We touch base with the Elbow head honcho for a three-brew morning.
Hello, Guy, where are you right now? I’m sat on me sofa, contemplating watching the new cowboy thing on Netflix. Will you be there all day, binge-watching? Oh, man, I can’t do that any more. That would’ve been post-tour behaviour once, I would’ve eaten all the bad food you could have delivered and just done the whole thing. But having a baby kind of restricts that behaviour. What’s for breakfast in the Garvey household? Usually I’ll have a bit of cereal or whatever and if we pop out, I’ll have something with eggs. This morning I’ve had – classic – cheese on toast. Congratulations on soundtracking the Christmas John Lewis ad with a cover of The Beatles’ Golden Slumbers. How did that come about? John Lewis got in touch and said, “Michel Gondry? The Beatles?” And we said, “Yeah!” What’s not to love? It meant bringing our Best Of forward a few months but it couldn’t have worked out better. My wife heard it on the radio and started crying. Is that the vibe you’re going for? Ahhhh! I don’t think you can do that song any other way. It’s a beautiful thing. “A good song dun’t need singin’,” is a phrase I’ve invented but I’m trying to pass off as a foregone. My mum said something really beautiful. She said, “The Beatles saved my life when they appeared, I was having a bad time and they were there, and hearing you lot sing that has absolutely made my year.” That’s nice. I did notice there has been a national outcry, by which I mean a handful of tweets, expressing mild hysteria that your version doesn’t go into Carry That Weight, as The Beatles’ original version does. How do you plead? I don’t know what we could do about that. If we’d have finished Side-B of Abbey Road, then people might insist that we then go on to do the next Beatles album. I did notice that national outcry. Isn’t it funny, two or three tweets becomes a national outcry! The weirdest thing is, the week we were asked, I played the whole of Side-B on my radio programme, for the exact same reason that you just can’t pick one, so I just thought, “Sod it.” It was met with rapture. Isn’t that just being a lazy DJ? “Oh well, the first track’s great, might as well play the rest of the album…” Hahaha! Yeah, this is it, just present an album. I was dead chuffed listening to it back though, it sounded great. Have you ever had anyone recognise you because of your radio show rather than because you’re the Elbow frontman? I have, actually, in Queen’s Park in London. A guy heard me talking on the phone and turned round and said, “Oh, are you Guy Garvey? I recognise your voice from your programme.” So, yeah. It’s well cool. In other countries as well, I get people who only know me because of the show. Now that you’ve done a Best Of, are you worried people might say their favourite Elbow album is The Best Of Elbow? I kind of don’t mind. My favourite Fleetwood Mac album is The Best Of Fleetwood Mac, and my favourite Leonard Cohen album is The Best Of Leonard Cohen. So I don’t mind. The main thing for us is we’re really proud of everything we’ve released, with the exception of one B-side called One Thing That Was Bothering Me, the chorus of which is, “We all love Columbo!” I wish to fuck we hadn’t done that. What will you be doing 20 minutes from now? I’ll be in a café down the road getting mushrooms on toast. It sounds bland but it’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten. Is it an on-toast day for you today then? It’s definitely an on-toast day. It’s a fourslicer, three-brew morning for me. Thanks, Guy, enjoy your mushrooms on toast! Thanks! Take care, love!
“It’s def initely an on-toast day today. It’s a four-slicer, threebrew morning for me.”
Sofa surfer: Elbow’s Guy Garvey contemplates watching Godless on the telly.