In an exclusive interview with Damon Minchella, former OCS's bassist talked to us about his influences, playing with Richard Ashcroft, the 90s, playing with the likes of McCartney and The Who, his other project The Family Silver, one of his favourite bands: Echo and the Bunnymen, his love for Everton and turning down Oasis when Guigsy left the band
KUL BRITANIA: What were your main influences when you were growing up?
DAMON MINCHELLA: Jimmy Hendrix was probably one of my biggest influences but the first music I started listening to was 2 tone and the first album I bought was 'Too Much Pressure' by The Selecter. And through listening to them I got into soul music and through soul music into Jimmy Hendrix and strangely through Hendrix to Public Enemy and through rap into jazz. So basically 2 tone and then rap and then Hendrix.
KB: You played in one of the best bands of the 90s Ocean Colour Scene? And now you are playing with RA? Did you meet Richard back then?
DM: We knew each other with Richard but we didn't hang out . We just said hello a few times and four years ago we did some work on his new album because I had done quite a lot of work for his producer Chris and I also worked with his drummers and then we found out we were born in the same hospital. It's really good to work for Richard.
KB: What do you remember about the 90s?
DM: Well, it's funny really because when you look at all the bands that were around at the time: Oasis, The Verve, Ocean Colour Scene ... The Charlatans and Blur. They were really
exciting times because we weren't underground bands. We were the mainstream. People look at it as if it was incredibly special times and it was pretty normal for all those bands in those days. When we started supporting Oasis with OCS, we played like 100 shows as their support act and that became normal. And people look back and go: "That must have been an amazing time" and it was really but you were sort of playing music with your friends and friends of friends. It was much better than the state of British music now, of course.
KB: During our interview with Ashcroft, I asked him if he thought bands like The Verve, Oasis etc would ever top the charts again ....Do you think people will ever see those kinds of bands topping the UK charts again?
DM: I don't think bands like those that topped the charts back in those days will ever top the charts again or become part of the mainstream. But music tends to go in cycles. The Stone Roses opened the door for all of us and Oasis kicked the door in. If there hadn't been Stone Roses and Oasis hadn't happened with that album 'Definitely Maybe' in 1994, none of us would have made the mainstream. But that only lasted 5 years and then a new cycle comes in. I think there will be a cycle with more guitar bands and these bands will become part of the mainstream but will they be as good? Will the songs be as good? Will the personalities be as good? No, they will not. Rock music now is very safe, very careerist. You have people like Tom Odell, George Ezra, they are people with guitars but they are really boring. Some of their songs are ok but there's no mavericks. There is no craziness there. There's no rock n roll revolution. There's no punk spirit.
KB: Speaking of the Stone Roses, is it true you met the rest of the band (OCS) at one of their gigs?
DM: Yes, it was in Birmingham. They played a little club called the Irish centre and they were incredible. They were so good, you know. The atmosphere was incredible and that's where we formed OCS, at that gig.