What’s the first thing you think of when we say…
The Sex Pistols
‘England and America have played this game of tennis with rock and pop since the ’50s and ’60s; the Americans gave us The Ramones and we gave the world The Sex Pistols. They’re Britain’s big contribution to punk and I see them as pioneering as The Beatles. Never Mind the B******* is an exquisitely produced record.’
‘She uses her sexuality in sort of the same way that Madonna did, but while swinging a guitar and playing some seriously good rock. Hole obviously were a really big part of our sound when we started out. Charlotte [Billy’s bandmate] was heavily into the sort of riot grrrl stuff and Courtney is still a big inspiration. Whenever I put my distortion on, I always think of ‘Celebrity Skin’. I always want to make a great Smokey Robinson pop tune or a Motown pop tune with this real AC/DC, Nirvana rock edge to it. ‘Celebrity Skin’ found that balance.’
‘My mum had this mixtape of all her favourite artists – people like David Bowie, Eurythmics and Marvin Gaye – that she’d play when she was driving me to school. And I remember every time T-Rex’s ‘Get it On’ came on she’d start singing along. I can see it now. I definitely think T-Rex are in us somewhere, with those cool, bluesy melodies. And Charlotte likes to look glamorous on stage, with lots of sparkly dresses. Actually, before he wrote grunge music, Kurt Cobain used to be glam, with glitter and big wigs. I don’t think I’d do the same though; I sweat too much and I dive into the audience too much. My clothes would be torn apart.’
‘In the few decades that I’ve been alive, she’s the thing that’s totally tied my family together. The Immaculate Collection is an incredible record; listen to the drum beats on ‘Like a Virgin’ and her vocals on ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ and you won’t believe that music can get any better than this. We write rock songs, but I think pop music will always be an influence on us, on everybody – it brings people together.’
‘They’re working-class guys – well, they used to be – and they had so much heart. When I heard ‘Supersonic’, with Liam singing “I need to be myself, I can’t be no one else,” I turned to my mum and said, ‘I have to be in a band. I have to play guitar.’ That lyric has stayed with me for the rest of my life. Oasis had heart and soul. Liam and Noel Gallagher. Heart and soul.’
The Subways play Alpha on May 21, Dhs100 including one free drink; free CD for first 100 people.