Having found the venue rather more easily than I’d anticipated, I rolled into ‘The Lynott Bar’ at The George in Andover to find I was the first punter of the night. Alone for a few seconds, I appraised my well-decorated musical surroundings before being presented with Andover’s winner of the tallest-spiky hair award, who promptly served me a drink and made me feel rather welcome.
My embarrassing earliness contributed to the slightly hesitant start to the interview, as Madisuns band members trickled in over the next 45 minutes and got comfy at their regular table by the window. With drinks distributed and with a full line up, we’re ready to start.
For the un-initiated, The Madisuns are a three-piece rock band with lots of vocal harmonies, fuzzy bass, and hard-hitting drums that have just landed a record deal with Revolver as well as a management and promotion deal, which gives us a debut album, single, and extensive touring to look forward to. So where did it all start?
Drummer, Richie, explains: ‘Tim (singer/guitars) and Lee (bass) were already in a band. I wasn’t doing anything at the time, but I wanted to play guitar in a band. I met Lee here at The George and we decided to jam a bit and I ended up playing drums and learning some of the songs from the old band.’
‘Until we realised they were shit’, adds Tim with a wry smile, ‘We filtered out the old stuff and wrote songs that were more us, then we started going after a management deal straight away. We’re in charge of our own destiny, we needed to make a bit of money so we had to play a lot of gigs.’
‘We released a record called ‘Dirty Cash’, which was funded by 31 dates on a tour, ‘ adds Richie, taking the reigns once more.
‘There’s no messing around from us, we’re ready to put in the work required to get where we want to be, ‘ adds Lee. ‘We were sponsored by Red Bull on our first tour, now we’re endorsed by Jagermeister – we’d like to get deal with GHD and maybe get some free hair-straighteners.’
Somehow, the glasses are already in need of a top up, so there is a brief pause as Lee takes on the bar duties. With full glasses, normal service is resumed – but already there are some things very apparent about this band. Firstly, you’d be hard pressed to find another band containing such contrasting characters; it’s like chalk, cheese, and a euphonium. On outward appearance, you have an enigmatic guitarist, an extrovert drummer, and a withdrawn bass player, but scratch the surface and you’ll find incredible depth of character and a disturbing ability to create chaos.
‘We don’t agree about very much’, explains Tim, ‘that’s the dynamic of the band. We tend to agree about our music but everything else is an argument. If we were all the same it wouldn’t work. That’s where we come from.’
The whole band seem to agree on this very point; ‘I walked out of a venue after an argument on the first tour, ‘ says Richie. ‘Sometimes it’s because we don’t have a lot in common – but it’s what makes us so good. Lee often has to be the mediator as he’s such a calming influence.’
By this point, the trips to the bar have become frequent enough to warrant our removal from the table and our subsequent installation at the bar in the back room. The drinks flow and things get rather more confusing. It’s open mic night and Richie appears on stage with a guitar and performs a couple of tracks. It’s all fairly surreal now, I’ve forgotten why I’m here and I’m suddenly interviewing people who aren’t even in the band.
Richie’s voice seeps through the descending mists, fresh off the stage and glowing with enthusiasm; ‘We have a lot of young fans, who we call the Mini-Suns. They’re too young to get in most venues so we want to play a gig somewhere they’re allowed in. I would love to play a gig at my old school because they wouldn’t let me have music lessons. I had to sit in the library instead.’
Shame on you Winton School, Andover!
Lee adds, ‘The fans are incredibly important to us, we took things more seriously because people genuinely liked our music. We got stuck on stage in Aberdeen because the crowd wanted to steal memento’s from the stage.’
The stage in front of me now has a duo performing some Britpop classics and Richie grabs my arm. ‘You’re going to perform a set.’ What? ‘You’re going to perform a set and we’re going to review YOU.’ That can’t be a good idea. There’s no way I’m going to perform a set – only somehow, I’ve agreed… partly because Richie’s enthusiasm had a momentary effect on my judgement and partly because I’m already on the stage.
Fifteen very sweaty minutes later I’m back at the bar reading a two-page review written by The Madisuns. The drink was flowing, things got a lot more blurry and when I woke up, it all seemed like a strange dream.
Their last tour saw a record breaking number of McDonalds receipts, the dismantling of a borrowed Transit van, the expulsion of a burned out cigarette-lighter powered kettle on the Scottish border, and Richie in a PVC nurses uniform. This band don’t do anything without it turning into something else entirely – you wouldn’t want to miss all that would you?
Written by Fenton on