Change The Record’s Mark recently chatted to Bernard Thresher and Dickie Ticker of Lancastrian funnymen, The Lancashire Hotpots.
We discussed their new album Pot Sounds, how they would sell Lancashire to people, IKEA, Femo and other such chitter chatter.
First of all, Could you tell us your name and what you do in the band?
Bernard Thresher – Hi I’m Bernard Thresher. I do guitars and ukelele and loads of like talking and stuff.
Dickie Ticker – Incidental percussionist, songwriter and kettle technician.
Which one of you came up with the concept for the band and how did the Hotpots start?
BT – Our Dickie dropped the idea. That’s young people speak for ‘came up with the idea’.
DT – I had the idea whilst sat on the loo in March 2006, but we sat on it till Christmas of that year (the idea, not the toilet). Then we recorded some songs including Christmas In Lancashire for a Radio DJ mate of ours, he liked it, so did his listeners and it all took off from there really.
BT – He called upon 3 other like minded Lancastrian gentlemen to spread the word and preach the gospel of verses Pie through Mild.
You have a new album out called Pot Sounds which is brilliant by the way, I can’t stop listening to it, Sum the album up for the people that haven’t heard it and tell them why they should go out and buy it?
BT – Buying the album really isn’t something anyone should tell you to do, it’s a decision you should reach for yourself. Then and only then can you look in the mirror and think ‘Yes, I’m a good person with an excellent taste in music and humour’. The new album really is more of the same from the first one. Our observations of modern situations, technology and people wrapped up in folky ditties with over opinionated lyrics.
I Heart YouTube is about the internet and the whole phenomenon of streaming videos, the song is about YouTube in particular and you say in it that you see “things that would make a grown mens toes curl” but what is the craziest thing you have seen both on YouTube and the internet in general?
DT: I couldn’t comment on that as your fanzine would then come under the jurisdiction of the Obscene Publications Act.
BT – Obviously so as not to offend anyone who reads this, I shall say the most ridiculous thing I have seen on the internet is a cat that appears to talk. Crazy.
Your song Don’t Make The Polar Bears Cry puts a comedic slant on global warming, what is your opinion on this subject and whilst we are at it, how do you feel about the deadly credit crunch?
BT – We have used and abused our sweet planet and it is inevitable that one day we will ‘execute mother earth’ and we shall all die a painful and well deserved death. The best we can hope for is that the population of this great planet changes its ways now, to reduce pollution and damaging effects so that we can prolong the apocalypse. Leaving another generation, long after we’ve gone to deal with it. Amen
DT: Amen my brother.
So we know from your two albums you guys are really funny, tell us your favourite joke?
BT – What do you call a doctor that forgets his own name? To get the other side………oh wait that’s not it, can I have another go?
How was it touring with Paddy McGuinness last year? How did you feel about playing big venues and were the crowd warm towards you?
BT – Paddy was great, crowds were great, venues were, on the whole very good. If I had to give the experience a score that was a percentage based fraction it would be – 3 quarters out of 87%. That’s based on where pie is a constant which is quite true in Wigan.
DT: We’d love to say that we’re big friends with Paddy and go round his house all the time however he has slapped a court injunction banning us from going any near him.
If you could have the chance of touring supporting any comedian, they can be alive or dead, who would it be and why have you chosen that person?
BT – I’d like to go on tour with Krankies. Anyway there’s a load of reasons why and once again I can’t mention any of them for fear of disturbing readers.
Three of you work as lecturers at St Helens College as your main job, what do your students think about the band, have they given you a positive reaction overall and are they constantly quoting your own lyrics to you?
DT: We love regaling tales of our weekend Hotpot exploits to our students. It’s a bit like that scene with C3PO telling stories to the Ewoks in Return of The Jedi. But with less fur and no robots.
I think it’s fair to say that The Girl From Bargain Booze off your new album Pot Sounds is the first song you have written with serious subject matter like cheating and actual emotion and I have to be honest, I was actually shocked to hear that from the Hotpots but it really works and even though it has the funny sections in it such as the failed guitar solo and the whole Bernard being completely serious which is funny in itself, how did it feel writing that after writing the hilarious classic tracks such as Chippy Tea and Shopmobility Scooter and what happened to “Emotions? Thas from Lancashire, thas not got none of those!”?
BT – The real reason for writing T.G.F.B.B. was that the manageress of my local Bargain Booze said if I mentioned her on an album she’s give me massive discount on her products when I visited her store. Sure enough I’ve been in 2 rehab facilities and 4 naked wrestling matches in pub car parks since. I don’t regret a thing.
Chav is a track that features some completely valid statements about the so called Chav culture such as “They congregate in bus shelters alongside the top shops, it’s getting so you need Geoff Capes just to walk you to t’Co-Op” and you make your feelings completely clear about the whole culture but what is it exactly about Chavs that you don’t like more than anything else?
BT – I remember when bread was bread. I also remember when a young chap or chapette could ride his or her bike to the corner shop, throw it down outside, run in and spend 40p on jubblies and astro belts before legging back outside to jump on their velocoped and razz off home. You just can’t do that these days. As soon as that bike hits the deck a Burberry clad ‘oik’ drinking blue flavoured vodka drinks would be on it. Stolen. Before racing away and taking and old ladies purse. I don’t like them.
In Indie Disco, you namecheck quite a few bands including bands from around the Manchester area such as The Smiths, Take That and The Happy Mondays. How do you feel about the Manchester music scene?
DT: I’m old enough to have been to the Hacienda a few times ‘back in the day’ however due to heavy abuse of Newcastle Brown on the night a lot of it its just a fuzzy blur. Shaur Ryder tells a similar story if truth be told.
BT – If you could see the playlist on my brand name personal audio device, you would see that I am a big fan. ‘Alright mucka mucka, alright kidda kidda’ etc
You seem to be extremely proud of the fact you are from Lancashire with it featuring in many of your songs such as A Lancashire DJ, This Lancashire Town and Christmas In Lancashire as well as the band name. Sell Lancashire to us in a few sentences, tell us why Lancashire is the place to be?
BT – Do you like pies?, do you like booze? do you like light drizzle? then you’ll just love a lifetime in Lancashire. Come for the Hotpots, stay for the weekend, Then you’ll probably want to go home because your blood pressure will have sky rocketed and you might have seriously increased your risk of heart disease.
Before the Hotpots, some of you were involved in dance music, how was the transition between that style of music to something completely different? Will you be returning to that style any time in the future and also which do you prefer?
BT – I’m writing songs in different styles all the time. I really feel I have a portfolio of tracks that would be of interest to any major record label.
You have been gigging for quite a while now and have plans to continue that this year, what can people expect from a Hotpots gig and what has been your favourite gig and venue you have played so far in the Hotpots?
BT – After a good year of gigging people coming to see the Hotpots in the future can expect to see a more polished outfit who still love every minute of being up there. The one thing we can’t promise is that we’ll be professional.
DT: A Hotpots gig consists of fun, ale, singing, dancing, medium to competent instrument playing, larking about and generally having an absolutely cracking time.
He’s Turned Emo is your biggest hit so far and has become extremely famous, were you suprised at how popular the track became in such a short period of time?
BT – I have no idea about anything being famous or popular. So every time I see people singing the lyrics at a show it’s incredible.
If you were forced to listen to one emo band, which one would you choose?
BT – I quite like a bit of femo. Paramore are quite a nice femo outfit. She sounds like she doesn’t like boys very much and wishes to tell us all about it with poptastic riffs. S’alreet innit.
What are your favourite songs of your own off either album? Mine are A Lancashire DJ off the first album and off the new album Uncle Bernard is absolutely legendary!
DT: Chippy Tea is my favourite as I wrote it and I get more money each time we play it.
BT – My favourite at the moment has got to be Indie Disco. It rocks like a bad boy.
What music is on the Hotpots playlist lately? What are some of your favourite bands?
BT – Scott Walker is the only artist anyone needs to listen to ever again. With the exception of Rocket From The Crypt, Pearl Jam, Daft Punk, Underworld, Wilco, Simian Mobile Disco and of course And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.
You mention quite a lot of different supermarkets on Pot Sounds, would you be interested in doing an advertisement voiceover for a leading supermarket chain if the opportunity arose and which is your favourite supermarket?
DT: Myself and Willie have cracking voiceover voices and quite frankly we’ll do anything for large amounts of cash. We’ve just done some radio adverts for Hollands Pies and we’re contractually obliged to mention them whenever the subject of sponsorship raises its head, there I just did it. If people are willing to pay us to do stuff for cash count us in. I’m unable to express a supermarket preference until incentivised via the medium of money.
BT – My voice is more suited to excitable adverts about house repossession and debt management loans. My favourite being Ocean Finance.
How about IKEA? Would you endorse IKEA?
BT – No. Next question.
DT: I’m willing to write ‘I Love Ikea’ for the right amount of money (see above), contact the Hotpots for details of the bank account to wire the money to.
Is it fun being a Hotpot? As you all have day jobs throughout the week, I assume it’s a relief to do this
BT – Being in The Lancashire Hotpots is the second best thing in the world.
Sum the whole Hotpot experience up in four words
BT – Musical Filled Pastry Medication
DT – Drunken drunken singing ale
Thank you for doing this interview, I hope that the Hotpots continue for a long time yet because you are brilliant and definitely know how to write hilarious songs
Thanks a lot to The Hotpots for agreeing to this interview.
They are on tour throughout February so go check their MySpace for details.