Exclusive interview for Massive Ego done on the 11th of February 2001 while the band were on tour.
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Into Cyber Space
King Adora take us on board
Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms, 11 February, 2001
The interview had been scheduled for 6.15pm. But as zero hour approached they were dragged away from their "luxurious" tourbus to eat - Yes, really - shattering one of the main myths at the very foundation of the growing King Adora insurrection. So we patiently awaited their return, in the meantime witnessing a group of teeny-bopper-esque fans chasing a startled Dan down to the off'ie, screeching "Spiky Guy! Ohmigod, it's SPIKY GUY!" Evidently, the youth of Hampshire have only very recently been converted …
When they return from their 'meal', "Spiky Guy" and Nelsta' retreat to the lounge of the bus to watch a video. After a short debate "The Goonies" is shunned in favor of thriller "Kiss the Girls". Robbie G remains inside the venue, while Maxi waits downstairs in the cleverly disguised, and apparently Stella-drenched, kitchen. Ever conscientious, he soon arrives to remind them that they did, in fact, have an interview to do, and the two are reluctantly dragged away form the TV for half an hour to join us downstairs. With the three of them naturally sat waiting to blow our minds with the most controversial and inspiring interview ever to be conducted on a bus in a road outside a not so wonderful venue in the lovely town of Portsmouth, we know our luck couldn't possibly hold out to Mr. Grimmit as well, so we settle down to conduct our interview. Unfortunately, what we didn't know at the time, was that the MD player we had carefully tested earlier had changed its mind, and failed to record any of it, with the exception of a giggling fit you'll hear about later, so this is what we drew from notes and memory (and fortunately ours are better than certain interviewees). We have decided, as many of Massive Ego's visitors will already be fans, not to patronize you all with explanations of nicknames and 'Polish Monkey' stories. If you are in the dark about any aspect of the interview you can always look it up elsewhere on the site
It's been busy with recording and touring over the last 6 months, how has it affected relationships with friends and family? (There will be no gentle approach in this interview!)
"Well," starts Maxi, "our families are still there, but our friends aren't, they don't want to know"
"We have got friends in Brum!" claims Dan, indignantly.
"No, we haven't! How many friends - not in the band - do you have?"
Dan looks down with mock sorrow , as if realizing that most of his friends are to do with the band. Luckily, the boys all get on really well. "We're like brothers" He explains, later.
"like a family" nods Martyn from the corner, where he sits encased in black fun-fur. Deemed 'The Quiet One' since they first launched into the media, he is a little quiet but never fails to give his input where it is needed. (Or, to with a wide, helpless grin, recite his mantra: "I can't remember!")
"We do have stresses," grins Maxi, "but they always only last a minute and always end in laughter we laugh too easily"
What about the roadies? You seem to get on well with them, too
There is a murmur of agreement, then Dan jokes "If we don't like `em we'll sack `em!"
Err, fair enough
The conversation soon moves onto the subject of the media, and if their recent experiences have altered their perception of the press at all.
"No, `cos we trust you!" Maxi reassures us, completely misunderstanding the question.
Uh, NO, we didn't mean us, silly! (But thanks all the same)
"Oh. Well most of what people say we said in interviews is just bollocks." He shrugs. "Half of what they say, we never actually said Or I'll just say things because I get bored. To see the looks on their faces when they find out, like"
Like the monkey thing?
There is a ripple of sniggers around the room, including that of the band's tour manager, George, who has joined us while he makes tea, and Dan blushes slightly.
How do you feel about all the Manics and Pixies comparisons you've always received from the press?
"Well it's all very flattering, really" Maxi muses, "because they're both bands we like."
What about the hardcore-style Manics fans who seem to have welcomed you with ~ahem~ open arms?
Dan: "Well if they feel King Adora is a sort of escape"
"It's good" Nelsta' nods. The thing you notice about this band, is that they often finish each others' sentences of speak in unison. They obviously know each other inside out. Which is nice.
"And, I mean, I feel like King Adora's an escape for me, too, `cos of me lyrics and stuff" Maxi concludes.
So what about the Cult-of-Richey style fans - are you worried about developing that sort of fanbase?
"Well, I'm not Richey" the skinny, androgynously beautiful front man sighs uncomfortably from beneath his dyed black hair and fluffy white fur coat.
Of course not, but what about a Cult-of-King Adora?
"Well, there will always be particular fans that will be special to us" he ponders
"totally" Dan agrees.
"But we're not the Manics'! "
You do seem to have attracted a faction of fans who self-harm, which is strange as you've never openly discussed any connections with self-harm in the press, what do you think about it?
There is a momentary silence, during which Dan looks at Martyn, who appears to have sunk further into his fur coat upon the asking o the question, and suddenly appears vulnerable in his little white T-shirt.
Cautiously, Maxi answers the question: "Err it's not something we'd advocate or encourage but it is something we feel a certain sense of empathy with"
No-one else attempts to offer an opinion.
Ok, so, recently there have been a lot of stories in the press about bands being accused of causing their fans to do things - such as the Marilyn Manson fans who killed a nun and the Eminem fan who wrote his suicide note on a copy of the artist's lyrics, how do you feel you'd deal with that sort of situation?
"Killing nuns?" Martyn gasps in a tone somewhere between shock and confusion.
"What's wrong with nuns?" Dan asks in amazement.
It is explained that some young Italian girls murdered a nun and gave an explanation along the lines of "We did it for Marilyn"
"Well I don't think our music would really inspire that sort of thing" Maxi seems to shudder, wrapping his arms tightly across himself.
"Nah" murmurs Dan, gazing into space.
We decide to move away from the air of destruction, as the boys seem very slightly uncomfortable with it, and move onto slightly less doom-filled questions, such as:
Do King Adora have a manifesto?
"TO HAVE FUN!" cries Dan, apparently relieved at the change of subject matter.
"Yeah, to play live and have fun" Maxi elaborates, as Martyn characteristically nods away in his corner. Earlier, as we discussed the lesser perks of being in King Adora in the lounge, Nelsta had suddenly chuckled with delight and exclaimed "Hey, it's not a bad job, this!"
Points for observation there, Mr. Nelson!
What about a sort of plan of action? Got one of those?
Maxi: "We can't plan five minutes ahead, let alone a life time!"
And what's your greatest fear regarding King Adora?
Instantly all three state "Splitting up!" as being totally unthinkable. Dan hits the nail on the head with "You couldn't go back to a 9-til-5 after this"
"No way" the others agree. So that's looking good for the moment, then!
"We don't have body clocks!" The Nelstar declares as we ask what the tours must be doing to them. Only today they didn't go to bed until around 5.30 am, rising with deep reluctance after 2pm
However Dan and Maxi aren't so sure "It's worse when we have a day off", the latter grins.
"Yeah, I once got up early to meet the bus, and we had a day off" Dan tells us with a smile.
You used to go back to Birmingham after every gig, didn't you?
"Yeah," Martyn admits "but we've got the big bus with bunks in, now, so it makes it easier, like"
So being down in Cornwall for so long must've made you homesick
They all admit to being a "bit" homesick, before Maxi mentions Martyn's ill-health at the time. "The Nelstar had a poorly head, didn't you?"
"Yeah, I did"
"So he had a bit of a rough time for a bit"
"Yeah, we found him unconscious under the pool table with his trousers around his ankles!" jokes Dan.
The truth - as we understand it - was that during the band's October tour last year, poor Nel had suffered from an abscess at the back of one of his teeth, which had caused him quite a lot of pain and discomfort. He was told he needed a minor operation to resolve the problem, but would need several days rest afterwards, which would mean canceling at least four dates. So, either very bravely or very stupidly, he refused, opting instead for a strong course of antibiotics, lots of painkillers and NO ALCOHOL! For him, the entire tour was fueled by Red Bull instead. (Bearing in mind a day without booze is rare in the KA camp, we think he deserves a medal just for that!) As soon as the tour was finished he had the operation and joined the 'Brothers' in Cornwall soon afterwards.
Next, we ask, prompted by labels they slapped on themselves when they were merely the band of the week in Melody Maker's 'Headlines' section - way back in May 2000 - what they feel their non-musical roles are within King Adora. After much confused muttering, Dan decides "We all bring our strengths together, like, to make a sort of SUPER HERO!" He beams, proud of himself.
As a band you are notorious for alleged groupie activities, so it has to be asked - what do the folks back home think of these tales of inebriated debauchery that keep appearing in the press?
"Well they don't think much about it, to be honest." Maxi shrugs, "Y'know, they didn't pry into our private lives before we were in King Adora, so they don't do it now And most of the people to take an interest from my family aren't the sort of age to buy Melody Maker or anything"
(Indeed, is Melody Maker still existed)
Dan: "It's when we start appearing in The Sun that we've got to worry; my dad's waiting to see me in The Sun"
No sense of "What will the neighbors think?"
"I don't care what people think of me!" Dan declares defiantly.
Except for the monkey thing, we presume anyway, we decide to press on to another subject.
What would you say is the best thing about being in King Adora? Your favorite aspects?
The answer is immediate and unanimous: "Performing!!"
"Yeah, performing, definitely!" smiles Nelstar, with the distinct look of a man who, now you come to mention it, actually really fucking loves his job. It would seem being in King Adora is possibly the single most fun thing in the world
Do you feel you've learned anything from touring with bands like Mansun?
"Oh, absolutely!" Maxi nods. "We learned a lot from Mansun They're really great guys. Lots of experience"
And then the sexuality jokes began. Maybe we should have known better than to ask if spending so much time cooped up in a bus together had "changed relationships within the band", but by then it was too late.
Martyn made a provocative purring sound and joked "Ooooh yes!"
After much similar piss taking, the three finally calm down enough to concede that it hasn't changed them much, until Dan suggests "Well, it's sort of made us closer" His perfectly innocent comment is immediately ripped to shreds by the suspicious looks the other two throw him from both sides. Again they begin to snigger like naughty school boys who have just written 'Fuck' on the desk and gotten away with it.
"We always end up getting onto sex!" laughs Martyn, his face flushed dark pink from his giggles. He too, is flashed an accusing look and another spell of chuckles ensues.
It seemed best, at this point, to move onto something a little more serious, such as the band's forthcoming debut album.
Do you have a particular favorite track on the new album?
"What, individually? Or as a band?"
Er both, if you like
"Asthmatic." Martyn declares.
"Yeah, I like that one," Dan agrees, "Or Suffocate , probably."
"Yeah, Suffocate." Maxi decides with a firm nod.
"But it's quite hard to choose, really"
We can imagine
"… Maybe We R Heroes"
Realizing a firm decision may take some time, we decide to flutter our eyelashes and ask:
So, do your nice fans at Massive Ego get an exclusive on the title of the album, or aren't you allowed to tell people yet?
"No," Martyn laughs "We haven't even finished recording it yet - we're going back in the studio"
"To record three more tracks." Dan finishes.
You are? Wasn't it the general consensus that you'd finished?
"Yeah, but we've decided to do a new one and redo two others, though…"
Can you tell us which ones?
Maxi suddenly seems to wake from a brief mental slumber and causes much confusion by making it sound as though the song the are to record is also to be the title track of the album.
"Friday Night Explodes."
"You've not heard that one, have you?" Nelstar asks with a smug grin.
Er, actually, yes.
The boys are reminded that in the early days it had briefly made it into their setlist.
"Yeah, it's called Friday Night Explodes!" Maxi gleefully tells us again.
"No, Maxi, the album, mate" Nelstar points out. But then he and Dan turn and look at each other, smiles spreading across their faces, "Eh, that's not a bad idea, actually, that!" he tests it out, apparently starting to like the idea. "Friday Night Explodes"
So there is a slim possibility that the band's debut album may take it's title from a bizarre misunderstanding in an interview for a fansite. Cool. That is a claim to fame if ever there was one, right?
The boys begin to enthuse about their work so far, Martyn and Dan quite animatedly telling us about the Exeter Male Voice Choir whose voices grace one of the new tracks.
So why weren't they at last night's Cavern gig?
"Oh they're too old"
"Yeah, they've got mullets and they're all deaf" someone adds.
"One of them hasn't got any arms!" Dan tells us. "Well, he's only got one"
The next sentence was imminent - it was just a case of who was going to say it. After a couple of seconds Nelstar obliged:
"Yeah, but he was 'armless, though, wasn't he?" he sniggers. The six others in the room (Paulie G., the band's colourfully-haired roadie having joined us and taken a seat on the stairs) glance at each other, smiles quivering at the corners of our mouths, until Maxi begins to giggle and Dan gives Martyn a disdainful sidelong glance and a tut of 'did you have to?'.
And Maxi is still giggling.
Dan gazes at him and starts to laugh. "Oh Maxi, NO! Not in the middle of an interview!!" before bursting into full on sniggers. In a matter of seconds all three of them are creased up in complete hysterics. Maxi covers his face with his hands and scrunches his wiry frame into a quivering ball of giggles; Dan hangs his head and laughs into his chest almost hard enough for his eyes to begin watering - which would have left him with black streaks of eyeliner down his 'angelic' cheeks, and Martyn cackles away, hiding his face with the extremely large collar of his coat. He remains that way, begging "Don't look at me!" - because it would mean he'll never stop laughing - with just the occasional peep out, which invariably causes him to crease up again.
The rest of us are really laughing at the three on them, not the joke. It is hard to believe, as they sit crimson faced and apparently totally out of control of their giggling, that these are the same lads who have been lambasted in the press for apparently being cold, rampant sex-fiends who live to corrupt the world's 14 year-olds. Which is, well, not remotely true in the first instance and well not strictly true in the second And at this point, the boys are still sober
Around five minutes later, when they finally have finally calmed down somewhat, we choose to get in our final few questions. The boys are due onstage at 9.45 and it is already approaching nine o'clock.
So, are there any cover-versions on the new album, or as B-sides?
"We dunno," shrugs Maxi, "there might be"
"We've tried to do them" Dan confesses.
"But you wouldn't know them We're going to make them ours. Give 'em the King Adora treatment!"
And is there a song that really epitomizes the album?
We are met with blank stares.
"What, that makes it shit?" asks Maxi, sounding very slightly offended.
That, er says most about the album?
"Ohhhh!" There is a pause, before he looks at us earnestly and says "Bionic."
"I dunno! Just the first song that came into me head!"
"Alphabetical order?" offers Dan.
"Yeah, that's it." He grins.
Uh wouldn't that be Aftertime, then?
"Er.. Oh yeah! See, I even got that wrong!"
"Or Asthmatic." Ventures The Nelstar
Dan: "No, a-f, Aftertime, a-s, Asthmatic - 'f' comes before 's' don't it?"
"Yeah, but 'a' comes before the 'b' in Bionic." He pouts back.
"Oh, right." Dan looks at us. "Is that it?"
Yep, guess so.
"Great, thanks, girls"
Martyn and Dan stand up, eager to get back to their film. Maxi remains seated, telling us it was "…a good interview, that" while his cohorts bound up the stairs.
"Can we watch The Goonies, now?" Dan asks hopefully.
"No, we're watching the rest of the other film!" Nel tells him with exasperation. Dan reluctantly accepts and they disappear.
And that was that. King Adora have had a hard time from interviewers and a great time from reviewers. Less than an hour later they storm the stage at Portsmouth's Wedgewood Rooms, turning the audience into a writhing, pogoing mass. The group of teeny-boppers who accosted Dan earlier, scream continuously at Robbie G - leaving him looking a little embarrassed as he pouts and flicks himself around his side of the stage; The Nelstar's famed western-style shirt progressively undoes itself, revealing much of his amazingly smooth torso to the audience, and prompting one fan to joke "Ahhh, I bet he waxes it!" as he endearingly jumps and jigs about in his little corner; Dan's famous spikes seem to lose the plot altogether and disintegrate, one-by-one, during his fierce head-banging. And Maxi's writhing and pouting sucks the audience closer and closer until the front rows can barely breathe. As the final notes of Super Muff Diver ring out, they throw their instruments to the floor with a rock and roll crash. Their set is under 32 minutes long and the kids are awestruck. This is rock Real rock. King Adora are destined to complete the job their own heroes started if only they can keep Whether's promise not to change
Interview by Anna/BoyCalledRita and *rosie* devil-horns