Psychedelic blues punks Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster have had quite a tough few years. Having being dropped by their label Universal who released their first two albums 'Horse of the Dog'(2002) and 'The Royal Society' (2004) and losing guitarist and founder member Andy Huxley in the process. you would think this would spell the end for the band.

Yet against all the odds, the band have bounced back with their first tour in three years, a new guitarisr Rich Fownes, a new EP 'In the Graden' (which is digitally available already and will be out on hard copy in September) and a soon-to-be-released third album.

Joining them after a storming gig at the Manchester Academy, I meet a chilled out frontman Guy McKnight for a bit of natter.

PB : It’s been nearly three years since we heard from you guys. Where have you been and what have you been up too ?

GM : Around the end of the last tour has probably been the darkest time for the band. On saying that however, I think being out of the limelight, the gigging circuit has kind of been the opportunity to really forge our identity as a band. I think the new songs we have been working on are really harking back to the energy of the first album.

We’ve played New York; we’ve played Texas a couple of times. We played a really cool gig at a roller disco in Sheffield a few months ago. We’ve pretty much played bits and bobs and odds and sods but this the first tour for us.

Since taking time off however, I think 2006 has been the best year of my life so it went from the worst to probably being the best. I basically decided it was time to stand up and fight and my life opened up to being able to receive inspiration.

PB : What happened with Universal ?

GM : Basically, it is the same old story. We were young and we signed what we thought was the best deal at the time. I was grateful that we could go on tour and release albums but their (Universal’s) strategy was completely different to ours. Obviously we were young people creating music which we believed in and lived by, while they were older people who didn’t have the same morals and principles as us and wanted us to sell 80,000 more records more than the first album. Obviously, that was completely impossible and very unrealistic. Even though we did a pretty much sold-out tour, had a critically acclaimed album, had a video for our last single which was one of the most requested promos of MTV 2, they dropped us.

Despite this, I really feel that things happen for a reason.

PB : Fate.

GM : Yeah, I do not believe anything happens by accident. I was definitely too lazy, spoilt, ungrateful and deranged to be signed and I think if we had have released the third album so soon after it would have been shit. I think now when we release this album, the last few years will have been a massive benefit for us.

I feel more confident that when we play now. Whether people like the music or does not dent our music’s integrity. What’s the point in not giving 100 per-cent?

I think we are a lot better now and we attract genuine people who are not brainwashed and like bullshit music.

PB : Is it about selling records or musical integrity?

GM : Obviously the latter as I do not know anything about the first one.

PB : What it is the new album called?

GM : It is undecided at the minute. We do not know yet. All I know we have got almost three albums worth of material and I do not think there is any band in the country that can do what we can do.

PB : Brighton seems to be the place to be at the minute for up-and-coming bands. Any recommendations?

GM : Who do we like in Brighton? There is a cool band called Penny Motel who I would recommend to you, the Vile Imbeciles obviously. I think scenes of creativity come in waves. There is always things going on. It just depends whether people are listening or not. It is really about what gets sensationalised.

PB : The title song of the new EP, 'The Garden', from hearing it tonight it seems to draw quite a biblical reference to it.

GM : Yeah, Tom Diamantopoulo, our drummer, wrote that. I know he has had first hand experience, a life based on the bible when he was growing up. What he writes, I can really connect with, and I can sing and feel it and sing with conviction.

For me, what it is great he writes some fantastical stories with these characters. Sometimes it is not necessarily the words, even though I think words are unbelievably powerful and through the media we have kind of lost our appreciation of how profound the written/spoken word is. I think that for any song it is more about the tone of the music and its delivery. I have great respect for his writing.

Symren 'Sym' Gharial (bassist) and I have been writing a lot the last year. It’s weird because even though we come from the same place we have different and really diverse styles. I personally want to get into writing a lot of more first hand experiences and be more subjective. I think writing this way people can connect if you are talking about feelings and emotions.

PB : A lot of people are talking about the Horrors at the minute. What is your opinion on them as there seems to be endless comparisons to you guys in the music press?

GM : People say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. To be honest though, no one can be completely original. If they have been influenced and inspired by us then good, it is a great thing but they do their thing and we do our thing so good luck to them.

They have their own trip which is kind of part of what we’ve done but nothing is static and I do not intend to churn out the same thing over and over.

PB : You mean you wear your heart on your sleeve.

GM : I don’t really see any point in denying your influences. The only way to be come good is to have people that you learn from.

PB : Noel Fielding, the comedian, from 'The Mighty Boosh' is a big fan

GM : I don’t know. You would have to ask him but he certainly used to come to a lot of the shows. He did ask us to write some tunes but we couldn’t as we were busy. Obviously I appreciate the complement but I try not to get too fazed by it. I am not the first person to say this but we live in a consumerist society where it is it easy to get dragged into the illusion that fame and notoriety is important. Obviously, I want to play to as many people as possibly but I am not going to pretend to be anyone else to do it. The most important thing to me is having a set of principles and being a good friend.

PB : Guy, thanks.











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