Matt Bagguley chats to ClashMusic

Forget the Olympics, forget the Mayan calendar, forget Elton John’s remix album…2012’s most significant moment is the reformation of a band that 99% of the population won’t have heard of.

Back in the mid-to-late nineties, Cable were on the verge of big things. The Derby-based four-piece had a passionate following, and even managed to soundtrack a Sprite advert and still emerge with their artistic integrity intact.

Effectively forced to split by legal small print in 1999 following a court case brought by their old manager - in typical Cable style they made a court-awarded payment of several thousands of pounds to the guy in ‘mixed coins’ - most of the 1% (no, not that 1%) had all but given up on ever seeing them live again. In the following years a tribute album was released, and many unfounded reformation rumours were bandied about online - some fans even tried to raise enough money between them to pay for reunion shows.

So when it was announced that, thirteen years on, they were to play two shows supporting Hundred Reasons, thousands of tickets sold out within minutes. Demand was so great that an extra London date was hastily organised by that evening.

Clash caught up with vocalist/guitarist/surrealist Matt Bagguley and talked about the past, previous reunion rumours, why this is happening now, and how it’s not a full on ‘comeback’.

You were distinctive and unpretentious musically, and often indirect lyrically – but you never seemed to take yourselves too seriously...

“We were deadly serious creatively, but we just liked being annoying - I do cringe a bit when I think about some of the obtuse comments we'd make in interviews, we must have been hard work... our agent must have hated us.”

“For some reason both me and Darius always seemed to struggle coming up with anything in 4/4, and we'd spend days pruning all the surplus repeats so as not to cause too much trauma at rehearsals, but by the time we were halfway through writing When Animals Attack we gave up on that and now we have a whole bunch of irregularly timed songs that are almost impossible for us pretenders to play...”

“Lyrically, it was important that the words meant something to the listener even if they were completely broken up…of course they were a bit personal sometimes, but I didn’t want to focus on specific themes or worse relationships and join the chorus of boys singing about being dumped outside the library. That could be inspired by hearing Captain Beefheart sing "Pies steam stale shoes move broom 'n pale" on Trout Mask Replica. Something resonated there I think.”

“The words and music would always emerge simultaneously so it was never a vocal-driven band, but it was a good trade-off. I much preferred the idea of tugging on a loose-thread in a song and finding a slightly incoherent Midlander in there clinging to the other end.”

Did the reaction to the gig announcement take you by surprise?
“It seemed like the world had gone completely mad. Blog pages filled up with comments and when the Kentish Town Forum show sold out in 30 minutes we were in complete shock. I don't know how we'll live up to some people’s expectations. We’ll just have to blow absolutely everybody off stage, including ourselves…then we might come close.”

“There’s nothing in the timing, this is the first time we've ever seriously considered playing shows, despite all the vague invitations we’ve had over the years. We agreed years ago that it would be fun to play a short run if something concrete came along - but not if it was an official ‘comeback’. We're all so wrapped up in our own worlds now, and I'm rarely in the UK. So it makes it pretty impossible. We hooked up last year for a picnic on Brighton beach and discussed a possible reunion, but Darius and Richie began arguing about facial hair products and Richie buried Darius up to his neck in pebbles and a crab made a nest in his ear. No one’s spoken since then.”

So what of the strife that caused the demise of the band last time?
“We stayed friends after the split and there’s definitely an element of ‘unfinished business’ now, but it’s exciting enough for us that we might play some shows without the threat of immediate extinction.”

Will there be any headlines shows? Or even new material?
“It would be great to try out something new, I’m sure everyone’s felt that - but that is a long way off, at best, and "if". Right now we’ll just be tearing through the old stuff…if we can remember it. Headline shows are highly unlikely, but not an impossibility” (Shortly after this interview took place a single - and officially only - headline date in Derby was announced).”

Are you all honed and ready to go then?
“We haven't actually been near a rehearsal space yet, it’s all going to be very last-minute and chaotic. Either way I’m quite prepared for a week of tears and door slamming. That’s what I’m looking forward to most actually.”

Words by James Barry

Where to start with Cable; Matt picks some of his favourite tracks.

Seventy – from Down Lift The Uptrodden
God Gave me Gravity – from When Animals Attack
Brothers and Sisters – from Sublingual
Freeze the Atlantic – from When Animals Attack

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