The Zutons | Separate Buses

"You just have to take a break and go back to your hometown. Your friends are there, and your body and mind settles, and eventually you can get creative again."



  Photo by Dan Burn-Forti

"We've never been the cool band in England, you know what I mean? We all think and hope that, because we're honest about our music and ourselves, that we'll stick around."

Russell Pritchard of the Zutons is calling from his hometown of Liverpool, home of the the famed Mersey Beat of the '60s and Paul McCartney's pre-Wings outfit. If the Zutons have their way, Liverpool is going to have another band of catchy guitar-pop maestros staking its claim on the international music map. Helping the band inch one step closer to world domination is the August 22 release of the Zutons' sophomore disc, Tired of Hanging Around.

The band had been on the road for almost two years, gaining momentum and scooping up great reviews before they hit the studio again at the tail-end of 2005. "The most difficult thing is when you've been touring for about six months, and you get into a bit of a routine," says Pritchard. "Then you get into these intense spells where you kind of fly to different parts of the world within a couple of days of each other, and just the feeling of constantly moving fucks with your head a bit, to be honest. You don't really get used to it; you just sort of get on with it. I've talked to other bands about it, and you just have to take a break and go back to your hometown. Your friends are there, and your body and mind settles, and eventually you can get creative again."

Once they were allowed some time for a bit of rest and relaxation, the band immediately got work on demos and hooked up with producer Stephen Street (Ash, The Smiths). What was it like working with a new producer this time around? "Stephen was very different than Ian Brody, who produced Who Killed The Zutons. Last time around, we had bits and pieces of songs that we sort of had to cobble together. On this one, we had all of the songs ready to go. We were able to spend more time getting the sounds right, and getting the takes right. Stephen is a great engineer, and he wanted to come in and get right to work on the sounds. He wasn't aloof if we wanted to know what the fuck he was doing!"

Tired of Hanging Around also went a long way toward capturing what Pritchard feels is a better representation of what they sound like in their natural habitat of performing in front of manic Zutons fans. "The one thing we weren't pleased with on the first album is that it didn't sound live. When Stephen Street came to see us play, the first thing he said was that he definitely wanted to capture the way we played those songs to him when he came to our show." When I mention that the new album sounded more melodic and confident, Pritchard enthusiastically agrees. "On the first album, you can hear the influences a bit more, they're more obvious. On the second album though, we've become better at taking our individual influences, putting it all together, and what comes out is Zutons. We haven't said, ‘Well, we want that kind of bass line,' or ‘that kind of groove.' We've kind of tried to get away from that sort of thing, and really started to make our own music."

Now that the album has wrapped, Prichard, saxophonist Abi Harding, guitarist Boyan Chowdhury, drummer Sean Payne, and vocalist/guitarist David McCabe are ready to bring Tired of Hanging Around to audiences worldwide. When the band hit the road in 2004, they ran the gamut, from headlining their own shows to opening for the likes of U2, R.E.M., and Oasis. "All of the bands offered some insight as to how a successful group operates and how they keep it together for so long. It's pretty rare that bands last for that long of a time."

While on the R.E.M. tour, Pritchard got a chance to spend some time with fellow bassist Mike Mills, who revealed his band's secret to longevity. "Mike Mills told us that they each have their own bus. We were like, ‘Wow!' I guess after so many years, it's good to have your own space to travel in, and it helps the band to carry on because of all the other time that band members spend together. It was kind of an eye-opener in the sense that you think, ‘Well, when we are going on ten years together, maybe each of us should have our own buses.'"

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply