The New Cue #152 April 25: Paddy Considine
25 April, 2022
We hope you had a splendid weekend. Firstly can we say a big thanks to those of you who came along to our first ever The New Cue event with Miki Berenyi from Lush. It was a triumph! If you missed it, don’t fret, we’ve got plenty more excellent nights of music and chat coming up, starting with music writing legends Tom Doyle and Sylvia Patterson on Friday 6 May, kick-off at 6.45 pm at The Social, in London. They’ll be revealing the highs, lows and ludicrousness of their journeys through the music press, from Smash Hits in 1980s, NME and Select in the ‘90s, and Q in ‘00s, in conversation with their old colleague and editor Ted Kessler. It’s going to be a hoot. Avoid that FOMO feeling and pick up a ticket for just £4.99 at www.thenewcue.co.uk.
Back to the present: in today’s letter we’ve got an interview with actor, director and hard grafting rock’n’roll frontman Paddy Considine about his new album, The Death Of Gobshite Rambo to kickstart your week.
Enjoy the edition,
Ted, Niall and Chris
Start The Week With… Paddy Considine
Paddy Considine is an actor and director, famous for Dead Man’s Shoes, Hot Fuzz, The Death Of Stalin, The Bourne Ultimatum and the forthcoming Game Of Thrones spin-off, The House Of The Dragon, to name just a few. Here he is, terrifying Gary Stretch in Dead Man’s Shoes.
But, parallel to acting and directing, Considine is also a musician and songwriter. He’s played in bands since he was a teenager, including one with This Is England director Shane Meadows when they were both at college, and in 2006 he formed his current group Riding The Low. Earlier this month they released their third album, the excellently titled The Death Of Gobshite Rambo. Chris called up Paddy for a quick chat about the band, how he juggles music and acting and also got a quick primer on Considine’s all-time favourite band, Guided By Voices…
Hi Chris, how are you?
I’ve got a hacking cough, but other than that I’m OK. I’m pretty sure it’s not Covid. How have you been keeping through all of this?
I’ve been alright, mate. I had Covid once in the first wave and that was unpleasant and the second time I had it was just like a cold.
For you, having to juggle music and acting, did having some enforced downtime help you write some songs for this album?
No, I'd already written the album before all of this happened. I’m constantly writing songs anyway – whether I’m away working or when I’m at home. It just meant a bit more home time, so I naturally wrote songs in that period. Not this album, but the next one has a little bit of influence of it, what we were going through and all that stuff sort of filtered its way into some of the songs, but it’s not some pandemic album by any stretch.
Compared to acting, writing and directing, what is it about making music that you find most rewarding?
It’s purely my own self-expression. It’s completely unfiltered. It doesn't go through any other process. I'm not giving a performance and second guessing what I'm doing. I'm not having to run it past script supervisors, or financiers or anything like that. I'm not doing a performance and leaving it to the mercy of editors. It's the thing that I find is the truest form of expression that I have, really. I didn’t actually write a song until I was in my late 20s. I'd never written a song before then, I didn't even know I could. But even then, it wasn't like there was a burning desire to be a songwriter, it was just something that came at that time in my life and when it did it just felt right. It's always ran alongside everything I've ever done. I think only a few times when I've acted, and possibly directed, has it been purely from my soul, if you like. Because I didn't come into the acting world in a natural way, it wasn't a burning desire in me [to act], music has always been the thing through in my life that’s spoken to me the most and the thing that I probably aspired to do more than anything else, really. I just accidentally found out that I was sometimes decent at acting.
Come on! You have been playing in bands your whole life though, weren’t you a drummer initially?
Yeah, mate. My first thing was when I saw Adam and the Ants on telly when I was a kid. I just thought: I want to do that. I used to dress up with ribbons in my hair and my sisters would do my makeup. Walking around Winshill where I grew up dressed like Adam Ant as a little kid I nearly got a beating. I was only nine or ten-years-old. It frightened me to think you could get your head kicked in for looking a little bit different. But I started playing drums when I was 16. I was in bands at college and it was great fun. It was just something that I enjoyed. I was at college studying photography because I wanted to be a film maker. Music was always something I dipped in and out of.
What made you write your first song?
My wife brought me a guitar out of the blue. I didn’t ask her for one. She went upstairs to get ready and by the time she came down I'd written a couple of songs on it.
How long was she getting ready for?!?
To be fair to her, she’s usually pretty quick. She was probably only up there for 40 minutes and I’d written a couple of little songs. I don’t know how I did it or where it came from but that was it. I didn’t stop. My only goal was to write a few songs and record them with a couple of mates, just so I could pull them out of the drawer when I was 60 and say, ‘Hey kids your dad wrote some songs back in the day!’ It was when I got together a bunch of musicians that became Riding The Low and played them in a room that I couldn’t believe it. It was like a screenwriter hearing a bunch of actors read the words they’d written. It took on a different life for me. It was probably terrible, but I thought it was amazing and a few weeks later we were doing our first gig. That was in 2006 and we’ve been doing it ever since.
Were you conscious as you started Riding The Low that your acting work was really starting to take off and people might be sniffy about an actor being in a band?
I knew when I started doing this that I’d be doing Riding The Low for the rest of my life. I want to do it with all my being. I feel like I have to do it. I realise the suspicion around it, but I don’t know where that comes from because acting welcomes people in. Acting isn’t suspicious. If Ricky from the Kaiser Chiefs came onto our set tomorrow, he’d be welcomed and nobody would care, but in music there’s this weird snobbery. I’m a working-class kid, I grew up with fuck all, music was my escape and I have a right to do this as much as anybody else on this earth. I would never tell anybody to not do the thing that they are passionate about. If you want authenticity, come to my face and we’ll have that conversation face to face because anyone who has questioned my authenticity in the past has have a verbal lashing because it doesn’t go down very well. Music was the thing that transformed me more than anything.
I think where part of it comes from is because in the past there have been high profile actors who have formed bands and they want to go up there and for people to take them seriously and they’re getting slots at Glastonbury or whatever it is, but Riding The Low have never got a pass, we cut our teeth over all these years playing pubs and little clubs and supports. Years of grinding it out and graft.
You’ve been filming the new Game Of Thrones spin off with Rhys Ifans who’s got a background in music with Super Furry Animals…
Yeah Rhys had [Ifans’ fronted SFA side project] The Peth. That was one of the first things we spoke about. It’s a fantastic project, why would it be wank just because he’s in them? I remember the Quietus did something arsey about us, comparing us to Rhys’ band and they put up footage of our second ever gig in Derby. Of course it was shit, it was our second gig! It takes years to craft it, the only thing that drives it is your passion for it.
Am I right in thinking that you’re a big Guided By Voices fan?
What would you say to any of our readers who might find the 30 odd Guided By Voices albums out there a bit daunting - where would you suggest they start?
It is quite an overwhelming thing. I would say start around the [1994, 1995 albums] Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes era. Have a look at that and then go to [92’s] Propeller. If you can crack those then you've just opened a whole new universe of stuff.
Thanks for the tip and thanks for talking to us, Paddy.
No worries. Have a good day!