'Roses reunion is money-making genius'
Gary Fitzpatrick • Published 15 Jun 2012 09:30
CHRIS Helme was plucked from obscurity when he was busking in the streets of his home town York and successfully joined up with The Seahorses set up by John Squire when he left the Stone Roses.
They had a clutch of hits such as 'Love is the Law', 'Blinded by the Sun' and 'Love Me and Leave Me' before singer Chris and the band's founder clashed leading to an acrimonious split.
Today as Squire basks in the adulation of the Roses reunion, Chris too is very much enjoying doing his own thing.
He recently released a well-received new album 'The Rookery' recently and travels up and down the country by train playing solo gigs.
He comes to Dunfermline's PJ Molloys tonight and has been speaking to the Press ahead of the gig.
"Travelling by train is great. You don't get road rage, you can get from York to Glasgow for a tenner and people talk to you, telling you their life story.
"They come and ask what's in my case. I just say it's a gun. It's just nice to hear stories really."
When Chris came up to Dunfermline a couple of Christmases ago, he had to overcome the worst of the winter weather but still got here in time - just.
"In Dunfermline to support Shed Seven the journey was a nightmare. The weather was atrocious. If we'd have came in a car we wouldn't have got there at all.
"We got up in Dunfermline and we were sliding about outside the gig with all our gear. We got inside and had to go right on stage. We didn't have time for a drink, a s*** or anything so it was a bit mental.
"I did about twenty dates with Shed Seven again last Christmas and we played the Barrowlands. When I was in The Seahorses the Barrowlands was the best gig I've ever done in my life but I think going back as support as Shed Seven topped even that.
"Nobody knew I was playing. Everybody was thinking 'Who's that bloke playing The Seahorses songs and he looks a bit like the singer -oh f*** it's him'.
"Then they started singing along and it was great. I wasn't expecting it at all but the tour continued like that and it gave me a big boost. At the Barrowlands I was quite scared because I'd built it up as my best ever.
"I was nervous because it could've gone either way but it went really, really well and I was buzzing after that.
"I love playing in Scotland. I've even toyed with moving to Scotland. I just think it's a great place for musicians to exist.
"If I win the lottery tonight it will happen soon. I like Dunfermline and Fife and I'm not just saying that. I used to read a lot of Iain Banks books and he's from Fife isn't he? I was listening to him on Desert Island Discs and he sounded like a really interested guy. He's someone I've always wanted to meet."
On the Stone Roses reunion, Chris said, "I think it's great. I think it's the band John should be in, I was in The Seahorses with him and it was good fun but I do think it was more of a reaction to him leaving the Stone Roses.
"I think it's amazing they've done so well. They've had a lot of s*** to sort out and they've done it. They've let bygones be bygones.
"They've been very clever and it would be great if it came to light that this was an experiment to see how little a band can do to make the most money. I think the Stone Roses have achieved that.
"They don't do anything for years then they re-form and in three minutes they sell £12 million worth of tickets. That's genius. Imagine sitting down in a pub and planning that on a beer mat.
"I've not spoken to John since our band split up. I'd stopped bending to his will and he didn't like that.
"I'm my own person, he's his own person and towards the end we just clashed. I did as I was told for three years and then I started to question a few things.
"Only little things and I still don't think I was out of order but off he went and the band split up. I think we'd burnt ourselves out really.
"At the start it was weird. One minute I was outside Woolies wondering whether or not I should get a proper job then I got spotted by a friend of John's and the next thing I knew I was being put under the microscope.
"It was a bit like the X Factor today. I thought at any minute I would be told to pack my bags and go home."
Chris has no regrets about his time with The Seahorses or the split. "It's a really hard thing to pretend to be somebody you're not and keep it up. You'd go mad. You wouldn't know who you are in the end.
"But I loved all the success we had. It was a great experience and you got to play with all sorts of amazing people. We toured with the Rolling Stones, U2, Oasis."
*Chris Helme plays PJ Molloys tonight.