Continuing in the wake of a recent Britpop revival, Sean Bw Parker revisits the glory days of yore, catching up with The Boo Radleys , one time, chief songwriter and lead guitarist , and extremely busy, Martin Carr. They discuss shoegazing, Carr’s sojourn as the Bravecaptain and Scottish independence.
There has been a lot of noise this past month about the twentieth anniversary of Britpop. What is your personal reflection of that time, particularly with reference to The Boo Radleys’ biggest hit ‘Wake Up, Boo!’?
I had no interest in Britpop at the time; I didn’t really believe it was a thing until this anniversary stuff. I thought it was something made up for and by journalists. My memories of that time are of endless touring for Giant Steps. We did Lollapalooza with Nick Cave and The Beastie Boys, played in Japan for the first time, played to a billion people at Glastonbury and recorded the Wake Up album. Wake Up Boo was written because I wanted to be on Top Of The Pops and I wanted to earn money so that I wouldn’t have to go back to working in an office. It had nothing to do with anything else. I liked a couple of Blur records; the first three or four Suede singles and maybe one or two other things but that would be it. After Giant Steps I wanted to make something more concise, more accessible and then we could go back to doing what we had been doing before but I didn’t realise that there was no going back from that.
Are you still in contact with singer/guitarist Sice? What is he up to?
He is well and looks at brains for a living.
We know that your entire back catalogue as Bravecaptain is available at Bandcamp. What is your opinion on the music industry’s move to digital, and also more recent move back to vinyl?
I have no opinion on what the music industry does and does not do. Personally I prefer vinyl and downloads I threw all my cds away years ago although I do appreciate a disc included in the vinyl purchase because I can play them in the car.
What’s your relationship to Facebook?
I used it a lot five or six years ago and then stopped when I started using Twitter but now I no longer tweet I’m back on FB. I have some wonderful friends on there and follow people who make me laugh and think on a daily basis.
What was the last piece of new music you heard that genuinely excited you?
Its been a while since I’ve been genuinely excited by new music. I’m currently enjoying Cate Le Bon’s ‘Mug Museum’ very much.
David Stubbs recently wrote that he remembers certain musical and cultural movements by years (1967 for psychedelia, 1976 for punk, 1989 for rave, etc.), and thinks this stopped happening at the turn of the millennium – everything became seamless. Would you agree with this, and if so, why is it the case?
Back in the 60/70/80s there was the mainstream and that was it. If you didn’t like what the mainstream had to offer then you did something else. Now there is so much choice, more radio, more TV, there is Youtube and Spotify. We have been pacified.
How do you feel when browsing around for new music to see ‘Shoegaze’ as a recognised genre? This is very big in Turkey, for example.
I haven’t heard any new shoegaze bands so it’s hard to say. The original bands all had something about them that I liked; more interesting than Britpop for me.
How much would the man have to offer you to reform The Boo Radleys?
I can’t think of any amount that would do it.
If you were Scottish (which I understand you partly are), how would you vote in the forthcoming Scotland independence referendum? More broadly, where do you stand on UKip?
I was born in Scotland but I haven’t studied the debate in any great depth. If I were eligible to vote, every time Westminster or some tax avoiding non domicile opens a patronising mouth in opposition it would push me further into the Yes camp. UKip are proving to be useful in illustrating the fact that bigotry is alive and well in our wonderful country.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve got an album out in September, my first for a label in eleven years. I’m writing the next one and doing some co-writing, which I’ve never done before.
Get you a drink?
A pint of golden ale, thanks.