The Rain Is Over Now – A Chat With The Main Grains
Pure Rawk last caught up with Main Grains frontman Danny McCormack a couple of years ago in the run-up to the band’s debut mini-album Don’t Believe Everything You Think. Since then, things have kicked along at a fair old pace for the band with a well-received second release, last year’s The Rain Is Over Now EP and frequent bouts of touring. Danny may also now be back in his old band The Wildhearts after a decade-plus break, but with a Main Grains full debut album imminent, there doesn’t seem to be any signs of things slowing down, and all four of the band (plus their roadie and Idol Dead frontman Polly Phluid), were nice enough to take some time out to chat to us prior to the London leg of their recent tour supporting Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors…
So first things first, how’s the tour been?
DANNY (vocals/bass): Eventful! Great gigs, but we’ve found out the hard way we’re not so good at looking after our car keys. I lost my car keys the night before we were supposed to play Cardiff which is why we didn’t make that gig. We ended up stuck in a pub of all places, the Waterloo in Buxton, we were all sat round a fire under duvets drinking vodka!
GINNA (drums): There’s worse places to get stranded…
We should probably start at the beginning with you guys – how did the band get together?
JJ (guitar): Oh here we go…
D: Richie Ramone was playing a gig in York and he wanted some weed, and a friend of mine had some. So we both drove down to York to see Richie Ramone, and the support band was the Modern Day Dukes who had Ben as their guitarist, and Polly was playing there with the Idol Dead as well. I remember seeing Ben and I thought he was a great guitarist, then I ran into JJ and I thought he was a drummer because of his fantastic arms! And we all got talking and I was ready to do a band again; I mean I was deliberately going out looking for musicians to form a new group. So I thought why not try York.
JJ: …and you got stuck with me!
D: Yeah, I got stuck with JJ! And JJ knew Ginna and Ben was playing in the Modern Day Dukes that night. I saw him play that night and thought he’d be ideal, then I met him and realised he was a lovely lad as well. I was fuckin’ wrong but mistakes happen y’know… (laughter from the others) So the band forming pretty much revolved around a weed deal!
What sort of influences do you guys have when it comes to The Main Grains sound?
D: Gas and glue! No, I mean The Ramones are obviously a big influence. The Pistols…
JJ: Somebody’s gotta say Wildhearts…
D: Yeah, The Wildhearts and The Yo-Yo’s – Ginna, JJ and Ben are all big Yo-Yo’s fans. And so am I funnily enough!
JJ: And Motley Crue…
Ben (guitar): And Whitesnake…
D: Fuckin’ hell lads!
G: 50s and 60s rock ‘n’ roll, and 70s punk – I think that sums it up.
Are we right in thinking there’s an album on the way later this year?
D: Yeah, it should be some time this year, I’ve got four more songs to write for it. I’m writing songs all the time, but I’m my own biggest critic, they don’t come in as often as I’d like. When they do come in, they’re corkers – we’ve got a new one in the set tonight called Unsung Heroes and it’s a belter. And I want them all to be like that, to be really strong songs.
JJ: The other thing is that because we’ve been gigging so much recently, we’ve not had time to sit in a practice room and work on songs. The ones we’ve worked on have become great, but we haven’t had time to work on all of them.
Danny, there’s also a new Wildhearts album due out this year – how does splitting your time between that and The Main Grains work?
D: Oh yeah, it’s easy as long as the dates don’t clash. The thing is that Ginger, CJ and Ritch can only work a certain amount of the year, whereas I can work all year. So The Wildhearts’ downtime is Main Grains prime time, and vice versa. I’ve totally got time in my life for two bands, and these lads are really understanding about it and so are Ginger and the others. There’s enough of me to go round – I’ve done nothing for ten years so I’m gagging to do as much as I can now!
All four of you have been in the music business for quite a few years now – what advice would you give any bands who are just starting out nowadays?
D: Don’t bother! (all laugh)
G: Don’t do it for the money.
D: No, do it ‘cos you love it.
JJ: Don’t be a dick – I think that’s the best advice.
G: Just pick up an instrument and go out there and enjoy yourself.
D: Get in a band with your friends, because it’s a long journey when you’re stuck in a band and you hate somebody.
JJ: Aye, we’ve found that out on this tour… (all laugh)
As well as the album, what else can we expect from The Main Grains in the near future?
We’ve got some dates coming up in June, we’re doing Camden Rocks, Bedford Esquires and the Fulford Arms in York. But basically this year it’s all getting the album done.
Polly, anything you want to update us on with stuff coming up with the Idol Dead?
Polly: We’ve got the Idol Decade coming up. This November, we’ve having a ten year celebration, and we’ll be doing a full weekend of music and that’s basically what I’m gonna push. While I’m piggy-backing on my friends’ interview here!
JJ: Haven’t you guys got a tour coming up?
P: Oh shit yeah! Yeah, we’re touring in May as well so look out for that.
D: If anyone’s about you should go see them, the record’s shite but they’re amazing live! No, they really are a great live band, you should all go see them because you can’t help but be entertained by these guys. Barefoot as well, never mind Zola Budd he’s Zola Phluid!
P: Is that why you brought me on this tour, to be your dancing monkey?
B: Yeah but you’ve performed well…
JJ: So well he couldn’t remember his one line in the interview!
Anything else you guys want to talk about before we finish?
D: Just to say come and see us live, tell yer friends and we’ll hopefully see you there.
G: Yeah, come see us, spread the word, get some merch and help keep us on the road!
Many thanks to the Main Grains for taking the time out to talk to Pure Rawk. You can visit the band’s official site at www.themaingrains.com which has details of all the band’s upcoming live dates and where you can also download both the Don’t Believe Everything You Think mini-album and The Rain Is Over Now EP. You can also catch the band live at the upcoming Camden Rocks Festival on June 2nd.