Glassheads are a modern slightly dark but melodic band with countless influences in their undertones. They have captured my musical needs and sound fresh and vibrant. They are Ian McCluskey-Vocals & Guitar, Andy Mckay-Guitar, Andrew Seddon-Bass and Jon Davenport-Drums & B/Vocals.
When two lads approached me at Manchester Piccadilly in their kagools, it did cross my mind if they were after a smoke, money, or just the lads I agreed to meet from the band. Thankfully it was the latter, despite them leading me down dark alleys, but I knew I was in good hands. They treated me to their favourite Manchester haunt of mild funkadelic tunes and pints of Guinness and so both Andys McKay and Seddon kindly obliged to my questions.
How did you meet?
Seddon: We’ve known each other for years, from school and college, before we formed the band. Andy actually met us when (drummer) smashed Johnny’s guitar! We had a band called Blue Vinyl originally, but in time it didn’t work out. The keyboard sounds didn’t quite fit in with the music we wanted to do, and then our singer left. Andy joined us with (new singer) and gave us an extra dimension. Everything started to slot into place. We changed our name as it felt like a new band.
How would you describe your music?
S: This is a hard question. No-one can ever answer this so we leave this to the punters. We can tell you who we ‘remind’ people of. A range really but some have said The Jam, Clash, Teardrop Explodes, Echo and the Bunnymen.
McKay: We all have different tastes which include hip-hop, house, punk, ska, etc. It’s all thrown into the cauldron. Even flamenco guitar has been considered! Johnny started to learn on this.
S: John Kettle, who has produced The Tansads, produced The Error of Your Ways.
What’s your ambition? What do you consider feel/believe to be an acceptable level of success for you?
S: I think every band should aspire to be the biggest band of all time, like U2 level, to headline Glastonbury. Bands that say they don’t want this probably can’t handle the distractions that come with the fame. Part of you still wants to ‘go all out and have it’, don’t get me wrong, but do it whilst being honest and genuine, otherwise people will see right through you. I don’t know if we could but it’s a risk we’re prepared to take. As a band, you have to aspire to be the biggest and the best.
M: I just want to be offensively rich; to sit in the sun and eat steak, and Harrods to open just for me!
S: I want my own range of sunglasses AND my own hotel chain!
M: That’s the plan, but joking aside, to earn enough money to do this for the rest of our lives. You can’t shock people now on the rock n’ roll antics now. It’s all been done before. It’s not cool to throw a telly out of the window anymore. The excess we have now is Andy’s painkiller ‘addiction’ for his bad back!
Footballers and reality TV stars lives are scrutinised now, the press don’t seem arsed about band members now. You’ll never get Beatle-esque fame and success, but you got to give it a go at least. It all helps attract a wider audience. The more fans you can get, obviously the better. No-one says they want to be as big as The Soup Dragons, it’s always Elvis, The Cure, Joy Division; established big acts. We all wanted to be Liam Gallagher when we were 14 but tastes change over the years. You still love the old taste but new ones keep coming along that grab you also.
How are you finding being signed now?
S: Well we’re all still working as we gotta pay the bills and mortgage. They’re not golden tickets anymore to a life of freedom. We wish they were, but it’s just down to lack of money I suppose. Don’t get me wrong, we’re grateful for being signed still as it will lead to better things and a wider audience.
M: Yeah a record contracts great in that respect but we get money at the moment from our publishing. It will all lead somewhere though. We’re getting more fans and contacts along the way so it’s all good.
What’s the reception like from the crowd at your gigs? Are you feeling your fan-base is growing?
M: It goes right off! The place has a real buzz about it. People wait outside for ages to come in. When we played Manchester Academy 3 we gave away loads of CD’s on request and got asked back. Playing live is the best part about being in a band. You get such a buzz. It’s better in proper venues rather than pubs. To play your new songs in places you’ve never been in before.
S: Our fan-base is starting to grow now and the video (to The Error of Your Ways, now on YouTube) is doing really well. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier to get known now. We do have people generating word-of-mouth, but it’s weird at the moment. You can advertise your gig on Facebook and know exactly how many and who is going…….none of them do, but at least they’re polite in telling you they want to be there!
M: Yeah and this website ‘Buddyhead Music’ are based in LA and found us on-line. They must like us as they’ve written that they like us. This is a site that gets 20,000+ hits per week. You got to be grateful for that, free publicity when unasked for. AND our band picture was put next to Keith Richards! We’ve had more site hits than some signed bands, so we’d like to thank them for the shout. We also got fans in India, Russia and New Zealand believe it or not.
There’s a bit of punk ethos in the internet, as it’s DIY. Bands can have a say in their own image this way.
What’s your opinion of the music scene now for bands? The scenes don’t get the publicity they once did. They just seem underground.
M: Well our record label (Microdot Recordings) saw a niche in this and decided to sign bands they like and see if there were still people out there who are interested in the music still being made in the background. They want to bring it to the foreground a bit more. We’re the forest band they signed, which is very flattering but we won’t let them down.
S: Things like X-Factor ruin music. Apart from the obvious shite they release and how they treat its singers, Simon Cowell and his companies not just control the charts but also TV for months. Everyone’s attention is on this also. It’s too controlling.
M: Yeah it’s up to people to look for alternatives also.
S: There isn’t really a national music scene anyway. What is ‘the scene’? You have regional and arty kind of cliques, but that doesn’t matter. Good music always sells, regardless if it’s part of a ‘scene’. Great songs always stand out and are remembered years later even if ‘the scene’ it was in has long finished.
Do you wish for music to be better known generally?
M: Obviously but there are people that do look for bands like us. The music press do their best though. They like to hype people to a current ‘scene’ but as S said, there generally isn’t one. They can slag you off one week and big you up the next. Suppose when we get that publicity we’ll just take it with a pinch of salt. You obviously want good press but ALL press is good press I suppose.
S: The bigger, the better, as the attention will snowball and we could get caught up in it.
M: We need a new TFI Friday or Top Of The Pops. There’s no TV show now that can capture what young adults are into, which is a crying shame. You think with all the range of TV genres there’d be room or this, but obviously not.
S: Anything anywhere near this is late night, when you’re out of in bed. TFI Friday kicked off the weekend for everyone
A: Until Shaun Ryder went on it…..(less said the better)
What are your influences and inspirations? Go into more detail.
S: Can’t single anyone or anything out. It’s not just music but clothes, TV, film, general culture inspires us all I suppose. As before, we’re all different. We throw it all into the melting pot anyway – Sex Pistols, Joy Division, George Clinton, Lee Scratch Perry, Rising Damp, Reeves and Mortimer…
M: Mulligan and O’Hare! George Clinton, John Coltrane, Adidas, the list is endless. We all like all sorts and we just bounce off each other.
Finally what’s planned for the near future, as regards to touring and releases?
S: The album title is unknown as yet but we’ve recorded most tracks for this now. It needs a couple more tracks and then mixing.
The single ‘Man In The Street’ will be out next, date TBC. We’ll release 3 singles and then the album, that’s the plan.
Then we’re touring, playing in Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow; details on our website.
Finally can I ask people also to pay attention to the artwork on our website. Brian Cannon did it. Also the video to The Error Of Your Ways is on there, directed by Dominic Foster and starring Brian’s daughter. This is important to us. We don’t like the fact that bands artwork is no longer linked to its music, like in the old days, as walking into a record shop is diminishing now, and no-one is watching videos anymore.
As mentioned, Glassheads are on Microdot Recordings, where The Error Of Your Ways and Opinion has been released. Check them out on link, which not just includes their great tunes but their highly valued artwork, tour dates, videos and general release and download info. I’d like to thank Andy and, erm, Andy, for their valued time and company before we leg it for the last train home.