This week’s guest is Rick Witter, singer in the terrific British indie band Shed Seven who have recently announced their first album in sixteen years. And a tour. To which myself and Hasler have already bought our tickets. Anyway, some background…
From September 1995 to June 1998 I was a student at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. Whilst I did the bare minimum of work needed to get a 2:2 in Economics, I dedicated more time to visiting the LCR, the university’s main music venue, and enjoying the incredible selection of bands that existed as part of what we now fondly remember as Britpop.
Norwich is a brilliant city to study in if you like music because it isn’t really near anywhere else. If you live in Liverpool, your favourite acts might bypass it for Manchester. Sheffield residents may miss out to Leeds. But Norwich has no big city rivals. No band ever shunned the spiritual home of mustard, Alan Partridge and Delia Smith to play in Thetford.
And that time, the few years that I, through no design or decision, ended up at university, was a terrific time for boys and girls who liked looking at other boys and girls playing guitars. The whole country seemed to be at an exciting juncture. There was optimism for the future that I hadn’t seen before or since. Euro ’96, New Labour, TFI Friday and Trainspotting. And Britpop was the soundtrack to those beautiful years, and amongst the best of those acts were Shed Seven.
Rick and the gang released fifteen top 40 singles between 1994 and 1999, and had four top 20 albums in the UK, including Going For Gold, On Standby, and everyone’s favourite end-of-the-night indie disco anthem Chasing Rainbows. They’re a brilliant live act, and even amongst the embarrassment of musical riches that Britain was producing at the time, they stood out as something special when I saw them perform.
So, this morning, Sadie Nicole Hasler and I met up at King’s Cross Station and took the train to York, home of the Jorvik Viking Centre, lots of brilliant pubs, and Mr Richard James Witter.
Rick was great. He talked about the new album in detail, how the band write now, and how they wrote back in the day, including penning Chasing Rainbows on a tour bus in Germany.
He told stories about nearly getting sued for throwing a maraca in a girl’s face, he cupped his testicles, and he delivered the immortal line “I’m not bitter, I’m Rick Witter.”
After we finished recording, Rick set up a speaker and played us four tracks from the new album, and – spoiler alert – they’re brilliant. If you’re a fan of Shed Seven you’ll be in for a treat. Up-tempo floor-fillers, tender ballads and dirty guitar-driven rock. It’s like a Sheds album from yesteryear. You won’t be disappointed.
Now we’re in the pub down the road from his house, and excited about seeing the band in December.
If you want to hear the new tracks, pre-order the record and get access to exclusive behind the scenes content as the band record in May.
Or book tickets to the UK tour, for the handful of dates that aren’t sold out.
Hope you enjoy the interview. Myself and the Southend Tennessee Williams are off to look at trains.