The most awkward music interviews of all time
5 June 2022, 17:00
Sometimes the interviewer/interviewee chemistry just isn't there. And when it's not, things can get VERY awkward. Have a look.
Ian Brown and John Squire Say NOTHING, 1989
The place: satellite TV channel Music Box. The time: 1989. The Stone Roses are about to go stellar. The album’s out. Everyone loves them. Are they excited about it? No. In fact, they're reluctant to say anything at all. Interviewer: "So what do you most fear then?" Ian Brown: "The police." [CUE 20 SECONDS OF UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE]
Mark E. Smith on Newsnight, 2004
John Peel had just passed away and, considering he was such a big fan of The Fall, Newsnight got Mark E. Smith in to share his thoughts. The results are absolutely bizarre. We're not sure if Smith is having trouble hearing, had a drop too much, or is just on another planet, but it makes for some very awkward viewing. When Smith himself died in 2018, Newsnight got the eminently sensible Tim Burgess on to pay tribute.
Raygun: THE Worst Music Interview Of All Time
RayGun - have this band never seen Spinal Tap?
Remember Guildford 00s rockers Raygun? No? There’s a good reason. They committed perhaps the most arrogant, pretentious and woefully misguided TV interview in history. Lead singer Ray Gun (chortle) claims “If you stuck Iggy Pop, James Brown, David Bowie and Shirley Bassey in a lift, then you’d probably have our band.”
A Guardian journalist picked up on the clip and uploaded it to YouTube with the snarky title “Lack Of Self-Awareness” and everyone went to watch it. But the record label took it off YouTube. Too late. It can still be found on Vimeo. Hurrah!
Ray later said in a post on MySpace: “When future generations look back on the events of the last few days, I ask that they think not of the singer in a band nobody has heard of saying some slightly ridiculous things about his music, but of the way those shameful events brought people together.”
Nope. We still think it's ridiculous.
Jet-Lagged “River” Cuomo Of Weezer, 1996
The iconic Australian music show Recovery was host to many an awkward interview. In 1996, a very jet-lagged Weezer frontman could barely speak as the host, Dylan Lewis, makes sly digs about his lacklustre attitude while continuing to get his name wrong. The term "passive-aggressive" must have been coined on this very day. Who wins? Nobody.
Rhona Cameron, a puppet and Richey Edwards, 1993
Comedian Rhona Cameron interviewed Manic Street Preachers for the TV show Wire in 1993... and it's a difficult watch. Cameron is perhaps not the best person to deal with a crushingly introverted Richey Edwards and her “cheer up” attitude now just seems horrendous. If anything, she seems to make things worse…
Blur don’t play along, 2003
Before Dennis Pennis, before Ali G… there was Nardwuar The Human Serviette. Canada’s Number 1 celebrity journalist has been doing his thing since the mid-1980s but his combination of weirdness, jovial banter and impeccable research has not endeared him to everyone. Particularly, Think Tank-era Blur. Drummer Dave Rowntree is not impressed, steals Nardwuar’s hat and glasses and generally intimidates him. Rowntree later apologised for his substance-fuelled bad behaviour, claiming “This is definitely one of the things I’m ashamed of”.
David Bowie Versus Russell Harty, 1975
Bowie in ’75 was not the most together act in showbiz: full of stimulants, paranoid, playing an alien in The Man Who Fell To Earth and generally being a weirdo, he appeared at the other end of a Transatlantic video link to talk to Britain’s most urbane chat show host Russell Harty to discuss teenage fans, “glitter and glam” and comparing his fame to that of The Bay City Rollers. It’s not the most comfortable watch.
Prince decides never to do another interview, 1979
Prince: young, gifted, beautiful and cripplingly shy. At 19 years old, he was a musical prodigy, but for him it was all about the performing, the recording, the dancing and the riffing. Chatting to the stupefyingly old fashioned Dick Clark on the super-square American Bandstand TV show was not in the plan. After seeing the recording to this embarrassing debacle, Prince vowed that he’d never be caught out like this again.
Morrissey on The One Show, 2009
BBC1’s The One Show is toe-curling at the best of times, so throw into the mix the World’s Most Awkward Man, Morrissey and you have cringe GOLD. The Mozfather was plugging his new album Years Of Refusal, and to watch him comment on all of the bizarre features served up by Adrian Chiles and Alex Jones is kind of wonderful.