With The Feeling about to start their UK tour, we called up Richard at home in London to find out how the European shows were, to hear about his new birds and to allow him to apologise for hitting Dan on the head. Thanks to Rich for sending his pics (there are more in the Gallery). Leave your comments below. And if you have a question for Kev next time, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi Rich, what are you up to?
I'm at home. We got back from the European dates yesterday.
How was it?
It was great. All went very well. It was nice to see a lot of regular fans, both from Europe and fans who'd come over from Britain. And it was good to play more intimate shows where you get to hang around with the crowd a bit more.
So you kicked off in Amsterdam. How was that?
Yeah, it was a really good start. It was full, which was nice.
Were they all busy?
They were indeed. We were wondering if anyone would turn up because we haven't had a massive amount of support from some of the labels abroad, but all the venues were full and we had some really good responses. Amsterdam was particularly good actually. As was Zurich. And Hamburg was another really good one.
Dan and Rich in Zurich
Was it nice to be back on the road?
Yeah, it was fun. The usual things kicked in. Kev's insomnia came back, for instance. But we had a lovely time. It was nice, cos we're not really promoting the record at the moment, so we actually had time in most places to go for a walk around. Obviously I sent you the pictures of Cologne Cathedral, which was amazing.
You must've been tired after walking to the top.
I did have a sore bum actually. I'm not sure why that hurt. I guess that's the weakest part of my climbing muscles!
Were you on a tourbus out there?
Yeah. I enjoyed being back on a bus. I sleep like a baby on those things. You get into your little coffin and you get rocked to sleep by the motion of the bus. And also you have this thing where you're living in a bubble where noone can get you or communicate with you properly, so you can have completely guilt-free lie-ins. It's amazing. There's no reason for you to get out of bed. And especially with having Sonny at home, who wakes us up most nights climbing into our bed, it's quite nice to have that.
And now you're all warmed up for the British shows.
Exactly! That was one of the great things about it. We got to get into these little venues and just bash out the songs, which got us gig-ready again. We were a bit exhausted after the first couple because we haven't done it for a while, but we're much more match fit now.
Did you play new songs out there?
We did, yeah. And we'll continue to play new stuff on the main tour.
How many songs?
Well there's about four that are ready to play, but we're only really playing one of them at the moment.
What's it called?
Its working title is The Truth Comes Out When The Drink Goes In.
That sounds like it could be a song about Ciaran's alter-ego, Jeremy.
Yes! Or all of our alter-egos that lurk within. Ciaran has two; Clarence is the nice guy and Jeremy's the ones who swears at people and threatens them with violence. Not that he ever does anything.
Maybe when you make a video for the song, you can just get Ciaran drunk.
Yeah, and film what he does! That's a great idea.
Did you have any nights out in Europe?
Yeah, we had some good times. But I can't think what they were. I always go blank when I do a catch-up. Dan and me went shopping and bought some stuffed animals in Hamburg. It was this really weird shop, but the stuffed birds were really cheap. I don't agree with the fur trade, but I made an exception for these. Taxidermy is a grey area I think.
Picking up birds on tour...
What are you going to do with them?
I brought them home. Sophie wasn't as big a fan of them as I was. She said I need an old man's study to keep them in. Anyway, nights out... in Zurich Owen took me to a death metal bar, which was fun. Actually, talking of that, Paul and me have started a roadie band for soundcheck. It's a heavy metal outfit called Cockroach Death. I'll be sending some video footage of us jamming soon. So, yeah, after we went to the death metal club, we got back to the bus and I realised that I could fit both my feet in one of Owen's shoes, because his feet are so massive. So could Paul. So we had a sort of one-legged race, outside the venue.
The race is on....
Sounds like you had a fun trip.
Yeah, we really did.
Obviously the big Feeling news has been the announcement of the DVD. Are you pleased with it?
Definitely. We decided we'd try to get as much content on it as possible. We actually had to leave a lot off, because there wasn't room on the DVD. The DVD is literally 100% full - you couldn't get any more on there. A DVD is long overdue for us, so we just decided to ram it all on there. We really wanted to get it out this year, which we wouldn't have been able to do if we'd filmed one of the gigs on this tour.
So does the show crank up a gear for the British tour?
It does, yeah. We've got all kind of ambitious production ideas which we're frantically trying to finish. I don't want to give too much away though.
It's a long tour too.
Yeah, for a UK tour it's a lot of dates. We'll come home when we're in the south, but I think there's two weeks where we're so far up north that it's not going to be worth coming home. We're going to all kind of places we've not been to before, which is great. I'm looking forward to Inverness and Aberdeen and towns like that.
And where are you at with the new record?
Well, we've officially started working on it. We've been working on songs during rehearsals for the tour and Dan's been writing a lot. There are lots and lots of ideas. It'll be nice to use the tour to try things out a bit. And then we're gonna get our heads down in the new year and get working on writing and recording. Then there's a vague plan to do some little shows in March to try out the new songs. We want to develop the songs more live, and we think it'll be good to put ourselves under the pressure to have enough material to do a show at a certain point. Then doing the gigs we'll be able to see the reaction and really develop the material before we record.
Can you tell us much about the new album?
It's a bit early to say, really. We've met with a couple of producers this time, so we haven't ruled that out as an option. The main thing is that we're just going to let it evolve naturally for a couple of months and see what comes out.
Right, readers' questions. The first one is from Joanna G who says she saw your wife Sophie on the new Rimmel advert. She asks if Sophie is the new Kate Moss?
Ha! Er, that's an abstract one. No, she's her own person.
She's not the new Kate Moss, she's the old Sophie Ellis Bextor.
Next question is a topical one from Nikki H. She asks, "Trick or treat?"
Oh. Treat obviously. Oh hang on, doesn't that mean that I have to give her a treat?
Ah, good point. So now you may have just committed to an extra-marital affair with Nikki.
Hahaha! She got me there. Damn.
The next question is from Werner, who'd like to know what make your bass is?
Interesting question. I like the geeky stuff.
Well, Werner likes its shape and style, plus the straightforward sound, but can't work out what it is.
Well, yes, it is an unusual bass. Well noted Werner. It's a 1979 Guild, I have two of them and the reason I play it is that Dan bought one when we were 16 and he lent it to me. They're not worth a lot, it was about £300 or something. So it was the first bass I ever properly played and I liked it. I bought myself another one, which is the black one I use now. I think with a lot of instruments, it is just a plank of wood to a certain extent and it's what you do with it. But it has a very solid, woody tone to it. It's quite vintage and characterful, which really fits our music. I don't really like the modern bass sound. I love playing this one.
So it's the only bass you use?
Well I do also have a Fender 69 Jazz which I bought when we were on tour in America. That's a brilliant-sounding thing. I used it a lot on the second album because it records really well. But it doesn't have quite as much definition live, which is why I still use the Guild. I just really like it. Actually, I hit Dan on the head with it in Germany.
It was during the gig in Munich, I was having a "rock out" moment and due to the small stage hit Dan in the head. I didn't mean to. Sorry Dan.