Richard Ashcroft Interview
Richard Ashcroft spends much of his time balancing
precariously on all fours playing Twister if truth be
known, and try though I might to tear him a way from
the subject for a moment to discuss his new album, Alone
With Everybody, his surly lancashire highness insists
on showing me a few of the moves he thinks are
going to be getting the attention this summer.
really have to be barefoot and on your toes for this
move. It's all in the way you arch your feet. Don't
flatten your sole. Most people tend to think you have
to be tight and in control for this move...but it's
all about letting go. In fact, Twister itself is all
about letting go. It's both it's ethos and it's tactic.
If you're not willing to let go..then you're not going
to get twisted. Ian Maculloch told me that, and he's
right. Twister is as much about letting go as it is
about twisting. Try it".
And so we continued the interview, shoeless, sockless
and locked in a tangle of tussled, mangled limbs. I
asked him about his mode, and Richard stretched
his right arm under my crotch onto the floor:
" I'm a million different people from one day
to the next. That's why twister is a game I can play
alone. Alone, you see, but with everybody. That's where
I got the idea for the album. With Twister you can never
be excluded. The colors on the board represent the facets
of my personality. None of which I can escape. None
of which I can really and honestly reconcile..that is....wholely.
I spin the wheel and wherever it lands. That's the colour
So if I spun the wheel and it landed on green...what
would that mean to you?
(stretching his left arm over onto his right) Green
represents the lover in me. The lover of expression.
The lover of woman. The lover of lovers. The lover of
the love of the loved.
The old Beatles track?
Yeah. Love it. It's the person in me that most likes
to love and to be loved...to be green and to be greened.
That's the person in me who takes the books back
to the library and tape records Corrie, Modays, Fridays
What about Corrie on Wednesdays?
On Wednesdays I'm red. The embodiment of all evil.
The embodiment of all things red.
Yeah, but you want to know come Friday what happened
on Wednesday, surely?
(almost prostrate) But on Fridays I tend to be blue.
Bluey-purplely ...it's kind of uneven. But that mode
is smooth..y'know? It's where everything is bitter sweet?
You could throw boiling tar over me on Fridays and I
wouldn't budge an eyelid. On Wednesdays I'd be fucking
livid..because on Wednesdays I'm bloody red...the embodiment
of all things red...
Yeah dude, and Thomas the Fucking Tank Engine. Ever
wondered why that fucker's red? Cos he's one mean fucking
engine, man. He's shit passionate about these trains
man, and some shite mother hairbrain in a suit comes
along and just kicks up his fucking times. Trains need
schedules..man, trains need times...and it's a sign
of the fucking times, man...there ain't no knowing when
the next trains comin'. He's red becasue he cares. He's
red because he dares..
Its a fair point, Richard. A fair point. Alone
With Everybody. What about the album. Is this a
schedule conscious release? Is this album because
Richard dares? Because Richard cares?
Or because Richard wants room enough to sound even more
like Neil Diamond than usual?
(trying to move his knee up to his nose and curl
his arm under Crud) It's no use trying to deny it. I'm
a fairly passionate person. I have a belief not only
in myself but in everybody else who would like to believe
in me. In the song C' mon People I'm not only
talking about being somekind of visionary, I
have a vision of the people seeing me as a kind
of visionary. You see, I'm passionate about the people.
I'm as passionate about the people being passionate
about me as I am about myself. I have a fucking belief
in the people. And they have one in me.
It's interesting you say that Richard, and you may
correct me if I'm wrong, but there's a suggestion in
the way you promote yourself through your music...and
this possibly spans the last 8 years or certainly the
last few albums....there's a suggestion that you are
not entirely reluctant to have your face splashed over
everything from album covers to promotional material.
You're right, and they're quite imposing are'nt
Would that be you trying to say that something ugly
can also be beautiful...that even something so mainfestly
abhorent, so distorted and so traditionally......how
shall we say...remote can also cut though the
demographics to be recognised as something close to
poetry, as something so perfect as say...a sonnet?
Yeah sure, why not. I also look cool in black and
white. It's really me trying to say I can pull just
about anything off. But it's as much a tribute to the
ugliness of all people as it is a tribute to the ugliness
of Richard Ashcroft alone.
And yet for all that confidence, that consistancy
of purpose, there's an element of isolation..of distrust
in the album title. Is that an indication that there's
a certain polarity...a certain paucity in your readyness
to embrace the public sphere. Would you say that that
embrace also repelled in the same instance?
But that would be like saying something is bitter
sweet, yeah. And I wrote a tremendously successful
anthem around that very premise.
In fact to further our analogy, you could also say
you wrote that song.......and that you didn't write
that song. There's another polarity. Another kind of
(now nervous and palpably edgy) Look. Are we playing
this game or not?
I'm just curious as to discover why such an obvious
visionary didn't have the foresight to see such an obvious
copyright libel levelled against them. Or was this simply
a demonstration of your polarities..of the tension between
cognition on the one han..
Look, fuck polarity.... (pointing to the board)
..you're supposed have at least one hand down on one
of the colours...and it's clear to everybody here that
Everybody Richard. But we're alone.
(pushing me off the board and taking it away into
the bathroom) Yeah everybody. Everybody here thinks
you're a tosser...everybody here thinks your silly....that
you're stupid. You're stupid you are. Reallly really
stupid. Stupid bastard. Stupid tosser.God, you're so
stupid you are...(locking the dor to the bathroom) and
I'm not coming out for ages.
Thanks for your time, Richard. And I think you'll
find Thomas the Tank Engine was actually blue..
(crying) not on Thursdays he fucking wans't.!!!
But Richard is just letting go. It was a bitter-sweet