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Thursday, 8 March 2012

Scouse and Proud: An Interview with Ian Prowse

I’ve been lucky enough to get an insight into the very being of Pele/Amsterdam founder Ian Prowse, ahead of the April 9th 2012 release of ‘Does This Train Stop on Merseyside? The very best of Ian Prowse’, which features Elvis Costello, Christy Moore and three brand new songs from Ian, a man with 21 years under his sonic belt.

·         When you take aim with your peashooter/pellet gun/sniper rifle, you’re aiming at whom?
·         Kelvin Mackenzie... obviously!

·         Where do you go when it all gets too much?
·         To the Mighty River, the Ganges of the West... The Mersey.

·         Is bedtime more half nine with a half read paper or more half four with fully red eyes?
·         Bedtime is when Stewart Gilligan Griffin says so... ok?

·         What do you do with any ‘you’ time?
·         Go to the Croc. A pint solves all known problems!

·         Who would be your dream collaborator?
·         James Connelly.

·         What’s the last gig/concert you went to?
·         I went to see my lovely friend Mathew in Dodgy.

·         What’s the best / your favourite music video?
·         The video of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band playing Rosalita which the Old Grey Whistle Test played every New Year’s Eve for years.

·         If you were a musical instrument what would you be?
·         A Fender Telecaster, obviously.

·         What’s ‘love at first sight’ all about then?
·         It exists, happened to me when I saw The Jam!

·         Where do you draw your inspiration from?
·         My heart.

·         Care to share any regrets, missed opportunities or things that might’ve been?
·         90% of people espouse the big 'I've got no regrets' posture. Well I've got loads of the fuckers... too many to go into.

·         Were /are you aware of your escalating popularity?
·         Yes, I don't have to sign on anymore.

·         Will your past come back to haunt you or will karma be kind?
·         I hope not, I'll be done for!

·         Where do you most enjoy playing live?
·         Glasgow Barrowlands, I got so excited after playing there once I went back to the hotel and threw a TV from a 7th floor window. God knows how the tour manager got me away with that one.

·         What influences your sound above all else?
·         Melody.

·         Where do you sit in the grand scheme of things?
·         In the great Liverpool pantheon as siphoned though the Irish Diaspora and beyond.

·         Why the name?
·         Yes, Ian is my real name, as in St. John. I was named after him.

·         Who’s the most likely to go solo or crazy?
·         Mikey, our dancer.

·         Any choice epitaphs or famous last words for which you’d like to be quoted?
·         'Here lies a true Tranmere Rovers fan, the pain is over'.

·         What makes you better than everyone else?
·         I don't look at music like that.

·         When do you plan to take over the world?
·         Do people still plan that?

·         Are you all agreed/in control of the formats for your releases?
·         Absolutely, I like my record label.

·         Wish you were doing anything else with your time other than music?
·         God no, 21 years at it and love it more than ever.

·         Who were your heroes as a teenager?
·         Joe Strummer, Paul Weller, Bruce Springsteen, Che Guevara... same now.

·         What do you think of the paparazzi?
·         The ones I know are nice fellas.

·         What music are you listening to of late?

·         Any message for underachieving or odds-facing musicians out there?
·         You have to be slightly mad and delusional to continue to chase your dream. See that as a virtue.

·         Any career highs or lows you care to share?
·         Glastonbury 2008 was a weekend I'll never forget. We did a beautiful show and managed to have the most amount of fun I've ever had.

·         Do you enjoy playing live or are you more at home in a studio?
·         Live, nothing like leading a seven piece band into battle.

·         Your career defining dream moment would/will be what?
·         Meeting Springsteen.

·         Know of any upcoming bands that are destined for greatness?
·         Nope, they all sound like writing genuinely good and original songs is beyond them. Someone great will come along soon though, I believe in the format with all my heart.

·         How important do you feel visuals are in relation to music? 
·         You mean theatre? Like Queen? Bollocks to that.

·         What’s been the highlight of your year?
·         Seeing my 3 month old daughter smile for the first time.

·         I’m sure you’ve done a few but which gig has been your best?
·         Glastonbury 2008.

·         Any forthcoming plans for you / the band?
·         Does this train stop on Merseyside? The Very Best of Ian Prowse album and tour in April 2012.

·         Is there more pressure playing live with a band than there is playing solo?
·         Both still make me very nervous. Still feels like I'm taking my driving test every time I'm about to go onstage.

·         Are you unlucky in love and if so, why?
·         No comment.

·         Best song, movie OR album ever?
·         Local Hero, Bill Forsyth’s film from the 1980's is the most whimsical and beautiful film ever.

·         Where did you sleep last night?
·         At home on North John Street in central Liverpool.

·         What’s your secret vice... what are you a sucker for?
·         My mate Gareth's gravy... it's'special'!

·         What makes the world go round?
·         Change.

·         Where’s the place to be?
·         Liverpool. Always.

·         What’s your weak point?
·         Impatience.

·         Which instrument does it for you most?
·         Clarence Clemons’ saxophone.

·         What inspired the LP title?
·         The record company chose it.

·         Are you a good dancer and can you prove it?
·         Even when I frequented the great Liverpool rave clubs I never danced.

·         What kinds of music (if any) do you dislike the most?
·         Heavy Metal. All of it.

·         Where will you retire to when you're tired of comeback concerts?
·         Might move even closer to the Mighty River.

·         When will the world end?
·         When REM split up....oh....hang on!

·         Who’s the main driving force or do you work as a team?
·         Me.

·         How important are the single / album charts?
·         When I was a kid I loved them. Seeing the Jam at number one validated my entire existence. Shame all that's gone eh?!

·         What revival would you most like to witness?
·         A Socialist one.

·         Which era would you have been born in ideally?
·         The late 16th century. Having a pint with William Shakespeare... get in!

·         Are exercise and diet important to you?
·         Yep, I do an inordinate amount of walking.

·         If you could protect and save one thing in the world, what would it be?
·         My 1969 left handed Rickenbacker 330.

·         Who’s the most gifted person alive today?
·         Damien Dempsey.

·         Have you got any famous relatives and if so, who are they?
·         Nope. I didn't come across a single well known person until I was about 25. We didn't have them on our council estate.

·         Does complaining accomplish anything?
·         Of course it does. Educate, agitate, organise.

·         Whose autograph do you have and why?
·         Mick Jones from the only band that matters.

·         Which fictional character would you most like to be and why?
·         Heathcliffe. Scouse, mad, driven and wild.

·         Which rules... the digital age or the vinyl/cassette age?
·         Vinyl is so far in advance of all other ways of listening to music, it's unreal.

·         Which musical style should become extinct first?
·         Heavy metal and all of its torturous offspring. And yes I include heavy rock in that.

·         Do you have any tragically unused band names you’d like to use?
·         The Cats Pyjamas.

·         What’s the biggest myth about stardom?
·         That it might bring happiness or fulfilment.

·         Have you ever been conned into or out of something?
·         We live in an aggressively marketed consumerist world, so yeah it happens at least 10 times a day.

·         Do politics have a place in music?
·         They do in mine.

Thanks for your time Ian and all the best for the tour.

While we’re on the subject, you can see Ian live on his aforementioned April 2012 UK tour, here are the dates and venues:

·         19 – London Borderline
·         20 – Bristol Thunderbolt
·         21 – Liverpool Kazimier
·         24 – Manchester Band on the Wall
·         25 – York Duchess
·         27 – Glasgow King Tuts
·         28 – Wolverhampton Slade Rooms

For more information please visit