Idlewild guitarist Rod Jones talks to Roofdog
Idlewild have broken the mould of British indie-rock, pushing the boundaries and making noisy post-grunge way too cool. Alix Bell caught up with guitarist Rod Jones backstage before their sellout gig at Newcastle University...
Where did the band name originate?
It comes from a book, Anne of Green Gables. It's a place, a meeting place in the book.
How did the band form?
We met at a party in 1995, a student party. It was one of those parties where you meet loads of people who you just have nothing in common with at all. Then we met a couple of people who we did actually have something in common with so we got talking and we all wanted to form a band.
Who are your musical influences?
When we met one of the reasons we got talking was because we had about four or five American indie rock bands in common like Nirvana, Superchunk, Fagazio, Pavement, things like that, Slint.
Where did the name for the new album, 100 Broken Windows come from?
It was just one of those phrases that Roddy (right, with Rod) wrote in his book ages and ages ago. It was a working title and it just stuck. I think the way he sort of explains it is that it is a statement that fits in with the theme of the whole album which is basically dissatisfaction.
How does 100 Broken Windows compare to Hope is Important?
I think it's just progression, which it had to be really. I think we've just got better at writing songs, more confident. It's just where we are now which is further up the road than we were before. I'm not slagging off the first two albums because they're really good and they document what we did at the time but I think this is the best stuff we've done.
Do you prefer playing live or working in the studio?
Up until recently, definitely live. It's a completely immediate way of getting your ideas across to people. We have been labelled more as a live band. This record is conscious to try and get away from that because our records have just sat in the shadows of what we are live. We're trying to make this record stand up on its own without the live effect. We really had a good time in the studio this time and really worked out how we wanted to sound. So I'd say both live and in the studio.
What festivals are you playing this year?
I think we're actually doing them all this year again. We're not really at the stage where it's that controversial if we play all the festivals. T in the Park is confirmed and I think we're going to do Reading and Glastonbury as well.
Have you had any particularly outstanding festival experiences?
The first time we played Reading was really good. It was the first time we played in front of 7000 people who wanted to see us. We've supported bands in big places. We've done all the festivals when it went wrong but that was the first time it came right with a lot of people. It was just a good gig as well.
Who would be on your fantasy festival line-up?
How many bands have I got to name? Iron Maiden, Sonic Youth, Slint, Fagazio, Shallock. There are loads of bands that I really like but obviously wouldn't be that good at festivals because they're probably not the kind of band you can get drunk and pass out to in a big field. There's loads of good bands.
Are you for or against the distribution of music on the internet? I don't really know actually. It's good that you can get hold of records easily but I suppose maybe it's a bad thing in that a lot of record shops will have to shut. I don't really have a massive opinion on it.
If you could cover any single what would it be?
We've covered a couple of songs already. There are loads of songs that I like but I really wouldn't want to cover because I think they've done so well by the band already we couldn't do it any better. There are songs that we've done and changed around. We covered a Sandy Denny song. We did a cover of a song called Rescue by Echo and the Bunnymen. There isn't really one song I'd particularly like to cover. If there was we'd just do it.
If you were going to produce a collaboration with anybody who would you choose?
It's been mentioned before that we were going to get Justine from Elastica to sing on our record but that kind of fell through. That would have been quite good. There's so many people I admire but I don't know whether it would be completely appropriate for some of them to collaborate with.
If you could have written one song what would it have been? I'm trying to narrow it down to one song. Probably something like Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth. That's probably the first song that got me into good music. It would be good to write a song that's important like Smells Like Teen Spirit. It's not my favourite song of all time but obviously it's one of the most important songs of the last 20 years.
What song or band inspired you to form a band?
I was into dodgy metal for quite a long time when I was a young kid and then I got into better music through my best friend's brother. He used to give me compilation tapes with loads of different bands on. There probably isn't one band. Predominantly American indie bands like Superchunk, Sonic Youth, Pavement, Nirvana, Figazio, the bands that influenced us.
If there was a fire in your house and you could only rescue three things, what would they be?
The cat, my shoes and a jumper.
If you were stuck on a desert island with three people who would you like them to be?
I don't want to say because I'll just offend people. I'd like it to be my three best friends.
Who is your favourite Spice Girl?
That's a tricky question. It changes on a weekly basis actually. It used to be Scary Spice. I don't really have a favourite Spice Girl. I'm not a big fan of the Spice Girls to be honest. Probably Sporty Spice, she's got a nice tracksuit.
If you could send a lightning bolt through anybody who would it be?
I'm not really a big fan of slagging people off, not in the press anyway. No, I can't give you an answer to that. I can think of lots of people but I don't want to say.
If you could be a superhero who would you be and what powers would you have?
I'd be called Rodman and I'd have a big rod. That's in like a staff, nothing phallic.
If you could be an animal what would you be?
A ferret. No actually I'd probably be a badger. Yes. I'd be a badger just because they look nice.
If Liam and Robbie had a fight who would win?
I don't care. I really don't know. I think they're both idiots.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one ability what would it be?
I'd like to be a world class fisherman.
If you could be any cartoon character who would you be?
Interview by Alix Bell
The Music Bar