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Craig Adams

Interview mit Craig Adams

Bospop 2003

Interview mit Craig Adams, geführt am 29.07.2004
von Steve Woodhouse in Leeds.
Mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Pauline´s
Distant Warning Webseite.

Foto: Ad v. Mierlo
Craig mit The Alarm beim Bospop Festival 2003.

Mehr zu Craig erfahrt ihr HIER

Craig Adams met with DW's resident mouth in a quiet bar in Leeds. Immediately, he set the interviewers mind at rest.

CA: Before we start, I really should say, to be quite honest, I really don't like interviews at all. I don't usually do them - I mean, have you ever seen one?

TSOM Popspecial 1985, Wayne, Craig, Andrew

SW: Great! The Sisters of Mercy. How did it all start?

CA: There was a band where Andy (Andrew Eldritch) was the drummer, not the singer, and it went down to him and Gary Marx, and they needed a bass player, so that was that…I wasn't really a bass player, I was keyboards, but I borrowed a bass and bluffed my way in.

SW: AE has a reputation for being enigmatic. Is that really him, or just his public persona?

CA: Well, I haven't spoken to him since 1985, so it's difficult to say. At the time it's not something I thought about.

SW: Why would you say you haven't spoken, I know there was a lot of bad feeling over The Sisterhood…

CA: (laughs) I'm a stubborn northern git, and he's a stubborn southern git, and that's about it, really.

Craig & Wayne Mera Luna 2000

SW: So then you & Wayne formed The Mission, but the recent reunion for that failed. What happened?

CA: We tried again, and it didn't work. These things do happen in bands quite frequently. You are living in each other's pockets for such a long period of time, and I think it depends on how volatile some people are. If everyone were placid I don't think they'd be a good rock band - a bit too mellow for my liking. It was the end of a very difficult tour; those South American tours can be quite chaotic - you don't know what's going on from one minute to the next. You find out in the morning that you're playing a gig in the middle of the afternoon, at a University at lunchtime, and you just think "What!? Who sorted this out?"

SW: So was/is goth big in South America, or The Mission particularly?

CA: I think goth has been big in South America for ages. I remember Gene Loves Jezebel played there, and we followed and played almost the same tour. You think to yourself "How many people are we going to pull in Uruguay?", and 8,000 turn up, and it's near-rioting. When we first went there in '88 not many people had played. I remember playing in Paraguay when Stroessner was still in power (Alfredo Stroessner, Paraguayan dictator from 1954-1989), and the coup happened a short while later. I was watching the TV, and suddenly "Hey, that was our hotel!" A lot of people toured there after that, mainly American bands…I'm not sure how many Brit bands went down, but you don't always hear about it.

Promo 1988  Craig & Scotty Chemnitz 2001, Pic: Petra  Craig & Wayne Brüssel 2002, Pic: Barbara 

SW: Do you have happy memories of South America?

CA: The funny thing is, that's where The Cult split up, too, in Brazil. So Brazil has a good record for me, that's two bands I've been in who've split up while we've been there (smiles).

SW: What about your time with The Cult?

CA: When I joined they'd toured with heavy rock bands in support, and Sonic Temple had been huge. When I joined they wanted to lose all that heavy side, and return to basics. I'd known Billy & Ian for years, and they heard that I'd just left The Mission in '92, so I got the 'phone call. That was me until about '95 - it was a good laugh.

SW: What is it like these days to go on tour for a couple of weeks, then maybe nothing for a few months.

CA: After leaving The Cult I didn't do much for quite a while - one or two little projects which never came to anything, until Coloursound.

The Cult 1994 Promo - Craig, Billy, Ian & Scotty

SW: So what do you do in between, get a 'day job'?

CA: No, I sit in the bar all day…actually I do a bit of roadying. When I stopped doing The Cult I was a roadie for Apollo 440, we did the Bowie/Prodigy tour, which was quite good. I was the keyboard roadie. I think everyone who's ever in a band should spend some time as a roadie, 'cos then they'd treat them with some respect.

SW: How did your association with The Alarm come about?

CA: I knew Mike from years before, we'd done a couple of festivals together when I was in the Sisters. We did these 2 gigs in Germany…I think it was Frank Zappa, Rory Gallagher, but the first 3 bands were…can't remember who opened, but then we were on second, then The Alarm, then The Waterboys, I think. After that I ran into Mike a couple of times in London. Wayne & I took him down the Batcave, which might have been a bit of a revelation to a lad from Rhyl…or possibly not. There was always a bit of a rivalry, I remember thinking "The gits!" when The Cult first got on Top Of The Pops, 'cos they'd beaten us to it. And I remember we looked at The Alarm's haircuts, and we'd say "Ha! They're not as stupid as ours!"
But as far as the current link up, I was living in Brighton, but had decided to move back up north. And you know how on the day you move house, the last thing you do is disconnect the 'phone? Well I was just about to unplug it when the 'phone went, and it was Billy. And he said he was working with Mike from The Alarm, and I said "I haven't seen him in donkey's years". So he asked if I was interested in joining in, and we're not starting for a couple of weeks, so get moved and come up to Rhyl. I got on a train, and I remember being sat in the pub opposite the station, and I suddenly thought "I hope I recognise him I haven't seen him for years!" And that was that.
I've worked for Mike since that time, apart from the gap when The Mission reformed. It was mine & Wayne's band, so I thought if we're going to do it we should do it properly and give it a crack. But even then, when we toured America for 6 weeks, Mike brought his acoustic guitar along and opened up for us. He was very understanding. He realised that, in that situation, you've got to do what you've got to do.

SW: So do you see yourself now as a member of The Alarm, or just a musician who's hooked up for a job?

CA: No, I definitely see myself as a member of The Alarm…I think we all do.

Aschaffenburg 2003, Pic: Tanja  Verviers 2004, Pic: Petra 

SW: And how did you feel when Mike said he was going to use that name again?

CA: I must admit, I can't really remember how it happened. We used to be the Mike Peters Electric Band, and now we're The Alarm, but I can't actually remember sitting down one day and saying "Right, now we're The Alarm".

SW: But are you happy with that?

CA: Well the stuff we're playing now is totally different to the solo stuff Mike was doing in the '90's, it's written in a totally different way - those songs were a completely different style to what we're doing now. What we're doing now is definitely closer in style to the '80's Alarm stuff. Mike's solo work was musically…lighter

SW: The situation with Steve Grantley must be difficult for everyone, including Steve.

CA: Steve's been doing SLF for years, and usually it hasn't clashed. It's just unfortunate that this last year it's clashed quite a lot. I'm not sure Steve has done too many gigs with us in Britain this year. You plan as far ahead as you can, but when things come up…sometimes you just have to do them. If it clashes it clashes. Steve tries his hardest to play every Alarm gig he can, but if Jake says "We're doing this tour now…".

SW: Dave BP has stood in at the last minute, again.

CA: He has a completely different style to Steve. Completely. The songs are made up of very firm structures. Take 'Spirit Of '76', you have to play that the way it's written - you can't busk it. If you tried to, it'd just sound foolish, a lot of the songs are very structured, it's not like a free love enterprise with jamming in A for half an hour, and 30 minute drum solos.

SW: And what's the future for The Alarm as a band? Touring? Recording?

CA: Yes, we're already talking about the next one.

SW: Will that be completely new stuff, or more stuff from ITPF?

CA: Probably a mixture of both.

SW: You have a co-writing credit on the bond, in fact you all have one. Was it planned this way?

CA: No, it just happened. Often we weren't in the same room at the same time. With 'All Seeing' Mike came to my house, and we set up on the kitchen table, and he played what he had…it had no drums then…and just changed things round, 'cos I had this bass part…it's just how it happens. There are so many tracks on the bond, it's difficult to remember them all.

SW: What did you think to 'Edward Henry Street?

CA: (laughs) Don't ask me how that came about…very strange. Stylistically, I'd never played on anything like that before. I think we were all trying new things, unsure whether it was going to work…apart from James who I'm not sure played on the original recordings at all. We were doing these very diverse little bits, but then it started to come together as a whole, and it worked. I actually play that one more than the rest of the bond put together.

SW: There are some very fond memories among fans of The Gathering a couple of years ago…

CA: When we did it in the round? In suits? Yes, that was fantastic. It was very strange, 'cos I didn't have a suit with me. Mike had to go round and borrow all the clothes. I had these trousers on with a 40" waist, held up with a piece of string. And then Mike wants me in a white shirt. Me! It was really silly, I was sweating buckets, but we had such a laugh doing it. I'd never played on stage with there being a trumpeter in the band, and there was Mark Taylor on keys. I don't think anyone was expecting that, and that's why it was so great; it was just so different and so unexpected.

SW: You have your file with the light on the top.

CA: I use that lots - I use it every Gathering. Take one song like 'Corridors Of Power', I've played that once, at G6 I think, and I've not done it since. You just can't commit that many songs to memory.

SW: How do you keep it fun on tour?

CA: Well, as an example one of things we do is to have different names for songs…
I remind Mike about these mid-set, while he's busy.
You often just want to crack up at the most stupid things, on the last US tour we nearly cracked up and had to stop the song.

SW: During 'Right Back Where I Started…', you and Mike look like you're going to crack up when you share the mic.

CA: It's just eye contact. When you're that close, the slightest daft face can crack you up. I know I've had a successful night when I can make him laugh so much he stops singing.

SW: Do you still listen to the bond?

CA: Not much. I'm the sort of person who records stuff then leaves it to one side; I've always been like that. I think the only reason I can listen to 'Edward Henry Street' is that it sounds so different. The Steve Brown album I've probably only listened to twice, but I'll be listening to it again for reference before the next tour.

SW: Where there any surprises with what went on the album.

CA: Yes, there were some things way down the list, which were our favourites. I remember the discussion in the studio. 'The Normal Rules' for example, it finished down the list I think. But then you've got to pick the songs for what will work as an album. If we'd have taken off 'Trafficking', and replaced it with 'Normal Rules', it would make it seem like a much slower section to the album, so some things were omitted for reasons other than voting.

SW: I would have liked 'Rain Down' on there…

CA: (starts humming 'Rain Down') Yeah, that was weird, not being on. But then you don't think of tracks after a while. You mention that track, and I remember it as being great, but if you hadn't mentioned it, I'd not have thought of it for years.

SW: You're not playing 'New Home New Life' live.

CA: We've had a bit of a go at it, but not properly. Maybe sometime in the future we will. But you must understand how limited you are for time. You're trying to put a set together, and you've got to do 'Spirit of '76', got to do '68 Guns', got to do 'Close', got to do 'Coming Home', and then suddenly you've got 90 minutes worth at least, and we've still got loads of stuff from the bond - great stuff - that we haven't even touched. The tour we haven't even done 'Normal Rules'. Next time we'll maybe swap it round, and you might see different ones in there.

SW: You haven't done 'Federal Motor Voter' this tour, which is strange, as you did it last tour, and it's on the album.

CA: Or 'Trafficking'. We rehearsed it in the sound check in NY, and played it that night, but we haven't done it on the British tour…maybe 'cos Dave didn't know it.

SW: Or 'Resurrection'…

CA: You see I love that song, and I think we only ever did that at one Gathering. I think we might have to have a vote for that one (smiles)…

COTR Gathering XI

SW: Was the Children of the Revolution your idea? I ask because you did The Metal Gurus.

CA: No, that was totally independent of me, in fact I was never going to mention the Metal Gurus again in my life. It was the only time 'Merry Christmas Everybody' didn't go in the charts - it was the only year Slade hadn't released it - they were in the video, singing on it, and it still didn't chart. We did it as a laugh. But then with CotR, we decided to do it, and then it morphed into the pink drum kits and the wigs…actually, I think Steve Grantley likes putting that make-up on far more than he ought to.

SW: You do lead vocals on a few of those tracks, Rufus. Are we going to see you sing lead for a future Alarm song?

CA: The reason Wayne ended up singing in The Mission was almost on the flip of a coin…I think he wanted it a little bit more, too. And I couldn't have been bothered with all that nonsense, painting my nails, silly hats and stuff.

Craig & The Wildhearts, Atlanta Juni 2004

SW: Okay, time for ADO RECOMMENDS. What music & films are you into at the moment?

CA: I've been listening to Simple Kid, and that Sona Fariq album which is quite an old one now. Obviously, I listen to Spear…I like the Colonel, and his strange ways. I liked 'Morning Star', I haven't heard 'Loadstone' much…yet. I spent three weeks listening to nothing but The Wildhearts, so I could learn their live set for when I played with them. But I don't listen to a lot of new stuff, I'm too busy…I wouldn't want to miss the afternoon play on Radio 4…or the cricket.

SW: And films?

CA: I love old British films from the 40's & '50's. Especially the Ealing Comedies. 'The Maggie' was on yesterday, and I taped that off the telly, it's superb.

SW: I love those films, the comedies are great. Have you seen any of the "serious" Ealing Films like 'Went The Day Well', and 'Dead Of Night'?

CA: You see, I'm not big on horror films. Some goth I am, eh? Which one's 'Dead Of Night'?

SW: It's the portmanteau film, with the five sections, and the last one is the ventriloquist's dummy that comes alive…

CA: Oh yes, I know the one you mean. It's okay, but I prefer the comedies.

SW: And finally, Leeds United. Are we going to win 'The Championship' thus year?

CA: I think we have more chance of joining the royal family. Have the players even met each other yet? I looked at the squad list on the website the other day, and I just didn't know any of them. Though I understand there's a few good young 'uns coming through. But what if he's found some magic formula, and he's built a good 1st Division team, and we were to go up, we'd only come straight back down. Mind you, he's reduced the wage bill from something like £80 million to about £14 million, which has to be good. Brian Dean's back again…Ricketts.

SW: Craig Adams, thank you very much

CA: My pleasure.