Stuff of Legend
Wonder Stuff. That very name conjures up so many great memories for
me normally involving way too much beer, some ridiculously entertaining
gigs and me making a complete and utter tit of myself. In fact, this
was probably the most important band that happened to me in my teenage
years and pretty much provided the soundtrack to my adolescence. Therefore
it was something of a pleasant surprise to learn that I would be interviewing
singer, songwriter, guitarist and self confessed gobshite
Miles was in fine form, and we chatted about everything from the novelty
value of The Size of a Cow to the invasion of privacy you
feel when the public toilet you are using is completely empty and then
someone comes and stands at the next urinal to you! Neither of these
subjects made it onto the final draft of the interview there
were more pressing matters. Read on.
AD: First of all, I just want to say thanks for providing me
with some of the greatest nights out of my life back in the late eighties
and early nineties! I mean, I know this is going to sound a bit sycophantic,
but I was a fan from the very beginning right up until the bitter end,
and as a result I feel like I grew up with you. So why do
you think so many of us, despite not knowing you personally, felt such
a close bond with the band?
MH: Thanks for the compliment. I think it really helped that we werent
JUST a band we were four everyday guys out to have a good time,
and I think people could relate to that. It was probably a lot to do
with the area that a lot of bands were growing from at that time as
well. I mean, I dont think Ive ever met anyone from the
West Country that I didnt like so that was probably in our favour
too. Then Pop Will Eat Itself were getting some really good press at
that time as well, and that kind of helped us because we were friendly
with them. They were like us you see, just some ordinary guys with no
pretensions. Just this likeable, approachable image that we presented
instead of projecting ourselves as rock stars like a whole
load of those mid-eighties bands
which quite frankly was ridiculous.
AD: Talking about being likeable and approachable, I met you once,
backstage at Leicesters De Montfort Hall. I asked you politely
if youd mind singing my 12 inch copy of Dont Let Me
Down, Gently and you said Ill be back in a minute.
Next thing I know, were watching you fuck off in a taxi! So now
Im stuck with a record thats signed by all the members of
The Wonder Stuff
except for the lead singer!
MH: Ha ha, sorry about that. Theres probably quite a few of them
and then theres the other ones, that I got my brother
Russ to sign!
AD: You didnt!
MH: Yeah. Well, I got him to sign them Hunt, so it wasnt
as if we were lying
AD: Thats terrible!
MH: No, it was really funny actually. It was for me, anyway. It was
probably good that I didnt come back, because Id adopted
a John Lydon style gobshite façade for myself at
AD: You were definitely always that! I remember an early gig that
you played at Leicester Polytechnic, when some guy whod been making
a nuisance of himself in the crowd managed to get up on stage, run up
to you and say I love you! I think youre brilliant!,
to which you replied Well I think YOURE a fucking cunt
MH: And he LOVED it!
AD: Yeah he did actually, and the whole audience fell about laughing
as you pushed him off the stage! So, how do you remember those early
MH: Good. Very fondly. Its funny you should ask that actually,
because Ive been thinking, these last couple of gigs have been
really just like the old days. I was watching some of our old home movies
recently and its been like watching them through a new pair of
eyes. I think its probably easy to look back on the old days through
rose tinted glasses, but then, my mate Matt from Karma Drive stumbled
across these old photos of us from years back, and there was a picture
of me and Bob Jones in a Jacuzzi sharing a spliff, hanging out in LA
and generally just larging it. You just cant look back at those
moments without feeling a warm nostalgic glow.
But yeah, with these recent gigs its been nice to get back to
basics I mean, these days I only have to worry about one guitar
change per night instead of six!
AD: Its also given you the chance to revive a load of the old
B-sides. Great to see Ooh She Said and Goodbye Fatman
making an appearance in your set recently
MH: Yeah and were thinking of bringing some more oldies back too.
We were thinking about reincarnating Astley In the Noose
as Williams In the Noose, but then when I thought about
it, I realised that the Williams creature was so vile that I couldnt
even bring myself to sing his name! But well be bringing back
some of the old, lesser played album tracks over the next batch of gigs,
especially Grin, seeing as over the years people have ALWAYS
asked us why we didnt play it!
AD: Excellent, I was always very fond of that one myself. Anyway,
lets talk about the new album. Its called Escape From
Rubbish Island, which presumably is indicative of your growing
frustration at the way this country is being run
and that you want
MH: Well, I dont hate England. In fact, as soon as I get out of
London, I realise that I DO like this country a lot. Its more
to do with the fact that I voted these fucking morons into power and
now I feel betrayed because theyve done nothing of any value whatsoever.
I hate the fact that Blair and his cronies are so London-centric
as well, in that they very rarely consider anything outside the capital.
So, I love England but politically, its a shithole. Thats
where the album title came from, and that still makes me laugh now
I think its a great title!
AD: I thought it was hilarious too, mainly because the word rubbish
its rubbish really
MH: Exactly! My dad rang me up and said Yes, well I like the album,
but youve got to find a better word than rubbish for
the title and I was like No Way! Thats the BEST thing
about it. I think most people will get it though
I mean, the word is insulting enough in itself and it just screams I
cant even be fucking bothered to think of anything better.
AD: So what made you decide that, some eleven years after Construction
For the Modern Idiot, now was the right time to release a new
MH: Well, I did carry on with my solo stuff, and the Miles Hunt Club,
so its not as if I was ever really away, but when
I was working with Clint from the Poppies on a couple of film scores
recently, I played him some of the songs and he said to me that they
sounded more like the new Wonder Stuff album than anything else
youve put out since you disbanded. The record company said
the same thing, so we decided that it WOULD be a Stuffies record. We
started having talks about reforming the band to make it, but obviously
talks didnt go too well because Messrs Gilks and Bell decided
to fall out with me in the meantime and stop returning my calls. I thought
long and hard about it for ages whether it was the right thing
to do, putting the album out under the name of The Wonder Stuff
branding as Gilks likes to put it when wants to take a swipe
but then when Malc said Yeah, these are great songs!
Lets do it!, I thought Well, I havent thrown
anyone out of the band; those guys have decided to quit; were
all grown ups so fuck it its a Wonder Stuff record!
AD: Blimey. I wasnt going to press you on that matter. Didnt
think youd want to talk about it!
MH: Well, I wont say TOO much about it because Gilks will just
dispute and deny everything I said anyway, so I wont be drawn
into the debate.
AD: But it WAS always you and Malc that wrote the songs anyway wasnt
MH: Sure, but I still think Martin Gilks is a fucking phenomenal drummer,
and on all our previous albums he put his stamp all over them, so I
can kind of understand why hes upset. Same with Fiddly (Martin
Bell). Hopefully we can patch things up eventually but I think thats
going to take time.
AD: Youve had bust-ups before that were eventually resolved
though havent you? I seem to remember your final gig at the Phoenix
Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon
MH: Oh I was elated after that gig! I mean, I hated every minute of
the show; I just had no interest in it whatsoever. I remember the band
asking me afterwards What are you going to do now? and I
was just like No idea, I just want to get away from you lot!.
It was great to play those three Christmas reunion gigs though, but
I thought if we carried on doing that wheeling ourselves out
once a year and not releasing any new material wed just
be taking the piss out of our fans.
AD: And a fine album materialised as a result of that logic. My favourite
track at the moment is Head Count, complete with its unusual
AD: You sound surprised
MH: Well yeah, because my dad (who I always use as a yardstick for what
people are and arent going to like) told me that he liked the
album but that Head Count was, in his words, absolute
shite. Im glad you liked it though it was actually
written for two of my best friends, Les Johnson and his son Luke (who
played drums on this album), after Les and I had been butting heads
again because were both cantankerous swines! Once wed settled
our differences and were mates again, I decided to make the lyrics about
AD: I cant believe my times nearly up already! Ah well,
one last question if you had to choose a favourite track from
each album, what would you pick?
MH: Off the first album Ruby Horse
AD: Excellent, thats my favourite too!
MH: Ok, from Hup Ill say Cant Shape Up
hang on a minute, Ill change my mind on that because I love the
song but I think we fucked the recording up good and proper and made
it sound really weedy, so Ill choose 30 Years In the Bathroom
instead. From Never Loved Elvis thisll surprise
you Maybe, which is a song Im still really,
really proud of, and finally from the last album, probably Sing
AD: I love Sing the Absurd but for me On the Ropes
was the standout
in fact I thought that was the best track you
MH: Oh shit, I forgout about that one. Yeah actually Im with you
there. Thats the one track where I can listen to it and think
Yeah, this is where it all came together perfectly. So,
are you coming to any of the shows?
AD: Yes, Im going to come to the Nottingham one, hunt you down
and get you to sign this bloody half autographed record!
MH: Ha ha. Nah, Ill just get my brother to do it!
Well thanks a bunch Miles! Nice to know you havent changed!
The Wonder Stuffs excellent new album, Escape From Rubbish
Island is out on 27th September at all good record
Futhermore, Miles writes an hilarious column for the Nottinghamshire
based web publication called The Left Lion that you may
like to check out. Visit; Left
Lion if you fancy taking a look.
Interview - Tone E