Those pesky boys from Hounslow reunited last year and gave us the first leg of the Anniversary Jukebox Tour as a celebration of an amazing 20 years together.
Well, the tour went so well that we demanded more. And more we have got in the form of the Extended Jukebox Tour. More dates, more venues, more chances to play Slight Return…
Anyway. Adam Devlin kindly spoke to us previously about the original tour so I decided to find out how he found those dates, what he enjoyed and what we can look forward to on the new tour. Here’s what he had to say.
So, how was the initial anniversary tour for you?
At the risk of sounding a bit Peter Andre it was amazing. I loved it, I found out how much I missed it, I think we all did. We’ve all done other live stuff with other people, but it’s not the same as it being us four. The whole thing was a blast from start to finish and I felt something similar to post holiday blues when it was over. I left my suitcase unpacked in the spare room for a week, I just couldn’t face unpacking it. Pathetic really.
Was any particular show of yours a favourite? If so, why?
Manchester was very special. It’s always a great place for us to play, but for whatever reason all stars were all in alignment that night and the magic just happened. It was far from a flawless performance, in fact all sorts of things were going wrong, but somehow that seemed to add to the feeling in the room. You’re only ever as good as your audience and on that night they were phenomenal. It really was one of those joyous occasions that stay with you.
You seemed to be very comfortable being back on stage together as a band. Was it very easy to slot back into that environment?
Yes, incredibly easy. We are one now musically, as I suppose we should be after a quarter of a century playing together. We booked four days to rehearse before the tour and found that we were rehearsing songs we hadn’t played for five years and they were pretty much perfect first time. It surprised me how easy it was.
When I interviewed you before you said you weren’t looking forward to playing any specific songs in particular, you just hoped you could remember how to play them! How did that work out for you?
Fine once I sat down for a few days and got to grips with the songs again, most of it is muscle memory, you just pray your fingers are gonna go where they’re supposed to and usually they do. Remembering how to play the songs is the minimum requirement though, we’re also expected to make them sound good too, audiences can be very demanding like that.
It must have been amazing to hear the crowd sing along with you each night. To the untrained eye, it looked like you had never been away. Were you surprised at the reaction from the fans attending the gigs?
A bit surprised yes. You’re always a bit apprehensive going in to these things, but they did us proud. The fact that we don’t play often anymore certainly seems to have injected a bit of extra magic into the room when we do play. Perhaps that went missing a bit when were touring six times a year. You can have too much of a good thing.
It seems that some other bands (including your favourites Kula Shaker) are on the revival trail now. Do you think this is just an easy win for a band or was there more to it for you?
I can’t speak for other bands and I wouldn’t want to, but I’m sure the motivation is different for different individuals. I’d say for us it didn’t really feel like a revival, more a delayed continuation of things as they were. We did it because we missed it badly and it felt like the perfect time to do it. The money was neither here nor there. It’s in Geneva.
Return To The Last Chance Saloon was remastered into a deluxe CD and LP last year and Expecting To Fly is also being given the same treatment. Can we expect a reissue on all of the albums?
I’m not sure about that. One of the things you kind of need for reissues is bonus material, otherwise it does feel like a bit of a rip off. And I’m not sure how much bonus material there’s left kicking around in the vaults. It feels like everything we could possibly release has been so we’ll wait and see on that one.
Has the success of the initial tour inspired you to write some new material together?
Yes and no. Yes in that just playing together seems to do that naturally, and we do find ourselves noodling away on other bits of music during rehearsals and sound-checks, but at the moment it’s not practical. Our rhythm section currently live in Tokyo and Uxbridge respectively so just getting the four of us in the same room takes military planning and a fair bit of cash too. We haven’t ruled it out, but not any time soon.
The new leg of the tour starts tomorrow. This time it’s a lot more dates at more varied venues. How does this make you feel?
Excited. It’s a special thing to go out and do what we do, we haven’t lost sight of that, if anything the opposite. There are more venues, but most of them are smaller, which I think suits us better anyway. We will have to pace ourselves better though, a few more early nights with a cryptic crossword will be taken I’m sure.
Can we expect anything different on the second leg of the tour?
No. It’ll be exactly the same. Only kidding, yes, they’ll be different songs, it’ll still be us probably wearing the same clothes, but we do pledge to play some different songs. Unfortunately Beyoncé’s dance troupe won’t fit on the stage so we’ve had to shelve that idea.
I’ve seen a lot of people asking about your blog recently. After the success of your food reviews, can we expect the same treatment for the new tour dates or are you going to delve into something new?
I’ll probably contribute something, but I’m not sure what yet. Food is an easy one because it’s something you have to do everyday. Maybe I’ll do a guide to cycle routes through whichever town I’m in. Something practical like that.
Are you working on any other projects yourself at the moment? For example, can we expect a second Cee Cee’s album?
There has been talk of a second Cee Cee album, there are songs written for it too so in the fullness of time, yes that will happen. The problem with those guys is they’re proper musicians, ergo: they’re always working. I do have some exciting Lego projects in the pipeline though.
And finally, I suppose the big question has to be what does the future look like for the Bluetones?
The immediate future looks quite busy with the gigs this year, not just the tour but the other bits and pieces too. Longer term I couldn’t say, I think it’s it’s extremely unlikely that we’ll ever go back to touring endlessly and making records the way we used to, that stage has passed. It’s all a big mystery which is why it’s all so exciting. I think.
Massive thanks to Adam for taking the time to speak to us.
If you haven’t got your tickets yet, details of the dates and venues are below. Some of the dates are sold out, but do check social media to see if any are available for re-sale.
Visit their website – Bluetones.band