John Matthews Interview 8th January 2014

Here we go. Another exclusive on the site today, a rare interview with John Matthews conducted at the start of the year. Enjoy reading!

So, first things first:

1. What were your early music influences?

Having two older sisters meant there was all sorts of music being blasted out of different bedrooms and my Dad’s record player downstairs…Punk and new romantic from my sisters and big band jazz and disco from my Dads..
Guitar bands from America were my biggest early influence such as REM, Rain Parade etc…
These were the bands all my friends listened to and talked about…

2. First gig you went to?

Older Sister influences again, went to the Apollo to see erm….UB40.. Think I was 16 or 17 and got very drunk in Piccadilly Gardens before the gig… Being at a venue where everyone has come to see something live was and still is very magical…

3. Turning Blue, tell us some more about your time in them?

Turning Blue the first band I was in.. A couple of friends rehearsed in a cellar and needed a new singer, I had always fancied a go and after a few drinks one Saturday night said I would come down and see what happened… Woke up Sunday morning with a very large feeling of dread, but something spurred me onto to go… It went well, and they agreed to give me a go… We did our first gig of mainly covers and I think one or maybe two of our own songs.. The gig was only across the road from the cellar and was packed out with family and friends…. A great night and brilliant introduction to playing live etc…
We recorded two demos at Clint Boon’s studio The Mill and played quite a few gigs in Manchester etc… It all ended when I decided to move away from the area…

4. How did you get in contact with the other lads in The High?

I met Chris Goodwin as he was drumming in a few bands around Manchester etc… Andy, Chris and Simon where  playing in Buzzcocks FOC, but wanted to get on and write their own material, Chris called me and again I agreed to go down and give it a go, pretty much the same as the Turning Blue audition really, I was nervous, but they played some new material and I hummed and mumbled along…

5. Where you a fan of Andy in the roses?

I saw the Roses a couple of times after Andy had left….When I first met Andy I knew nothing about him or his connection to the band, probably for the better as it would have made me even more nervous…

6. What were the early days like in The High and being signed so early?

Fucking great….. After the first few rehearsals you really got the feeling for the songs and we were actually writing and finishing songs very quickly… They had something about them… The whole period was… erm… Fucking amazing !!!..
Don’t know why it happened so early, but we played our first gig at The Ritz and Howard our manager had managed to get as many record companies there after sending them the demos etc… We then got signed…

7. Any memorable stories from being on the road or at gigs you did? i.e. Newcastle when your voice packed up and Cressa was going to sing in your place

Loads of em… Newcastle was not a good day really, we had played Glasgow the night before (I Think) and after the gig we did our usual partying… Back at the hotel I could feel my voice getting really sore… On the way to Newcastle I could hardly speak, never mind do a gig… I was told by everyone to rest, at the soundcheck I couldn’t manage a note, but we all agreed to go ahead, I suppose in the hope that my voice would come back.. I rested, but remember going into the toilet backstage and trying a few notes… Nothing !!!…. Went on stage and same again… Nothing.. I turned around and walked off, Andy, Chris and Simon stayed on for an instrumental and then came off… If I can remember rightly, Cressa coming on was suggested after they had all come off and the crowd were going mad…!!

8. Why was there such a shift in music styles on Hype?
Really can’t say exactly where and when this happened as such, but record company involvement and change of producers attributed to this

9. Was it true that you took a whole sheet if acid tabs?

Not a “Whole” one…

10. What happened after Hype was released as you went off the radar for a while?

The High split up, but myself and Chris were joined by Fitz and ET..(Real names Steve and Carl) and we went onto to become One Summer..

11. Explain what it was like in One Summer? You had quite a following in Manchester didn’t you?

The One Summer years were amazing and we had a great time rehearsing, gigging etc. We didn’t stop laughing and the whole band were great friends and were very close. I have nothing but respect for the music we created and the people who created it and helped us along the way.
We played “In the City” the year Placebo won it (I Think), and played gigs around the country.
We spent a lot of time in Manchester as we rehearsed there and then spent even more time in Manchester after rehearsals plotting our rise… Good times !!

12. What happened after One Summer?

I left One Summer to return to “normal life”…

13. What are you up to now?

I’m mulling over my future

14. When are The High reforming?

I really don’t know…?

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