Hello and welcome to a special catch-up with Kev, where you'll discover that The Feeling have been doing their best to turn into James Bond. Thanks to Paul and Rich for sending through the pics. The amazing ones of the band hurtling towards the ground were taken by Ceri Lewis and Zuz Tilner from Sky Dive UK Ltd (there are more pics in the Gallery too). If you have a question for Ciaran next time, emeil it to firstname.lastname@example.org. And don't forget to leave your comments below saying how brave/foolish/insane you think the band are.
Hi Kev. What have you folks been up to?
Oh, all sorts of crazy things.
The pictures the others have sent through implied as much.
Ah, right! What have you had then?
Well, you appear to have all jumped out of an aeroplane.
Yes! It's possibly the most exciting thing we've ever done.
Whatever you do Paul, don't look down!
Why did you do it?
Well, it was the stag weekend of Owen, who's a childhood friend of Richard that we've all known for years. Basically, if he's not around, then our entire touring set-up falls apart. He's a touring genius. He's getting married in a few weeks so Richard and Phil, who's the other best man, arranged this adventure stag weekend for him. The first Owen knew of what we were doing was when he turned up at the air strip down in Devon and was told he'd be jumping out of a plane the next day.
Dan's instructor looks a little worried...
How many went parachuting?
I think there were 9 of us, including the whole band except for Ciaran. He doesn't even like going up in an aeroplane, so there was no chance he was gonna jump out of one.
Does this look like sensible behaviour?
How was it?
It was great. Quite strange. It's a very new sensation. It's not like a normal fear of heights, because I suppose you're so far up that your mind doesn't have any fear it can relate to. You have to do a tandem jump if you wanna do a freefall the first time round. And cos you're strapped to an instructor you don't really have any choice once you're in the plane. They kind of walk you to the door and throw you out of it.
Was it an enjoyable experience?
Yes. Although my harness was a little tight in my nether regions, so that particular part of the feeling wasn't so enjoyable.
Better too tight than too loose.
Yes, quite. But the freefall was incredible. And they let you steer the parachute a little bit on the way down as well.
Does doing that with your hands make you go faster?
Did you all do it at once?
No, in groups of threes. We didn't tell the record company we were doing it, because I'm pretty sure we've signed something to say we won't do anything like that. But happily there were no injuries or anything. The people we did it with with were great - their website is www.skydiveukltd.com - and I can definitely recommend them to anyone who wants to try it.
Dan shows off his plummet dance
What else did you do over the stag weekend?
Well the jump was supposed to have been on the Thursday, but the weather was too bad. But we were camping next to the airstrip, so we did the jump on the Friday. And then as soon as we'd done that we went speeding down the road to this place which is like a cross between Laser Quest and paintball, in that the guns are laser guns, but you're still running around woodland. You go into two teams, with one occupying the little village while the others commando crawl through the trees and assault them. So that was great fun. We got dressed up in silly camo gear and plastered our faces with paint. Oh and we also went go-karting in the rain.
A rather manly way of putting on make-up
Hmm, you'd have to fancy Paul over Kev to win this particular tussle...
That sounds a bit dangerous.
Well, when we couldn't jump out of a plane on the Thursday it turned out that Nigel Mansell had a go-kart track about half a mile away, so we went there instead. All 12 of us went out at once and raced around. But it started pouring it down, so most of us spent our time spinning around in circles and facing the wrong way. It was a lot of fun.
Um, looks like Rich is pointing at Dan the champ, but it's a little hard to tell...
Dan did. There were various heats and then the final race. I think I had the fastest lap time in the dry, but then in the wet I spent more time than anyone else spinning around in cirlces, whereas Dan seemed to be the safer driver.
What did you do in the evenings?
They were spent around the campfire, cooking burgers, drinking whiskey, talking bollocks.
Aren't bands supposed to hate the sight of each other by this stage in their career?
Yeah. There's something wrong with us, obviously. But, no, it was a very civilised stag affair. There was no going into dodgy nightclubs in dodgy towns and starting fights. But, it seems like everyone's getting married this year, so maybe we'll try to have a traditional stag do for one of them. We can ironically have a fight with the locals, ironically get arrested and ironically spend a few hours in casualty.
Kev, Ciaran and Dan around the ol' camp fire.
That sounds fun! So, what have the band been busy with? When we spoke to Paul, you were back in the Moon studio.
Yeah, making the B-sides for 'Join With Us'. They had to be ready for this week. So we spent all our time right up until we left for the stag do making those and then we were back in yesterday getting them finished.
Are you pleased with them?
Yes. One of them is a cover of She's Gone, the Hall and Oates song, which is sounding really nice. And the other one saw us adopting a new approach to music writing. Normally it's a fairly thought-out affair and the songs are crafted as songs before we start working on them. But with this one, we decided to just play for a while, record what everyone played and then start trying to put vocals over the top. It's a slightly new direction for us.
You've also played a couple of gigs - at Newmarket racecourse and Glastonbury Abbey.
Indeed. Glastonbury was interesting because we went there straight from the stag do. We split up cos the other guys were staying down there over-night and I was heading back to London afterwards, so I went to a Travelodge just to have a shower, because I hadn't had one for a few days! I rolled up with my two enormous rucksacks, wearing combat pants and with a week's worth of beard on my face, and lo and behold most of the regular members of our forum were all coming out the Travelodge as I was coming in! They looked slightly amused. And then we did the Glastonbury Abbey gig in the evening.
How did it go?
It was really nice. There must've been about 5,000 people there. It was a lovely gig. It was raining on and off all day, but it was dry while we played, which was good.
Paul and Rich model the band's new merch range
And how was the Newmarket gig?
Yeah, good. We're liking this new civilised way of doing shows. Festivals are good fun, but it's nice to turn up and be shown into your private box for the horse racing and eat lovely food. It was a really pleasant day.
Did you bet?
There were a few bets. I think everyone pretty much came out with exactly what they went in with. Paul didn't actually come with any money, so he had to borrow the tour float to do his betting. Luckily, he broke even in the end.
So, you've got V Festival this weekend.
Yeah, that's on Saturday and Sunday and we've got the Clumber Park show on Friday. So we've practically got a full tour this weekend. It's good when the gigs get reasonably regular cos you can stay on top of your game.
What else have you got coming up?
We've got this Olympic thingy. It's the handover of the Olympic flag from Beijing. That's on August 24th. It's at the mall wherever that is.
It's the Mall! As in, just in front of Buckingham Palace!
Oh! That'll be fun then.
And what will you be doing between this set of gigs and the tour starting in October?
Well, we do have another album to think about, so that's what we'll be doing when we have time.
Kev prepares to jump...
Any initial plans and thoughts yet?
We haven't really thrashed it out properly. But we've talked about sticking a few songs in the set and just kind of getting them ready that way.
It worked with 'Join With Us'.
It did, yeah, so we might try that approach again this time. I think in the time before the tour we might be writing and arranging new songs, rather than recording them.
Right, readers' questions. Lucy would like to know if you play computer games.
I like to play computer games and I have played them a lot, but I try not to, because when I do they take over my life.
Any game in particular?
Half-Life took over for a few weeks. Oh, and in America we nearly had to cancel a gig because I gave myself RSI playing Vice City on the PSP. So I've since stopped playing computer games. I just get stressed while I'm playing them because I'm aware that it's a complete waste of time and I should be doing something else. But it's so addictive and I want to play it, but I don't want to play it.
Next, Joyce thinks the band get quite sweaty at gigs so would like to know how often you clean your stage outfits.
Well I am actually known as the man who does not sweat. Even when we're all running around on stage, I tend not to. And Ciaran has to wear gloves before each gig because his hands get freezing cold, so I think maybe there's some genetic reason. But I think everyone else is pretty good at handing sweaty clothes to the tour manager and saying, "Get these dry-cleaned please".
The last question is from Andrea who thinks that the 'Join With Us' digital bonus track, 'You've Got Big Eyes', is too good to not ever be released on CD. She'd like to know if it ever will be.
Well most of our favourite songs seem to end up as B-sides, so at some stage we are going to have a B-sides album, which it might well go on. So watch this space on that one!