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thatrsdude
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10 Oct 2005, 8:11 am

For anyone who doesn't know, Craig Nicholls is the lead singer of the Australian garage rock band called The Vines and he has Asperger Syndrome. I read an interview with Kerrang magazine on the net and it was so funny I had to pass it on (I don't think he was diagnosed at the time):

Kerrang! What do you think people’s perception of you is?

Craig Nicholls: Some people think I’m dull. Some people might think I’m…happy. Some people might think I’m sad. I think I’m in the middle. I really don’t know what it is. I haven’t really thought about what any individual person thinks of me.

K! Through the prism of the media you seem to attract a lot of criticism for being extremely difficult.

CN: I don’t know what to say because I don’t know what difficult is. I don’t know what the standard code of behavior is, or how I’m supposed to be. I don’t want to say because I don’t know.

K! Well, are you happy? Because when I was watching you onstage last night you didn’t appear to be having a particularly good time.

CN: Well, it’s that perception thing again.

K! It maybe perception but I was close to you as you are to that door. I could see, and it didn’t seem fun. Am I wrong there?

CN: You might be wrong. You might be right. You have your own opinion…

K! Yeah, but what’s your opinion?

CN: You can still write down whatever you want.

K! Yeah, but what do you think? What do you think of what I’ve just said?

CN: I don’t think anything you say is important at all. I think what you do is insignificant. You write about young kids’ rock bands or whatever.

K! Not always.

CN: Well, you’re going to see Motorhead.

K! Do you like Motorhead?

CN: No comment.

K! I want to ask you something. When you were photographed for our magazine on Monday - and I’m asking you this - why did you walk up to two people from the title and say, I think you’re magazine is s**t?

CN: Because I think it’s s**t and I was trying to be honest.

K! But why say that to them? By not saying it you’re not being dishonest you’re just keeping your own counsel.

CN: Well I have to tell you that I think what you do is s**t as well. I have to be honest. What else can I be? Am I supposed to be a good little boy in a nice little rock band for you? So you can interview me, and you can interview me and I can say, Thank you so much for putting me in Kerrap! Because that’s what I think of it. And you can print that, in quotes. Kerrap, Kerrap, Kerrap.

K! But what does it matter what you think of the magazine?

CN: [With a raised voice] Well, you’re interviewing me, aren’t you? You’ve just said you want to hear what I think…

K! Yeah, because you’d said that previously. If you hadn’t have said it I wouldn’t ask why you thought that about the magazine.

CN: There’s no structure to it…

K! Structure to what?

CN: [Pause] Table cloths.

K! Don’t you think it was a rude thing to say to someone?

CN: Don’t you think you’re being rude to me right now?

K! No, I don’t think I am being I am being rude to you right now.

CN: I think it’s called a double standard.

K! How is this is a double standard?

CN: I think being hypocritical is kind of a double standard.

K! I don’t see how I’m being hypocritical.

CN: That’s because you’re a journalist.

K! And journalists are hypocritical by nature?

CN: Or maybe it’s because you’re old, I don’t know.

K! This is the question I wanted to ask. If the magazine is s**t, why appear in it?

CN: Because it amuses me to piss you off.

K! But I’m not pissed off.

CN: I think you are.

K! Well I could counter that by saying I think you’re album’s s**t. Which is true, I do think its s**t.

CN: [Raised voice] Well doesn’t it hurt that you didn’t say that first when I told you first that I think you’re s**t and you’re magazine is s**t. And you thought I was going to say, “Oh yeah, oh yeah…”

K! I didn’t know what you were going to say.

CN: I don’t really care what you think.

K! I know you don’t really care what I think. And I don’t really care what you think.

CN: [Sarcastic voice] Oh, he doesn’t like my singing…

K! Actually, I don’t mind the singing; it’s the songs that don’t go anywhere.

CN: Oh wow, the songs don’t go anywhere. I am gonna be, wow, really upset by this.

K! Now you seem upset. You look like you’re pretending not to be you seem upset.

CN: Yeah, yeah. You saying the album’s crap after me saying Kerrap, Kerrap was s**t. It’s f*****g petty. [Unintelligible mutter]…. Here’s what I think of it. Who f*****g cares what you think of it.

K! Do you think I wouldn’t said your album was s**t if you hadn’t have said the magazine was s**t?

CN: I don’t care either way, man. It’s all perceptions and s**t.

K! It just seems that you sitting here talking to me is a complete waste of your time. It’s not a waste of my time because this is gonna be a f*****g great feature.

CN: Because you’re not gonna put in that I said first that your magazine was s**t.

K! Trust me, I will.

CN: If you were a real man you would have told me the second I sat down that you thought our album was s**t.

K! And you may have walked straight out and I have no story. Let me tell you something Craig, you have blown me out four times for this interview. I have had my week f****d around by you. Now this is neither here nor there, but common courtesy is one thing. I have permission to write this interview even if you didn’t show up for quotes. So it doesn’t matter. But I just didn’t want to be as rude as you were by making it the first thing I said.

CN: I didn’t get in a band for f*****g common courtesy, you dick. You’re a f*****g joke. The bands you put in your magazine with the tattoos… you’re all a big joke. That’s all you are.

K! Can we rescue this interview or is this how it’s gonna be?

CN: You do whatever the f**k you want.

K! Do you wanna talk about something else?

CN: I don’t f*****g care. I think it’s amusing.

K! But this isn’t even very amusing. It’s just a bit sad.

CN: I don’t care what you think. Look at you.

K! What do you mean, look at me?

CN: You look like you work in a bank.

K! That’s because I’m going to the Royal Opera House and I have to wear a suit. I don’t normally dress like this, normally I dress like you. Would that have made you happy if I was dressed like you? Would you not have been so suspicious of me had I been dressed like you?

CN: You really are lame, man.

K! You’re not answering my questions at all.

CN: Because your questions are pathetic. Your whole existence and what you are is lame.

K! Me personally?

CN: Yeah.

K! Oh good, that’s good. Because you know what? I had managed to convince myself that I was doing okay until I met you. I’m quite heartbroken.

CN: You can take it however you want. You can write whatever you want.

K! I would have thought you would have walked out by now.

CN: If you want me to…

K! I don’t want you to do anything. I don’t want to engineer anything. Do you like any magazines?

CN: [Sarcastic] Erm, I don’t know. It’s hard to think of answer to such deep and meaningful questions.

K! Hmmm. I was just curious. The questions aren’t supposed to be deep and meaningful but then the answers aren’t deep and meaningful either, so I’m thinking on my feet here.

CN: Well, you should have written some questions down.

K! Do you not think I have the questions in my head? Craig…

CN: You can write whatever the hell you want. I hope this turns out great and I hope the Motorhead gig is really good…

K! Well thank you. It’ll be better than this and it’ll be better than you last night.

CN: [Pretending to be hurt] Oh, oh.

K! Was that a good gig for you last night?

CN: Yeah, it was our best.

K! Jesus, you are a really s**t band.

CN: What’s your next question?

K! I don’t know. Are we done? We can talk straight and nice if you like or we can carry on like this. Believe me when I say this Craig, I care as little about this as you do. That needs to be understood. I don’t care that this is going badly. It is of no importance to me at all.

CN: Well, thanks for coming down, man… [walking out of the room] Well, I hope everything works out for you and I hope everything is great for you.

K! Bye, Craig.

CN: [Mumbles out of range of tape recorder]

K! Nice to meet you, Craig.


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Last edited by thatrsdude on 10 Oct 2005, 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

car_crash
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10 Oct 2005, 9:04 am

:)

its a pity the vines were s**t



thatrsdude
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10 Oct 2005, 9:08 am

I'm not particularly a fan of that kind of music either, but... A lot of his interviews are quite funny.


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hecate
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11 Oct 2005, 4:53 am

when i was younger i used to like kerrang. when i was fifteen i wrote a letter to the magazine and they made it "letter of the week."

my letter was about how i hated one of their journalists (can't remember which one) so i was really suprised that they published it (although they edited some of my insults). maybe they printed it because all his colleagues secretly hated him.

i think the vines are good.



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11 Oct 2005, 4:59 am

It wasn't Ian Winwood was it? I never liked him.


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11 Oct 2005, 5:29 am

i don't think so. all i remember was that it was about a journalist who had given a band that i liked a bad review. he compared them to another band that were rubbish and had nothing to do with the band he was reviewing except that all members of both bands were female. i thought this was extremely sexist.

a few months later i went to see my beloved band play a gig at a local venue. i met the band and when i explained to them who i was they let me in to the gig for free, gave me free alcoholic drinks (which i thought was really cool because i was only fifteen) and dedicated a song to me!



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11 Oct 2005, 7:22 am

Anyway, what were the bands? Can you remember?

Most music mags are annoying, because I'm sick of reading s**t like "this i real metal" "this sucks" etc. and they claim to be open minded. And they print letters along those lines all the time but never do anyhting about it. If you don't like a band, save it for the review sections, don't annoy your readers as though as your opinion is fact. There's a lot of immature kids who read it saying "i want more of this" but theyre dumb. If they want to slam something, save it for artists that really deserve it (ie. artists the magazine doesnt cover like manufactured pop icons). Kerrang is one of the better ones actually, it's s**t like Blunt and Metal Hammer that piss me off because they slag off too many bands that I like- not because of their opinion, but because the way they present is as fact and that anyone who reads it is smart enough to agree. They think they're hardcore if they take it too far and are overly strict on whats real and whats not... but it just makes them annoying.

But it's no big deal, I just stop reading them.


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hecate
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11 Oct 2005, 11:10 am

the band that i was defending were called tampasm. they have split up now. :( i loved tampasm because their music was well-writen and rocked. also, their lyrics ranged from being very deep and beautiful to hilarious (for example glorified vibrator: "i don't care if you're a buisness man or just a waiter, you're too proud to realise you're just a glorified vibrator")! the band that they were being compared to were called fluffy. fluffy were ridiculed by music fans all over the world because they were clearly middle-class women trying to be punk and most of their songs had a grand total of four chords in them.

i don't think there are any music magazines that cater for my taste. my favourite bands are jack off jill, pixies, hole, pornorphans and manson. but then, i also like softer stuff like garbage, inxs, skunk anansie, nick cave and culture club. some people have criticised me for liking stuff that is too commercial but i can't be bothered to pretend to like obscure bands just to look cool.

occasionally i will buy a copy of metal hammer, if it's got a cd with it that has some good bands on it, but the bands that they interview seem to be restricted to black sabbath, him or slayer (none of which i have anything against but i don't find anything that particuarly appealing about them either).



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11 Oct 2005, 12:10 pm

Any intelligent person shouldn't care whether a song is commercial or not. As many of us will know, there's idiots who only listen to the stuff the pop 40 stations will feed them, but then there's those that refuse to like something just because it is commercial. Those people aren't any better and they make the situation even more annoying.

So don't listen to those people who criticise you for liking something commercial, they're barely any smarter than those who only like commercial stuff.

They treat it as though as making up your own mind what music you like is such a huge deal, when really it's just common sense.

And no one should ever slag someone off for their taste in music. You don't like it, don't listen to it. Would they rather you pretend to like something you don't like? It's all stupid really.


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hecate
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12 Oct 2005, 9:43 am

yeah, i agree with you.

i think it's all for show anyway. my friend was asked to look after his friends' flat while they were away and he invited me over so we could watch their videos and rummage through their personal belongings :) . his friends were well-known for being hard-core anarchist punks so imagine our shock when we discovered a robbie williams cassette hidden away in their bedroom! to think i used to respect them but now i see them for the closet townies that they really are! 8)

by the way, what are your favourite bands thatrsdude?



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12 Oct 2005, 11:28 am

Korn and Linkin Park.


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16 Oct 2005, 5:37 am

That's a great interview. :P Really, it's no less informative than most of the stuff you get in the music press. How I wish I could get back all the hours of my life I've wasted reading the NME and Melody Maker!
Well, I haven't read the music press for years. But after hearing about Craig Nicholls' diagnosis I started reading some of his old interviews and features on the net.
I can see some aspie signs. That's hindsight for you.

Here's a Craig Nicholls interview from The Guardian. Not as funny as the Kerrang one, but never mind.

Quote:
The wild ones

They have a reputation for being raw and unpredictable. But is there any more to the Vines? By Alexis Petridis

Friday March 5, 2004
The Guardian


In a hotel room just off Trafalgar Square in London, Craig Nicholls is becoming visibly agitated.

Beneath a voluminous parka and a faded T-shirt featuring the Minutemen - the 1980s Marxist punk trio who once wrote a song called The Roar of the Masses Could Be Farts - the 26-year-old leader of the Vines is a mass of nervous tics. His left leg bounces up and down. He seems unsure whether to conduct the interview sitting on his bed, lying flat, or kneeling on the floor next to it as if he's praying. He seems equally unsure what to do with the Kentucky Fried Chicken that the Vines's manager recently bought at his behest - Nicholls famously exists on a diet of junk food. He picks it up. He puts it down. He stares at it through the tendrils of his fringe, as if expecting it to move of its own accord. He picks it up again.

All the time, he chatters nervously. "I have a reputation for being the maddest and craziest guy, but I'm the most quiet. It's the other three guys that raise hell. They're the crazy ones." He looks imploringly at bassist Patrick Matthews who is slumped in a designer chair across the room. "Tell him!" he insists. "Tell him! Tell him!" Matthews looks back at him with an unconcerned air.

Even at the best of times, Nicholls is hardly a model of laid-back insouciance. At worst, he is famous for throwing tantrums that Naomi Campbell would consider slightly de trop. The last time the Guardian interviewed him, he destroyed a dressing room because a security guard had the audacity to knock on the door and ask if he was smoking pot (he was). He once smashed up a television studio where the Vines were rehearsing because he was hungry.

There's a pause. "Yeah," Matthews drawls laconically, "we're the crazy ones."

The Vines' craziness or otherwise is a familiar topic. Not even their vast success in the US, where their 2002 debut album Highly Evolved shifted 1.5m copies, has done anything to dissuade the public from their popularly held belief that Craig Nicholls is barking mad. Indeed, mental health issues appear to have underpinned their story ever since they emerged from Sydney at the end of 2001, proffering a combination of Nirvana-inspired noisy alt-rock, woozy, vaguely psychedelic acoustic songs, angsty lyrics and unpredictable live performances that frequently ended in a mass of smashed equipment.

At a time when rock music was in a post-Britpop slump, the Vines seemed thrillingly raw and unpredictable. Nicholls and Matthews, 28, had met in their teens while working in McDonald's. Nicholls claims that during the recording of their debut album, he was so naive that he didn't realise bands had to go on tour.

The Vines began attracting hysterical critical plaudits: never knowingly underwhelmed, the NME claimed that Highly Evolved was "the greatest debut album ever made". But immediately trouble began to brew. It emerged that their drummer, a diagnosed manic depressive called Dave Olliffe, had suffered a nervous breakdown during the recording of the album in LA and had been replaced by Hamish Rosser.

Olliffe then took to the band's website, denouncing Highly Evolved's producer Rob Schnapf as "the biggest c**t there is" and claiming that he was about to rejoin the band. Olliffe later retracted his comments, but the incident set the tone for the next two years. Every critical or commercial victory was somehow undermined. The band appeared to be in a perpetual state of disarray.

When Highly Evolved entered the American chart at number 11 - a situation certainly not hindered by their US label's decision to sell the CD at a discount - Nicholls celebrated by calling their US label boss "that c**t" and having him thrown off the band's tour bus. The critical hosannas were somewhat tempered by the news that Nicholls had smashed one journalist's Dictaphone in a fit of pique and excused himself from another interview by locking himself in a toilet for two hours. Invited to perform on Jay Leno's Tonight Show, Nicholls threw a tantrum in rehearsal, smashing up equipment and throwing a light at Rosser.

The band were ejected from the studio, their appearance on the programme cancelled. "What do I get mad about?" says Nicholls. "Like, if I'm wearing jeans and Patrick is wearing jeans, it's like f**k you! I'm wearing jeans today! And we have fights with Hamish because he wears T-shirts with four-letter words on them and we don't think that's appropriate. Also," he says, warming to his theme, "he's taken a lot of acid and he's always talking about it. Hamish is the weirdest, but it's not his fault. He's done something to his brain and he can't get back." He laughs uproariously.

"Great drummer, though." What effect have the tantrums and fighting had on their relationship with their record company? "Some of their people are a bit tense around us now," admits Matthews, sheepishly. "I think they're pretty tense to start off with, maybe." "We almost give them a heart attack," chuckles Nicholls.

You can see the record company's point. By the end of 2002, when the band's US tour was pulled after Nicholls and bassist Matthews began trading punches onstage in Boston, stories of Nicholls's erratic behaviour had completely overshadowed the Vines's music. Critical opinion on the band seemed to shift. Reviews of live shows featuring Nicholls howling tunelessly into the microphone, falling off stage and smashing his guitar ceased being awestruck descriptions of a tortured genius at work and began openly wondering what the point was. "Witless, dismal, joyless, depressing," complained one Guardian critic of a performance last year at the Astoria.

According to Matthews, he wasn't the only one: "Do you remember that guy in Amsterdam? " he asks Nicholls. "He said the first half of our concert was the worst thing he had ever seen in his life." Nicholls laughs, before becoming slightly huffy and sarcastic: "It's like, I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that I was supposed to be getting onstage and impressing anybody," he sniffs.

It's a deeply peculiar thing to say - if you're the lead singer in a rock band, getting onstage and impressing people rather seems to be the point - but then, there is no getting around the fact that Nicholls is a deeply peculiar man. The songs he has written for their new album, Winning Days, have met with mixed reviews, despite sticking to the same formula that grasping for the smelling salts when Highly Evolved was released.

Perhaps mindful of the vagaries of the press, he seems to be making an effort today. My Dictaphone remains in one piece and Nicholls stays put throughout, which given his past form, virtually counts as a charm offensive. In addition, he has allegedly given up his prodigious marijuana habit, which some felt was the cause of his erratic behaviour.

However, even drug-free and on his best behaviour, there would be little chance of mistaking him for normal. He cannot decide whether to brazen out the stories about his behaviour - as he points out, his favourite band, the Kinks, used to fight onstage "and that's kind of what attracted me to being in a band, that there were no rules, that you could do things how you saw them" - or to try and convince you that tales of his instability and violence are greatly exaggerated. "People get surprised when they meet me," he sighs. "They expect me to throw something at them. Some journalists twist your words a little." There is always the chance that they simply misheard him.

Perhaps as further evidence of the alienation that led him to write a song called f**k the World, Nicholls appears to have invented his own accent. It originates somewhere in the Antipodes, but certain vowels seem to have slipped their moorings and ended up in the middle of the wrong words.

Discussing the songs on the new album, he claims that "hoff of thim arralld" (which means that half of them are old). He is also big on something called loff, which turns out to be the opposite of hate.

Once you have navigated the dialectal minefield, there are other matters to contend with. Nicholls' conversation has a tendency to go wildly off-piste, slaloming between topics without warning, before abruptly ending with a firm, satisfied "yeah". On any occasion where his answers stray dangerously close to making sense, he rectifies the situation by throwing in a multitude of pauses, affirmations and apparently random statements. He occasionally winds up sounding rather hurt and defensive about subjects he has brought up himself.

Ask him about whether he thinks some of the Vines's problems stemmed from the punishing tour schedule that comes with trying to break America, and you get this in response: "In America, there was a lot of people saying that they thought we were going to self destruct, so, yeah, like, we definitely didn't want that. We wanted to be productive as a band. That was our goal: making albums, writing songs, listening to CDs and not, like, whatever, the 80s rock or whatever. We're not those kind of people. We're not trying to make any kind of judgements on anyone. We've got no messages. We just want to make good albums. Yeah."

While you're pondering what 1980s rock has to do with the band's punishing tour schedule, or indeed where the topic of the Vines having a message fits in, you also start to wonder how much of this is for real, and how much of it is a defence mechanism, a rather long-winded method of telling you to mind your own business.

Throughout it all, Matthews never attempts to clarify or correct anything his bandmate says. Although he is apparently flummoxed by the simplest of inquiries, Nicholls occasionally reveals a sharp humour and self-awareness: "I always say to the other guys, if you want to throw a TV out of a hotel room window, then do it just before you leave the hotel, because there might be something you want to watch."

In addition, he frequently appears to be sidestepping awkward questions by the simple expedient of behaving as if you have asked something completely different. He replies to an inquiry about how American audiences - who are famously unstinting in their desire for professionalism onstage - have received some of The Vines more outré performances with a lengthy anecdote about how much he likes 1990s alt-rock band Pavement.

He claims that Rob Schnapf, has been attempting to school him in interview technique, although it is unclear precisely what Schnapf has told him, which tends to suggest his schooling has failed: "He's given me advice about interviews. I'd be sitting there, saying 'Oh! I can't explain it, I can't explain it! I've opened this can of worms and now there's all worms hanging out and it looks really ugly!' And he's just saying, yeah, you know? He's played in bands before. We can relate to him on that level. He has great depth to him."

He suddenly sounds angry. "You see the thing is, actually, I'm not a f*****g lunatic. People say to me, you know, maybe I could cancel our next tour and check myself into an insane asylum. I'm not necessarily proud of it, but I'm not ashamed of it either, because we make songs. As a band that's how it works, you put yourself out there, sharing yourself and your music with people. You hope they might connect with it. They might come up to you and say "hey man, I like your album"! And then maybe other ones go "yeah."

He gives up on that train of thought, and unexpectedly returns to a much earlier one, about which he seems to have changed his mind. "I'm not trying to say that I'm really quiet and all the other guys are loud," he concludes.

"We're all as messed up as each other. Yeah." His leg still bouncing up and down, he goes back to staring out his chickenburger.