Phew – we can’t stand all this excitement! And it’s still only TWO weeks away – how will we contain ourselves until then? A man who knows all about the magic combination of excitement and steam trains is Sheffield’s Pete Green – who has put in two cracking performances at Indietracks previously and is returning this year with his band The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut – yay! Inspired by Indietracks back in the early days, Pete wrote the fantastic, poignant song Hey Dr Beeching, which talks about the man who originally closed down all of the railways, and which is now available to download. It’s completely free (see details of the mp3 below) but steam train fanatic Pete is asking if fans might like to make a small donation to the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway.
We caught up with Mr Green himself to find out a bit more about his and t’Juggernaut’s plans for the festival…
Hello there Pete Green and your Corporate Juggernaut!! Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut do sparkly pop songs about love, trains, pubs, patience, optimism, lower-division football and the NME being rubbish.
I write and sing the songs and play the guitar and I like trains and cats and Stephen Fry and stripy tops and lots of predictable things like that. People call me twee but I have an inner emo, so all my happy-sounding pop tunes are secretly about decay and death. Dan plays the bass (he plays it very well, in fact), comes from Rotherham, has an extensive wardrobe of excellent T-shirts and is always getting poorly and nearly fainting at band practice. Rob doesn’t really like indiepop but he used to be in Monkey Swallows the Universe and I really liked them, plus you have to make allowances for drummers really, don’t you? He can play the drum beat from ‘Walk This Way’ as well, which is frankly amazing.
The three football teams supported by the three members of the band – Grimsby Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton & Hove Albion – were all relegated together from the same division in the same season a few years ago. This means we’re like football and music blood brothers. Our fates must remain entangled until doomsday, or until Rob’s job means he has to go and live in bloody Middlesbrough, whichever comes sooner.
Our first gig was in May 2008 (although I was playing solo for a little while before that) and we’ve done 22 altogether now – I just counted. Every single one of them has been fun but the Juggernaut loves playing in Nottingham and Hull the best, I think. None of us has got a car so we go to all our gigs by public transport. Last autumn we did a tour and I spent about a week on the National Rail website working out how to get the cheapest advance tickets. It’s a bit of a clat but it means we can spend quality bonding time on the journey talking about our favourite bridges and whether you can still buy long johns and stuff like that.
We’re a Sheffield band but hardly anyone likes us in Sheffield. Dan and Rob know loads of people from the Sheffield in-crowd as well, which you’d think might work to our advantage, but no, still nothing. I think all the cool kids here must see the world through irony-coloured spectacles and my songwriting must just be too honest and pure to work on that level. Or too rubbish. Pure, yeah, that’s it. Pure. Ahem.
Tell us about an unusual place you’ve played a gig in the past
The other year I did a couple of solo gigs in Grimsby, which is a very unusual place indeed. I grew up and played in my first band there, and went back twice in 2005 to play live there for the first time since I left in 1992. It isn’t always a welcoming place, but God bless it, it’s been through a lot. The buildings on the fish docks where my dad used to work have been standing derelict for years – a constant, crushing reminder of failure and neglect and being left behind by bigger, grander places. So the Google Street View car was chased out of Grimsby recently by angry locals waving pitchforks and blazing torches, but I got a bit nicer reception than that – although any unpleasantness would have been dealt with swiftly and decisively by my mum.
Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?
We’re halfway through recording an album with the very lovely Pete Bowers out of Horowitz, which we hope will be finished in the autumn. Unfortunately, that’s exactly when Rob will probably have to leave the band because of his job moving. He turns off power stations so they can do the cleaning. So our exciting plans for the rest of the year will mostly involve trying to find a new drummer instead of promoting the album with a marathon global tour of the East Midlands. If anyone’s reading this who plays the drums and lives within the South Yorkshire commuter zone, please do get in touch! While we’re at it, the same applies to any girls who can play keyboard and sing a bit. Ta!
Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?
Rob does the hardest high-fives in the world. Do a high-five with Rob and your hand will sting like a bastard for about a week. If he could hit the drums that hard, he’d be in a death metal band instead.
Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?
To coincide with the festival we’ve just released a download of ‘Hey Dr Beeching‘, the train song I debuted when I played solo at the 2007 Indietracks. It’s completely free but we’re inviting people to make a small donation to the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway when they download it! It’s available right now at www.sparklemotion.co.uk/beeching.
There are one or two other things which may or may not happen. Dan is contemplating an interesting item of stagewear which would mark him out as an Indietracks hero, but I suspect he might bottle it. We might play a shocking cover. I’m trying to sort out some live samples for ‘Beeching‘. And we’re intending to become a four-piece for part of our set by borrowing a member from another band who seem to be quite popular around Indietracks way. It’s not yet clear how we’ll manage to rehearse, as the other band are based a couple of hundred miles from Sheffield, but then so is my brain during most of our practices, so we ought to muddle through somehow. See you in the queue for a veggieburger. Eeeeeeeeeee!
Thanks Pete – we’re super excited to see what you’ve got in store for us! Make sure you download Hey Dr Beeching from www.sparklemotion.co.uk/beeching asap – it’s perfect for your travelling-to-Indietracks compilations. And don’t forgot your donation – please help to undo a little bit of the damage wrought by the Beeching Axe.