Barmcake magazine, the Bluetones and me

BARMCAKE is an A5 pocket-sized magazine that touts itself as being “Northern entertainment for the middle-aged”, and can be found every so often in various pubs and bars across Yorkshire and Lancashire (or should that be Lancashire and Yorkshire?).

It’s almost entirely self-funded by its creator, journalist Dave Griffiths; he produces it at home in Huddersfield. He doesn’t have a big budget for it and relies heavily on advertising, so if you’ve seen a copy and like it then please spread the word – especially to anyone that could be interested in taking out an ad. You can email Dave as well as following Barmcake on Twitter.

For issue five I interviewed Mark Morriss, the singer with the Bluetones, ahead of their 2016 spring tour.

(The pic above is of me with Mark in September 2006 somewhere in central London at the launch party for the band’s self-titled album.)

Q: Early in 1998 I was a journalist in Slough where I sat next to the showbiz reporter; I borrowed her promo copy of Return to the Last Chance Saloon and played it that evening – Tone Blooze, Unpainted Arizona etc… truly draw dropping stuff and I’ve been hooked ever since, but can you explain where on earth songs like those come from?

A: Firstly that is very kind of you to say, thank you. For the RTTLCS album there was an awful lot of “jamming”. Something which was still fairly new to us. Up until that point most of our songs had been written while sitting about, quietly strumming away on acoustic guitars; gently coaxing the songs into shape. But with the pressure of having to follow up our debut album relatively quickly we adopted new methods of working as a means to get the ideas flowing faster. I think that the experience of touring for about 18 months straight had toughened up our sound a little bit, and noise was the new thing for us. Out of those afternoons, songs like the ones you just mentioned were forged.We always had a fairly

We always had a fairly telekenetic way of working and shaping things, thinking as one a lot of the time, and though some of the arrangements are quite complex we were always on the same page with each other. Adam would have ideas for drum parts, Eds would have ideas for guitar lines, it was all very interchangeable.

Q; In 2011 I was in the crowd at the Leeds Academy on the Bluetones’ farewell tour, towards the end of the gig you said something along the lines of, “that’s it, no more Bluetones, no more getting back together, no anniversary tours”. Four years later you were all reunited; do you feel you’ve let your fans down by getting back together and can we ever trust you again?

A: You should never have trusted us in the first place, to be honest. Heck, in 2011 that was the way we felt. Enough is enough. We’d been through some pretty testing times together and I think had reached a point where we wanted to branch out and try other experiences before we started to resent the situation.

But hey, like the song says, things change. We missed each other. We missed inhabiting those songs. So we opened up the toy box. If people think that’s cynical then that’s up to them, but also they can go fuck themselves.

Q: Matt Lucas appeared on the Bluetones’ B-side Armageddon (Outta Here), your music was used regularly in Spaced (and I think you were all in a closing scene once), you were on the Adam & Joe Show and then there’s Matt Berry. Just how well connected are you?

A: Very. If a bomb went off at one of my birthday bashes there would be no comedy shows on TV for a week.

Q: Is the track Autophilia about a car or about making love to a beautiful woman?

A: It’s about making love to a beautiful car.

Q: Have you been surprised at just how busy you’ve been since the Bluetones ended? What keeps you motivated?

A: To be honest, yes I have… things have grown slowly for me over the last eight years as a solo performer, and I’m really starting to feel like I’m getting somewhere with it. Then the band wants to reform and I’m left high and dry. All my efforts undone; *insert smiley face*.I don’t find it at all difficult to get motivated for doing something I enjoy so much. Plus deep down inside I am convinced I’m the best around and one day, ONE DAY, the world will see that too. And I’ll be celebrated as the genius that I am, and handsomely rewarded. So I can’t quit now ‘cos that revelation could be just around the corner.

I don’t find it at all difficult to get motivated for doing something I enjoy so much. Plus deep down inside I am convinced I’m the best around and one day, ONE DAY, the world will see that too. And I’ll be celebrated as the genius that I am, and handsomely rewarded. So I can’t quit now ‘cos that revelation could be just around the corner.

Q: On February 12 you tweeted that when Expecting to Fly was released 20 years ago it was the album that saved music. In 1984 Ian McCulloch said Ocean Rain was the greatest album ever made; was he right?

A: Firstly, I was being ironic (not a word that I believe is in Mac’s lexicon) and no, of course he’s not right, Crocodiles is the best album ever made.

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