With their fourth album, ‘Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied’, now on the shelves, SHOOT managed to catch up with two-thirds of the Glaswegian band The Fratellis to get the lowdown on their love for Celtic.
Best known for their Top 10 hits ‘Chelsea Dagger’ and ‘Whistle For The Choir’; Jon, Barry and Mince Fratelli are preparing for the remainder of their tour in the United Kingdom until mid-September.
The Fratelli’s, whose band name originated from the criminal family in the 1985 blockbuster movie ‘The Goonies’, then move onto the likes of Canada, USA, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, France, Austria and Italy after launching their brand new album onto the shelves.
Having won the ‘Best British Breakthrough Act’ at the 2007 BRIT Awards, the Fratelli’s are back on tour with some fresh material to treat their fans too after a temporarily split between 2010 and 2012.
We managed to catch up with Baz (Barry Wallace) and Jon (John Lawler) before the band’s gig at London’s Borderline on Wednesday night to talk about their passion for Celtic, last season’s league and cup double, their stance on Old Firm rivals Rangers and Bhoys boss Ronny Deila.
You release your fourth album ‘Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied’ today. What can we expect from your latest release? Plus, how did you come about with the name for your new album?
Baz: We are very proud of it. We are not going to lie and say it is the best thing we have ever done, although it probably is. We recorded it with Tony Hoffer, who produced our first album. We are quite pleased with it.
Jon: It is the best album we recorded last year! [The name] was just a line from a song that we recorded, but it didn’t make the record in the end. With us; it is best just to find a name quite quickly. Saves arguments.
The Fratellis remain on tour in the UK until mid-September, including dates at London, Birmingham and your hometown Glasgow. What is it like to tour around the UK, especially in the city you grew up in?
Baz: Yeah, it is always good. I mean we always enjoy playing shows just anywhere. I think you said that the other day, each gig sort of has its hometown crowd.
Jon: Anyone that wants to see you play. Glasgow has the added advantage of being able to sleep in your own bed after the gig. But it would be so unfair to single anywhere out. We are just lucky that we get to go around and play at all. It is not that it would be unfair; it would just be that it is not true. You can have great gigs in the most unexpected places.
How did you get into football?
Baz: I guess it is the same from any city. I grew up in Glasgow and football was everywhere, all over the place. I went to games with my Dad when I was younger and tried to play during my schooldays. But I realised I wasn’t very good, so I started playing guitar instead. That worked out quite well!
Jon: Yeah it was a culture thing really. In certain places, maybe it is slightly different now, kids have got other things to do.
Baz: There is a thing called computers. You know, when we were kids we were always out every night playing football. Mince hasn’t really grown into it, but it seemed to be all he did as a kid.
How did you both become Celtic fans? Do you get many chances to go to Celtic Park?
Baz: Again, it was just because my Dad was a Celtic fan, not that anything was forced on me. I am sure I could have been a fan of any other club I could have chosen to be, but I ended up a Celtic fan. I don’t go to [Celtic Park] as often as I would like. But whenever I get the opportunity, I go. I am looking forward to taking my son to his first Celtic game, so hopefully we can get that sorted out this season.
Jon: He’ll probably ask you, “Who’s that?”
Baz: He knows! I live in England now you see, so we have a local team that his grandparents are trying to force him to become a supporter of. But I am not having it! So, he is going to be a Celtic fan.
What are your earliest memories of supporting Celtic?
Baz: My earliest memories were of them doing pretty well. It went a bit downhill…
Jon: There was a certain point in our late teens, perhaps 1989 and onwards, that we suffered a horrible time. My first memory was the last game of the season in 1985-86. Celtic had to score five goals to win the league. And they did it! On the last day of the season; I think Hearts were top all year. I just remember that is was on everybody’s radio. So I must have been about seven then.
Baz: I can’t remember what I did last week! Let alone when I was seven.
Last season; Celtic strolled to their 46th Scottish Premiership title after also lifting their 15th Scottish League Cup. Can you sum up last season’s achievements as a fan for us?
Baz: It was nice because obviously a new manager came in fairly recently and everybody was giving him a little bit of stick because it wasn’t going the way the fans wanted it to go straight away. But I am a big believer in managers of any club if you give them time to bed in and settle in. And unfortunately I just don’t think they get that time these days. So yeah, I am quite glad everyone has come around Ronny Deila’s way and it is all good.
Jon: It is probably more pressure than you think. You can’t lose. You can’t manage that club and not win the league. I wouldn’t want that stress. Probably a bit unfair.
Ronny Deila was appointed manager of Celtic only last summer, how well do you think the Norwegian has fared so far in Scotland?
Baz: I think he is doing really well. He has done a great job now. The fans are behind him. I think the Celtic fans want someone in that position that is as passionate as they are and he certainly appears to be made of that stuff. Managers just do not get the chance these days, so it would be nice to have someone that actually sticks around for a good amount of time because that is when I think he can genuinely show what we brought him in to do.
Do you miss your club’s rivalry with Old Firm derby opponents Rangers in the top flight?
Baz: Do you know what, yeah! I didn’t think I would.
Jon: I don’t miss them. It is too stressful. There were certain seasons; I remember one season, when there were seven Old Firm derbies. There must have been a couple of replays in the cup ties. It is just horrendous.
Baz: Now I don’t say this as a biased Celtic fan, but it is going to take them time to rebuild the organisation again. People forget that they are not the same club they were before they went down.
The club signed Turkish striker Nadir Ciftci from Dundee United earlier this summer, in a deal worth £1.5m. Do you think he was a good buy? Is Ciftci what the club needs?
Baz: Is anybody a good buy for that sort of money these days? It is a lot of money. The money that footballers get is absolutely ridiculous.
Jon: I think it is amazing! I would love it.
Baz: I would love it, yeah. But who knows. I don’t even know what a good buy is anymore, especially when you compare the prices that Celtic pay to those in the Premiership. It is hard to gauge. Who knows what the guy is worth? Yeah, we probably did need him. I mean I quite like Leigh Griffiths, but a lot of people don’t.
What has been your best memory of supporting Celtic?
Baz: Got to be Sevilla during the UEFA Cup run. It was just incredible. Getting all the way to the final and getting sorely beat. Yeah, that is probably my favourite memory.
Jon: We won 6-2 in a Rangers game. I think that was my first Old Firm game. And it was totally unexpected. We were 3-0 up within 12 minutes and it was one of those rare sun filled Glasgow days.
Baz: That sort of scoreline, back then, just didn’t happen.
And your lowest moment?
Jon: Past the whole 1989 period, there was just nothing to keep you going at that point. I remember Rangers had said, or the Chairman at the time said, “For every fiver Celtic would spend, Rangers would spend a tenner”. And that kind of summed it up. And they got what they paid for. And we got what we paid for. So it was all a bit grim at that point – that whole period. Well actually there was one…. No! It was all grim.
Baz: There was one period that I can remember; when Tommy Burns started managing, then when [Wim] Jansen came in and guys like that. But before that it was pretty grim and pretty bleak.
Who are your favourite players to play for Celtic?
Baz: Always Henrik Larsson. He still is my favourite player to this day. But again there is so many. Lubomir Moravcik was another during that time, Chris Sutton and John Hartson; just that whole magic period. No disrespect to anyone that plays now, but it is a different level.
Jon: It is funny because I still associate Kenny Dalglish more with Celtic than I would with Liverpool. Which; by the time I was old enough, he had gone.
Does the other Fratellis band mate, Mince, like football? Plus, are you two competitive with any fantasy team games or anything like that?
Baz: I don’t know what he [Mince] likes.
Jon: Well, there is a sport he likes. He quite likes pole dancing. That is fairly sporty.
Baz: He is a fitness guru, so he is always looking after his body. I think he just pipes up sometimes about football just to wind me up by saying he is interested in whoever I don’t like. But no; I don’t think he is really a football fan. No, we’re not competitive. But maybe we should be. We will start our own tour Subbuteo league. You see people used to pick them [players] up which used to annoy me. One of my mates used to do that.
Jon: I think that is called cheating!
Baz: But yeah, that would be quite funny on a moving bus.
Jon: I brought my son Subbuteo about six years ago for Christmas. We set it up on the table and got the fences ready and stuff. And with one play; he goes, “What the hell is this?” Never again. Just didn’t get into it.
The Fratellis – Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied – Out Now!
Stream – po.st/EWTTstream2
Download – http://po.st/EWTTiTunesDLX2