Third in the series of fan questions and answer sessions with the members of the band. Fans submitted questions to the band's myspace and through the official site, and some of the best were were put to the band before they took the stage at london's Hammersmith Palais.
This week: Paul Simonon, the bass.
Was the stage backdrop one of Paul's paintings?
-Mick Winters Atlanta, GA, USA
Yes it is. I did one, the one with the bridge in it, and it's a combination of views and buildings in the north kensington area, in west london. The problem I had was that my studio's not big enough, so what we had to do is roll out half of it, and paint it with a broom - I actually painted it with a broom, and the reason is, I've had a bit of experience with this after doing quite a few backdrops for the carnival for some friends, the easiest way is to just get a broom and move the paint around to get the form of what you need (I just used emulsion paint for this, house emulsion) then took a brush and drew in the images that I had roughly in my mind. Then we discovered we needed another piece, which is difficult because we had to match the two up. But it seemed to work, anyway. The lighting people say it seems really good on stage. And the other thing is it is is part of the theatrical element. I am trying to bring up a few more ideas to have a few different backgrounds. This one will be photographed as a whole piece, then put on a screen that will come down, the hopefully when I've got time, it will lift up and there will be a different one there with a different picture.
The SXSW show at Stubb's was amazing. My question is where did Paul find those killer cool moves? He's by far the best Bass guitarist live to watch. I found myself mesmerized and moving side to side as Paul smootly graced the stage. BTW, Thanks for a great once in a lifetime musical experience.
- Chris Lang Portland, OR, USA
To be honest, I just react to the music. It's the music that makes me move that way. In The Clash, it was a different sort of music, so I moved in a completely different way. Then again, the type of music we're playing doesn't really require someone my age leaping up in the air and doing windmills or the different moves I did in the Clash. Even the way I play bass is different now, in the Clash I mostly used a pick but for this project I mostly use my thumb.
I really like the "dub-groovy" basslines you put on the record. How did you approach it? Upon hearing the songs, did you hear it naturally or were you really going for that style?
It was my response to what I heard. The tracks would be playing and I would think of something that would come out dramatic, or something of that nature, just to give it something that was more of a mood I suppose. Perhaps also to toughen it in some ways. Some of the songs are quite melodic and my playing acts as a counterpoint to that, a suggestion of an aggressive mood. A bassline with a sneer!
I was pleasantly surprised to hear bass notes from "The Crooked Beat" in "A Soldier's Tale." Was it a conscious decision to incorporate a little bit of The Clash into the album?
- Gil from the San Francisco Bay Area
No that's something completely different, maybe there are a few notes that are the same but it wasn't an intentional reference to the Clash song.
Will the band ever perform 'Guns of Brixton' (or any other cover song) again?
- Danny, Hull
Well on our part it was a moment of madness. We realised it was unnecessary really... or we should have done a Blur song, then one of Tony's and one of Simon's. We just knew straight away, that we didn't have to do that, we should just stick to our own songs. It was a one-off, and we won't do any more covers in future.
Paul, if the band records in the future, are you thinking in writing any new song like you did with The Clash?
- Mario R
Well for this record and quite a lot of the Clash stuff, I worked on collaboratively, but as for doing my own song - maybe, if the time called for it. But generally I've enjoyed getting involved with the writing via the whole music process. As for singing, I could give or take that really. Anyway someone's got to do backing vocals!
Where did you get that cool trilby?
-Ian Cowan, Scotland
I was really fortunate, I was on holiday in the south of france, and they had one of these markets where they have the cheeses, all the clothes, this kind of thing, and there was one stall that was selling these hats, and they're only like seven euros. So I bought three, and came away thinking I should have bought more. I went back the next week because I was still there in France, but the guy had gone. Then I came back to London, but my friends who were staying down in France a bit longer, went the following week and then the guy was there again, so they bought a whole bunch of hats. Some were pink, some were blue, some were red, so I tended to spray them up. Which is probably why they look like leather or something. I had a stock of them, but it's dwindling now. They're only light straw, so after a bit they come apart. I did find another place actually, in New York, the New York Hat Company, they only do wholesale but there are some good hats there. A good hat is hard to find.
What is the significance of the key you wear around your neck?
I've had to leave home. So it's a reminder.
- Will you write your autobiography in future?
Ian Cowan, Scotland
I'm not interested in that. Other people can write about me, they'll probably make it up though, they usually do. I have done a bit of writing, I did write about my childhood, I got asked by my friend who's a guest writer for a magazine called Another Magazine, I did a bit of writing about growing up and then up to the point of meeting Mick Jones to start The Clash, but it's not really my thing. I enjoy writing, I did another piece for a book on bullfighting actually. I do like writing but I'm not too interested in writing about myself
ARE YOU GOING TO PERFORM LIVE MAKE IN MY TOWN???
- (this question asked by hundreds of fans, including Carlos from Mexico City)
We have the European festivals coming up, quite a lot of stuff there. Beyond that we just have to see how it goes. We don't really know. I don't think there's anything written in for next year but we may go into the studio for a little bit pretty soon and see how it is. We'll just see how it goes really. The good thing is we've all got other things on. After the American tour we went off and did our own thing, then we've met up and we're doing this show now. It's like a part time job in a way.
Will there be a live DVD?
- Danny, Hull
I think you can see a lot of that stuff already, a lot of it is out there I think. We may put something out at some stage but there are no definite plans at the moment.
Do you prefer the live or the studio sound?
- Judith, Barcelona
The studio's interesting because you can alter things then and there, you can stop things then go back and do things again, as much as you want really. But laying onstage, it's an instantaneous, it's here's the stage, here's the audience, here we are playing the songs. They're both completely different really. Of course when you're in the recording studio there's no need to do any pirouettes around a soundbooth whereas onstage it might be called for, you know?
What are the bands favourite tipple??
- Kim Piper, Aberdeen
Rum. Rum and ginger beer. Not ginger ale, but ginger beer. Tony and Simon said whiskey? Well, I like whiskey as well! We can have both. Or our own bottle each. But rum's good. A good pirate drink.
Last edited by 2-J
on Sun Oct 21, 2007 3:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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