Levellers Interview - Jeremy Cunningham
John Bownas - 08 September 2002
With a new album (their seventh studio production) and a single on the way, The Levellers are gearing themselves up for another tour of UK and European venues. Not, that is, that we have ever noticed any discernable pause in the band's relentless series of live performances. Often notching up 200+ shows a year, The Levellers are still as happy playing to a half-full pub as they are packing out massive stadium and festival venues.
We had the opportunity to grab a 20 minute chat with Jeremy Cunningham in the lead up to the release of the single 'Come On' that is taken from the forthcoming long player -'Greenblade Rising'. The be-dreaded bassist was on his usual charming form, and responded to my slightly embarassed revelation that I hadn't got a tape in the machine that he needed a drink anyway. So after a minute's delay we got on with it.
VF: The last time I saw you was back at Distortion in Nottingham when you had to shoot off to do the Guildford Festival on the same day. What was the worst thing about having to do two shows back-to-back like that?
JC: I guess it was just being mingingly hung over for the lunchtime show. I'd been out 'til about four in the morning the night before, and I was absolutely minging - luckily I was able to sleep a bit on the bus, but it was still a bit hairy (and that's saying something coming from this infamously dreadlocked old crusty). What I can't understand is how we got such good reviews for that gig. Everyone was saying we were brilliant, but I can't even really remember it!
VF: Well I was there - just - I think you were on a bit early and we were running late, but I do remember hearing the compere announce you as 'the best accoustic punk band in the world' - If you're the best, then who would you rank as second?
It's gotta be Neil Young - and he's the best really - no doubt about it!
VF: Okay, well lets just call the compere a lier then. Now festivals. I can hardly not talk about them some more, because we are, after all, Virtual Festivals - and you are one of the major festival acts. I guess we're kind of made for each other in a way.
JC: Sure - I remember you doing all that stuff with us back at our Isle of Wight thing a few years back when you followed us around all weekend - you even shot all that footage in the dressing room.