La's/Mavers Interviews

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La's/Mavers Interviews

Postby Ming-8L » Sun Apr 29, 2018 2:48 am

There are a variety of interview posts around here but I don't find them all in one place. I'm going to try to post as many as I can I this thread.
Go ahead and help out if anyone would like to. Some sources are now lost, pay to read or hard to find so will gather some of those if I can. If one our regulars wants to made a file of these for keeping in case the interviews are lost again, that would be helpful.

If admin doesn't want copies here I can remove them. The worst that could happen is we'd be asked to remove them.

Wikipedia has this one as a missing file but it's still on Tom Grave's Blog
3rd entry down

Interview with British Cult Icon Lee Mavers of the La's

Writer – Tom Graves
Mag. – Rock & Roll Disc
Date: September, 1991
Subject: Interview with Lee Mavers of The La’s

Have Mersey

An Interview with The La’s Driving Force and Angriest Member, Lee Mavers

By Tom Graves

Just when you think you’ve seen or heard everything that could happen in the music business, something like the La’s imbroglio comes along. The La’s in 1988 and ’89 practically owned the music scene in their hometown of Liverpool, where there hadn’t been so much excitement for a new Mersey band since four mop-topped lads created a mania of their own nearly 30 years ago.

Record company executives flocked to their sold-out club gigs, and Polygrams’ London label quickly snapped them up, ready to promote the La’s as their major new artists of the year. London had enough confidence in this untested band to hire famed producer Steve Lillywhite (U2 among many others to his credit) to be at the helm for their debut recording, and he was obviously impressed with the talents of the band and in particular their singer, songwriter, and driving force, Lee Mavers.

Then the fun began. The band chafed under Lillywhite’s studio direction, feeling that he was intentionally subverting their aggressive approach in favor of a lighter pop sound. Towards the end of the session the band – all studio greenhorns – walked out on Lillywhite, leaving him to mix and master the 12 tracks himself without their input or consent. Stranger yet, the album when released became a hit, getting almost constant rotation on college radio stations and MTV. The first single from the album, “There She Goes,” attracted almost universal critical acclaim and Mavers was compared favorably to rock lions such as Pete Townshend and Ray Davies.

A worldwide tour was organized to capitalize on the album’s success, but in the face of fame, recognition, and plaudits Lee Mavers actively disavowed the album in print.

As an early admirer of the band and an admirer of the album, I was shocked that Mavers would seemingly commit commercial suicide by badmouthing his only ticket to success. I thought to myself that Mavers either must be the most naïve megalomaniac in recent music history or an artist so sure of his vision that he would do anything to preserve it – to the point of attacking anything he felt was non-representative.

Rock & Roll Disc caught up with Lee Mavers toward the end of the La’s American tour. Passionate and articulate, Mavers left no doubt that he was a man committed to his artistic principles first and foremost. Taken out of context his comments here could be mistaken for the arrogance of his youth (he’s in his early twenties), but in context they can be seen as the opinions of a supremely confident and gifted young artist, an individual who allows no second-guessing when it comes to his music goals.

--Tom Graves

Rock & Roll Disc: How do you think the current tour’s gone over so far in the States?

Lee Mavers: Yeah, it’s o.k. now. Now that we’ve got our sound man things are looking up.

R&RD: At one time Britain’s art schools were a training ground for musicians, especially in Liverpool. Did that have anything to do with how you formed?

Mavers: No, man. Our school is the school of the universe, y’know. The universe is my university, y’dig. My school is the streets, my school is the world, the universe. I’ve got me own point of view about things, not somebody else’s.

R&RD: How did the La’s get together?

Mavers: Out of necessity. It just sort of happened and we hit on somethin’. There was nothing particularly special, y’know no fuckin’ magic thing that happened. It just happened.

R&RD: Am I right that you’ve been together four years now?

Mavers: Well, since 1986 which is close to five years now i’n it? In ’86 we just started jumpin’ up on stage and playing after other bands, y’know, shouting out for bass players out of the audience, shouting out for drummers, etc., until by that October we had the nucleus of the band. We had no place to really play, we needed the extra time to get tight and get together, y’know what I’m sayin’, to get more seasoned.

So we approached the public house and just asked ‘em if we could play for nuthin’. They let us do it, and a few weeks later we were bringing in such a big following that they started giving us, y’know, 15 pounds, 30 pounds, 60pounds. Then there was a shake-up within the band, the guitarist went, another guitarist came in, then we took Liverpool by storm, record companies came over, took us into a storm…

R&RD: The record companies started courting you when word of your following in the clubs starting getting out, right? And did your following branch out into the rest of England at this point?

Mavers: No, it was concentrated in Liverpool. Since we had no tapes or records out the following was just concentrated around there. So the record companies approached us, put us in their studio thing, and they got what they wanted out of us. But we don’t like [the album], and we’ll get our chance next.

R&RD: Did the La’s have out four singles before signing to London/Polygram?

Mavers: No, you’re talking about what happened after we signed. I have no idea how many singles they’ve put out on us at this time. Y’know we were in their studios seven times before the album came out, but we turned our backs on the nonsense we’ve been made to do, and they mixed it over without our consent, so that’s why I’m not interested in it, basically. There’ve been times when I’ve come home and me Mum’s had [the album] on and I just don’t like it.

R&RD: I’d like to ask you about this music scene in Manchester that’s been discussed…

Mavers: It’s been and gone in England. It might be coming over to America now, but belatedly so.

R&RD: Well, how would you characterize the differences you see between your music and the music of the critically successful bands from England like The Charlatans U.K. and Inspiral Carpets, and so forth?

Mavers: Ours is soul, theirs is fashion.

R&RD: Was the La’s the outgrowth of any musical movement in Liverpool?

Mavers: There are a lot of bands from up around our way but they’re all into fashion and we’ve got the soul.

R&RD: Was the La’s the outgrowth of any musical movement in Liverpool?

Mavers: There are a lot of bands from up around our way but they’re all into fashion and we’ve got the soul.

R&RD: How has Liverpool’s music history, with the Beatles and the Mersey Sound, affected what you are doing?

Mavers: The Mersey Sound no, it hasn’t affected us, but the Beatles certainly had an impact on all of music. But we’re not playing their stuff either first-hand or second-hand. The Beatles wouldn’t even be in our list of Top Ten favorites.

R&RD: Yeah? Who would be some of your favorites?

Mavers: Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Captain Beefheart, early Who, stuff like that…Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald. There’s loads of other stuff, but they’re not consistent enough to be named.

R&RD: In the ‘80s acoustic music seemed to really take a backseat to electric music and only folkie die-hards seemed to play it, but that seems to be changing now. How do you feel about the acoustic parts of what you do?

Mavers: We keep getting lumped into a kind of indie, acoustic folkie thing, but no that’s not us. But all music is “folk” isn’t it? All of it is for people. We’re not folk, we just occasionally strap an acoustic guitar on, but that doesn’t make us a folk band. But look at “Substitute” by the Who. Is that folk?

R&RD: What I was getting at is that it seems acoustic music isn’t being categorized like it used to, don’t you think?

Mavers: But we are fighting being categorized, I mean we play all types of music. It’s like being categorized shouldn’t have to exist today – they keep wanting to categorize music, and they keep getting’ it wrong.

R&RD: Explain how you came up with the name the La’s. What does the name mean?

Mavers: When we formed the band we just named it the La’s, I don’t know why.

R&RD: It doesn’t have some sort of British meaning we Yanks don’t understand does it?

Mavers: I could tell you one meaning, but it would mean only the one you say, and that might be the wrong one. I mean the word “la” is a musical term – you know do-re-me-fa-so-la-ti-do. It’s also the most commonly used word in almost every language in the whole world. In Ireland and Liverpool it’s also an abbreviation for “lad,” like people here saying “alright lads” would say “alright la’.”

R&RD: What goals do you have in mind when you sit down to write a song?

Mavers: I don’t know. I just don’t know, man. If I knew what I was lookin’ for it would be found. But what I believe in is music that’s absolutely timeless; you know what is very ancient is also very futuristic and very now because now is always now.

R&RD: John Power in the La’s is quoted as saying the La’s is the only group around “making music properly.” What did he mean by that?

Mavers: The La’s are the only ones who are making music, the others are just manners and things. Keep music alive, you know. Other music is nothing but sampled beats so everything feels and sounds the same.

R&RD: Of course we’ve been reading about your dissatisfaction with producer Steve Lillywhite on the album and you mentioned it earlier. Would you care to talk some more about that?

Mavers: Well, that’s why we turned our backs on the album and just left it with them and they did that mix without our consent. I feel that the album is duller than it should be and our bad time in the studio shows. I mean parts of it are just crap.

R&RD: If we heard the La’s the way you meant for the La’s to be heard, what would we hear different?

Mavers: The La’s the way I would have wanted you to hear it. I mean, you’ll have to just hear it, I can’t speak it y’know. It’s silly that that’s the way it works, but live we are exciting. I want our records to show and feel that.

R&RD: If we saw you live would that clue us in to your real sound?

Mavers: Well, we’re still gettin’ together live if truth be told. We’ve been playin’ through somebody else’s medium for the last five years. Now we’ve got our own sound boys and we’re working on that. It’s gettin’ more like it.

R&RD: When can we expect to hear something new from you?

Mavers: Once we get back home we hope to have something ready by New Year’s Day or so.

R&RD: Who’s going to produce the next album?

Mavers: We’re going to produce it ourselves as we play. I don’t know what the fuck a producer can do, except produce bullshit from his mouth. I don’t talk to Lillywhite, but that doesn’t affect me. That pain that they’ve inflicted doesn’t affect me because I know the score and them other people don’t. On the next album we want to take the record company’s fingers out of it so that we can do it.

You know we are the talent, they are the salesmen, and that’s the way it should be. At the moment I’m just workin’ through the business because we’ve got to get over the battle.

Also, just wait until the next time, because when we’re up at bat we’re going to hit a home run. This album, though, is largely dull and unentertaining. Don’t buy the album, just give us the money.

R&RD: How do you like the video that’s out?

Mavers: I don’t like it. You’re referring to the one from ’88 that was made on a Super 8 for 50 pounds in Liverpool in half a day. Not the one that was made for thousands of dollars in L.A. The reason we had to make that was they said “if you don’t have an American to make it, we’re not going to show it.” All that bullshit.

R&RD: So are you going to do your own videos in the future as well?

Mavers: We’re going to do our own records, our own record covers, and our own videos, absolutely everything to do with the album.

R&RD: Did you like the graphics on the album cover of a close-up of a girl’s eye?

Mavers: I thought it was pathetic. What does it signify? I hate it.

R&RD: How has the record company responded to your charges? I must admit I’ve never seen anything quite like this before.

Mavers: They tell us to keep our mouths shut. Most of the time it’s John Powers gettin’ interviewed because he’s diplomatic, and I’ll tell the truth otherwise. So I’m kept down. I’m glad you wanted to speak to me. You know you’ve got to look after y’self because no one else will. We’re tired of dickheads tellin’ us what to play and how to play it. Now that they’ve used up the backlog of our recordings, the ball’s in our court and it’s our turn to bat, and they’ll only get what we give them and they’ll get it in such a way that they won’t be able to tamper with it. They’ll get it in such a way that they’ll only be able to sell it, which is the whole point of a bleedin’ record company. Y’know the art guides the artist, the artist guides the art, and the salesman sells it.
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Re: La's/Mavers Interviews

Postby Ming-8L » Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:01 am

The Difficult Birth Of The La's Album
Q Mag, Q 154, July 1999, John Reed
Input from all ex-producers & ex-La's

" ..he didn't like a particular cable because it was yellow.. "

John Power ( The La's bassist)
The La's was strange because it was mainly Lee and me, with other people coming and going. From day one we knew we were the fucking best band kickin' around. You've got to remember that I was 19. I was a nutter, skinning up and going off me head. When I think back, it was a razor edge feeling that we all had.

Barry Sutton ( The La's guitarist )
In the eleven months I was in the band, we recorded the album three times to various stages of completion. The first one was on eight-track in The Attic, which was maybe fifty per cent finished, that was kind of self-produced.

Paul Hemmings ( The La’s guitarist )
Andy McDonald From Go! Discs heard a demo tape and things went mental. Every record company said they’d fly up to watch us. One night, we played the Everyman, and it was absolutely packed. We signed to Go! Discs.

We moved down to London to do some recording - seven of us living in a big house in Ravenscourt Park but that lasted all of three months. You couldn’t make any noise because of the neighbours. A lot of good songs were written around then, though.

Lee Mavers ( The La’s vocalist )
We thought it would be better to be in London so we could move quick but, after about two months, we all did each other’s heads in and went back home. The record business had nothing to offer us except sitting in that house, where we couldn’t even pick up a guitar because the neighbours complained. There were police around all the time.

Paul Hemmings
My mum and dad had an old Victorian house in Liverpool with an outbuilding, old stables, where we’d rehearse. Lee came across one morning with that fantastic riff for There She Goes and the rest fell into place. We also did some stuff in the Bunnymen’s eight-track demo studio in Liverpool, because Pete De Freitas (now deceased Bunnymen drummer), God bless him, helped us out.

John Leckie ( producer )
I went up to see them in Liverpool, during March 1988. They kept playing me the old four-track demos they’d done themselves, and saying that this was how they wanted the album to sound. But they’d just finished working with John Porter (Smith ‘s producer) in Matrix Studios in London. I got the Porter tape From Andy at Go! Discs and we went into Chipping Norton studios because Lee had this obsession with the ‘60s, and that studio had a mixing desk of the right vintage.

One example of his ‘60s thing was that he wanted to use the old AKG D190 mics - just about the cheapest you can get. In terms of range, they had no top and no bottom, but that’s what he did the demos on, so that’s what he wanted.

Barry Sutton
Lee was working on twenty-four-track with people like John Leckie. The key thing was he played these amazing demos of songs like Doledrum and Son Of A Gun and said, that’s what I want it to sound like. To this day, they haven’t been bettered - he says that himself.
John Leckie
When I started working with them, it was Lee, John Power and a Salsa-type drummer called Terry, but then Lee decided he’d play drums himself. He could do a brilliant Keith Moon impersonation, arms flailing everywhere, but it sounded awful.

Lee was also inclined to talk in a kind of Scouse psychobabble. He’d spend half an hour describing the way he’d want the guitar to sound, things like wanting to capture the sound of the tree it was made From. Or he’d decide he didn’t like a particular cable because it was yellow. John Power was a bit like that too, but when he did it, there was an element of humour. Lee seemed serious.

We worked like this through a bunch of songs, then finally he says, I’ve got this other one, which turned out to be There She Goes, and it was brilliant.

In the studio, they would drink beer and smoke dope, but I never saw any evidence of hard drugs, or even of harder spirits. If Lee was doing heroin, which people have said he was, it didn’t seem to affect his ability to work.

The most frustrating thing was, at the end of each session, when everything was switched off, Lee and John would pick up guitars in the kitchen and sing together and it was utterly fabulous. In the end I was sacked because, apparently, I was no good.

Paul Hemmings
We did tours of England while we were in and out of studios. It got ridiculous trying to record anything. I do sympathise with Lee, because when you catch a moment and then separate all the tracks and try it again in the studio, it sounds too clean and clinical. That went on and on. I got fed up and thought, Something’s not quite right. I want my life back. And there were definitely dark clouds looming. Did Lee get irate? Yeah. He’d like a song at first and then he wouldn’t.
Barry Sutton
The version we did in the Pink Museum in Liverpool, lasted two and a half months. An Australian guy called Jeremy Allom worked with us. Then an in-house Canadian guy took over. I had an acetate of Timeless Melody from the Pink sessions. The playing was good, the recording quality wasn’t great.

Mike Hedges ( producer )
I was brought in for a couple of weeks when I was supposed to be going on holiday. I’d been collecting vintage equipment and the desk we used was early EMI Abbey Road, which Lee appreciated. It would have been used on The Beatles’ albums - and John Lennon’s.

We did most of the recording on my mobile down in Devon. It was obvious that some of the demos the band had already done - things like Looking Glass - should really just have been left exactly as they were. During a ten-day period we recorded sixteen songs and then mixed them in a couple of days, banged out the mixes and delivered it.

One brilliant we had, they were sitting in the dining room of this house in Devon, playing songs. They went through about thirty-five unreleased tunes and they were amazing, absolutely stunning.

When we had more or less finished it, Lee seemed completely happy with it. Then Power and Sharrock went on holiday with their girlfriends to Hawaii. After that, Lee's attitude seemed to change. I was told later that Lee was none too pleased that he didn't go with them. And when they came back, it was all a bit sour and he decided he didn’t like the album at all and wanted to redo it.

Paul Hemmings
The session with Mike Hedges is reckoned to be the best, when Lee allegedly tried to destroy the tapes. John Power stuck with it through thick and thin, and hats off to him.

John Power
I was a bit suspicious because Lee wanted to record in the kitchen. And then it was, Nah, that sounds wrong - and don’t dust the guitars. He
thought the guitars sounded better with dust on.

Mike Hedges
During the last few days of overdubs, he started saying, This or that isn’ tgood enough. He was protesting too much when he knew things were good. He’d say, That bass is out oF tune. Everyone else would say, No, it’s not. Oh, he’d say, I meant the guitar...

Lee Mavers
I don’t know why we didn’t get our sound. Seven times in and out of different studios at £1,000 a day. I don’t know why the producer wasn’t capturing our sound.

Mike Hedges
I still regard Lee as a genius. I had heard it said that he had heroin problems but, if so, he seemed to handle it. But I don’t think heroin was what caused him to reject the album. It was more to do with his artistic temperament. I think he’d set himself these impossibly high standards with the demos they’d originally done, and he wanted it to be absolutely perfect.

Consequently, Chris left the band, and John was furious because he thought it sounded really good.

Paul Hemmings
Chris Sharrock had to leave, because the record company stopped the money for a while and he had a mortgage to pay, and his kid. When Chris left, Lee got his brother Neil and Cammy (Peter James Cammell) in as a unit and I got ousted. Cammy is one of the most talented guitarists I’ve come across.

Lee Mavers
We walked out on it while we were doing it. We hated it because we weren’t getting our sound across, so we turned our back on it. So the record company did it themselves. They got it together from a load of backing tracks, mixed it themselves and put it out. There was no choice as to what single we wanted or anything...

John Leckie
I’ve nothing but admiration for Andy McDonald at Go! Discs, because he stuck with it right through to the end, and if he hadn’t brought in Steve Lillywhite to finish it off, there might never have been a La’s album.
Posts: 155
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Re: La's/Mavers Interviews

Postby Ming-8L » Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:54 am

Linking so can see these photos for a while longer,
This is the author who many years later wrote a nasty write up dissing the La's, still angry Maver's wouldn't talk to him this day.

N.M.E. ' New Musical Express ' (also titled Liverpool Invades on La'zarus)
3 August 1991
• AUTHOR - David Quantick
• CONTENT - The La's journey across the USA, talk of future music..

The cover of the NME, 3 August, 1991, had ' The Farm ' standing on the New York
shoreline holding up cartons of ' Farmers ' flavoured milk shakes... with Lee Mavers
inset, bottom right corner. The ' pixels ' effect is the way the newspaper is printed..

" Which one's Ron McNasty? "

The La's are sat outside a cafe in New York's Chelsea district with their manager Rob, Tim
Jarvis and me.They are relaxing before tonight's concert at the Marquee Club over aperitifs
when suddenly a man in a crap 60's outfit - thin lapels, horrible old shirt, the lot - comes up to our table.

" Hey! It's The La's! " he observes, loudly. He is followed by another man in a crap 60's suit who, bizarrely, also belows' " Hey! It's The La's! "

Lee Mavers and his drumming brother Neil smile benignly as the first geek says, " We're going to see you guys tonight! " while the other geek shouts, " We paid $16! ". Guitar La Paul ' Cammy ' Cammell is absorbed in the contents of his fingernails. Bass player John Powers has an evil look in his eye.

" You guys are the new Beatles, right? " says Geek One, adding merrily, " Which one's Ron McNasty ". Geek Two further adds to the comedy factor by shouting, " Hey, is it true you guys think your record's shit? "

The La's adopt the furious silence of the deeply offended. Every schoolchild in the world knows that The La's think that their record is abysmal and an insult to their artistry, but it's not done to discuss it.

This has not occured to the geeks, who blather on and on. " We're in a group - We're called The Mooks, " continues Geek One. " Bye, " mutters Rob the manager. " We're the american La's, " says Geek Two, unheeding.

John grins and surveys Geek Two's supremely duff attire. " Yeah? " he snorts. " Well, you'd better buy a new f---ing shirt then, la'. "
" Hey! " says Geek One. " I love your sarcastic English sense of humour! " " Bye, " says Rob the manager, much more loudly.

The La's are in America on a tour that started in Japan, went to Hawaii and has crossed the US in six swift but knackering weeks. With the popularity of their self-loathed album and an MTV rotated video for ' There She Goes ', Liverpool's cheeriest band are hot properties in America; which is why Tim Jarvis and I are in sweaty old New York to follow them around for a few days.
We meet The La's at their soundcheck a few hours before the Geek incident. They are standing in the street, happily mocking an advert for the new Top single. " That song, it's ' Son Of A Preacher Man ' , " says John. John is proud of his melody-spotting abilities. " I can put a tune to anything,
I reckon I could make a livin' makin' medleys, " he confesses. " Me Dad said, ' if you're going to do anything, lad, get into medley makin', there's a great livin' there... ' "

Instead, John is about to enter a far from hygienic club across the road from the New York Inspectorate Of Emissions (honest) and do a soundcheck. La's soundchecks are about as dull as anyone else's so we stay only briefly. Lee plays ' Son Of A Gun '. John plays a splendid new song of his own making called ' Follow Me Down '.

Despite the Geek incident, the show that night is fine, ie The La's hated it and everyone else went mental, whooped a lot, sang along to ' There She Goes ', marvelled at the self-referential perfection of ' Timeless Melody ' and agreed that the newish ' I Am The Key ' is a weird and lovely epic. Afterwards The La's meet their American record company to have their pictures taken pressing the flesh and then - tired but blind drunk - we all go home because we have to go to Washington in the morning.

So far Lee Mavers has spoken but two words to me. They were " How do? ", which is pleasant enough but isn't going to fill many pages. Now I am in a minibus with him and we are hurtling down the New Jersey Turnpike at 55mph together. It is a sunny, we are four hours from Washington, the radio is playing everything from The Allman Brothers to EMF and I suggest to Lee that perhaps we might have a chat later. Lee grimaces. " Just soak it up, la', " he suggests. " Soak it up and do it that way. You don't need to do an interview. " With that he leans back and discusses with Cammy the merits of Paul McCartney's solo version of ' We can work it out ' which is on the radio. Lee opines that it is " slack ".

My attemps to learn more of the mysterious Mavers are bounded by the fact that he keeps falling asleep,only waking to opine on the records on the radio. I do, however, manage to soak up that he finds reference to masturbation in Billy Joel's ' Captain Jack ' reasonably amusing and is quite fond of Elton John's ' Honky Cat '.

We stop for snacks at a service station and I find myself strolling along with the affable Cammy. Cammy is keen to talk about the band's visit to Honolulu. " We played Waikiki Beach, which is this tourist resort, " he confides. " It was shite. It was like Blackpool. " We get back in the bus and, after much more driving, we reach Washington, home of the White House, Capitol Hill and the 9.30 Club. The 9.30 Club is the size of a large sub-post office and its dressing-room contains one of the most spectacularly libellous pieces of gossip about a pop singer I have ever seen. Curiously, said pop singer is Lee Mavers.

The Soundcheck is brief, Lee sings ' Son Of A Gun ' and John sings ' Follow Me Down '. We check into our hotel where, to our horror, we meet Ned's Atomic Dustbin. " Washington is groupie city, " claims one chap in the 9.30 Club, but apart from the Neds, who have followed us, we can see no one who might engage in rock'n'roll rumpo, so we watch The La's again. They are fine except that Lee has taken exception to being photographed onstage and keeps mouthing " F--- off! F--- off! " at Tim Jarvis. The set rattles along and The La's encore with ' I Am The Key '. " This one isn't finished, " grins Lee. " But you don't mind. "

The dressing-room afterwards is chocka. There are teenage girls who have heard of The La's and there are teenage girls who haven't. There are dodgy old men called Dave (ahem) who think that I am in The La's and congratulate me on my album. And there are The La's themselves, exhibiting grace under pressure as 40 Washingtonians grapple with Liverpool accents and say " So how come you think your album is shit? "

Conversations bat about the room. " I used to live on snacks when I was a kid, crisps and Ringos and stuff. I was totally hyperactive, " reveals John. " They used to call me the Ringo Kid. "

" When it comes to what we do, whether it's for the art or just for being in a job, " declares Neil, " it's the art that's more important. "

" 808 State ? " says Lee. " Techno bullshit. "
" You guys are kinda like REM, " says a teenage girl. Time to go.

The night passes in the twinkling of an eye and we assemble in the hotel lobby. Today we are going to Asbury Park, New Jersey, home of Bruce Springsteen and something very disgusting called salt water taffy which we shan't discuss here. And today I am in a car with John Powers to have a chat, John being the most talkative of The La's and, indeed, a man who declares himself to be Mr Interview.

Do The La's like America? John is philosophical.
" America's like everywhere. It's got the good, the bad and the ugly in it, in all the cities. You can find a c--- in Blackburn, you can find a c--- in Liverpool, you don't have to go to New York to find some twat, like, " he declares with some accuracy. " I don't even know, it's a bit of a blur, like. It's the longest tour we've ever done... Six weeks is probably average for everyone else, but for us to get our act together for a six week tour is something else, la'. "

Talking about acts being got together brings to mind a weird thing about The La's, which is that they've been going ten years or so and yet in that time they've managed to release just one LP. Even now their stage set contains only five new songs. One might suspect The La's of indolence on an ocean-going scale.

" We know that, " John sighs. " There's loads of new stuff, la'. There's stuff we've never even done live, which is going to make it even more exciting for us. Cammy's been getting loads of riffs, Lee's got loads of tunes, and for me this last year an' a 'alf has been f---ing brilliant for writing. "

We pass what seems to be the 95th Roy Rogers Snack Bar (noted for Our unpleasantly Rubbery Hamburgers) of the day and ponder the question: will The La's consider their second LP to be as bad as the first one? John shakes his tousled locks.

" We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted with the first one, " he insists, " but it was getting it across to people. Hopefully we know what we want in the studio. You learn from your past, like. We wanna produce it - if that's what you call it, like. we just wanna get a true representation of the band down on record, that's all, like. "

Tricky, for despite it all, few people sound like The La's. We take a break to listen to a Bob Dylan tape. John practises his Dylan impression. Like Lee he is a horrendously good mimic and could give the boys and girls on Stars In Their Eyes a run for their money. Time for another question. Many people find The La's blend of Mersey harmonies, jangly guitar and top tunes a touch retro.

John shrugs. " Let them. You can't please all the people all the time. There's always going to be some c--- whingeing. I don't know what retro means. You shouldn't deny your history, you should take it and learn from it, but I'm living today, I'm living now. You know, I wasn't even in the f---in' '60's. "

Our car - spookily - is travelling parallel to the tour bus. We can see Lee Mavers sleeping.
Do The La's now have something of an image as contrary beggars?

Our car - spookily - is travelling parallel to the tour bus. We can see Lee Mavers sleeping.
Do The La's now have something of an image as contrary beggars?

" Some people take the wrong end of the stick. People who are sound get on with us, they can handle a bit of this and a bit of that, they don't get uptight, " insists John, subjectively. " But some people who come in and meet us, we'll just pass comment, like, and they'll be freaked, they'll think of us as arrogant bastards. There should be no problem with feeling confident, it's just that sometimes people take it the wrong way. "

He sighs at the strangeness of the world. " That's their f---in' problem, not ours. Anyone who knows the band knows that ... I can get on with anyone, like. "

Asbury Park is pure end-of-the-world movie set. Out by the boardwalk, a derelict ballroom stands on the beach, supported by stilts. Half collapsed clubs are scattered about the streets. The Asbury Park Rock'n'Roll Museum is closed and there are no tourists here to buy the salt water taffy.
The La's are not impressed, however, so after the soundcheck ( ' Son Of A Gun ', ' Follow Me Down ' ) at the splendid Fast Lanes club, we are taken to a bar by a friend of a friend of the band.

The locals are immensely friendly and soon we are all jiving to Bruce Springsteen Records. By the pool table, Lee meets a cheerful man called Rick and they become firm friends. At least, Lee keeps shouting " You just bought yerself a can o' whup-ass! " at Rick who keeps whooping and slapping Lee's hand.

Lee is patently in an excellent mood and the show is the best of the past few days. The La's even encore with their wondrous Led Zeppelin instrumental pastiche ' Swashbuckler ' and there is much backstage jollity. " Whoop! " shouts Rick. " You guys are good! " " You just bought yerself a can o' whup-ass! " retorts Lee.

The next morning brings grey skies, an epic breakfast on the seafront and a chat with Lee. Lee is expansive to the max.
" America's like Birkenhead, " is his first declaration. " You never been to Birkenhead? Check it out! " Lee's impressions of America are duly muted. " Personally, coming to America's not a big thing. Business-wise, it is. If we can keep the heads happy, we're laughing... We're not on our own track at the moment, we're on someone else's, but you can use that to get in a position to do stuff for yourself. "

" We were looking forward to going, before we came, " he concedes. " It's been hard. Problems with the sound. The last two nights were not so good. I couldn't hear meself sing, like. But there have been a couple of good gigs. "

The next La's album will, Lee is insistent, be splendid.
" We're gonna do it ourselves, " he says with languid firmness. " We're not going to let anyone else interfere with the broth and we're gonna dish it up as we like... "

And how will that be? Lee is happy to " explain ".
" When I get this car on the road. I'm gonna put me universal hat on, like. "

Of course. Moving swiftly along... while most pop acts are concerned - well, obsessed - with the " direction " they are going to take on their next album, Lee regards the sound of The La's as something that exists outside time, space and the confines of fashion. Or, as he shrugs, " The songs we're doing now are still straightforward. Why regress? "

The r-word provokes one of the most furious outbreaks of shrugging in the history of time.

" The people that say we're retro , they're the ones who are retro, " raves Lee. " Something that's good is futuristic. Now's now. Why aren't they now? Happiness is now. "

Lee - silent for so long - is unstoppable.

" We've been thrash punk, y'know, we've been places where people like Ride have been.... We've been over that. "

So is everyone crap apart from The La's? Lee thinks long and hard.

" I like Happy Mondays. They're very good, " he decides. " It's attitude... Attitude's where you are. "

And in the end, with The La's it does all come down to attitude. The band may be blessed with a gnat's comprehension of what doing a press feature involves ( Lee, for example, seems to regard having your picture taken for an article as " posing " ). But hey! They were sociable and, in the end, we got most of what we wanted done.

And in the end The La's make remarkable records and maybe to do that you can't be Mr 24 Hours A Day Jollity.

" What keeps us going is memories of the future, " says Laughing Lee, " the spirit of the thing. The flames are dampened but there's life there. "

Are The La's crap? The La's are not crap.
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Re: La's/Mavers Interviews

Postby Ming-8L » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:06 am

Mini Poster
( Click to view )
- Smash Hits
- Month - ?, 1991
• TITLE - Meet The La's, They're The New Rolf Harris's Of Pop!!
• AUTHOR - Miranda Sawyer
• CONTENT - Birth of The La's, barking rabbits, The Lav.

" ..too many cooks spoil the broth. "

Meet Cammy. He's the curly-topped lanky lad guitarist with Liverpool beat sensations The La's and he's not very happy.

"This is shit, la'," (" La' ", incidentally, is a peculiar Liverpudlian term for " lad " in case you were wondering.) he spits at his manager. "I'm not doin' this stuff any more. That's it. NO MORE."

And he stuffs his hands in his pockets, lowers his eyebrows alarmingly and crumples his smiley face into a terrifying no-messing frown. Cammy does not like having his picture taken.
"I feel like a nonce," he grumbles.

Oh dear. It doesn't look as though any of The La's are in the mood for throwing a few rock shapes for the Smash Hits photographer today. They shuffle their feet, puff on their fags, wander off for a cup of tea... they're just not very interested. They'd far rather be mucking about with their new toy, a VERY LOUD football hooter which they let off with glee behind people's backs. They also enjoy shouting "uh oh oh" in funny voices for some reason and making unseemly "phtrrp" noises on the backs of their hands. Yes, there's plenty of things The La's like doing but striking a photogenic pose is not one of them.

In desperation, the photographer gives them some pens and paint and asks them to "create" a suitable backdrop. "Write as many words as you can think of beginning with the letters L-A," he croaks hopefully. The La's like this better and even try to participate. Lee, duty-bound as the band's songwriter, gets stuck in first. "Lack Of..." he daubs thoughtfully. "... Lack Of Wages. Lance Percival. Laugh All The Way To The Bog With A Bonk On."
Cammy The Card contributes, "The Lav. The Bum. (??) Ooh La La." Drummer Neil silently and somewhat surreally offers "P'lankton. The Shei'Ias'. Lambo. Little Labradors." And, touchingly, "I Lav You". Baby-faced John (bass) watches, laughing for a while before joining in. "Liverpool," he carefully prints. "Lust." When it's pointed out to him that these don't quite follow the ground rules, he pauses for thought, then pens, "Lad".
Creative corner finished for the day, The La's gather round for a fireside chat. Conversation flounders a little mainly because The La's, although perfectly friendly, really don't see the point of interviews.

"We don't wanna be pop stars," explains Lee. "We just wanna run our own show, get our sounds across like, recordin', get it done live, make records, the rest of it. It's not important about
interviewin' and the flamin' rest of it, like."
Lee (Lee Anthony Mavers, pink top, born 2/8/62) and the cheery John (John Timothy Power, stripey top, 14/9/67) are the founding members of The La's. They started the band off in 1986 ("I met Lee through this lad I met who knew 'im," "reveals" John) and it was Cammy's unspeakably titled band of the time, The Marshmellow Overcoats, that supported them on their second gig. "We were crap," Cammy (Peter James Camell, purple top, born 30/6/67) happily admits.

What did you think of Cammy when you met him, John?
"He stunk, la', but 'e was a buzz."

Lee: "I knew Cammy's older brother from ages ago like, so I met 'im when 'e was about three."
Cammy: "That's right. 'E brought a dog to ours. A labrador. And we kept it."

Lee: "And they used to 'ave a rabbit in the back that barked."

Cammy joined and left The La's three times before deciding to stay last year, and Neil (Neil Andrew Mavers, white top, Lee's brother, born 8/7/71) became the drummer at the same time. Various other guitarists and drummers passed through before them, but, says Lee, "It takes a certain attitude to last in The La's" and they just didn't come up to Lee and John's perfectionist standards. Not much does. Not even their own LP.

Lee: "We 'ate it. It never captured anything that we were about. To cut a long story short, too many cooks spoil the broth."
John: "Not enough carrots. No sprouts, iron, the dark green veg which is dead good for yer, like. Spinach."

So. These four tufty-headed scallywags are aiming for "world domination" leaving a life on the dole for the spoils of fame. They all want nice houses and "motors" and holidays and John wants a Scalextric. But in the meantime they're quite happy where they are at the moment thank you: John lives in a flat with "floorboards and an out-of-tune piano", Neil lives with his mum and his room is blue and has bunk beds, Lee stays at his girlfriend's mostly and Cammy lives with his girlfriend Tricia and his four-year-old daughter, Ashley. So they don't really care much about money. And they certainly couldn't care less about interviewing "technique".

Let's try again. Erm, who do you hate?
Neil: "......"

Cammy: "......"

John: "Margaret Thatcher."

Lee: "You... no, I'm only messin' pet."

Last attempt. Have you got a message for the Smash Hits viewers, lads?

Cammy: "God Is Love."

John: "Kenny Dalglish."

Lee: "Uh oh ohhuhuh."

Neil: "Milk, two sugars, thanks."

I give up.

Miranda Sawyer.
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Re: La's/Mavers Interviews

Postby Ming-8L » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:14 am

Smoke rising..

PUBLICATION - 'NME' or New Musical Express, 24 November, 1990
SUBJECT - 20 Questions -
AUTHOR - Stephen Dalton

Thought of anything nice to say about your album yet?
Lee- No
What does 'La' actually mean?
Lee- Abbreviation for 'Lad'
Name another Liverpudlian who uses the expression
Lee- Saddam Hussein
Is Merseybeat coming back for the 90's?
Lee- Where to?
What will the second La's album sound like?
Lee- Like us
Do you model yourselves on The Rutles?
Lee- Yes
Heroes and inspirations
Lee- Laurel & Hardy
Starsky and Hutch
Why don't you do dance mixes?
Lee- Not allowed to do our own yet
Favourite TV show
Lee- Paint along with Nancy
What's the point of being in a pop band?
Lee- ...if you can't make your own record
What do you want for Christmas?
Lee- Money and stockists
Favourite drinks
Lee- Brandy, tea, Guinness, lager, amyl nitrate
How do you spot a La in the crowd?
Lee- Smoke rising
That single by Frank Rogers of Brookside(1*) chart smasheroo or what?
Lee- Or what
1* For the benefit of non UK web browsers 'Brookside' is a very lively
soap, set in Liverpool, broadcast on one of the terrestial channels in the UK,
bodies buried beneath the garden patio, lesbian trysts and Jimmy Corkhill
looking for his friend 'Charlie'..
Ten bands who are better than you
Lee- The Smurfs
Chas & Dave and eight of their mates
Ken Dodd
Are you looking forward to the Single European market in 1992?
Lee- We'll wait for the album
Best thing about being on GO! DISCS
Lee- when we eventually get paid
Band motto
Lee- " Skin Up "
Best gig ever played?
Lee- Frank Rogers of Brookside
Ideal epitaph?
Lee- Funny
If the history of pop is a great banquet, what role would The La's play?
Lee- Hosts
Why the superfluous apostrophe in your name?
Lee- So people like you say it right
Still not got anything nice to say about your album?
Lee- Jimmy Sa
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Re: La's/Mavers Interviews

Postby Ming-8L » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:29 am

'Scouse Honor' here
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Re: La's/Mavers Interviews

Postby Ming-8L » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:36 am

MELODY MAKER, 10th June, 1989
• SUBJECT - The La's
• AUTHOR - Bob Stanley
• CONTENT - Recording techniques, the search for the perfect set-up...

" .. I was off with Elvis at the time. "

"WE spent four months in a studio in Liverpool and then scrapped everything."

The LA'S are nothing if not perfectionists. After two years work they've just completed their debut LP - no wonder they look knackered as they sip on a well-earned pint and soak up the Kentish Town sunshine. Two of them are off playing football on Parliament Hill, so it's down to curly haired bassist John Power and drummer Chris Sharrock to tell the sorry tale.

John: "Don't make me remember, please! We've been through about 20 studios."

Chris: "We ended up getting this old deck that had been in pieces at Abbey Road and took it to a house in Devon and set it up in the living room. It looks like a spaceship but it sounds brilliant!"

After being touted as the new Beatles by NME some two years back, the Liverpool lads-most-likely promptly disintegrated on moving to London. John and singer Lee Mavers kept faith, moved back home, drafted in two new members (Chris had recently quit The Icicle Works) and released a second single, the irresistible "There She Goes", nearly 18 months after their debut. It picked up tons of airplay around last Christmas time and hung around just outside the Top 40 for a couple of months. A new single, "Timeless Melody", is the first fruit from their Devon spaceship sessions and is a genuine chart contender. Can the boys really see themselves selling as many records as Stock Aitken & Waterman?

John: "I think we will in time. I mean, they're shit aren't they? Its just a blag. It's gonna go. I mean, it's got to go or we're all a bunch of dickheads - if that's really what the people want then I don't want to be a part of it In 20 years time, everyone will be laughing at what a rip-off they were. And they're old. I see Pete Waterman on 'The Hitman And Her' and he's just a drooling old man plugging his own records, he's just a greedy bastard... actually they don't really bother me!"

"It's a SAW point," adds Chris, obviously the Dennis Norden of the band.

Still, the youth of Liverpool seem to have an infatuation with Pink Floyd and Seventies prog rock at the moment.

John: "At the moment? It always has had. When I was 15, I was heavily, badly into Floyd and all the scals had Floyd tee-shirts, listened to 'The Wall', smoked pot. I thought it was like that all over the country until recently."

You're feeling better now, though.

"No, I still play them now and again. I went to see them at Wembley, last time they played, stoned off me head. They were good."

Like, wow! More frequent visitors to the LA's turntable are Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Jimi Hendrix.

John: "I've met Jimi Hendrix. . . Honest I have. Tripping me head off. I wasn't the only one, like, there was a few of us. He was there."

Chris: "I was off with Elvis at the time."

Do you draw inspiration from Liverpool's musical heritage?

John: "We just saw that 'Story Of Merseybeat programme. It just showed how shit most of it was.

Chris: "The Beatles were good, and The Big Three. My landlord used to be the drummer with them, a nasty man."

John: "That Freddie Dreamer; Freddie Garrity, he was on it. A Manc wasn't he? Manchester's answer to The Beatles!"

Chris: "The only Liverpool sound we've got is our own - it's inevitable that we'll have one because we come from Liverpool. But it's like we're the Nineties, we don't look back."

"Timeless Melody", with its battered acoustic guitars and seamless harmonies, confirms that "There She Goes" was no one-off. It boasts a supremely tight production, and implores the listener to "open your mind". Hailing pop's magical, uplifting qualities, it virtually celebrates its own existence. Setting standards for the Nineties they may be, but isn't the title a little presumptuous?

John: "But we know it's timeless. We wouldn't have called it that otherwise.
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Re: La's/Mavers Interviews

Postby Tony » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:44 am

Ming-8L wrote:Missing/not working on La'zarus

'Scouse Honor'
Bob Stanley, Melody Maker, 13 October 1990
If you really want this I can only find it here. ... use-honour

Here it is..

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Re: La's/Mavers Interviews

Postby Syl » Mon May 14, 2018 5:02 pm

I appreciate this thread, but I'd much rather have a list of the interview links to the various threads. Threads which have evolved over years to have little tidbits of information added to them. If you have just one big block of plain text here, then those threads elsewhere on the forum will just die, covered in dust and mould.. :(

I'll edit in links and formatting at some point.
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Re: La's/Mavers Interviews

Postby Peterhall » Mon May 21, 2018 1:55 am

Thanks for doing that. Really useful.
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