Pugwash's Thomas Walsh
ON HIS NEW ALBUM, HIS DUCKWORTH LEWIS METHOD AND THE HEALTH SCARE THAT MADE HIM RECONSIDER HIS ENTIRE OUTLOOK ON LIFE
Coming off your Duckworth Lewis Method collaboration with Neil Hannon, you are now in the strange situation where people actually want to hear a new Pugwash album.
I never wanted to come back to Ireland and fart around. Duckworth Lewis Method was a step up. Not in a wanky, egotistical way. In a real honest, professional way -- "okay, I can write songs at this level". I wanted to do it again, to step up to the plate. So far the response has been phenomenal. Hopefully this will translate into sales.
You had a health scare in the middle of making the record.
I was far heavier than I am now. And I'm still heavy. I don't drink any more. In this country people always go "oh, you've given up drink -- you must have been an alcoholic". I gave up drink because it wasn't good for me. It started in the years leading up to Duckworth Lewis where I was drinking too much and doing other things.
When Duckworth Lewis kicked in, I saw some semblance of money. I didn't know what to do with it. And then I did know what to do with it -- I pissed it up against a wall. I spent a week in hospital. That's a lot more than a check-up. They said, "keep this up and you'll be dead in 10 years".
I was surprised to hear you copped a lot of hate from Divine Comedy fans for stealing Neil Hannon away to work on the Duckworth Lewis record.
They called me every name under the sun. Fucking eejits. Gobshites. You can't really get involved. I went on Neil's site -- he doesn't do the technical stuff. I went on to give some updates. They all starting going "fuck off, you big fat this and that".
But the point is, Neil got a lot of success with his [post DLM album] Bang Goes The Knighthood on the back of Duckworth Lewis. I'm not saying I saved Neil's career. I'm just saying, he had hit a low as well. Even though his catalogue was huge. So it was great for both of us.
You've always wanted a major label record deal. What's it like being with EMI?
Eric Morecambe Iguana! Actually, I still don't know what it stands for. I'm very proud. A lot bands aren't with them. It's a big thing. You meet people and when they find you are on EMI it opens doors.
So what are your plans for the rest of the year?
We should have been waiting around for Electric Picnic. It would have been nice to have been asked. But we never get offered festivals. We just don't. There's no point in mulling over it. We weren't expecting it to happen.
Of course, the one question everyone wants answered is: will there be another Duckworth Lewis record?
We're going to attempt another one. If rain stops play halfway through and it's shit ... well, so it goes. We'll just have fun. What we hope to do is get Jeff Lynne [of 70s soft rockers ELO] on it. The connection between me and Neil has always been a love of cricket and a love of ELO. It might cost us a few bob. But there may be a few people out there willing to put it up.
Not to lower the tone, but we were surprised to find out that 'Pugwash' has some rather rude meanings. We always thought you were named after Captain Pugwash, the old cartoon character.
Yes ... because I look like him. I didn't know about the rude ones. I will agree it is one of the shittiest names of any band.
The Olympus Sound is released today
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