Starsailor, Live in the Flesh!

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD.

Union Square Virgin Megastore
January 7, 2001
Starsailor

Don’t miss Starsailor singer/songwriter James Walsh being interviewed by our Union Square DJ the day before his UK group’s much anticipated album, Love Is Here (Capitol), comes out in America. It’s one of the most beautiful albums around. This is a great opportunity to get insight into the group’s heartbreaking lyrics and melodies. Time TBA

Top Albums and Singles for 2001

Blogger was evil and ate my Top 10 list. I used to have explanations, but now I’m just too frustrated and lazy:

TOP 10 LONG PLAY ALBUMS OF 2001

1. The Strokes, Is This It
Was there even a question?

The rest of the best… in no particular hierarchy… ok, with a certain degree of hierarchy, but with equal love…

2. The White Stripes, White Blood Cells

3. Starsailor, Love Is Here
4. Basement Jaxx, Rooty
5. Turin Brakes, The Optimist

6. Gorillaz, Gorillaz
7. Jay-Z, The Blueprint
8. Bjork, Vespertine
9. The Moldy Peaches, Moldy Peaches
10. Sparklehorse, It’s A Wonderful Life

THE TOP 10 SINGLES OF 2001

1. Atomic Kitten, “Whole Again”
Because “Teenage Dirtbag” was officially released in 2000.

Now some other fun tunes, in no particular order…I’ll try not to overlap artists already represented in the Top 10 Albums list.

2. Jay-Z, “H to the Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”
3. Kylie Minogue, “Can’t Get You Outta My Head”
4. The Wildbunch, “Danger! (High Voltage)”
5. Mya, Pink, Lil’ Kim, Christina Aguilera, “Lady Marmalade”
6. Mary J. Blige, “Family Affair”
7. The Avalances, “Since I Left You”
8. Jimmy Eat World, “The Middle
9. Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman, “Something Stupid
10. Britney Spears, “I’m A Slave 4 U

TOP 10 PEOPLE/ALBUMS/SONGS THAT NEEDED TO DIE IN 2001

1. Ryan Adams/ Elton John
Yes, they both wear tinted sunglasses indoor. Yes, they both are highly irritating. Yes, Rolling Stone kisses their asses way too much. Yes, they are the same person.

Other annoyances in the music world for 2001…

2. Pete Yorn – He’s ugly and his music sucks. Boo to over-rated Jersey boys.
3. Flickerstick – Ok, so you won “Bands on the Run.” Do you still have to keep making “music”?
4. Travis, The Invisible Band – I’m sorry, but what a disappointment.
5. Paul McCartney, “Freedom” – Stop Paul. Please, for the love of god, life, and this country- stop.
6. Nelly Furtado – Granted, “Like A Bird” is pretty catchy, but she’s pretty annoying.. AND CANADIAN!
7. Michael Jackson, Invincible – See number 5.
8. P.O.D., Satellite – Not only is there the evocation of DMB, but they SUCK.
9. Backstreet Boys, “Drowning” – Oh, I’m sorry, did anyone hear that song? No? Take a hint.

10. Hear’say, Popstars – No. Just no.

James Walsh Takes on the US Government?

Upon watching a second (or third… or fourth) time of Starsailor on Conan, James Walsh sang “One good day of the week/ I’ll be higher than your government.” The lyrics are, “One good day of the week/ I’ll be higher than the government.” Interesting… are you trying to start something? You wanna step, you pansy-assed Brit? Yeah, I thought not.

Music of the Moment: Swing When You’re Winning, Robbie Williams; “Tie Up My Hands,” Starsailor

Matthew Jay Is Obsessed with Trash Culture

$25 to see Starsailor open for the Charlatans is even worse than $18 to see them open for the Doves. Highway robbery, eh?

a very coldplay xmas

Damn, I want one.

Whiney Brit-pop interview from Heaven. Staring Matthew Jay and Jamesy Walsh. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of slagging off…. AND THE FACT THAT MATTHEW JAY IS CRAZY WELSHMAN OBSESSED WITH AMERICAN POP CULTURE… some examples:

MATTHEW JAY AND JAMES WALSH MET LAST YEAR AT A STARSAILOR GIG IN THE
SOCIAL IN NOTTINGHAM. JAMES WAS ALREADY A FAN OF MATTHEW’S MUSIC – HE
HAD BOUGHT MATTHEW’S FIRST TWO E.P.’S AND HAD SEEN HIS PERFORMANCE AT
GLASTONBURY. THE TWO HAVE BECOME GOOD FRIENDS, AND RECENTLY FOUND THEMSELVES
TOURING NORTH AMERICA AT THE SAME TIME. THE INTERVIEW TOOK PLACE IN
A HOTEL BAR IN TORONTO.

Q: WHO WOULD YOU SAY IS THE BIGGEST VILLAIN IN ENTERTAINMENT?

A: I WOULD HAVE TO SAY FRAN HEALY. I HAVE SPOKE TO HIM AND HE’S A REALLY, REALLY NICE GUY AND I DON’T WANT TO SLAG HIM OFF OR HURT HIS FEELINGS, BUT IF THERE IS SUCH A THING AS ‘ANTI-MUSIC’ THEN IT’S TRAVIS. ALL THAT THEY WANT TO DO IS MAKE SONGS THAT OTHER PEOPLE QUITE LIKE AND THEY DON’T WANT TO BREAK ANY NEW GROUND, THAT’S WHAT FRAN TOLD ME AND IT’S WHAT HE’S SAID IN INTERVIEWS, SO I’M NOT SAYING ANYTHING HE HASN’T SAID HIMSELF. HE THINKS ITS SELFISH TO GET TOO OBSESSED WITH YOUR MUSIC, AND THAT SONG ‘SING’, THE BIT WHERE HE GOES ‘SING SING SING’, THAT MELODY HAS BEEN USED IN HUNDREDS OF SONGS BEFORE. WHY NOT DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT, SOMETHING A BIT WEIRD? I FIND FRAN’S MUSIC OFFENSIVE EVEN THOUGH AS A MAN HE’S REALLY NICE. HE TOLD ME THAT HE DOESN’T LIKE WHAT RADIOHEAD ARE DOING BECAUSE IT’S TOO OBSESSIVE, BUT I THINK SOME OF THE STUFF ON RADIOHEAD’S LAST TWO ALBUMS HAS BEEN TERRIFIC, REALLY FUCKED UP. HOW CAN YOU MAKE MUSICAL PROGRESS WITHOUT ATTENTION TO DETAIL? THAT’S WHAT IAN MACDONALD SAID IN THE BOOK ‘REVOLUTION IN THE HEAD’, HE SAID ORIGINAL OUTPUT OFTEN COMES FROM ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND IT’S TRUE. IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE EXCITED BY DOING SOMETHING NEW AND IF YOU JUST WANT TO WRITE A REASONABLY PLEASANT TUNE LIKE ‘DRIFTWOOD’ THEN…….I QUITE LIKE THAT SONG BUT I HATE QUITE LIKING THINGS. I WANT TO LOVE THEM OR HATE THEM. SORRY FRAN!

Q: WHAT WAS THE FIRST SONG THAT YOU TAPED OFF THE RADIO?

A: IT WAS ‘THE RIGHT STUFF’ BY NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK, AND I REMEMBER THEY HAD TWO SONGS IN THE TOP TEN, THERE WAS ‘HANG TOUGH’ AND ‘THE RIGHT STUFF’ AND I TAPED THEM BOTH. I TAPED ‘HANG TOUGH’ BECAUSE I LIKED DONNY, WHO’S AN ACTOR NOW I THINK, AND I REMEMBER ASKING MY MUM IF THEY REALLY WERE TOUGH AND SHE SAID “WELL I THINK IT MIGHT ALL BE AN ACT”, AND I REMEMBER BEING ABSOLUTELY DISTRAUGHT THAT THEY MIGHT NOT ACTUALLY BE TOUGH.

Q. IF YOU COULD SET UP A ‘SUPERGROUP’ OF ANY MUSICIANS, ALIVE OR DEAD,
WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE? YOU CAN HAVE 4 OR 5 MEMBERS.
A. OKAY, YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THE CHEMISTRY OF THE BAND, YOU CAN’T
JUST HAVE THE BEST PEOPLE, YOU HAVE TO HAVE PEOPLE WHO WILL BE CONTENT
TO SIT BACK AND NOT WANT TO BE THE CENTRE OF ATTENTION. CAN I CHOOSE
A PRODUCER AS WELL? OKAY, AS MY PRODUCER I’D HAVE DR DRE. HE’S AS GOOD
AS QUINCY JONES, AND HE’S A RAPPER, AND HE LOOKS GREAT, AND HE SIGNED
EMINEM, AND HE’S GOT HIS OWN LABEL. SO HE COULD PRODUCE IT, AND….CAN
I BE IN THE BAND? I WANT TO BE IN THIS BAND. YES? OKAY, SO I’LL BE THE
SINGER, AND I’D HAVE MY BAND’S GUITARIST SAM HEMPTON ON GUITAR. I LIKE
HIM AND JOHNNY GREENWOOD (RADIOHEAD). I THINK JOHNNY IS MORE TECHNICAL
THAN SAM, BUT SAM IS REALLY IMAGINATIVE. HE PLAYED ON ‘REMEMBER THIS
FEELING’ ON MY ALBUM, HE USED A DRUMSTICK TO COME UP WITH THIS MAD NOISE
AND IT’S MY FAVOURITE MOMENT ON THE ALBUM. SO NOW I NEED A DRUMMER,
ALTHOUGH DR DRE WOULD PROVIDE THE LOOPS AND SAMPLED DRUMS. I WOULD SAY
RINGO STARR JUST FOR HIS PERSONALITY, BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH HE WASN’T
A REALLY GREAT DRUMMER YOU NEED SOMEONE IN THE BAND TO CLOWN AROUND.
NOW WE NEED A BASS PLAYER. RONNIE LANE FROM THE SMALL FACES. HE’S A
SONGWRITER AS WELL AND A REALLY MELODIC PLAYER. I LIKE MCCARTNEY AS
WELL BUT I DON’T THINK HE AND DR DRE WOULD GET ON. THERE’D BE TOO MUCH
BICKERING IN THE STUDIO. AND I’D ALSO HAVE A RAPPER – EMINEM. I WOULD
SAY THAT HE’S A GOOD AS BOB DYLAN, HE’S LIKE THE RAP EQUIVALENT. HIS
LYRICS ARE AMAZING.

AHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHA!

And from the Berryman:

COLDPLAY HAVE SPENT MUCH OF 2001 TOURING IN AMERICA,
WHERE ‘PARACHUTES’ SALES HAVE ALMOST REACHED THE 1 MILLION MARK. I SPOKE
TO BASSIST GUY BERRYMAN AS THE BAND WERE ENJOYING A RARE EXTENDED STAY
IN THE UK THIS JULY.

SO, YOU’VE BEEN ON THE ROAD FOR MORE OR LESS A YEAR NOW, ARE YOU BORED
WITH TOURING YET?

NO, NOT AT ALL. I’M STILL REALLY ENJOYING IT. WE’VE GOT A GREAT CREW
AROUND US AND WE’VE WRITTEN SOME NEW SONGS THAT HAVE GIVEN THE LIVE
SHOW A WHOLE NEW LEASE OF LIFE.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE PLAYING RADIO CITY HALL IN NEW YORK IN JUNE?

IT WAS AMAZING, I HAD NO IDEA HOW HUGE THE PLACE WAS. INSIDE THERE ARE
PICTURES OF ALL THE STARS WHO’VE PLAYED THERE, LIKE FRANK SINATRA. TO
THINK WE’VE PLAYED IN THE SAME VENUE AS HIM, IT MAKES IT REALLY SPECIAL.
AND WE PLAYED A GREAT GIG, ONE OF THE BEST ON THE AMERICAN TOUR.

COLDPLAY SEEM TO ATTRACT A LOT OF CELEBRITY FANS TO YOUR GIGS, WHAT
DOES THAT FEEL LIKE?

IT’S WEIRD AND AMUSING. YOU’LL BE BACKSTAGE AFTER A GIG AND SCULLY FROM
THE X-FILES IS WANDERING ROUND THE DRESSING ROOM. IT’S MORE SURREAL
THAN COOL TO BE HONEST.

WHAT’S IN THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE FOR COLDPLAY?

WE’RE OFF TO AUSTRALIA AND THE FAR EAST THEN BACK TO THE UK FOR V2001,
WHICH I’M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TOO BECAUSE IT WAS BRILLIANT LAST YEAR.
THEN IT’S BACK TO AMERICA FOR A FEW MORE DATES. AFTER THAT, IN OCTOBER
WE’LL START RECORDING THE NEW ALBUM.

HOW IS THE SONG-WRITING GOING FOR THE NEW ALBUM?

REALLY GOOD, WE’VE GOT 18 SONGS IN PROGRESS. SOME FINISHED, SOME NOT.
WE’RE NOT SURE WHICH ARE THE BEST SO WE’RE PLANNING TO RECORD THEM ALL
AND THEN PICK THE ONES FOR THE ALBUM AFTERWARDS.

SO THE MOOD IN THE COLDPLAY CAMP IS GOOD?

YEAH, EVERYONE’S REALLY HAPPY AT THE MOMENT. WE’RE FIRED UP ABOUT THE
NEW SONGS AND WE CAN’T WAIT TO GET IN THE STUDIO TO RECORD THEM.

COLDPLAY’S NEW ALBUM WILL BE OUT NEXT YEAR.

There’s No Question Mark In “Is This It”

Finally watching the Coldplay “Request” bit on M2. Guy and Jonny mutter nothing. Jonny’s wearing the ugly green hat, and Guy is wearing his brown one. The one I was looking at when I told him to cut his hair. Aaah. Takes me back to… last week! (Was that really only last week? Damn.)

I’m a little disturbed by people who list Starsailor, “Lullaby” and Incubus, “Wish You Were Here” as two tunes they are listening to, but I’ll let it go for now.

Other things, like people putting a QUESTION MARK in the title of “Is This It” pisses me off to no end. Get it right, dude.

Look at me- Watching “Pagan Poetry” on M2 makes me want to whip out the ol’ (free) Verspertine.

British Sea Power. Not just for sailors and seamen. What do you think? I’m giving it one yawn.

Oh man, Trash is spinning “Danger! (High Voltage)” (love the Jack White. Worship the Jack). They’ve even got the Yeah Yeah Yeahs spinning in room 2. Uh HUH. It sort of disturbs me that their playlists mimic my own.

They just got Guy to say “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag.” I forget- OK, I don’t forget, that Guy is Scottish. Yes.

Oh no. I’m 55% British, just like
Hugh Grant.
. I forgot Americans drink beer cold. How odd. My favorite question? “19) If you stole and old lady’s bag and ran past a policeman what is he most likely to shout? A) Stop or I’ll shoot! B) Stop or I’ll shout ‘STOP’ again! ”

And oh yes.. I’m Piet Mondrian’s Composition A!

And look- The Modern Age in Cockney. Suprisingly not far off from how I usually speak!

Links from Ben.

Finals HEeeelllll

I’m so jealous of people who have seen David Kitt live.

Today was truly the day from finals hell. French at 9:30, Digi at 2:30, Feature do at 12… not to mention my Shakespeare paper was due last night at 5… and I didn’t’ start Feature until 8pm.

Now I can breathe.

Frenchie Julie is coming to New York tomorrow, and we’re gonna hang out! Watch out kids, two wild and crazy girls on the loose- sans school, homework or senses!

I watched the Starsailor on Conan tape this afternoon. I totally heart Jamesy. He and I have a dimple in the same place- left cheek. Bless. I want my pic w/ him and the other James now!

Starsailor’s First New York Gig: Bowery Ballroom

Starsailor tonight at Bowery…

James fucking sang “New York, New York” by Ryan Adams… I was like “Why does this sound familiar…?? OH NO! R. Adams!!!” I held my head in my hands. The limeys “wooHooo”ed.

There were plenty of ex-pats tonight. They were shouting stuff about Chorley… about tea (James had 4 cups brought out.. he only drank 2)… and Irish people. Actually, some Irish guy was shouting in the audience, and then James goes, “My girlfriend is Irish, actually…” Then he did an impression of her Irish mother, “What are you doing with that boy in the band? Why don’t you get yourself a nice Catholic boy. From downtown?”

The set was relatively short. Only 11 songs on the set list. (If you count “NY, NY” then 12… but he only sang the chorus and the first verse, then kicked into Good Souls.)

The set lists were written on Krispy Kreme boxes. Mine has icing on it… Barry also stomped out his cigarette on it.

James said his voice was a “bag of crap.” “It’s the record company’s fault… they’re working us too hard… Bastards.”

James said “mother fucker” druring… “Good Souls,” was it? BTW- “Good Souls” is amazing live. I always though Fever was my song, but “GS” was the highlight of the night, definitely. They rocked that puppy out.

James was wearing “Walsh” shoes. I wonder if Andy from Travis has Dunlops.

Starsailor on Conan tomorrow

James Walsh’s “High Pitched Giggle”

Oh my god. Alyse is cracking me up… on James Walsh:

he’s so sweet and shy on stage. when people yell stuff at him in the crowds, he listens… like ‘I love you James’. he does this high pitched giggle and grows red and says, ‘Thank you.’ in this tiny voice. or when he asked us how we were doing and if we were having a good time, someone shouted out ‘how are you doing?’ and he got all embarassed too and said ‘Fine, thank you.’

Aw.

Is it all about Kevin Tihista?

My Computer Is Holding My Digipics Hostage

The war between my camera, Nikon software, and my operating system rages on… after 6 hours of additional fighting, rebooting, crying, tech support, and batteries pooping out, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never see Chris Martin’s singing mug on my computer. This also means there is no room on the disk for me to take pictures of Starsailor dearie, James Walsh on Monday.

Oh shit- that’s tomorrow. Where’s my Shakespeare paper? Shit.

USA Loves Starsailor

From The Daily Telegraph (London):


Born to be mild Starsailor are the latest modest, British, nice-bloke band to make it big.
September 27, 2001, Thursday

By Andrew Perry

When the NME introduced Starsailor early this year as the best new band in Britain, little did the staff of the music weekly know that, in a matter of weeks, they would have forgotten all about the merits of our indigenous artists, championing instead an influx of Americans such as the White Stripes and the Strokes. However, now that Starsailor’s debut album, Love is Here, is imminent, the band have returned to the paper’s front cover, with their Chorley-born singer-songwriter James Walsh in full messianic pose.

Indie rock fans are thus presented with a choice between the US and the UK, between the young Americans’ brash sounds and attitudes, and the studied songcraft and mild manners of their British counterparts. Higher up the scale, a similar divide has already been established between Limp Bizkit and Travis, Marilyn Manson and Coldplay. Indeed, battle lines haven’t been so distinctly drawn between the two musical communities since the early Nineties, when Suede, swiftly followed by Oasis, waved the Union Jack in the face of Nirvana’s grunge invasion. Recent events in the wider world have made all this look rather trivial, of course, and it remains to be seen how these will affect music in the US, and its reception here. For the moment, though, Starsailor’s place in our pantheon of nice-bloke bands is amply confirmed when I meet Walsh at his PR’s office in Islington.

Boasting at least three of the crucial Brit pre-requisites – a shaggy fringe, blue denims and a bad hangover – he not only speaks so timidly that he often fails to register on my tape recorder, but is also the first (and last) person I’ve chatted to for any length of time who makes no mention of the atrocity at the World Trade Centre.

As Walsh struggles for things to say between bites from his bacon sandwich, I almost start wondering why we look to people whose essential aptitude is writing and performing melodies to provide us with the answers to big questions.

“I used to try and be some amalgamation of Liam Gallagher and Tim Burgess [the lippy singer from the Charlatans],” Walsh confesses. “They were my first heroes, but I didn’t have the bottle to pull it off. So when I heard Neil Young and Jeff Buckley and artists like that, that was when it all came to me. It was more important to be a respectable and revered songwriter than try to exude all this angst and rebellion.”

Walsh’s new approach has certainly borne fruit. The band’s first two singles, Fever and the soaring Good Souls, both charted inside the top 20 – a rare feat in itself these days for a traditional guitar band. The third, Alcoholic, entered this week at number 10. These hits, like all the other songs on Love is Here, have an undeniable emotional impact. Their punch comes from Walsh’s often histrionic voice, which is possibly most readily comparable with that of David Gray, and their classy arrangements for piano and acoustic guitar, which often suggest a more distant ancestor – Mike Scott’s Waterboys.

If these seem very adult, unhip parallels for such a young band – Walsh is just 21 – Starsailor have certainly faced criticism from red-blooded British indie groups such as Ash and Mogwai, who resent the band’s sudden success. The latter claimed recently that Walsh would do terrible things to his granny in order to become famous.

“I think all that’s a bit odd,” Walsh counters with almost superhuman evenness. “We’re not a reactionary band, saying we’re the next Beatles and everything else is rubbish. We’ve always been very modest.

“I think it’s because Ash and Mogwai see us and Coldplay and Travis who say very little, and they’re thinking, ‘We do all this self-promotion, and these bands just come out saying, We’re nice lads from Wigan, listen to our songs. And they sell more records than us.’ The funny thing is, I don’t actually mind Mogwai. I’ve listened to their records and thought they’re pretty good.”

Walsh, it’s clear, is happy to be seen to speak out about nothing. Like his mates in Travis, Coldplay and the rest, among whom he says there is “an atmosphere of friendly rivalry”, he believes only in the higher power of the melody. If Starsailor have a message, it’s that everything should remain undefined and open to interpretation. This, he points out, is what his album’s title, and its cover photograph of an empty railway line stretching out to the horizon, are all about.

‘I can’t remember who it was,” he sort of explains, “but some philosopher said that love is like two parallel lines that never meet. It’s just the idea that you can find love in any of the songs, if you look into it like that, or in none of the songs, depending on your mood, and your idea of love. It’s either always there, or it’s not there at all. You can’t categorise it, like it’s one girl or it’s one singer. It’s more your outlook on life, and your feelings.

“It’s not very cool to be nice or positive,” he says, “but the title of the album is meant to be hippyish,” he says. “It’s the complete anti-American metal vibe. You couldn’t get any further away from all that Limp Bizkit stuff, really. All these albums dealing in as much negativity as possible – you know, hate your mum and throw your dog on the railway line.” He smirks with a glimmer of subversive intent. “That’s what we’d call our album if we were American.” ‘Love is Here’ is released on Oct 8 on Chrysalis.