Thursday, 15 April 2010

When Crayola met The Cannanes

The Cannanes are over in the UK for the first time in a decade in July, and I feel a bit humbled to be able to put such a legendary band on. Should The Smiths ever feel like reforming and fancy a show in a tiny Nottingham venue, they know where to find me.

Anyway, the gig came about by Crayola from Sarandon asking around for shows for his band and The Cannanes to play. Turns out he's playing bass for them, see. So I thought I'd ask him a few questions about what makes The Cannanes one of his favourite bands ever.

When and where did you first hear The Cannanes?

It was mid '80s. Gillian at Bi-Joopiter introduced me to them by sending me the K released cassette, "Happy Swing".

She thought I'd like them and that I'd find similarities in attitude with what I was doing at the time - you know, very DIY, cassette releases, no more "ambition" than supporting bands and meeting people.

Soon after I was staying at the Bi-Joop house and in Rough Trade I found the "Weather" and "Cardboard" singles and the "African Man's Tomato" LP.

And why did you fall in love with them?

It was initially the same thing that made me love The June Brides - incredibly catchy pop music made by people like me. Normal people with only an amateur grasp of their instruments.

Sarandon and The Cannanes sound very different. What's the common thread that connects your band with them?

I think you know me well enough by now to know it's not about sounds to me, it's about attitude, intention, and whether or not the song's a good one.

What connects Sarandon and The Cannanes is firstly that we've known each other for about 20 years (we've corresponded on and off since the '80s, and they provided a song for a compilation I released in the mid '90s).

And that they like Sarandon.

We share a common interest in the politics of music and especially in how the DIY attitude can empower (un)musicians.

How did this little tour come about?

Frances asked if I could help. She was coming to the UK for work and wanted to make more of a trip of it.

How could I say no?

Are you really playing bass for the band? Won't your fingers be sore by the end of the night?

I'll be playing with them for a few songs and our Tom will drum. It'll be an honour and a pleasure and I'd be happy to lose fingers to do it.

Do you think The Cannanes are revered as much as they should be?

That's tricky. Honestly I think they would think the same as me - having a bunch of people hear your music and some of those people enjoy it is as far as ambition goes.
It's not and has never been about really building a following or a profile or whatever.

And it's for that reason I treasure The Cannanes. And I think that's why people find them so disarming - they've found fame by accident and always come across like that.

Give me your top three Cannanes songs.

1. I Think The Weather's Affected Your Brain
2. We Drink Bitter
3. Simple Question (the Short Poppy Syndrome version)

1 comment:

crayola said...

Nota Bummer: "Simple Question" is on "The Cannanes" not "Short Poppy Syndrome".
Blame my old brain.