. We just can’t do that with the way we get pushed constantly. They don’t listen to what we say. It’s frustrating. We’re constantly telling them Rob’s voice is gone. He’s so tired. We say, ‘We’re never doing more than three gigs in a row’ and they put five in a row. It’s infuriating to have that constantly. We’re just gonna stop and take some time and say, ‘No, we’re gonna write an album.’ I don’t care if we can’t—we’re gonna do it.”
NT: Well what do you guys most want to do? What’s your vision for The Music?
“We just want to make an album at the moment. We want to make the best album we can. The first two have not been to their potential. We’ve learned a lot of things and I know we’ve got a far better record in us. No one talks about what direction we’re gonna be, what style the music will be or anything like that. Adam is gonna play a lot more keyboard on this one. Last time we had a jam he got the keyboard out and it was exciting.”
“I listen to a lot of music. Music is my passion in life. I’m constantly searching out for different kinds of music, from all over the world. We’d never cared about changing style or sales or what people were gonna think. But we did think about that on the second album, which is why we don’t like it as much. We need to get rid of that and get back to original ideals.
Writing The Music’s music is a group effort. “We are a democracy,” Phil says. “[when just one or two guys write,] that’s just not a real band for me.
“I see these idiots who are rock stars on tour. They think that they’re far better than anyone else in the world just because they can get up on stage. It’s absolute bollocks. Or those who put on a show and are different onstage from who they are offstage. You come watch our soundcheck, you’ll get the same show as at night. ‘Cus we play music. We play better for other people, ‘cus I can see it makes people happy and it puts us in a good mood. I play better when I’m in a good mood. But I still really enjoy just playing with just them three. It really annoys me when people are being fake ‘cus I know what it’s like to be onstage. We’re baring our soul. We put our souls at risk. We are being honest. We see so many people putting on their makeup and costumes and that kind of thing and go onstage. I think, ‘How can you lie about what you look like and what you act like? How can I believe what you’re saying in your song is honest?’ I just don’t see that much honesty in bands at the moment. Especially hip-hop—that’s just pure lying. Nobody care, nobody cares anymore. Nowadays you can just rip a song off! Nobody cares. You care and I care, maybe, but the kids don’t care.”
NT: You sound pretty pessimistic about it all…
“Not at all. I’m a realist. The fact of the moment is the music industry’s fucked.”
“We did a big traveling festival in Australia. Nobody had a clue who we were. We got lots of dirty looks and all that--we really enjoyed it! Especially from American bands. We were touring with American bands for weeks. They’re all terrible. I’m not afraid to speak my mind, if you ask me... I don’t like Slipknot, they’re terrible. I don’t like Hatebreed and System of a Down—I know they’re not American but they’re big there. I think they’re a bunch of wankers.”
NT: How so?
“They just cause unnecessary aggravation on what is usually such a beautiful tour. This year was just ruined by a big divide by all these weird Americans with all the big tattoos mouthing off, like. Hitting one of our men. What’s that all about? It’s supposed to be a friendly festival. What’s the need to hit someone?”
NT: The music today is angrier than ever…
“But I don’t know if it is reflective of the times. There’s always gonna be teen angst around in music. It seems to be part of our genes for that period in your life.”
NT: We started rock with the Beatles and Elvis. Psychedelics got angry, but in a more positive change-the-world style. Then came high energy rock, then punk and electronic. Then the apathy of grunge and the anger of bands like Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against the Machine. It seems like we’ve been in a metal phase for quite a while, and maybe it’s burning itself out. What’s next? Where do we go from here?
“I don’t know. You’re asking a twenty-two year old. It’s hard to predict because I’m too young to see the patterns on that long list you just realized,” he laughs.
NT: Where would you like it to go?
“We’re idealists. Music, for us, was perfect thirty or forty years ago. Later, there were pockets here and there of what we are looking for. Summer of Love ’89: Stone Roses, Verve, that kind of Manchester scene. A good vibe, not talking about angst. That doesn’t create a good vibe in a crowd, does it? A few bands around nowadays are getting crowds dancing, which is a great expression. Instead of moshing, which is an anger release. I’m not totally dissing moshing. They’re too totally different realms. I just think people have to dance in life. How many bands are there that make people dance anymore?”
The Music’s headlining tour, featuring performances in club and theater venues across the U.S. and Canada, begins February 17th in New York City and is highlighted by a special performance at the annual SXSW music conference in Austin, Texas. The band will follow 2004 appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Last Call with Carson Daly with a slated March 14th performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The upcoming tour follows the October 19th release of The Music's highly touted second album, Welcome To The North, [Capitol Records] produced by the legendary Brendan O'Brien. The album is now in its tenth week of active rotation at college radio outlets across the country. The video for the first single, "Breakin'," has just been added into rotation on MTV2.
17 New York, New York Irving Plaza
18 Washington, D.C. 9:30 Club
19 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Theatre of the Living Arts
22 Providence, Rhode Island The Call
23 Boston, Massachusetts Paradise Rock Club
24 Montreal, Quebec The Imperial
26 London, Ontario Centennial Hall
27 Detroit, Michigan St. Andrews Hall
28 Covington, Kentucky Jillians
2 Chicago, Illinois Metro
3 St. Louis, Missouri The Pageant
7 Seattle, Washington Neumos
8 Vancouver, British Columbia Commodore Ballroom
9 Portland, Oregon Crystal Ballroom
11 San Francisco, California Slim's
12 Los Angeles, California Henry Fonda Theatre
13 San Diego, California Canes Bar & Grill
15 Tempe, Arizona Marquee Theatre
17 Dallas, Texas Gypsy Tea Room & Ballroom
More dates to be added