Folk singer Beans on Toast talks performing, school and Russell Brand with our very own Entertainment Editor, Dylan Stallard.
Fish and Chips. Bangers and Mash. Beans on Toast. Dishes that are recognised as fundamentally British. They remind you of home, make you feel all warm and cosy inside, even provide you with hope after a long, hard day. Folk singer Beans on Toast couldn’t be more aptly named; his songs talk about the value of unconditional love and the importance of sticking together in the face of an unjust political system. Entertainment Editor, Dylan Stallard, had a drink with Beans before his set at The Penny Theatre.
How’s the tour going Beans?
It’s been a super emotional, beautiful tour.
So, how long have you been performing?
On this tour or in general?
My whole life I think. I used to play in s**t bands as a kid.
(Folk singer and friend of Beans, Will Varley joined us.)
We got a special guest on this interview. How long do you think I’ve been performing Will?
(To which Will answers.)
‘For as long as he can remember… which is about ten minutes!’
What was the first instrument you picked up? Was it a guitar?
I was in a band before I could play an instrument. I used to graffiti the name of the band around school. Told everyone I was in a band to try to get laid. Then I realised that the song writing and playing an instrument was coming second to shouting: “I’M IN A BAND!”.
Did you enjoy school?
I loved it, yeah. I wouldn’t say I was a great student, I got in a lot of trouble for selling weed (I hear an ‘Amen’ from somewhere behind me.) but ultimately I was alright. I’ve got four GCSE’s I think and a B-Tech in college but I’ve never shown my qualifications to anybody for any sort of employment.
You sing about some pretty controversial topics. Have you ever faced any negativity or backlash over the things you’ve said?
Not really. I‘ve almost kind of dodged it. I think I’ve been quite lucky. If you’ve booked me to do a midday festival, I’m not gonna play out or do anything unnecessary but if you ask me to play then there will be an element of what I do in it.
You won’t tone it down then?
I don’t mind if I’m playing a carnival and there’s kid running around. There’s no point in me walking out and going “Yeah f***ing hell!” (he mimics holding a mic and addressing his audience.) But you know, at the end of the day the songs are the songs. I think I get asked more if I get in trouble for what I say than I do actually get in trouble.
You’re a political guy. What do you think about the decision to bomb Syria?
Well we shouldn’t be doing should we? I don’t think anybody thinks we should apart from arms manufacturers and the people getting paid by them. (I think I hear another ‘Amen’ but it could be my imagination. Will Varley comments.)
‘Fighting terror with terror is never an answer. Fight terror with love.’
You mention Russell Brand in one of your songs. Have you ever met him?
No, I think our paths might have crossed years and years ago before he turned activist, when he was sort of like… (He didn’t finish the sentence but I knew what he meant.) He was a nice guy but I didn’t really care that much if you know what I mean. Now I’ve got so much time for the guy, I miss The Trews so much.
Same! Did you watch every morning?
Yeah! With my cereal. I always used to point a lot of other people to it as well if they were troubling about a reason… But yeah I’ve never met him but he’s one of the most important people out there.
Thanks for speaking to us Beans, I know you’re in a hurry so one last question. What advice have you got for any upcoming musicians who want to make it?
Don’t listen to other people’s advice.
Beans on Toast’s new album A Spanner in the Works is out December 1st.
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