July 2005, by Paul Klotschkow, LeftLion Nottingham
Ken Stringfellow can’t seem to be able to stay away from Nottingham at the moment, he was only here a few weeks ago with REM (with whom he plays keyboards) and the odd bit of guitar for as a member of their touring line-up.
Now he is back again playing the Rescue Rooms tonight (26th July) with his band The Posies, who he formed with Jon Auer back in 1988. They’ve been through a few line-up changed, but they are currently joined by Matt Harris on bass and Darius Minwalla on drums. They are over here in support of their brand-spanking, shiny new album Every Kind Of Light.
LeftLion caught up with the band in the courtyard of Rescue Rooms on a sunny late afternoon just before the bands gig later in the evening and learnt that you really should check if the batteries are working in your dictaphone before you interview someone. Here, rescued from a fuzzy recording, are The Posies…
So how’s the tour going for you so far?
Matt Harris: It seems to be pretty much on fire these days.
Ken Stringfellow: It seems to be going excellent.
Jon Auer: We spent four days in Ireland previously.
KS: and didn’t have a snip of a drink!
JA: A lot of water tea…
No Guinness? MH: No, never heard of it…
What have the crowds been like?
KS: They’ve been excellent! We’ve been able to do what was necessary to make them sit-up and take note.
JA: There’s been kind of a trend, with things starting up a little slow and then by the end of the night everyone’s totally crazy.
KS: You know, it’s summer, people are on holiday, and like in this town, people have pretty much emptied out. Also, there is a familiarity aspect, where they may know a few things, so they take it all in at the beginning, but by the end of the show, you’ve frothed them.
Been any embarrassing moments on stage? KS: Well, it depends if you suffer from embarrassment or not. I think all of us have no shame whatsoever.
Any bad gigs? MH: No, they’ve all been good, which is cool.
KS: They’ve all been barnstorming, cow-fucking, mother-fucking…
JA: We even had an amp breakdown, but we held it cool, and people were impressed because we kept it together.
KS: One guy heckled us the other night, so I drowned him in gasoline, pissed in his hair, and put out on fire. With my ass.
MH: But it was nice having Robbie Williams at the show though, so we set fire to him.
KS: He’s already out, isn’t he?
The Posies have been away for a while, why have you decided to get back together and write as The Posies again?
JA: Not as long as you might think.
KS: We haven’t been in Nottingham that much.
Ken and Jon, you’ve both worked with Big Star, and Ken, you work with REM. How does it work when you get together with those bands?
KS: Well, with Big Star, Jon and I made the Big Star record about the same time we made The Posies record. Both albums had a very similar approach in that we just made the shit up as we went along in the studio collectively. It certainly produced a vastly diverse set of results in the Big Star album. There are some very interesting twists and turns in it.
JA: I guess it’s like any other Big Star record in that they are all very different, they are all made with a different combination of line-up, and I’m surprised at how much we had to do with it. There was a lot of collaboration, it was like, “well, what do we all want to do?”
Ken, you played with REM at Live8. What was it like to be involved in such a big, monumental gig?
KS: Well, I couldn’t see the television audience, and to be honest, in terms of audience, REM has played bigger, but it was pretty big yeah.
Do you think events like that work?
KS: To be honest, I myself can’t quite see it. I think that the intentions were good, but I’m not sure that if I was a world leader I would go, “oh ok, so 45 of the worlds biggest rock bands can get people to show up, but does that prove to me that people care about Africa? Not really”. What should have happened was a big old protest, like the one in Scotland.
I was there in Edinburgh
JA: Good job.
KS: That’s really cool.
What sort of music are you listening to at the moment?
MH: A band called Autolux, they’re pretty cool.
Darius Minwalla: Girls abroad
JA: What are they called? What are the band called?
All: Girls Aloud… Yeah!!!!
DM: They can come abroad if they want to.
Anyone you don’t like?
DM: Yeah, Limp Bizkit, Creed, all that kind of crap.
Nickleback… DM: You can lob them in.
KS: All that stuff is the same guy. It’s a big fat Swedish guy, who went and chopped his dick off and his big, fat elephantine balls, and once he became a eunuch he realised he could clone himself. So he cloned himself into all these bands.
What about the new album?
KS: You should go fucking buy it.