Supergrass were a band people either loved a lot or liked a lot. They rarely evoked negativity because the songs were just too damn infectious, pop exploded through a bright prism of joy.
Now drummer Danny Goffey has ventured alone and – like fellow alumni Gaz Coombes – produced an album that is seriously, brilliantly good.
This shouldn’t come as any great surprise. It was Goffey who was responsible for penning Alright and Caught By the Fuzz, songs that put a broad grin on the Britpop era and can justifiably be considered modern classics.
On Take Off Your Jacket And Get Into It we find similar gadabout pop but also mature themes seen through the eyes of a life lived. There is additionally a robot child and a dog called ‘Nige’.
Gloriously chaotic but always underpinned by welcoming melodies it’s in parts psych-punk, other times pastoral, and always beguiling, a stellar collection of tunes that will be – I’m so sorry about this – pumping on your stereo for some time to come.
While the album enjoys deserves high praise across the board we caught up with Danny to talk teenage kids, Squeeze, and Gareth Bale hat-tricks.
DC: What was the gestation period of the album?
DG: There’s a couple on the album that were conceived about ten years ago. There’s a song called Alfie Loves The Birds that I wrote when my son was quite young but I never really did anything with it.
Doing the album took about a year all in, sort of walking around the kitchen strumming an acoustic guitar then using whatever time I could find in a studio near to my house.
DC: Is it true a lot of it was recorded in your shed?
DG: I used to live in a house a little while ago where we turned the garage into a studio. Well, it was a studio crossed with a hangout for my teenage kids so it was a mental place. I did a lot of demos there.
DC: Race Of Life has made a star of your son Frank. You yourself of course had high achieving parent and your brother is a director. Would it have been possible for you to be an office clerk in a 9-5 job?
DG: I sometimes wish I was. There’s been times over the past couple of years where getting this going has been pretty mental. I didn’t really use much of the team that we had for Supergrass – I used different managers and agents – so it was quite hard getting it all together. Sometimes working freelance can be quite stressful so occasionally you wished for a nine-to-five job where you could leave it all behind.
DC: You must be pleased with the reception Take Off Your Jacket And Get Into It has received. Prior to letting your baby go into the wild how did you feel? Were there nerves, excitement, pride?
DG: Not really nerves because I’m kinda over that but I was excited for the first gigs. When I made the record I played all the stuff on it, just me and an engineer. Then when I finished it turned into ‘Shit, how am I going to play this live?’ As a typical bloke I can’t multitask.
We got a band together and the first gig was in a little tent in Glastonbury which I was really nervous about but like most things they turn out alright.
DC: As always with any new album the media are quick to point out possible influences. In this instance Ian Dury and The Kinks being two. Were there any influences however that might surprise?
DG: I was listening to a lot of early Squeeze because it sounded similar to what I was doing. It was more of a production thing than taking things from them.
There was also seventies bands like Magazine and the Buzzcocks which probably you can hear a bit.
DC: Do you buy into that Danny? The importance of influences? The media make so much importance of it but is it even a factor?
DG: Not really. I suppose some writers sit down and play their favourite song and try to emulate it which is quite brave but it’s not something I’ve ever done. Usually lyrically it’s something that means something to you and then the music is just trying to get a good melody. It’s hard to recreate something because often it’s completely obvious.
There are people who change the odd note here and there but that’s complete bollocks.
DC: Five years on from Supergrass’ farewell gigs I’m interested to know how you feel now there’s distance looking back on that body of work?
DG: The first three albums I’m really proud of. By the time of the fourth things weren’t quite as exciting. Nothing had changed in the band and we still got on but after ten years it becomes less interesting.
We never bigged ourselves up too much but looking back on the early days with I Should Coco we had so much front in pulling it off. We just thought everything was hilarious and tried to use people we knew. Kept it low-key and laughed through it.
DC: I’m a big fan of the new album but if the readers don’t take my word for it why should they buy or download it?
DG: Well they should bloody fucking download it because it nearly killed me making it (laughs)
I feel quite strongly about it because I wrote, played and recorded it all myself. There’s a couple of people who helped with some twiddly guitar stuff and mental piano but I think it’s really good that someone got those songs from their head and then created them.
If you’re an amazing singer then people can write songs for you and you perform them really well but all those great artists we mentioned earlier – Ian Dury, Squeeze, and The Kinks – you can tell it’s from their heads. They’re singing about what they know which sets them apart from pop songs.
DC: Moving on to your other love football – or more specifically Spurs – I may be in the minority here but I believe they can push for the title this year. Am I insane for thinking so?
DG: You’re not because I’ve put a twenty quid bet on them at 100-1. About a month ago when I could use my Paddy Power account again – I got into a bit of trouble with it – we’d just beat Man City and I thought ‘Hang on, we’ve only lost one game this season. A hundred to one?’
It’s funny how we’re recently hearing pundits say we’re in with a shout for top four now but no-one ever mentions the title because it probably is a bit far-fetched. But it’s worth having a bit of fun for those odds.
DC: Is it too early in his career to give Harry Kane a knighthood?
DG: (Deadpan) Yeah. Sir Harry? It depends if he starts hanging out with William and Harry he might get a bit further with that.
DC: On a serious note were you concerned with his lack of goals earlier this season and that perhaps he might be struggling with Second Season Syndrome?
DG: I thought that a bit. I remember him coming through and there were times when he played the odd game and I wasn’t sure if he was going to make it. So I was really surprised when he started scoring all these goals. By all accounts he works hard in training and always wants to do double sessions. He’s obviously driven.
DC: Can Dier and Alli go on to forge an England midfield for years to come?
DG: I don’t see why not. They’re both very young and know each other well. There are players who are equally as good or more accomplished through being older but it would be a good experiment man to keep them together even if one isn’t playing that well. Because they know each other’s game so well.
DC: Who is your all-time Spurs hero?
DG: It used to be Ricky Villa especially after scoring that goal. Who do you support?
DC: I’m Man City so I didn’t really appreciate that answer….
DG: (Laughs) Well I was seven or eight and it was quite a mad little goal. My brother supports Spurs and he’s a bit older so he was going nuts.
More recently it’s been Gareth Bale. I understand when a player has got to move and sort their dreams out. When he scored that hat-trick against Inter I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited and some of his goals were great so I can forgive him.
DC: Have you ever heard any of your songs played at half-time at the Lane?
DG: I don’t think they have. In our band we’re pretty much all Spurs supporters so we’ll have to let the club know and do something. I’d love to write a great half-time song. Sort of like Pistols style, a rousing rock and roll song.
DC: Your single Trials of a Modern Man focuses on precisely that. But what would you say – traditionally – are the trails of a Spurs supporter?
DG: It’s like going out for a great night out but then waking up with a really bad hangover. It’s quite a hard life I suppose taking all that derision from Arsenal supporters for always finishing above us but I’m sure that’s just about to change.
New album ‘Take Off Your Jacket & Get Into It’ out now http://www.vangoffey.com