Close-up: Interview with Super Furry Animals

Posted on 12 November 2009
By Amber Tan, Purple Revolver
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Purple Revolver took a moment to grill Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals at What’s Cooking? restaurant ahead of his Liverpool Music Week headline gig at Nation.

The Super Furry Animals are Gruff Rhys (lead vocals, guitar), Huw Bunford (lead guitar, vocals),
Guto Pryce (bass guitar), Cian Ciaran (keyboards, synthesizers, various electronics, occasional guitar, vocals) and Dafydd Ieuan (drums, vocals).

When quizzed on whether he is a Beatles man or an Elvis man, Gruff replied: “They were both great in their own way.

“Elvis was a fantastic singer but didn’t write any of his material. But he was a great interpreter of sound.

“In his time Elvis probably wasn’t encouraged to write. The Beatles wrote some great stuff.”

A Beatles man, then.

Gruff got into the Beatles by watching the marathon broadcasts after John Lennon was killed, he’d stay up late watching their films with his parents.

He named his favourite Beatles tune after thinking long and hard about it as Happiness Is A Warm Gun, from the White Album.

The Super Furries worked with Paul McCartney on Receptacle For the Respectable after Cian met Macca at an awards ceremony.

Gruff said: “Cian met Macca in the toilets and brought him back to our table and they swapped numbers.

“Macca’s got a great sense of humour. He left a message, singing on the answer machine in a Welsh accent.

“Then we ended up recording together. And he sent us a box full of original Beatles masters, all the stuff that came out on the Anthology before it had been heard.

“It was very unexpected. I couldn’t believe it.”

His face lights up at the mention of Howard Marks, and the Welsh dope legend spoke fondly of the times they’ve shared and massive benders on his recent trip to Liverpool.

The Super Furries got together with Marks on a two-day caning session in Cardiff last March and took over the radio airwaves with their own brand of pirate radio.

“They let us loose on Welsh radio, the station gave us loads of booze, locked us in the studio overnight and let us take over.

“We were holed up for five hours, playing all kinds. But it was only over a five-mile radius.

“Howard is a very charismatic man, he’s not always full-on. He always engages people in conversation whoever they are.

“There’s something sage-like about him.”

On Christmas and celebrity Xmas card lists Gruff politely tells us that he’s an Atheist.

“I send new year cards, but I’m an Atheist and won’t do Christmas cards.

“My gran didn’t celebrate Christmas, it’s a very new commercial phenomenon.

“I’ve no sentimentalities, I’m all for celebrating life and giving and receiving gifts every day. Every day is Christmas to me.

Looking into 2010 and their 16th year as a band I ask what record he’d like to achieve – The Super Furries have a Guinness World Record for the longest single title for their 1995 track Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (In Space) EP.

“I’d like to go for breaking the record of longevity, the longest running band.

“There’s a few bands around that have been going for a long time and death is a hard one to overcome.

“But I’d like us to become the first band to spend a millennium together.”

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