Crackout Interview – July 2003

Chances are, any regular gig-goers reading this have probably seen Crackout before; they have supported more-or-less any modern-rock big-leaguer you can think of – Weezer, Sum 41, Terrorvision, Alkaline Trio, and more recently InMe – all make up a very small proportion of the very impressive Crackout CV. Between all this rubbing shoulders with rocks big-guns (well, except InMe), they also managed to fit in tour after tour, notching up gigs into the hundreds, all with only a couple of E.P.s below their belts, earning the band the much overused 'hardest working band in Britain' tag (“That was probably fair at the time, but since we've done nothing for about a year, it isn't now” notes guitarist and vocalist Steve).

What the relentless schedule did earn this likeable three piece was a “loving and loyal” hardcore fan-base, drawn into the group by their power-chords 'n' pop aggression all done with a no-bullshit, hype-free approach to their craft; Steve: “We wanted to grow organically, and naturally, and let people decide for themselves.” While the singer will maintain that this hardcore fan-base is generally “lovely and well-adjusted”, there have been a few occasions where the bands approachability has lead to a few fans taking liberties; “They are actually well adjusted, but you get the odd ones that just, you know, take you for granted. Sometimes they'll email us for a signed photo, which is cool, but others send wish-lists and ask me to record stuff for them, which is irritating. This one guy got really obsessed and eventually we had to cut-off contact, but there hasn't been anything too insane”.

So nearly two years on from the release of debut offering 'This is Really Neat', Crackout are back, with an album, titled 'Oh No', due in September, and a preceding single out July 21st. Readers who may have previously labelled Crackout as three-chord power-pop also-rans will receive a nice surprise from the punchy, short 'n' sweet 'Out of Our Minds'; an instantly memorable two minutes and twenty seconds of energetic guitar based pop-rock, but, as Steve himself freely admits, it's also an infinitely “more mature, confident, generally better and well thought out and interesting” offering than anything from the last album.

While 'This is Really Neat' was influenced heavily by bands such as Foo Fighters; 'Oh No', produced by “eighties hit-maker” Clive Langer (Elvis Costello, Madness, Dexys Midnight Runners, Bush), offers listeners a look back to that very same day-glo and spandex decade we all know and dread, while still sounding as contemporary as you'd expect; “there are a few nods to the 80s”, states Steve, “with kind of synth noises and stuff. None of that this is Clive's fault, though, he wants to get away from the eighties stuff, that but I kept dragging him back!” Although nearly two years in the making, the completion of 'Oh No' proved to be a personal highpoint for the group; “When we realised how good this new record is, and when we were playing it to close friends and agents and seeing how they reacted, was really special. And when the label gave it the thumbs up – It all gave me a really good feeling.”

The signs are looking good for Crackout to break the mainstream then, which should keep the unenviable lure of a day job at bay (“we have a fear of a 'normal' life, the nine till five thing, it's terrible, me and Nick [drums] talk about it all the time”), but do they want the super-stardom that rocks big-leagues can offer? “It's a trade off, we have to have an element of success in terms of carrying the band on practically. I like being the size we are now, the fans are loyal and loving. But it would also be nice to play the bigger shows. Part of me doesn't want to be huge, as I'm a little worried about the pressures that can bring, we are lucky because there is no pressure on us right now since first record was pretty much low-key. Like I say, it's a trade off.”

The band are now gearing up and “saving the pennies” for a big tour towards the end of this year in support of 'Oh No', but in the mean-time you can catch them playing some smaller dates in support of their single 'Out of Our Minds', released July 21st through Virgin Records.. Check out link for more details.

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