The Indonesian army are shite and a genius debate on whether it's better to see through walls or clothes...

You once mentioned that you would feature “Russian death metal” on your next LP. Is this a valid interpretation of the music found on ‘Liquid Skin’? (Brendan Crowe, Virginia)

Ian: “It’s a valid interpretation of about ten seconds of the LP, yeah.”

Who: is shite? (Funk Soul Brother, Cornwall)


Tom: “There’s a lot of people we could put in there. But we don’t like to advertise what we don’t like.”

Ben: “The Indonesian army: are shite.”

Tom: “I don’t know if that’s cool to say, Ben. We don’t want to piss them off.”

Ben: “I doubt they’re going to read NME.”

Tom: “Yeah, but it’s best not to take any risks.”

Ian:Blur aren’t shite, really.”


Ben: “Good singles band, aren’t they?”

Tom: “It doesn’t matter who’s shite. It just matters who’s good.”

If you had a choice of seeing through clothes or seeing through walls, what would it be? And why? (Stuart Jones, South Wirral)

Ian: “Seeing through walls, definitely. Because if you could see through everybody’s clothes, it would be pretty horrendous, wouldn’t it?”

Tom: “No, no, no – because, see, it’s an ‘ability’. You can turn it on or off. You don’t have to see through everybody’s clothes.”

Ben: “I’d see through walls.”

Tom: “Why? Am I the only filthy-minded one here?”

Ben: “Seeing through walls is a more useful facility to have than seeing through clothes. If you could see through walls, right, and you ever wanted to see through anyone’s clothes, you could just follow them around until they go to bed or take a bath.”

Tom: “So with the wall policy you’d see them naked anyway? Then seeing through walls it is!”

Paul: “Yeah, and through the walls you could see other things as well. Like two people with no clothes on.”

What do you think of your band being criticised by the music press, particularly by NME? (Matt Dean, Billericay)

Tom: “It’s no fun being criticised by anybody.”

Ben: “It depends on the nature of the criticism. If it’s got some validity, then you respect it. But when it’s more of a petty, personal thing, it’s really annoying.”

Tom: “Especially when the jokes aren’t funny. There’s only so far sarcasm can go before it gets dull as fuck. It’s just like using student humour to criticise us for using student humour. It’s hypocrisy.”

Ben: “We do get pissed off, because we’re doing this because we love music. And sometimes you get the feeling that the people who are writing about it don’t love music. They love image. A valid reason for not liking music isn’t because the people who are playing it are wearing glasses.”

‘Bring It On’ references America in both its musical style and lyrical content. And from the titles of the songs on ‘Liquid Skin’, it looks like it does the same. Why is America so important? (James Milne, New Zealand)

Ben: “It’s important, musically, because most music comes from there.”

Ian: “America invented jazz, and blues and rock’n’roll. And funk. And soul. And house music. And hip-hop. And R&B…”

Tom: “And let’s not forget all the important films and books… And electricity is a pretty cool thing. The electric light bulb, that’s a pretty important invention. We wouldn’t have electric amplifiers or electric guitars! America is just very interesting. There’s a tendency in our music to be – not escapist, but… Other people are going to take up the mantle of writing kitchen sink songs about England, and that’s fine. But we want to explore something else. It isn’t some strange obsession, it’s just that certain tracks remind us of certain things. They just happen to be American.”

Are you responsible for the new mambo craze because you wrote ‘Tijuana Lady’? (Adam Reynolds, Aberdeen)

Ian: “Yes. We started it all, even the name – mambo – we started it all. Years ago. It’s just that no-one noticed.”

Tom: “We actually wrote ‘La Isla Bonita’ as well. All that time ago. And produced it. And Ian sang it.”

Ben: “We take full responsibility for the Latin explosion. The other day I saw Ricky Martin on Oprah Winfrey, and there were all these women screaming. But it was really good because they had something for the lads there as well – after Ricky they had Jennifer Lopez. Good old Jenny. It was the Latin explosion on TV.”

Is there really a Tijuana Lady? (Uncle George, Canada)

Tom: “There’s a Tijuana Woman, and she’s a statue in Tijuana. People live inside her. And there really are loads of ladies in Tijuana. It’s not entirely a population of men.”

Would you share a silky poncho with each other in the rain? (Gopher, Saltney)

Ben: “Have done.”

Tom: “Absolutely. I wish silky ponchos weren’t so hard to find, though.”

Ben: “They’re always wool. scratchy. Or that weird plasticy stuff. I’d love to have a quilted silk poncho. Although I don’t think it would actually be very good in the rain.”

Tom: “Silk’s really good, as well, if you happen to get shot with an arrow. Because if you get shot and you’re wearing silk, you just pull on the silk, and the arrow pops out.”

Ben: “What about chainmail, then? Wouldn’t that be slightly better?”

Tom: “Yeah, but silk is lighter. And it comes from worms’ bums. Which is always an appealing concept.”

What exactly is a ’78 Stone Wobble’? (Christine Longinotti, Manchester)

Tom: “It isn’t exactly anything.”

Ian: “It’s a dance step that fat men do, isn’t it?”

Tom: “If you watch Ian onstage, it’s the dance that he does.”

Ian: “I’m not fat enough, though.”

Part 1

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