Spencer Speaks! An interview with MFC Chicken's front man.
In the fine tradition of Frost/Nixon in this exciting episode of 1537 I give you my no-holds-barred interview with Spencer Evoy, lead vox and sax from, the 1537 2012 ‘Album of The Year’ winners, MFC Chicken!!
- Thrill! – As we find out what would drive him to kill!
- Gasp! – As I finally reveal his favourite breed of chicken!
- Writhe! – At the man’s arrogance!
- Awe!* – At Mr Evoy’s twist prowess!
- Bellow! – As I unmask his hitherto unknown sheep connection!
Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen! Very yes indeed! Now it is time to park the exclamation marks and return to our narrative.
I always say that you can never truly interview a man until you know him and my, ex-Royal Marine Commando, granny always told me that you can never truly know a man until you have both faced certain death together and triumphed. So, haphazardly bolting both of these ideas together I arranged for Spencer and I to trek to the little known, Maxu-Picculanas mountains in South America in search of the Lost Temple of the Ancients – we found it, no big deal; then I arranged for us to kidnap the warlord holding the Fingustani region in thrall to his cruel reign of lawless terror and bring him back to justice – got him, couple of minor scratches, no big deal. So despairing of ever making the proper interviewisational breakthrough I suggested we go for a late night chicken meal after last orders on Holloway Road – after the ambulances went, the interview just flowed.
On a scale of 1-10 just how Canadian are you? prove it.
- I think I’m about a 7. I like my pancakes literally floating in maple syrup, I’m pretty skilled with a canoe paddle, and I often apologise when people bump into me, even if was clearly their fault.
How did you fetch up in London? Are you on the lam from irate husbands? fleeing a broken heart? a Canadian spy?
- If I told you that, I’d have to kill you! Not because the answer is top-secret, but because it’s a bit mundane and I’d rather maintain an aura of mystery.
You are the only person/people to use the word ‘chick’ in a non-poultry context as much as I do. Is it a 50’s thing for you too? if so, what makes it such an attractive decade for you? What would you bring back from the 50’s? (I’m going for pointy bras, personally!)
- I think it is partially a 50’s thing, partially a poultry thing, and partially still used in Canada to this day. I love 50’s style in general. And the excitement, wildness and wackiness inherent in 50’s rock n roll and R&B is obviously appealing to me. I’d bring most of it back gladly, save of course for the sexism, social conservatism and lingering racial inequality. Probably could do without those bits.
Is ‘Pocahontas’ a true story?**
- It’s loosely based on a true story. Perhaps not loosely enough for comfort.
Is ‘DJ Booth’ a true story?
- It’s the true story of nearly every weekend of my existence. When not playing live I’m often spinning records, and the experience of dealing with the general public’s taste has made me lose most of my faith in humanity.
Am I right to hear a bit of Joe Meek here and there in Solid Gravy?
- Certainly! I’m a big Joe Meek fan, and our former bassist and co-writer on many of the Solid Gravy! tracks, Bret Bolton, is an even bigger fan. He moved into a flat on Holloway road just to have an address on the same road as Joe Meek’s former studio.
Name three records you couldn’t live without.
- Judging by my inability to part with even one of my many hundreds of records even when short of cash, I think narrowing it down to three would be too stressful to even think about.
You’re on a great label, Dirty water Records, I love their whole aesthetic. How important is the way your LPs look to you? (I bought the 1st one based solely on the cover).
- Nearly as important as how they sound. I want someone to buy it because of how good it looks, then continuously play because of how good it sounds.
Favourite breed of chicken?
- I’m gonna go with the Chantecler, for its Canadian origin, ability to lay eggs in cold weather, and tastiness^.
First we got the Launderette and now you’ve brought us the Voodoo Chicken - I miss the idea of kids working hard to learn the latest dances every week, is it an idea that buzzes you too? and how is your watusi-ing these days?
- It buzzes me big time. A lot of the 7 inch singles I’ve got are dance-craze based. I’m a pretty mean twister, but I still need to work on my watusi.
How often are you out there gigging? How was your recent jaunt to mainland Europe?
- This year we’ve been gigging most every week. I think our favourite place to play has got to Spain, and our recent jaunt there was wild as ever. I have to say Germany gave Spain a run for its money though; our first jaunt into the Vaterland was pretty damn great, the crowds eagerly put down the Wurst and picked up the chicken with style.
Where is Reverend Parsley’s church?
- The only thing I can say is that it’s not located on the planet we call Earth.
What jobs have you had in the past?
- I briefly worked on a sheep farm, but don’t tell that to the chickens.
Is it true that when you won the coveted 1537 album of the year in 2012, the band were personally congratulated by the prime ministers / presidents of their respective nations?
- I’m not sure about the others, but Steven Harper did send me a commemorative plate with a tastefully airbrushed picture of the Queen riding a moose on it. At first I thought it was a mistake, but now I realise it must have been in regards to this achievement.
How come Solid Gravy! is so Goddamn saucy?
- “If you want it to be boss, you gotta cover it in sauce.” – The Colonel
What’s the most starstruck you’ve ever been meeting someone?
- Probably meeting Gerry Roslie from the Sonics.
Was Solid Gravy! self-produced?
- In a sense it was. Ed Deegan (of Gizzard Studios) engineered it and lent his expertise, I had a strong idea of how I wanted it to sound, and we worked together to make it happen.
Do you realize what a sheer bolt of genius ‘Love is Gonna Fuck You Up’ is? easily my fave new song I’ve heard in years.
- Would it be arrogant to say I totally realised that from the moment I wrote it? If so, just put my answer as “Actually, I just do the best I can and I’m glad folks appreciate it.”
I still think swearing is both clever, funny and big and songs with swearing in the titles are 23% better than songs without - am I right?
- Swearing has got to be done right and in the right context. Then it can be very fucking satisfying, goddamnit.
Are you still in love with all the girls on the tube?
- I’ve narrowed it down to about 75%.
And at that, the great man fixed me with that famously steely look of his, shouldered his sax, threw his chicken bone in the bin and went to meet his destiny, as only a man can^*. We may not see eye-to-eye on the whole question of whether social injustices outweigh pointy bras in the desirability, or otherwise, of reinstating the 1950s, but I feel we got most of the real topics of importance covered. To be honest I cannot imagine a better interview being conducted by anyone, with a better subject in 2014.
Let’s face it you need Music For Chicken and Solid Gravy! in your poultry lives. Buy the man’s LPs, MFC Chicken are the best good-time group in the UK and he’s been game.
PS – Thank you again Spencer for being a great first interviewee.
*can you use the word ‘awe’ in that context? probably not, but you get my drift.
**brilliant track off their latest long player, based around a gentleman’s regret at emailing revealing photographs to an online acquaintance.
^developed in secret by Canadian monks, thought extinct in 1979^^, but rediscovered in the care of various Canadian chicken fanciers.
^^the chickens, not the monks, dummy!
^*not strictly true, but adding all that he/she, man/woman into the text is, whilst morally entirely right and proper, aesthetically undesirable.
Thanks to Joe Story of the fine 1537 blog: http://jatstorey.com/2014/11/18/spencer-speaks/