Spread the love – not lava lamps

The Fratellis 2012
The Fratellis 2012
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ONE thing those romping rockers The Fratellis won’t be investing in on tours this time around is expensive props that take a day to warm up.

Take the giant lava lamps the lads bought for roadtrips prior to their three-year hiatus.

“There were a lot of props we had at one point and it costs a lot of money to keep them in storage so we used to give a lot away,” says lead singer Jon Fratelli.

“Those nine-foot high lava lamps... we had seven or eight of them and thought they’d be great on stage.

“What we didn’t realise is a nine-foot lava lamp takes 14 hours to get going. We were never anywhere that long so we never got to see them in all their glory.”

The band also used to sport a giant, 3D neon F for a while.

Jon has no idea the whereabouts of that either.

“It’s not in my house, at least, but I’m gonna look for it.”

What The Fratellis have found, however, is an appetite for playing again.

“I’m glad somebody’s happy with it,” he replies when we reveal Hear & Now is glad to have the band back in action. “It’s all just work. I try to look at it as simplistically as that. You’ve got to go to work.”

The Fratellis left us on a high three years ago, having toured second album Here We Stand. But behind the scenes patience was being tested.

“It was completely necessary for us to not hang around together for a while.

“We didn’t fall out, we were just fed up of each other.

“It’s okay to say that now.

“Even married people don’t spend every waking hour together. Bands do, though.

“We definitely got to that point where it was a good thing, the right thing, not to spend that time together any more.

“What happens naturally from that is enough time passes and you realise that you liked each other.

“It’s completely natural and in the meantime there’s nothing else I can do or want to do with my time. I would do this even if nobody wanted to listen to it or see it live.

“The reason for doing it has always been because you don’t know anything else.”

Jon, Barry and Mince all proved industrious elsewhere during their break.

The frontman made an album of lush Hollywood-inspired soundtracks with Codeine Velvet Club and his solo shows culminated in last year’s Psycho Jukebox album.

“Everything you do is a reaction, especially musically. Most things are reactions to what’s happened before.

“The second Fratellis record was a reaction to certain things from the first and all the touring and me going off doing Codeine was a reaction to three/four years of constant Fratellis.

“Coming back and playing with The Fratellis is a reaction to Codeine. Everything bounces off the last thing, quite naturally.

“I’m quite content to let those things push you where you’re meant to go at that particular time.

“You don’t want to spend too much time analysing.

“I’m far happier just to keep moving; even if it’s in the wrong direction at least it’s moving somewhere.”

A simple email led to The Fratellis reconvening after Jon was asked to do a gig for a teenage fan with cancer.

“Maybe a week before we had decided to maybe play again. A straight forward thing, I sent an email to the two of them asking: ‘Does anybody fancy playing some gigs?’.

“Maybe with our band we need to keep it as simple as that.

“So we did that gig and it was just a lot of fun to play that music again.”

Although Jon says they don’t have grand plans, they’ve written songs for a new album and, following the short tour that hits The Leadmill on Sunday, they’ll go into the studio.

“We’ll spend October recording, possibly make the album we should have made second time.

“We’ll have another try at getting across what we were trying to get across, which we never quite managed.

“It’s a different time now, different circumstances, but you’re always writing or should always be.

“That’s my job.

“It’s been that way since I was a teenager, whether they’ve been good or bad wasn’t really the point.

“And there’s a certain type of song that suits our band. That’s just the way it is. It’s stupid to fight that. I’m not gonna argue with that.

“That was the way it was supposed to be, I guess.

“Even though I don’t do a lot of listening to the radio – I never did anyway – the time I do catch stuff there’s something missing that we do well.

“ It all seems a bit cold out there at the moment. At least some stuff I’ve heard has left me cold.

“That’s not a reason for doing it, it’s just an observation, but there’s definitely people out there who have an ear for a certain type of rock ‘n’ roll and I don’t think anybody is giving it to them. Maybe that won’t be us either.”

London 2012 Olympics bods, at least, still like Fratellis’ trademark hit Chelsea Dagger as they used it in the beach volleyball. Jon didn’t know that.

“Hopefully the cheque’s in the post,” he says. “A few years ago I would have called that a disaster, I wouldn’t now.

“You’ve got no control over that sort of thing. I’m happy for it to have it’s own life. I don’t consider it as ours or mine any more. I’ll take the money, though.

“You can be notorious for far worse things than that, but I’m not interested in trying to write the second one.

“Chelsea Dagger was just one of hundreds of songs we could possibly write.

“It’s not something that I’m trying to beat. That would be ridiculous. And it was never the best song we had.”

For now the lads are back on the ride and keeping venue security busy again with no agenda other than to enjoy it all.

“Looking for something to keep you interested... that’s the aim of the day,” says Jon, although agreeing the thrill of seeing a room full of sweaty faces bouncing and yelling cannot be ignored for too long.

“You get that with this band. When we started rehearsing I had to remind myself as it’d been a while since we played any of these songs.

“I put a DVD of ours on with the intention of relearning stuff and I really enjoyed watching it.

“There were a hell of a lot of happy faces in that crowd – and that can never be a bad thing.

“I’m quite happy we were able to to that because we were miserable.”