a short site about The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy's Neil

The eternally suave (well apart from the beard) Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy is currently lounging in the singles charts with ‘Everybody Knows’.
Taken from his most lush LP to date, A Short Album About Love, the song has been bought by both indie kids and their mums who were no doubt swooning over their TV sets this week as Neil made his second Top Of The Pops appearance. Planet Sound caught up with Neil as he prepared backstage for his performance.

So, How the devil are you, Neil?
I’m fine, but I’m a bit wet, I’ve just spilled Guinness all over myself. That’s a great thing to do before a Top Of The Pops Concerts, isn’t it?

Still celebrating St Patrick’s Day?
It never ends, I celebrate all year.

Are you nervous about doing the show?
Of course not, we’re used to it now! Actually this is only the second time we’ve been on, but after you get over the shock of the anti-climax, it’s fine.

People expect the backstage area of Top Of The Pops to be swamming with celebs. Who have you met today?
Well, I’m particularly excited to be introduced to the lovely Miss Minogue.
I’ve met Wet Wet Wet, but they’re standing right next to me so I can’t really comment on their music!
We’re all in separate dressing rooms, luckily. I walked past INXS’s room and guess what was blasting out on the stereo? Their own single! That’s SAD!!!

Do you try to do anything special for you TV appearances?
For TOTP we’ve hired a rather nice Vox Hammond Continental keyboard. All the black keys are white and vice versa.
We vary what we wear on each single to give each one its own visual identity.
Buying suits was a nightmare though as I’m so tiny. I had tonsillitis recently and couldn’t eat for a week. I lost even more weight which was scary. It’s hard to find time to eat nowadays.

You seem to have been adopted by Chris Evans on TFI Friday…
Oh, it’s insane, we’ve been on there three times now.
The last time was a relief because we finally got it right. We were scared stiff when we first went on to do ‘Something For The Weekend’ and ended up playing it at twice the normal speed.
‘Frog Princess’ is such a long song that we had to edit it in the middle. Two members of the band forgot and crashed in with those huge powerchords!

Haw has the current tour been going ?
Quite well, but we were in Liverpool this week and we had £2500 worth of equipment stolen from the bus.
I didn’t want to believe all those stupid prejudices about the place, but it’ll definitely make me think twice about going back there.

Were you insured?
Ha! You’d have to speak to my insurance guys about that. All that stuff will be very difficult to trace.

You’re playing the ‘97 Fleadh Festival?
Yeah, I’ve never been before. We were a bit cautious about it to begin with y’know, but I think we’re established enough now to have our own identity.

I hear you’ve lots of middle aged fans.
Yeah, we should have a crest saying: the band that brings families together.
We’re like Perry Como or Doris Day in the 50’s. Mothers and their daughters are all whistling our songs.

Were you worried about being seen as a novelty act after ‘Alfie’?
Not at all. You could say the same thing about ‘Weekend’, but we have a billion other songs as catch as those.

Would you ever want to collaborate with Burt Bacharach?
No, that would be frible. Much as I admire the man, I’m not very good at collaborating. I want my way too much.
I’ll only think about writing with someone else when I’m run out of ideas.

Stephen Estwood
Channel 4 Teletext, 22/03/1997