Wheatus

Its Saturday night and Wheatus are playing they're first Manchester date to 16,000 people. Its part of the UNISON Campaign for a Living Wage concert and with the Dum Dums pulling out at the last minute its up to the band to warm up the crowd. With mad multi-instrumentalist Phil Jimenez running round like he's just been released for the day it seems like a perfect start to a great gig. We caught up with Phil and Rich to find out about the guys behind the monster smash "Teenage Dirtbag".

Q: How does it feel to be the US Ambassadors of Geek Rock?
Rich: You know, we like playing shows and that's what we get to do. Titles aren't really important cos we've been called so many things and we don't know what we are.

Phil: I think the American and British humour is different, but if you listen to the Wheatus record people are really connecting with it. The difference between Carry On and Friends is that Friends just isn't funny.
 

Q: When you wrote "Teenage Dirtbag" did you know it would be such a big hit?
Phil: Well I had a feeling it was definitely going to take off because first time I heard it i was like "this can really become something". It has that vibe to it that is very believable.

Its a song about being a teenager, not really about getting girls. And we've all had our share of girls. The lyrics are just funny little tales and though I don't write them, deep down I'm a Wheatus fan. The thing is we didn't set out to be different than everybody else, we just are and everyone's picked up on that.
 

Q: Why did you choose to do this Erasure cover?
Phil: Its was just a song growing up that we all liked. We listened and still do to a lot of British guitar music from The Police, U2, The Cure, The Smiths and Erasure. There is the heavy rock music part in the mix but there was always that indie Brit influence.
 

Q: Do you feel like outsiders in the rock scene?
Phil: I guess so. I don't really feel like an outsider though because there's not really a lot going on with the rock scene right now. Nothing that original at least. Nothing that Aerosmith and AC/DC weren't doing 15 years. You're right, were not fans of Nu-metal but we won't sit here and condemn it.

Rich: Were not that rock & roll. We've all been playing since 13 or 14 years old so its just what we do - we certainly didn't do it to party!!!
 

Q: You're known for the live shows. What can we expect on the British tour?
Phil: Its pretty wacky, pretty wild. We do a lot of weird stuff that as you said other bands don't do. Were experimental as you can see right now I'm preparing a pretty strange instrument. This is one of our first headlining tours and you really notice the difference.
 

Q: So what can we expect in the future?
Rich: The second album is already written and were in the middle of recording it at the moment. Its definitely different and very eclectic. Were chucking on everything and the kitchen sink on it.

**********
www.sonymusic.co.uk
**********