For the latest catch-up chat we called up Paul to talk about firemen, kebabs, Gordon Ramsay and the possibility of some new songs being played on the upcoming tour. Leave your comments below and if you have a question for Richard next time, then please email it to email@example.com. Thanks to Paul for sending his pics in too.
Hi Paul. How are things?
It's all good, thanks. We're in rehearsals at the moment.
Getting ready for the tour?
Yes indeed. We've got a couple of weeks down here to work on things we're going to play on the tour, which does involve a bit of new materiall. We've been trying to figure out which songs to play. This is going to be our last tour until we've got another album, and then we'll have a load more songs, so we want to make this the best that it can be and give everyone the songs they want.
Are there any songs that the band don't like playing?
No, that's not been a consideration. It's just making sure that the set flows nicely, cos if you have too many slow ones together, people can lose the energy that they have at the start of the gig. You want to keep that energy bubbling through the whole gig, even through the slower ones. So you have to get the right balance. It's only through trial and error and experimenting with different orders that we can try and get it right.
Where will you play the new ones?
We haven't decided that yet. We're not definitely going to play any new ones, but chances are there'll be at least one. Possibly even two. It's hard to say at the moment. But we will do our utmost to give the fans a taste of something new. We're quite excited about that.
Can you tell us what these new songs are like?
Um, no, because they'll probably change between now and when we play them at a gig and then I'll look stupid. It's a bit like a Hollywood movie where noone's allowed to disclose any of the plot.
Has there been lots of planning for the tour?
There is a fair amount. You have to start thinking about the stage set, how you want everything, what equipment will be on stage and things like that. But again, I won't say too much. We want people to be able to come along to the gigs and see for themselves.
What else have you been doing in the last couple of weeks?
This week has been rehearsing and before that we played a gig at Loughborough University and a gig for Asda up in Manchester.
How was the Loughborough gig?
It was fun. Actually, the band that played before us turned down the chance to do a rather well-paid gig in the student union because they wanted to support us on the outdoor stage, even though it was pretty cold and wet. They froze their butts off just so that they could support us, cos they're big fans.
Aww, that's nice.
I know! The other thing that's quite unique about them was that they're all firemen and they actually formed the band because one of their colleagues was killed in an accident on duty, so they formed a band to do a gig and raise some money for his family, which is a lovely reason to start a band. And they've been gigging ever since. Our tour manager made a joke to me about how posh their tourbus was compared to ours - it turned out they had a fire engine outside!
I know. So I went out to have a look at it, but it had gone to answer a call! But it came back a while later and me and Dan had our picture taken with the firemen. The guys in the band were really nice and we had a nice chat and a beer with them afterwards.
And how was the Manchester gig?
That was great. We did it as kind of an acoustic thing. But it was in the middle of the day, so it was quite weird to come outside afterwards and find it was bright sunshine. It went really well, though. It was quite a rowdy crowd, which we weren't expecting on a Sunday afternoon. We all had an Abdul's kebab afterwards, which is what we always have when we play Manchester. It has been an ever-long tradition for us.
Did it live up to its usual high standards?
Well, we had chicken doner, when we meant to get chicken shish. And myself and Richard did both have a rather unpleasant time for an hour when we got home. But I'm hoping that wasn't related to Abdul's.
Didn't you play at a Gordon Ramsay charity bash recently too?
Yes we did. It was for a very good cause, called Women's Aid. Obviously the fact that Gordon Ramsay's head chef was going to be cooking the food for it made it all the more tempting to go along.
How was the food?
Really lovely actually. It was pork and beef, and the meat was incredible. And then they had this aubergine puree stuffed into a roasted tomato. It was a flavour sensation! And the gig was great too. It's a very serious cause - they're trying to eradicate the abuse of women - so when we played after the speeches there obviously wasn't a party atmosphere at that point. But I'm pleased and proud to say that by the time we finished there was lots of dancing, which they weren't expecting. People moved tables and chairs to create a dancefloor. It was great.
So you've got a week until you head off to Europe. Are you looking forward to those shows?
Yeah, definitely. It's been a long time since we've done clubs of that size and toured around Europe. It'll be great to get over there. We realised last week that we've got these two weeks of rehearsals and then six weeks of touring and then I'm getting married and then it's Christmas. So last week was our last chance to do any non-band stuff until next year! I did lots of working on cars and that sort of thing.
Do you know what's happening for your stag do?
No, they won't tell me. I know when it is, but that's about it. It should be good. There's about 20 of us going, including all of the band, of course.
Right, readers' questions. Matt in Leeds has discovered there's an apres-ski bar in La Plagne, France called Spitting Feathers. He wonders if it gave its name to the Join With Us B-side?
Wow, that's a brilliant coincidence, but no it didn't. The reason we called it that was that someone in the studio said they wanted a cup of tea because they were spitting feathers and someone else thought that's what you say when you're angry, not thirsty. So there was a big discussion about which it is, and actually it turns out it's been used for both and nobody's sure which one came first. So the song ended up getting branded with it.
That leads us to a question from Nikki H, who'd like to know if you'll play Spitting Feathers on the tour. She thinks it'd work well as an encore.
Interesting idea! I don't think any of us had considered that. I'll stick it on the list of songs and we'll see what everyone says.
Next question is from Big Chris from the forum. He'd like to know if you think you could out-drum Mr David Grohl?
Erm, yes. Provided he was also singing and playing his guitar as he does most of the time these days. He is a brilliant drummer. But he didn't used to be as amazing as he is now and I think a lot of that is actually to do with Taylor Hawkins, who plays drums in the Foo Fighters. He's an incredible drummer and I think he's maybe taught Dave Grohl a thing or two. He now plays very much like him when he plays with Queens of the Stone Age.
Last question is from Ruth, who notes that sometimes only a bacon sandwich will do. She would like to know when you last had one, and how you had it.
Good question. I ate bacon about three minutes before I spoke to you, in a toasted ciabatta with chicken escalope, mayonnaise, salad and a little bit of red sauce.
That sounds nice.
It's lovely. It's from the little cafe just around the corner from our rehearsal studio. It's called a Wally Melted and it's so good that I've had one every day since I went in there and saw it. And now I can't have anything else. If you're ever in Putney, you really should have a Wally Melted.