An Interview With Paul Draper (Part the Second)

When we left off, Paul Draper was detailing his plan for certain American domination by way of playing “Wide Open Space” all over the country until the US of A waved the white flag and relented enough to rerelease debut Mansun record Attack of The Grey Lantern. This after also letting me in on his, ahem, chart battle royale with actress/pop singer Martine McCutcheon.

So what’s next, you’re wondering? Plenty. Read on to see how Draper plans on celebrating a rather special upcoming anniversary, and for his take on all things Mansun Con.  

And there's still more where this came from. You won't want to miss the next installment of our conversation, coming soon. For now, sit down and enjoy more Draperian musings. And don't forget about part one and part three of this exclusive chat!! 

Fuzzy Logic: I can’t believe it. Next year is 20 years since the release of Six…do you have any plans to celebrate this monumental occasion?

Paul Draper: Yeah, I’ve got it all planned out. All planned out. On the 20th anniversary me and Ben (Editor's note - Ben plays guitar in studio/on the road with Draper) will be down here in the [name redacted] getting pissed. We do that for everything…

FL: I am starting to sense a theme.

PD: Well, I’m English. You know, this is what you do. It’s like people only know you from the photographs and the videos of you, but when they get behind the scenes, you realize that really all us English people do, or English rock musicians, is just sit in the pub until someone forces you to go on tour or make a record.

So yeah. Six. There’s been loads of legal wrangling over the Mansun records for years, and none of them could ever be reissued. Cuz we all hate each other. Or they all hate me. And I hate them. It’s like a three against one, and one against three. Well no, Andie’s on his own, he’s his own man. So it’s one against two, and I’m not bothered about the other one. So we finally got legally all signed off to reissue the records. It was all over money. So Six is gonna have a big reissue for the 20th anniversary. So as far as I know, we’re issuing it on vinyl, because it’s like 160 quid some copies on ebay, you know, so we wanna let people have a real good remaster of the vinyl on 180 gram, good vinyl like they do these days. And we’re doing a surround sound mix, like a 5.1 surround sound mix. A load of outtakes and studio outtakes, a video documentary, and we’ve also got a concert that we filmed, so we’re gonna put the tour concert out and hopefully try and get a premiere for that in London. So we’ve got a lot of work on that project to put it together, it’s a big project. So yeah, we’re gonna do all that. I think I’m going in to see the record company next week, and we’re gonna make the plan for what we’re gonna do with that record. People still seem to be into it, I don’t know why, they hated it at the time. But everyone likes it now. It’s weird.

FL: I don’t think everyone hated it. Just certain people who wrote about it…

PD: Yeah. The British “Britpop” press, shall we say. Just thought “what the fuck’s this?” You know, they were into stuff like Gay Dad and what else...What was the critically-acclaimed stuff then? Bis and Northern Uproar, stuff like that. I just think we were out of fashion. Still out of fashion now. But yeah, they’re gonna reissue it yeah, cuz a lot of people really like that record. I’ve never listened to it so I can’t tell you. It’s a bit weird, isn’t it?

FL: Never?

PD: I did actually, I did once, when I went to write up a blog about it. So I have listened to it. But I’ve never listened for my own pleasure. We made that record, loads of people liked it. It was like a delayed reaction, everyone just thought, “oh that’s weird” and then eventually liked it. The band’s never gonna get back together cuz we’re not friends, but you know, I might play songs from it live. We might do some shows around the time, next October, and play songs from the album. I don’t wanna be a nostalgia act. So we’d have to see, really. It’s an interesting situation, that one. An unfolding situation. The cover’s shit, isn’t it? Whereas the one before that, was brilliant. The right cover. And then the next album, fuck me. Just like oh, it’s gotta be a big picture of you on the front, and you gotta have this, and it’s gotta be mixed for local radio, and you’re not allowed any silly words in it you’re not allowed any segues, it’s got to be hit records…mad. They’re off their tits. And now they’re all calling me up going, “oh, can you just go be a bit weird again, like Six?” That’s the music industry for you.

So yeah. Doing a big reissue campaign. Should be good. It’ll be something worthwhile for fans, I think. And even some shows around it, possibly, I don’t exactly know how.

FL: This is all good news, from a fan perspective.

PD: Yeah. Well you know, obviously I’ve gonna do my second album so it just depends how much we can fit it, but we’re gonna do something for it. Finally. Oh, they’re having a convention in London as well.

FL: I was just about to ask about Mansun Con.

PD: Ok, yeah, so the Mansun convention is gonna be in London next time, and it’s gonna be for the 20th anniversary of Six.

FL: I don’t know of any other bands that have their own Con…

PD: Loads do! I told you, they just hire like…like Marillion, they just hire like a massive cruiseliner and have their own convention on their own cruiseliner…

FL: That’s different though. I feel like the fans started it…

PD: Oh yeah yeah yeah. The fans, you know…what happened with Mansun was, we worked really hard, toured a lot, became a really big group in a very quick time, and then it imploded. And for some reason the record company wanted to make us into something that we completely weren’t, and then they just decided we were rubbish and got rid of us. But we left a big fanbase behind, who a lot of people thought it was their favorite band. I’ve got no idea what they were doing or why they just wrecked it so brutally and quickly, but what was left behind was a big fanbase.

They had a first convention when the band was going, in 2001, and then after I publicized the Anchoress project, album I produced, that’s when they decided to have a second one. To be honest, I think they just thought it would be a few people in a pub, but in the end it was like 600 people came, from all over the world. Russia, Finland, Canada, the States, Brazil…even a Frenchman came, which was like unbelievable. The rug was just pulled out from under our feet. As far as I know the record company wanted to make a solo album with Dominic Chad, but I don’t think he ever…I don’t know, maybe he’s just spending a long time on it. And that was it, really. I started tentatively making a solo album for Parlophone, and I shelved it and just went into writing and producing. That’s how I ended up here.

FL: So what was it like, to go to that Mansun Con?

PD: Well, I watched the tribute band…I didn’t go in official capacity. The NME just called me up and said “this is all a bit weird, isn’t it, can we do an interview with you but there,” so I went and I just went backstage, I didn’t go into the convention. But I poked me head out the door, and I could see the me fellow on the stage, jumping around in his army shit. And I watched the band and thought they weren’t as bad as all the critics said, this is quite enjoyable. I think there’s like two or three Mansun tribute bands. The next one they’re doing they’re playing the Star & Garter in Manchester, where they do the Smiths night, they’re doing a Mansun night. Taxloss Lovers, they’re called. The UK’s number one Mansun tribute act.

FL: Would you agree?

PD: Well, I can’t get involved in these things. What I would say is they’re one of my favorite Mansun tribute bands out there, you know. I’ve seen a Korean one, some Japanese ones. Go on Youtube. You just see ‘em performing in pubs in Seoul, stuff like that. South Korea. If there was a North Korean Mansun tribute band, now that would be amazing, but there’s not.

FL: There could be.

PD: Wouldn’t it be amazing if Kim Jong-Un was on the bass? That’d be massive. Well it’d better if he was me. He always wears the army gear, doesn’t he, he’s halfway there. His haircut’s a bit weird isn’t it though?

So it’s the fourth one next year. And it’s a guy called Andy Lyth, he was just a big Mansun fan, who organizes it. I think after that they’re gonna do a Japanese one in Tokyo, they might sort of coincide it with if I can get out there to do a gig or something. And they might wanna do a North American one, but I don’t know what the best city to do it in North America would be.

FL: Probably New York.

PD: New York, yeah. Are there any pubs small enough? How many people do you reckon you’d get to the Mansun convention New York?

FL: Probably a lot.

PD: Well that’s probably more feasible than doing a gig out there. I could play myself, couldn’t I? I could be one of the Mansun tribute bands in New York. Yeah, definitely. So next year they’re gonna do London, and then I think they’re gonna do Tokyo and a North American one, if anyone will come.

I’m all positive for the conventions, all up for them doing it. That’s how they come to do it. Andie the drummer’s cool with it, and the other two think it’s rubbish.

[posted 10.18.17]


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