Britpop stalwarts The Bluetones are revisiting their album Science and Nature on their latest tour. Singer Mark Morriss spoke to NEIL SHORT.
The Bluetones exploded on to the post Britpop scene back in the 1990s with their debut album Expecting To Fly spawning one of the band’s biggest hits, Slight Return.
Still out on their latest tour and playing the O2 Ritz in Manchester on November 29 and also playing up at Middlesbrough Town Hall on November 30, we managed to catch up with Mark Morriss and get all nostalgic about the last 26 years, and discussed the current revival of a lot of the 90s bands and the Britpop scene.
“There’s a lot of the older bands touring these days, and there are a lot of factors that have played in to it; I think the audience have obviously taken a massive part in that, and the fact that the started demanding the shows, so a lot of the bands just continued and some of the bands have reformed.
“I think it’s a generational thing as well, and you know from the musicians point of view, it’s just a pleasure to be playing again. We get a great deal of enjoyment doing these tours and it’s almost like a challenge. It’s nice for us to kind of explore our catalogue because we were completely different people when we made some of those records, so we are almost rediscovering them ourselves in a way.
“We took a bit of a break in 2011 after releasing our last album in 2010, and since we’ve returned, there’s been such a clamour for the old material, so we’re quite happy to take our time with anything new, really, rather than rush into it.
“I mean (in 2011) we had reached a point where we had one or two problems behind the scenes with people who were working with, the management and that sort of thing, and we had also become a little bit disillusioned with the business, so we decided to do just one last tour and then just put it to bed.”
Morriss adds: “It was weird not having the band in our lives, I think we took about three and a half years off, and by the end of that period we were just desperate to play together again. It felt odd, not doing it and just not seeing each other and so we just started doing some more shows and just kept the momentum going from there really; Like I said we haven’t really been doing any new records, we have just been rediscovering some of the old stuff. I’m sure something new is around the corner, but there is plenty of time for that. Coming back after the break, it was a joy, and we were ready for it.
“It felt good going away, but we didn’t know if we were ever going to play again, it wasn’t really a break, it was the end if you know what I mean. Now, it’s just quite joyous, you know, and that’s what we missed, more so now than ever.
“In a way we have nothing to promote so we are just playing songs from our back catalogue which people really enjoy so it’s more of a celebration now of our catalogue. We still get a real kick out of it, but it has changed of course, because it’s a different beast now, but it’s still just as enjoyable, just for different reasons.”
There is such an amazing back story to the band. The boys had almost a meteoric rise to fame from their humble beginnings in Hounslow, west London to where they are today after the Britpop revolution.
“We got signed on the back of a load of gigs we were doing in London, because obviously we weren’t really a travelling band at that point,” says Morriss. “We didn’t have a budget or a van, so we just played the occasional show in London and we got scouted that way.
“After that, we went out with a little bit of backing and supported some bands and learnt about life on the road, and that everyday was a holiday. My memories of all of that are only fond ones; sitting with all the gear and rattling around in the back of the van.”
Looking back at all of their years of experience, brotherhood and musicianship that The Bluetones have got tucked underneath their belt, I wanted to establish what the boys were most looking forward to getting out of this tour.
“It’s going to be an unusual one because we are doing the whole of the Science And Nature record in order, having an interval, and then we are going to do like a greatest hits set, so there’s going to be two sets,” says Morriss.
“I’m quite looking forward to the nature of it, with the energy going to come across a totally different way because the album has got quite a nice rise and fall to it, and it’s only about 45 minutes long. I’m looking forward to focusing my energy. I have to play for 90 minutes, so I’m looking forward to having half time, coming off and changing my shirt, and then focusing my energy on each half.”
Aside from The Bluetones, Mark Morriss also has solo dates coming up at The Parish, Huddersfield on January 29, and in The Fulford Arms, York on February 2. bluetones.band