The Everthere | Elbow’s Guy Garvey

“It’s difficult, because it was that stuff [drinking] that inspired the writing and it became really important through this illness. So, I suppose musically, this goal we set out all those years ago is more melancholy than I actually am, than any of us are.”

 

 

All too often, Elbow frontman Guy Garvey appears to be on the verge of some great breakdown, either physical or mental. His songs are always full of passion, grief, and brutal honesty. So of course, my first concern when talking with him is happiness. “Generally speaking, I am happy,” laughs Garvey. “I’ve got a massive, crazy, lovely family and a big bunch of very good friends that I work with. After 15 years now, the band are practically my brothers. I’m surrounded by people who care about me.”

More importantly, Garvey has curtailed some of his more alcohol-fueled endeavors. “Generally speaking, I don’t slide off the plate completely and start commiserating with alcohol like I used to.” The renewed and refreshed Garvey also appears to have a better picture of his muse. “It’s difficult, because it was that stuff [drinking] that inspired the writing and it became really important through this illness. So, I suppose musically, this goal we set out all those years ago is more melancholy than I actually am, than any of us are.”

Elbow’s third CD, Leaders of the Free World, opens with the beautiful “Station Approach,” a love song to the city and the idea of being home. “It’s exactly what we were all feeling the day it was written,” says Garvey. “The equipment was working, the room was beautiful, and we knew we were home for at least 12 months.” Leaders reflects that sense of belonging, revealing some of the band’s most assured work.

The band, while not a household name in the United States, sells albums moderately well and has toured to appreciative crowds. “People ask, ‘Do you wish you were Coldplay?’ and the answer is, ‘No, not really,’” Garvey reveals. “As much as I respect them for what they do and the level of fame they achieved in such a short time, my head would have exploded. I’m really much happier sort of making my discreet music that fits somewhere special for people; that’s the idea, anyway.

“We seem to have a special place, and that’s just the most flattering thing in the world.”

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