Look back in the musical archives and somewhere you will find Shed Seven. It seems like a million years ago that they were regularly gracing the top twenty with their presence. In actual fact it wasnt that long ago at all, but theres no doubting that the UK hitlist has been an emptier and colder place without them. Rick Witter has never felt so cold, but now the York indie popsters are back with a new single and album that should put them firmly back in the public eyes before them. Shucks, I feel like Richard Whiteley with puns like those ones. Read the album track listing and youll see where Im coming from. Anyway I had a chat with the frontman himself and hes ready for a maximum high. Aaagh there I go again.
AD: You seem to be playing some very obscure places on the forthcoming tour. Why is this and are you concerned as to how the predominant music press may view this move?
RW: To the latter part of that question, we dont give a f***. To the first part, weve always been a touring band and we thought it would be nice to play places weve never been to. Places like Whitehaven and Watford - the thing about these places is theyre not exactly toilets. We just thought it was best to start low key and build from there - and if the record sells well then theres more to look forward to. The thing is were a "love-hate" style band where press are concerned. Some are ok but wed rather be hated than to just be ok. If you love us then great and if you hate us then thats fine too.
AD: The new album is called "If The Truth Be Told". Is there a message behind that title?
RW: Actually its just called "Truth Be Told" now. We thought it was a bit more snappy. Naming the album was the hardest part. Its had loads of variations on that title but no, theres no message. Just read into it what you will.
AD: OK, "Truth Be Told" seems to be your most confident, optimistic and laid back offering yet. Is that a reflection of the present mood in the Shed Seven camp what with the new label and everything?
RW: Yes I guess so. We never write songs to order or for a certain group of people. We just write for ourselves, without meaning that to sound at all selfish and yes I suppose it IS quite laid back for us. Its just that were all getting older and we dont feel we need to prove ourselves anymore.
AD: Youve been quoted as saying Paul Banks leaving the band was the best thing that could have happened. Was there some kind of personality conflict there?
RW: Yes. It was the very traditional "musical differences" type thing and it had been building over a few years. It was getting very fraught. If hed stayed we would have written another album that sounded like a sub standard Embrace. Paul wanted to push us in the direction of the Stone Roses "Second Coming" and the rest of us didnt want that because, you know, its all been done. We havent kept in touch with him since he left. It goes quite deep so I dont really want to go into it.
AD: The new single is "Cry For Help". What is YOUR cry for help?
RW: Recognition and success really. That could fit into a lot of peoples categories. Im comfortable being on stage and its the feeling of wanting to find something Im good at and be successful with it. Weve already had degree of success bit I KNOW this band will have more because well persevere. Hopefully itll be with this album but if not well carry on and Im sure success will come. Its perhaps more a little whimper than a full blown cry for help.
AD: Of course, the last person to release a song with that title was Rick Astley...
RW: Have you heard the single? Oh thats a shame. I was going to joke that it was a cover version. Someone else pointed out that the last track on the album, "Step Inside Your Love" was also the name of a Cilla Black single! So after "Cry For Help" Im going to disappear and come back presenting Blind Date with a ginger wig on.
AD: At last years Carling Weekend festivals, you were on at the same time as Primal Scream and Oasis. Did that bother you at the time?
RW: It was a bit of a worry. It worked out that we finished and Oasis started five minutes later so it all worked out ok. I dont think it would have really mattered though as the tents were packed at both legs. Normally the Northern one would be better with us being from York, but the Reading leg was massive too and that gave us a huge boost.
AD: Were you involved in the whole Nestle controversy?
(NB - for those who arent aware, the company were pushing their own baby milk products in third world countries)
RW: To be honest we werent really up on what was going on. We were featured on the CD and by the time we found out, it had already been released. The only thing we could do was decline when Nestle asked to use "Disco Down" for the advert. A lot of bands took a real stand against it, but with us being from York...well Nestle IS York. So whilst we were against the principles, we didnt want to be made to feel responsible for hundreds of people losing their jobs and waving picket boards at us.
AD: If Westlife wanted to cover one of your songs, what would your reaction be?
RW: Well I think theyd have an instant number one - on the strength of the song that is of course! I dont know, I wouldnt mind I suppose. Just as long as the fat one doesnt sing it.
AD: Should Craig David be allowed?
RW: I think theres a place for everyone, so in his own field of music yes. He just shouldnt be in my face as much.
(at this point I read a passage from a magazine article where the bumfluff bearded one explains he likes living at home because his mum does his ironing and washing, and says he likes his hair because, when he takes his hat off, he likes to know theres something REALLY special underneath)
RW: Oh right. In that case no he shouldnt be allowed. F*** him.
AD: My favourite track on the album is "Laughter Lines". What do the lyrics "Your head in the sand / no need to shout / time is running out" mean exactly?
RW: Its when you feel like youre stuck. Weve only got a certain amount of time we can do something before were f***ed. Its like that panic feeling you get when youre stuck in a rut.
AD: Finally, Ive been quite miserable since Wycombe Wanderers knocked Leicester City out of the FA Cup. Whats the best way to cheer myself up?
RW: Sack your manager! No, actually Peter Taylors done quite well for you hasnt he? I dont know - phone Gary Lineker and go out for a few beers. What I will say though is I live in York and were in danger of going out of the league altogether so times are harder for us. Feel better now?
AD: Er...yeah I guess so. OK, thanks for talking to us.
RW: No problem. I quite enjoyed that. In most other interviews theyre STILL asking where we got our name from. Youre a bit more normal than the rest.
Ha. He wouldnt say that if hed seen the collection of stuffed cockroaches I keep under my bed, or eaten the souffle I made from their innards.
Interview by Tone E