Here comes Troublegum
Therapy? Is a band that needs no introduction, they have been playing for nearly thirty years and recorded one of the most iconic albums of the nineties ‘Troublegum’, a soundtrack to all of us in 1994 and a perfectly constructed record that launched them into stardom. Therapy? Are showing no signs of wanting to slow down and leaving the stage, the Irish trio led by frontman Andy Crains, long-standing drummer Neil Cooper and co-founding bassist Michael McKeegan, has now released their 15th album, ‘Cleave’, a blend of ‘Troublegum’ and ‘Nurse’ but written for the 21st century as Crains puts it. We caught up with Andy himself to discuss the band and the new record.
HMA: Tell me about your new album ‘Cleave’ what is the theme and concept behind it?
Andy Cairns: It’s ten tracks recorded by a producer called Chris Sheldon. Comes out on Marshall Records and it’s a classic sound, really melodic choruses but with excellent riffs, and really good grooves. We’re happier with it than we thought. It sounds a lot better than we thought it would and the songs are a lot better than we would turn out.
HMA: What is the concept behind the artwork, how do you work with the artist and how involved are you in the process?
AC: Yeah he’s an artist in Dublin called Nigel Rolfe, we’ve known him for many years, and he’s a professional artist and performance artist. We always give him some of the lyrics and tell him a few ideas we’ve got, and he comes back with a lot of photographs. He works in photography and lives performance. He shows us everything. He sends us a lot of stuff, and we pick the ones we like.
HMA: Therapy has been around for more than 20 years. What has been so far your most significant achievement and memorable moment and what have you learned over all of this time?
AC: Well the thing is, we learned that the best thing about music is to enjoy the music. We were never concerned about being rock stars, because if we were, then when we got done we would be like “oh no it’s over” and we would’ve gone and done something else. But because we started as a hard-core punk band in Belfast we had four or five years before something new come out, so we just did revisions. I think we have learned to enjoy it while it’s here. Because of we- when ‘Troublegum’ came out, if I’m honest, we were so busy. We did so many tours, and we were always writing. We never did stop anything to say “you know what, this is real” and how it would turn out. It was always like next gig, next gig and next record and next gig. And right now, it’s like, wow this is great, I’m still doing it 30 years later. I think the only thing that I would change would be after ‘Troublegum’. ‘Troublegum’ had only been about out about seven months, and the record company and management were scared that we had to make another record quickly or that the public would lose interest. And we made a follow-up album which we didn’t think about much, and it made us all unhappy. And then when we toured it, we were unhappy. And then I got into a lot of problems with alcohol and drugs. And the only thing I would change would be that if I could go back after ‘Troublegum’, I would say to everyone on the record “look we need six months off and then will all be okay”. Because in that year that ‘Troublegum’ was out, we did three world tours.
HMA: Congratulations, so are you clean now?
AC: I still drink alcohol, but I haven’t touched hard drugs in years.
HMA: Which have been the biggest inspiration and influences for you growing up?
AC: I don’t know I listen to everything. I think that punk music made me want to be a musician, the Buzzcocks, the Ramones, and because I come from Ireland so I like Stiff Little Fingers.
HMA: You did the anniversary tour for ‘Troublegum’, and it was fantastic, are you planning to repeat that with any other album or maybe even repeat the ‘Troublegum’ tour again?
AC: Well, next year is the anniversary of our album called Suicide Pact, and it’s also the 25th anniversary of ‘Troublegum’, and it’s also the bands the 30th anniversary. So I think we’ll do some’ Troublegum’ thing to tie it in with the 30th anniversary, and probably we might do a Suicide Pact show.
HMA: What’s your relationship with ‘Troublegum’?
AC: It bought me my house, that’s my relationship with that album. I love the record. And what I like about it is that so many … I mean, it means so much to me, and what makes me keep doing it is because that record indicates so much to so many people. So people always, to this day, still come up to me in the most unusual places and say that song changed my life, or that song saved me. And that means, oh my God, when people say that. The album after ‘Infernal Love’, I’ve got a difficult relationship with that. I think that’s the only one; the rest of them are fine.
HMA: What is next for Therapy?
AC: We’re going to tour it until next Easter, so March, April. But we’re always writing; we started writing new stuff already. So, I think what’s probably going to happen is we’re going to tour Cleave from September right through probably next summer, and then we might look at what… I don’t know if we’ll do another album straight away, because we have the 30th anniversary. So we might spend next year doing a Troublegum show, touring Cleave, doing shows up on there. But then we’ll always be writing in the background, and then maybe another album in 2020.
Interview by Alex Milazzo – Copyright 2018 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.