Heart Of Grass.
Supergrass play Splendour In The Grass at the Belongil Fields in Byron Bay on Sunday.
It’s obviously too early in the morning for Supergrass drummer Danny Goffey as he struggles to wake in a pokey Brighton hotel. He apologises for his delirium while trying not to let his Playstation further distract him from the task at hand.
“I’m crap at this, aren’t I?” he cackles. “I’m usually a lot more focused in interviews; I really shouldn’t agree to do them so early!”
The reason for this a.m. chat is for Goffey to promote Supergrass’s upcoming Australian tour. Along with fellow UK rockers Gomez and Dove, Supergrass are playing at the wondrous Splendour In The Grass this weekend.
“It’s been three years since we last played in Australia,” Goffey recalls. “We’ve got some great memories of it. We had a few days off in between gigs so it was kind of like a holiday. Fingers crossed we get some time off this time around.”
Fans will undoubtedly squeal louder at the prospect of hearing new tracks from the (as-yet-untitled) fourth Supergrass album. In fact, most of the set will draw from the band’s latest body of work. “It’s sounding great,” Goffey says. “There are quite a few different sounding tracks on this album but the majority of it stays true to our sound. We’re happy.”
Produced by Tony Hoffler (Air, Beck), the album promises to be upbeat with the first single Never Done Nothing Like That Before described by Goffey as a “dead punky spanker… it sounds really good. It’s a pretty mad sort of song.”
According to Goffey, the crowd at UK’s recent Meltdown Festival enjoyed a preview of the most of the new tracks with critics already rubbing their hands with glee.
“Yeah, the new songs seemed to go down really well with everyone,” he smiles. “We’re looking forward to having some fun with them when we reach Australia.”
Certainly, Supergrass have perfected their spiky brand of Brit pop with an enviable track record since 95s sterling debut album I Should Coco. Although most punters are familiar with the summer anthem Alright, Supergrass have stretched their enthusiasm for making great music over two more albums In It For The Money (97) and Supergrass (99). The latter featured the smash Pumping On Your Stereo with its mad and brilliant Muppet-assisted video.
Sure, it looked fantastic - with the band camping it up with Jim Hensen Muppets - but Goffey insists they paid for the glory. “It got a bit difficult after 12-hours of having crew with their hands up our backsides,” he smiles, “but, yes, the video looked great. We actually won an MTV Special Effects Video Award for it even though there were no special effects involved. Isn’t that strange? And, no, I have no idea where the award is today. It obviously didn’t mean a lot to us.”
Goffey can afford to be blasé about the misplaced MTV award because Supergrass were one of the UK’s most decorated groups of the 90s: Best Newcomer at the Brits, the NME Brats, the Q Awards and the Nordoff Robbins Awards.
“Unfortunately, it all happened at the start of our career,” Goffey laughs. “So, how important is critical acclaim compared with commercial success to us these days? This is a tricky question because I still want to finish my garden but, obviously, critical acclaim is still important. It’s nice to be recognised for your music.”
“We try not to be overly commercialised. You’ll never see us licensing every track on our album to endorse products or commercials. For instance, there are a few songs from the Dandy Warhols that are being used to plug various things on UK TV at the moment. It’s a fine line.”
Someone whose integrity Goffey does admire is David Bowie who he says has influenced the style and sound of Supergrass since day one. “I really appreciate how Bowie consistently pushes the envelope. His career has been mostly interesting especially in the earlier years. I’ve actually gone up and said hi to him a couple of times now. He’s a small man; a cute, small man. His teeth are no longer yellow. He now boasts this big, sparkling LA smile. It’s fantastic.”
“Years ago, my flatmate and I almost went mad listening to nothing else but Bowie for six months. For some mad reason, we also lost a lot of weight.”
Having played together for the best part of a decade, Supergrass have experienced many highlights since they formed as barely-teenagers. Goffey recalls one particular concert in Brazil with The Cure where everyone seemed to be off their absolute head.
“It didn’t matter what we did on stage because people went nuts for us. It was great because we could do anything we liked, make any noise we liked. It was definitely a musical highlight.”
So, is the life of a Brit pop star everything Goffey pictured it to be?
“Yeah, it’s pretty much how I imagined it. We’ve all been in a band for as long as I can remember so it’s hard to imagine doing anything else, really. It’s all I’ve ever known; I think I’ll always be in a band. It’s fucking great, you know.”