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"Glastonbury's The Big One, It's The Daddy" - NME, 23rd June 2007

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Title: "Glastonbury's The Big One, It's The Daddy"
Publication: NME
Date: Saturday 23rd June 2007
Writer: Tim Jonze
Photos: Dean Chalkley

NME2007-2.jpg NME2007-3.jpg

Nicky Manic, Tom Kasabian and Tom Enemy come together for a pre-Glasto love-in.

NME has brought you many amazing sights in recent weeks - a naked Beth Ditto, a free White Stripes seven-inch - but we bet you never thought you'd see this: two of lad-rock's lairiest frontmen prancing around in a feather boa.

And not just any old feather boa, but a pink feather boa owned by the King Of Rock 'N' Roll Pink Feather Boas, Mr Nicky Wire. Or, as Tom Meighan decides to call him on arrival: "NICKY FUCKING WIRE! IT'S NICKY FUCKING WIRE, MAN! HE'S A FUCKING LEGEND!"

The reason we are gathered here today is to celebrate Three Generations Of Glastonbury: from the first-timer (it's Tom Clarke from The Enemy's first festival, bless) to the veteran (Nicky first played in 1994), via the caner (last time he 'did' Glasto, Tom Meighan never actually made it to bed). Sonically different they may all be, but these three are all united in the noble art of gobshitery. They're mates too - The Enemy have supported both bands, while Nicky identifies a kindred spirit in Tom Clarke ("bloody hell, he's even lippier than me!) and Meighan ("how can you stay that enthusiastic all the time?").

As we join them, Tom Clarke is suffering from hayfever, not helped by the grass backdrop we've hired out for the shoot. Tom Meighan meanwhile, is swaggering around in a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers, while Nicky extols the virtues of Kasabian's 'Empire' and parades his white suit complete with matching rip-off Manics T-Shirt.

"They were selling them in All Saints!" he notes. "I walked up to them, they didn't have fucking clue who I was, and I said 'Do you realise you're selling T-shirts with me and my best mates on them?' The manager gave me about 10."

Suddenly, he spots out list of festival-themed questions and groans: "Is this where you drag up all of my festival misdemeanors then?"

What, like the time in 1994 you said of Glastonbury, "Someone should build a bypass over this shithole"? Or in 1999 when you brought your own private toilet? Of course not! Well, OK, maybe just a few...

You're all playing Glasto, but what have you lot got in common?
Tom C: "We're all bands who've got something to say. Not like the rest of them."
Tom M: "Exactly!"
Nicky: "I can imagine these two sticking around for a while."
Tom M: "Nicky's stuck around for a long time, he's still cool, anyone who can do that deserves respect. Fucking hell, he was playing Glastonbury while I was still trying to find me fucking dick!"
Nicky: (Laughing) Also, we all come from places where nothing happens - Blackwood, Coventry, Leicester..."
Tom M: "They're not trendy places you know..."
Tom C: "People only used to drive through Cov to to London or Manchester."

Are you all looking forward to this year's Glastonbury?
Tom C: "I can't wait. My mum always told me that festivals weren't that good, but if we ever played Glastonbury she'd be there."
Nicky: "Is she coming?"
Tom C: "Yeah, I'm gonna camp with her. She'll bring a little stove. You can't beat you mum's breakfast."
Nicky: "That's true! I'm not big on that side of things, though I've only tried that once in about 1985. Me and James [Dean Bradfield] went down to WOMAD festival, totally unprepared. We turned up in white skinny jeans for a start, and slept in bin-liners! I woke up to the sight of this really old bloke with a huge cock doing Tai Chi! I think we had a tin of spam for breakfast. It was horrible.

So what will you all be eating this year?
Tom C: "No seafood. The only thing I eat from the sea id fucking salt, mate."
Tom M: "Don't bring any horrible biscuits. Bourbons, dirty Garibaldis, pink wafers."
Nicky: "I love pink wafers!"
Tom C: "I bet you do!"

Nicky you've not always been a Glastonbury fan. Did you mean what you said in 1994?
: Nicky: "A bit of both I think."
Tom M: "What did you say?"
Nicky: "Something about building a bypass through this shithole."
Tom M: "What a quote, man!"
Nicky: "It was supposed to be a joke. As I was saying it I thought, 'This is going to be really funny'. Then this deathly silence descended on the place. But back then it felt like we were aliens whizzed in from Wales with absolutely nothing in common with anyone else there. That's the stupid justification for what I said. We were absolutely 100 per cent alone and slightly teetering on the edge as a band, but it was one of our greatest performances. It was painful but glorious. We went back to the hotel and watched it on Channel 4 and for some reason they thought Richey was the lead guitarist so they turned his guitar up instead of James' on the television. That sent him insane because with all due deference to the boy, he wasn't the greatest player. I was getting all the phone calls about the 'bypass' comment and getting paranoid, so we were all freaking out. As we drove out of the place it was like something from Apocalypse Now."

Have your feelings changed?
Nicky: "Back then we wanted to be as different to everyone as we possibly could. I'm 38 now, I'd quite like to be part of something."

Have you two got any advice for festival virgin Tom Clarke?
Nicky: "Don't say anything like that! I think James and Sean [Moore, Manics drummer] get worried about what I'm going to say, but it's always good to slay a few sacred cows."
Tom C: "That'll be your next big quote - slaying cows! Really piss off all the vegetarians."
Nicky: "I said sacred cows!"
Tom M: "He's gonna be slaying all of Michael Eavis' cows!"
Nicky: (Slightly worried) "I said sacred cows! Also another thing I wouldn't do is take any advice from me. The first festival we ever did was Reading and I felt so good during 'Motorcycle Emptiness' that I decided to smash my bass up and throw it in the crowd. It took me fucking ages because it was a Fender Precision and they're real bitches to smash. I was young and scrawny and I threw the bass but it didn't even reach the crowd. Instead, it dislocated a security guard's shoulder, then deflected on to another one's head and gave him concussion. So from the glory of the set to that!"
Tom C: "What did you do?"
Nicky: "I just ran and kept on running to Reading train station, all glammed up in a pink jacket. I got back home to my mum and dad's just in time for Match Of The Day."
Tom C: "That sounds brilliant! If that happens to me at Glastonbury then I'll be sorted.£

Then there was the time in 1999 where you brought your own private toilets and cause another furore - Crappergate!
Nicky: "I just didn't want to go to the toilet where other people had been crapping and doing drugs in it. It's not a big thing. Lenin said he wanted to make gold toilets for the masses."

Which legendary Glasto performances stick in your mind?
Tom M: "It were PJ Harvey for me, she was amazing, really sexy and cool. And Paul McCartney, man! 'Live And Let Die' was amazing. I was buzzing off it. My eyes were gleaming anyway, so that did it for me. I loved Oasis when they played too. People slagged it off but I was singing every word. I thought it was brilliant. Maybe it's because I love them so much, but it sounded great to me."
Nicky: "I do love Liam. I think he's the perfect rock 'n' roll star. We toured with them in America and some of my best moments have been with them, like Liam showing me his broken knuckles after having a fight with Noel! But when I heard their set in 2004, the songs all sounded really slow."
Tom M: "l loved the coat, though. That massive white parka, it was just unbelievable."
Nicky: "It was the fact it was white that I found amazing, the fact it looked so clean."

Talking of outfits, what have you lot got planned?
Tom M: "Top secret!"
Tom C: "I've got a little Stone Island number that's perfect for the festivals."

Tom M: (To Nicky) "Will you be wearing a new dress?"
Nicky: (Winking) "I've got some things in mind. I'm looking for an old-school Steffi Graf tennis outfit for this year. It's coming together quite nicely."

What festival outfits have you worn in the past, Nicky?
Tom M: "What hasn't he worn? Fucking hell, that's what I wanna know! He's worn everything he has."
Nicky: "Well, the first Glastonbury we did all camo'd up, with a Russian revolutionary thing going on. We got a load or stuff from Millets or some army surplus store. Whereas during Love Us' in '99 I started skipping: I felt so energised that I laid down my bass and skipped for two minutes."

What makes a set at Glastonbury so good?
Nicky: "Playing live is just addictive anyway, it's like a drug. I don't take drugs because I'm scared I'll fucking die if I do. But for me, playing live feels like I'm on drugs.
Tom C: "It's better than sex, man, Sometimes sex can be crap but even the worst gig feels amazing."

Who's going to be caning it?
Tom M: "At the last one I tried not to sleep at all, I was just wandering around, soaking it all up. When it got to 4am I couldn't find my tent. I went into one tent that I thought was mine and a couple were inside doing some naughty business. By the time I got to my tent it was 7am, the sun was coming up and it was too late."

Do you disapprove, Nicky?
Nicky: "I don't mind at all. It makes me feel more powerful when other people are on drugs! And I feel like it's more of a challenge to try and convert a field full of people off their heads."

Are drugs an enemy of socialism?
Nicky: "I guess 50 per cent of me says they are, the other half thinks, 'Who gives a shit?' I remember the first time Richey had a spliff, though - it nearly split the band up. [Not taking drugs] was one of our communist mantras. There was silence in the tourbus and a real resentment flying around because of our deep-rooted socialist principles. But really, I think drugs are the biggest enemy of creativity"
Tom M: "Yeah, bring drugs into the studio and it's game over."
Nicky: (To Tom Clarke) "Is your nose bleeding?
Tom C: "Yeah, I've got really bad hayfever."
Nicky: "That's what it is!"

Is Glastonbury getting too commercial?
Nicky: "As a 'veteran', I remember when it was all hippies and people who'd just come in for free, It was harder to do your make-up back then! It has changed but sometimes you've got to accept that because the world's changed. This is a world where Jack White can go and write a song for Coca-Cola and not worry that it might ruin his reputation. Back in our day we'd have been slaughtered for that! It would have killed our career in an instant."
Tom M: "The thing about Glastonbury, is that it's grown out of something genuine. It's not just put on to make money. And those music fans are still gonna get there to see you, they'll still get in somehow, Plus, you get all these amazing characters, 80-year-olds with beards down to their dick."

Any bad Glasto memories?
Nicky; "I regret that we never had the chance to headline with Richey, back in '99 when we were all-conquering and all-powerful. To see what we could have done, the four of us, it would have been absolutely glorious. I feel like Richey is my guiding light at the moment."

Who will you be watching this year?
Tom C: "The Who, they're - a fucking great band."
Nicky: "I love The Who. I'm looking forward to Gruff Rhys, too, he's doing a solo spot."

And who will you be trying to avoid?
Nicky: "I'm not too familiar with the line-up, but if The Rumble Strips and The Maccabees are playing then I fucking won't be watching them. And that Jack Penate? God, he's terrible. There's so many rich kids making music these days, it's horrible, They think getting expelled from their really privileged schools is a great thing, they wear it like a badge of honour. I'd be a bit more respectful."
Tom C: "Yeah, I never got chucked out of my low-achieving school."
Tom M: "Whereas I never went to fucking school!"
Nicky: "I'm proud of going to a comprehensive and getting a degree. I didn't want to piss my education away. It's what people fought and died for, not wanting to sound like Tony Benn about it! All these people are like, 'I gave blowjobs and did cocaine at public school.' Did you? So that's why your lyrics are so shit, then. And the worst thing is, they're all so fucking jolly as well."
Tom C: "It's all these internet bands that are like that. Those ones that are big on MySpace."
Nicky: "Definitely. Any band who tells me to check out their MySpace site I instantly dislike."
Tom C: "All these bands who think they're big on MySpace, what I wanna know is what they're all gonna do when the server fucking crashes!"
Tom M: "Exactly!"
Tom C: "Also, so many of these bands have just come from the fucking Libertines. We never used to listen to them, they didn't matter to us. We never used to listen to any new music until Kasabian came along."

Tom Meighan, you've said in the past that Glasto 2005 made your name...
Tom M: "It fucked us up! Mentally and physically, the whole experience. But after we pulled it off, it set us up. We realised that if we could headline these big festivals, we could do anything."

So no pressure then, Tom Clarke? This could make or break you...
Tom C: "You don't get nervous before you have sex, do you? Well, I don't anyway."

Finally, how does Glastonbury compare to all the other festivals?
Tom M: "Glastonbury's the big one, man, it's the daddy."
Nicky: "It's definitely the one, regardless of whether or not I've been comfortable with it over the years, Glastonbury is something that [Britain is] really fucking good at doing. It's an institution. All the press are there, TV, radio. Everyone's watching. It's the perfect place to get out there and...expose yourself!"

Glasto Top Trumps


SURVIVAL TIP: "Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. Cuts, scratches, solves everything"
STRENGTH: "Managing to piss everyone else off"
WEAKNESS: "Being unable to find my own toilet"


ITEM: cigarettes
SURVIVAL TIP: "Forget bog roll, use wet wipes. They get everything clean"
STRENGTH: "Buzzing off the crowd"
WEAKNESS:' "The toilets. Get it out Of you when you can"


ESSENTIAL ITEM: Uncle Ben's sauce
SURVIVAL TIP: "Stay out of the backstage area - it's full of cunts"
STRENGTH: "I don't get nervous"
WEAKNESS: "Getting mud on my new trainers"