When I was asked to interview Arctic Monkeys for The Big Issue, the first feeling was panic. You want to do it so much. I was supposed to meet the boys in London, then it was potentially in Las Vegas – it felt like one of those ones that just ain’t gonna happen. So when it all fell into place, there was just elation. Doing it for The Big Issue is an amazing gesture from the band. And they are heroes of mine and have been for a big part of my life. The fact that we could get up close and personal was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.
The boys were unbelievably kind. Over the years, I judge people by how they treat the plus one. And from the group to the manager to the roadies, they couldn’t have been nicer to my wife. She had an absolute ball. Once you are in that inner sanctum, there are no egos. We had a proper laugh, a few beers, then the lovely chat with Alex.
It’s probably not what people want to hear, but my favourite part was when me and Alex had a chat just after the interview, while I had a beer. There’s no mics on, you can just relax. The interview was lovely, then we just carried on. That’s when you know it is going well.
I got quite emotional watching from the side of the stage. They were phenomenal. Alex said during the interview he used to wear his tracksuit zipped up tight and wear his guitar high – and I was struck by how he was strutting around, mic in hand, shirt open, working the crowd. An incredible frontman.
From that I started thinking about me and my mates and where we were 20 years ago, and how I wish they were here to see this. And it made me think how far I’d come.
Arctic Monkeys were trailblazers. I was still cutting around Greenock and music was really shit when I was growing up. I had no interest in it. You are not going to go to a festival to see Hear’say from Pop Stars. I missed Blur, I missed Oasis, I was too young for it. Then Arctic Monkeys came out and I spent the next 10 years of my life at festivals because of them.