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A Life In Pop


A decade is a long time. Ten years ago, John Major was still Prime Minister, England’s national football team was so rubbish they didn’t even make it to the 1994 World Cup, Guigsy and Bonehead were still in the burgeoning Oasis, no one had even heard of Britney Spears and a fresh-if-somewhat-hairy-faced trio from Oxford were releasing their debut single. On the eve of their Supergrass Is 10 retrospective Jonathan Wilson hopped on his chopper and met the newly enlarged tell-tale-tits.

A breathless two-minutes-thirty tale about having your collar felt by the old bill while high on marijuana, that debut single – Caught By The Fuzz – introduced the world to the devil-may-care delights of Supergrass. Ten years later, they’re still a delight, albeit a slightly older and wiser one. As their sideburned singer Gaz Coombes says, “A lot can happen in ten years. You can disappear, you can make shit albums, you can have huge drug problems. But I think we’ve done alright and we’ve got through some bad times.”
Yep, ten years is a long time, especially in the fickle world of popular entertainment, so to reach such a milestone is indeed cause for celebration. And Supergrass are certainly celebrating. With a Best Of… CD out, Supergrass Is 10, and an accompanying two-disc DVD affair telling their story so far, the band have got a lot to look back on.

“I just think there’s no better time to have a Best Of and turn a new page and get on with the next four albums,” Coombes continues. “It hasn’t been laughs all the way, but you’ve got to have those bad times to give it a bit of reality. It’s not all big money and girls and drugs."
“It was a bit of a feat for us to get to 10 years,” confirms Danny Goffey, the band’s effervescent drummer. “It’s been a bit of a weird ride, but I think we’re quite lucky in staying together and loving each other.”
“It’s quite a heavy business, quite intense, a lot of pressure,” muses Coombes. “But it’s always about music. As soon as you write a good song, none of it really matters – it’s like, ‘That was my purpose’".

SupergrassAnd that’s Supergrass, really. One minute they’re upbeat, the next they’re more pensive, the equivalent of knockabout singles like Pumping On Your Stereo lining up alongside more introspective songs like It’s Not Me. But it’s all good music – and that’s all they really care about. After ten years, then, how does it feel to look back?
“It’s like a natural anniversary,” says Goffey. “We made this film, showing what it’s been like being in the band for the last ten years, but the record company said we should do a CD as well, so we thought we’d just get a load of stuff out there. There’s a few tracks that we really love, like Wait For The Sun and Time, that maybe people have forgotten.”
“I think it’s great that we’ve done it at this ten-year point, so we can do a huge kind of two-disc thing,” agrees Coombes. “We’ve put a lot of work into this DVD. It’s not just a record-company-led release, which often greatest hits are, so I think because of that we’ve got confidence in it. It’s got our whole career on two discs – that’s why it’s pretty special for us.”

The whole Supergrass Is 10 project seems to be drawing a convenient line under a lot of the old songs, with the band’s focus firmly on the next album and the opportunity to go off in whatever direction the music takes them.
“We’re a young band and we’ve got new ideas,” Gaz concludes. “You just have to keep believing in the music and not get despondent that you’re maybe last year’s news. Which often we are and fuck it, I don’t mind if we are. It’s as enjoyable as it’s always been because the essence of it has never changed – the enjoyment of music. We’re just really up for it. There’s nothing else I want to do. Even if people download it off the fucking internet, as long as we can make the next record, I’m happy.”

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