Bernard Butler, featured on the free NME cover-mounted tape this week, is currently rehearsing with a new band that features Dodgy guitarist Andy Miller and Denim keyboardist Terry Miles. Gigs are planned for later this year.
Butler says: “It’s been hard to find the right calibre of musicians that can also have a laugh. We’re having a lot of fun. It’s brilliant working with other people again.” He will appear with the band on Later With Jools Holland on April 17. He will perform ‘Stay’ and ‘You Just Know’.
The April 4 issue of NME comes (in the UK only) with a free cover-mounted tape featuring Bernard Butler live at London’s Highbury Garage on March 10. It features three songs recorded at the second of Butler’s four-night acoustic residency at the venue.
“The great thing about the Garage shows was being able to see people’s faces and literally buzzing off the crowd,” Butler says. “The thing with those shows is that no-one in the audience knew how the album (‘People Move On’) sounded, so this was their first indication. It’s not some folky thing, it’s just how the record was written and I want people to see these songs in a different light. By playing them acoustically, people get to feel the intimacy of the songs and it’s a good opportunity for me to train my voice. How the songs appear on the NME tape is how the songs were written – just me and an acoustic guitar.”
Now, Bernard Butler talks you through this week’s free NME tape, track-by-track:
‘PEOPLE MOVE ON’ “This is about the time when I sold papers in Leicester Square. You see a lot of people walking by. You get snapshots, impressions and snatches of conversation from homeless people, rugby fans going to the Hippodrome. You’d see a lot of these people later on that night in different states from earlier on. I’d be standing there with my Walkman on just watching everybody. “There are certain people referred to in the song, like these characters going around selling roses in restaurants. There’s one specific guy, a hunchback guy with long hair, who keeps appearing everywhere. There’s another guy walking around with a copy of The Book Of Kells (a medieval Irish version of the gospels). All those people leave an experience on you and make you think for a moment. Everyone has an impact on you. Everything that you see and all that happens you learn from.”
‘STAY’ “‘Stay’ is not a love song. Like ‘People Move On’ it’s about change. The process of change is hard but you’ve got to do it. It’s about when you know you’ve got to do something but there’s an element of risk. It’s about when I first went to France to record. A lot of the lyrics come from a conversation with Elisa, my wife. I wrote them on the train over to France.”
‘I’M TIRED’ “This is the first song I wrote with lyrics. It was written after the McAlmont record. It’s kind of tongue-in-cheek about myself, ‘cos I’m rude. You know when you have people around your house or in your dressing-room and they won’t leave? You don’t want to be the centre of attention. You just want them to go or be able to escape without having to explain.”