Dispatches from the Madhouse Pt 3

Greetings Asylum Seekers

The week of release of West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum and the figures speak for themselves. 73,021 copies sold on the first day, a 20 date tour all but sold out, and 60,000 copies of Fire now in the homes of the country’s most discerning music lovers. Further proof – if it were needed- that even in the Digital Age TM and the cultural debris of 2009, rock’n’roll can still touch the heart and soul, the head and the feet all at once. For the band, it’s been another week of slashing guitar chords, screaming crowds and late night epiphanies. But then, when the sun’s out and the stars are aligned, anything feels possible, right? Especially with Where Did All The Love Go? about to hit radio, another wake up call for those who think music is something you pour into your coffee for flavour at Starbucks. So bless the weather, throw open the windows and let the neighbours dig West Ryder too. In the meantime, here are the latest thoughts of Star Captain Pizzorno…

Elliot Palm
Consultant Narcologist
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

How was the last night supporting Oasis at Heaton Park?

Serge: The last of the three gigs was a really special night. By that point we’d all started to appreciate the scale of the event. As Liam said, the last person to bring that many people together in the city was The Pope! We had a great show and Oasis played a brilliant set. It was as though they were exorcising their demons after hassles on Thursday night. Phil, their tour DJ, really got the crowd going before they came on. It reminded me I’ve got to sort out a mixtape for when we play our own arena shows later in the year. After the gig we had a few glasses of champagne to celebrate Fire going top three. I can’t thank the fans enough for helping us get there – a great moment.

The album came out last Monday. It must have been a good feeling after all this time and effort…

Yeah. We played an instore gig at HMV in Manchester and I was blown away to see a load of fans had turned up for the signing session. There were lots of young girls there which is always great to see. I get a real buzz off the fact West Ryder might be someone’s first ever album. It’s psychedelic in the true sense of the word – challenging what pop can be.We played a six song set in the basement of the HMV building. It felt like going into the belly of the beast! As Tom said, it’s the place where only the staff and the shoplifters ever get to see. I went out for a curry with Noel and Mani from The Roses in the evening. It was one of those ‘Is this really happening?’ moments. We got papped on the way out. I didn’t realise until the next morning when I saw the picture in The Sun. We were all in a row – it looked like a rock’n’roll versuin of Reservoir Dogs!

How were the gigs in Newcastle and Sunderland?

Serge: They were both brilliant in different ways. It’s always great to play Newcastle. It’s brilliant doing support slots, but at points it becomes a bit of a battle. In Newcastle, because it was our own show, they were with us all the way. It was a fucking amazing crowd. For me personally, it was up there with the Leicester shows in terms of atmosphere. When the crowd sang LSF at the end I don’t think I’ve ever heard it so loud. Newcastle is a rock’n’roll town. They understand they’ve got a part to play in the same way a football crowd does – they’re the twelfth man. Sunderland was equally good. The Stadium Of Light is an incredible place, a sporting cathedral. We had to come off stage during Underdog because people were getting crushed down the front. In a funny way it made the gig, because when we came back on and did Empire everyone was really focused. It was like a mushroom cloud of energy kicking off. After that sort of buzz, nothing afterwards can compare.

What was it like playing the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff?

Serge: Of all the gigs with Oasis that was probably the best one. The capacity for the gig is 60,000 but there must have been 35,000 there for us. We started with Shoot The Runner and the crowd were with us all the way. Tom was on great form. You can’t take your eyes off of him. I’m not comparing us toThe Stones or Zeppelin but he’s got that magnetic quality all the great rock’n’roll frontmen have got. He’s the best of his generation.
Afterwards it was straight on the bus for a few beers en route to Swindon, all to the sound of Maliki’s The Ugly Side Of Love. It’s the best thing I’ve heard for ages. Swindon was another quality show. It’s great to hear people singing along to the words from the new songs and shouting for other new ones. We want to get a few more songs off West Ryder into the shows in the Autumn. We’re going to make those unforgettable, a psychedelic extravaganza.

Any other highs and lows of the week?

Serge: It was a shame we didn’t get to make it to the Mojo Awards on Thursday. We were hoping to present an award to the Pretty Things but logistics just got in the way. They’re such beautiful human beings, the genuine article. I guess the oddest thing that happened was seeing a picture in the paper of Daniel Radcliffe carrying a copy of the album. Apparently he’s a big fan. Good to know Harry Potter’s on board. It makes sense really- it’s the sort of album a wizard can appreciate!

Next week: More mega-gigs, the build up to Glastonbury and a trip to the British Grand Prix…

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