Jake Bugg: chain-smoking folk-rock that comes on like a swinging Sixties Arctic Monkey
Nottingham’s Jake Bugg has a novel action plan on how to save rock’n’roll: lift the smoking ban. “I do think it’s played a bit of a role,” says the 19-year-old. “If you’re a support band, people would rather just go for a fag.” Jake chains enough himself, and knows that he needs to cut it down, even if only to save his lucrative voice. But his laissez-faire attitude to public health is just as out of time as his soul-baring folk-rock.
He is the Arctic Monkeys Tardis’d back to a Bob Dylan support slot in 1962, with the wardrobe of James Skelly and the haircut of Paul Weller – none of which seems particularly normal right now. “I remember watching The Simpsons,” he says of his beginnings as a songwriter, “and Don McLean’s ‘Vincent’ came on at the end of it and I was like, ‘What’s that song? I like that song!’ I understood why you would want to write a song like that. My uncle brought a guitar round and showed me the basic chords and I started writing my own music when I was about 14.”
He says his big influences are McLean, Donovan, The Beatles and Hendrix, but in the same breath goes on enthusiastically and unprompted about “the old electronic artists like Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis”. Saying that, when you ask him if he’s upset about Donna Summer’s death the previous week, he breezily admits to never having heard of her (but writes her name down on his iPhone so he can check her out later). Like we said, not exactly normal.
It all adds up to a bright-looking future, but if Jake is prickly about wanting to start a class war, he may not be able to help it anyway. He declares that “we’ve had enough of dubstep” now, ruefully adding that “the youth of the working class are more into their contemporary stuff, and I guess the people that do have a bit more money, they are gonna get their foot in the door”.
Fancy this guy’s chances of doing that? There are laws and restrictions preventing us from revealing what brand of fags he smokes. But his favourite Simpsons character is (obviously) Homer. What more do you need?
For fans of: Alex Turner, The Coral
Buy it now: New single ‘Lightning Bolt’ is out on Monday (June 11)
See him live: His summer commitments include Lancashire’s Beat-Herder Festival (June 29-July 1), Lounge On The Farm (July 6), Secret Garden Party (19) and Splendour (21)
Believe it or not: Jake’s a pretty nifty footballer – he once had trials for Notts County FC