Matt Johnson

Johnny Marr

IN CONVERSATION . . .

PART 3.

J. Now back to Heartland, what you're doing in that song is mourning the decay of England.

M: I suppose in a way that song was ahead of its time because the Americanisation of Britain seems to have accelerated rapidly since then.

You see and read about it commented on more and more, just about how much our little island is really losing or has lost.

J: Like Starbucks and all the rest of these dominant generic multinationals.

M: Even though I乫ve lived outside of England for a long time, I come back and it saddens me, all this xenophobic narrow minded hatred toward

Europe and this sycophantic obsession with Washington. I think there's a huge red herring in the public debate about Europe and all of this

nonsense about handing over too much power to Brussels. Everyone in the UK seems to be staring in the wrong direction. Look West not East.

It乫s Washington that's really been running Britain乫s foreign policy. It has been more or less since the end of the second world war. I乫m

convinced some kind of deal was done then. It just doesn乫t seem to make any sense why Britain has to get dragged around the globe in their

wake every time there乫s a war that has nothing to do with the UK and everything to do with the US乫s economic self interest. I suppose they乫ll

start modifying all of their air bases in Britain soon for Bush乫s moronic Star Wars project. And it won乫t matter a jot what the British public

think about it. No matter what party we have in government whenever Washington says jump London replies how high. What is that really all

about? I really think the British should be more like the French. They乫ve put up a strong defensive resistance for their culture for years.

But the sad truth is that we乫re now on the fast track to a global monoculture.

J: But London's very important to you isn't it? Well it was very important to you. Not just because it乫s your roots but also there乫s a certain

aesthetic I always felt your songwriting contained relating to the place. It doesn't surprise me that the releases we are doing this interview

for are largely about London and New York. The Kink乫s Ray Davies is a guy who's often cited as someone who captured the feeling of London

with Waterloo Sunset, but Heartland does it too. Do you have a romantic idea about London?.

M: Yeah, I definitely do, but it乫s just that I always felt a little bit uncomfortable in my home town for some reason. I love it and loathe it ... (laughs)

J: Did you when you were younger though?

M: The first time I noticed it was when I was a teenager, but going back to London recently I began to notice how much its changed even

since then. Although exciting in many ways it乫s also become more aggressive, uptight and grasping. More congested and run down. But even

so I've always had a romantic idea of London and how I乫d like it to be. But it never quite is. I suppose what really formed a lot of my feelings

about it was the particular part of East London that my family and relatives lived. That formed a big part of my childhood memory. Playing on

old bomb sites from the Second World War. It乫s funny to think about now but there really were old bomb sites until the early 70乫s. All that

stuff informs you in ways you're not conscious of, and it just comes out in the words and music. Particularly a song like Heartland, all the

references to old iron bridges, Victorian parks, Saturday morning cinemas. I just loved those elements of Britain, the decayed splendour and

the old seaside towns in winter going to seed. Or the old docks where my dad used to work, before they regenerated it that is. And also

breaking into old buildings as a kid, not to steal anything but I just loved the ...

J: Excitement?

M: Yeah, breaking into places that were decayed, where there'd once been a lot of life around and you could feel the ghosts in the air.

As opposed to the odorless sterility of modern day reality. The last building I broke into was just a couple of years back actually. It乫s strange

really, on the one hand I乫m a very, very restless person who乫s constantly moving around the world and living in different countries, trying to

escape perhaps? yet at the same point I乫m clinging on to elements of my past, resisting change and mourning loss.

J: Well that comes out in Heartland. You have this feeling of the archaic decay of London in that song. You乫re mourning the decayed splendour

and the piss stinking junkies yet you don't want it to change. It乫s a paradox.

M: What I didn't like was the country seemingly just giving up its identity. That's what乫s really disturbing, becoming more and more Americanised

and confused about it乫s role both in the world and at home. Trying to be something it乫s just not. The endless importing of bad American stuff

not the good stuff. But England was always a mongrel country anyway and change and evolution is proof of life so ultimately maybe it isn乫t

such a bad thing.

J: Yeah, it乫s funny that about you because you were really strongly attracted to certain American images as well. I think it乫s a product of

being a 60乫s kid who came of age in the 70乫s really. I乫m exactly the same way, and it comes out of me in the music. You like The Empire

State Building a lot don乫t you?

M: Yeah I do actually. I乫ve always loved that building. Probably from seeing King Kong perched on it as a kid at the Saturday morning cinema.

Even now I乫ll take a walk up there on a clear and sunny Sunday morning and stop and stare up at it for ages. Something very symbolic about it,

obviously for the city as it was built during the depression and came to represent hope for the people there, but it乫s always been symbolic to

me as well, I look up at it to remind myself why I left Britain in the first place.

J: But at the same time, you really love old Ealing comedies, Tommy Cooper and Tony Hancock as well don乫t you?

M: Yeah I do. I always liked the fact Britain and America were two distinct cultures that fed into each other but retained their unique identities.

乬Two great nations separated by a common language乭 as Churchill once said. But it does cut both ways. I know many Americans who are

dismayed when they travel to the other side of the world to see Merry Olde England and are confronted with the golden arches of McDonalds

and Starbuck & Nobles and Barnes & Gap. They spent thousands of dollars and flew thousands of miles and didn乫t even leave home! (laughs)

so many of them aren乫t too happy about it either.

J: Did you think, as a 70乫s kid? that it somehow melded into one culture then? I wonder about that sometimes.

M: Well because so much of our TV was really American, in our minds it did become melded, but it乫s always disturbed me that for as long as

I can remember Britain has completely rolled over to US foreign policy without a peep. And now the real sad joke is where certain politicians

and newspapers are screaming blue murder about Brussels sneakily removing our beloved sovereignty where in reality this country really

doesn乫t make a move on the world stage without Washington乫s say so. I just cannot understand why no one makes more of an issue out

of this. Maybe it乫s the shared language and all the Hollywood films or something that Britain is really starting to believe it is actually American.

It乫s also quite interesting to note how Hollywood celebrities have usurped our Royalty in popularity, and do you honestly think that if the IRA

had blown up 5,000 British citizens that President Bush would be scuttling around the world holding 3 minute silences and rattling his sabre?

J: Do you feel let down by the people in this country?

M: Let down? God no, I live much of the time in New York for God乫s sake, how can I possibly feel let down. I乫m the one who left Britain and

If I dislike American culture so much people are entitled to ask why I spend so much time there. But the answer is that it乫s not a case of

disliking American culture so much as grieving over the loss of everyone else乫s culture. Maybe we all just have to accept that it乫s what

people want. American culture has always been more glamorous than our own. You can乫t force people to buy Levis Jeans or hamburgers.

They wouldn乫t buy them if they didn乫t like them, so maybe what we乫re witnessing on a massive scale, with this inexorable shift to a global

monoculture is just cultural evolution and the survival of the fittest, and maybe it乫s really just the most natural thing in the world. I don乫t

happen to really think that but it乫s worth bearing in mind.

J: There was a quote of yours in the music press in the mid 80乫s, it must have been around the time of Heartland, that went something along

the lines of "I cant remember a time when I didn乫t have a coke in the fridge and a pack of Wrigleys spearmint gum in my Levis back pocket."

M: Yeah, that is true. I can乫t really remember a time when we were a truly distinct country so I乫m nostalgic for something I never really knew.

But all over the world people are complaining about the same thing. The French are obviously resisting the threat to their culture more than

the British but I just think its unhealthy for the world. I love diversity. Cultural diversity and bio-diversity and I just think we乫re losing too much.

Britain does have an incredible history of creativity and individuality in many fields. There乫s a famous quote, I乫ve forgotten who by, that every

time an old person dies it乫s like a library burning down. But what about entire languages and cultures? All of these lost worlds of our children乫s

future. And who乫s to blame? I suppose we all are. Most of us travel around the world pollinating western culture. We乫re all part of the problem

and it乫s a huge dilemma. But anyway, as far as Heartland as a song goes, I was proud of it. The only problem was that I was trying to be too

smart with the structure by putting the 乪chorus乫 just as the outro. The 51st state refrain was anthemic and the whole point of the songs and

so what did I do? Stick it right on the bloody end. Would have been a much bigger hit if I hadn乫t made that error.

J: Yeah, but you would have had to take the word piss out of it then, though. You wouldn't have done that would you?

M: No, and I did have a bit of an argument about that, because I think in the context of the song that it乫s a really descriptive term and people

when they heard that line would say "Yeah, that's exactly what they乫re like", you know, you go pick your car up in some dingy car park or

shopping precinct and its just this reek of stale urine everywhere. It乫s part of the atmosphere, part of the song. But I still wish in some ways

that I乫d been cuter with the structure and had 51st state in at the first chorus because everybody thought the song was called that anyway.

But I always did make things hard for myself. I always seem to make all the wrong decisions for all the right reasons (laughs)

J: I think I乫ve sort of hammered this idea, but I really wanted to get it across about the way you are always working with reference to the

environment that you乫re in. And the environment you were in started to change didn乫t it, when you started to make the Infected album?

Things started to teeter towards the US or more specifically New York. Stuff like The Mercy Beat and also the themes that you start to

take on. You start to become a little more external, particularly in Sweet Bird Of Truth.

M: It was a strange song that one because I was getting more interested in religion and more specifically religious hypocrisy. The rise of

Islamic fundamentalism I found really fascinating and terrifying at the same time. I still do. I wrote that song shortly before the air attack

on Libya, when Ronald Reagan tried to assassinate Gaddafi. It乫s written from the point of view of a mercenary US fighter pilot who乫s fighting

a holy war yet has no real belief in God himself until the point of his own death.

J: So, how had your life changed after Soul Mining?

M: Well for a start I moved out of the little bedsit in Highbury and moved into my own flat with my girlfriend.

J: Ah, end of an era (laughs)

M: It was the end of an era, although my flat mates were happy to see me go I乫m sure (laughs). I suppose there was an element of ... signing a

record deal and a certain amount of material comfort that comes with that, also at that age a certain amount of decadence I guess. You end up

drinking more than you should and your internal state changes. You see often it can take a songwriter years and years to make their first album

and now I was onto my, what was it? including unreleased albums, about my fifth I suppose. So you乫ve got to take time to fill up on experiences

again. Naturally one乫s focus changes, because you乫re moving away from childhood and adolescence and all the stuff that led up to those tricky

years, the early 20乫s. So I just became more and more interested in politics and religious affairs. Trying to look outside of my own tiny orbit.

Then again, a song like Out Of the Blue ...

J: Starts to become overtly sexual. The content in your songs becomes ... explicit.

M: Yeah, particularly 乪Out Of The Blue and Into The Fire乫 ... one of the most sexually explicit songs I乪ve ever written.

J: The sound starts getting more sexual too and just the whole atmosphere and feeling of it. Infected really blew everybody away when it came

out because no-one had ever heard a sound like it before. It was a very modern sound, but still it had your influences, maybe harking back to the

Glitter Band even. The drums are very loud and it乫s a very bombastic sounding record. It rocks, it really rocks as a record. The guitars are very

aggressive, but yet you乫ve got things like the trumpet solo from Infected. You know I乫m a bit of a rock train spotter and I cannot remember a

trumpet solo like that in a pop record. So what were you really going for with Infected when you started to get the idea together as a concept?

M: I don't think it started out as an overall concept, I was just concentrating on each song, each little vignette. Interestingly Heartland and Out Of

The Blue were going to be produced by Tom Waits. I spent a week hanging out with him in New York checking out studios and doing some

basic pre-production work but in the end, different problems happened. I think his wife just had a baby, he乫d just fired a manager, he was

working on his Rain Dogs album and taking acting classes for a film he was working on. Something had to give and unfortunately it was my

project. But I got to meet Robert Frank and get thrashed numerous times at pool by Tom Waits and he was also very encouraging to me and said

"Look, your demos are really explicit, why not have a go at producing this yourself". It would have been a different sounding album but an

interesting project though because I was hoping to do some tracks not only with him but also with Holger Czukay and Brian Eno. That was the

original plan. The person who came back very enthusiastic was Tom Waits and so after that fell through I decided to co-produce the album

and I chose Roli Mosimann, the ex-Swan乫s drummer, for his first proper production gig, and also Warne Livesey. Both were introduced to me by

my close friend Jim Thirlwell and both did a fine job. But anyway, I was only about 24 at the time I wrote it and I really wanted to write something

extremely political. I was feeling really pissed off and dismayed by the Thatcher era. It was starting to grip hard and I was feeling pretty affected

by all that. And her relationship with Ronald Reagan just drove me mad. The increasing demonisation of the Islamic fundamentalists was also

another interesting ingredient thrown into the mix. This new conflict between Christianity and Islam seemed to send a shiver down the collective

spine of the age. It was like a new holy war was starting. Also the sexual element is in there too of course and I suppose I was drinking a lot,

mainly vodka, and probably doing other stuff I shouldn乫t be doing. There was a certain amount of aggression coming out. A lot of residual anger

that I乫ve carried within my bones since childhood. I乫m a pretty angry person in many ways. Have been pretty much all my life I suppose.

It accounts for a lot of the sarcastic, nasty humour that I laid on people in the past. I乫ve tried very hard to remove it as I乫ve got older of course

but I think anger has many masks and can manifest itself as depression or sarcasm or violence or boredom and I was just try trying to focus

this energy in a creative way. I was trying to figure out what I was really angry about, and a convenient target for my anger was someone

like Margaret Thatcher of course, and more generally what was happening to my country.

J: You were very politically concerned for someone who had just put out a successful, influential first album yet who was still only 24.

Did that political awareness come from your father?

M: Probably. He was pretty left wing when he was a young man, he was a docker before becoming a publican and he was very involved with

the Dockers Trade Union, who were extremely left wing. I suppose you can乫t help being affected by your parents. We didn乫t sit around getting

lectured about politics or anything like that, but being a kid you just get affected by the points of view of your parents.

J: Do you think you had a sense of injustice? Because Infected is the first time really when injustice starts to play a big part in your lyrics.

M: There乫s a sense of that I suppose. A sense of powerlessness and of trying to use whatever tiny influence I had to try to get a point of view

across. And as I say, just marshall that internal anger into something positive. To try saying or doing something positive.

J: What about the sound of it though, because I know you were working with Roli and Warne. With all due respect to because I乫ve worked with

Roli and Warne and I know how great they are, and Bruce Lampcov later on too, but ultimately you very much direct the way the records sound,

in collaboration with other people. It really doesn乫t sound like anything or anyone that went before it. There were no reference points. It wasn乫t

like the listener could sit there and say 乬Oh that乫s a bit Beatley乭 or 乬That乫s a bit the Stooges.乭

M: There was one song that was influenced by someone and that was The Mercy Beat. I would say that was quite influenced by Jim Thirlwell

(Foetus), particularly a lot of the imagery I was using. He and I were hanging out together a lot and he was playing me a lot of stuff. That song

was probably the only one influenced by someone else. But the album as a whole? Well again, the instrumentation is very distinct from song

to song. No two songs have the same instrumentation. Out Of The Blue for instance sounds very different to Heartland or to Twilight Of A

Champion. I think its a case of making each song almost like a short film in a way. Not only the lyrical imagery, there was a distinct thread

going through all the lyrical imagery, but the instrumentation was very distinct too, and that's one of the joys of having a very fluid line up.

That you乫re not going to piss anybody off if you say 乬Well, I乫m afraid you're not playing on this song Bert, there乫s just going to be a brass

section, a string section or a piano player.乭 So it was really making full use of that fluid line up and pushing each song as far as I possibly

could in a different direction.

J: I know its really a hackneyed term to use nowadays but you were really using the studio as your instrument weren乫t you.

M: I was just trying to push the studio until the pips squeaked (laughs) It乫s funny putting that album on now, because obviously music has

changed so much in the last 15 years, particularly the heavy rap and hippo bands that came along, like Public Enemy, who were just really

powerful and took things to another level. But at the time it came out Infected was a very powerful record compared to what was around it.

You turn it on now and it sounds, not gentle but ... not quite as brutal as it once did. Times change but as I乫ve said before you really have

to judge things in the context of their time.

J: So, 'Infected' as a record, and obviously the long form video which was a first and which we'll get on to in a minute .... 'Infected' the whole

album and video are a really intense record and an intense video, so presumably your life was really intense at that time. What was going on

there? What were you doing? You were in New York a lot weren't you?

M: I was in New York, usually visiting a couple of times a year at that point, but I also filmed quite a lot of Infected in New York.

J: The album was obviously made before you started filming? Were you getting out of it a lot during the album and the filming?

M: Yeah, 3 or 4 different directors were involved in it. We filmed at least 3 tracks in New York. 'Out Of The Blue', which was directed by

Tim (Pope) is my favourite one. The fact that it was shot on 35mm helped. Some of the others were shot on 16mm or even video for some parts.

But suddenly seeing this stuff on 35mm, and the colours were beautiful, all filmed around Harlem at night in the rain and I just thought 乬This is

fantastic, it looks just like the song!乭 So I love some of those videos, and it was a wonderful time working with my long time friend Tim Pope.

And then of course we upped tents and headed down to South America to do the rest. Which was a fantastic experience. And so the idea of

just touring the film came about. I wouldn乫t play any shows I乫d just tour the film. So I just travelled around the world, mainly alone, occasionally

with Stevo or a record company representative. I travelled across America, Australasia and Europe for a year. Just renting out cinemas and

sitting there with an audience - full of media people and also fans and that was quite lovely as I乫d be sat on a little throne like chair and table

in the corner with people coming up to me telling me how talented I was and buying me drinks all night long. Very agreeable indeed. I wouldn乫t

mind doing that again. Didn乫t have to sing or anything. The after show party without the show. It was fantastic.

J: What I'm getting at here Matt is that you were obviously drinking a lot and you were taking quite a few drugs as well weren't you?

From knowing you, what strikes me is that you're not someone who gets out of it and then sits on their backside goofing out. You were very

purposeful about your debauchery......

M: Yeah (laughs) it wasn't really hedonistic.....

J: You were always on a bit of a mission.....

M: The only reason I did any drugs was honestly to help with writing the songs. Just to give me ... an edge .. a different perspective. Just trying

some different things out. You know, sitting up through the night fuelled by speed and vodka Martinis or whatever whilst sat in front of my

overheated little Portastudio and furiously scribbling lyrics. It really was all work related. When we did the 'Infected' videos, you can imagine

obviously in Peru and Bolivia there was a certain amount of drugs and alcohol around, and it was really adding to the visual excitement to it

I felt. By that I mean that it helped loosen me up in front of the cameras. Me being a bit shy. Suddenly I乫m filming eight videos and I wasn't

giggling at the time. So I had to ... loosen up. A large part of that drinking and stuff, was like a lot of people feel. You know when you乫re just

not feeling comfortable in your own skin? So, if you're going on these promotional tours and your doing a dozen or more interviews a day, not

only is it a bit boring sometimes but also you can feel a bit uncomfortable, well I did then, not so much anymore. And also with the filming, just

doing these videos... particularly those kind of videos, when I'm in brothels writhing around with prostitutes and then being tied on to the top of

boats, or wrestling with snakes and sticking my head in a fridge full of cockroaches. And though those images really kind of summed up my

internal state of mind ... with me not being an actor ... well ... let乫s just say that I self medicated in order to make things a bit more comfortable

for myself. I've never wanted to act and I really started to have a bit of a problem with videos. Which is why the videos after that period I just

really wanted to make more performance based. The idea of the musician being an actor and appearing in narrative scenes? Well, I did a certain

amount of that but I never really felt comfortable, which is why I got out of it a lot of the time.

J: Are you also someone, probably more so at that time, who was into exploring different states of mind?

M: Yeah, but that really came into it乫s own with 'Mind Bomb' but 'Infected' was .....

J: More of a confidence thing?

M: Yeah, well like I said there's a lot of anger in there too. Remember that time John Lydon came over to our hotel in Australia to have a drink

with us? He said "Infected is the most spiteful album I've ever heard." Which was a massive compliment coming from him (laughs) It was this

massive amount of anger, and like I said, just not being comfortable in my own skin and all the stuff that was going on in Britain at the time,

I just felt angry about. There was a lot of sexual undertones and overtones and the drugs of choice I suppose were vodka and speed and cocaine.

I was a lot younger then, 23, 24, 25. Life had changed a lot for me and I was also trying to deal with all these residual feelings that are dragged

forward from childhood, trying to rationalise them. I think as you get older you can figure out where it's coming from or at least train yourself to

accept who you are more.

J: You were quite fearless though weren't you, at that time?

M: I don乫t know, maybe. Much more fearless than I am now....

J: You乫re fearless in some of the situations you put yourself in in the videos.

M: I used to like doing all my own stunts. There was that particular one, the Infected one, where I was tied into the metal caged chair we had

constructed on top of the old boat on the Amazon river. We had these local guys holding it and they were rushing me towards the edge of the

boat for a particular shot. I was strapped in and couldn乫t move a muscle and they乫re heading straight for the bloody edge. The surface was

wet and slippery too. I thought, 'That乫s all I bloody need. One of them to slip.乭 and it was quite high, the drop was about 40 ft or something and

I couldn't even put my hands up to save myself. I would have fallen straight down onto these wooden spikes. So there was a lot of fearlessness

or just plain stupidity, but I just really liked the authenticity of those films. Also, again, you have to place things in context of their time. Do you

remember most videos at that point? I loathed them. And to be quite honest the whole concept of videos anyway ... I've really ... I think video has

got a lot to answer for and MTV particularly, for destroying a lot of the mystique and intimacy of music and negatively affecting the relationship

between an audience and a band. When we grew up you'd just see the odd photograph of the band, you'd have the album and the liner notes.

A lot of it was in your imagination, you'd sit in your room and develop your own visual soundtrack to them, wait for them to come round on tour.

Bands and Music and videos are way, way, way too overexposed for all our own good now.

J: I really don't think 'Infected' the video fell into that trap you're describing. I know in the UK it got shown on Channel 4 twice and it was a really

big deal over here. And I think that even though there was a lot of - for want of a better term -'hip' people who would seek out music, all were

very aware of you from 'Soul Mining'. But I think that 'Infected' was the first time that the mainstream had got an idea of you and your image really.

Do you think it's likely that you became known as the guy who was strapped to a chair going down a river? Or the guy with a gun in his mouth?

They're very strong images and very unusual images at that time. Also you weren't pushing yourself as some sort of pretty boy songwriter so it

was really unusual. How do you feel about those images now? Do you feel fine about it? That it was what it was? Because it kind of stuck with

you a long time didn't it? People got this impression of intensity ...

M: You become crystallised in time and you've got something to live up to, or down to, when maybe it's just a phase of life you乫re going through.

We all go through periods where we feel that type of intensity, but then you grow up and I don't like the word 'mellow' because I really don乫t feel

like that at all, but you just change direction. So there's a certain expectation from people, be it members of your own audience or critics. Either

way they assume they've got you pinned down and that's who they want you to be all the time. Curled up tight in a little labelled box under the stairs.

J: At the time were you aware of how your image was being perceived?

M: I don乫t know. I felt a lot of aggression towards various things and that乫s really what I wanted to get across and this film was a bit of a shock

for many people when it came out, but then you really have to compare it to what else was out there at the time. Within a 4 month period

Channel 4 showed the entire film twice, an hour long film! Which was a very unusual thing to happen really and consequently a lot of people saw it.

I was very proud of it because it was quite unique. No one had done anything quite like it before or since. Everyone involved did a tremendous job.

And if I look back, I think it was pretty authentic. I was just portraying the kind of life I was living but then the idea of having to live up to those kind

of images, that phase of my life and being that kind of person permanently? Well, that乫s an entirely different matter. That was then and this is now.

J: So how long do you think that period lasted, from starting the songs on Infected to the period of it ...

M: Probably about 3 years. Then I had a relationship break up because I乫d turned into a pretty unpleasant person. The initial flush of success

will do that to most people really. That mixed in with some alcohol. I think celebrity is a toxin. Even minor celebrity. More often than not it

changes people for the worse. It乫s an unnatural state of affairs and it turns people unpleasant.

J: You were pretty young to take on a project that big though weren乫t you? How old were you? 24? 25?

M: 23 when I started writing it and my 25th birthday was in Peru just after we乫d finished filming.

J: Do you feel that you got some stuff out of your system during that album?

M: Yeah, I think most experiences get something out of one乫s system. It was a good, strong record, I really did the best I could at the time

and then moved on.

J: It was really successful Infected wasn乫t it. Platinum?

M: Yes.

J: Did you feel any pressure as that period was winding down to be more successful or to build on your success because your trajectory

would start to drop?

M: No, I never really felt that. But that mentality was an ally and an enemy in terms of me being too relaxed, self confident and taking far too

long between projects. I think it乫s ultimately a good thing because each project was well thought out and very distinct from the previous one

but instead of going straight back in to the studio and making Infected mk2, which probably would have been absolutely massive commercially,

I just took a long time to wind down and think of a fresh direction. That involved really cleaning out my system. Like I said, I乫d had a relationship

break up and then we got back together and that sort of sobered me up in terms of where I wanted to go with my life. And my residual interest

in religion and spiritual matters was rekindled and I then started writing Mind Bomb, which was an interesting record to write and record.

I spent a lot of time trying different things for inspiration. Fasting, living on organic grapes and distilled water for about a month, drinking

magic mushroom tea, spending a lot of time alone and meditating constantly, which I really, really love. It乫s like a hot foaming bubble bath for the

soul. Takes you back to the source. So pretty whacked out in some ways but I got into some very interesting states of mind that乫s for sure.

J: Yeah. Well it乫s a very different way of living to the Infected period. And the other thing was that you decided at that time, was you decided to

change the way your business set up was and you pretty much managed yourself for a while didn乫t you?

M: Well by the end of Infected the relationship with Stevo was pretty much on it乫s knees. The greatest thing he乫d ever done for me as a manager

was making sure the Infected film got made. It would just never have happened without him but things had been problematic for a while and it just

went from bad to worse to ridiculous. Although I was very fond of him, I felt that I just couldn't carry on like that.

J: Just burnt each other out.

M: Sadly it had just become a very negative situation. Also the idea of going on the road or playing shows again, happened I think in Australia

when I was showing the Infected film down there. I bumped into Billy Bragg, old mate of yours, and we hung out together and he persuaded me to

do some Red Wedge shows. I did them as a two piece with Zeke Manyika. We played 2 or 3 shows supporting the Labour Party. Even got to meet

Ken Livingston and Neil Kinnock.

J: Yeah, I did some of those shows.

M: Yeah, you did some too. I really enjoyed them and the thought of going on the road became quite attractive. The idea of mentally moving away

from that Infected period and just trying to change my lifestyle.

J: Did you feel wiped out after Infected?

M: Yeah, bloody exhausted because it乫s ... you know ...it was a promotional tour for a year which is doing loads of interviews pretty much

every day. It was just exhausting. I was wiped out. Remember the entire project from the first writing sessions to the final promotional

sessions was a 3 year period. Just working constantly on that.

End of part 3.

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