So before The Crookes return home to Sheffield this Saturday, to play their biggest headline tour to date, find out how their UK tour is going, what’s influencing their third album and why Russell ended up in lycra hot pants…
I caught up with Tom Dakin and George Waite from the band in Leeds just before they played Cockpit a few weeks ago on 10th November.
“Friday night in Derby is a sight to behold”
EB: Hello George and Tom! How’s the tour going so far?
George: It’s going grand thank you very much! We’re about five weeks into it so time has taken on a bit of blurry quality at the moment. But last night we were in Derby and that was really really good.Friday night in Derby is a sight to behold. Tonight in Leeds is the first time we’ve ever gone into a show knowing that it’s sold out. So everything seems to be moving in a good direction.
EB: How does it make you feel that it’s the first time it’s sold out?
George: It’s amazing and considering it’s not even a Sheffield show it’s really nice to have that validation. You can spend six months writing an album and be worried fuck all people are actually going to like it and then you come on tour and you sell a place out and it’s the biggest validation you could ask for. We’re really really looking forward to it tonight.
EB: So, how’s it been touring with fellow Sheffield band Hey Sholay?
Tom: It’s great. It keeps you on your toes. They’re a brilliant band. Really good. It’s nice to have some faces to challenge on the pool table after sound check.
“The Crookes are champion pool players”
EB: Who’s better at pool then?
George: Well, I think… I’m going to have to blow our own trumpet and say it’s us. It’s The Crookes. But we’ve only had one show down so far. That was last night. Tom and me won that! We did rub it in quite a lot. The Crookes are champion pool players.
EB: You loved being in Derby on a Friday night. What else are you excited for along the way on the tour?
George: Darlington. It’s another glamorous hotspot we’re going to be visiting on this tour. That’s the funny thing, when you see the list of shows, and we’ve done Europe previously to this tour, you pick out places like Rome, Paris and Copenhagen. You think ‘God I can’t believe we’re going to place in those cities. It’s going to be so exciting’. You kind of skip over some of the places that you’ve been to before, the less kind of glamorous places like Derby and Darlington but those are often the shows that surprise you the most. You go to places that don’t necessarily get a lot of touring bands coming through and it’s there you can get the best atmosphere because they’re just so happy that you’ve made the effort. That’s what we like to do. We’re a touring band and that’s how we survive and we get the biggest buzz from playing to crowds that really want to have a good time… like in Derby.
While I was there I recorded this live session with The Crookes. They performed their beautiful song ‘Where Did Our Love Go?’ from their album ‘Hold Fast’.
“Playing with Richard Hawley was an honour”
EB: What’s been the best moment of the tour?
George: That’s a toughie, a toughie.
Tom: We did have a treat to kick off the tour. We supported Richard Hawley in Amsterdam, which was the first date we did on this tour so that was a really nice way to kick it off.
George: It’s all down hill from there really. A sold out show with Richard Hawley in Amsterdam…
EB: …but tonight’s sold out! So that’s good!
George: Yeah actually! Playing with Hawley was such an honour.
“We kindly got given these lycra swimming trunks by a German fan”
EB: So tonight are we expecting more flesh to be exposed like normal? You guys seem to get pretty hot and sweaty.
George: Flesh… I don’t know what you mean… Haha. Last time we played here we didn’t have the problem of it being hot and sweaty because there was about six people here. But I do remember it’s a tiny little place with a weird tin roof, so it’s going to be a bit of a greenhouse with a hundred odd people in. The last person to bare flesh on this tour was Russell. We kindly got given these lycra swimming trunks by a German fan in Munich and she dared us to wear them on stage and obviously we said ‘Oh yeah we’ll do it’ and we didn’t. But the show was going so well that we went off for the encore and we said ‘Go on Russ, put them on for the encore.’ So Russ being the showman that he is put them on, hung back for about thirty seconds so I could give him an introduction in front of these three hundred drunken Germans and then came on! I think we’ve still got a pair kicking around in the van, so depending on how well the show goes tonight you could be seeing a lot of drummer leg on show.
EB: Haha! That’s exciting me… anyway away from that. How have people been reacting to the new album Hold Fast while you’ve been touring?
George: It’s been really good. It’s been heartening because we haven’t been going that long but the people who come to our shows seem to have particular favourites of ours. Songs like ‘Backstreet Lovers’ and ‘Yes, Yes We’re Magicians’ and it’s really nice to have songs people regard as old favourites. But it’s even nicer to know that the songs you’ve written months ago are having the same affect. Songs like ‘Afterglow’ and ‘American Girls’ I’ve noticed have been going down as well as anything we’ve been doing. It’s always nice to hear people singing along however out of tune it might be. Hold Fast has been getting a really good reception so it’s a really nice feeling.
EB: Brilliant. What’s next on the cards for The Crookes?
George: A few weeks off according to Tom I think.
Tom: I said a few days off and then we’ll write the third album.
George: Haha.That’s all we need, three days off, write the third album before Christmas, start touring again…
George: Don’t tell our manager that because she’ll hold us to that.
“I remember one time being sat in a hotel room in Oslo with Tom at five in the morning with soft core porn on mute on the television”
EB: On a serious note have you written material ready for the third album?
George: We’ve got two songs that we’re excited about. We wrote those before we came on tour. No matter how hard you try to write things on tour it’s just impossible because you’re either hungover or knackered or actually playing a show. But I remember one time being sat in a hotel room in Oslo with Tom at five in the morning with soft core porn on mute on the television and Tom strumming me through this new idea of his and trying to put something together.
Tom: If that makes it to the album that’ll be a new writing method!
George: So yeah you’ve got to try and find the time when you can and hope you get lucky. But you heard it hear first soft core porn. That’s the way The Crookes are writing their third album.
EB: One more thing I really want to know is what can you not live without while on tour?
George: I sweat a huge amount on stage. It’s quite disgusting. So if I didn’t take about thirty button down collar shirts then people wouldn’t be able to stand within ten feet of me on stage. So a fresh shirt every day is absolutely essential.
EB: And you Tom?
Tom: Just got to keep well stocked with drink really.
EB: Well thank you so much for talking to me guys and enjoy the rest of your tour!
George: Thanks a lot!