The Beta Band kicked off 2002 with a tour and next month sees the release of the "Squares" single. Over 12 months ago it was touted as the bands big comeback single before cheeky chappies I Monster released their own single with the very same sample. However their recent problems in the UK hasn't stopped them from going from strength to strength over in the States. We caught up with bassist and spokesman Richard Greentree to find out about there big US success story.
Q: You finished off 2001 with a headlining tour of America. After the Radiohead supports it must have been taken to another level. Was there a noticeable different this time round?
A: I think we sold out at about 15 of 18 gigs which is good considering business is a little bit slow out there at the moment. We'd actually been out there a few times before but the Radiohead tour that we did in the summer really helped to get us out there into the public eye.
The band really looked after us at the time and it was really great to get out and play venues you thought that if we did get to go and play it would be a long way off - Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Gardens, Red Rocks - loads of crazy places.
Q: The New York gig must have been a strange one. Wasn't it about a month after the Sept 11th tragedies?
A: In fact when we played New York a couple of months previously we did it out in Liberty State Park. A park out in Manhattan and the stage it out at the end of it with the Statue of Liberty directly behind us and the Twin Towers over to the right. I was just looking at the footage of it because we filmed it and the Twin Towers were there stage left.
We went back about a month after the September thing and it was pretty weird actually. The crowd came round to it at the end...it was sold out really packed...I think people were a little bit nervous or a little bit unsure as to whether they should be letting themselves go or enjoying themselves but once it all got underway they were really receptive.
Q: After the tour there were various offers from multinationals including £250,000 from Gap for using your music in their adverts. Was it a political decision to turn them down?
A: Gap have pestered us about three or four times now to do some bloody television advert. Why they imagine we'd ever be interested in that I don't know? They seem to be targeting vaguely alternative acts like ourselves, the White Stripes and Tricky instead of your Britneys...its probably some high falutin idea of getting several C-list celebrities instead of spending loads on one huge celebrity. But to be honest I'm not particularly interested in how the minds of these type of people work.
Personally I didn't have to think about turning down quarter of a million from them because I've always hated Gap and Abercrombie and Fischand those sort of names. If I was to walk out of my house and see everyone dressed in Gap clothes, smiling and standing around like they do in the adverts I'd probably be most disconcerted and walk straight back into my house.
People have been saying quarter of a million pounds but it would only go against our debt anyway. Its not as if we would split the money between the four of us and run off on holiday or anything.
Q: America does seem pretty high on your list of priorities. Is that the case?
A: Its not like we want to break there before we break here. Ideally we'd like to break here first but we've just had a lot more look out there with the Radiohead tour and the Hi-Fidelity thing. It just all seems to work quite well out there while most of our bad luck we've come across seems to be over here.
I'd be tempted to say Americans are a little more open minded but that's probably due to our recent experiences. When it comes to music its hard to bring nationalities into between British and American people
"Squares" is out February 4th on Regal
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