TOM CHATS TO KM.COM – PART ONE OF TWO
Last week, we gave Tom a call in Japan. Here’s what he had to say…
Hello Tom. How are you?
Very well, thanks. A little bit tired and rough around the edges, but generally good. We had a crazy day of travel yesterday. We spent two hours driving, then two hours in an airport, then nine hours on a plane, then another another hour and a half in an airport, then another couple of hours on a plane, then another couple of hours in a car. I think it was perhaps the most gruelling day of travel we’ve ever had
Sounds like you’ll need to plant some trees now too.
Yeah, I think you’re probably right. The problem is, flying is the only way to get around the places that we’re in in any constructive way. You feel guilty, but I guess it’d be worse if all your fans came to see you than if you travel round seeing them. So I think we can just about justify it.
So, how was Australia?
It was brilliant actually. We had an amazing time. I kept saying it on stage, but I can’t reinforce it enough, it was amazing that we’ve not been there for five years but were met with such a raucous response. The reaction of the fans and the way everyone welcomed and looked after us was fantastic. Hopefully people will have gone away from the shows telling their friends that Keane were absolutely brilliant and a revelation. Then hopefully the next time we come over, there’ll be more and more people there.
Were they good crowds?
Definitely. We took a trip to a lower level in terms of the size of the venues, but I loved playing them – and you’ve got to start somewhere when you haven’t been to a place for five years! It was actually a really good, refreshing contrast to go from the great big South American and UK shows to those more intimate places. It’s a good reminder of where you came from. The shows were absolutely rocking and it felt like everyone was a real part of the show. You can’t really get that level of intimacy and intensity in a big arena.
Did you get time to have some fun in Australia too?
Well, we were followed everywhere by the rain, which was unfortunate. So there was a big sea fishing trip planned for our day off in Brisbane which had to be canned. That was a bit of a shame.
Did you play any golf?
I did, actually. I got to play at the Royal Sydney golf club, which is where they’ve had the Australian Open. I think in terms of places I’ve played on tour, that’s probably the best one. So that was a nice little surprise. And we got to see a bit of Australian night life too. In fact, we had a bit of a karaoke night in Brisbane.
What did you do?
Well, it was all very spontaneous; we went from a quiet, posh dinner to a pretty embarrassing, raucous and very drunken karaoke session in some bar. It was great.
Everyone’s very impressed with your Neil Tennant impression in the third part of the LA documentary. Did you do any Pet Shop Boys at karaoke?
Do you know what, I was actually looking for some, but they didn’t have any! They were slightly lacking in the Queen department too. But Tim’s rendition of 99 Problems by Jay-Z was a highlight. That will be in my memory forever.
Did anyone film it?!
Richard might have done. But I’m not sure it’ll ever see the light of day, if I’m being perfectly honest.
What did you sing?
I think the best songs for karaoke our Elton John and Beatles songs. They’re just so firmly ingrained in your memory and other people’s memories. One of the problems with karaoke is that you can get up and start singing something, then realise you don’t know the song as well as you thought you did. But with Elton and Beatles songs, not only do you feel comfortable singing them, everyone else gets going as well. So there were some good singalongs. It was just a really funny night.
Did Richard sing too?
No, Richard was a bit of a coward. But we’re hoping to find somewhere here in Japan for another go. The first session was just a warm-up!
What else did you get up to in Australia?
We went to see Steve Coogan, which was great. He’s touring out there at the moment, so we went along, then hung out with him afterwards. He’s such an interesting man.
Is he a Keane fan?
A very big one, yes. We’ve met him a couple of times now. He really loved Hopes and Fears, and we actually did an interview with him for the Times when the second album came out. I remember he’d ask the question and then sort of start answering it himself, which was good, because he’s funny and entertaining and all of those things. So, yeah, it was great hanging out with him again.
How was his show?
Oh, it was really funny. I like the way it’s called Alan Partridge and Other Slightly Less Successful Characters. And, actually, I thought the other characters were as good as the big man himself.
Is he popular in Australia?
Well it was his second night in quite a big theatre, so he seems to be. I think a lot of people know Alan Partridge and come to see the rest of it out of curiosity. But he’s brilliant. He’s got a song called Everybody’s A Bit Of A C**t Sometimes, which is a big, musical-style finale. That was great.
And now you’re in Japan for a couple of dates.
Yes. Interesting part of the world to be back in; it’s obviously got a couple of skeletons in the cupboard for me! But we’re in such a different space now, mentally, so it’s really nice to be back in my current frame of mind. It is a little bit whistle-stop, but we went out and had a really nice lunch today. We ate loads of very fresh fish – you could tell it was fresh, because there were tanks of it still alive in front of us as we were eating. That’s about as fresh as it gets!
Is it frustrating going to these amazing places and not getting much time to explore them?
It is in this case. But I think we had enough breathing space in Australia – and certainly in South America – to really make those tours feel like they weren’t just airport, hotel, venue, airport. In South America, there was a real sense of soaking it up and enjoying the experience. I mean, looking back at Buenos Aires, the sense of anticipation there was for the show, with all the fans camped outside the hotel, was just amazing. It’s really good to be able to get a real flavour for a place and we definitely had that there. It is a bit unfortunate that we’re not quite getting it in Japan, but we’ll try to make the most of our time here. The gigs are quite early, so we’ll definitely go out afterwards and explore a bit.
Look out for part two of the interview tomorrow…