The Press Article
The Supergrass frontman on Spielberg, modelling pants and hitch-hiking cons
The band was originally going to be called Theodore Supergrass. Who the hell was he?
He was an imaginary figure we thought up in a drunken haze. We imagined we'd have this little cartoon character next to our name, but then we realised that Supergrass sounded more snappy.
Steven Spielberg is a big Supergrass fan. Is it true he offered you your own TV series?
This has really got out of hand - we're not going to be the new Monkees. We went to Steven's office at universal Studios for a meeting and it was really chilled. He was a nice bloke - like one of your uncles. It was basically a chat about our influences, so we ended up talking about old Twilight Zone episodes. But at the end of the day we're not actors, and we didn't want to become known as Steven Spielberg's band.
If he'd asked you to star in a remake of one of his movies, which one would you have picked?
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. I love it because it has a creepy edge. And I like the idea of building a mountain out of mashed potato.
Your brother, Rob, plays keyboards in Supergrass. Are you going to rope your two other brothers in, maybe on the triangle and the xylophone?
They're both in bands already - I come from a very musical family. My younger brother, Charlie, is a really good piano player, and my older brother, Ed, is playing in bars in Paris. Maybe at some point we could get together for the Coombes Brothers Experience...
You once worked in a Harvester restaurant in Oxford. Did you serve customers with hot rolls and invite them to visit the salad bar?
No - me and Mick, the bassist, worked in the kitchen. Thankfully we never saw the customers. We'd stick on Hendrix late at night when we were mopping up, and invent amazing drinks using everything from the fridge.
Ever go back there - perhaps for a "combine" Harvester?
No. It's too far away.
You were in a band called The Jennifers when you were just 14. Can you remember your first song?
There were a couple of ridiculous, punky, joke songs - Harvey The Accountant and The Girl With The Removable Face. That one went: "The girl with the removable face/She didn't have much of a life/All the boys used to pull it off/And use it as a Frisbee." Most of them were in that vein. Actually, we haven't changed much.
At school, were you a tough kid or a bit of a weed?
I tried to avoid trouble, but I did have my first fight when I was eight. This boy started running after me, so I just ran away. We went round the playground about 20 times until we were knackered and stopped. I think in the end he came up and gave me a quick whack, but it was all that he could manage because he was so tired.
You're famous for you enormous lambchops. Are you surprised at the attention your facial hair gets?
Yeah. I mean, there are more important thing to talk about. I've had them for ages, so it's only when people talk about them that I remember they're there. I heard Lenny Kravitz talking about his dreads recently, saying that because he's had them for so long he doesn't think about them. He was getting a bit spiritual about it all, actually. But I don't have spiritual sidies.
Are you hairy all over?
No, not at all. I haven't got a hairy arse. It's more of a baboon's arse. But not so red.
I've read you've recently bought a house in Brighton...
Brighton has become quite cool recently, but I don't exactly hang out with Chris Eubank and Fatboy Slim. my girlfriend and I have got a house up on a cliff.
Supergrass have just recorded the voices for a new computer game. How did that come about?
These guys came into the studio when we were working and said, "If you do voiceovers for this sword and sorcery game, Silver, we'll give you a grand each." So we broke for half an hour to say things like, "Take me to the Warrior Master!" I played a guy called Ben, which wasn't exactly a warrior name. Danny, the drummer, did the voice for this massive nine-foot beast, but they cut him out of the game for some reason.
Is it true you were once asked to model underwear for Calvin Klein?
All that happened was that a photographer who works for Calvin Klein was interested in doing a few shots. I'm sure Calvin has never heard of us. I thought I didn't quite have the pecs for it.
Were you also worried whether your pants would be "padded" enough?
You've got to be well-hung? No, the only thing that went through my mind was "no thanks".
What sort of wild antics do you get up to on tour?
You tend to suffer from the bus fever. The last time it happened, one of the roadies attacked Mick with a Hoover. but the strangest thing that happened to us occurred in Texas, when these two sweaty muscly blokes wearing white T-shirts tried to get on the bus. It was only later we realised they were escaped convicts on the run.
Does anyone ever call you Gary?
My name's Gareth. My mum started calling me Gaz, as it was easier to shout across the house.
Do you spend a lot of money on clothes?
I prefer second-hand stores. I recently got a cashmere tank-top and a pair of trousers for a tenner. but usually I wait until we do a photoshoot, then nick all the expensive clothes the stylist has brought for us to wear.
You'll be disappointed today, then. Finally, you've made an appearance on "comedy" rapper Ali G's new TV show. Did he take the piss out of you?
I tried to take the mickey out of his goatee, and he came back with: "So, you are looking like a monkey..." But if you go on his show, you know what you're letting yourself in for.
Richard Galpin, FHM - September 1999