The Weird Things 27/03/17
- How did Simon and Martin come to leave CASE and be in The Weird Things (before CASE reformed in 2011)?
- How did the band all get together?
- How long did you all rehearse together before you played your first gig together and how long did it take you to write your first bunch of songs together?
- Is there an overall concept of the album?
- What was the album recording process like and did you drop or add any songs last minute?
- Since playing the album live, what band members have you added?
- Can you talk us through the meaning behind a few of the tracks?
- What is your favourite track on the album and why?
Interview answers from Martin Parrott, drummer of The Weird Things
The Weird Things came out of my need for a project. Case had gone back into hibernation again and I was looking for something to do. As luck would have it I got introduced to our bass player, Mr Jan, and we really hit it off. Pretty soon he was sending me guitar riffs and I was sending back lyrics – it just grew from there. It was all pretty organic… nothing was planned.
Simon then came on board and it quickly became obvious that there was something going on. The last piece of the puzzle was when we added Charlie up front – she quickly became the focus of the band; her vocals are The Weird Thing’s trade mark.
The four-piece Weird Things rehearsed for a couple of months and it was starting to sound really good. Songs quickly developed and before we knew it we had 12 written… an album’s worth! Me being me I wanted to get them recorded – once I’ve got an idea I need to get moving so we booked into Panther Studios, where Case had worked, and started building up the tracks.
The studio’s run by Dick Crippen, Tenpole Tudor’s bass player, and he really liked what we were doing. I’d tried to get him to join Case but he’d told me his days of going out live were over. However, when it came to taking out The Weird Things he didn’t put up such a fight – he became our second guitarist; he’s come over to the weird side.
Listening to the album it was obvious that if we were to play the material live we’d need extra vocals so we expanded the line up to seven with the addition of Leila Parrott and Sam Beven, our backing singers. Once they’d joined it really started to gel.
There’s no concept to this album; Ten Digit Freak is simply the culmination of our first burst of creativity. However, our second long player – which we’re working on now – will be themed. It’ll have a bit more focus in its structure.
Working with Dick was a real pleasure – everything came together as smoothly as these things can. The album came together in days, not weeks, proving that the band’s chemistry was genuine. I really do think that this lot are the best I’ve worked with. The energy’s real, which I think translates on stage into something really special – I love this band.
The great thing about being a seven piece is that we can recreate our studio sound live. Vocals are a really important part of our musical identity – they stamp the Weird hallmark on our songs, some of which are a little eclectic. If you’re going to mix it up you need an element of continuity – for us it’s our vocal harmonies.
I can’t play any instruments – I’m a drummer; I hit things. However, it turns out I can write lyrics and the oddest things will set me off writing. For example, ‘Colin’ was inspired by one of Mr Jan’s paintings, while ‘Mr Jones’ is my tribute to David Bowie. I’m a huge Bowie fan and although it was written before his death I think it works well as a ‘thank you’ for all the great music he gave us.
‘Tick Tock’, meanwhile, is about a child killer on death row. It’s his internal monologue as the clock ticks down on his life. I have no idea where that one came from!
We’ve had a really good reaction to the album, which confirms my faith in The Weird Things. However, the one track that everyone seems to like is ‘Mr Jones’. The Bowie fan in me is really proud of that and the song also goes across well live.
That chance meeting with Mr Jan has quickly grown into something really exciting. I’d also like to believe that there’s something a little weird in everyone, which can’t do us any harm.
The Weird Things are:
Mr Jan, Bass
Simon Peet, Guitar
Martin Parrott, Drums
Dick Crippen, Guitar
Leila Parrott, Backing vocals
Sam Beven, Backing vocals