Gig preview: Wheatus at Warehouse 23, Wakefield

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Catching up with Brendan B. Brown from the comfort of his living room in New York, I wanted to find out exactly what Wheatus had been up to.

It’s 14 years since their biggest single Teenage Dirtbag so where have they been in the meantime?

“Last year we put out the Valentine LP with a 36-date tour in the UK and Ireland, then we put out a single with Josh Devine and Sandy Beales (the drummer and bassist from One Direction) which was a song called Only You,” explains Brown.

“We also played the British Summer Time festival and then we started rehearsals for this tour, which was pretty intense getting everything ready.”

Learning about One Direction releasing a cover version of Teenage Dirtbag, I wanted to know exactly how Brendan felt about it. “I feel pretty wonderful about it, actually, I mean they’re introducing it to a whole new generation of kids, and as an artist or a musician, you can’t really complain about that these days. It’s wonderful.”

But how does he feel about ‘manufactured’ pop bands and artists and the impact of competitions like X Factor and American Idol on the music industry?

“Well, they don’t really have much to do with what I do for a living, it’s almost like asking me what I think of plumbers. I mean, I write some songs for Wheatus and record them in our own studio, release them all independently.

“We’ve never been managed, imaged, or promoted by any multinational company for 15 years or whatever it is at this point, so again it’s apples and oranges.

“I have complete admiration for anyone that can come up through that system who can maintain their integrity and go on to be an artist who feels their own persona is represented by their work, and that’s fine.

“I’ve had a few glimpses in to the workings of the One Direction ‘machine’, and you know, it’s a real band on that stage, playing that stuff.

“You know, I’ve worked with them. They have got the best and brightest up there playing that music, and those songs are very well written, and the only thing that I don’t really have in common with them is the celebrity aspect of things, but that is down to my own ambitions.

“I don’t have now, or never actually had any celebrity ambition.”

Wheatus play at Warehouse 23, Wakefield tonight. For details visit http://www.wheatus.com/

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