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Steve Diggle of the Buzzcocks (Part Two)

19 May 2010

If you haven’t caught part one yet it might make a bit more sense to read that first, and I added in the last bit of part one to help the transition. Here concludes my talk with Steve, who played a phenomenal set with the Buzzcocks last Monday. Look for my review with photos to follow.

Steve Diggle But then we’ve got 2 new guys in the band now. We’ve got a guy now called DANNY FARRANT on the drums he’s been with us four years in fact now. Still a new guy compared to us.

(laughs)

Strangely enough. And we’ve got for the last two years now we’ve got CHRIS REMINGTON on bass who’s played in my solo band for years.

FLAG OF CONVENIENCE?

SD That’s right, Flag of Convenience but then also the Steve Diggle solo band . I’ve just finished my third solo album actually; I’ve got Some Reality out and Serious Contender and then I’ve got a new album coming out with in the next month or two called Air Conditioning.

Will that be released over in the States?

SD I hope so. I’m gonna look into it when its released here [in England] but available on download as well. I think its my best one. I just finished it like 2 weeks ago.

Look forward to hearing it.

SD I kinda started it a year and a couple months ago, I can’t believe it, never usually takes that long but because we’ve been On tour all year I actually kind of just do bits in the studio in between flying to Italy or Amsterdam or somewhere, I’d come back and do another couple of days to finish it off, that kind of thing. So I’d do that over the year. I figured I would finish it the beginning of last year but it didn’t happen. So it’s finally finished and sounding great so I will have some more news about that coming up soon. They are just designing the sleeve now and we’ve got to sign up for the downloads and have the records pressed soon and all that stuff so that’s what I’ve been doing.

When would the new Buzzcocks record be ready for release? You mentioned you were working on it.

SD It won’t be for a while, I’ve got songs for that and I think Pete’s got some songs so it’s a matter of getting together on that which I think we will do after the summer. Because we’ve got the American tour and we’ve got some other shows to do so I think probably by the Fall somewhere we might be recording it by then, or at least some time by the end of the year.

You’ve known Pete for quite some time and I am curious if your relationship with him has changed over the years in any way.

SD (laughs) yeah, its kind of gone up and down a bit everywhere you know, you kind of run out of things to argue about now. Yeah, we’ve known each other it will be 34 years this year which is kind of a long time.

Sure, longer than most marriages I am sure.

SD Well absolutely. Longer than our marriages have lasted. I have known him more than anybody, you know. Something you know you would have thought would have soured really. I mean the fact that we’ve played music together, has held it together along the way. But yeah, its been an interesting journey. I’d say we have had plenty of great moments and many great arguments and many great times. It’s just been the whole range of emotions. It had to be but also that’s also what keeps the dynamic of the group. I think we’re kind of opposites in some ways as well you know, with us at both at the different ends of the spectrum sometimes which gives it a lot of fire in the middle you know.

I think that the old saying that you need a little grit to make a pearl, I think that goes a fair bit with bands, you need conflicting or differing ideas to really create something new.

SD Absolutely, you are right that’s a good analogy. It definitely works on that. Its something you didn’t realize at the beginning. When you kind of start out you don’t realize how important that is. But as long as its kind of harmless right or used in a good way somehow then it will come out. Like you say you need a little grit to make a pearl. You need that little catalytic bit to get something going. If it’s all smooth you wouldn’t get the excitement or the whole range of things. So yeah at the moment the relationship is pretty good. (laughs).

Good, good to hear.

SD We’re on kind of good terms. Its kind of like we’ve come full circle with it all. Kind of like we’ve been on a long musical journey and on a long journey dealing with each other, which has been great as well, you know. It’s all part of it.

So switching gears a little bit back to Manchester, just curious if you are still a big Manchester United fan.

SD Yeah, they’re one point behind Chelsea in winning the Premiership top of the league you know. They are one point behind, and there’s another game this Saturday or Sunday, but if Chelsea win, they win the whole title by one point, which is really nothing.

It’s a squeaker

SD So I am hoping Chelsea lose and United win then United will win the Premiership its that close. But I don’t think Chelsea will lose, they are only playing a small team so it kind of looks like its theirs really, but one point’s nothing, you know.

Down to the wire

SD That it is really it is down to the wire [indeed, Chelsea would prevail in the final game against Wigan Athletic to win the championship].

Just curious if you are looking forward to anything in particular for this US tour. I guess you guys haven’t been in the states for a little bit, 2006 was the last tour?

SD Yeah, something like that. Well we were there recently, we played a festival in LA.

Oh you did? Which one was that?

SD Did a warm up show in San Jose and played like a kind of tattoo kind of festival in LA about 17,000 to 20,000 people there or something. And yeah we kind of just flew in to do them little two shows, only a few days and then went back. But yeah it’s a while since we’ve done a full tour of length of America like we are doing this time.

Did you get a free tattoo out of it?

SD No, I could have done I guess. I kind of left that. I never know what to have you know? But I am sure whatever I decided I’d want it fuckin removed the next day you know (laughs). I changed my mind, it should have been this.

With tattoos you really have to make sure your mind is made up.

SD Absolutely. You know some kids going out getting drunk and waking up thinking ‘what the fuck is this?’ What was I doing last night? So no we didn’t get any, no, but that show was a really hot show, it was great.

Was it a multi-day festival, or just single?

SD I think it was a three day festival, but we rocked the house it was amazing. Really good. That was with the kind of festival set we had been playing with in Europe as well.

When you guys play festivals do you draw on a wide variety of stuff, do you play some of your newer material as well?

SD We played some of the later material and also kind of picking from all the albums so dynamically you get a whole different thing of it as you kind of put it together so you know you can build up a pretty good live set like that. I remember when we started out doing this set that we are going to do, I thought at first well wait this is kind of made to listen to, like a record, you know. I thought it was going to be kind of weird at first translating a whole record a whole two sided (two records really) at a gig you know, I know it kind of works but it’s a different kind of level than just picking a general live set. But it did kind of work. Its just the way they’re in order you know, they’re in order exactly like this on an album, and so it doesn’t go up and down as much in different things. But I mean we did get it to work. It took a few shows I think just to kind of think ok that’s how it works with this one.

In terms of the pacing?

SD In terms of the pacing and ah, you know, making it into a live set. When you think about it those songs were sequenced to make a record. And then playing it live is something else.

Were there any particular songs that you needed to kind of dig back and rehearse to remember how they went?

SD Oh yeah, there were a couple of those. Couple of those that we haven’t played for years. I mean there is this song called “I Need” on the first album and that goes down really well now, but at the time we did it for a couple of shows and that was it, you know? So now we’ve been doing that on this tour and that’s worked out really well. I think there’s a couple other songs that we never really played much I can’t remember which ones, but that one in particular, it was like wow, this is good now, you know, why didn’t we do it around the time you know. Its just that chunk that got lost on the way a bit.

Anything else you want to say?

SD I want to say that I am looking forward to doing the tour in the States and also my new record Air Conditioning so look for my new album after this cause that’s what new with me now. It was a long slog doing that but that’s going to be a good album. We are looking forward to coming up, like you say its been a while, its been a little bit too long but glad we are gonna make it on Monday.