The Levellers

Interviews | Sep 4th, 2008

Theres no hiding it. The Levellers are one of my favorite bands. Everything they have released is absolutely brilliant including their brand new album Letters from the Underground. It was released in the UK in August 2008 but there is currently no release date set for the USA. ReadJunk.com had the opportunity to send over some questions to Jeremy Cunningham of the Levellers. This is what he had to say:

“Letters From The Underground” is about to be released and I think its one of your best albums! Is it a little daunting to try to follow-up on an album that is (or will be) so well-received?
No, can always do better.

Tell me a little about the writing & recording process. How was it writing the album in Ireland?
I wrote a whole load of lyrics and the band went off to Ireland and got drunk for a week or 2. Then we all went to Cornwall with Sean Lakeman and argued until we had a rockin album. Full contact creativity.

With the song “Burn American Burn,” are you worried that it will be perceived in a different light, even though it has underlining meanings?
The song is about the college shooting at Virginia Tech where 32 students and teachers died. That event is used as an example of how America is burning itself down from the inside Simple as that. We also have T-shirts which read Burn UK Burn, So we dont see ourselves innocent either.

Since the band has been around for more than 20 years and has a very dedicated following, what is the overall appeal of the band that makes people enjoy the shows and follow the band around all over the world?
Were honest to the people who pay our wages by coming to see us and buying our records. And were a fucking good band with something interesting to say!

Have you found it harder to tour in certain countries & cities because of the current economy (i.e. USA)? What are some of the cities/countries youd like to play that you havent in awhile?
We get to most places we need to go. USA is tricky because of the economy and travel overheads. Same with Japan and Australia, we still get about though

Whats the biggest misconception about the Levellers?
That we live in a commune and have dogs on strings.

As musicians that use their free speech in there writings and music, how do you feel about celebrities, standing on there soap boxes about politics, religion, and world affairs?
Im not bothered, will listen to anyone who has something interesting to say. No one trusts politicians but no one takes enough direct action. Thats partly why we wrote Letters, because no musicians especially have addressed these world issues, let alone the more intimate UK ones.

Whats the best/worst experience youve had in America?
The worst is the endless traveling to get anywhere. Us Europeans are not used to those distances between towns. Best bits, everything else – I especially like NYC and Seattle. Cable is pretty good and the ice cream.

What are your thoughts on the US presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain?
Were all in for Obama. Need someone like him for the UK too.

What’s the most successful thing about throwing your own festival (Beautiful Days Festival)? Would you bring on musicians the band is not necessarily a fan of, or is it about working with bands that share the same ideals & values that The Levellers do?
No, we have plenty of bands were not fans of, but if the audience wants them (via the website www.beautifuldays.org); well do our best to get em. As long as theyre not completely right-wing wankers. Weve got a very good booking agent & organization so credit goes to them. We just turn up and get out of our minds for 3 days! Were a fucking liability.

Whats in store for the Levellers in the coming months and 2009? *Please say youre touring the US, Please say youre touring the US*
Were touring the USA*

*may not be true

Thanks to Jeremy for the interview! Be sure to buy “Letters from the Underground” because it’s an amazing album! You can hear the new songs on their MySpace page here. You can also visit their official site here.

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