STA is now Ten Years Old

Jetplane Landing Talk To Brain Farm

"I feel sorry for kids today having to listen to such fake, generic bullshit"

If you made a list of the most exciting bands in the country today, Jetplane Landing would be at the top of the page highlighted in red. Their debut album Zero For Conduct, which was self-financed and self-produced on the band’s 8 track garage studio (Straight To Tape), has wowed anyone who has strayed within earshot of it’s blend of gritty artrock and postpunk perfection. Fanzines, music papers and websites are falling over themselves and each other to praise them. Live? Nothing short of ferociously spectacular. And then some. They are genuine and passionate about what they do and the people that support them in that pursuit – which is to rock. Hard.

Babysitting, boobytrapping and generally keeping the seats in Seafood’s studio warm (while they are down under) and before JPL embark on yet another bout of UK dates, Andrew Ferris (vocals/guitar), Jamie Burchell (bass) and Cahir O’Doherty (guitar) kindly allowed themselves to be placed under a pre-heated Brain Farm grill, seasoned with some half-arsed attempts at journo-probing and a few shabby SM:TV style fork-prods.

For those inexperienced in the ways of Jetplane Landing, how would you describe what you do?

Jamie: The bottom line is that Jetplane Landing are a punk band, we have tried to follow the blueprint that the original punk ethic laid down, we have made our own records, we have booked our own shows and been around the country three times in the space of our first year playing a tense set every night and loving every minute of it, meeting so many bands and people that are just out there doing it, because when you get it right it is a worthwhile thing to do with your life.

Cahir: Pure fucking tense.

Compared to Zero For Conduct, the JPL on your forthcoming EP could almost be an entirely different band; was this a deliberate and conscious effort to move away from your lighter material (what one ‘critic’ has called "a heist on the sunnier end of Ash's back catalogue")? You've said previously that you always intended JPL to be a 4 piece so how close is the sound now to what you had originally envisioned?

Andrew: We endeavour to write good songs - how the words and music are 'housed' is irrelevant I feel. A conscious effort to move on - but not to move away from what we did on the last record. I'm incredibly proud of all the songs we write. A four piece is nice to play in, I have less guitar work to do now, Cahir carries a lot of the riffs and I can just play and sing, which I feel better at. We have such a lot to learn as a band and a lot more songs to write. But I enjoy this set-up more than I have anything else in my musical career.

Cahir, what's life like being the JPL newby and what horrors did the initiation involve? Did they make you interview for the position?

Cahir: Well, in fact it was me that interviewed the band to see if they were strong enough to house my incredible guitar skills. They passed with flying colours, so beat it!

Don't get me wrong, Cahir's a fine looking fella and everything, but weren't you tempted to draft in a bit of a looker like the Ash boys did with Charlotte?

Jamie: I reckon Cahir could take Charlotte any day, and remember we have played with Ash so I have seen the two of them close up, Cahir wins hands down. It's all special effect with Charlotte.

Andrew: I'm not sure about that. Put it this way, I'm in discussions with Tim about Charlotte's days off.

Who were the bands/what were the records that first made you want to get intimate with your instruments and at what point did you each decide 'that's what I wanna do with my life'?

Jamie: I learnt how to play bass listening to Phil Lynott in Thin Lizzy, also I used to play Police and Jam stuff when I was young, I would have loved to have been in The Jam back then and can do quite a good Sting impression when I'm drunk, I heard new wave and punk music when I was 13/14 and thought 'I'm going to start a band'. Oh, of course we were shit.

Andrew: I heard Rock Music by The Pixies and thought 'what's that? that's not music' - which of course it was and I just didn't understand it at 12 years old - it seemed so extreme. The first band I formed was with my friend Deaglan and we played our guitars through his brother’s stereo. We thought we were Spacemen 3 but we were just spacemen. On the second part of the question, I don't think you choose music as a life commitment, it chooses you.

Cahir: For me, it was Nirvana back in the day - I went to see them live when I was fifteen and it changed my life. I just wanted to be Kurt Cobain. And then it was bands like Fugazi, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Rage Against The Machine, you know who I mean... all the good bands. I feel sorry for kids today having to listen to such fake, generic bullshit.

Coming forward to recent times, what was the last song you heard and thought "Shit, I wish that was mine"?

Jamie: I saw the band Refused on MTV2 the other day and just vomited, I think the tracks called "New Noise", I heard they have split up, if true, that's probably a good thing for the rest of us.

Andrew: "Adenoidal" by The Once Over Twice.

Cahir: It was Jimmy Eat World's "Salt/Sweat/Sugar'" [aka Bleed American]. It’s just such a good song.

For which band would you sell your own mothers in order to tour with? And what childish tour bus pranks would you subject them to (the band, not your mothers)?

Jamie: I'd like to tour with AC/DC all across America, I would put ice cubes in Brian's flat cap when he was asleep.

Andrew: It has to be the Blues Explosion - what you wouldn't give to watch Jon every night.

Cahir: Nirvana. The usual pranks, lock them in a cage - fracture their ribs, buy canned shit - and put in bunks, shave their sideburns while asleep, make fake penises out of towels.

Yeah, your on-the-road antics seem to be escalating in extremity - you've gone from ‘accidentally’ knocking over forecourt petrol pumps to allowing your (strangely absent) drummer to be intentionally caged on May’s tour with Seafood; what physical and psychological traumas will you be inflicting upon each other on your next tour?

Jamie: God knows, but we have to stop causing each other pain, it’s not helping anything. On the Seafood tour me and Cahir got too drunk and shaved off one of Andrew's sideburns while he slept, a stupid move, you don't look that good with only one. When me and Cahir realised what we had done we panicked and shaved off one of each others sideburns in a strange drunken act of solidarity, for three weeks we all looked like rejects from East 17.

Andrew: I intend to attach electrodes to Raife's testicles and punch Cahir full force in the back when he's eating his dinner. I leave Jamie alone he has to co-sign the cheques.

Cahir: Well, I can't say exactly what is going to happen - these things are spur of the moment. But, I'm pretty sure that somewhere along that long, winding road some fucked-up demented shit will go downtown. Maybe I'll get my feet pierced or perhaps I'll grow a full beard - I don't know you'll just have to read the tour diaries.

The whole Cuckoo/Geffen thing has been well documented but would you ever consider signing to a trustworthy label again (that would presumably ensure that all creative control stayed firmly in the possession of the band) or can it only be DIY all the way?

Jamie: We have already started to work with other people who are great and help us. The band just started to get so busy and we needed help. We would definitely work with a label but they would have to be the right one.

Andrew: Record companies exist to make money. Bands exist (the good ones at any rate) to make good records. There is a fundamental discrepancy inherent in this system. The two parties are always at odds. However sponsorship of artists has always existed, and through it great art has been made. The choice is simple, get into bed with them or don't. There is no in-between. Having 'creative control' written into a contract is worth fuck all anyway – it’s always a case of whoever shouts the loudest gets their way. However, with Jetplane Landing you have a band in the interesting position that we are too large to be managed by just two people (Jamie and myself). So many people bought the first album [2000+ to date], we didn't expect that to happen. Therefore our position has to shift otherwise the band does not survive. The next year of this band’s career will be the most interesting one I feel for this very reason. 'How do you reach more people without losing part of yourself?'

There seems to be strong sense of community among many bands on the circuit these days and you yourselves have become good mates with a lot of the people you've played with. What do you think has bought about this sense of common fellowship?

Andrew: Some bands aren't worth the price of the guitar strings. We've met as many selfish, arrogant assholes as genuine, talented ones. Just as in the late seventies the fidelity of rock records became less important and the spirit imbued in them more important, over the last five years recording technology has dropped in price and allowed people to make good records from home. This has had the knock on effect of making music readily available and accessible. In order to get that music heard though you need a community of listeners. I think it has slowly dawned on bands that spite and competition gets you nowhere and to succeed (whatever your definition of success might be) you must share.

Jamie: I reckon it comes from the fact that people are just fucked off with the industry's stupid moves and want to take back some sort of control, if that means bands not hating each other, our trying to beat each other then its a good thing. It's not a competition, however hard the industry tries to make it. At the end of the day if you play a good gig, it’s good. If you make a good record it will outlast any kind of bullshit.

Time to get trivial now - who would you like to see play you in a JPL biopic and who should direct?

Jamie: Only one man could do it Chevy Chase, the film should be directed by The Chuckle Brothers.

Andrew: Fuck me...erm...I haven't a clue. Jamie? Who would I be?

Jamie: Cahir - Bruce Lee, I think Raife could be played by a young Oliver Reed and Andrew…well, that's hard, I asked around and the best one anyone could come up with was Gene Wilder. Any ideas, Cahir?

Cahir: Gene Wilder! That’s a belter. To play me, I would say the son of Bruce Lee - but he's dead too - so I guess there’s no-one left on the planet tense enough to play The Incredible Monk - it would be directed by Tim Burton - because I am gothic loving bastard. I picture myself as a some sort of superhero/monk/pharmacist/vigilante, fighting for justice against corporate fuckers such as…well just check out The Scourge my friends.

Have any victims of The Scourge voiced opinions about their treatment from the Angry One's tongue-lashings?

Jamie: No not so far, oil has been taken, what people must remember is that Jetplane Landing don't run The Scourge. I was Maniac Cop for a while, it would have been unfair if I'd made myself Maniac Cop, it’s an honour that has to be earned not taken.

Cahir: Well of course no-one can speak for the Scourgemaster as its nothing to do with us in Jetplane Landing, so we don't know if the victims have complained or not. But I’m sure in time they will - that’s when the fun begins. And just for the record, all those punk-ass, pussy-fucking, shit-rag magazines, who dictate to the masses better watch their back. Soon they will be obsolete and only The Scourge will rule.

When actor/model/drummer (or "slashie" if you've see Zoolander) Raife disappears off to Hollywood to do a supporting role in a gangster film with Vinny Jones and then make a sitcom pilot, which celebrity drummer would you poach from another band to replace him?

Jamie: If we couldn't get Grohl then I'd take Jamie Oliver.

Cahir: Mine would definitely have to be...Jon Stainer from Helmet, that boy lays down the main shit bi--atch! You know what I'm sayin' Ash. That is of course if I couldn't teach Natalie Imbruglia the drums and I'm a very good teacher (moo-ha!)

Andrew: Damon Atkinson from Braid (he now plays in Hey Mercedes).

Andrew, what's the story behind your now infamous mid-show speeches? Is a political career on the cards?

Andrew: Oh I don't know, some things just need to be said. I need to say them, feel free to throw stuff at me if it goes on too long for any of you.

Cahir: I'm thinking of buying a giant horses bit...is that what you call them, so I can rein the bastard in if he goes to far.

What radioactive thing would you like to be bitten by and what powers would it give you? Can wearing spandex ever be acceptable in a 21st century punk-crimefighter capacity?

Jamie: I would like to be bitten by a radioactive milkman, it would give me the power of pasteurisation. I would not wear spandex, just the standard milkman uniform.

Andrew: I would like to be bitten by a radioactive rat and be able to squeeze under doors.

Cahir: I'd love to be bitten by a radioactive hawk, because then I would be able to become a superhero called 'Only In The Mind of a Hawk' - who was once a schoolteacher, teased by his pupils. One day while walking home from work he was bitten by a hawk - which then died, but it’s mind was transferred onto the schoolteacher's. His reflexes are heightened, and he grew a giant beak - fighting for justice in our schoolyards, pecking the spots off teenagers faces and frightening them into not masturbating so much. Ahh...to be young again.

Jamie, how on Earth does a bassist lose his bass (as you did prior to a recent tour)? Isn’t that like a footballer losing his feet?

Jamie: It's not as hard as it sounds, I'm sure lots do. As some followers of the band will know when we did our first few tours we did them in a camper van called 'Excalibur', we had to put all the guitars in the loo because there was not much room. After one late night gig, I left my guitar in Excalibur's loo…nightmare, the camper went back to its owner in Basingstoke before we realised, it could have been taken on various camping holidays for the rest of it’s days, but one good friend came to the rescue and lent me his bass while I retrieved mine and the day was saved.

Andrew: Also, he is a goose.

Where do you see JPL this time next year, considering the momentum with which you have progressed to date? A year ago you were playing the itsy-bitsy Dublin Castle in Camden and on the current tour you're headlining the Garage in Islington, a venue 7 or 8 times as big? Pressure, much?

Jamie: I hope by this time next year we have made more records, that's it really, the most important thing to me, to be productive. As for pressure, I personally have waited a long while for some of the opportunities that this band have had to come along. Bring it on.

Andrew: It’s strange and wonderful - the pressure is something you live with - I think we all just want people to leave having had a good night out.

What are the plans for album #2?

Jamie: The songs are starting to fly about now, we have been writing all over the summer, it helps now Cahir is in the band as he can write too. I would say demos before the end of the year, new album coming out the first part of next year, fingers crossed. We will be playing new stuff at all our shows between now and Christmas so people will get an idea of where we are going, I didn't really want to say here what the stuff is like in case Hundred Reasons read this and rip us off - only joking!

Thanks to Jamie for accepting the arduous and hazardous challenge of getting 75% of the band in the same room at the same time.

Ash Pocock - has doubts as to the correct pluralisation of penis being ‘penises’ (‘peni’, perhaps, or is that pasta?) and is sure Hundred Reasons can read

- Ash Pocock, The Brain Farm