Tom interview 25 September 2008


For the latest in our exclusive chats we called up Tom yesterday to talk about flaming guitars, interview questions, video shoots and funny coloured blood…

Hello Tom. What are you doing today?
I’m mostly doing international press interviews on the phone. And then I’m going to look at a new gaff in London tonight.

Do you know which countries you’re speaking to today?
Germany and Ireland. And Spain. And Germany and New Zealand. And Finland and Spain and Brazil and Canada.

Yes, I’m speaking to quite a few.

Have you done hours of preparation for each one?
Er, no. I know when we’re playing in various places, but otherwise I’ll just wing it. It’s the best way.

Have you done a lot of interviews in the past few weeks?
We have had about four days of international press interviews, which probably counts as quite a lot.

Is there one question that’s cropping up a lot?
Do you know what, it’s actually remained pretty fresh, which is quite surprising. Obviously with the first record it was "Where did you get your name from?" and "What are your hopes and what are your fears?" And then with Under The Iron Sea it tended to be "Why is it so dark?" and that sort of thing. But I suppose there’s loads of diversity and freshness on this record and it seems like the questions reflect that.

Has there been one particularly great or unlikely question?
Um… whenever anyone asks that sort of thing I go completely blank. Like when anyone asks me what my favourite album this year is, my mind just turns into this black hole. There haven’t been any particularly outrageous ones, that I can think of. They’ve all been very thoughtful and quite good.

What else have you been doing this week?
We’ve been rehearsing a lot. Everyone’s quite nervous about the live shows, so we’re just trying to get as much playing under our belts as we can.

The big difference for you is that obviously that you’re playing electric guitar now.
I am, yes. Which is a challenge. Obviously there’s lots of guitar on the record. Well, not obviously for most people cos they haven’t heard it yet! But there is a lot of guitar on the record and we talked about how we were going to go about doing that on stage. There’s a balance we want to strike between me being able to run around and do my thing and being tied to a guitar, which is kind of the reason I got rid of playing a guitar in the first place. But we’ve found that healthy balance and I’m really excited by it. The challenge has been quite tricky cos there’s a lot of quite lead-y parts. Trying to play those and sing at the same time is not easy. But it’s very rewarding once you get it sounding good. It adds a new dimension.

Richard suggested you may have been practicing your guitar poses in front of the mirror at home. Is this true?

Ha! No, not yet. I’m just practicing getting the notes right at the moment!

No Pete Townshend windmills planned?
No, I prefer the more understated method of playing. Trying to do windmills etc tends to lead to me not being able to hit the right notes!

Have you ever smashed a guitar in a rock ‘n roll fashion?
Not deliberately, no. I did bang one on the edge of a table by mistake once. It was a brand new Martin acoustic guitar and the first thing I did with it was to accidentally put a dent in the side of it. Does that count?

It’s a start. By the end of this tour you’ll probably be setting fire to them on stage.
Um, I’m sure Colin our tour manager will be very pleased with me if I start doing that. And, of course, setting fire to them may well flout the smoking ban.

So, we hear you chaps recorded the video for The Lovers Are Losing last week.
That is correct, yes. It was a two day shoot. I’m not going to give too much away, but it involved me doing a lot of running around. And being shot.

Wow. Presumably not by a real bullet.
No. Although it did involve me having to be attached to fireworks, effectively. Which was quite exciting.

Was any blood shed?
Some fake black blood was shed, yes. I’ve got black blood apparently. But it was fun, although I was shattered by the end of it. We’ve seen the first cut of it and I think it’s going to be great.

Obviously the other big news this week is the announcement of the UK tour.

There’s a lot in the diary now, is that a nice feeling?
Yeah. it’s great. At the moment we’re treading water a bit, in the sense that the album’s finished and we’re waiting for it to come out. Frankly, I can’t wait for Monday and the first gig and being in front of people again. So, yeah, the European tour and the UK arena tour will be great things. I’m very much looking forward to it.

And you’ve now got three albums’ worth of songs to pick a setlist from.
Yeah, that’s great actually. Certainly trying to spread the first album over an hour and a half was a struggle and even with two albums we always felt we were wanting for another song of a certain type. But now we’ve got this new record, we don’t have to worry about those things and it’s nice to be able to pick and choose as we desire.

How many new songs will you have rehearsed and ready to go?
I think we’ve got 9 or 10 of the new album ready to choose from. Plus we’ll be wheeling out the golden oldies too.

Do you think you’ll be nervous on Monday?
I’m sure we will be. It’s a year since we’ve been out in front of anyone. But it’ll be a pretty partisan crowd and I’m sure we’ll have a great time. I really can’t wait.


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