I’m Getting a College-Newspaper-Induced Headache from this Starsailor Interview


Drug-Takers and Naval Gazers

I arrive a little late [all bold my emphasis] to Tuesday’s Starsailor show, but just in time to be swallowed up by the dark, inviting intro of my favorite track, “Tie Up My Hands.” Lead singer James Welsh, who’s been compared to the likes of Neil Diamond and Thom Yorke, gently ambled around the stage as if his brawny presence was effortless. The crowd responded in sporadic hops, and when it finished the light dimmed as Charlatans’ UK singer Tim Burgess took a place next to James. Together they ended the Starsailor set with a cover of “Bye Bye Baby Blue.” At this point we find out that not only can Welsh sing, play guitar, and write hearfelt lyrics, but the bastard can play the harmonica too!

Backstage, there is an atmosphere of absolute chaos: men scurry moving amps and testing guitars. I’m greeted by three strangely serene Starsailors, the calmness a sign that they’re adapting well to the craziness of stardom. Though such adaptation may be a speedy process, topping charts with two hit singles has been a dream that’s lasted a good twenty-something years for these English natives. Kind and compliant, they readily open themselves up; as if bearing their souls on stage for an hour before that wasn’t already enough. James Welsh, lead singer/guitarist already ducked out of the venue, but I did have the pleasure of talking with bassist James Stelfox, drummer Ben Bryne, and keyboardist Barry Westhead:

CS: How did you all find each other?

JS: Well, we all met five or six years ago at college. Barry joined about two years ago, but we are all really good friends.

CS: Which musicians inspire you?
BB: We all have very different tastes. Barry really likes jazz, Miles Davis, that stuff. James likes Queen.
JS: Yeah Queen, and the Beatles. And the Subways, definitely the Subways.

CS: I know you guys have been to New York about four times now, most recently to do the David Letterman and Conan O’Brien shows. Do you feel the energy’s different after 9/11?
BB: Definitely, we were supposed to come on the 13th to play with Coldplay, and so that got cancelled and we didn’t come back till December, I think, and obviously till what had happened had died down a bit. But definitely in Britain we were all shocked. Our countries are close so it really affected us.

CS: On a lighter note, which one of you has the most groupies?
BB: (laughing) Not me.
JS: Well, James (Welsh) and Barry both got girlfriends, but we’re still on the market.
BB: American girls don’t like us. They think we’re ugly.

CS: That’s bullshit. Is it the same in Britain?
JS: (laughing) No, but if some American girl will have me tonight I will gladly say yes.
CS: You got it.
BB: Not him, me.

CS: I am sure we can arrange something. So are you all finally living your dream?
JS: Yeah. We’re living the dream. Nice. It’s fantastic you know. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. But you know we’re just trying to relax now and enjoy ourselves.

CS: Any message for your fans at NYU?
BB: Come see us March 5th at the Plaza. Tickets on sale today!

– Sarah Ivory

NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. The mistakes: IT’S WALSH NOT WELSH. THE LEAD SINGER OF STARSAILOR IS NAMED JAMES WALSH. “Tie Up My Hands” WAS THE SECOND TO LAST SONG ON THE SETLIST. If “a little late” means that you missed practically ALL of the band’s set, that’s a new one for me. The name of the Dylan song is “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” Oh, and if the reviewer had actually been there during the set, she would have realized that James plays the harmonica in “She Just Wept.” Starsailor was suppose to play on the 16th of September, not the 13th.

Are there NO fact checkers? Or just good writing?!??!?! I really liked the mention of how Barry was “interviewed” for this piece, yet there is not one Barry quote. (Ahem- probably because it was inane blather- he was amazingly drunk) I should probably write for them. This is a poorly reported article.