Maxïmo Park man’s tour tales…
Peter Brewis and Paul Banks, by Andy Martin

Clash’s Good Trip, Bad Trip asks interviewees to reminisce on some of their best – and worst – touring experiences, and recall the colourful characters they’ve met on the road.

Here, we’ve spoken to Paul Smith, livewire frontman of Maxïmo Park, sometime solo artist and currently one-half of an excitingly different duo beside Field Music’s Peter Brewis (pictured), whose new album ‘Frozen By Sight’ is out now on Memphis Industries.

Paul Smith and Peter Brewis, ‘Los Angeles Street Cleaner’

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Best Trip…

“In Japan a few years ago, going to Kyoto on the bullet train from Tokyo was amazing. It felt like being catapulted from the future into the past – I’m not sure where that leaves the present. Japan is always a favourite destination, edging out New York and Berlin, where I also like to spend time if I'm not at home in the northeast.”

Worst Trip…

“Going to Nashville and having no time to look around. We just flew in and flew out for a TV show – which wasn’t great either! There are plenty of times when we’ve been stuck due to a cancelled plane or a traffic jam, but knowing you’re in a place with a rich history and an interesting landscape, and being unable to see any of it is uniquely frustrating.”

My favourite foreign venue…

“There are so many cool venues abroad, places where you’re looked after really well, or are given nice meals; gestures that are much appreciated after travelling on a bus for 12 hours or so. I could name so many, but I’m going to say Lido, Berlin because it has a modern yet theatrical appearance, always has a great atmosphere and is in a good location.”

We are surprisingly popular in…

“Germany. Whether it’s with Maxïmo Park or with my solo stuff, the audiences are really respectful, well-informed and responsive.”

Best or worst exotic foodstuff…

“In South Korea, recently, we sampled spicy jellyfish. It was a little rubbery, but it gets a thumbs up – mostly because I’m still alive!”

The most interesting individual I’ve met on the road…

“In Atami, Japan, earlier this year, I was taking a photograph of a building and a local man approached me. We got talking about his son who lived in England and it turned out he was a Noh theatre performer who translates Shakespeare into the Noh performance style. He even appears on a Björk album I’ve got – the music from Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint 9. He gave my girlfriend and I free tickets to the MOA Museum, which is a fantastic place at the top of a hill, with beautiful gardens full of cherry blossom. His name was Kuniyoshi Munakata.”

Worst on-tour injury, accident or infection…

“I recently did a whole tour in sunglasses due to painful eye surgery and I wasn’t supposed to exert myself otherwise my right eye would’ve potentially exploded due to high blood pressure. Maxïmo Park songs rarely lend themselves to emotional or physical tranquillity so it was quite tricky… I felt like a right Bono.”

My essential travel item…

“Fully-loaded Classic iPod or my mini-sketchbook.”

My essential travel tip…

“Take a big bag so you can bring souvenirs back. I buy lots of records…”

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Photo: Andy Martin

Paul Smith online. See him live with Peter Brewis as follows:

19th – St Giles-in-the-Fields, London
20th – Sage, Gateshead

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