The announcement that Beady Eye had been added to the Big Day Out 2014 lineup, in parcel with The Hives and Deftones, came as a relief to many who were hoping to experience some Britpop-era nostalgia at BDO 2014 and were left disappointed by Blur‘s now infamous sudden cancellation.
To get a feel for what was happening behind-the-scenes, Music Feeds caught up with Beady Eye drummer and former sticks man for Oasis, The La’s, The Lightning Seeds, and Robbie Williams, Chris Sharrock, who spoke to us from Birkenhead, “the New Jersey to Liverpool’s New York.”
Chris also spoke about the recording of Beady Eye’s sophomore album, BE, which was produced by TV On The Radio mastermind Dave Sitek. Chris takes us through what the recording process was like and some of the music-swapping that went down during the album’s production.
Music Feeds: Hi Chris. Thanks for taking the time to speak to us. How have things been in the Beady Eye camp?
Chris Sharrock: Yeah, good, man. We just kind of finished an English tour where we did about eleven gigs around the UK, which were kind of like the best ones we’ve ever done ’cause we’ve had a bit of time off, y’know? So…they were really encouraging. Best we’ve had lately, the last sort of ten or eleven gigs we did. So really good, we sort of had Christmas off. I’ve not seen the lads for about a month or so, but yeah, really good, good vibe. It always is.
MF: Great. Well, just about everybody in Australia is up to speed with the whole Blur debacle in regards to Big Day Out. What was it like behind-the-scenes when Beady Eye first got the call to fill in the spot?
CS: Oh, well, behind the scenes it was I just got a call saying ‘We’re doing the Big Day Out!’ [laughs] It was kind of all over by the time I got to hear about it and then I really only heard about a week later or so that Blur had pulled out. So I was like ‘Oh, right.’ But the band we’re very happy about the news that we were coming over to Australia, because we missed out on you guys last time.
MF: That’s right, the Oasis tour obviously didn’t make it over and Beady Eye didn’t end up coming out, though there was talk of an Australian tour. What happened there?
CS: Well, it’s nothing personal [laughs] I think we ran out of money. We either ran out of money or we ran out of time or there was some reason we were gonna call it the end. I think we’d just been on the road too long and everyone was fed up and needed to go away for a bit and do the next album. So we thought ‘We’ll get there on the next one,’ which, thank God, it looks like we’re doing it. It was a place we’ve been wanting to come to. We’re always up for Australia and New Zealand.
MF: Was there any difficulty with scheduling the Big Day Out tour logistically speaking, considering you guys have some European dates shortly after?
CS: Yeah, I think we’ve got about 48 hours off when we come back from Australia and we’re in Lisbon or somewhere. So, I think we’re going to be the busiest we’ve ever been over the next two or three months, d’you know what I mean? ’cause we don’t really work at that kind of speed but it’s just fallen that we’re doing Australia and then straight into a European tour, which is great though, it’s like being 21 again.
MF: Considering Liam’s feelings towards Blur in the past, was there a sense that he was gonna be the man finishing the job the boy couldn’t do?
CS: [laughs] I don’t think so. I think you’re talking to the wrong guy [laughs] You know what I mean? Blur are alright. Everyone’s like, reaching that age where they just sort of go ‘I can’t be bothered with that.’ We didn’t really talk about Blur, it was just like a gig and like I say, didn’t really know Blur had pulled out. It was just like, ‘Oh you’re doing the Big Day Out’ and it’s like ‘Oh great!’ and then a week later ‘Oh you know Blur had pulled out?’ Didn’t even think about it to tell you the truth.
MF: It’ll be Beady Eye’s live debut in Australia and you’ve just been confirmed for a sideshow. What can fans expect from the festival shows and the sideshow? What will the setlists be like?
CS: Yeah, it’ll just be obviously a longer set on our own gig or ‘sideshow’ as you guys seem to call it, I keep thinking of The Simpsons. Yeah, our own gig will probably be longer and sweatier and there won’t be anyone else on either. So, y’know, the set will be a little bit longer, it’ll probably be twenty minutes longer or something like that. It’ll be the same gig though, y’know what I mean?
MF: Liam, Gem and Andy were all well-established as songwriters by the time Oasis ended but from a songwriting standpoint, what was the transition into a band without Noel like?
CS: [With the first album] they were just some tunes that the lads sort of had knocking about and we jammed a few new ones out. They’re always writing between themselves all the time, y’know? Even I do as well, I just have to come to them, but we just don’t record mine. [Songwriting] is just a thing we do. It’s a thing they do more than me, they’re musicians, y’know? We love getting a new song together, it’s what the band live for.
MF: Beady Eye’s most recent record, BE, was produced by Dave Sitek, who struck many as an odd choice to produce a Beady Eye record. Were you guys able to find common ground, musically or personally?
CS: Oh yeah, loads of stuff. He turned us onto a few things, we turned him onto a few things. He wasn’t into all the same stuff we’re into, he was probably into some other stuff that we’re not into. But we kept it on a common ground, with like, Nancy Sinatra. We were playing all the good stuff, Lee Hazlewood, Serge Gainsbourg, Black Sababth, you name it. He’s around our age so we were all into the same kind of gear.
MF: Many of the songs from the debut had been kicking around for a while, with some demoed and then sent to you to learn, taking that, as well as a new producer and a new bass player into account, how did the recording of BE compare to Different Gear, Still Speeding?
CS: Good question. How do they compare? [BE] was quicker, I think. I think it was quicker. We went in there and banged it all out. But it was quicker, I think we had about a month doing the basic tracking and it was a different studio, different producer. I mean, after three weeks in the studio you get sort of stir crazy anyway, no matter who’s producing. But not a great deal of difference, y’know? I’m always finished after about the first three weeks. That’s the good thing about being a drummer, you get it all out of the way early on. But no great difference in recording. We always try to make it fun.
MF: Lastly, you must be sick to death of being asked Oasis reunion questions…
CS: I am [laughs]
MF: …but what band would you personally like to see reform?
CS: That’s a very easy question, Slade.
MF: Might we expect some Slade in the Big Day Out set?
CS: You never know. Stranger things have happened.
MF: You’re an Arthur Lowe fan, perhaps a posthumous Dad’s Army reunion?
CS: Either that or Are You Being Served? Any 70s British situation comedy and I’m there.
Beady Eye will soon be in Australia for the Big Day Out 2014 tour and a sideshow at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre, see below for details.
Beady Eye Australia 2014
Monday, 27th January 2014
The Enmore, Sydney
Tix: Via Ticketek