The Wonder Stuff have been busy rehearsing for a string of shows including their forthcoming support slot with the Levellers. We managed to pin down Miles Hunt, lead singer with the Stourbridge hit-makers, to tell us a bit about what’s happening in his world at the moment.
The Wonder Stuff are usually a top-of-the-bill band rather than support and it’s been quite a while since they took on that role. “While we were out on a US tour in 2005 we opened two shows for The Bravery. They were laughable, a really piss-poor version of The Killers – talk about not setting your sights very high! I have to add though, we are not ‘supporting’ the Levellers, we are ‘Special Guests’ – there’s a huge difference! I say that, of course, with my tongue firmly in my cheek. It’s going to be a grand tour, that’s for sure.”
The band have already taken albums The Eight-Legged Groove Machine and HUP out on the road, a trend that seems to be all the rage at the moment. This summer will mark the 20th anniversary of Never Loved Elvis. “We will do two shows in December to mark the anniversary, one in Birmingham, one in London. We plan to film and record the shows to release both as a live album and DVD”
There’s been a change in the ranks recently, with drummer Andres Karu being replaced (amicably!) by Fuzz Townshend, formerly of Pop Will Eat Itself and Bentley Rhythm Ace, making The Wonder Stuff a kind of Stourbridge super-group. “I guess that does make us as close to a Stourbridge super-group as has yet been achieved. We’ve been rehearsing with Fuzz recently and the band is sounding great – what else would you expect! We even had Adam Mole of PWEI drop by the studio today, although he wouldn’t be encouraged into picking up a guitar. Fuzz is up for the present bunch of gigs that we have booked; after December . . . who knows?
“These days I think we’re a better band than we ever were, not just as players but as friends – and that goes a long way to what mood we put across when on stage. Audiences can see, and are sometimes visibly surprised, that we are enjoying ourselves. A lot of it comes down to the fact that we know what to avoid these days. The media, record companies, music business in general . . . it all got in the way of us being a good band. I love the independence we have these days.
“I don’t like chasing fame, too many bullshitters to put up with. I can’t stand having my picture taken either. I despise music industry ‘bashes’, or anyone that casually uses the word ‘crazy’ to describe being busy, like most media imbeciles do. I know exactly what it takes to be ‘successful’ and I just ain’t interested in it. I like hanging around with people who simply have a good tune to play or sing, and that is it, the extent of my hunger. The rest of the nonsense is really someone else’s game.”
With such a good vibe in the camp some new material might be coming along soon. “I wouldn’t go holding your breath for a new Wonder Stuff album. I’ve often encouraged Malc Treece (our guitarist) to do some writing since we released our last album, Suspended by Stars, in 2005, but he’s either deaf or lost interest. Either way I’m bored of asking. The good news is that Erica [Nockalls, Wonder Stuff fiddle-player] and I will have an album of new material out at the tail end of the year. Before that Erica and I’ll be releasing a new live album, which we have just finished recording.”
The famously acerbic frontman has never been one to mince his words, particularly so when it comes to venting spleen over the music industry. “Thankfully I know very little about what’s going on, and I honestly couldn’t care less. I’d be happy to see major labels put out to pasture. Most people in the music business are chewing on bones they buried over a decade ago, more in most cases. Some new blood, with new ideas and no fear of risking their comfort zone could only be a good thing. But like I said, I couldn’t give a flying fuck about the music industry, and I never did.”
For more information on The Wonder Stuff and what’s happening in Huntland, including Miles and Erica and Shared, click on www.thewonderstuff.com.