Supergrass - fuelled by green tea

Robyn Greenacre One of the top Britpop bands play Norwich UEA on Monday. But they’ll be heading off for an early night as soon as it’s over. ROBYN GrEENACRE talks to Supergrass keyboard player Rob Coombes.

Robyn Greenacre

They heralded the exuberant era of Britpop with punchy tunes, and while many other bands of the time have gradually faded into the background one is refusing to go quietly.

So in an age where drug taking, binge drinking and spray on skinny jeans are synonymous with chart success, can a group well into their 30s, with a penchant for green tea still get it right?

Supergrass are back, and this time it's with Diamond Hoo Ha, a title derived from something too naughty to mention on these pages and perhaps a less than subtle indication they are firmly moving away from Road to Rouen's darker lyrics, and back to their affable uplifting roots.


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Rob Coombes - keyboard player and brother of Gaz - says: “I don't think it was a conscious thing to make a more cheerful album. The last one we made we were all battling with personal demons and possibly that was reflected.

“It wasn't necessarily a case of consciously breaking it down to get back to our roots, but it did end up that way. I can't speak for all the guys but I was really surprised by what we got out of it. The album has exceeded expectations.

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“We just wanted to go and have some fun. Obviously some things dictated the sound. Gaz said he wouldn't use the acoustic guitar which influenced what we did.

“And we've got Charlie, our younger brother, now playing. He's enthusiastic, looks at the songs in a new way and it also means we've got another instrument to add to the sound.

“We went to Berlin to record the album and did it in three weeks. There wasn't really the time to think about what we were doing.

“Then when we got back it was suddenly 'oh it's done.' ”

The album was released towards the end of March and conscious of the increasing years the band have been gently easing themselves into playing again, including supporting the Arctic Monkeys, before launching into a full tour for the first time for a few years.

“Influencing others isn't something I think about. But it was cool when the Arctic Monkeys said we influenced them. It's nice to think we've made an impact on people.

“We're going to mix up the set. People mentioned some of the same songs were always played. So there'll be a different list and a lot of the new stuff. There's definitely a fresh sense when we play them. And we enjoy playing.

“How we'll behave on tour has changed. We've been together a long time and it some ways it feels like it's gone very quickly, but then you look back and realise what you've done and how you've changed and it does seem a long time.

“If I'm not in bed with a cup of cocoa in time then I'm a grumpy man the next day. We'll be in bed on time to be up for lessons at 9am all clean and dressed smartly.”

t Support at Monday's UEA gig (doors 7.30pm) comes from up-and-coming young Scottish band Sergeant. Alan McGee has been quick to herald the band as the saviours of Scottish music, while Emily Eavis personally asked the unsigned band to play Glastonbury in 2007, so taken aback was she by their refreshing material. First release, K-Ok, released on May 5 through AM-AK Records has already been praised by NME as “the most perfect pop anthem we can imagine being penned”. Sergeant are currently holed up with John Leckie - legendary producer behind Radiohead's The Bends, the Stone Roses' debut and the Verve's A Storm in Heaven - recording their debut album, due for a September release on Mercury Records.

t Tickets (£17.50 advance) from 01603 508050, UEA Students' Union, Waterfront, Soundclash and www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk

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