'Anymore' was a difficult song to write and one that I was not, at all, sure about putting on the record because it is, essentially, an unkind song - which is a rare thing - and it’s not the entirety of how I feel about the situation. The whole record is about different angles on the same situation and that’s a negative one.
But, taken just standing alone, yeah, it’s an unkind song and I don’t wish to be unkind to anybody, particularly.
But, at the same time, I think it’s just - at the end of the day - first of all, I think it’s a good song; I think it’s a powerful song and also it’s a necessary part of the puzzle, really, to bring the whole thing together.
I played it to my friend who I play my stuff to get outside opinions and she said that she thought it was heavier than Slayer - which I thought was quite a statement. It’s certainly a difficult song for me.
Art’s not supposed to be comfortable. I didn’t want to make a record that was just easy and comfortable. What’s the point in that? But, it’s something that was difficult to sing and is still difficult to sing
The Astoria was a big venue in London - for those who don’t know - and I went to many, many, many shows there over the years. In fact, one of the first proper big gigs I went too was Foo Fighters there. I saw Rancid, NOFX; everybody played there and I miss it.
I played there a bunch, Million Dead played there and I played there. Never actually got to headline the place, which was really annoying, because that was the top of my music bucket list ever since I started playing in bands - was to headline the Astoria and I never actually did. But I did play the last ever gig there. I do have fond memories of and part of me thinks it’s a shame.
The one thing I would say about it though and hopefully - and that is the part of the subject of the song in question here - around that closure, I did a bunch of interviews and the start of it was definitely on board with that it’s a tragedy, it’s a shame and all the rest of it. But the more I talk to people about it, the more I thought, ‘well, actually, hold on a minute. Rock-N-Roll is not supposed to be about museums and oil paintings and capturing things and aspects of future generations.
It reminded me of that whole thing of whenever you see a guitar in a glass case - a presentation case - there’s something wrong about that. Guitars are there to be played and Rock-N-Roll, as an art form, is a theme of it. It’s supposed to be something that flashes in the night and there’s a moment and you were there - or you weren’t there. If you weren’t there then go out and find a new moment to capture, create the moment, whatever it might be.
'The Fisher King', yeah, it’s an Arthurian legend. It’s a very complicated grail legend and it’s featured in lots of bits of popular culture - not least T. S. Eliot’s, The Waste Land - a poem of which I’ve had a long and deep obsession for many years.
The Fisher King, there’s a lot of different strands to the legend. He’s the keeper of the Holy Grail, but he’s also the king, of a dead land, who sits in his barren castle, by a dead river, fishing and waiting for the return of his brother, the king, who will bring life back to his kingdom; and he’s a pathetic and broken character.
One day I was on the train in South London - basically, any train you take out of South London you go past Battersea Power Station - and the point about Battersea Power Station is that it’s this massive grandiose Victorian brick building with chimney, but it’s a ruin, essentially. It’s not actually falling down but it’s long since ceased to be a functioning power station and they’ve been trying to find out things to do with it since forever. I think they’re having another go at turning it into luxury flats right now - we’ll see if that actually happens or not. But no one wants to pull it down because it’s an iconic landmark.
I was going past it and I just thought to myself, yeah, that seems like a place - because it’s near the river as well - where the Fisher King can sit with his rod and fish.
The Fisher King is an interesting song to me because I’m not entirely sure what it’s about, in a good way. I guess it’s about how people are endearing in their endless repetition of obvious mistakes. Everybody screws up like their parents did. Like Philip Larkin pointed out, “they fuck you up, your Mum and Dad.” It’s an endless, almost inescapable cycle, but in a funny way there’s something quite endearing about that, it’s the thing that makes us human - something like that anyway and then the Fisher King.
"Hipster" is a word that I, arguably, overuse or perhaps should be more careful in defining. I was never cool when I was a kid and I used to really hate the people at school, in my social circle, who were; the very ‘elitist’ almost snobbish kind of attitude to life and popular culture.
As I got older and moved to London and went out in the world and there are just those people for whom music is an affectation - that annoys the living shit out of me because music shouldn’t be an affectation. What music is to me - the reason I love music - is because it’s just everything; it’s the core, it’s the soul and it’s not a fashion trend. I just get so irritated.
Later, in the same song, and somebody says something like, “oh, well guitar music is out now…” What does that even fucking mean? Out of what? Either you like music or you don’t like it.
Similar questions people ask you, “What’s your guilty pleasure in music?” I don’t have any guilty pleasures. I like the music that I like.
The dig at Shoreditch, I don’t know - who knows? It’s slight Williamsburg-esque around there and Vice magazine - I actually quite like Vice magazine but it’s just that, sort of, particular scene. It’s just frustrating and that slightly haughty sense of ironic detachment that goes with it all. Just drives me up the fucking wall - it really does.
As it says, I want bands that mean it, I want music to mean and. I’ve seen myself being criticised in the press here and there for being un-ironic and it’s just like, how - in what universe is that a criticism?
I’m not saying that every single piece of music ever made anywhere has to be sincere, but for God’s sake, mean something that you say, on occasion.