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Crash & Burn (a bit)

Reading books, watching videos, staring from windows and scanning holiday snaps...Swervedriver are nothing if not visusal. Philp Mil discusses the band's six months absence and discovers why hair is where the heart is...

Photo: David Tonge

It's one of those days, and Adi is being artistic with a Strongbow drinks mat. This involves carefully colouring in the arm black. I mean how much blacker can you get than that? "But I've just got another one in" he grumbles when I suggest that they go and have their pictures taken while I think up some questions. Jimmy winks at me conspiratorially: "Just make it up" he whispers, "everyone else does."
Swervedriver have been away. It's been almost six months. Did you miss them? And now they're back with a new record (Never Lose That Feeling) and a new tour (supporting Soundgarden). These are basically loud and sleazy, respectively. Or rather irrespectively. And they're nothing if not rather irrespective. Loud? Sleazy? One big heavy bastard? Yep, just like old times.
"But I'm naturallydishevelied" Adl protests as I ask him about his style. "Yeah, but I've got like an INTENSE personal reason why I have got dreadlocks."
Go on.
"I got my dreadlocks specifically to make a girl jealous."
By now, the arm is holding a cat. It's helpfully labelled 'Adi the cat'.
"She threw me over for someone else, and I knew that she thought dreadlocks were wondertul so..." Every goes blank (again).
"She wanted me back" he ventures hopefully, "but I told her to fuck off." At this point he rips open a packet of crisps scoops out a handful. "And I'm proud of it!" he boasts, shutting his eyes and cramming them longways into his mouth.
Silent apart from 'chomp chomp chomp.'
"Well I know it's not a very 90s man thing to do..." he groans in response to our fake disapproval, "but I waited three years for my revenge, and I got it, and it feels fucking brilliant."
I expect Graham feels the same way. Six dates into their American tour, he suddenly decided he had better things to do than hit things, and our intrepid trio suddenly found themselves drummerless. Not good news. How did Graham spring it on you, boys?
All three of them look faintly embarrassed. "It was a bit odd actually" admits Jimmy shiftily. "We popped out to get a load of cigarettes at the American customs, and he got arrested. They held him in a room for ages, and we didn't know what the fuck was going on. The next thing we knew, the customs guys were telling us that he didn't want to be in the band any more!" "We thought they were just spinning a yarn" drawls Adi.
"We thought they were just trying to get us to admit we had loads of bags of grass stuffed under the wheel of our van."
In fact, it did indeed turn out that Graham had at that moment decided to leave the band. Whoops.
"We were a bit shocked" understates Adam, "And unfortunately, he did leave us at a rather precarious time, but we drew up a list of possible replacements while we were on the road (all for some reason called Dan), and we managed not to miss a single gig."
Hey, professional to the last, eh?
"Actually it ended up spurring us on even more" continues Adam. "In Vancouver we were rehearsing with Danny, and the radio station actually put out the message that we didn't have a drummer and that we were rehearsing drummers, so we got loads of hopefuls turning up."
Didn't it affect the gigs?
"Hmmm," muses Jimmy, "they were really on the ball, which is strange because we'd always thought the songs were quit~ complicated."
You mean it didn't even make any difference at'all?
"Well drummers can do that" he chuckles. "I mean how hard can it be?"
So what's it like on the road?
"Oh, it's good fun" grins Jimmy.
"Aye" Adi agrees, "Jimmy and I just swan around all the pizza places going 'Oh, it's really crap here.'"
Jimmy grins sheepishly. "I don't really read. Although the last book I read (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest) I did actually buy on the road." His face is suddenly transformed as he realises.'!iJ1at he has said: "God!", he exclaims, "I was so bored, I actually bought a book."
What a bunch of fucking wasters. So all you do is watch videos, right?
"It's traditional" mumbles Jimmy.
"Hey, we look out of the window as well" says Adi defensively, "I tell you, looking out of the window can be fucking great. Six o'clock in the morning, going through..."
Adam by this stage is giving a practical demonstration, as Jimmy gets out his Swerved river tour holiday snaps. Every one is of a van hubcap. "Les hommes noir, les hommes noir" they chant excitedly as they pass them round and I wonder whether it's safe ever for them to go away again. I mean, don't you get worried when you go through customs?
"Oh yeah." Jimmy nods seriously: "I mean, who's gonna be next?"

Swervedriver release Never Lose That Feeling on May 26

Originally Appeared in Lime Lizard, July, 1992 Copyright © Lime Lizard.