Broken Family Band
I cyber caught up with that lovely Mr Adams out of The Broken Family Band. Over gin and tonics and cucumber sandwiches we discussed Socrates and Popeye! Because we are well cultured...
SoundsXP: What I love about you is the fact that you cannot be pigeon holed. The great philosopher, Socrates, would insist that you could be, as everything has it's place. How did Socrates die and where? And the real question is have you made a conscious effort to avoid being pigeon holed?
Steve: I believe Socrates died in prison after drinking some hemlock, is that right? I think he wanted to die amongst his friends, which makes sense, especially if his family gave him a lot of shit for his fancy ideas. No, we don't make very many conscious decisions with our music. Sometimes we decide to make a song heavier or softer because we feel like we 'need' a heavy or a soft song. We're just not trying to be anything in particular really, but it is good to avoid pigeonholes, just in case you get stuck in one. There's plenty of people who call us 'alt country', which obviously makes us a bit sad.
SoundsXP: Take me by the hand and walk me down your musical path. Talk to me about what music means to you and how you feel that you have progressed on your musical journey.
Steve: That's difficult. I can usually only speak for myself, and especially about things like this... I was brought up in a relatively unmusical household, but my folks had a few good records, so I got into a bit of folk and reggae and Sinatra and stuff when I was a little kid. I was really into Duran Duran as an early teen, and then I was hurtled from crap heavy metal to thrash to punk and hardcore to indie rock. Then it all went wrong and I only listened to bad techno, Spacemen 3 and The Incredible String Band for a few years until someone turned me onto Pavement. That's more than anyone needs to know. I like making music because it makes me feel good. No, really.
SoundsXP: So planet Pluto has been evicted from the solar system (wink). What does this mean for The Broken Family Band? Are you lovers of astronomy and will you write a song about Pluto's demise for me?
Steve: No, we don't give a fucking monkey's about the solar system. Pluto can piss off. We saw what he did to Popeye's bird.
SoundsXP: You have called your latest offering 'Balls' Why? I have read it's 'Because it's a good name for a record' but that will not do for me. I want more. Explain yourselves!
Steve: Erm, that's it. It was Jay's idea when we made Cold Water Songs, and it got rejected, then it came up again when we were making Welcome Home, Loser, but that couldn't have been called anything else. Balls is a brilliant name for a record!
SoundsXP: I absolutely adore the song 'Trouble' The lyrics are beautiful. 'How many hearts can you hold in your hand?' Does the songwriting process come easy to you? And how many valves are there in the heart? I'll only accept your first answer. It's not an auction.
Steve: Thank you, I'm glad. Itís a bit sad though innit? Yes, songwriting comes relatively easily to me, but I'm hardly an innovator or a genius, I'm just good at crafting away at simple pop songs, and the others all have slabs of magic that they apply to 'em. Are there three valves in the heart?
SoundsXP: Did a lot of thought go into the naming of the band? It's quite unusual and conjures up images of misery. In fact it makes Morrissey seem like Father Christmas.
Steve: Not really. We were nearly called The Dead Family Band though, which might have lightened things up... Itís quite a good name we think, and its nice that it's long.
SoundsXP: Tell me about your influences because it is quite an eclectic bag of delights. When it comes to covers you've recently tipped your musical hat at Cohen. Was that a lot of pressure?
Steve: I'm trying not to answer questions about our influences because it never seems to come over the way itís meant. I really like lots of music but not all of it is influencing us. One song was really influenced by Slayer and T-Rex, and another was the result of listening to The Ink Spots for a week. Doesn't really translate properly when you hear them. Leonard Cohen? Nah, we picked a song that was easy to play. We weren't worried about upsetting people though - we tend to assume that not many people are paying attention.
SoundsXP: We're having a drink and a laugh in the pub together and I flip you a coin to go and put six songs on the jukebox. What are your choices and why?
Steve: I'd wonder what you were after, but if it was a jukebox in my ideal world, and today, they'd be 'Young Lions' by Constantines, 'Oh Mandy' by The Spinto Band, 'Trick Or Treat' by Otis Redding, 'The Funky Worm' by The Ohio Players and 'Stop The Bleeding' by The Bronx. Because I like 'em and they all make me feel a bit loose in the loins.
SoundsXP: You lot are quite an elusive bunch you know? Can you quickly clear these questions up for me? Do you play scrabble? Tea or coffee? Vinyl or CD? Spiderman or Superman?
Steve: Are we elusive? Again, I can speak only for myself, but I love Scrabble, coffee, CDs and Spiderman. Coffee is more like drugs, CDs are crap but they're easier to fuck about with and Spiderman is a way more complex character than Superman.
SoundsXP: I am lending you my genie for the day and he is giving you three wishes. What would they be? Don't say 'I wish to wish for infinity' because that's cheating.
Steve: I want my money back, I want George Bush dead and his administration
crucified, and I want everyone to calm down a bit and stop killing each other.
SoundsXP: I want to see maracas being used more in your work. Where are you going musically next? Will there be maracas for me?
Steve: If there are maracas they'll be for our own pleasure, but you're welcome to draw your own conclusions. We're planning on making a more upbeat, poppy record with more noise and no jokes. I think its going to rock, but it'll take a while, so I shouldn't bang on about it.
The end. Steve, you have extensive knowledge of Socrates it would appear but while you write wonderful songs about the heart you got the valve question wrong. There are in fact four valves in the heart mirroring the four members of your rather stupendous band.