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Razorcuts - Interview with Gregory Webster Part 2

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 11 / 6 / 2003

Razorcuts - Interview with Gregory Webster Part 2


in the second part of our interview with the influential C86 band the Razorcuts, frontman Gregory Webster talks to Anthony Strutt about the group's eventual break-up, and why he has never been tempted to reform it

PB: The lifespan of the Razorcuts was five years on record. Did you think that was the perfect lifespan for the band because Madchester came just afterwards? GW : I'm not sure about whether the length was perfect or not. I think it was a good time for us to wind it up though because Tim and I were slightly divorced in what were going to do next. It would be fair to say that with the second album we had our moments. PB: How many albums did you do? GW : We did two albums at the time, 'Storyteller' and 'The World Keeps On Turning', both of which came out on Creation. 'Storyteller' was written as an LP. We actually slotted songs in it to make it an LP. We started with a template for an LP and actually wrote songs to make what we thought would make a good LP. We didn't do that with the second LP. We just had a bunch of songs and we recorded them and put them on a disc. I think it suffered as a result as it wasn't as cohesive as the first record was, and we had started to move away from the original template which had really worked well. There was a very distinctive Razorcuts sound., which is the sound that everybody loves now even after all these years. People still dig that sound. We tried to do things a little differently and I don't think we should of been doing that. We were good at what we did and I guess that was the issue. We never claimed, right from day one, to be able to play our instruments properly. We were genuine people who liked what we thought was incredibly good music and wanted to replicate it , taking it down to the lowest common denominator because we didn't have the musicianship to be able to do anything else. That's what we did and, as soon as we started moving into different areas and doing things that were a little different or more complex I think our lack of musicianship showed. Even now I wouldn't call myself a musician. I am not a musician. I'm someone... PB: You are someone who plays music. GW: It sounds awful, but I think of myself as an artist , and not a musician. PB: The reason why we are doing this interview is because 'R is for Razorcuts' is still a best seller here at Pennyblackmusic. Are you surprised that the C-86 scene is more trendy or influential then it was at the time ? If you visit and look at stuff from that period, it's all going for silly money. GW : I think that that gives you a distorted image because there wasn't many pressed so it's not, therefore, like trying to get an old R.E.M. record. They go for a lot of money because there weren't many pressed. It's very, very rewarding though and going along and seeing, and meeting bands around now, like the Aislers Set, who know how to use 12 string guitars really well and how to create the best effects in the world. I find it really rewarding. They know music. It's in their bones and it's great to see someone around now doing that stuff. They probably haven't even heard of Razorcuts, but it's great to see that. It is fantastic. PB: Would you and Tim consider getting back together Tim for even a one off concert? Just as a trip down memory lane rather then carrying on? GW: Well, we always said we wouldn't get back together unless we were writing or recording new material because otherwise it would be just a mistake. It is an issue that has come up occasionally over the years. I can't really talk for Tim, but I'm sure that we would both agree that the most important thing was the context and the time and the whole situation. To take that out of it, and to have a bunch of- let's face it - 40 year old guys on stage no doubt playing songs that people want to hear, just, however, doesn't do it for me. It is best left alone. The audience and the context are so important. PB: And also the audience has grown up now so... GW: Yeah, I think it's better that we don't because there is a lot of cherished memories out there with the Razorcuts and I don't want to mess with them. One of the reasons why Primal Scream have been a bit cheeky is that they have kept the same name but have branded all these different styles. I never thought that was appropriate. I have always felt if you going to do something different you shouldn't drag along with you a bunch of people who like just one of style of music with you, because they might not like it. They won't appreciate it. I have always felt it's better to move on and put a new thing together which, while it isn't good for record sales, is good for what you do. It gives people the option to say "I like the Razorcuts" and "I like what he is doing now" In answer to your question. No, we won't do it. Concept is so important. I would like people to remember the Razorcuts as they were. I mean it's not like I'm not going to play those songs again just because I'm doing solo records at the moment. I do play some songs, but that is different. That's just a guy with a guitar. It's kind of a different thing. PB: So why did the Razorcuts finish and why did you call it a day in 1991? GW: Because we both saw the end was coming. We both had this real shared vision with the stuff we actually recorded and... PB: Did you feel that you didn't want to carry on maybe having someone else with you ? GW: We wouldn't do that. We had quite a change able line-up throughout the 5 years, but it was always me and Tim that wrote the songs and defined the sound as it were. I wouldn't put out anything under the name of the Razorcuts without him. That would be awful. If there was another live performance or records, it would be me and Tim. No doubt about that ! I wouldn't do anything without his permission. Putting together the retrospective has been great. We have reminisced about so many good times and looked at all the memorabilia from the time. We didn't do anything for it without the approval of the other. I'll give you an example. I wanted ‘Snowbirds Don’t Fly', which is a song from our second single to be on the LP, because it is one of the songs that the kids really liked. We were talking about the differences between us and Primal Scream. That is, however, a very good example of the similarities between us and Primal Scream as the kids loved it. I really wanted it to be on it. We mixed it originally with Richard Preston who then went off to work off with the Go-Betweens. He couldn’t, therefore, come back to remix it and the vocal on that first version was terrible because I can’t sing and we didn’t spend enough time getting it into tune. We went back in remixed ourselves and the mix isn’t great, so Tim, acknowledging it isn’t great, refused to have it on it It’s like it’s a democracy between the two of us. We wouldn’t impose anything on each other. We suggest things and we came to an agreement. No I wouldn’t do anything to plss off Tim. PB: Last question. The bands you have been in since the Razorcuts have included the Carousel, Saturn 5 and Sportique GW : Carousel was me and Elizabeth (Price) who was my girlfriend at the time. She left Talulah Gosh to form the Carousel.I hope the kids that are buying 'R is for Razorcuts' actually spend some time and check out the Carousel. Some of my favourite records that I have ever made are Carousel records. I think ‘Sorrow Is The Way To Love’ is one of my favourite songs ever. The fact that I have recorded it is fucking brilliant. Liz had a vision there of what she wanted. It was like an amalgamation of girl group and catholic imagery and medieval imagination. It was astonishing and you should hear the sound that she got. I absolutely love those records. They are fantastic records. I think Sportique are okay too… PB: Amelia Fletcher (who fronts Sportique and was formerly in Talulah Gosh-Ed) says that you are all her puppets ! GW: (Laughs) It that right. Yeah, we are. She writes all the songs. Out of all the bands that I have been in, the Carousel was the most gratifying because that sound came out of nowhere and it worked so well. I wish we were still making records now. To be honest I would be much happier making a new Carousel record than a new Razorcuts records because no one has done that before or since. The Razorcuts and Sportique have been like an extended journey because the Razorcuts didn’t really have a plan. We just sort of happened and became really important and it was all because of this accidental fusion. Chemically it worked as well. Once the Razorcuts split up I formed Saturn 5 and that was me trying to react to contemporary themes and styles. I never do that really well. I’m good at going back and into the back catalogue and finding something and saying "Let’s play with that" At trying something contemporary, however, I have never been any good at it, and obviously never will be so that didn’t work out as well as other things I have done since. I think perversely Sportique have been really strong because we laid out our ground openly. We don’t ever lift tunes or songs, but we are happy to admit that we rip off a style of music and maybe put it into a different concept. That is the big link between the Razorcuts and Sportique. With the Razorcuts we did it by accident. With Sportique we are doing it by design. We know we are old now, so we have all those records. We are older and maybe wiser. PB : Thank you

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Razorcuts - Interview with Gregory Webster Part 2

Razorcuts - Interview with Gregory Webster Part 2

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Interview with Gregory Webster Part 1 (2003)
Razorcuts - Interview with Gregory Webster Part 1
One of the biggest bands of the C86 era, the Razorcuts were inspired by both the Byrds and the Buzzcocks, and were one of the early signings to Creation Records. In the first part of a two part interview, frontman Gregory Webster chats to Anthony Strutt

digital downloads


A is for Alphabet EP (2003)
Excellent 5 track EP of beautifully remastered material from the classic late 80's indiepop group the Razorcuts
R is for...Razorcuts (2002)

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