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Primal Scream - Feeling Good

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Steve Jenner | 01 May 2007

Virtual Festivals: Out of all the bands that played all the festivals last summer, you've been voted the one that made the British  people feel the best. How do you feel about that?
Mani (bass): Oh, it's crackin' to know that we're the most kick-ass rock'n'roll band in the whole of Great Britain, if not the world, you know what I mean? We're really pleased with what we do, we work bloody hard at it; it's not something that happens without us doing the work so we do do the work, and we love festivals, especially. Maybe it's the captive audience but we get off on the challenge to win new fans at festivals, so hopefully there will be a bunch of people here tonight who first saw us at Reading last year.
Bobby Gillespie (vocals): The whole point of what we do is is to play higher, elevate people and take them to another worldly dimension… we're good at that. We take them somewhere beautiful.

VF: Why did you decide to go down the more uplifting, good-time route with the new album (Riot City Blues)?
Mani: It's just something that happened... 'cause we did all the electronica and political stuff with two LP's, so we stripped it back, without any trickery and just played, you know what I mean? At the end of the day, we are a rock and roll band, and we always have been. We might get quite experimental, but I think our roots are very much in rock n' roll.

VF: Do you think the world is ready for a good time rock n' roll revival?
Mani: I suppose so, you know we're the very exponents of it, like you said, we work hard at it. We understand music, we have the best musical knowledge of any band I've ever known, you know? So yeah, we're good at it man.

VF: What festival performances did you enjoy playing the most last year?
Mani: I liked Roskilde and T in the park was amazing.
BG: Reading and Leeds were good...

VF: Didn't Mani get arrested for drunk and disorderly before going on-stage at Leeds?
Mani: Ahh, that's rock n' roll behaviour for you. We were there for real. It was the first time in a while, so I thought I'd make it a good one.

VF: Did all the drama energise you when you went on, 'cause Bobby was looking very worried backstage for a while there!
BG: Something energised! [Laughter]
Mani: Nah, it was good fun, winding the cops up for nothing. I had been in a bit of a mess before the gig though.
BG: Half of the cops were asking him for his stuff.

VF: When we saw you at Hyde Park Calling in London, one of the most feel-good moments for us was seeing all your kids around the side of the stage, all dancing away with ear protectors on.
Mani: Yeah, it was a great time. It was basically the first time all our clan had been out, basically, in force, they really loved it.

VF: How do you balance parenthood with being rock n' roll muthafuckers?
BG: It's easy, it's easy.
Mani: We're men. We're adults. It's not that difficult, it's not like giving up, is it?

VF: You've said before that when you play below bigger bands at festivals, you like to set out to destroy them...
BG: Yeah, it's just that we wanna be the best that we can.
Mani: It's like, follow that, motherfuckers in a way! Nah, we know what we have, its not like we're in any deep competition with the bands, you know. If they see us put in a sterling performance, maybe it'll uplift them, so it makes it better for all those concerned.

VF: So was that the case with the Foo Fighters at the Isle of Wight?
Mani: Yeah, the Foo Fighters are great, we've played a good few festivals with them, they're really nice guys, I've got a lotta time for them. Its good to see them, its like party time when we get together.
BG: It's not that we've got anything against the other bands, its not a malicious thing. It's just like "We're Primal Scream, so we're gonna fuckin' own the fuckin' stage!". I think you've gotta have that attitude in rock, or I just don't see the point.

[Mani unleashes a devastatingly noxious fart that causes everyone to disperse momentarily]

Mani: That's two and half weeks on tour!

VF: I was gonna say, you look good on the outside, but on the inside… Would you prefer to play second on the Main Stage of a festival or headline the Second Stage?
BG: You Know, it doesn't really matter, we're just happy to be there. I mean, we don't wanna be fuckin' fifth on the bill. We like to play night time, 'cause rock n' roll should be done after dark.

VF: Indoors or outdoors?
BG: you know, as long as its night-time, I really don't care. I don't like playing in the day 'cause it loses its magic. Definitely got a ritualistic occult thing going on, has rock n' roll. That's why it works at night. Different forces are at work. I really believe that. Anyway that's it.

VF: What changes have you observed in the festival scene, these last 20 years?
Mani: I've noticed younger kids at our gigs especially, getting all gary glitter about it. But they audience seems to getting younger, for us especially. Riot City Blues seems to have appealed to a new generation of kids, so that's good.

VF: Did you set out to do that?
BG: Nah, we just wanted to write a bunch of rock n' roll songs and record them live.
Mani: We'll take any age of people basically, you know, come join the party man.

VF: Do you feel you've come close to reaching your peak yet?
BG: Nah, this band right now is just incredible. The way this band's playing live I just think we have a long future.
Mani: We're all lookin' forward all the time,
BG: We're always so excited about it, It's great to feel like that.

VF: Are you excited about all the bands breaking out of Scotland at the moment?
BG: I'm not nationalistic at all, You know? I like to hear great bands. Right now, The View, who are supporting us here tonight, are from Dundee, But if they came from London or Manchester or Cardiff I'd still love them. They're just great, you know.

VF: Got any other hot tips for this year?
BG: Not Really, we're too engrossed in our own stuff really!

VF: You had a bit of a guitarist shuffle last year, which saw the departures of collaborator Kevin Shields as well as long-time member Robert 'Throb' Young. Do you envisage Robert returning to the band in future?
BG: I don't think Throb will ever come back. Kevin was never like a permanent member anyway, even though he played exclusively live with us. He wasn't a member as such. It was more like a floating kinda thing. It may be that he might play with us again, I dunno.
Mani: He's always got plenty of stuff on, has Kevin.
BG: I'd have him back any day.

VF: How are you getting on with [temporary new recruit] Little Barry, who must be half your age?
BG: Yeah, he's incredible.
Mani: He's an ace guitar player. It's taken us up a level, it's a good thing to be kept on our toes, it's a good thing for this band, and to keep reaching.

Primal Scream are due to headline the JJB/ Puma Arena at V Festival on Saturday 18th August (Chelmsford) and Sunday 19th August (Staffs); the Main 'Oyster' Stage at Connect at Inveraray Castle, Weston Scotland on Saturday 31st August and the Main Stage at Bestival on Sunday 9th September. Be warned - they will make you feel good!

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