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Miss Black America - Interview

  by Helen Tipping

published: 24 / 5 / 2006

Miss Black America - Interview


Miss Black America seemed destined for greatness back in 2002 with their first album 'God Bless Miss Black America'. Helen Tipping talks to them about the problems that felled them after that,new album 'Terminal' and why they continue to be uncompromising

Back in 2002, with the release of their first album 'God Bless Miss Black America', it looked as though Miss Black America were destined for greatness and were about to be on the receiving end of the kind of music press hype that has since launched the Arctic Monkeys to stardom. And then everything went quiet. A change of line-up ensued, and in 2003 the band began touring again. Several changes of line-up later and, after a break to write the new material, they have released a new album, 'Terminal', and have been touring extensively to promote it. Four years on from a first interview with the band, Pennyblackmusic met up with them again in Leeds where we found them looking forward to making the music they wanted to make regardless of a seeming lack of interest amongst the mainstream music press and committed not to giving into the vagaries of fashion. The current line up is Seymour Glass (vocals/guitar); Mathew Anthony (guitar); Laura Kidd (bass/ vocals) and Dan Smart (drums). PB : Last time Pennyblackmusic ran an interview with you it was in 2002. At that time your name was appearing everywhere and you were getting played on John Peel and then it all went a bit quiet. Can you tell me about what happened ? SG : Everyone left except for me, and we weren’t playing anymore and really nothing was happening. We had some tours left to do, but there was no money left to pay for press releases or anything like that and it got a bit aimless. I spent a long time trying to get the line up right. It went a bit astray. Basically we had a long dark year of the soul in which I had to get used to writing on my own, because at the end of 2002 Mike Smith, the original bass player left, and me and him co-wrote all the songs. I’d never written songs on my own before. Not properly. Not songs that I would be proud of, but it came easily. I was quite surprised. It took a long time to get them out, but in the end they became the second album, 'Terminus', so it was worth it in the end. Things have gone a bit quiet, since the NME has decided that we’re not cool so they won’t write about us. I guess there’s quite a bit of snobbery towards the band from the music press, but you can't do things to please the music press so we don't bother. PB: Laura's recently joined as bass player. Has that helped to bring things together? SG: It's quite nice because we were at school together, although I've been asked to point out, by her, that I'm older than her. We were in a band at school called Billion Dollar Brain and I actually asked Laura to be in the band when Mike left, but I misunderstood her. LK : He called me and said "Do you want to join my band and do a tour of Holland ?", so I said, "Yes, send me a CD" and he took that as me saying "No fuck off." I obviously remember the conversation differently, but I definitely remember saying that I'd speak to you in a few days when you'd sent the CD and you said "Yeah great I'll send it tomorrow" and it never came. PB : It's worked out alright in the end though. LK : Oh yes, I'm not bitter or anything! (Laughs). I just wanted to go to Holland and play some gigs. PB : So do you see the band achieving more stability now with the new line-up? SG : I'd never dream of saying that things would turn out okay. In my experience they don't. LK : It's hard to say because we've got different projects as well. I'm a solo artiste and have been for ages, so I haven't played in someone else's band for a long, long time. SG : We started playing together because Laura asked us to play guitar for her in her band but she ended up playing bass with me so it's a nice little trade really. But it's kind of cool because it's a bit easier to get on with someone who you've got a long history with. We've known each other for about 10 years now, which is a ridiculously long time. Since I pulled a face at you through the window. Laura was doing work experience at the bus station. She was in lower school and I was in sixth form, and I thought she was too cool to be working in a bus station so I pulled a face at her through the window and she pulled a face back. LK : It was the most dreary two weeks of my life. SG : I had a cool work experience. I did theatre and I got to work in a music shop, but at least that's cooler than working in a bus station. PB : In the past you've played a number of anti-fascist benefits, and earlier tonight you were wearing a Love Music Hate Racism t-shirt. Are you still involved with Love Music Hate Racism? LK : Funnily enough, yesterday we were both stewards at the Love Music Hate Racism rally in Trafalgar Square. SG: It was pretty cool. It was a good day, but Pete Doherty got arrested again so Babyshambles couldn't play and there were some atrocious, boring scenester indie bands on the bill who were on because they were friends of Babyshambles. I'm trying to work out who's worse, EMO kids or fashionistas. I dont know who's more annoying, stupid and rubbish. In fact I just think everyone's annoying stupid and rubbish. Recently I've realised that I just hate everyone. I used to try and convince myself that everyone was alright really, but now I've realised I'm wrong. I think the next Miss Black America album might be a bit like Alf Garnett sings the blues. It'll be the kind of thing where I'm ranting about all the things I really hate. LK : It's kind of coming to a head. It's not so much that every single person in the world is shit. It's just that the things that they blindly stumble into are shit. SG : There's absolutely nothing fresh and exciting happening at the moment. PB : I was going to ask you about that, because the last interview you did with Pennyblack was four years ago now, and you said then that the music scene was showing quite good signs... SG: Well it was. At least I think it was. At the time there weren't any rules. It was just at that point where people were getting bored of that whole Travis, Stereophonics trad rock scene and also getting bored of the DJ culture. At the time there were no great pop stars, no great rock stars, nothing was happening. And then the Strokes came along, then the Libertines and the 80s' B-Line Matchbox Disaster, and we were all thrown into it together and there were no apparent rules, but very quickly, as is the case with all these things, rules were established. It was decided who was cool and who wasn't and since then it's just become more and more generic on every front. LK : It was like a little pantomime, wasn't it ? I mean take the Babyshambles fiasco. SG : All the promise that Pete showed. He always seemed to be the slightly more idiotic one in the Libertines, but when 'Up the Bracket', their first album came out it was a fantastic pop record and there was a lot of excitement around at the time. It just felt that you were finally allowed to be British and in a rock band and be jumping around again. Not that we ever needed permission, but you knew there'd be someone willing to write about it, someone ready to chronicle it. The job of a rock journalist as far as I'm concerned, in the traditional Lester Bands/ Nick Kent sense is to put everything into context because rock and roll at its best reflects what's going on in the world and how people feel. And you can look back at great records of the time and see where they're coming from and you need rock journalists to responsibly do that, to responsibly give something context so you can see the full power and full value of records and bands. At the moment there's so much New Labourite spin attached to music, everything's spun and spun and spun and then you end with the Kooks, who I think are bollocks. LK : They're clearly selective about the bands they cover. That's the problem, so there's bands like Miss Black America. I'd like to mention my band again. Ha Ha. PB : What's your band called? LK: My band's called She Makes War. But there's other bands, like our friends' band Djevara and other bands like that no one's heard of and will probably never get written about in the NME, but none of us want to. We're reflecting the things that we think are important in life. We're not doing it to be cool. We're not doing it to get laid. We're not doing it for money and that's getting completely missed, not being chronicled really, so we're going to start doing it ourselves. PB : The NME does seem to go for what's in fashion, but a lot of people look on the internet, or go to MySpace and look up bands there, so do you feel there's a kind of backlash against magazines? SG : There is definitely some kind of backlash brewing. It's not exactly directionless at the moment, but there's a kind of resentment because when all the Top Shop girls start wearing Ramones t-shirts you feel offended. [Guitarist Mathew Anthony joins the interview] MA : Especially when you have to pay £30 to buy a Motorhead t-shirt. Just thinking about the NME, they're just windowdressers for bands. so they'll take all the people who are wearing skinny jeans and converse shoes and stick them in the same issue, and then when there's a different scene they'll take all those. It just reminds me of the Selfridges shop windows that constantly change when the fashion trends come in. It's just embarassing to watch. Every time I pick that magazine up it's like an American tabloid. SG : The NME & Kerrang are just congratulating people for being unimaginative. They are congratulating people for being as generic as is humanly possible. LK : They are congratulating people for being scenesters. The coolest looking girls in the right clothes are the only female musicians who will get in there. It doesn't matter about anything else but that. There are so many female musicians who don't get any recognition. Carina Round, who is amazingly talented, has made 2 critically acclaimed albums with a third on the way, but people don't go to her gigs because they don't know she exists, but they know who PJ Harvey is. We're only really here for making things look pretty. You don't choose to be a female musician. You are born a girl and you still have the same passion and drive to do music, or art, or whatever. It's just not as acceptable and that's disgusting. SG : There was a point with Bjork, Tori Amos and PJ Harvey back in 1993. They were all at the top of their game. They were all fantastic, but Q Magazine put them all on the cover at the same time, becuase they were female. It was as if they couldn't have a female on the front more than once in a year. They had to put them all on at the same time. And the headline, wasn't it 'Hips, Lips, Tits, Power'? And that was their thing because it was a novelty. But it's not a novelty. The first time I heard Tori Amos I just burst into tears. LK : They are also all singers. It's like you're allowed to sing but you're not allowed to play an instrument, because then you're a bit scary and they can't quite put you in the right box. SG : Girls are judged a lot more harshly. People pay a lot more attention to whether they're playing properly. People are looking and asking if she can do it properly. MA : At the same time people are more lenient as well. For instance I think Meg White is a gash drummer and it's not about her being a girl. I'd think the same if she was a bloke. She can't play in time. But a lot of people say "Oh no, leave her alone. She's great", but they'd never do that if it was a bloke. They'd go "Yeah, he should do better." SG : To be fair though I think ,within the context of the White Stripes, her drumming suits them perfectly. I don't think it really matters, your technical proficiency. It's whether or not what you're doing works within the band. It's really weird how Meg White gets so much flak. MA : Well what about Suzi Quatro ? People say that she's an amazing bass player. Okay, she's very good, just as good as any bloke but they're saying it because she wears skin tight leather trousers. LK : I can see what you're saying there, but that's just a few. You're not a girl so you don't know what it's like when you get it all the time - people checking to see if you can play or not. It's okay if you aren't too attractive. It's okay to be pretty and a singer, but if you're pretty and you play an instrument it's like they're waiting for you to go wrong. PB : So you find that they're concentrating more on how you look all the time? SG : Well actually the emphasis on appearance, male or female, is immense but the general attitude of the media in general towards women is so... outrageous. LK : You say that, but we get ignored generally. When I was in this heavy alternative rock band a few years ago - female bassist, with male singer, guitarist and drummer and you would have thought you'd get the whole "Ooh there's a girl in the band" kind of thing, but peope ignored me and wouldn't speak to me at gigs. And the soundmen-it's an old story-are like, "Oh there you go darling. Do you want me to give you a hand?" SG : When we first formed a band, Laura was going to be the guitarist and I was going to be the bassist, but the only reason we swapped is because I was writing the songs and I've got a really weird guitar style, but there was never any snobbery. LK : Well it's not a novelty because I just happened to be a musician. I didn't do it just to make life difficult for myself. SG : It's not like when we formed the band in sixth form that I sat there thinking, "Hmmm, what shall I do to make an impact? Let's get a girl on bass! Yes!" But I'm sure there are some people that think that I asked Laura to join on bass because she's a girl and it would be cool, it would be some kind of novelty, but if they said that to me I'd probably have a go at them. It was like Ryan (Banwell-Ed)fucked off, so I thought who can I get as a bass player. I know I'll get my friend, but people like to foist their own personal agendas onto me, so what can you do? LK : The worst thing I got on this tour was at the first gig and we got on stage and were playing a really good set, so the first thing I got when we came off stage was from the guys who said I was really great, and I said, "Cheers", then they said. "Yeah you really bring the sex to the band!" And I was like "Yeah, that's all I do. That's all I'm here for. See you later, mate!" I haven't got over that. What a thing to say. SG : I think the whole thing we're trying to do at the moment, particularly with conversations we've been having with bands who feel the same way about us, is to try and do things on our own ground away from other people's agendas, be they sexual and political agendas or musical agendas. Whatever, we're bored of them and they mean fuck all to us so why should we give a toss. MA : There's a lot of that where we come from in Suffolk. A lot of people have grown big chips on their shoulders and they're not afraid to be incredibly rude about bands that are good or are better than their band. Everybody has to have an opinion, and where they do have an opinion it's a strong one but it's always a negative one. Where a band is doing well, the other bands that aren't doing quite so well feel the need to attack them. LK : It's not what music's about. It's about having a sense of community, reflecting the way you live your life, your politics. It's a reaction against life, and if you can't do that in a positive way as in how you do it then it's ridiculous. We're not here to snipe at other people. Okay, we do sometimes on the tour bus. We might criticise, but really we're here to make music, but there is a lot of gossip. SG : We've been quite heartbroken lately when we've found out what people have been saying about us. PB : Do you think there's a lot of jealousy out there? LK : I think if people aren't brave enough to do something themselves they get a bit bitter if someone else does it. The fact that maybe you move away from a town, you start making a career, you start making a bit of money, not that we've got any money - ideally one day - but I just think they get bitter. I wish they wouldn't because there's no need. It's not a judgement on them. SG : Also we're bothering and they can't be arsed, so fuck 'em. The first rule of rock 'n' roll is fuck 'em (Laughs). MA : But we're having a lot of fun, so it doesn't matter. SG : It hurt to begin with, but now we're on tour so we don't care. MA : I like nothing more than playing in front of those people now, because now you know what they're thinking you just rock even harder at 'em, and watch them grimace or smile when they know other people are enjoying it. SG : And Matt's an invincible rock lord so nothing could possibly hurt him. PB : Are there any bands around now that you rate? SG : Our driver's in a band called 'A Horse Called War' which is something approaching apocalypse, just sheer apocalyptic, destructive evil. Dirty scag metal. PB : What about Carina Round whom Laura mentioned earlier? LK : Yes, she's great. We both like her. SG : Djevara, we love We Start Fires, whom we just had a few dates with. dEus are my favourite band in the whole world. They are kind of underrated, but they've got this massive cult following. They are the only band I would travel abroad to see, and I went to see them in Amsterdam a couple of months ago and they were just unbelievable. They were playing a 5000 capacity arena and I felt so happy for them. They can play respectable venues over here, but they're not as big over here. They're a bands' band really. Elbow are on record as saying that they're the only band that they'll all go out as a band to see. LK : Kristin Hersh is another woman that I'd go out to see. She was in Throwing Muses. She's released 15 or 16 albums or something. She's got another solo album coming out. SG : I think you underestimate how many people know Kristin Hersh. People who've heard of Mudhoney and the Pixies have probably heard of Throwing Muses. Laura and I are really into the attitude of the sort of 90's music before Britpop, although it wasn't cool, bands like the Wonder Stuff and Ned's Atomic Dustbin. They weren't glamorous and there was something quite healthy about the independent scene at that time. And also in America before the heroin kicked in, the grunge scene, just the attitude of all those bands not giving a fuck what anyone would think and just going for it. It was very punk in the traditional sense of punk rock values. They weren't worried about being cool or making loads of money, but things went wrong for all those bands in the way that things always do. MA : I like a lot of stuff that Laura and Seymour play, because I don't hear it in my own kind of atmosphere> I tend to go for the more rock stuff. So I like sitting at work. Seymour and I work in the same office, so our collections clash quite nicely. I've been getting into Johnny Cash. The cover he does of Nine Inch Nails' 'Hurt' is stupendous. It's brilliant. SG : That whole album, 'Man Comes Around', is excellent. MA : No one can deny how brilliantly cool he is. He's so above everyone. Personally, being a guitarist, I'm into Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Rainbow. Guns & Roses are obviously a massive influence. I like a lot of things, I only tend to deny things I instantly know are bollocks or are so obviously based on style that you might just as well listen to a pair of shoes! We're not interested in what they look like, or how many crack bags they get through a week. Nine Inch Nails are fantastic as well. I'll listen to some off the wall stuff, I really enjoy Aphex Twin, but there's other stuff on that sort of basis that I don't get on with at all, I like good Drum 'n' Bass, but if it's not good then I despise it. There's a lot of stuff that isn't big or known that NME would never write about that I like. I also love my cheese rock. There's a band we've been listening to in the van called Dream Evil, who are absolutely, brutally funny, but they rock as hard as anything. If I'm feeling crap after a night out and sorry for myself, I'll put that on and it will set me up for the day. SG : I'm trying to work out if they're taking the piss or if they're absolutely serious. PB : Are they like the Darkness? SG : Yes ,a bit, but the Darkness started to see themselves as a piss take which was where they went wrong. Laura would like to distance herself from anything to do with the Darkness part of the conversation. In fact Laura and I are having a long dark year of the soul at the moment because we've found ourselves liking Carina Round more than PJ Harvey, because she's more consistent. PJ Harvey started off and 'Dry' was a masterpiece and then with 'Rid of Me' Steve Albini weed on from a great height. MA : Me & Seymour like to get out the 80s rock hits that you punch the air to. Rainbow, Europe - 'The Final Countdown' is an unquestionable great moment in 80's music. SG : But we've gone off again, what were your questions? PB : Well I'm going to take you onto a more serious subject now. In the last Pennyblackmusic interview you said that you took your name from a character in a JD Salinger story, and you were talking about mental illness and saying that you felt that people who were mentally ill were more sane than people who say that everything's fine in the world. At the time you said to ask how you felt about it in 2 years time, so I thought 4 years on I'd ask you how you feel about it? SG : At the end of 2002 I was an absolute wreck and at the time I did that interview it was probably at a time when no one in the rest of the band was talking to me. We were doing whole tours where no one would speak to me the entire time apart from to ask functional questions. I kind of sat there scribbling madly in my diary and I completely lost the plot. I've had a couple of little times recently. Matt's had to put up with quite a bit, but he's been in the band for three and a half years now and he's seen me in various states. I probably believe now more than I ever did that happiness is impossible, I never used to believe that. It took me a long time to get round to thinking that. Being surrounded by friends in a band that you actually get on with has made a hell of a difference. Back then a lot of people were being snobby. MA : I think they believed the hype that was around. It's very easy to be snobby about a band that's doing really well. SG : When we did 'God Bless Miss Black America', a lot of the first album was about a lot of the things that pissed me off and was quite petulant, quite adolescent sounding in a way. And then everything went horribly wrong and I unravelled quite severely, and quite embarassingly at times. I kind of lost everything, and by the time of 'Terminal' I'd completely changed tack with the way I wrote lyrics and what I was writing lyrics about. My lyrics became a lot more personal to me and I think that's apparent. 'Terminal' is really a massive note to self, trying to convince myself... the way things have gone with lyrics I've found the focus of what I need to write lyrics about. The idea of getting used to living in your own skin, you see when you don't like yourself very much you have to come to terms with the fact that you're stuck in your own body and nothing will change the fact that you are you. No matter how much you scream and rail against the world, you are still living in your own body. I think a lot of it is me, more transparently with each song I write in fact, trying to convince myself that things might actually be alright. That it's okay. I can do things - that I'm not completely rubbish. So I called the album Terminal, I know I've said this a million times in interviews, but it's like an airport terminal rather than death. It's not meant to be anything negative like that. It's the idea of the end of a journey and the beginning of another one, because I wanted to put everything behind me, and plus it's a really cool world. MA : By the time I joined the band it became apparent very quickly that you were sort of cheering up. Obviously there's been a few things here and there with the line-up changes, but the last few years in general building up to what 'Terminal' has ended up as has been the sound of Seymour making some friends and patting himself on the back a bit more. SG : Rather than screaming at an angry sky! This tour has been the nicest tour we've ever done, because I've been surrounded by lovely people. Having Matt is good. We hit it off straight away because we've got the same sense of humour. The first time we played together we were quoting the same stupid comedy shows. I've known Laura a long time, then we lost contact and I'm really happy to be back in contact with her. And Dan is just really coo. Look at him, man, drinking his beer. LK : Me and Dan met through the internet a few years ago. He wanted me to join his band. I did for about a month and then I started writing my own stuff. SG : And then there's our driver Mike who used to be our drummer, so it's just been like a big school trip really. LK : We're all really outsiders in our own lives as well, so we're coming together as misfits, as cheesey as that might sound. SG : Well none of us are very rock 'n' roll. MA : Well I'm quite rock 'n' roll... Actually I think we are very rock 'n' roll, just not in the way that you read about. We might not do all the drugs and trash hotel rooms, or drink a constant bottle of liquor, as the rockers would say, but we're rock 'n' roll in the fact that we get in a van and go and play the songs that we've written to the greatest capacity that we could play them in. That's what rock 'n' roll is supposed to be. There's a little bit of sunglasses and leather jackets, but it's mostly playing. I don't regard myself as a good musician because I have a nice guitar. If I didn't go out and play songs that I thought were worthy of being played at people, playing a damn good set and believing it's as good as you're trying to make it. If you don't do that then you're not rock 'n' roll. [The band agree that they're doing this because they love it] MA : There's a divide out there between stylistic bands and good bands. Why can't you be both? It used to be that way. Led Zeppelin looked brilliant and they were brilliant, they weren't one or the other. But now you get bands that are boring, just dull and plodding. But as long as they wear skinny jeans, play NME high profile gigs and people buy the shoes they wear in Top Shop then it's all well and good. But it used to be the way that bands looked good and were good. SG : The coolest bands don't give a fuck. They do about what they're doing, but they don't give a fuck about trends or whatever. PB : I'm going to take you back to 'Terminal' now. Ie saw you last year when it was just coming out and I'm afraid I don't listen to the radio much, but has it had much airplay since then? SG : No. PB : John Peel really liked you. Since he's gone have you missed having someone to champion you? SG : Again all the radio stations play what ever is the prevailing trend I suppose. To be fair, Lamacq, 6 Music and John Kennedy have always been good to us. And the internet stations have been very good. But the actual stations like Radio 1 have Heads of Music who have to approve it based on trends and we don't fit into them. MA : The thing with Britain is that it doesn't have the massive college radio scene that America has. They can make or break bands. The thing with England is you have to punch through this massive wall of ice and then when you're above it you can keep walking but it's just so hard to get through it. You're either a band with no deal and no airtime, or you're a band with a deal and some airtime and there's nothing in between. You have to keep going and hope the right people cotton on. SG : A lot of it's based on trends, and trends count. MA : A lot of DJs are celebrities. They get interviewed in the same magazines the bands do, so they have to keep that up. They have to follow the trends. So you get trends made by people who shouldn't do that. John Peel would never have done that and he's famous for not doing it. SG : He's gone but there are a lot of DJs on a lot of stations who are following his lead, and playing what they want to play. If you listen to Total Rock which several years running has beaten off the competition to be recognised as one of the best rock stations, the DJs play what they want. What's important is the DJs being passionate about it, not in the DJ as all important way but as DJs that really love the music. You remain optimistic about things. Even on this tour we've had some crap gigs when no one was there amd some that have been absolutely fantastic, but we've enjoyed it. Oops, I've gone off the question! What was it? PB : Really about how you're perceived and whether you're getting much following without the radio airplay. MA : The last single, 'Counting By Numbers', was hard to push, although it's got all the right hooks and we think it's fantastic at the same time it was a song that a lot of bands could have or would have written and it wasn't cool enough or different enough to stand out. But it was a radio friendly very good song, that could have done well, with a bit of airplay, but I think that was probably, ironically, the reason it didn't get any. But I'll stand by it. It's a fantastic song. Radio play's weird. It's hard to understand how things get chosen> You never know. It's a constant wait and guess and hope while you see what happens. PB : Are you going to be playing any festivals over the next few months? SG : Not big ones. It's quite difficult to get onto Reading or Leeds without the right sort of contacts, but we've been asked to do a few smaller festivals. We're doing the Endorse It Festival, which is .. in.. Dorset and Strawberry Fair in Cambridge, and apparently there's going to be one happening in London which is independent and is going to be fairly big but we don't know much details about that. PB : So you're going to take it slow and steady now ? SG : Yeah, I think so. The expectations of a young band in Britain are pretty much if you don't make it overnight then you're a failure. MA : You got to remember that bands like Pulp were going for 16 years before they had a hit. SG : Yes ,when we saw them in 1993, we thought they were a new band! Then we went round buying all these records and found they had a whole back catalogue. On one single everyone was talking about Pulp, but they'd spent all that time "honing their craft", you know becoming the band that they were. PB : I wonder if that's better in some ways. What do you think? If you had made it really big in 2002? SG : It would have been a complete disaster in most respects, because we weren't a band who were happy together or who worked well together. We were really pulling in different directions. It's just that all of a sudden we were in the NME, and it wasn't healthy for us to get that much expectation early on and the fact that we didn't live up to it made us failures in a lot of people's eyes, but we know better. Personally, sorry for sounding American, but I feel a lot more supported because we've got a happy band and a label who understand us and fans who like our music, and I've kind of come to think that there's nothing else that I could possibly do and that's it. It's not a resignation. It's just an acceptance that this is what I do and I'm fucking good at it. You have to think that way sometimes, and I absolutely love it - why am I bothering? Because I love it. MA : With that past of the first album, it's a different band now - there's a different soundscape going on. There's no kind of relaxed little habits that get pointed out, no "You can't do that!" sort of thing. Whatever's cool for the song we'll try and do it. A lot of people sneer at us for that because the first album wasn't like that. We're a much more comfortable band than the last band, and I know a lot about the last band because I watched them before I even thought I might play with them, and I liked that band. But having been in this one, I think it's grown bigger and better and a lot of people don't like that because they want so hard to hold on to the original and just because it's original it doesn't mean it's the best. SG : The first band I was very uncomforable with because we became very worried about what people though which was really unhealthy and now we don't care what other people think we've made a much better album. 'Terminal' was a labour of love because it was made without any label support. I took a job. We applied for a grant from the Arts Council and they gave us a grant to finish the album as well which was absolutely fantastic. So with the combination of me working and the Arts Council giving us a bit of money it was made so ridiculously cheap, compared to how much most albums cost. We slogged to make it but it sounds like an album that we really care about. MA : Well for me personally there was a lot of snarl in my guitar playing because I'd been getting a lot of dictating criticism from people, that I was a widdly wank guitarist, this kind of you play more notes than I play. SG: There have always been critisms all the way along, for example about the things I write my lyrics about or the way I sing, the way Matt plays guitar. MA : If people don't like something, and they don't kind of not like it for a valid reason we tend to push it even closer to their noses, to what they don't like. SG : It becomes like when you're a teenager and you're playing an Ice Cube album and your Mum says she doesn't like it so you turn it up. You turn it up for all the swear words! So this is the sound of Miss Black America raising their game. PB : Well we've been enjoying it & now we're waiting for the next one! SG : The next one is going to be awesome. We've already recorded some of it. Some little bits, and then we've got some kick arse big rock tunes to record on it. We're really happy. PB : Thank you. The four lower photos that accompany this article were taken by Russell Ferguson

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Miss Black America - Interview

Miss Black America - Interview

Miss Black America - Interview

Miss Black America - Interview

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Interview (2002)
Miss Black America - Interview
One of the most hotly tipped bands in Britain, guitar band Miss Black America have a particulary vocal frontman in Seymour Glass. Mark Rowland meets with him before a London gig to talk about schools, politics, Pokemon, and Rage Against the Machine

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London Dingwalls, 7/8/2002
Miss Black America - London Dingwalls, 7/8/2002
...but Mark Rowland at the same gig , despite finding much of its emphasis on fashionablity unbearable, in contrast enjoys the experience much more

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