Toploader in Dubai - interview

Frontman Joe Washbourn talks ahead of Arthur's Day gig

Interview

As the ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ hitmakers prepare to take on The Irish Village, Rob Garratt caught up with frontman Joe Washbourn.

We thought you guys had disappeared. What happened?
After the second album, around 2003, we just wanted a break. We were tired – it was about five years of mayhem and we were sick of it, sick of each other. We’d heard a lot of ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ and we’d had enough of it. We thought we’d take some time off, and didn’t really think we’d ever come back together.

But you did – in 2010. Which of you made the first move?
The guitarist [Dan Hipgrave] was getting married. He had a stag do and we met up for that, we hadn’t seen each other for years. We got on, chatted about the good old times, and you forget about all the bad old times. I thought: Do I really want to do this? It was so normal and natural. We’re all a bit more chilled out this time around.

We hear ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ recently made it back into the UK charts.
We got a call out of the blue a few weeks back saying it was at number 28, then it went to number 23. For us, we were like ‘how did this happen?’ Songs don’t get in the chart 13 years after they were released.

You must still be living off the royalties from that one.
Ironically, that was the song I didn’t write.

We heard – so the ’70s band King Harvest are dining out on your pay cheques?
It was written by a guy called Sherman Kelly. Somewhere along the way we were expecting a Christmas card, a little thank you note.

You’ve sold a lot of records – two million or so – but you once said you have sold more sausages than records, after that UK supermarket ad for Sainsbury’s. So, which is it?
I have no idea! And I’m actually a vegetarian. Sausages are cheaper than CDs. But I’m not sure we ever sold two million sausages. That’s where the connection with us and Jamie Oliver came from.

What was that about? Were you two ever actually mates?
Not really. We’d have loved to be invited round for a Sunday roast – but really, he was a chef and we were a band, we didn’t cross paths much.

Forgive us for asking – but have you cut your hair yet?
When the band split up, it was the first thing I did. The weird thing was when I was in a band – I was meant to have crazy hair, all the bands I liked had big hair – but I got so much flak about the hair. [Cutting it] was completely refreshing, I moved to LA and started a completely different chapter in my life. Now the hair has crept back over time – although it’s not quite the same volume.

Before you go – what do you make of Dubai?
We played The Irish Village way back in 2003, and we came back a couple of years ago [to play Alpha in 2010]. You notice the difference. We stayed in a hotel on the edge of town in 2003 – when we came back, it was in the middle of town.

View The Lightning Seeds up close and personal

Toploader perform with The Lightning Seeds for Arthur’s Day at The Irish Village on Thursday September 26. Tickets Dhs70. www.timeouttickets.com

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