The irrepressible Fuji Heavy made their radio debut on BBC Southern Counties last night where – as winners of last week’s demo review panel, garnering praise from no less than Tim Booth, who admired their un-self-conscious lack of choruses – they were entitled to ten minutes chaotic airtime being interviewed by Phil Jackson. Me and Vic tuned in at home.
Phil Jackson comes across as a nice enough chap – he’s enthusiastic and sincere and a little conventional, and I’m not sure he was quite sure what to expect from the band. On the one hand, they won last week’s show with their demo of ‘Sunburn’, which sounds especially raw on the radio, simmering with threatened malice. On the other, the band apparently turned up to the studio dressed in suits to a man; and I know Ali and Andy (who are the Assistant rhythm section, after all) to be exceptionally well-mannered young men, the kind you’d be more than happy to marry your daughter off to.
On air they veered between amiability and implied mischief. Jackson was audibly taken aback when Keith introduced himself as ‘The Brown Bomber’. The band gave quite a good account, painting themselves as spirited rather than intense, suggesting imminent success not because of their drive but because…. things looked like working out that way. Me and Vic craned in towards the radio waiting for Andy to speak but events conspired to keep him silent, meaning that Assistant are gonna have to enter this demo clash ourselves so that we can get that man back on air. It’s his destiny.
Vic suggested that if I got on the radio they’d have great difficulty ever getting me to shut up. For the rest of the evening, while I cooked and did chores, I interviewed myself excitedly, finding myself an engaging – if talkative – interviewee. Assistant, I remember saying, operate out of a sense of frustration that English guitar rock is so depressingly male. All our peers, I said, grandly, are excessively masculine or excessively cherubic.
I wiped dry a plate, feeling pleased.