After three top 10 albums and more than 15 years on the road, Britpop legends The Bluetones split in 2011…only to reform for a tour four years ago. Now they’re doing it again – despite having yet to record any new material.
“The band is our train set and we can pick it up and play with it any time we want,” explains frontman Mark Morriss, who life these days revolves a little more around being a dad as much as it does adhering to a busy schedule of gigging commitments. But he’s loving it as much as the band’s ‘90s heyday.
“I’ve just had a lovely birthday – I was actually up doing a solo show in Derby and was touched that people remembered it, and I received three cakes,” he says. That latest solo venture is Look Up, the singer’s fourth set of melody-infused recordings.
“I’m really pleased with the new album – it’s eventually arrived after a wait, but it was fun to make that one and it has been well received so far.
“We were in Margate for the video of Holiday of A Lifetime and I knew the guys who did that for me pretty well – we shot it in about seven hours and it was a case of guerilla film making, which is a style that I quite like with my music,” says Mark of the album, which gained a crowdfunding release, before emerging this autumn on multiple formats through independent label Reckless Yes.
For Mark, now 47, seeing it gain a full release was the most important thing, rather than any concerns over it making mainstream charts and he’s pleased to be returning to life on the road with The Bluetones, at least for a while.
“I think I’m at a point where I have a good balance between my family life and work,” he sys. “It’s always a pleasure to pick up with The Bluetones, as well as playing in another band.”
He is also part of actor and comedian Matt Berry’s group, The Maypoles, as well as teaming up with David Walliams to record music for audiobook versions of the comic’s award-winning children’s stories.
Life is very different from the days when The Bluetones emerged from Hounslow to grace the charts with songs like Slight Return, Bluetonic, Are You Blue Or Are You Blind?, Cut Some ug and Marblehead Johnson.
“We’re living in a Simon Cowell world at the moment and it’s going to take a little time for that to change,” sighs Mark. “But there’s definitely some really good music being made out there, but it’s largely under the radar, which I think is actually quite cool.”
As for the band’s upcoming tour, he says he’s not overly nostalgic, while admitting it’s the reason The Bluetones can still draw a crowd.
“It does feel like literally half a lifetime ago that we started out, but those early songs do still mean a lot to us,” he says. “I think they’ve lasted well and people still want us to play them, so we’ll be playing the whole of our Science and Nature album, as well as a greatest hits as well.
“So it’s going to be good to be playing some songs we haven’t done in a long while.”
The Bluetones will play at the Boileroom, Guildford, on Thursday 21 November.