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As I was staring into pages of Metro held up by the person sitting in front of me on the bus the other day, I noticed a feature which might interest some of you. It's a short interview with Brett Anderson.


Brett Anderson, 43, is frontman with ’90s Britpop outfit Suede. The band scored eight top ten hits before splitting in 2003. He teamed up again briefly with guitarist Bernard Butler in The Tears. Suede have reunited for a UK tour and greatest hits collection.

What were you most proud of achieving with the band?

Songs like The Wild Ones and the Dog Man Star album in general I’m very proud of. The recent Albert Hall show was a very special, ephemeral moment. We hadn’t played together for seven years and there was a certain frisson in the room because of that.

Why did you stay together after the Albert Hall?

It was spontaneous. We all half expected to say: ‘That was good but let’s not do it again’ but it was so special we felt there was gas left in the tank. We don’t know what the future holds. If it still feels special we’ll carry on, if not we’ll stop. When we finished in 2003 it was because it had become routine and uninspiring. If it becomes like that again we’ll stop.

Will you do another album?

It’s tricky. Bands reforming then doing new albums – it’s very hard to do it well. I’m not sure anyone’s done it. People want to hear the songs from the band’s heyday. We’ve got a duty to the fans not to ruin the legacy.

Do you think anyone’s ripped you off over the years?

I wouldn’t put it that way. I see bands we’ve influenced in terms of spirit. I was talking to Jamie from The Klaxons yesterday and he said he was a huge fan when Suede first started and we inspired him. I’ve heard the same from Kele from Bloc Party. It’s lovely to have passed on that inspiration. That’s what we got the Q Award for. I was inspired by the Sex Pistols and The Smiths when I was a kid. It’s nice to be part of that chain. Pop music is a beautiful, powerful force and it needs to be kept in good hands.

Is it in the wrong hands of talent shows at the moment?

When there’s something really cheesy in the mainstream like The X Factor it inspires something in the counter culture to oppose it. The interesting flipside is with people like Bat For Lashes – people making exciting left-field music. It’s a reaction to the dross in the mainstream.

Is it more difficult now compared to when you started?

It’s changed, you can’t complain about it. Because live music pays better than making records people are being rewarded for not being creative. Time spent in the studio creating new music is sacred to me. If you’re rewarded for that less, that’s not a good thing.

What was the first record you bought?

Never Mind The B******* by The Sex Pistols. I bought it when I was 12. They were the first band I loved. They’re the most important band ever. They turned music on its head and reinvented what it was to be a performer.

You had a hard-core following. Did any fans take it a bit too far?

I hate it when you see famous people complaining about their lot because it’s in the nature of what they wanted in the first place. You can’t accept the adoration, then complain about the intrusion. It’s part of the pact you’ve entered. There is a sinister side which I’ve had experience of but you have to accept it if you excite people.

When did you learn to drive?

Three years ago. My dad was a taxi driver and he wanted me to learn to drive when I was a teenager so I could drive a taxi. I had a fear of that so deliberately never learned. When you’re in a successful band you don’t need to do anything for yourself. When I split the band up I had to rebuild myself as a person and teach myself how to engage with life on my own. Part of that process was learning to drive. I love the independence of driving now.

Will you write your memoirs?

No. If I did they’d stop before I started making records. I have no interest in writing about the Britpop years. I can’t think of anything more tedious. It’s so obvious. How many more idiots do you want talking about it?

Suede play the O2 Arena, London on December 7. The Best Of Suede is out now.

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