Q Modern Hero - Brett Anderson

Paul Stokes

June 2016

Q Magazine

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Submitted by: Susan

Q MODERN HERO by Paul Stokes

Brett Anderson

The Suede frontman was readily getting his kit off by the time Q put him on the cover in '93. But he does now wish he'd kept his mouth shut a bit more.


How are you?

I'm good.


Where are you right now?

I'm sitting in my garden, enjoying the sunshine with a cup of tea.


Can you remember what you were doing in 1986?

I was probably feverishly learning the words to Cemetery Gates. I remember queuing at Rounder Records in Burgess Hill to buy The Queen Is Dead. I think everyone else was getting Nik Kershaw records.


You and Suede bassist Mat Osman were in a band called Geoff in 1986, what was that like?

Bands around then like The Housemartins had this anti-rock stance, so we wanted the least rock'n'roll name possible. We thought Geoff was quite un-rock'n'roll. We used to wear blue lab coats, that was our look!


In 1993 you were on the cover of Q...

The "Can you stomach Suede" one? It was a weird thing, we'd only done two singles and it was the height of Suede mania, which was a lot of fun but looking back it was a bit premature to get a Q cover.


Can you stomach Suede?

It was that period of my career when I was taking my shirt off quite a lot, so it was appropriate!


It seemed like you were out there on your own, then Britpop happened and there were lots of British bands...

That's the way it seemed to us too. History has been rewritten a bit because people talk about all these bands starting together but it was only Suede in '93 really, the other bands joined in the slipstream. It was a very exciting time, it didn't feel like we had any contemporaries.


How's 2016 been so far?

Well! I'm just thinking about writing a new Suede album. I don't really know what it's going to be like yet. When I'm writing I'm very instinctive. It always looks like artists are much more in control of their work than they are. They give the impression they know what they're doing but I don't think most of them do. You stumble through it, then make sense of it afterwards.


Are you surprised to still be in Suede?

Yes! Even when we re-formed we didn't know where it was going. I didn't want to keep going round on a lap of honour. So yeah, I am surprised we're a creative entity again, but it's a nice surprise.


How do you feel about a new generation knowing Suede as the band with Richard Osman from Pointless's brother on bass?

Less proud of that! Do I watch? You can't not watch, it's always on! I remember Richard as a teenager. Actually, it was 1986. We were obsessed with the '60s and one day he stormed into Mat's room where we were playing guitar and declared: “The '60s were rubbish and Love were rubbish!" A real grumpy teenager! [Laughs] He's a very sweet man and he often comes to Suede gigs. I cheer his success from the sidelines.


Is there a song from the last 30 years that you wish you'd written?

NYC by Interpol. There's something about that song that's just amazing. It's really drone-y but really inspiring, and it's really hard to make the drone-y sound uplifting. So I really envy them.


What does Q mean to you?

The Pet Shop Boys. I did a nice interview with Neil Tennant for you about 20 years ago and I've stayed friends with Neil since. He's a lovely chap and you sort of brought us together.


What's been your high point and low point of the last 30 years?

Career-wise, the low point was the period just before we split up in 2003, that was pretty grim. The album A New Morning was a mistake. I couldn't see any way back, so I suppose the high point was re-forming.


Any regrets?

I regret Bernard Butler leaving the band very much. I'm sure he does too in lots of ways, but you can't go back. Things get broken and they're un-mendable. It's very sad because I look back at the work we did together and it was pretty good. Who knows where we'd have gone with it...


What about some of your statements over the last 30 years? The bisexual business, for example [Anderson claimed to be a bisexual man who'd never had a homosexual experience in an early interview to much derision)...

As a young man you don't know which bits will be picked up on. You're very honest - that's what I've learned over the years. Being in a band teaches you to be a bit dishonest. It's sad because it's quite cynical, but it's true. I regret running my mouth off in the early days.


Where will you be in 30 minutes' time?

Working on a new song, but it's very sunny which is distracting. I find it much easier to work in the winter. As soon as there's sun I want to go outside and have a beer. So depending on how my song goes, I'll either be fiddling with lyrics or sitting outside with a bottle of Sol!

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WHAT'S THE BEST ALBUM OF THE LAST 30 YEARS?

“It's got to be The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths - a classic. I still listen to it and marvel. It brings you into their world. That was something I really wanted for Suede: a universe of your own. It's a lifestyle choice, you're not just choosing a pair of trousers or something."

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