Virtual Festivals: How did the show last night at Reading go?
Steve Bays: It was probably the best reaction we’ve received this summer over the whole festival circuit.
VF: Did you get to see any of the other bands that were playing?
SB: I didn’t see Foo Fighters but we’ve been playing with them at festivals recently and we’ve got a Weezer/Foo Fighters tour coming up in the U.S so I’ll be seeing them lots then.
VF: You’re working on a new record at the moment, what can we expect from that?
SB: Most of the material written on our latest record “Elevator” was written at the beginning of 2004 so we’ve just quietly been working away on the next one whilst we’ve been on tour. We wanted it to be less 80s to be honest. We were tired of people mentioning that we were an 80s band so it’s a lot more 60s and 70s now.
VF: Have you got any special surprises coming up for your Leeds show tonight?
SB: Um, yeah, I don’t really know if it’s a surprise but we like to mess around with songs and take little bits and pieces and put them together to give the audience something a little different.
VF: You mentioned that you had a really good response from the crowd yesterday in Reading, do you think you’ll get the same reaction from Leeds?
SB: Yeah, I don’t know…is there a big difference between the crowds do you think?
VF: Well people seem to be a lot more friendlier up here and Reading has that massive status of just being…Reading!
SB: Yesterday was just insane! I couldn’t believe how many people were there…
VF: Do you get nervous before you go on stage?
SB: Not really but I have a few drinks and that helps.
VF: Which bands do you really rate these days?
SB: There’s this band, I only have one song of theirs, called Cofax and they have a song called ‘Color Me Canadian’ and it’s a song about them being embarrassed about being American and so they tell people that they’re Canadian. But I can’t really speak for the whole album. The last album I bought was probably Patsy Cline
VF: If you had to put together a festival line-up, who would be on the bill?
SB: Ummm, that’s a good question. To be honest, most of the bands that I would want playing are playing today. Lately we’ve been doing a lot of shows with the same bands so I’m biased to those bands – like Arcade Fire and The Futureheads, who we’ve also toured with before.
VF: What was it like to be on tour with The Futureheads?
SB: They’re very polite…when I thought of British people before I’d ever been here, I always thought of them as being really polite, which is obviously not the case! The singer Barrie is a maniac. We’ve spent a lot of nights with him just having really blunt conversations but we won’t get into that now! I respect anyone who will tell you what they’re thinking, even if it’s not the most flattering thing.
VF: Have you got any festival survival tips?
SB: I have this pocket sized umbrella – it folds up and it can fit in my pocket. I got it from a weird travel store and I’ve used it so much because it comes in really handy! Also, it’s actually really easy to get backstage. We have an on going joke about how easy it is to sneak backstage.
VF: What are your sneaking backstage tips?
SB: Just look like you’re supposed to be there and don’t even acknowledge the security guy when you walk in. Just walk in like you own the place.
VF: Who would you most be in awe of if you ever met them?
SB: I almost met Robert Plant the other day but it didn’t happen. I probably would have been really nervous to meet him.
VF: What would you have said to him?
SB: I don’t know...I think that with Robert Plant, you could talk about music and it would be cool or you could just make small talk and he might listen to you. I don’t think Bob Dylan’s too interested in small talk. I’d probably be most nervous around him. We’ve had bus drivers that have driven Bob Dylan around on tours and they said that he just doesn’t say a single word to anybody. He’s probably the most intimidating rock icon but to be honest I don’t really care much about meeting rock stars. It’s more important what your friends and family think of you.
VF: It’s more scary when your friends and family are in the crowd isn’t it?
SB: Yeah, whenever my parents have come to a show, they are the most intimidating shows of all!
VF: What are you most proud of?
SB: I don’t really think of milestones, I just think of the songs. We haven’t released a single song that I’m not proud of but I would like to be able to look back in 20 years and have a catalogue of songs that I dig.
VF: If your band were a dessert, what would you be?
SB: Probably um, chocolate covered raw cloves of garlic!
VF: Where did the band name come from?
SB: Paul, our drummer came up with it. At the time, we were all living in a squat with about seven or eight other people living there. We’d jam all night and had about ten different bands and I remember one day Paul said, “if there was a band called Hot Hot Heat, I’d be jealous of their name”. I said, alright, lets use it one day!
VF: What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever been asked to autograph?
SB: It’s always awkward when people ask you to sign their breasts, you know? It’s alright if it’s in private but in a crowd it’s embarrassing! Yeah, I don’t like signing male body parts either!
VF: Last question, what’s your chat up line when you’re in a bar and you see a girl?
SB: I’ve never been one to hit on girls…I usually wait till they come to me, which is not very often!