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    Tags: Mark_Stewart, The_Pop_Group, The_Kazamier, Sarah_OHara

    Interview: The Pop Group

    Ahead of their highly anticipated gig at The Kazimier this month, we caught up with Mark Stewart from The Pop Group to talk new albums, the Eric’s scene and The Simpsons

     

    Your gig at The Kazimier is coming up on Monday 11th May – what can audiences expect from the gig?

    They can expect a baptism of fire! At the moment we’ve just been doing some shows in Japan and the people were going completely mad. I don’t know how much you know about the history, but this is the first time that we’ve played in Liverpool since Eric’s [club] back in ’79. The gigs in Liverpool and Manchester were legendary! In Manchester people like Joy Division were coming and forming a band. Then in Liverpool all the big three were there – Wylie, you know and the scene back then, but the energy in the band at the moment…it’s crazy. I don’t understand it and I don’t really want to try and put it in a bottle, because I don’t want it to go away.

     

    Speaking of the Eric’s scene, what was it like around that time? Obviously you had bands like Frankie goes to Hollywood, Big in Japan…

    There was a crew called ‘the big three’, which was Pete Wylie, Paul Rutherford and Jayne Casey. I’ve got so many mates in Liverpool and Liverpudlians in London. The scene in Liverpool was so much better than the scene in London during the punk and post-punk times.

     

    Wow that’s amazing! Most of the time you just hear a lot of people just mentioning the punk and post-punk scene in London…

    What happened was, in isolation there were people…like there was my mates in the Mary Chain, the big three in Liverpool, there was us lot [The Pop Group] in Bristol, there were people in Nottingham. ’73, ’74 and ’75 there were kids getting into like, The New York Dolls and The Stooges; thirteen or fourteen year olds so when the Pistols [The Sex Pistols] kicked off, we were already ready. In isolation there was something going on; a kind of zeitgeist so it kind of gave you permission to wear the clothes that you were already wearing or go to a gig. At every gig people were talking to each other and forming bands. That’s the thing I like about gigs – it’s a real community feeling.

     

    That really is the thing about gigs; they bring everybody together from all walks of life…

    It’s the age thing as well. A lot of kids are getting into our stuff [The Pop Group’s music] and there’s lots of new bands like The Savages. We’ve got this really good new band coming with us called Sons of Eggweaf who are really cool. They’re from Bristol and they’re amazing, so there’s lots of like really freaky music coming out right left and centre. People’s ears are ready and lots of new musicians are talking about our stuff, so it’s a really interesting time at the moment. It’s as interesting and as experimental as it was back then.

     

    You’ve recently just released an album – can you tell us a bit more about it?

    Well it just came to the stage where things were fetching so much money on the internet. So many people from Nick Cage and Nine Inch Nails to David Bowie were going on about The Pop Group, that I said it was about time we reissued stuff. However, as we got talking to each other though we thought: ‘How about we try something new?’ Then I get this phone call that Matt Groening, the guy who runs The Simpsons, was curating a festival and they gave him a wish list, where they get bands to reform. He [Matt Groening] wanted Iggy to reform The Stooges, which Iggy did that year and he wanted me to reform The Pop Group. I couldn’t do it that year but that really pushed things right off the cliff.

     

    Wow that must have been such an honour!

    It’s mental and when you travel around to meet musicians who say that they found your record and it blew their minds, or that they started playing music because of you, you don’t know what to do! It’s such a weird feeling! These people are cool to me. I’m still that kid that goes upstairs and listens to pop records; I just don’t see myself as someone important in a band.

    Photograph (C) Chaira Meattelli

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      Sarah's posts By Sarah O' Hara
      @TheLowdownMag


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