Jar-Jar Thinks…

What’s going on lately? I remember when the only Welsh acts were Shirley Bassey and Max Boyce…and they were the credible ones! Right now though, we have a wealth of excellent bands from the valleys (Super Furry Animals, Funeral For a Friend, Lostprophets etc etc) but for me, the insanely creative Jarcrew stand head and shoulders above the rest. The band’s maniac sticksman Rod Thomas chatted to AD about the story so far…

AD: Your debut album, whilst fantastic, is one of the most fucked up things I’ve ever heard! How the hell do you go about writing songs like that?

RT: It’s a culmination of what we’ve all been trying to do musically throughout our lives. We decided to make a modern mish mash of the music that appeals to us. It all just stemmed from us jamming really – we’d just go into a room and play our instruments, and then swap them so that we were all playing instruments that we couldn’t really play! That’s the most important thing – it’s got to be fun, otherwise it’s just wrong, you know?

AD: Very true. I quit my band when they decided to become a serious covers band…

RT: I don’t blame you.

AD: Hang on a minute – I was told that you were the notoriously “mad” member of the group. You don’t SEEM mad…

RT: Yeah I don’t know exactly how I got that reputation but I’ve heard that too! It probably came from when I went through my “funny stage” of taking my clothes off on stage and ending up in just a thong. Then I started wearing sailors’ outfits when we played – that became a bit of an obsession for me…I’m not gay though…

AD: Of course not. So what was the original concept behind Jarcrew then?

RT: I think we decided we were going to be “a band that wasn’t a band”. You see, when we started out, there were fifteen of us and none of us could play an instrument, so we were a kind of “all singing all chanting” band. Just a bunch of secondary schoolers with weird pseudonyms. Then we got a keyboard player called “No fingers Davies”, then we bought our first drum kit. It was at that stage we realised that if we were gonna be able to play these drums, we’ll need a pedal too!

AD: What would be your reaction in the unlikely (and amusing) event of Westlife asking if they could cover one of Jarcrew’s songs?

RT: I’d be honoured!

AD: Oh come on…

RT: No, honestly, I would be! I have nothing against pop music really, although obviously I’d prefer it if Kylie approached us. And of course we’d be laughing all the way to the bank…

AD: I guess there IS that. So, what’s the worst thing you’ve ever read about yourselves?

RT: Well, the NME didn’t exactly love the album; they said “This could have been amazing” and went on about bad, shoddy workmanship and how we were “doomed to stay in the valleys”; but that kind of thing doesn’t really bother us. I think it’s great that people never really knew what to expect of us – I think a lot of folk thought we were going to be some kind of Garage band like The Hives, so when they heard us they were like “Uh…oh…o…k then…”

AD: If you could choose a news headline to come true that would make your day, what would it be?

RT: “Joe Strummer rises from the grave”. Or I’d like them to find that British guy – he was Cornish I think – who went into space; you know, the one that was destined for Mars that went missing. I’ve always been interested in space and that was really sad to me.

AD: Who’s the biggest dick in the public eye?

RT: I’m going to have to go for the obvious here and say Tony Blair. I just think it’s incredible how we can have someone so untrustworthy running our country. I mean, the fact that even George Michael has stated his disapproval speaks volumes!

AD: So, after such a bizarre album, what direction do you take next?

RT: We’re going to do a folk album.

AD: HUH?!!

RT: We’ve played live before with this amazing band called the Incredible String Band who play this really weird and strange kind of folk music. Maybe we’ll take a leaf out of their books. Nah, just kidding – we’ll probably just carry on trying to write good songs. We’re off to Iceland as well, so you never know – maybe we can do a bit of Bjork type warbling on the next record too…

Strewth. The first album was outrageous enough. The way Jarcrew are going, the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band will have nothing on them! Anyway, thanks to Rod for this fascinating chat, and hopefully we’ll see them in the charts some time soon. Yeah RIGHT. This band’s WAY too good for that!

Interview and transcript; Tone E

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