A Fool & His Money are an original band writing and recording modern rock music with a unique, but familiar sound. Their influences include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, The Dead Weather & the mighty Soundgarden.
We were looking for a really cool place to meet up and have a chat, finally settling on Diverse Vinyl which is one of the last remaining independent record stores in South Wales. I was there a little early so got to spend some time browsing the quality goods they had on offer, before long, Mike, Greg and Alistair rocked up, we found a few stools next to the 'Easy Listening' section and chatted about debut albums, getting good airplay and a strange penchant for Biochemistry, here's how we got on....
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence....
We are A Fool and his Money and we play Alternative rock with elements of Funk & Progressive Rock
You’re called ‘A Fool and his Money’, how did you come about choosing this name?
Al: Thomas Tusser haunted my bedroom for most of my childhood.
Mike: Haha! We thought it was a cool idea bringing part of an old proverb into a modern rock band!
Where did you record your debut album ‘Machine Gun Artistry’ and what made you choose that studio?
Mike: We decided to record the EP in Alistair’s garage right in the centre of Monmouth during summer, it turned out to be way cheaper! Also when you have the time to experiment, under no pressure and have no outside influence we found it really easy and fun to record. We feel the EP was stronger because of that.
‘Nineteen Holes’ is a great opener to your EP, what was your process of writing this song and what made you go for this order?
Mike: I Came up with the verse and chorus parts on my acoustic and it was originally meant to be a slow blues rock song, but When al and Greg started jamming with it the groove completely changed and it turned into a more rocky song. We ended up picking it for the opener of the EP as we thought it was the most accessible track for people to get into.
You have been getting a good amount of airplay, how does it feel to hear your music on the wireless and what has been the response?
Mike: Weird, one DJ said we were flying the flag for rap rock, I don’t think that’s what we were aiming for haha!
Greg: It feels like quite an achievement, I wasn’t expecting it to happen so quickly.
Al: The response has been good, people seem to dig it. But, as stated: very weird!
Would you rather live with a dog that sings lullabies or a gorilla that can do sign language? Explain your answer
Mike: A gorilla that can do sign language, he could be a great friend to have a conversation with!
Greg: The dog that sings lullabies, it would sing me to sleep & help me get good dreams!
Al: I will have to agree with Mike, an excuse to lean sign language with a talking gorilla is a better reason than many. Just have to be wary of provoking a real like ‘Caeser’ into species separatism and world domination!
‘Psyck’ is the release that you have sent out, it is my highlight of the album, you’ve got a sweet riff is going on there. What was the first guitar riff, drum solo, bass riff and vocal you all heard that sent a chill down your spine and still does today?
Mike: Cheers! For me the first riff I can really remember getting to me was “Message in a Bottle” by the police, I was about 4 and it’s still a great song!
Greg: “Gasoline” by Audioslave for the vocals at least, Chris Cornell just accelerates in to the chorus!
Al: Seeing Tommy Aldridge’s drum solo at a Whitesnake concert as a kid is the reason I started playing drums! Had to scoop my young mind off the floor with a trowel after that one…
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released?
Mike: That Question is totally unanswerable!
Greg: That’s just a horrible question! Not fair at all! But if I had to choose one that stood out in particular production and structure-wise it would be Koi No Yokan by Deftones for me. Its so eclectic and varied!
Al: Impossible to answer. Too many variables to take into account!
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it? (only living members please)
Mike: Chad Smith on drums, les claypool on bass and Eddie vedder on Vocals… that would force me to become a much better Guitarist!
Greg: Bjork on vocals, Justin Chancellor on bass, Stewart Copeland on drums, Johnny Marr on guitar and I’ll play synth!
Al: John Paul Jones on bass, Maynard J. Keenan on vocals and Stefan Koglek on guitar.
Being an unsigned band how hard is it to get noticed and how has social media aided your music?
Mike: It's really tough to break into some area of the media when they can be really insular but social media has really helped us and we’re just having a great time playing together!
Greg: At the moment everybody has gotten extremely lazy because of social media, social media helps but to actually get people to come to gigs is very difficult. People just love being on facebook and talking about gigs and bands but when it actually comes to supporting their friends when they have gigs…you get 50 people who will say they’ll go and then 2 will turn up and you get either rubbish excuses or nothing at all from those who didn’t go. I am more focused now on gaining an audience of new people who are genuinely interested, rather than trying to interest people I already know, because they’re useless.
Al: I’m with Greg – people need to go see more live music!
Before forming the band, what were the three of you upto?
Mike: I was (and still am) hacking my way through my Biochemistry degree at university of Birmingham.
Greg: Just finished uni and have been in full time work doing HR for the last 6 months to fund the band e.t.c.
Al: Still a full time student at Cardiff studying a mixture of Geology and Biochemistry. Spend most of my free time, if not with the band, doing some kind of outdoor sport.
The groove to ‘Skin, Soul and Serenty’ is superb, what is the passion behind this track?
Mike: I think that is definitely my attempt to try and be John Frusciante for 5 minutes! I even threw in an old school backwards guitar solo!
Greg: I used to play jazz and jazz fusion was a big thing for me back then, I thought I’d bring back a taster of that influence for this song on the bass.
Is there something you would like to tell each of the band members that you haven’t told them before?
Mike: Not really, I’d like to think we’re open enough that we’ve already told everyone everything!
Greg: No secrets here!
Al: Nothing to recall!
Did you buy ‘Killing in the Name of’ on the year it reached number one at Christmas?
Mike: I did indeed.
Greg: They were my favourite band at the time, I even got dreadlocks as a tribute! So I’m sure you know the answer to this question haha!
Al: Totally! But wish it could have been Bombtrack or Fistful of Steel (my favourites on the album).
Who designed the artwork for your EP cover?
Mike: That was Al who did 90% of all the artwork for the EP, taught himself photo editing in a week haha!
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as dinner party guests?
Mike: Keith Moon, Ozzy Osborne (circa 1980) and Richard Sharpe… that would be a hell of a party!
Greg: Morrisey, Alison Mosshart & Chris Cornell
Al: Nikola Tesla, Ellen Ripley and Stanley Kubrick
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you suggest the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
Mike: If you like uptown funk, listen to James brown and all the motown greats from the 70s hear what “real” groove is!
Al: Bands such as Colour Haze and My Sleeping Karma have been ‘mind expanders’ recently.
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
Al: HAL 9000 (Space Odyssey)
What are your plans for 2015?
Mike: We have a lot of festivals in south wales coming up over the summer and probably over the winter we’ll get a full LP done too!
The 'Easy Listening' section was getting quite busy, we decided to move over to the 'World/Fusion' stand where we ran through a number of rapid, quickfire style questions in an attempt to break them....
Coffee or Tea?
Coke or Pepsi?
Drum machine or the real deal?
M:the real deal
Al: Real deal by a large margin.
Greg: Real Deal
Mac or PC?
M:mac if I could afford one
Al: PC master race.
Pancake Day or Valentine’s Day?
Al: Pancake day
Greg: Pancake day
Fry up or Sunday roast
Al: Sunday roast
Greg: Sunday Roast
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
CD or Vinyl?
Car or Motorbike?
Al: motorbike and a modified M1887
Acoustic or electric?
Alive or Jeremy?
M: Alive, I’m a sucker for a good guitar solo
Shower or Bath?
Tattoos or Piercings?
Al: neither for me also
Greg: piercings but not over the top
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino?
M: De Niro
Al: De Niro
Greg: De Niro
God or Google?
We'd like to thank the guys for taking time out of their hectic social calendars to have a chat and we wish them every success for the future....If you can spare a few minutes, why not check out their sites below, all the links are in place, all you need do is click!
If you're interested in music, make sure you checkout Diverse Vinyl the next time you find yourself in Newport, they can be located at 10 Charles Street, Newport, NP20 1JU
Interview by Mark Wincott