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Music-Critic Interviews:
The Beta Band

10 Questions with John Maclean
by: bill aicher

We recently were lucky enough to talk to John Maclean, the Beta Band's piano and decks man, to find out where the Beta Band just really is coming from, where they're at, and where they're planning to go next. Read on and be enlightened...


MC: Who's opening for the show tonight? Have you been touring with them? How has that been going?

There's no opening act, we're DJing. We don't have opening acts for our shows. We'll switch between the four of us, not just one of us will be playing. We'll spin hip-hop & reggae, and polka (laughs.)

MC: How has touring the United States solo been different from your tour last year with Radiohead?

Don't get exposure as much, but now you get the full experience. We were playing in the sunlight and didn't get a full set; you didn't get the full Beta Band Experience.

MC: Do you think the tour opening for Radiohead has increased your following at all? Did it open you up to new fans?

Sure, 20,000 people see you every night. You're playing for a lot more people. It was great.

MC: What is a Beta Band Show Like?

Visuals and we've got a lot of lights. It's a more visual all-encompassing experience. The whole she-bang becomes much more of an experience than a regular show.

I'm working on my American Accent? How do you like it?

MC: It's pretty good actually.

(Laughs) Alright - I'm going back to my Scottish accent.

MC: I know you guys have some heavy hip-hop influences. What are your opinions of modern popular rap music? Ja Rule, Ashanti, etc.

Well you know, you have good and bad, you just have to sort it out. Just like any other kind of music, you're going to have a bunch of it that's not any good. About 90% of it is disposable.

MC: What did you do creating Hot Shots II differently than your approach on your self-titled release? I know you weren't completely happy with how that album turned out.

Oh yeah, we were rushed on that album. It didn't turn quite as good as we hoped it would. We just took our time and didn't try to overdo it. We didn't force it.

MC: What's your personal favorite Beta Band track?

House Song… No wait, "To You Alone". That's my favorite.

MC: If you had to pick a favorite song ever, what song pops into your head first?

My favorite song ever? By any artist? By anybody ever? "Chillout," by The KLF. You know those guys? They're great.

MC: You had a Star Wars themed show a few months ago in England. How did that turn out? Any further ideas for themed shows?

Went over pretty well. It had a lot of people come out. Next year we'll have a new theme. We haven't planned it yet.

MC: Your US Tour is winding down in about 2 weeks, what are your plans for after the tour?

We'll be working on our next album. Writing the next album. Steve has a lot of songs written. We have some demos done. Robin and I have a lot of instrumentals down already. It's too early to tell what direction it will be going.

19-Apr-2002 1:30 PM

If you like The Beta Band...

More Beta Band...

Beta Band - Live in Milwaukee 04.19.02 (concert review)

Beta Band - Hot Shots II (album review)