Everlastingly Yours

Piroshka is an actually super supergroup

Miki Berenyi of Piroshka

When the reunited Lush suddenly imploded two years ago, cutting short their brief but valued rebirth after two decades gone, fans had little reason to expect an entirely new group to rise from its remnants.

In fact, the late ’80s/’90s London dreampop/shoegaze-era greats had disbanded amidst some drama and likely some rancor: In late 2017, bassist Phil King had quit the group abruptly with a big Manchester show still to play, refusing to say why. (And the others wouldn’t, either.) Faced with his exit, the rest of the revived foursome, guitarist/singers Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson, plus modern drummer Justin Welsh (ex-Elastica, replacing the late Chris Acland, whose tragic October 17, 1996 suicide caused the group’s cessation the first time around) decided to call it a day for the second time, but converted the remaining concert at  Manchester Academy November 25 2017 into a farewell appearance, and enlisting Modern English bassist Michael “Mick” Conroy to fill King’s slot. Moreover, unlike Anderson, who had formed a regular touring group called Sing Sing in between, Berenyi had mostly laid low for two decades, outside the music business, raising a family with her partner from another superb group of that old, halcyon scene, Moose singer/songwriter/guitarist Kevin McKillop—who’d likewise been musically dormant since Moose’s breakup. So it wasn’t a given she would be still making music. (Or him!)

 

 

So no one, perhaps, foresaw the arrival of the new Lush-like new quartet Piroshka—more or less that final version of Lush from the Manchester 2017 farewell show with McKillop replacing Anderson—a true “supergroup” of sorts, at that. Of course, history is littered with terrible supergroups; Chequered Past, anyone? (Look that up. On second thought, don’t!) But in Piroshka’s case, the results are already in, with the release of their new debut LP, Brickbat, on Bella Union Records. And perhaps predictably, given their track records—and to fans’ relief—this first LP proves a treat for supporters of all four of their storied previous groups.

As we discover in the below interview, geographic challenges, and busy real life job schedules plus Berenyi and McKillop’s continuing parenthood have left Piroshka with little time to even meet up much, let alone to do lots of rehearsing and gigs. Indeed, they’ve still only done one proper, full length gig, even with a single and LP out on the market, though that’s about to change. But modern file-sharing technology has enabled them to hurtle that barrier with ease, at least on the recording end. And they’re already thinking about starting on a second LP in the near future. From feast to famine: again, for a few decades, talented tunesmiths McKillop and Berenyi produced more children than songs; now there’ve an established and apparently enjoyable outlet to write and sing. For that alone, Piroshka is welcome. And both have retained their knack for melodic, shimmery sounds, so prevalent in Lush and Moose long ago, with great help from the rhythm section. In particular, Welsh appears to be the group’s catalyst, not only for their continuation/crystallization, but for the songs’ impetus, too.

With the release of Brickbat, I contacted McKillop and Berenyi for this highly pleasant and relaxed interview… very relaxed. Ah, the wonders of Skype. By way of disclosure, both are acquaintances of this writer by long association, having interviewed them regularly way back when, and having also interviewed Berenyi during that short-lived Lush reunion. And I’d often enjoyed having a drink with them after their shows; they’ve funny, friendly people and interested music fans. So there’s an easy camaraderie and informality at work here—evidenced by them lounging around their bedroom in a state of peaceful grace, and me sitting at the breakfast table as my own daughter munched cereal nearby, amused at the English accents. Hopefully such unguarded familiarity aids the discussion.

And my special thanks to John Norris who kindly provided the below transcript! There is obviously much to talk about, from the group’s unique creation to external forces that affect their ability to function, such as the impending Brexit crisis. I kid you not.

 

Hi Miki, hi Moose! [Kevin’s nickname, as well as the name of his old band] Of course, Moose, I interviewed Miki a couple years ago when Lush reunited [note: see cover story, Big Takeover magazine issue 79, and conclusion, issue 80], and asked her questions about what it was like to be returning as a musician having taken a few decades off. And I guess I could certainly ask that of you Moose, as well, right now, couldn’t I?

Kevin: Yeah, for sure! It was a bit of a surprise, because I’d kind of completely given up, really, on the idea of doing anything! Every now and again the idea would pop up and it wouldn’t stick around as an idea for very long. And so, I think it was just… I don’t know, what’s the word?—serendipitous, really. Just the idea that Lush had come to an end. Justin wanted to carry on Lush, and, in fact, he really wanted Lush to make another album after that six or seven months of touring. Justin was convinced that Lush should get into the studio and work on an album. It just didn’t work out. So, he was kind of gung-ho, full of enthusiasm, and persuaded Miki that she needed to keep going. By then, Mick Conroy was on board [from the final Lush gigs]. So I was the missing link. I mean, they could have done it as a three-piece, really. It wouldn’t have been impossible. You’ve got guitar, vocals, bass, and drums. But it appealed to me, the idea of being in a band with Miki, of course, but with Mick Conroy as well—because it had been such a long time, and we just kind of started to rekindle a friendship. I hadn’t seen him for so long, and it was nice hanging out with him again! So, everything was just luck and timing and it just worked out really well.

 

So, as a result, amazingly, you’ve two of my favorite songwriters of the early ’90s in the same band, in 2019. But I gather everybody in the band writes. Is that right?

Kevin: Yeah, yeah, everybody does. The lyrics, probably are mostly all me and Miki, but a lot of ideas are generated from [all four].

Miki: Justin came up with “This Must Be Bedlam.” That was his line. [Laughter.]

Kevin: Yeah, that was Justin’s. He sends drum loops and little keyboard riffs and guitar riffs that he’s recorded in his little studio, and a lot of them became the basis for at least half a dozen songs on the album, and a couple of songs that didn’t quite make the album, either. [Miki agrees.] Even two days ago, he sent more. So, he’s a constant source of new material. And Mick’s great, because he’s such an experienced musician, and hasn’t really stopped in all this time. He’s been doing this since he was 15 or 16 almost non-stop, being in one band or another, or making music one way or another. So, he’s very quick at coming up with basslines and then keyboard parts, and then arrangement ideas, intros, and outros, and that kind of thing.

Miki: So, there’s discussion about, “What is the actual chorus of the song?” [Laughter.] Mick’s good at identifying that—what works and what doesn’t. And, “Yeah, that’s the chorus, and it has to happen again.” There’re a lot of people chiming in.

Piroshka

JR: Are you surprised to find this strong reception for your new band despite being so new— albeit you are something of a “supergroup?” I mean, it can be very difficult to mount a totally new band [with no “brand” name] as opposed to, like, putting together your older groups and playing older material that people already know and love.

 

Yeah, and it’s also… especially in the current environment where there are a lot of bands, there have been a lot of bands, reforming. Well, Lush, of course, included, but even now we’ll suddenly see that Sleeper have reformed, or Salad are reforming, or…

Miki: Swervedriver. Everyone with an “S!”

Kevin: Yes, yes, Swervedriver! Yes, yes. So many bands have decided to make a comeback.

 

All the good bands that start with ‘S.’ I like all three of those a lot!

Kevin: For me, I think it was certainly important to do something new. I mean, you have to remember that Mick Conroy still goes out every year to the States with Modern English, and to Europe as well. He’s constantly gigging. They had a new album out a couple of years ago. Justin keeps on going, keeps drumming with other people, working for other people. But I think I definitely wanted to do something new. I mean, for example, Moose would never reform.

Miki: Well, Russell [Yates, that band’s other prime singer/songwriter] wouldn’t.

Kevin: Russell wouldn’t entertain that idea for one second! And I kind of agree with him. I’m not a massive fan of bands reforming. I just think sometimes there’s no going back, and I think going back can be a mistake without, you know…

Miki: [Laughs.] Okay… [Laughter.]

 

Yeah, umm, err, Miki, you want to comment on that? [More laughter.]

Kevin: I just think, you know—just keep moving forward. I mean, I’ll be brutally honest with you, I mean, me and Miki have discussed it a lot. I don’t think it was a good idea for Lush to reform. I don’t think it’s a good idea for bands to reform…

Miki: Yeah, but if Lush hadn’t reformed, then this wouldn’t be happening.

 

VIDEO: Lush live at the Warfield in San Francisco, 2016

Given that three-fourths of your band came from Lush’s brief reformation, She’s got a point there.

Kevin: Uh, yeah!

Miki: Think about that! [Laughter.]

Kevin: Think about that. Serious. [More laughter.] Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Yeah.

 

While I respect your view, Moose, I have to say I decidedly come down on the other side of your contention. I love what Swervedriver has done, both LPs since they’ve come back, I loved the Lush reunion and the EP they did two years ago, and even just from my own life, my own, old late’80s/early ’90s band Springhouse just came back just last week after nine years gone to open for The Chills on the East Coast dates of their tour—so it’s pretty fresh on my own mind! [Laughter.] It was nice to play for 200-300 people a night for people who remembered our band and our songs.

Kevin: Yeah, that’s true. That is true.

Miki: [Sticking it to him:] Yeah! [Laughter.]

Kevin: And, so, I guess The Chills have reformed, too.

 

Exactly, an even older band. They go back to the earliest ‘80s, and hadn’t played over here in 23 years. That said, it’s always just been Martin Phillipps as the only constant member, though he’s had the same lineup [quintet] for two albums now.

Kevin: Right, right. I suppose some bands you just think they’ve gone away and they just haven’t. They’re just a bit quieter than they were before, or just a bit ignored, maybe. I mean, I suppose unless there’s some kind of official announcement that a band is broken up, you can just sort of, I don’t know, just drift off and then come back. But to get back to your point, I think for me it was definitely important to do something new.

 

Certainly. Had you been writing songs, Moose? I know Miki really wasn’t for the most part since the late 90s, not really having a vehicle for them and being a mom, you know, before Lush reformed. And you’re a dad, obviously. Had you been writing songs and just doing nothing with them for 20 years, or like her have you just laying fallow in that regard?

Kevin: I haven’t been laying fallow. Every now and again I sort of… well actually for a long time there was nothing doing. I did think about doing something maybe about 15 or 16 years ago. It’s just the time goes. I mean, I did go in and record that song with [their friend, sounds like] Suki. I was gonna do something and then it just, ahh… It is, I suppose, being a father; and it is having a job. Sometimes the last thing you want to do when you’ve been working and you’re tired is just to get the guitar out and do more work, when there’s crap to watch on the television and there’s football to watch and that kind of thing. It’s very easy to just let time just drift.

Miki: I think that’s why it’s easier with a band, because you’ve got this sort of “everyone drives each other on” a bit. When it’s just you on your own, and “Ah, you know, will I write a song? Don’t even know how it’s going to get released, don’t know if it’ll get released, don’t know if I can get a band together”… I mean, if something seems like such a mountain to climb… Whereas I think once with the Piroshka thing—once we had Justin sending things, it felt like we really ought to do this; and then it sort of develops a momentum of its own. You see what I mean?

 

Exactly. It is a lot easier to write when you know they’re going to be released, too, and worked out and finished, and that there’s an outlet for them.

Kevin: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I think initially, the very tenuous plans at the beginning were that we might try and crowd-fund this; maybe release a single, and not make such a big deal out of it, but have a bit of fun, get some songs out there, maybe do a few gigs. But I think once Simon [Raymonde] was involved, once [his label] Bella Union said that they’d be interested in putting the stuff out, then things kind of gelled a little bit more—became solidified, and it really felt like this is something real, something proper.

Miki: We pretty much had the whole album before Simon even heard it, though.

Kevin: Yeah. That’s true.

Miki: So the songs were actually done. We’d recorded it. There was only a couple that we sort of… No, there was a few, wasn’t there, that we actually had to record? “Village of the Damned” and, like, two [more], or something.

Kevin: Yeah. I think it was dragged out quite a period—a good year or 18 months. I think we’d gone in and we’d recorded four songs and then wrote some more, and then I think… [asking Miki] Did we record four more, is that what it was? I think Simon heard eight tracks; unmixed, but good, very good board mixes. So you could really hear what we were about and then we went in. And once Simon had said that he was really keen, we went in and recorded a few more songs. So we have ended up with, I think, it’s ten on the album, and two extra that we have done live. And Justin has started sending more ideas for what hopefully, hopefully, will be the next batch of recordings and the next album. So that’s already in its very early stages, but there will hopefully be more recordings to come.

Piroshka Brickbat, Bella Union 2019

And what one of the things I was talking about with Miki when we were together a couple of years ago for the Lush interview, is how much different it is now to be more of like a part-time musician, since you both have demanding jobs and kids. Obviously when you were in Moose, Moose, and when you were in Lush, Miki, well—that first time around, your bands would make regular albums, you’d tour them over there and here and elsewhere, do press, rehearse new material all the time—more of a like a full-time concern. I’ve heard this from so many other bands that have come back, if they couldn’t quit their jobs [like, for example, Ride’s bassist did]. Again to use my own band, since it was just last week. We couldn’t actually do The Chills’ Boston show, The Middle East, because two of us couldn’t get out of our jobs and we also couldn’t do any of the shows beyond D.C. like the Midwest for the same reason; and in fact, two of us had to leave the D.C. show when we were done at 9:30 P.M. to head straight back to New York around three in the morning so they could be at work at 7:30-8! This was not our reality years ago—and I’m certain not yours, now, either. I mean, how do you keep this band together with all your schedules, especially if international tour dates in on the offing. Let alone work up the new material and play it around England.

Kevin: You’re right, it’s so hard. I think because we don’t all live in the same city, anyway! I mean, Mick is out in the countryside in Suffolk, Justin’s down on the South Coast; so, from the very beginning, we were having to do it in a kind of slightly piecemeal way, trying to snatch a weekend here or a couple of days there. So the modus operandi from the very beginning was having to do it in that kind of way. So, it’s just become something that we’re used to. I mean, there is a social element to the band, of course. We are friends, we do like being together. So we know how much we’re all looking forward to snatching five or six days when we’re off to Europe for five or six gigs. We’re going up to Scotland in the north of England again for four or five gigs. So, we’re looking forward to those as much in a social way as anything else, because we don’t really get to spend as much time as we would like together. But we’ve somehow managed to not let that interfere with things. We just say, “This is how it is. This is the reality.” And we kind of get on with it like that.

 

By the way you describe it, it sounds like it’s as much a wonderful little lark, as a creative group.

Kevin: It is, it is! I think you know that cliché: older and wiser. And you know that there’s no big egos in the band. Everyone’s pretty humble. Everyone’s good, everyone contributes, but everyone’s also quite a good listener to other people’s ideas. So everybody gets a fair hearing. If you’ve got a suggestion, if you’ve got an idea, it gets mulled over, it gets considered.

Miki: It’s sort of also that, back in the day, I think when it’s everything—when the band you’re in is like absolutely everything, it’s your job, it’s your unit, it’s your public image. I mean, I think that’s quite a different vibe. I think the fact that it is only one area of ours makes it so different, I suppose. It’s harder to organize but actually easier on this sort of head stress, I think. [Kevin agrees.]

 

I think it’s a little less likely that it becomes a boring grind, too, when you’re not rehearsing three days a week, week in week out, while constantly being hounded by record companies to come up with new material and new hit singles or whatever. And it becomes less of a job and more of a great enjoyable creative enterprise.

Miki: As you said, you just can’t do that. So to do a 30-day tour of the U.K. and nine weeks in the U.S., and then another six weeks in Europe like we used to—I mean, it’s just impossible, because if people got kids and jobs and dogs and what have you…

 

Dogs! [Laughs.] The dog would be especially mad!

Kevin: But really, dogs are part of the family process for this! [Laughter]

 

[Speaking as the dog:] How dare you?! [Laughter.]

Kevin: Mick has to find someone to look after Skipper, his dog.

Miki: Justin has to find someone to look after Iggy. That’s dog stuff, for you.

Kevin: Yeah, that’s true!

 

And the material itself… Well, for the two of you at least, it must be a hoot to be making music together when you’ve obviously been life partners for so long. I mean, that sounds like a stock question, but I don’t actually mean it that way. Again, being a fan on record of both of your individual bands a quarter century ago, I had to laugh the first time I heard your first single off the new album, “Everlastingly Yours.” I said on Facebook, “Holy cow! It sounds like Moose and Lush had a baby!” It’s intriguing in that sense, plus what the others bring. And the range of influences you have surely added since.

Kevin: Right, right, right. It has been really good fun! I suppose there is—yes, it’s me and Miki, but it is the four of us, after all. It could easily have been just a project for me and Miki, and then people could come in, people could leave. But it really does feel like it’s the four of us. [To Miki:] Doesn’t it?

Miki: Oh, completely! I actually weirdly think, when we’re actually rehearsing and stuff, it feels less couple-y; it feels like a different environment. Do you know what I mean?

Kevin: Mmm hmm. I do.

Miki: So, it’s more kind of just four individual musicians and mates rather than us having couple-y things. Well, with the live stuff, we’ve got Suki and Sharon Mew, who is is Justin’s wife [having played keyboards for Elastica and Heave]. It just feels different. It doesn’t feel like we’re sort of joined at the hip, and then there’s another two people. It feels like everybody’s individual. I think of it as we’re musicians and with friends. It’s quite like that, yeah.

 

 

 

Kevin: Yeah. I mean, musically you’ve got the drummer of Elastica, the bass player of Modern English, me, and Miki. I don’t think we’ve ventured a million miles from what we’ve done in the past or from our influences. And I think, especially, we’ve only done a few gigs—just three or four gigs under our belt, but you can certainly feel that it’s a continuity from where we were before. Quite loud, quite powerful, quite noisy.

Miki: Lots of effects!

Kevin: Lots of guitar effects. Effects that hadn’t been invented in 1992. That’s been one of the best things to me. The guitar technology’s changed and improved massively, and…

Miki: Full weeks go by with Moose, just fiddling around with pedals, and finding new pedals, and… [Laughter.]

Kevin: Yeah, absolutely!

 

The size of the rack mount doubles. [Laughter.]

Kevin: Just going on the Internet and just looking at all these tutorials for these kind of muso types, just showing off what you can do with this that and the other, and that’s been quite fun.

Miki: I suppose that’s what’s changed as well, is that [recording] technology, because even with the songwriting, that idea of being able to send files back and forth rather than… Now, I’ve never been someone who can just turn up at a rehearsal studio and start jamming. At the same time, I think that’s why me and Emmy [Lush’s Anderson] used to write so separately, because we just couldn’t really do that. But then if you’re stuck with a porta-studio [the older technology back then], you’re not going to be sending the tapes back and forth, you know what I mean? Whereas now it’s really interactive, because you can just send a Logic file, and then someone could just add stuff in their own time, which is quite liberating, I think, actually, for one thing.

Kevin: Yeah, and a lot of the songs were generated that way, getting and sending files back and forth, sending half-finished songs to Mick Conroy, who was sitting there on his little boat… [Laughter.]

 

Ha! On his little boat! [Laughter.]

Kevin: Yeah! He lives on this tiny little boat in Suffolk, and he’s got his laptop and his guitars, and he’s just listening to music and then adding the bassline, sending it back. Yet that’s been quite a revelation, actually, then for someone like me who’s not very tech-y; not very computer savvy; just to sort of see things unfold like that. That’s been quite nice, I have to say.

 

It sure seems to be working. For instance, my favorite song on the record at the moment is “Run for Your Life.” I think that’s the fourth or fifth one in my collection with that name, starting with the Beatles and including the old Animals singer Eric Burdon. Apparently a lot of British people are running for their lives! [Laughter. Two others are by “Band of Gold” singer Freda Payne and Seattle power-poppers Shakedown at the Majestic, though there’s more.]

Kevin: Oh yeah, yeah, oh yeah, yeah, we certainly are. Running to the bunker!

 

 

What has been your most pleasant surprise or song that makes you glad you’re in this new band at this juncture in your lives? I find that often sustains me as a musician to find out, like, “Wow, that song is something we created and I really like it. It was worth the effort.”

Kevin: Yeah. I think I have to say I do have my favorites. I think it’s impossible not to have your favorite songs. I think “Village of the Damned.” I love the way that turned out with the trumpet and what we did with that one. I think that’s quite lovely and a little bit different to some of the other tracks. And I think also from the more upbeat, more powerful songs, I really like “Never Enough.” It’s just that kind of straight-ahead thing.

 

Yeah, I definitely like the rockers, too, in both your older bands and this one. It’s just kind of my nature, growing up an old punk rocker in the late ’70s. Now of course, I have to ask, and it feels strange asking in this case since you’ve only done like three four or shows of any kind, for the reasons we have discussed here, but is there any chance for American dates? Did I hear that right? Four shows, did you say?

Kevin: Four, yeah.

Miki: And even those weren’t full length. One was for the radio. And we did an in-store.

Kevin: Yeah, we did an in store at Rough Trade [London], and another was a short one, so we’ve really one done one full-length.

JR: Really? Only one proper gig???

Miki: One proper gig.

Kevin: Yeah, one proper gig…

 

JR: One! Oh my goodness.

Miki: That one show in London. [The Lexington, November 27, 2018.]

Kevin: Yeah that one show in London, but we’re rehearsing next weekend and the weekend afterwards because we’ve got some UK gigs coming up [Leeds, Manchester, Cambridge, Bristol, London March 29-April 6, and Liverpool and Lancaster in June] and we’re going to have to play everything. We probably won’t have… What we’d like to maybe have are one or two new songs up and running, maybe by the summer, that we could probably add to the set.

Miki: We can’t really say that, since we haven’t got it done yet. [Laughter.]

Piroshka tour dates in Europe

That’s what you’ve learned in 30 years, huh? Don’t make promises…

Kevin: But America? We have had some contact with agents. So it’s [not out of the question].

Miki: I think we’re going to try to sort out going to America, but we’ll see. It’s quite difficult because it’s so difficult to actually fund it. It’s so expensive. It’s expensive enough to just go on tour in Britain. We’re just in the middle of trying to see if it’s actually plausible. The will is there, but whether the actual infrastructure will support it is the question.

 

Right, even The Chills who are an established band with a three-decade fan base here were all staying with my friends and I and borrowing gear from their support bands to save a buck, cause they had to spend so much on plane tickets and work permits just to start. We had the entire eight people spread out over five homes when they were in Brooklyn. I have to say I really admire they came and did it, anyway. I hope they sold a ton of merch so they can net something in the end, or at least not lose money.

Kevin: Well, we might require a little bit of that assistance! Anyone want to put up Piroshka over there? [Laughter.]

 

[To his seven year old daughter, eating breakfast cereal:] Caroline, will you give up your bed again like you did for The Chills’ manager, for one of these nice folks? Will you?

Caroline: Wait, what? [Laughter.] It’s okay, fine.

 

Okay, so, she’ll manage it! [Laughter.] Seriously, I would guess you have enough good will over here that lots of people will pitch in that way if you ask. And I’ve seen some tours subscribed to in advance or partly funded in advance by a band’s fans [Trash Can Sinatras come to mind], there’s some honor to that. [Live music is both an art form and a community at its best.]

Kevin: Fantastic. And wherever The Chills stayed in DC and Philadelphia, wherever, if that could also be arranged, that’d be fantastic! [Laughter.]

 

I’ll have to ask them. I think some of it was Airbnbs, to be honest.

Kevin: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I’m sure that’s the future for us, too. Miki’s right. We’d all like to do it! We are a six-piece live because, now, again, Justin’s wife plays keyboards and does backing vocals, and we’ve also got our friend Suki you does backing vocals and percussion. So there are six of us on stage and we feel that we do need to be six. There’s a lot of harmonies on the songs and we really want to make sure that those harmonies come across live, and that we put on a good show, if you know what I mean. So, everything we’ve done we’ve done as a six-piece, so I think that’s going to be the future for us. So it does make it a tiny bit more expensive to get out there!

 

 

Two extra work permits, two extra flights, everything else. Yeah.

Kevin: Yeah exactly.

Miki: [Kids:] Plus, of course, he’d miss his wardrobe van… [Laughter.] It has to come. [Kevin mock agrees.]

 

Plus you’d have to add an extra car because he’s a star and won’t ride with the rest of the band.

Kevin: Absolutely. Yeah yeah yeah. I’ll have my own entourage with me!

Miki: Right, I shouldn’t hang with him.

 

Well, time to wrap this up, but is there anything to add that I didn’t ask you about? I like to let a band speak if they have something they’d like to say unprompted.

Miki: No, I can never think of anything.

Kevin: I don’t know, really. I mean, it’s been enjoyable so far. This is a big year, I think, in terms of actually putting strings of dates together. And we’re gonna be getting some festivals as well this summer in the U.K. We’d like to be able to keep the touring going until maybe the autumn before we go in and record. I just want to enjoy it as much as we have done so far, really!

Miki: I think that whatever direction it goes it will just be quite organic, and if we can’t afford to go to America, we’ll just make another record and then we’ll go next time. Do you know what I mean? We’ll see how it goes, but I don’t think there’s anything that we can massively tie our agenda to, because there’s such a sort of weird unsettled thing going on here in Britain. To be honest with you, we’ve got six dates in Europe, and I don’t even know if that’s going to happen post Brexit; so we might all be just sitting on the platform of the Eurostar with that guitar going, “Okay!?!”

Kevin: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s true!

 

You’ll have to cross the border at Northern Ireland.

Kevin: Yes, exactly! [Laughter.]

Miki: Take the long way around. Somebody let me out!!!

 

That’s how you’ll get out. Just take the boat to Belfast and then cross over the soft border there. [Laughter.]

Kevin: Yeah, I mean things like that we joke about, but we really seriously don’t know. I mean, on the 29th of March, we [Britain] are due to leave the European Union, and so much of it is still vague, and it’s a lot of guesswork going on, a lot of speculation as to how things might be. I like the idea of the fact that we could just go to Europe this summer, that there’s still time for us to be added onto festivals and things in France and Spain. But we don’t know. It’d be great to be able to look forward to all of that and know that it was certain, but we just don’t know. Probably be easier to go to America!

 

Probably would, actually. Since we’re already not part of the E.U., our status won’t be affected. [They’ll just have the usual nightmarish work permit hassles that’ve befallen so many.] Well, we’d be glad to see you. And in a quick “gone but not forgotten” final note, I’ve noted the release of both a Moose tribute record and a Lush tribute record just this past year, a quarter century on, and have played both on my weekly radio show.

Kevin: Oh, wow!

 

So obviously your previous songwriting catalogs are still being played by younger musicians, but you’re still creating new ones. Congratulations on that. And on the new album, too.

Kevin: Thanks, Jack. Thank you! Yeah, I mean we’ve had such great feedback. I think the response overall has been overwhelmingly positive, I would say. We’ve had some great reviews and lots of people that have said that they’re glad that we’re doing this, which is, you know—it’s not that we needed a sort of indication, or anything! I think we started this whole idea, I think our first rehearsal with Mick and with Justin was close to two years ago. Like I said, we’ve had to do it in dribs and drabs, so [to Miki:] It’s two years ago, isn’t it? [Yes.] Yeah. It was February or March 2017. So it feels like it’s a long… not a long slog because, like I said, we’ve had to do it in just little bursts weekends here and weekends there. But it’s just nice now that finally we got something out and that people like it.

 

Jack Rabid

Jack Rabid is the founder, editor, and publisher of New York music magazine The Big Takeover. His writing has appeared in Interview, Village Voice, Creem, Spin, Paper, Trouser Press Record Guide, and Musichound, and he hosts 'The Big Takeover Show' on realpunkradio.com every Monday at noon. He also plays drums in Springhouse, now revived and touring with The Chills in early 2019.

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