The new issue of NME features an on-the-road feature with Wild Beasts.
While hanging out with the band we also did the following tour-themed Q&A, the first in a new online series. Cue talk of white tigers, near-death experiences and - inevitably - wieners
What’s the most days you’ve gone without sleep?
Tom Fleming (bass/vocals): I’ve definitely done 48 hours. I remember my best one was sleeping while food poisoned with my shoes on in a toilet in a petrol station in Eindhoven. I think I slept there for 12 hours, and then a woman took pity on me and let me sleep in her car for a few hours before I finally got picked up. We were coming away from Amsterdam, so there was probably an assumption that I was some British guy who’d just been on a stag do.
What’s the funniest name on your guest list?
Oh, that’s easy. Chris Packham from The Really Wild Show. We were reading his tweets and he was saying ‘Wild Beasts, great set’. And then the next one was, ‘Looking for woodcock’. I was mad into that show, but I didn’t meet him, which was a real shame.
What’s the craziest thing a fan’s said to you after a show?
It was actually on stage, in LA. The LA heckles are amazing. “I’m so pissed off you guys are so awesome”; “Get that capo off, fuck that shit”; “I want to see all of your dicks, show me your wieners”. It’s a wonderful place…
What’s the closest you’ve come to dying?
Aforementioned toilet story; I’m diabetic as well, and had no drugs, and no food. It makes a funny story, but it was actually pretty dangerous. The band were all on the sleeper bus because it was the middle of the night, and I got off to be sick because I’d eaten some poisoned chicken. I wasn’t close to dying, but we are terrified, actually: we’re on the road so much that the law of averages says we will have an accident. The chances are pretty high, really, and that frightens me a little bit.
What’s the silliest argument you’ve had?
Oh, god. Probably over computer games – about the manner of a FIFA celebration, maybe. But we don’t argue about anything serious, we always argue about stupid little stuff. It’s just a consequence of being on tour; we actually are all still friends, despite having to spend so much time with each other.
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How hi brow/lo brow are your tour bus activities?
They’re completely bi-polar. Sometimes we’ll read sub-titled films and read novels, and sometimes we’ll play FIFA and just generally hit the hard stuff. Some days I can hold my head high and go to galleries and stuff, but not always. You need a mixture to make it bearable.
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Who’s the most debauched member of the band?
Debauched!? I think we’re pretty well behaved. But it’s the drummer, always, so it’s Chris. They’re animals, aren’t they?
What’s your poison?
Have you ever stolen anything from a service station?
Yeah, I have eaten a meal and left without paying. On purpose. Not proud of it, but we were very broke for a time. I don’t think they miss the money too much – that’s the logic we used. If you charge £3 for a bottle of water, you deserve to be stolen from.
What would feature in your dream stage set?
I’d like a ballet company. And I’d like some white tigers, and a lake.
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