Portishead: ‘We’re divided about touring’

Band speak on eve of UK tour

Speaking just before heading out on a large European tour, Portishead have revealed their mixed feelings about the touring process.

Guitarist Adrian Utley explained that the band have an “unspectacular” lifestyle on the road.

Speaking to Billboard, he said: “We’ve been immensely looking forward to touring… but we’re divided about it. “Beth [Gibbons, vocals] is really nervous about playing live, and Geoff [Barrow, multi-instrumentalist] absolutely hates playing live, and I love playing live.”

Explaining their pre-gig preparations, Utley said: “We don’t really do any ritual before a gig. It’s very unspectacular. Beth does a warm-up with her tape. A few gins are drunk, and there’s some strolling around nervously behind the stage. And that’s it. We go on.”

The guitarist also revealed that Portishead want their forthcoming new album, ‘Third’, to be seen as a whole body of work, rather than as a collection of songs.

“We’re not really doing any singles,” he said. “We see it as a whole album. ‘Glory Box’ was a single, and it did go in the charts. And I think ‘Sour Times’ did. But we’ve never seen ourselves as a particularly singles-oriented band. Especially now, it doesn’t seem relevant.

Portishead play the following European and UK dates:

Milan Alcatraz (March 30)

Florence Sashall (31)

Munich Tonhalle (April 2)

Berlin Columbiahalle (3)

Copenhagen KB Halle (4)

Cologne Palladium (6)

Amsterdam HMH (7)

Manchester Apollo (9)

London Hammersmith Apollo (10)

Edinburgh Corn Exchange (12)

Wolverhampton Civic (13)

Coachella Festival (26)

Paris Zenith (May 5)

Brussels Forest National (8)

Barcelona Primavera Sound (29)

To check the availability of Portishead tickets and get all the latest listings, go to NME.COM/GIGS now, or call 0871 230 1094.