Dave's Rave

Sure to be hitting the airwaves over the summer, Slo-Mo release their innovative, and swaggeringly catchy “Death Of A Raver” on August 12th. If it’s not a hit, I’ll eat my trousers and leave room for my socks as dessert. David Gledhill is the man behind it all. He’s a top bloke, and the fact that he was a huge Smiths fan meant I hit it off with him immediately.

AD: Was rave something that you yourself were a part of, or was it something you were glad to see the back of?

DG: I think, I knew an awful lot of people who WERE involved heavily, so I was always around drugs and people from the scene. I was more of an interested observer than anything else. I mean, yes, there were elements of rave that appealed, like The Prodigy, but I wasn’t someone who would get in the car, do three lines of speed and then go and sit in a field somewhere. I’m definitely interested in cultural phenomenons though, so it’s fascinating to look back ten years later with your own observations. This single’s for some of my friends who were really heavily into the scene, and who came through the experience, and others whose brains have been affected dramatically.

AD: and Dave Ball from Soft Cell remixed it…

DG: Yeah, but the weird thing is that when I met him, nobody bothered to tell me who he was. I was just sat in a pub where he was talking to a guy from the record company. He was this slightly overweight, middle aged bloke, and because he was talking to one of my representatives I started talking to him as well. We were just talking about books for ages and we’d brought up “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas”, which is the ultimate source of inspiration for me and we were chatting for ages. Then I was asked “You do know who he is, don’t you?” and he was quite embarrassed, going “No. Don’t tell him who I am!” It turned out that he’d heard “Death Of A Raver” and fell in love with it, so he remixed it. When I told people, they were like “No, don’t do it! That’d be a really uncool thing to do.” The good thing about me though is that I don’t give a fuck, so we did it anyway, and now there’s this massive buzz about the whole thing. I love it when you can prove people wrong like that. I’ve always loved people who don’t give a fuck, as in Fear and Loathing…people who are that destructive appeal to me a lot. I suppose there’s a small part of me that aspires to be that way.

AD: Apparently you promised various countries that you’re going to go over and sing the single in their language…so how’s the learning process coming in?

DG: (shudders) When I signed to Circus, and then to Play It Again Sam, the international label, I think I just got carried away with that one. We had all these representatives coming over from Portugal, Spain and Italy, and I just said it as a flippant, off the cuff remark – “Oh, I’ll have to come over and sing “Death Of A Raver” in Spanish. The record company came up to me afterwards and said “That’s great! We didn’t know you were multi-lingual”, and I was like “Er…actually no, I can’t speak any other languages at all!” The worry is that, if we get anything wrong, it’s going to go really, really badly wrong. The whole thing looks as though it’s going to go really big in Portugal though, so we’ll have to make a special effort for them. I’ve just been out and got my Portuguese phrase book this week in fact! Anyway, that remark, I think I’d compare it with being a kid who gets really excited about the amount of toys he gets at Christmas.

AD: Listening to the CD, it’s obvious you regard lyrics as being of paramount importance…

DG: I would say they are probably the number one importance to me. I think it’s probably because I grew up listening to The Smiths and have always been heavily into films and books, and if you love great lyrics, I just think it makes the song so much better. You only have to look at Travis, who have some great tunes, but terrible, terrible lyrics. The thing about The Smiths is, people will still be talking about them in ten, twenty years time. I think Britpop was like the antithesis of that lyrical depth, but what’s around now, well, maybe Oasis can get away with it, but all the rest just seems like throwaway rubbish. I’m amazed at how much fuss has been made of the lyrics to “Death Of A Raver”, and I can’t wait to see the reaction to the next single, “Girl From Alaska”, which is about a girl who dreams of murdering people and blowing up her dad, and takes photographs of dead people. I just can’t believe how what someone says in a song can be taken so seriously in certain circles.

AD: Like Eminem? I know you were criticising Travis for their lyrics, but Fran Healy came out with the quote of the year when he said “I can’t understand people who get upset at Eminem’s lyrics. It’s just a pantomime after all. It’s a bit like getting upset when Widow Twanky comes on stage.”

DG: Exactly. I mean, I’m not exactly a big hip-hop or rap fan, but I would say that he is probably the best lyricist around at the moment. I thought “Stan” was one of the best records I’ve heard in the last five years. We’ve got another track which is dark and sinister in that way too, called “Junkie On A Fast Train”, which is again a homage to Fear and Loathing.

AD: Talking of lyrics, I personally think that the recent number one by Liberty X has the worst line ever in the history of music…

DG: Go on…

AD: “It’s so exciting the way you’re inviting me”. I challenge you to come up with any that you’ve heard that are worse.

DG: Ha ha. Erm…actually I’m not sure I can! And there’s a girl in the band who’s so repulsively ugly too. They’re normally all so pretty aren’t they? But when she comes to the front of the screen I have to look away. It’s a shame with bands like Travis though because they seem like a really nice bunch of blokes. It’s a pity their lyrics are shit.

AD: You mentioned The Smiths before. Now, last year I achieved a lifetime’s ambition when I got to interview Johnny Marr…

DG: I got to support him a couple of years ago. He was such a lovely bloke too. It was weird though, as there were so many other people just waiting to bow down to him, so I didn’t really say that much to him. I didn’t really want to tell him what a huge, huge fan I was. I had to share a dressing room with Liam Gallagher which was THE experience from hell. It was the day after he’d split from Patsy Kensit and he was coked off his tits. I just remember thinking “Someone please get me out of here!” But Johnny Marr was lovely. Oddly enough, I’m not sure I’d want to meet Morrissey as I’ve heard a few stories from people who have, and apparently the judge in a court case called him “the most scurrilously untrustworthy individual” he’d ever met.

AD: Really? He probably dines at McDonalds regularly now then…

DG: Ha ha, yeah he’s probably the biggest meat eater out now! Still, great lyrics though.

AD: Definitely. So, if YOU had the opportunity to interview any famous or infamous person, past or present, who would it be?

DG: That would probably have to be Carlos Jobim, whose song I sampled for “Death Of A Raver”. We’ve actually sampled two of his songs for the album and people were telling me I wouldn’t have a hope in hell of getting clearance to use them. As luck would have it, his widow heard the album and loved it.

AD: And she’s not the only one – Butch Vig rang you up didn’t he?

DG: Yes he did. That was just fantastic. I’ve always been a pretty confident person, but the one thing I was unsure about was the fact that I’d recorded the whole thing in my bedroom – a six foot 7 foot box room – so for Butch Vig, who produced THE rock album of the last twenty years to ring me up and praise the way it was recorded was wonderful. I mean, I know a lot of dance music is produced this way, but I wasn’t so sure about doing it as a guitarist. The record company said it was fine, which was a big relief, as I didn’t really want to go into the studio and do it all over again.

AD: Now then, originally you wanted to be backed by an all female band. I must admit I always quite fancied that idea myself – but was there a specific reason behind that, other than just for the sake of having a perv?

DG: (laughs) It was just a whim really. I’d always been in bands with men before, and it was always really smelly and disgusting, and involved lots of talk about football. I fancied a change from that, and women are always cleaner and more hygienic. Of course there’s the other side of the coin, because you go on tour and they talk more, and it’s always about sex, shoes and shopping. God! That sounds really stereotypical and sexist doesn’t it? But it’s true! They keep telling me I’m like Alex from Big Brother.

AD: Hmmm…Big Brother – is it evil, or is it a necessary part of modern TV culture?

DG: To me, it’s like taking a drug that’s crap, and you KNOW it’s crap, but you still like to take it from time to time. And I DO watch it. If ever I feel like I’m a bit strange and on another planet to everybody else, I just stick Big Brother on and realise I’m the same as them really. I think Jonny’s gonna win because the Geordies are such a loyal bunch. I’d love to se Jade go up against Tim, and for Tim to be voted out, because he just wouldn’t be able to work it out. Tim’s a tool.

AD: Quite. Now, apparently, you were something of a “rock star” before Slo-Mo…

DG: Mmm. I was in a band called Elephant And Rhino. I’d been going out with a girl for a long time before that, and when we finished it wasn’t very pleasant at all. It was quite a bitter experience and because of that, the band ended up sounding like a cross between Nirvana and Pulp Fiction. It was very dark and nasty, and so extreme that I’m not sure any of the record companies wanted to touch us. I remember we did a showcase for the head of ZTT, and we started with a very dark number called “Bank Job”. We all came out with suits on, but with stockings over our heads. He walked out pretty much straight away. I think it’s fair to say that’s about the time the band fell apart after that. Still, it was great to have my odd “Rock God” session on stage!

AD: I heard a few dodgy stories about your manager at that time…

DG: I haven’t got a clue where he is now. I haven’t seen him for about five years. It was a really surreal experience, because he had lots of money, except we never seemed to do anything but go to pubs because he was a big drinker. Then we found out he was running DSS frauds in our names! It all sounds very rock ‘n’ roll now and it’s a great story, but I can assure you it was actually very scary at the time. I mean, we were living in a country house with him at the time, and to suddenly have the fraud squad on your doorstep, and the police asking you “Did you realise he was doing this and doing that?” was really quite frightening.

AD: Finally, if Slo-Mo were a kind of curry, what would it be?

DG: Erm…probably a lamb balti, because Balti is slightly hot, but it has hidden depths. And lamb is a good quality meat….hmm…that answer really was a load of bollocks wasn’t it?

And herein lies the appeal of David Gledhill and Slo-Mo. I don’t think he realises how good they are, or how funny he is. I laughed my head off most of the way through the interview, and throughout the little bits of chat we had between questions. Without a doubt one of the most enjoyable, not to mention easiest articles I have ever had to do. Which is great, because the single really is fabulous and deserves to be a huge success. I just hope he wasn’t too downhearted about fit Kate winning Big Brother 3…

Interview and transcript by Tone E

(Great web site - check it out! Ed.)


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