The Ga Ga's - Interview

21 July 2005

The Ga Ga's

The Ga Ga's - Interview

The Ga Ga's - Interview
Contactmusic spoke to Tommy from The Ga Ga's

Hyepow’s your day treating you?

Ok thanks, well as good as any Londoner at the moment.

Yeah, what were you doing when the bombs went off?

Well I actually went out with my girlfriend the night before, and ended up getting very drunk so naturally we were pretty hung-over in the morning and we accidentally slept in! if we hadn’t I’m pretty sure I would have been on the train that got blown up. Thank heavens for small mercies hey! It’s not good I feel really angry and violated a bizarre mixture of feelings, it’s not good stuff though.

What does the rest of the day hold for you?

Well I’ve got a couple of days off actually. We’ve been on tour non stop so I’m just enjoying a bit of time to decorate my flat and write some new material, I’m basically recuperating and enjoying being somewhere that isn’t moving like a boat or a bus!

Talking of being on tour, you’ve just done some dates with Velvet Revolver how was it?

It was great! We did 2 shows with them; it was brilliant for us to be let loose on stages of that size and play to that many people who up until that time hadn’t heard of us. Our fan base has gone through the roof over night, it really was a trip for us and also sharing a stage with guys like that was just amazing. I loved every minute of it.

How long have you guys been together now?

We’ve been together as a full band for about two and a half years now. It took along time for us to complete the line up. Jason, Toshi and I all got together within the space of a couple of weeks and we then spent about 6 months looking for a guitar player. So our timeline is a little bit sketchy but I guess you could say we have been making this noise for about two and a half years.

How long did it take you to complete the album?

Well we actually recorded it before we had a deal. We’d spent a little while kicking down record company doors and trying to chase a deal and for whatever reason people were not picking up on it so we decided to fuck that whole situation, we don’t need them to record the album because we had written all the material and everything was good to go. We got some financial backing from our management and started doing it on off days from touring we’d have a week off and record 3 or 4 songs and mix them in the time we had. We basically did it in increments like that. We probably spent altogether about two and a half months recording. It was nice because we didn’t have some record label A&R guy breathing down our neck and making ridiculous suggestions that just aren’t going to work, things that basically only satisfy their own ego trips. We were happy that we got to make the record we wanted to make, that;s a great thing for any band let alone a band who is making their debut album, it was very liberating.

Ok, I’m going to have to ask you about your name.

Well, it was so hard to come up with a name these days. Everything seems to have been done to a certain extent and it’s so easy for things to be interpreted as smart arse but we just decided that we wanted to find a name that represented us as more of a gang rather than just a band because that’s what we are, we’re so close and that name had a nice vibe about it that we could all relate to. It was also ambiguous enough to be interpreted by everyone as something different. We liked that because we didn’t sound like a def metal band or something. We actually wanted to call it The Go Go’s but in our naivety we didn’t realise that there was an eighties all girl band. Actually we’ve just found out there’s an all gay male tribute band to the Go Go’s in LA called the Ga Ga’s who have only just surfaced! I think they might be getting a phone call from our lawyers.

That’s pure comedy, have you had a case of mistaken identity yet?

Ha, not yet but their website URL is extremely close to ours! It’s been quite a farce, these buffoons copping on our name! There’s press shot of if them all wearing face packs and gowns and stuff.

Well, hopefully that may help you break America!

Yea I know it’s pure genius. I’d like to think that we would have enough going for us just to go on our own steam but then it is a good story!

How old are you?

I’m 22, the baby of the band the rest of the guys are a couple of years older than me. I try my hardest to live up to the irritating puppy dog reputation I have gained from being the youngest. I think being the youngest I can get away with a bit more than the rest of the band….. or perhaps that’s just my head thinking I can!?!

What have you tried to get away with? Have you trashed anything?

Yeah, we’ve had a few crazy nights, I guess we aren’t really in the position to afford to be able to trash things on a regular basis but we’ve had a few blow outs in hotel rooms and I also went through a stage of getting very drunk and going for naked walks around town centers.

Has that led to you to being arrested?

Somehow not! I actually did it in Japan, and I was right outside a police station wearing nothing but my guitar at 4 in the morning and I still managed not to get arrested. I dunno how. I guess they were too busy laughing their asses off at me to arrest me.

Your new singles just been released, how’s it all looking?

It’s all going pretty well, this one had a little more of a push behind it than the last one due to us really drilling the label. The response we’ve had back from people has been brilliant. I guess we just been to boost our profile a little bit. The track is also a little more accessible than the rest of the songs on the album, it wasn’t an intentional thing but hopefully it might open us up to a few more ears.

As you said, you’ve just finished touring have you anymore planned?

I think we have a few and a couple of little festival dates the bulldog bash. We will be doing more dates but invariably I am the last one to know. We’re going back over to Japan in October because the record is coming out over there. We have a few things in the pipeline for September for some supports, hopefully they will come off. But I’m really using this time to write new stuff; I have my own little studio set up at home which I actually take on the road with me too. We don’t want to rest our laurels and then come to realise we have one month before the next record is due out with no material. Already we have half an album of stuff that blows the first one out of the water. We all get bored sitting around, it is nice to have a couple of days off but after a time you just want to go up a bell tower and start shooting people cause of boredom. It’s nice to have some form of a creative outlook on a daily basis.

I guess that keeps things fresher when you play them live too.

Absolutely, I sometimes think if I have to play Left of centre one more time I’m going to shoot someone. I guess I ought to get on with it and stop whingeing. We’ve only just appeared on so many people radars but we have been playing some of these songs for 2 years. Some of them I wrote even before that. Our enthusiasm to play some new stuff is really raging at the moment.

What was the first album you ever brought?

It was a cassette tape of a rock compilation called rock city nights. It just featured a plethora of shit really! Boston & Bon Jovi and stuff like that. I was only 6 or something so I think I can be forgiven. The first proper album I bought was Appetite for Destruction I must have been 10 or 11 when I bought that and until then I played drums because my dad was a drummer and we always had drums around the house. When I bought that album it really made a light bulb go off in my head it was a total wake up call.

Would you ever like to play the drums again?

Well I still play a bit when J goes out the room for a smoke of something I will jump on his kit and have a play but it’s more for therapy than anything else. I do have a good sense of timing and stuff being a musician you really do need one! But I know where my strengths lie and they’re not behind a drum kit.

As a band you’ve got a good image thing going on, have you got a ‘style icon’?

Ha I thought you were going to ask me if we had a stylist! The answer to that would have been a big no! I have always respected a lot of people’s style including Bowie, he’s such a chameleon and he can twist and turn and reinvent himself. Lots of people do try and do that but inevitably they end up looking like wankers whereas he gets it right every time. On a personal level I guess Scott Weiland.

If you hadn’t got stuck into The Ga Ga’s what would you be doing?

I would be doing the exact same thing just under a different name. I mean music is my oxygen; it’s my entire basis for my existence. So I can’t imagine doing anything that didn’t involve being creative in a musical context. I’d probably be in a ditch somewhere with a needle in my arm if I didn’t have music.

Which song off the album sums up your mood today?

Pressure is the one that’s flowing around in my head at the moment, not only with the whole thing that’s going on in London but just also feeling the heat of wanting to write new material and we have lots of things in the pipeline that obviously don’t know if they’re going to come off or not.

Music is an obvious strength of yours, what aren’t you so good at?

There are so many things I’m not so good at! I’ve never been any good with numbers. I think in numerically dyslexic, I am a complete retard when it comes to adding anything up. That’s no good because it does help if you can count when you’re a musician. When I was a kid a had a couple of proper music lessons to learn to read sheet music and that was never my bag, I would always get a song down and then my teacher would twig that I was doing it all by ear. I think that’s quite an organic way of making music dots make no sense to me! I have got friends who always write and play music off the dots but it just doesn’t tickle my fancy.

What song do you want playing at your funeral?

Well it would have to be something either hilarious or totally heart wrenching, and today I think I’m going to go for Amelia by Joni Mitchell. Just to play on the old heart strings.

How do you unwind after a tour?

When we come off tour I don’t go out all that much to be honest. I went to see Nine Inch Nails the other night and Audio slave just before that. I just enjoy hanging out at home and having a joint and contemplating life the universe and everything. Writing music is such a cathartic thing for me, I love it.


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