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PINEAPPLE THIEF

 
THE PINEAPPLE THIEF "Fruit of the Gods"
 
Interview by Dark Starr
 
The Pineapple Thief have built up quite a devoted following for themselves.  Their progressive rock sound is solidly rooted in a more mainstream approach. It has served them well in terms of appealing to a wide range of music fans. This interview is the first one ever to feature all members of the band at once.
 
WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Can you catch the readers up on the history of the group and your involvement in music?
 
BRUCE SOORD: I started this whole thing as a long studio project back in 1999. It rumbled on slowly until all of a sudden, we had a fan base. Prior to this, I spent my time in a band called Vulgar Unicorn with an old school friend. We never gigged even though we did sell a few records (and I wasn't the creative force, either). I just played guitar and wrote a few riffs. That was the reason I decided to do TPT, to be honest. By 2004, we had some nice gig offers so I called the guys and we formed the band as it is today.
 
STEVE KITCH: I initially met Bruce after being called up by the local studio wanting to borrow my sampler for a group currently recording. Turned out to be Bruce and Vulgar Unicorn. I remember attempting to record Bruce's early demos in my parent's house. I joined the band in 2005 when replacing my now next door neighbor Matt O'Leary.
 
KEITH HARRISON: I joined the band through Wayne Higgins, who was playing rhythm guitar for them in 2004. He and Bruce had known each other for years and had tried out another drummer for TPT that hadn't worked out. Wayne called me and asked if I was interested so I went along for the audition and the rest is history.
 
JON SYKES: Bruce and I played together in bands together for a few years in the nineties and have been close friends ever since. TPT needed a bass player and I wanted to play some rock.
 
WC: Where does the name The Pineapple Thief come from? Is there some significance to it?
 
BS: No, not really. Apart from the fact that there is supposed to be no significance. I wanted a name that gave nothing away. I'm not sure what image it gives but I hope it's not too literal! The name came from a US indie film called "Eve's Bayou"...there was a scene where a little girl steals a pineapple. Inspired!
 
WC: If you weren't involved in music, what do you think you'd be doing?
 
BS: Astronaut? Professional football player? Professional drinker? I think I'd probably be in some dead end job somewhere moaning about stuff and listening to other people moaning about stuff on Spotify. Like ke.
 
SK: I can't imagine not ever being involved in music. It's an alien concept, really. It's been such a large part of my life ever since I can remember.
 
KH: Like Steve, I can't really conceive of not playing music. I guess I'd be working for a living...
 
JS: I'd probably like to make things that go into space.
 
WC: How would you describe the sound of The Pineapple Thief?
BS: Always a tricky one, this. It's rock. We don't conform to pop boundaries and you need to listen to it multiple times to get the maximum from it. I remember a fan in Poland telling me "it feels like you're speaking to me". That was a great compliment.
 
KH: This may sound sycophantic or self-indulgent but I would be a fan of TPT if I wasn't in the band. There is something deeply emotive about the songs that seems to reach a lot of people. Ultimately, it's a rock band but the songs are borne out of personal experiences that touch all of us at some time: grief, joy, love, loss, regret, and so on. I think the TPT sound captures those emotions and connects with a lot of people's most personal life experiences.
 
JS: Yes, Keith, that does sound both sycophantic and self-indulgent. They are hopefully intelligent rock songs that are supposed to be musically and lyrically interesting. But then, why would anybody try to write anything that wasn't?
 
WC: Who would you see as your musical influences...both individually and as a group?
 
BS: As a songwriter, I was influenced a lot by 70's stuff. More recently, bands like Deus, Beck, Katatonia, Long Pigs, Biffy Clyro...actually, all kinds of stuff. We went through my CD collection with a guy from the label the other day and I was pulling out all kinds of  old CDs from Del Amitri through to Supertramp through to The Deftones.
 
SK: Growing up as a child in the 80's, I listened to a lot of rubbish but for me it still remains a magical period in music history. Being the keyboard player, I am more stereotypically into electronic and dance based music.
 
KH: I have a pretty eclectic taste in music but as a drummer I've been influenced by loads of people. My main influences are probably Buddy Rich, Stewart Copeland, Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cobham and too many more to name them all. More recently, I've been massively inspired by Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree and saw him give a clinic a few weeks ago which was just phenomenal.
 
JS: I like simple but rhythmic and melodic players. People like Sting and Paul McCartney don't get enough credit...as bass players.
 
WC: What's ahead for you?
 
BS: The new album is the big thing we're focusing on...after that, we've got a few dates in the summer (UK, US and Germany) followed by a full European tour in the autumn (full details on our website).
 
WC: Are there musicians with whom you'd like to play in the future?
 
BS: To be honest, no. I've got enough on my plate playing with these guys to think about anything else!
 
SK: Frankly, I would be too embarrassed to play with anyone with real talent!
 
KH: I love meeting other bands and like to get to know drummers so we can be anoraks and exchange ideas and tips, although anyone who doesn't play drums wouldn't understand!
 
WC: Do you think illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians? It's been said by the major labels that it's essentially the heart of all the problems they are having with lower sales...would you agree?
 
BS: Personally, I think it can help us as more people get to listen to our stuff, the kind of people who wouldn't shell out 10 bucks on a physical CD. But the major thing is that it doesn't help the labels or retailers. And we need them to survive. KScope seems to be doing OK as they are thinking smarter, getting special editions out there that make the fans feel like they are part of something. If I am a fan of a band, just having an MP3 file on a digital player leaves me feeling a bit cold. Call me old-fashioned...
 
SK: I would never condone illegal downloading but as a band attempting to move up the ladder, it has its advantages. If a fan downloads your album but then goes on to attend a gig, buys the T-shirt and then goes on to buy the back catalogue, then we stand to gain a lot more.
WC: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and then trading them?
 
BS: I hate it, purely because I like to control what goes out there! I had a look on YouTube the other day and was extremely disturbed to see a lot of dire content out there with out name on it. I had to shut it down and cry myself to sleep!
 
WC: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch-nemesis and why?
 
BS: Hmmmm, if I was a super being like The Tick? Probably Rufus Wainwright. My wife adores him. We'd have to fight to the death for her love...
 
KH: I'd have to annihilate any prepubescent, production line boy band types, so probably someone like Justin Bieber.
 
WC: If you were to put together your ultimate band, who would be in it and why?
 
BS: Chris Squire from Yes on bass because he gets the most amazing sound with his 4001 and he's still rockin' at God knows how old. Justin Curry from Del Amitri on vocals because I simply love the sound of his voice. Anna from Anekdoten on keys because she promised us she'd show us her mellotrons (and I love mellotrons). Danny from Supergrass on drums because nobody can pull a drum face like he does and Simon Neil from Biffy on guitar because he knows how to rock it.
 
KH: Jaco Pastorius on bass, Kerry Minnear on keyboards, Buddy Rich on drums and anyone other than Bruce Soord on guitar!
 
WC: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view, who would be playing:
 
BS: Blimey.....Deus, Biffy Clyro, Deftones, Katatonia and...Supertramp (original line-up, mind).
 
SK: I would pick us to headline. Saturday night in front of 150,000. It's probably the only way it's going to happen.
 
KH:  This year's 40th anniversary Glastonbury line-up would be pretty close for me.
 
WC: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
 
BS: Last CD I bought was "Night Is The New Day" by Katatonia. Recently we've been listening to cheesy synth pop stuff from the 80's like Axel F, Bros and Falco. Seriously, ask Steve.
 
SK: I actually can't remember the last time I bought a CD. I used to buy loads but have now embraced the digital age. I like the fact that any song in my collection or indeed the world can be played or streamed anywhere. The downside is that I rarely get into an album properly these days. There is always something new to hear...
 
JS: I haven't bought one for a while. Last one was probably "Taste The Secret" by Ugly Duckling. It has a great song about going down to Rio which I am saving up to play repeatedly whenever it happens that we get to go there (which frankly is long overdue. Somebody have a word with the manager.).
 
WC: What was the last concert you saw for your enjoyment?
 
BS: Biffy Clyro, last night in Bristol. God, I sound like a Biffy nut!
 
SK: Ditto. Bruce got drunk and I had to drive home.
 
KH: I went to see Cliff Richard in 1986 at the Bath & West Showground...a top night's entertainment.
 
JS: I couldn't possibly admit to the last one, but rumor has it that bass god Steve Swallow might be playing locally this summer. If that happens, I will be there.
WC: Do you have a musical "guilty pleasure"?
 
BS: "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" by the Alan Parsons Project. It was the first proper album I ever got into as a boy. But Alan isn't exactly hip so I don't normally tell anyone...
 
SK: I like to go back and relive all the naff songs from the 80's. The drunker I get, the worse my musical taste becomes.
 
KH: Three Simply Red albums on cassette. I used to play them in the first car I ever owned to impress the girls...didn't work.
 
JS: I like big band swing and have been known to actively participate.
 
WC: What's been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
 
BS: Turning up to the airport after a gig in Poland only to find it was shut. After ranting at an armed guard for 20 minutes, we realized we got our 24 hour clock muddled up and turned up 12 hours late. We had to go back to our hotel and drink vodka to pass the time before shelling out a fortune on flights the following day.
 
SK: Before we had a manager, we ended up doing some pretty stupid things. Playing in a band and maintaining some common sense is pretty hard work...just ask Keith.
 
KH: What can I say? Guilty as charged. It was all my fault.
 
JS: I once arrived for a gig at the right street address in the wrong city. Even Keith probably wouldn't do that.  
 
WC: Any closing thoughts you'd like to get out there?
 
BS: Keep loving music but try to buy the ones you love. And remember your 24 hour clock!
 
SK: No matter how big we get, you can always buy us a pint.