Volume 92, Issue 89

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


The Concrete Beat

Blur's risk with 13 truns into personal success

Philly five revives The Roots of hip hop

Vivaldi revitalized for its audience

Danko Jones knows he's still on top

Ralston Saul paves way for individuality

Comedy group Laughs

Ripley's version of Welsh animal music

Celebrity sightings

Ripley's version of Welsh animal music

By Mark Pytlik
Gazette Staff

Forget the British invasion – the Welsh are coming.

Following on the trail of minor international successes such as Catatonia, the Manic Street Preachers and the Stereophonics, Wales' Super Furry Animals are poised to make a splash in North America with the international release of their acclaimed second effort, Radiator.

Sales of the album will be buoyed by an accompanying bonus disc containing many of the band's most popular b-sides. In addition, the Furries are embarking on their first ever North American tour.

Bassist Guto Pryce seems relieved by the two-year-old Radiator's North American release. "We had quite a hard time with the labels. We're just happy that it's out. We just want people to hear our music and as a result we don't take anything for granted."

While it's difficult to tell how the Furries' distinctive brand of frenetic, psychedelic pop will go over in America, there is no doubt they have the potential to inject some much-needed quirkiness into a suddenly stagnant American music scene.

In England, the Furries are almost as well known for their promotional gimmicks as they are for their music. Pryce is happy to take the time to discuss the rumours.

First question. Fact or fiction: the Furries borrowed a small sum of money from Creation, their British record company, to fund the purchase of a large tank?

"Yeah! It just made sense. You get a record deal and then you think 'well, maybe we should get a tank.' Everybody wants a tank. We built a sound system in it and we'd take it to festivals and stuff.

"We sold it though," he sighs. "Don Henley of The Eagles bought it. He collects tanks apparently. He took it home and restored it back to its original form."

Alright – question number 2. The Furries bought 40-foot inflatable dolls to accompany them in their summer festival performances.

"True again," confesses Pryce. "We originally only wanted them six-feet tall so we could have them on stage. Then we found out that it cost the same for a 40-foot doll as it did for a six-foot one so we thought 'fuck it – let's get the big ones.'"

Two for two. Last one. Rumour has it that there's a Super Furry Animals cheat in a popular soccer video game.

"That's true. It's a game called Actua Soccer 2. It came about from a video we did for a song called 'Play It Cool.' We used the graphics from this game in the video where we were playing as Wales' team and beating Brazil. After the video came out they put a cheat in where you can play with our team alongside Che Guavara and Genghis Khan."

It's almost too good not to be true. Is there anything new cooked up to promote the next album? "No idea – it just sort of happens," Pryce muses. "We're big fans of bands who do mad things. There's too many boring bands who want to be purists."

At the very least, boring is something nobody will ever be able to accuse the Super Furry Animals of being.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999