02/03/2001 - XFM - Tim Lovejoy
Tim: "They've made history by being the first Western band allowed to play in Cuba. What was it like? Let's find out now by speaking to James Dean Bradfield, Hi James." James: "How're you doing?"
Tim: "I'm all right, how are you?"
James: "Oh fine, fine."
Tim: "Now, apologies first of all. Last time I saw you I was very drunk - I hope I wasn't offensive at all..."
James: "You were a wee bit kind of... I think I remember you calling the beautiful game that is rugby - you referred to it as egg-chasing."
Tim: "I did have a pop at it but I can't apologise for that 'cause I don't like the game as you know..."
James: "No apologising, you're just taking it back now."
Tim: "How was Cuba?"
James: "It was amazing. Definitely more than we could have ever expected. You know, I've got to say it was probably one of the times of my life, in terms of playing a gig and stuff. We were so nervous before we went there, you know, we thought it was gonna be so hard because the audience didn't know any of our songs and obviously they were gonna be sitting down for the first part of the concert and all those things go together to make you quite nervous but it just turned out brilliantly."
Tim: "You're the first Western band to ever have played there, yeah?"
James: "I think the first Western band of our stature so to speak. But I think, like, rap bands like Dead Prez have played down there and stuff like that. But yeah, stick with that, it sounds good doesn't it?"
Tim: "I think you just answered my next question; I was gonna say, do your records sell there? I mean do they let them in? Obviously they don't..."
James: "No, there's not much of a record thing going on over there and that wasn't the point of it, to be honest. It was kind of like, we knew we were gonna have to go across there without any kind of agenda to sell records or make money out of it. That wasn't the point of it whatsoever."
Tim: "Yeah. How did they take to you then?"
James: "The first half of the concert, it was cool. It was almost like a 'Sixties concert, you know. It was like people just getting into it and by the end people were daring to get out of their seats and started, like, jiving and dancing and stuff. To be honest, it was kind of cute. By the end people were just like completely up for it. I could see them sat there thinking, 'Who are these guys? They've got no rhythm.' But by the second song we started getting better and they started clapping more and, you know, it was just kind of the most romantic concert I've ever done. It was almost like cajoling a lover."
Tim: "Were you nervous, then, getting up on stage in front of these people?"
James: "I was, yeah. Like I said, normally you've got that comfort zone of knowing that people are gonna know some songs and they'll be going mental or whatever. And like there was the added thing of we had Fidel Castro in the crowd and everything and we met him before the concert... I could have done without that, I wish I could have met him after the concert 'cause by the time I got onstage I was pretty much beside myself with fear."
Tim: "There are some great pictures of you, aren't there, with Fidel Castro and everything. What was he like? Was he intimidating?"
James: "No, not at all. You know, just as soon as he walked into the room, really, he just made us relax. A lot of people seem to be so earnest and po-faced and just, like, to be quite intimidating and he was nothing like that whatsoever. He was so charming and so witty and just so sharp. I think he's 78, 79 years old and the questions he was asking and the way he was just talking about stuff and then he was just joking around as well...he was just cool."
Tim: "Is it true, though, there's this story going round that you said to him 'The gig's gonna be quite loud' and he looked at you and went 'It's not as loud as war'?"
James: "Yeah, there's a flipside to that coin. Basically, I said towards the end of the first meeting, I said, 'Tonight we're going to be loud and you may need to wear earplugs'. And he was saying everything through an interpreter and basically he just went, 'Do not worry, you could never be as loud as war.' And the next day we saw him and - what did he say the next day? He said 'Can you remember last night I said you could never be louder than war? Do not worry, You were louder than war.' And I thought 'Jesus Christ!' You know, Chuck D's been trying to write that lyric all his life!"
Tim: "Quality! And it only cost 13 pee or something to get to see you?"
James: "17 cents or 14 cents. But in terms of the context of the economy I wouldn't be flippant about that really 'cos it's, it's still money."
Tim: "You were away, weren't you? As I said, I don't like blooming egg chasing but you were away for England vs Wales, the first match of the six nations weren't you?"
James: "No, I was here..."
Tim: "Oh you were here. How did we get on, England?" [As Tim well knows, Wales lost 15 - 44]
James: "I'm just concentrating on trying to be the second best team in the Northern hemisphere now. I'm just not like you, I don't rub it in people's faces, I can accept defeat with grace. It'll come back to bite you in the arse."
Tim: "I went to the Millennium Stadium on Sunday for the cup final and, my god, it makes Wembley look like Stonehenge. It is brilliant that stadium, isn't it?"
James: "Oh well, Wembley's a shithole. I went to see Luton v Wrexham last year and you were getting all these chants, 'You're just a third world country!' If you lot can't get it together to build a stadium you're the fucking third world country! You can't even do it, you haven't even got a design ready yet."
Tim: "I tell you what, I've been very nostalgic about Wembley but after going to the Millennium Stadium I'm like, oh my god, Wembley - glad it's gone. I want a stadium like that one. It's brilliant."
James: "Yeah, you want something that befits the game of mythic proportions that you never win at anymore."
Tim: "We will be if we had a stadium like that." "Alright, anyway listen, you released two singles at the same time, 'Why So Sad' and 'Found That Soul'. In midweeks they're apparently three and four, four and five or something?"
James: "Three and four, yeah, there's no way we're gonna try and compete with those popsters."
Tim: "Why did you release two at the same time?"
James: "We just had to, you know what I mean? We were just trying to, like, decide what was the first single off that album and nothing struck us. Every time we landed on one track we just thought it misrepresented what the album's about and we just decided on the two tracks 'cause they show the two walls we're bouncing between, you know, stylistically. So it felt like the only natural thing to us."
Tim: "If you'd just released one do you think you'd have gone to Number One in the midweeks?"
James: "No, no you can't compete with the Shaggys of this world, I mean, they just steamroll you."
Tim: "Oh yeah, they're a different grade aren't they? Quality band. I love the video which goes with - I think it's 'So Why So Sad' , I haven't seen the other one - is that where they're on the beach and all the army, the soldiers are running along? Whose idea are the videos?"
James: "With stuff in the past, like 'Design For Life' and '...Tolerate', Nick has had a big involvement with those videos but this time it was very much like a director's brief. He wanted to juxtapose the innocence with something much more threatening. Juxtaposition, there you go. A director's word. Along with kind of, um, like, I don't know - deconstruction. There you go."
Tim: "How is Nicky, is he alright?"
James: "He's alright, man, since the England match he's gone insane, he's kind of writing about four or five provisional Welsh rugby teams. He's gone insane at the moment. I think he's gonna be lobbying to be the next Welsh coach, I think."
Tim: "When is the actual album out, 'Know Your Enemy' , do we know that yet?"
James: "Yeah, it's March 19."
Tim: "March 19. And is it true you're doing a Greatest Hits album soon, the next album?"
James: "I think we will next year, definitely. I mean, I think the thing that struck us the other day - even though it's obvious it only just struck us - that now we've done three albums as a three-piece and three as a four-piece. And we feel that should be weighed up. If you're gonna look at something historically it should be weighed up evenly, as a four-piece and as a three-piece. Because, you know, back then that's just as much as what we are now. So we feel as if, if you do do a Greatest Hits it should be when there's three albums as a three-piece, three albums as a quartet. It should be done now, really, I think. After this album."
Tim: "And the tour, when are you starting the tour?"
James: "Well, we do a gig in Cardiff at the Corn Exchange next Thursday and then kind of like round about March 14 onwards we're doing two gigs in Glasgow, two gigs in Manchester, two gigs in London."
Tim: "Excellent, can't wait for that. Who's supporting, do we know yet?"
James: "Yeah, I think Starsailor are supporting in Glasgow, I think it's Alfie in Manchester and I'm not quite sure about the London one yet."
Tim: "OK, brilliant. Thanks a lot for joining us. Now, what we've done is we've lined up both the singles, we've lined up 'So Why So Sad' and 'Found That Soul', and you're gonna decide which one we play. Which one do you want to hear? I like 'em both."
James: "I'm feeling like a bit of a rocker tonight so I'll go for 'Found That Soul'."
Tim: "'Found That Soul'. Brilliant. Thanks a lot, James, for joining us and best of luck with your rugby season..."
James: "Thanks a lot, bye."