By Ronnie

It's funny how I first heard of Travis. The radio in Atlanta hadn't really started playing Travis and I hadn't read any press. I was trying to get an Oasis interview for EAR CANDY and the publicist said, "well I can't get you an interview with the members of Oasis, but I can get you one with Travis" My first thoughts were, "who the hell is Travis, their road manager?" But, after 30 minutes on the internet, I had minor knowledge about Travis and their impressive success in England. Shortly afterwards I caught the band at Atlanta's Music Midtown (see review above) and two weeks later I talked with their drummer Neil on the phone. The interview is kinda short, since we were pressed for time and the phone connection was kind of bad. But, my short talk with Neil proved that the guys in Travis really are just "nice, normal blokes"...

E.C.: The first song I heard from Travis was your great cover of Britney Spears, "Baby One More Time"! How did you decide to cover that song?

Neil: A lot of people think its like some kind of ironic thing or something like that & but it isn't at all & its actually Fran and Dougie were doing a radio show. The guitars came out of the guitar cases and they started playing "Baby One More Time" on acoustic guitar. On acoustic guitar it's actually quite a good song. It has some very poignant lyrics about it.

E.C.: Have you heard from Britney? Does she like the song?

Neil: I don't think she disapproves, but I don't think she's that fond of it either (laughs). At the end of the day music's music, no matter how you dress it up.

E.C.: I love the album, "The Man Who"...with such a good album that was doing tremendous sales in the U.K., why did it take so long to get released in the U.S?

Neil: Well, its not so much a question of timing really & more logistics because the band can't be two places at once.

E.C.: Will a new album be out any time soon? I read somewhere that the next record is pretty much in the can?

Neil: Should be out May or June next year.

E.C.: Will the new album be as much a departure as "The Man Who" was from "Good Feeling"?

Neil: No, I think its gonna have a little bit of the second album & definitely a lot more experimentation going on.

E.C.: You guys met at art school right?

Neil: Not all of us, no. We actually met before the guys went to art school, that's a misconception. I met Fran in a bar. It just so happens that at the same time I was already working with Douglas, our bass player, part-time in a shoe shop as well. So, we all knew each other from jobs and stuff.

E.C.: I hear some Beatles influence in your songs, well mainly John Lennon circa the "Imagine" album. Wasn't part of the album recorded at Abbey Road? That must have been a blast.

Neil: Yes, we did some stuff at Abbey Road. We actually recorded in that same studio, the actual Beatles studio. It's just got presence, I don't know what it is, very strange.

E.C.: Also, you guys met Paul McCartney last year, tell me about that?

Neil: We were doing a program for the Millenium and he sat with us, had a chat for about 45 minutes.

E.C.: Did Paul say anything about your music?

Neil: He's quite supportive of it.

E.C.: Are you recognized in Glascow when you go home? Or are your songs what people mainly recognize?

Neil: Actually, in Glasgow yes & very, very complex just trying to walk down the street. People coming up, whispering to each other, "that's that guy".

E.C.: What do the members of Travis do in their spare time, if they in fact have any spare time?

Neil: The later part of your question is the truest part; we don't have any spare time at the moment. Whenever we do get home we just collapse (laughs).

E.C.: What do you think of the Napster controversy? I mean, if it weren't for Napster I wouldn't have heard these b-sides or any of the songs off your first album.

Neil: Actually, to be honest, none of the band have a massive problem with it & any problem at all downloading music.

At Music Midtown, Atlanta May 5th, 2000

Seeing Travis live pretty much confirms what you hear when you listen to "The Man Who" - these guys could very well me the next big thing. This is old news to Britons, where the album has sold more than 2 millions copies and scored five UK top 20 singles. As the band performed, you got the feeling that you would hear a lot more of Travis in the future.

The band opened with slow, but rocking version of "All I Want To Do Is Rock" from their first album. Then they dove right into their "new" album ("The Man Who") playing: "Writing To Reach You", "The Fear", "Driftwood" and "Turn". Andy Dunlop (lead guitar) had his Pete Townsend-like guitar antics down to an art-easily the most interesting figure on stage! The band was totally at ease, especially Dougie Payne (bass), who looked like he was having more fun than the audience! Fran Healey gave a humurous intro to "Why Does It Always Rain On Me?", explaining how the band played the song at the rainy Glastonbury Festival and the skies suddenly cleared.

Unfortunately, Travis did not play their famous Britney Spears cover of "Baby One More Time". They opted for a great rendition of "The Weight" by the Band, which they introduced as an "American Band" (they are actually Canadian). They ending with a rousing, "Blue Flashing Light" (the hidden track on "The Man Who"). Their set was probably cut short due to the fact that they had to go on 30 minutes late (an electrical problem) and there was a 12 am curfew on the music (and Oasis was still to play). But, it was a 30 minute set that made me a true convert...

Click here to visit the official Travis website