Interview 2 Nev's Letter to the Fan Club
Why did the Parlophone deal fall through?
That's a really hard one to start with! I dunno, we just got dropped. We got signed to Parlophone because somebody believed in the band from the start, but they then got moved onto another department and we were left like... spare pricks at a wedding! Nobody really wanted us on the label anymore - they maybe thought we weren't cool enough, I dunno the reason really. Because of this, "Lucky" didn't really get the airing it deserved. They made the album as a token kind of thing, a couple of videos, then that was it - bye bye boys!!!
With bands such as Little Angels, it seemed as though the collapse of a record deal signaled the beginning of the end. Has it been a struggle to stick together?
IMMENSE problems, ha ha! Not really! The public generally, like you say in the question, you lose your major deal and they're like "Oh my God, it's the end of the Earth!" but we never really felt like that as a band. We still felt like we wanted to play together and we had the opportunity, thanks to our management, to record another album, initially with Castle Communications, and we thought "great!". We had new material, new songs and we were very excited about it. So firstly it's been quite exciting but it is quite a struggle when your profile starts to drop down a bit and you're out of the public eye. We canceled a tour last year to do this album and I think quite naturally you do start to slip down the slope a bit; you lose a lot of ground which we have in this country so this tour really is just to get back out on the road and see if there is anyone out there who still likes SKIN!
Why has the album not been released over here as it has in Japan?
Because we have no deal in this county. We've got a deal in Japan so the album is released in Japan, it's out now actually and it's available on import although it's extortionately expensive. We've got a deal in Germany and we're hoping to secure a deal here and get the album released sometime in May. If not, we will find a way of doing it, even if we have to fund ourselves, it's ready and we just want to get it out as soon as possible!
The music press reported on several occasions that SKIN had signed a deal with Raw Power, stating an album release date for February 17th. How much truth was there in these rumours?
Had we?! That's not true! No, I dunno where that came from! Like I said, we were hoping to sign to Castle but... nope!
Why is Colin no longer in the band?
It's a funny one that! We've used Colin in the "How Lucky" video and he's toured a lot with us, but he never really officially became a member of SKIN. He ended up being in a lot of the press photos as well and at the time we thought he was going to be integrated into the band but I think Colin always wanted to keep his independence. He was into very heavy funk and we didn't want to stop him pursuing his own thing. I can appreciate why people thought he was the fifth member of SKIN as there was a lot of confusion but we never really saw Colin as a member. We haven't fallen out or anything; he's a great guy!
Who chose the album title this time?
I think it was just named after the song Myke wrote. We just thought "this is different, it's fun" y'know, and just thought it'd make a good title!
How do you feel about going out with Thunder for the second time.
Err, mixed feelings I think! We really enjoy playing out own shows now but we're looking forward to it. It's given us the chance again to play in front of a lot of people and it's re-establishing ourselves in the UK and this is a great vehicle for us, this tour. We're grateful to Thunder for accepting us because it could've been quite easy for them to say "SKIN?!? Not them again!!" but they've kindly agreed to let us come on the tour and it's great. We're really looking forward to it.
The new stuff is again a big leap forward from the last album, but unlike "Lucky" this isn't so much SKIN going 'grunge' as SKIN 'meaning business'! Are you hoping to attract a wider following or is it just that you've developed harsher attitudes over the past year?!
Harsher attitudes? Nah, I don't think so. We've always seen the band as sort of growing... wings! As we get older our music matures and grows with us. Our music's always been pretty self contained. Our first album wasn't released until nearly a year after we'd recorded it and during that year we'd developed, but because of that we were labeled with the "Cock Rock" thing, but that doesn't really bother us. I think musically it's just development. The new album is just us being us really. Myself and Dicki have been more involved with Myke in the writing side and we've really enjoyed making this album. It's not a conscious effort to make a statement, it's just us trying to be truthful really and I think our live performances reflect that.
The image has changed too. First Dicki's hair went, now Myke has gone blond mohawk. Is there a chance you or Andy will have the chop?!
Me, have the chop?! Nah! I thought about cutting my hair; I might do, I mean, it may happen! I dunno yet!
Were you nervous playing to a Brit. audience for the first time in nearly a year?
Yes! In the meantime I've become a dad, a lot of people may not know that, but we took three months off for me to concentrate on being home with my wife and my child. It was great but then to come back and play live was pretty nerve-wracking for us all. But it does take time for us to regain out momentum and recapture what we were all about after such a long lay off. Having made the album, taking the time off, then getting back together if very difficult and you do start to question whether you can do it anymore. We were all digging deep for those first few shows, wondering whether we still want to play music together and that was the hardest point I think, just coming back together and seeing if we still wanted to do this. But we knew we had a good album in the can and we wanted to give it our best shot, with or without a deal.
What are your "after tour" plans?
We're doing some extended shows with Thunder in Spain, about three shows, between the British Thunder tour and our shows at Newcastle and Nottingham. We're just taking it a few months at a time now. We can't plan too far ahead with our deal situation in this country, we're just taking it one step at a time. Our next priority is to get the album out and just make sure it gets heard.
Despite everything, you've proved that SKIN have certainly got staying power! Should, heaven forbid, anything else go wrong will you continue to stick to your guns or would you be tempted to call it a day?
Everybody has to sit down and re-evaluate. You have to look at each other and say "do we enjoy playing together? Can we continue to do this? Can we sustain ourselves financially?" You have to take a lot into consideration. It's not just about being a great band and great musicians, it's about actually physically keeping the band together. So many things have to come into consideration. We're doing it, we've done it quite a lot over the past year since losing the deal. You have to sit down and look at yourselves, and we're happy with it.
Can we tell the readers about your good news?
About the baby? Of course, yeah, people are gonna find out one way or another! Yeah, I've become a Dad; his name's Callum John and we're very, very happy!
"What's it like playing in your home town?
I get very nervous, and I get very... I get a bit anxious I think. Probably because everybody knows me. I get a lot of friends and family coming along so it's just different When you play your home town it's really weird. Did you enjoy it last night - it was really hard work.
Are you looking forward to playing Europe?
YES! Enormously!! Can't wait - it should be really good!!! Playing for 35 minutes!!!
Are you going to learn any German?
No! I mean, I did, when we toured with Bruce Dickinson, Dicki taught me how to say, what was it, "Wie geht's" or something like that (How are you?) and I said that in Koln or somewhere and nothing happened!!! Alright, okay!! So that was it, that was the only German I learnt and it floundered badly and so I haven't done anything about it since.
Do you speak Welsh?
Nev launches into Welsh, which I won't try to write down!!!
What does that mean Nev?
I don't speak Welsh!!!!! My Mum does!!! I don't - a little bit, but....
You know what one of the most asked questions is?
How old are you?!!
Just tell them he's an old bastard and that's the end of it!!!!
So what you you think of these new elephant T-shirts then?
I like the elephant T-shirt - I think it's great!! The best one we've done!!!
So who chose that particular design?
We did. We had different photographs of animals fornicating - zebras, giraffes, lions. Rhinos, which we quite liked.
So who took the photos?!!!!!
David Attenborough I think!!! We got them from some library I think. But the rhinos were really good - they were close, just for the expressions on their faces!!! They look quite, sort of, like rhinos really!!!
What are you doing after Europe?
We're going to do some festivals I think in Europe in June after our European tour. That'll be good. And if anybody asks us to do anything in the UK we'll do it, but we haven't been asked yet!!
So how come you don't write any songs anymore then?
I'm crap!!! I'm a crap songwriter that's why I don't write any songs!!!!! No, it's just the way it worked out this time. Myke had millions of ideas so we just started jamming them and they were all great so we thought let's just concentrate on these, so it was brilliant. So we didn't have a problem with that at all. It was really good. I did some ideas, and the boys said that's quite a good one, you ought to try and finish it, but I'm just lazy really and I didn't finish it!!!
So it's usually Myke that comes up with the original idea?
Yeah, we just jam them and see what works and what doesn't really and that's the way it goes. Sing a few melodies and he just takes home the jam session on a tape and decides what's good and what isn't.
So how come the lyrics aren't on the album and they are on the Japanese release?
The Japanese insist on it, and we wanted it to be, the lyrics to be on, but the record company didn't put them on again. We'd prefer the lyrics to be on, but the record company, it's down to them really.
How do you learn the lyrics and remember them?
The hardest one to remember, and I always kept getting it wrong and I still keep getting it wrong is "Face To Face"!!!
Is that why you aren't you playing it live?
No, not really. We just can't find a space for it in the set. But I keep forgetting it because almost every line begins with the word "remember" or "I remember" !!! And it's like, I remember, well I remember... what?!!!!! And it's taken me months to get it right and I still haven't got it right!!! So that's another reason why we're not doing it!! I don't know why we're not doing it actually!!!
It never used to stop you on "Monkey". You used to get the words completely different on that!!!
Yeah. Yeah I still got that wrong up in Glasgow!!!
That's a good live song!
Yeah, a lot of people like that. I don't know why we didn't do it more.
And "Take Me Down.." has come back.
It's not one of my favorites really.
Is it a true story?!!!
I think so!! Myke's probably.. I think he's based it on something that happened to him in America. I wouldn't put it past him!!!
So what's your favorite SKIN song?
I don't know. I couldn't pick one out.
What's your worst one?
"Take Me Down To The River"!!! I don't particularly enjoy doing that.
What do you do if you come down with throat problems on a tour?
I think the last time I had a really .. I remember having a really bad throat before Donington. We'd just come off the end of the tour and then we did Donington and I was recovering, and I sounded like grit on the recorded version of Donington!! I was terrible!! And then we went in the next week, when we went in to listen back to the tapes I had a chance to redo some of the vocal parts, so I went in and tried to do Colorblind and I sounded exactly the same as I did on the day!!!
And I thought, I think I'll just leave it actually!!! I can't do it any better than it already is!!!! So it's as is!! I just changed one word on "Colorblind" I think. I got the line wrong I think so I just had to change that line. I can't actually remember which one it was. That's the only thing I did to the live tape, 'coz I got it wrong. I just went "nah nah nah nah" live and I thought I'd better put the words in it.