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WinterGreen Interview

When did you decide that a career in music was for you?

Mike: Very early on – I have always loved music. Writing songs has always been natural and cathartic. I combine music with making films. I love making stuff.

Grant: When I first hit the drum kit back in secondary school.

Pete: Learning to play the recorder aged 10.

Who are your musical inspirations and why?

Grant: Rolling Stones, Led Zep, Radiohead.

Pete: These two dudes either side of me.

Mike: For me it always comes down to the song. So from Cole Porter to the Beatles, Kinks, XTC, Squeeze, Aimee Mann, Rufus Wainwright…… and what Pete said.

Can you tell me 3 things about yourself that people might not already know?

Grant: I used to run 800m for Great Britain. I broke my neck in a swimming pool. I’m training for an Ironman.

Mike: I make films. I am a ginge, and a veggie.

Pete: I’m very secretive, very quiet, and very shy.

What song of yours best describes you and why?

Mike: “Fragile”. Not on any of our albums as yet.

Pete: “The Rock and its Stars” – a song about old rock stars.

Grant: “You Didn’t Know When to Stop the Party” ha ha!

What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?

Mike: All of them!

Grant: The one we did in London at The Hope & Anchor. The night out after was good fun!

Pete: In a previous band I performed at Old Trafford Cricket ground and got booed by about 2,000 people. That was quite special.

If you could perform a gig at any venue where would it be and why?

Mike: I would love to play a classic venue such as the Apollo with so much history, or Hollywood Bowl. Not holding my breath though.

Pete: Somewhere like an old Roman amphitheatre on cliffs overlooking the ocean.

Grant: Manchester Apollo – best venue for sound in the city.

What has been your best achievement to date and what would you like to achieve in the future?

Mike: I’ve loved making these albums, but more broadly having a great family, and making nine feature films alongside the music.

Pete: Four albums so far. Hopefully another 4 at least.

Grant: Same as them two.

Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?

Mike: I once played a gig where tequila was 50p. I drank of a lot of it. Unfortunately the venue had a polystyrene tiled ceiling and when I jumped up rather enthusiastically I put my head through the ceiling and brought the whole lot down!

Grant: Ha ha! You literally brought the house down Mike…! Pete used to write the Gig Blogs for a previous band, completely exaggerated stories of rock & roll mayhem. One of his Blogs described me disappearing with one of the venue’s barmaids. It was a total fabrication and got me into a right load of trouble with my then girlfriend! 

Pete: OMG I have so many stories from over the years, in various bands. One day I’m going to write a book and it will all be in that!

What do you like best about being a musician and why?

Mike: There is that special thing about being in a band where it makes what you are doing as an individual better. It is also very cathartic. Like having your own therapist when you write songs.

Pete: When it clicks, when you’re in a band and you’re playing and it sounds f-king great…… that.

Grant: Playing in front of a big and engaged crowd is what it’s all about.

If you were not in the job you are now what would you be doing?

Mike: I make music, film, write and teach so would probably do one of them.

Pete: I’d be a music journalist. Or a football journalist. Or a quantity surveyor.

Grant: Something in sport or just retired early!

What has been the best gig you have been too as a fan and can you tell us about it?

Grant: Rolling Stones in Manchester. Unbelievable how good they were at the age of 300 or whatever they are!

Mike: I saw Brian Wilson in Ireland supported by Rufus Wainwright. I danced with my wife at the front and no one else stood up so Brian played the whole gig to us and talked to us throughout. Also a solo gig by Glen Tilbrook.

Pete: New Order at The Hacienda back in the day. I was right at the front, next to a PA speaker. I was deaf for about four days afterwards. I lost a shoe and my expensive watch got crushed. Top gig!

What would your ideal festival line-up be and why?

Mike: Beatles, Beach Boys, Blondie, Kinks. XTC, Squeeze, Sam and Dave, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Leadbelly, Aimee Mann, Dolly Parton, Otis redding, Elvis, John Grant would be a good one.

Pete: Kraftwerk, The Beach Boys, Blondie, James, Blur/Oasis and us.

Grant: Led Zep, Black Crowes, Oasis, Paul Weller, Radiohead, The Who, The Stones, and Us!

What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Mike: Don’t run in the road naked.

Pete: When I was starting out, learning the bass, I was struggling to play certain things and I said to the guitarist in the band I was in at the time “I’m not a real bass player you know” and he said, “What’s that you’re holding?” I replied “A bass guitar”. He said “What are you doing with it?” I said “Er...playing it?” to which he said, “Then you are a bass player….” 

Grant: Never expect anything of anyone and you won’t be disappointed!

What things make you happy and what things annoy you?

Pete: Happy – Sunny days; Annoy me – Lazy people. Seize the day everyone! 

Grant: Happy – Watching Liverpool FC win. Annoy – The PC brigade.

Mike: Family and er family. Listening to music on a sunny day either asleep or running, but not both.

What things do you like to do when you are away from music?

Pete: Listen to music; Football.

Mike: Films, running, writing, family.

Grant: Watch Liverpool FC, train for the IronMan, spend time with my girls.

Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry?

Mike: I will let Pete answer that one.

Grant: So will I….! 

Pete: I do, but I think Spotify’s omnipotence is unhealthy. I think record LABELS should have their own websites with their bands’ music on them, to stream. We need to get back to the old tried & tested method of sending out demos, being spotted playing live, and having your music released by music entrepreneurs like Tony Wilson, Alan McGee and so on.

How important do you think you look and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?

Pete: Not as important as some people seem to think it is.

Grant: For a lot of people it’s everything – I’d like to think the music is what matters most.

Mike: I think it is vital in selling music.

Can you tell us about any tattoos you have and the significance of them to you?

Mike: None.

Grant: Me neither.

Pete: I don’t have any tattoos but I’m forever writing notes on my hand like “buy some milk”.

If you run the country for a day what would you change about it and why?

Mike: Rejoin Europe. The most important things for a country are education, health and transport so I would invest in that. Cut travel costs.

Pete: I would pass legislation outlawing Boris Johnson and his cronies for EVER!

Grant: Let them two do it!

What would your ideal day consist of?

Mike: Time with family. Playing music. Watching an old film.

Grant: A good ride or run in the morning, a day out with my girls, a good roast dinner, watching Liverpool beat Man Utd, then an early night with the missus!!

Pete: It would be different from the previous day. It doesn’t matter what, just as long as it isn’t the same. That would be boring.

What has been your experience during the Covid 19 situations? Can you tell us how this has affected you personally, how it has affected you professionally and maybe a story from this time or a message for people out there?

Mike: Surreal. I enjoyed making our album. Annoyed by people around me constantly breaking the rules and the confrontation that causes (I won’t be too specific).

Grant: It’s not really got to me too much, it’s just been boring. I’ve really missed going out and listening to live music.

Pete: It’s been weird. I can’t believe it’s been a year. Some people have enjoyed the relative peace & serenity and are worried about full-throttle life coming back. I just hope we all keep a BIT of the Lockdown ideas – you know, working from home, relaxing a bit more. Not driving/flying about as much. It’s been good for the planet and good for us all in some ways….. but we need pubs to open!

If you could say one thing to your fans what would it be and why?

Mike: Spread the word. Keep listening.

Grant: Come to our next gig.

Pete: Email us – we’d like to get to know you!

How would you answer the question Who are you and what are the differences between you as a music artist and you away from music?

Mike: Very similar. Loud shirts. Honest. Ginger.

Pete: I think I am the same idiot whatever I do, music or otherwise.

Grant: No difference really – I don’t have a musical persona when I’m playing!

What was the first record or song you purchased and why?

Mike: Squeeze – Is that Love?

Pete: One Step Beyond by Madness – my first “favourite band”

Grant: Joshua Tree by U2 – Back in the day when they we good!

What would say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?

Mike: Do it but have something else to do.

Pete: Go in with your eyes wide open….. but wear a pair of shades.

Grant: Be in a band with mate – makes things a lot easier.

If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician who would you choose and why?

Pete: I think it would have been interesting to work with Martin Hannett as a producer. Expect the unexpected I think.

Mike: Paul McCartney. I am a Lennon fan but McCartney is the consummate musician and I love his work ethic.

Grant: Paul Weller – He is cool as fuck.

If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?

Mike: Beach Boys – “God Only Knows”

Grant: “I Am the Resurrection” by The Stone Roses – Banging Anthem.

Pete: That Slade song about Christmas – It’s kept them in underpants for their entire lives hasn’t it?

What things make you uncomfortable?

Mike: Lack of sleep, angry people, people who don’t follow Covid rules.

Pete: Beds of nails; Crumbs in the bed; Messy bedsheets, stuff like that.

Grant: Filling in questions for interviews!

If you wrote a book about yourself what would it have in it?

Mike: Words.

Grant: No skeletons thankfully, my wife knows all about my sordid past!

Pete: See my earlier answer – I’m gonna write a book, then Mike is gonna make a film about it!!

What has the rest of the year got in store for you?

Mike: Currently in Mexico finishing a film, then get back home and start playing!

Pete: Hopefully we can get back to rehearsing soon then see the year out doing some gigs! Not done any for over TWO YEARS!!

Grant: Same as – get back playing!