Jon McClure (born in Sheffield), known as The Reverend, and lead singer and frontman of Sheffield band Reverend and The Makers speaks to KULBRITANIA in an exclusive interview we did ahead of the release of their new album 'Mirrors'.
Jon talks to us about everyhting; the new album, his influences, his hometown of Sheffield, TIE 90, Libertines' reunion, Oasis and Blur, his football team Sheffield Wednesday, his top 5 britpop albums and more.
KULBRITANIA: Hi Jon and thank you for doing this interview. I'd like to start by asking you how you got involved in the music world for a start Jon? Do you come from a musical family?
Jon McClure: Well yeah a little bit, my mum was a singer in a band in the 70s. She used to sing in the 70s and stuff like that but I always liked music and well my dad was a very big music fan so there was always someone singing a song and also I was 13 when Oasis and britpop happened and that had a big impact on me to make me want to make music and stuff.
KB: You've said it many times that you were inspired by the great British guitar bands like Oasis, Roses, The Jam, The Clash, would you say they have influenced your new album as well or does it sound different from all your previous ones?
J: This new album sounds very different. It sounds more like a psychedelic 60s record. It's very different. It's got bits of The Velvet Underground. I guess what's great about music is that as a young kid you enter music through the most immediate things so for me it was Oasis , Stone Roses and then you find out who those bands liked and you become a fan of those bands they liked and then you go on a journay with music and you find who these artist are inspired by and stuff like that. But there's so much music now so there's different things to be influenced by.
KB: You've recorded probably two very political albums already one of them 'French Kiss in The Chaos', is your new album 'Mirrors' as political as your previous works or less political this time?
J: No, our new album is less political really. There's not any politics on 'MIrrors'. The thing with politics is that if you keep saying it, people soon start switching off to it because you just talk about politics you don't talk about anything else but politics is important. I like The Clash for instance but not every song is about politics. There are songs which are just good songs 'Should I Saty or Should I go? is just a good song.
KB: Speaking of the new album, Noel Gallagher praised your work recently saying "It's like nothing I've heard since the great concept albums of the '60s". "Now thats a start, innit?" but regarding the new album can you describe to them what they can expect from your new LP? and why you picked Jamaica?
J: Well the thing is that the new record, well it seems it never stops, it keeps going every song dropping to the next one. The whole albumn is like that and also we went to Jamaica to make a film so the film never stops as well. It's not all me singing, the bass player sings, my wife sings...originally the album was called 'The Trip'. We picked Jamaica because it 's a nice place to go and to waste the record labels money (laughing) but also the studio where we did it is where Snoop Dog did one of his so I was always inspired by Jamaica. It's important for me to say that the film is not about me smoking weed (did that before) but we used the scenery of Jamaica, the jungle, the beaches, the rivers.
KB: Speaking of your hometown of Sheffield, TIE 90 was shot in and around Sheffield? Are you a big fan of TIE yourself? Are You looking forward to watching the series?
J: Yes, I am because some of the actors from the series come to watch us play a gig sometimes. At V Festival, last weekend we had Thomas Turgoose the main actor of This is England and Vicky McClure shares the same name as us ...she came to watch as well. I'm a big fan. Looking forward to it. Should be really good.It's good also for the city. It puts Sheffield on the map, you know? A friend from Argentina asked me about the series once. I was in Argentina like 4 years ago. Argentina has the best food in the world, and I'm not really interested in steak or wine but I got to Argentina, had some meat and a glass of Malbec I still think about it now and that was four years ago. I spent like a week in Buenos Aires, then spent some time in Colombia and Uruguay. Got a motorbike. Rode it round. Had a great time. I went to see Boca Juniors to Bombonera. It was amazing. We always associate Boca and Argentine football
with toilette rolls. Yesterday I was in the toilette and I asked my brother for some toilette rolls. He threw the toilette rolls down the stairs and he went like "Look It's Boca Juniors". I love Argentina. I love Maradona. He's like a hero.I just think he's just a cool guy. His politics are good as well. He's a hero.
KB: Speaking of Noel, Jon you supported Oasis during their last tour in 2009, were you sad when the band announced they were breaking up? and would you like to see the band reform? ...in an interview with John Robb he told us in the Roses case they had some kinda of unfinished business whereas Oasis would be more a celebration of the times... do you subscribe to that?
J: Yeah I went to the last gig they did in a place called .... there was a kind of funny atmosphere so I sensed there could be something. We went to support Noel with the High Flying Birds. I think maybe one day they get back together ...fingers crossed.
I also think sometimes people question bands reforming saying they do it for the money. There's nothing wrong with that, you make music and you deserve to get paid for it.. There's so many young people 15,16, 17 whove never seen Oasis, The Roses I think it's good to bring that music to a younger generation.
KB: Speaking of reunions , what do you think of the libs reunion and the fact they are releasing a new album?
J: I'm very pleased about that. Carl Barat is a very good friend of mine. We made some music togetherThe guy who manages The Libertines he is my manager as well. I got Carl and The Libertines with my manager cos Carl was being amanged by someone else and I suggested he should be managed by my guy cos I knew he'd lokk after him and they put the band back together. I heard their new album and it sounds reall, really good. I think it's important to have them round again. In the time The Libertines have not been together, music has become a little bit boring. A lot of people are working in an office or a place like that. And I think the Libertines carried the true spirit of rock n roll.The Libertines are like Maradona. They have that rebel spirit and to me that's the point of rock n roll. The other thing about The Libertines is that they are like the Beatles they are better when they are together. Sometimes I feel they are not that good apart.
KB: Carl Barat also praised your new album recently saying 'Mirrors' is a magnum opus. He’s a seasoned melodic master too. Just what we needed from Reverend And The Maker. How does that make you feel?
J: Makes me feel good when anybody says they like your work. It's a compliment. That's the reason in a way we do what we do to receive praise from the people we admire. The reaction to this new album from other musicians has been so good. It's been amazing.
KB: Jon going back to the times when you were a kid in Sheffield when the feud Oasis Blur was at its height you were 13-14 . Whose side were you on?
J: I was on Oasis's side but afterwards when I made my own band. Well I went to Africa a bunch of times with Damon...Lagos and Nigeria with Albarn and spent a week in Ethiopia with him. I got to know both bands. Now I'm more down the middle because I think some of Blur's later work ...13 and Think Tank is really good. really stands up and stands the test of times. To be honest, I love both bands. I think apart from all that chart thing it was exciting to be a kid. There were so many good bands around during that time.The problem I have with musicians right now is that they don't write their own songs...guitar bands have songwriters who write the songs for them and when you look back into the 90s, you had all these bands who wrote so many memorable songs that will last forever even small bands.
KB: It is said that you were the one who brought them together I mean Damon and Noel after all those years. Is that true Jon and how was that?
J: Don't know if I brought them together. I don't want to take credit for that. I just said to Noel I'd given his phone to Damon. Yeah I did a little bit perhaps. I think to see two legends perform together is amazing. It's like seeing the Beatles or The Stones playing together. I think they should make a record together. Noel and Damon making a record together would be amazing.
KB: Now you share the band with your wife now whats it like to share the stage with your her Jon?
J: It's cool when we first started the band we were dating other people. And then we were on tour and one thing led to another and we were together ourselves and then we split up but I didn't want to be sexist or a dickhead to Laura and go "Well you are not my girlfriend anymore you can't be in the band so she stayed in the band even though she was my ex girlfriend. It was weird for a while.It was a bit like a soap opera for a while but then we got back together. Got married and now we have a son. We played V the other day with thousands of people watching and we brought our little boy onstage. He got a big cheer from the crowd.Good vibe.
KB: You support Sheffield Wednesday right Jon? Do you go see the wednesday when you can? and any chance you are promoted to the premier league?
J: I go every game I can get to. Maybe the guy who owns the club now has the biggest tuna factory in the world. So we've got money from him so weve got a chance. (Jon thinks and says) Don't think we ever had an Argentine player. Maybe we need a few Argentine players...Riquelme...we could have him even though he's old and retired.
KB: Best footballer you have seen?
J: Zinedine Zidane...
KB: In a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate yourself as a footballer?
J: 5 ...I'm a bit like Martin Palermo that is my style.
KB: Top 5 Britpop Albums?
J: Think Tank by Blur, Definitely Maybe by Oasis, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating by Spiritualized. Different Class by Pulp, I should Coco by Supergrass
KB: For our followers in Latin America Argentina, Chile ...any chance to tour Argentina
J: If there are some promoters out there reading this who want to give us some money to get there, we dont even have to make a profit. As long as someone can pay that, we can be there tomorrow. I'd love to. Yesterday I was doing some music with some Colombians and Venezuelans in the studio. The politics and the way the people are is like the way I am. Of all the places in all the world South America is the place more like me.
KB: Finally Jon if you bumped into little jon down the roads of sheffield what advice would you give him?
J: I'd say "Keep on doing what you are doing man you are alright no problem just keep going. Try not to be miserable. Just be happy. It's all good. Keep going."
Reverend & the Makers UK Tour