Celebrating the anniversary of a particular album has become a viable means for many vintage bands to tour these days – and Cud, the reformed indie outfit from Leeds, have followed the trend.
Last year the four-piece played their 90s albums, When In Rome, Kill Me and Leggy Mambo, in Leeds and London.
This time, says singer Carl Puttnam, they’re “inexplicably” toasting the 23rd anniversary of Asquarius.
“I don’t know if you’ve read any of the Illuminati books by Robert Anton Wilson but that’s the thing: 23,” he says. “We used to be into that stuff once upon a time so we could pretend that’s why we’re doing it.”
Perhaps more relevantly, he adds, the band enjoy the “challenge” of trying to recreate records from their past.
“It’s not like we’re trying to sell records any more – we have had a single out last year and a single out the year before and we’ve got an album on the way – but in the meantime we’re giving ourselves challenges, like this tour.
“We’ve probably only played three or maybe four songs from Asquarius live before.
“When we got together again and started playing we played a load of songs that were our ‘greatest hits’ and we’ve got more of them than we play in a set. We’ve got a pool of songs that we’ve played over and over again and now we’ve just gone out and played at least half of the set that we’ve never played live ever. It’s fun, that’s the kind of thing that excites us.”
As for what he remembers of the making of a record which spawned the hit Rich and Strange and was once rated among the dozen essential Britpop albums by the music magazine Q, Puttnam quips: “Aggro, mainly.
“The main part of it we recorded in Castleford, in Woodlands [studio], and the record company really hated us being there, the London-based industry.
“They were, like, ‘You can do it in this place in Sutton and Cheam, on the Thames or whereever, or somewhere in Chiswick and we were, like, ‘No, we want to do it there, in Castleford because it’s a great studio’ and they hated it because it meant it took them a day to come and see us.
“The thing is they don’t even come and see you because they want to, they just come and see you because they’ve got to, just pop in and go ‘Urrrgh’ and go out again. If we’d been in the West End that would’ve taken them 15 minutes but because it was Castleford it was four or four hours there and back.
“It just gave them an idea of us being difficult to work with which was what we weren’t at all.
“On top of that the guy that produced it [Jon Langford, founder of Leeds punk band The Mekons] had a bereavement in his family and everyone was drinking too much and loads of stuff like that.
“It was a funny era and I find it weird listening to it now because all of my lyrics have always been pretty personal – at least to me – they might be in a code that I understand – and it’s really strange, it’s like looking back through my old diaries and I find myself remembering nice things and then cringing like hell. What was I doing? What was I thinking? It’s making me remember all the things I did at the time and that didn’t happen when we did Leggy Mambo and When in Rome, I don’t know why but it was like the most cringeworthy part of my life. summed up in that record.”
Looking forwards, Puttnam says Cud’s long-awaited sixth studio album may not be too far from completion. “There’s one guy in the collective who thinks that the album is finished as soon as you’ve got enough songs to fill it but I’m not of that persuasion. By his reckoning we’ve done the album but I don’t think so. If we were on a major label then that probably would be the case – once you’ve got the songs maybe you throw a couple away – but I want every song to be really good so I think it’ll be a while yet. It won’t be finished until next year but it’ll be good when it’s finished, hopefully. No one will listen to it, no one will play it on the radio but we’ll be really proud of it, there won’t be anything wrong in it.”
Cud play at The Wardrobe on Saturday. For details visit http://www.cudband.com/