I understand you're in Los Angeles at the moment.
Simon Steadman: We are, yeah.
Are you living there now?
Simon: I live here; the rest of the guys live in England.
Why the move?
Simon: I came out here to get a record deal and this is where we're based now. It just seemed logical for me to be here, meeting people and what not.
Does that make it difficult in regards to keeping the band a cohesive unit?
Simon: No. Actually, far from it. The world's such a small place now with the Internet that we can keep in contact via e-mail. I send the band new songs, and they send me back parts for the songs. When I do a demo it works out just like we lived next door. In fact, I probably see these people more than I would if I lived near them.
Russell Field: Bear in mind that we did just spend two months out here, and we're here for another two-and-a-half months. So, it's been almost half-a-year here.
That oughta be good for your frequent flyer miles.
Getting down to business, it's kind of hard not to miss the Paul McCartney plug on the inside of your new EP.
Simon: I know. That was pretty good, wasn't it? [Laughs]
Definitely. How does one go about getting props from one of the greatest living musicians?
Simon: [In a serious tone] A huge amount of money.
[Laughs] "Will you take a personal check, Sir McCartney?"
Simon: What happened was a friend of our in Hastings knows Paul McCartney, so we gave him a CD and he said he'd give it to Paul. And, you know, Paul McCartney probably gets 300 CDs through his door a day and gets hassled all the time to listen to stuff, so we didn't expect anything from it. Then we heard through the grapevine that he really liked it and wanted to come to one of our shows in our hometown. We were like, "Yeah, sure he's coming. Whatever." So as I was about to step onstage at that show I got a tap on the shoulder, and it was him. He said, "Hi, I'm Paul." And I said, "Yeah... duh!"
This was before you went on?
Simon: Yeah, just before. And the funny was is that he didn't have an air of someone who's really important about him. He was just very cool, easy going, and didn't have loads of security guards around him. During the show he was standing at the front, nodding his head, tapping his foot and singing along to a couple of songs, acting like it was no big deal.
Was he bobbing his head in that trademark Paul McCartney style?
Simon: Yeah, actually. And he screamed "whoo!" [Laughs] At the end of the show I went to the dressing room and he was up there. He said, "Fantastic show! I've got a great harmony part for you on 'No Big Deal.' Go and get your guitar." So, obviously, I went and got my guitar and the next thing I know I'm sitting there singing "No Big Deal" with Paul McCartney, trying to work a harmony out!
Did that make you nervous at all?
Simon: Well, the thing about it is, that kind of event does not sink in until a couple of weeks afterwards, when suddenly you realize then what you've actually done. There was no pretense about him. He was just such a regular down to earth guy, so it didn't make me feel nervous at all. Our dressing room was in the upstairs bar and he was up there behind the bar stealing drinks and stuff. [Laughs] It was just very funny.
Russell: He brought along his guitar tech of 20-some-odd years, and that was it... no one else. It was brilliant.
What an amazing experience!
Simon: It really was.
McCartney's enthusiasm aside, what has the reaction been to the new EP? As well, you also have a full-length coming out in August -- what are your aspirations for that?
Simon: Obviously, I'm at liberty to say this, but the reaction has been absolutely fantastic! [Laughs] It has, though. Better than we could imagine, really. The Paul McCartney thing has helped an awful lot, but you know... it's been great.
Russell: We've been doing residencies in Los Angeles. We did a residency at the Viper Room, but we also did some other gigs in San Francisco and San Diego, and also played The Troubadour. We also played up and down New York on the East Coast a couple of months ago, and we'll be heading back there soon.