The return of the sermon tank

Reverend & The Makers 2012
Reverend & The Makers 2012
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IF there was any doubt in the Reverend & The Makers camp that they’d been missed, then selling out The Leadmill in six minutes for tomorrow’s comeback show should have worked wonders.

But while Jon McClure might not be taking anything for granted, like the man himself, there’s been nothing subtle about this return.

In fact, the first significant inkling of a full-blooded revival from one of the most inimitable men in music was when they opened for Noel Gallagher at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena in February.

The fact that he was out with the calmer of the two Gallaghers possibly said more about the McClure mindset than many might have realised.

“I took a long time off because I got myself right mardy, twisted and political about certain things,” admits Jon.

“I needed to sit down and not talk about owt serious, have a bit of fun and make some music for a minute.

“So we just made a good album. I sent Noel some music and he asked us to come and play with him. It’s nice just to feel a bit of love for what we did.

“We’re not super chums. He doesn’t come round me house, I’ve never been to his house. He just digs what we do and realises, probably as I do, there are not that many proper bands that can still pull a crowd.

“He realised we’re in the game and still trying to make good records. It’s nice he’s a fan because we used to love Oasis.”

Then the Makers had form with Oasis, having opened stadium dates, including Wembley. Even so, there’s a sense of softly, softly with the Makers return. Kind of.

They follow the Leadmill with an O2 Academy show on October 20 and collosal support dates for Red Hot Chili Peppers in June at Knebworth and the Stadium Of Light, plus V and other festivals in between.

Somewhere amid all that the band release third album @reverend_makers – and due June 18, it’s the first commercial release named after an artist’s Twitter tag

“We are extremely confident in the quality of our new material to the point where the new stuff was going down better than the old stuff, which is a winner, isn’t it,” Jon says of the arena gig.

“We put the little May tour on sale because – I’m not gonna lie or try to be right cool about it – we didn’t know if anyone would care. We were ‘Let’s see if anyone still gives a s***. They do. And it sold out dead quick.”

You get the sense, however, Jon knows he’d been trying the patience of some after swapping the domestic bop of debut album The State Of Things for the more worthy, but musically solid A French Kiss In The Chaos.

Accompanied by his Instigate Debate campaign to get young people pondering politics, Jon realises he polarised opinion and many arguably under-estimated the second record.

“They heard the album and thought ‘Communist manifesto combined with someone having a mental breakdown’,” he quips.

He’s the first to agree that keyboard-playing wife Laura and turning 30 calmed him down.

“It was the right thing to do – you kick yourself if you don’t follow your heart,” she says of Jon’s off-music antics.

“At the end of the day he isn’t going to have any regrets. He did what he felt rather than what he was told to do.

“I’m really glad we did that second album and Jon said what he felt otherwise we would have been doing stuff record labels had told us to do, shut up when we were told to, and that’s certainly not what Jon is about.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve and that might get him in trouble sometimes, but he was and is the most interesting ‘new’ person in music.

“It’s still good for people to have opinions and not be record label pussies.”

But Jon admits he came to a realisation a ‘youth movement’ wasn’t going to happen. And that seems to have helped guide him towards rediscovering why people were listening to him in the first place.

“I probably did a few people’s heads in, banging on. It’s not like I don’t think what I think any more, but it takes a bigger man than me to change the way things are.

“Maybe I’ll go back to it but I wanted to redress the balance with songs about other things.

“I love Billy Bragg but I don’t want to be ‘that political guy’.

“I am political but I am more than that. On a day-to-day basis when I’m just chilling out I like footy, hanging out with mates.

“I got the impression people thought I was waving the red banner a bit too much.”

Hence, perhaps, this time it is clearly a lot more about the band, including newcomer and former Milburn singer Joe Carnall, and grasping the good times again.

“We just got on that party thing. I like going out, going to raves. I love music that’s ‘having it’. Heavyweight Champion was like that.

“I spent a couple of years out of my mind. Then I was going round the houses trying to find what to do and I had it right anyway.

“Spending time back in Sheff, doing normal stuff.

“I bought a lottery ticket, I got Facebook and I see all the lasses I know posing, trying to look right sexy... all this is good stuff to write songs about.”

And Laura sums up the mood of the Makers ahead of new single The Wrestler on June 11 with a round of nods from her colleagues: “Everyone’s feeling good and appreciating doing it.

“It happened so quickly for us at the beginning – we were just chucked into it and everything happened so fast.

“The fact we had time off made us really appreciate it, not that we ever didn’t feel lucky before. It’s more of a conscious feeling now.

“We’re adults, not kids any more; that time away made us hungry for it again.

“It’s a bit more family than mob.”