Call the British band Editors what you want: post-punk, black-clad, serious-faced music drama queens. Whatever the description, things seem to be working out pretty well.
The quartet’s debut album, “The Back Room,” was shortlisted for the prestigious Mercury Prize and went to No. 2 in the UK; follow-up “An End Has a Start,” released in June, went all the way to No. 1. Sure, the group’s atmospheric, guitar-driven sound has more than a passing resemblance to the work of groups like Interpol and Joy Division, but there are worse bands to be compared to.
Bandmates Tom Smith, Chris Urbanowicz, Russell Leetch and Ed Lay met at Staffordshire University, where the four were studying music technology. Drummer Lay says they all graduated “with varying degrees of success,” but he is perfectly happy living the touring life that affords him the opportunity to sightsee in places he might not otherwise visit.
“We’re in a pretty privileged position being taken around in a tour bus around the whole of the United States. It would be pretty foolish of me just to stay in the bunk and neglect all of the sights that are around me. I always try to get out a little bit,” he says. We caught up with him on the band’s recent stop in Philadelphia.
So what did you check out today?
I’ve just been up the “Rocky” steps in Philadelphia. I’m feeling charged up.
Unfortunately not wearing sweatpants, just a pair of jeans that were a little bit too tight for the job at hand. But you do really, as soon as you get on those things - you just want to run. It’s incredible. They’re just too big to walk up, so you need to get more of a stride on it. And it’s a fantastic view. We’ve been to Philly a couple of times, but I’ve never seen it before, so I made the effort to take a few pictures for the scrapbook. The only goal of the day was to get to the top of those steps before soundcheck. So now however the gig goes, it doesn’t really matter to me anymore. My day’s been pretty good.
Do you have any plans for Detroit?
I’ve already been to my favorite place, which is the Magic Stick. I don’t know. I’d quite like to go to the Detroit Tigers. I’d quite like to go and watch them play. I’m a bit of a baseball guy. They’ve got that new field.
You could also check out Tiger Stadium before they tear it down. They just auctioned off all the seats and urinals and such.
What about the foul pole? You could have gotten like a big yellow field line post. I’d quite like that in my garden. That’d be a pretty good focal point for the surrounding area.
How did you become a baseball fan? Seems a little odd for a guy who grew up in Ipswich.
When I had a (crappy) job, I was trying to break the monotony by staying up really late and going out with my friends and stuff, and whenever I would get back home, they would have late-night sports on this TV channel. And it was invariably American sports because of the time delay. So I’d get in at midnight and there’s a game just starting, so I used to watch all sorts. Ice hockey was pretty good, but it’s very difficult to see. I had very bad reception on my telly so you could never see the puck. So I settled for baseball because it’s boring enough to send you off to sleep and you don’t really miss anything if you do fall asleep for a bit and then wake up. It’s still going on and not much happened. Great boredom sport.
What’s your favorite team?
For some reason, I was quite into the Arizona Diamondbacks. I don’t really understand why. All my different favorite teams are in different cities. My favorite football team is the Chicago Bears because I used to have a Chicago Bears top; it was a picture of a teddy bear holding a football running along on my Chicago Bears jersey. So I followed them. Then I have the Toronto Maple Leafs because I don’t really understand why they’re called the Maple Leafs and not the Maple Leaves. So I dig them.
// Notes from the Road
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