Melody Maker Readers' Poll 1999
Best Album '99: The Man Who
Best Single '99: "Why Does It Always Rain on Me"
Best New Band '99: Travis
Haircut of the Year '99: Fran Healy
So tell us then, how was it for you?
We hoped it would be special, but we could never have imagined it would start like that. That has to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life, it was so loud!
You've been voted Best New Band. How do you feel?
That's great. I think that you have to treat every album like you're starting again. If you give it all this, "We've got to build on what we've done," you'll end up falling short. Each time, you've got to start like it's brand-new. We definitely feel like that, even though Good Feeling had done OK. And we'll be the same with the next record: In your head, you have to go, "We are a new band 'cos this is a new album." You should be a different band each time, 'cos you're doing different songs, and you sound different.
You first appeared in the Best New Band list two years ago, which is unusual, to say the least.
Well, it's been an unprecedented year, hasn't it? Loads of people discovered us this time around, but the thing I truly believe about this band is you either get it or you don't. And if you do get it, you'll never be able to lose it. When I joined the band, I got it straight away. We were shite for so many years, and I’m sure we'll be shite again, but I could never walk away from it.
You've also won the Best Single award for "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?" Why do you think that single captured the readers' imagination?
That's brilliant. That song--I did a demo of it, and Iwas in this taxi. I got talking to the driver and told him I was in a band called Travis. He'd never heard of us, so he asked what we sounded like. So I gave him the demo, and he played it, and at the end, he just went, "That's the story of my life, son." And I was like, "Wow!" I knew then that this single was something special.
When we first recorded it, it was a lot faster and we knew it was a dead catchy tune. We played it back for the first time, and we were going, "This could be one of those songs that everyone will jump on." It sounded a bit cheesy at first, but we slowed it down a bit. The title is a memorable line, as well, which definitely helped.
Did you see its release as a big turning point for the band?
Yeah, we had a lot of momentum building at that time, but we needed something that would carry it through. A lot of people get to that stage, but then run out of singles or whatever. "Writing to Reach You" was a bit too vague. "Driftwood" was more specific but also a lot more wordy, and then "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?" was just…simple, and therefore very effective.
Both those other singles are in the readers' Top 10, as well…
Really? That's amazing. We were lucky this year. When our first album was out, you had the Verve's Urban Hymns, which took so much airplay and coverage away from us. And then OK Computer came out and took a load more. And then Oasis's Be Here Now came out! There was no space for any other bands. But this time, the timing was just right. There's probably some band out there saying we've taken all their radio play! But if they stick around long enough, it'll be them next.
And The Man Who has been voted Album of the Year. You must be pleased about that one.
I am. When you put a record out, you just don't know how it's going to go. I remember just before it came out, we got together to read all the reviews. We'd been told they should be good, so we were quite excited about it. We sat down and went through them all, and nearly all of them--with the notable exception of the Maker--said, "This is bollocks from Bollockstown" or "Fuck off, that's it," but then I realized that people listen to the radio and that these songs are good enough to speak for themselves.
A lot of people have come around now. When we put the album out, the climate wasn't really right--it's a winter album, but it came out in the spring. Now the climate is right--albums are like wine, and this one's mature enough to drink now.
You just edged out the Stereophonics' Performance and Cocktails for this award. Is there any rivalry between the two bands?
No, not at all. People like to spice things up with a bit of gossip or whatever and set bands against each other. But all the kids care about is to get off on one, dance and smile to some good music. In 10 years' time, people will look back at both records and go, "They are great albums." No one will remember which one of them was Album of the Year, and even if they do, it won't really matter.
You've won almost as many awards as the Manics. Do you feel like you're on their level as a band now?
Well, I think we can get there, definitely. We're just about songs, whereas they do a lot of political stuff, and that can put people off. I don't necessarily think it's the wrong thing to do, because people need education and to be told what's going on in the world, and you cannae rely on politicians. But Travis are just not that kind of band. We're like, "Fuck it, you're born and you die, let's have fun in the middle."
And finally, you've won the highly prestigious Best Haircut award.
Ha ha! I notice Damon Albarn's got my haircut now. I turned up at some awards do, and there he was. I said, "You've got my haircut!" and he was just like that. [Mimes a slightly embarrassed Damon.] The guy that cut it will be really pleased--I just went in and said, "Do whatever you like," and he gave me the wee bit in the middle. I'm going to have to change it now. Maybe I'll have three sticking-up bits--but that would be too like Keith from the Prodigy, wouldn't it? I'll think of something. I've already seen a Travis fan with one just like it, but his looks better than mine, the little fucker!
Natalie Imbruglia won this award last year--and she's a big fan of Travis, isn't she? Did she give you any tips?
Ha ha! Yeah, she just said, "Let go, and use the clippers!"
January 12, 2000
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