Exclusive Interview with Damon Minchella
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KB: What do you make of their comeback then?
DM: The way I look at it, I feel really pleased for Ian and Mani in particular because I know Mani quite well. I think they deserve what they are getting financially. Regarding reunions, I'm not really very fond of them. But I'm really happy for them. It's great for them although I don't like reunions that much. One of my favourite bands of all time and the reason why I became a musician is Echo and the Bunnymen and they had a golden period from 1979 to 1985 where they didn't do anything wrong. Then they took a year off,  came back together and they made a really boring album. They split up, reformed; then Pete unfortunately passed away, then Les left and now it's Ian and Will and 4 strangers that mean nothing to me.

KB: What do you think of the Bunnymen, do you think they never got the praise they deserved?
DM: I guess what happened with the Bunnymen was that their music was far less commercial than The Smiths' but they were so important particularly growing up in England. They got to the point where they were doing arenas. I think the Bunnymen were ahead of their time. They weren't very commercial. They were the coolest band on the planet. They had everything. Strangely enough, when Les left, Ian asked me to join them. If he'd asked when I was 16, I would have died and gone to heaven but by the time he did ask me I was so busy with Weller and OCS and I didn't like their new music that much ... and maybe subconscioulsy the fact that Ian is a Liverpool supporter made me turn their offer down (Damon laughs) It didn't ... no.

KB: You've played with lots of big names Weller, McCartney, The Who ...is there anyone you'd like to collaborate with?
DM: I always treated playing with those big names with a sense of humour.  When I played with The Who for instance, I played bass at one of the biggest gigs ever. We rehearsed just for an hour the day before so you had to treat that with a sense of humour, you know. Regarding who I'd like to collaborate with well maybe Rufus Wainwright, the RZA from Wu Tang Clan, Kate Bush would be a dream really. Those three I suppose. 

KB: Is it true you turned down Oasis?
DM: Yes...when Guigsy left the band, Noel asked me to join. We were doing ... well Liam and Steve Cradock had done that Carnation thing so we were travelling to TOTP together, and they asked me then to join the band but I was told I could not continue with Weller or OCS of course. So my wife at the time sort of advised me not to do it. So I finally decided to turn their offer down. Financially, not a very good decision I suppose (Damon laughs) but spiritually probably a good thing.

KB: What can you tell us about your side project 'The Family Silver'? The album was released last year, have you done anything since then?
DM: Yeah, we're recording a new song which is fantastic but we've done three reinterpretations of songs off the album. They are the B sides and they are being released in December. It's a really nice project because there's no pressure in it. There are three songs there that I think are the best three songs I ever recorded.Really special songs.

KB: Did the idea of launching your own solo career ever cross your mind?
DM: No, not really. I can cowrite songs. I've cowritten a lot songs. Lots of songs which were not really good perhaps and lots of great songs. But I'm not a singer. I mean I can do backing vocals and I can play a lot of instruments so cowriting is my thing.

KB: Regarding making music and recording an album, is it more difficult than before?
DM: Everything has changed. It's not harder to get a record deal but record labels will expect you to have done more of their work for them. The thing is that no one buys music so record labels don't have the money to develop acts. They want to sign an act, they want this act to have a certain amount of likes, draw a certain number of fans to concerts and then offer them a deal. Record labels want half of the tickets money, half of their merchandising so that's the downside and the positive side is these days it's cheaper to record and to put music out. If you have a fanbase, you can do without  record labels. For instance, we did 'the Family Silver' thing through crowd funding and we hit 160 % of our target so everything was paid for and we released via Universal so there's ups and downs. The thing with new acts is that as soon as they have 4 songs, they release an EP. But in the old days, you had to write lots of songs, pick your best ten and you would get signed knowing that you had to do a lot more work till the finish level. If the first OCS songs had been released, they would have been awful or The Verve's but 100 jams later, they got A Storm in Heaven. That doesn't happen anymore.People immediately release everything they have got.

KB: I did an interview with John Lydon and he told me he'd never been happier because he produced his own album and there was no record company involved in it dictating things?
DM: If you've got a good fanbase you can do that. Richard (Ashcroft) was able to make the record he wanted. John Lydon has a big fan base so he can do what he wants too. But for new acts, they may not have that fanbase to support them and they need record labels- But the important thing is that the money people spent on buying music, they now spend it on merchandising, concerts and other things that contain music. The money is still going in but it's not going form the record label to the artist. So if you are a good live act, you can be relatively successful financially.I heard 21 Pilots through my daughter and I first saw them in a small club in Birmingham, then a bigger club and this year in a much bigger club and now they are on radio 1. They tour all around the world.

KB: Let's talk a bit about football ... You are an Evertonian ... Do you still go to see Everton?
DM: Yes! All the time. Well, I try to go as much as I can. My dad took me there when I was little and now I try to take my son there too.

KB: First memory at Goodison Park?
DM: Bob Latchford scoring a hat trick. I think it was against Birmingham City. We beat them 5-2 and I was blown away. That's why And that's why I don't want Everton to leave Goodison Park. There's no spirit in new football grounds, you know? I took my son to see Everton at Stoke. And they have this lovely new ground but it's just concrete seats,  there's no spirit, no history there. Even Anfield has a lot of history. Battles won and lost there, you know?

KB: David Moyes proclaimed Everton as the people's club. Do you subscribe to that?
DM: Yes, of course. I mean Liverpool fans would disagree but we were the original team from Liverpool and they came after us. It is funny for me to see that sometimes people outside the UK call Man Utd vs Liverpool a derby and the derby is Liverpool Everton or City/United really. It's got to be the same city to be called a derby. Everton and Liverpool were so near I mean the grounds were just half a mile really. Amazing really.

KB: Do you think Everton will ever live the glory days again?
DM: Maybe yes. We have a new manager. We have got new investment. Our team is reasonably good. The thing with Leicester is that it showed in a way that it is more than how rich you are. I think Kuman will build a good Everton whether we start dominating along with Liverpool I don't know. I hope so. I always hope so.

KB: In Buenos Aires you shared a photo of Maradona, what does he mean to you?
DM: Maradona is a hero for me because my family is from Naples so the fact he dragged Napoli to win the league. It is just amazing.

KB: Changing the subject a bit Damon, you teach as well at the University of Cardiff, what can you tell us about that?
DM: Well I had a really bad injury so I couldn't play for 6 months. I was offered a job at the University of Cardiff so the timing seemed perfect because I couldn't  play of course. I'm the course leader there. I love it really. I enjoy it a lot. Most of my students want to stand on stage, some want to be producers. They are very enthusiastic really.

KB: Are there any bands that you like these days in Britain?
DM: I'm not very fond of any acts these days in Britain really. Well I love Richard of course but then not many I really like.

KB: Finally, there is usually a question we ask those artists we interview and is: If you bumped into little Damon down the streets of Lancashire, what advice would you give him ?
DM: Oh I'd tell him: "Listen to what your mum tells you. Mums are always right. Sometimes dads tell you something but mums...mums are always right... Yeah listen to your mum!"

Check out The Family Silver 

Richard Ashcroft Live Dates 

Richard Ashcroft will play Corona Capital