Tony Meehan interview 5.5.15

With the rebirth of THE HIGH we have seen 3 new members join the ranks of John Matthews and Andy Couzens. Here we interview new bass player Tony Meehan, a great interviewee. Enjoy!

Hi Tony, how are you?

Hi Matt. I’m well… apart from needing two new knees, a gastric band and a facelift, Im fine thanks.

Tells us abit about your upbringing?

My family come from not too far from Johns actually. I was born in Oldham and moved to Bramhall, Stockport when I was two. I then spent a few years in Israel with my dad’s job. The beaches were better than South Manchester, but it was a little more dangerous. We had to flee the missiles in the middle of the Yom Kippur war in ’73; came back here for a bit then went to Canada. Broke my leg, came home and went back to school in Bramhall where Andy went. I’m the typical mixed bag of Irish and Lancastrian descent. My childhood was very happy, and I was very lucky to experience many different places and cultures growing up.

Tell us how you first got into music?

My dad bought me Abbey Road the week it came out when we were in Israel, and I was hooked. (see pic!)

abbey road 1970

What made you start playing the bass?

As soon as I heard Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division, I just had to. Both the use of the instrument and the way Martin Hannett made it sound and sit was me in love. I bought one off a lad at school aged 15 and started playing. I was never interested in the guitar, or any other instrument for that matter. Deep and dark, that’s just me lol

tony-meehan-bass

Who are your bass playing heroes?

Noel Reading, Jah Wobble, and Peter Hook. I love Mani’s bass playing as well, but if I called him a hero he’d pee himself laughing.

Can you go into abit of detail of how you got into contact with Andy Couzens? You’ve been in some bands with Andy prior to THE HIGH haven’t you?

Andy and I were at school together, but never knew each other then (he was so much older hehe!), although we had mutual friends who we finally met through. We’ve been friends now a good few years. Yes we decided to put a band together a few years ago, just so we could both start playing again really. We ended up supporting the Fall a couple of times. I think it really gave us both the buzz to do stuff again

Of late you have been involved in the reformation of early 90’s band THE HIGH. How did that all happen?

Andy came round over New Year and told me about the planned reformation, asking if I wanted to play bass. I think I said ‘I’d love to Andy, cheers’

You’ve been doing some artwork for the reunion haven’t you?

Yea. Just playing around with some new ideas. I always play around with new ideas. I love ideas and I love playing. I can’t help myself Im afraid 🙂
I tried to update the somewhere soon imagery whilst keeping the original concept intact. Andy and John like it – do you?

Triangle-Big

Artwork looks great! How have rehearsals been for you? Any personal highlights?

Rehearsals have been great. The first week or so felt a bit like ‘…tonight Matthew, Im going to be Simon Davies’! …Everyone has their own style and sound, and Simon had his, which are of course synonymous with the songs. I’d never played other peoples songs before, so I wasn’t sure how Andy and John would react to mine – (I play with much more bass and less treble than Simon) – but I needn’t have worried. I think the mix of the original lines and style with my own works. I hope fans of The High agree.

There have been many highlights, rediscovering Jelly babies and Tooty Fruities being one (thanks Richard). Playing together is a pleasure. We all get on really well, and Jack (Andy’s son) is a metronome on drums, so he makes my job very easy! We always make sure we finish in time to go to the pub and have a beer and a laugh. They are such great songs, with pretty unique arrangements – yet hypnotic to play, so they keep you on your toes!

Were you a fan of THE HIGH back in the early 90’s? Did you see them in action?

Yes I was. I bought ‘Up and Down’ and ‘Somewhere Soon’ on vinyl and loved it. I saw them a few times. I can remember one at the International 1, and two festivals round here. May have been more but those were heady days lol. All I did was watch Man City and go to gigs all over the country for years.

What are your fav tracks of THE HIGH?

Its always hard to choose from. They are all great songs. Up and Down is classic of course; PWA in particular is outstanding is so many ways. And for some reason Joustabout the way we play it is another favourite. My favourite to play is zoning out to Bombay mix!

Did you enjoy the comeback gig at York? Any personal highlights for you at the gig?

I did enjoy it, although being tall on a small stage meant I was being fried by the lights just above and behind me… I have a very red neck, but lost a few pounds in sweat at least lol

The highlights for me though were the vibe on stage and the reaction from the audience. Getting through it upright with my dodgy knees was also a personal triumph!

Are you looking forward to Gigantic?

Yes. I wish it was tomorrow!

Are there any other bands you’re looking forward to seeing at gigantic?

Loads of great bands on. Echo and the Bunnymen are one of my favourite all time bands, but they are on the same time as us I think. (I saw them a couple of months ago and do most years anyway!) Ive not seen The Inspiral Carpets for many years, but know most of the lads and hope to catch up with them at some point.

If THE HIGH continue to tour after gigantic will you stay with the band?

Unless Neil Young calls, I will if asked 🙂

What does the future hold for Tony?

The same as us all – old age, the seven steps, and reincarnation. In the shorter term enjoying my kids, music and football. Oh, and probably grandkids!

Many thanks for your time!

Cheers Matt 🙂


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