The Chefs Compilation
being in bands saved me from the brink of being totally self-destructive and suicidal. I have never seemed like that sort of person because I smile and make jokes, but in some ways that is worse because it is so hard to get those feelings out of your system if everybody thinks you're happy. writing songs was my way of taking part in a world that looked as though it only made sense for other people and not for me. It allowed me to feel different because I was in a band, instead of feeling different because I could not see where in the world I fitted in, and it allowed me to say things in songs at arms length instead of thoughts curling out of my mouth like wisps of cigarette smoke and poisoning me.
We took a huge amount of pride in making our music exactly right- our harmonies, the structure, all of those things that people have lessons in these days. All we had was our instincts and belief in our songs*. We used to argue all the time, but the music was more important than that. It's hard to believe now, but we were completely dedicated to it all, even moving to London en masse to find different audiences, and rehearsing all day, more days in the week than there actually are. I think we ground ourselves down in the end, drinking too much and losing faith in one another. We had crap business sense, signing a publishing deal with the Piranha's manager and Pete Waterman for a pound, because that's what we thought people did. We were misadvised, but not intentionally; we were all totally green and innocent.
I am hugely grateful to John Peel for playing our music and believing in us. I will never forget the experience of turning Radio 1 on at ten o'clock and hearing my hero playing a record that I had written and played on. That was really something!
*Actually, I had two rusty parrot cages too.