Five Min­utes Alone: Bruce So­ord

The Pineap­ple Thief prog mas­ter­mind on his early days, over­com­ing ob­sta­cles and the power of self-be­lief

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS -

I got my first real six-string…

“My first gui­tar was a crap ny­lon string thing from a mu­sic shop… back when there used to be mu­sic shops in ev­ery town. Yeovil had about three. I saved up £30, and this would have been 1986 or 1987, and it was ter­ri­ble. It took me months to tune it up. I’d got in with some mates at school and they were al­ready mu­si­cians. My best mate played sax and a bit of key­boards, my other mate was a Grade 8 vi­o­lin­ist and they wanted to start a band. I didn’t have any mu­si­cians in my fam­ily and my dad said, ‘What have you wasted your money on that for?!’ I thought, ‘That’s it, I’m not go­ing to give up.’ My first elec­tric was an equally hideous Mar­lin Sidewinder in sparkly pur­ple with a lock­ing trem.”

Su­per Strat…

“It was al­ways an Amer­i­can Fender Strat as my dream gui­tar. Back in the day, you were either a Strat or a Les Paul guy and I re­mem­ber think­ing, Les Pauls are so ridicu­lously ex­pen­sive but maybe one day I’ll be able to af­ford a Strat. When we were in school we were into old prog rock and es­pe­cially David Gil­mour, he was the big one. I just wanted to sound like him. There was a mu­sic shop in We­ston-su­perMare and I bought my­self a sec­ond-hand Amer­i­can Stan­dard Strat. I spruced it up and played it on the new al­bum.”

Don’t stop be­liev­ing

“When I started with the Pineap­ple Thief it was all very much me on my own. But I think when you’re on­stage and you get a bit of val­i­da­tion and peo­ple are com­ing and en­joy­ing it, that enabled me to not just be­come a bet­ter gui­tarist and singer, but a bet­ter front­man. If you don’t be­lieve in your­self, you’re never go­ing to get any­where and it took me a while to get that feel­ing. I wish I’d had that much ear­lier on in my ca­reer... you don’t want to come across like a real ar­ro­gant ar­se­hole but at the same time, you’ve got to have that be­lief in your­self.”

No sur­prises

“We’re quite lucky in that we don’t get an aw­ful lot of grief – our fans seem to be re­ally nice. We get a lot of com­par­isons, like, ‘If you like Steven Wil­son’s Por­cu­pine Tree and Ra­dio­head…’. We al­ways get that but that’s a mis­con­cep­tion as I don’t think we sound any­thing like Ra­dio­head and I don’t think, even with Gavin [Har­ri­son, drums] on board, we’re not try­ing to be the next Por­cu­pine Tree by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion. If peo­ple are think­ing that I urge them to lis­ten to the new record be­fore they jump to that con­clu­sion.”

Get­ting bet­ter

“I’ve been play­ing with Jon [Sykes, bass] since I was 18 and I re­mem­ber when us and Steve [Kitch, key­boards] were all hold­ing down day jobs, while try­ing to make the band good. You don’t get the lux­ury of be­ing able to go into a re­hearsal room for weeks to get shit hot. We were scat­tered around the coun­try so we would meet in Bris­tol in the evenings. It took an hour to get there and then you’d lug all your stuff and by the time you’ve set up you may get an hour of de­cent re­hearsal. Then you’ve got to lug it all back and go back to the day job… it was tough but we made a de­ci­sion to make it bet­ter and we put the hours in. Grad­u­ally, we got bet­ter and started sell­ing more records and even­tu­ally we reached a tip­ping point... I look back and think, ‘Thank god we didn’t jack it in.’ There were so many bands that did.”

The Pineap­ple Thief’s lat­est al­bum

Dis­so­lu­tion is out now on Ks­cope. The band tour the UK in March; pineap­

“If you don’t be­lieve in your­self, you’re never go­ing to get any­where... it took me a while”

Bruce So­ord on­stage at Barcelona’s Be Prog My Friend fes­ti­val in 2016

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