PREFAB SPROUT, ALIAS THE BRASH
“I WANT US TO BE THE BIGGEST BAND in the world and I can see no reason why we shouldn’t be.”
The man to make this bold statement is Paddy McAloon, vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for English band Prefab Sprout. And with a name like that, how could the band go wrong?
“I think perhaps our music’s a bit different and people would have to get used to it,” he says, “but I think we’re very accessible because what’s the point of music if it’s only for a few people? I want to make it for everybody, but I want to make it feel as though I’ve just written it for one person. Everybody can get their own thing from it.”
Between such brash assertions, he stresses he does not want to sound arrogant. Paddy does not seem to be arrogant or brash despite what he says. He simply has an unshakable inner confidence from which he tells you what he sees to be facts, such as his claim that Prefab Sprout will be the biggest band in the world by the end of 1986. After six years of toiling up the mountain to success, the band appears to have finally neared the summit with markets in Australia, the United States and Japan. In America, Prefab Sprout are played regularly on the radio and the MTV cable music station has picked the band up.
Prefab Sprout have received either rave reviews or severe tongue-lashings from the British music media and Paddy is the first to admit that while many people love the band, it “has become one of the most detested in Britain with some music critics”.
Critics detest the band “because we are so good, some people just can’t accept us”. But even bad press means your name is in the paper, says Paddy.
The Prefab Sprout story started in Newcastle, northern England, several years ago when Paddy decided he was sick of listening to rubbish music. He enlisted his brother Martin and an old friend, Wendy Smith, and the band was born. The trio needed a name, however, and Paddy and Martin agreed most bands of the day had utterly stupid, meaningless tags which sounded pretty chic. Prefab Sprout gave them both a laugh and it stuck.
The music is very emotional, melodic and uplifting, according to Paddy; it takes the listener to highs or sadness and is moving and exciting; when the band started the music was very simple; when the trio got better, and accomplished drummer Neil Conti joined up, the music became more complicated; however, it is now heading back towards simplicity.
The band have released a new album, Steve McQueen, which was produced by Thomas Dolby. Paddy’s aim was to make the album “full of those bits where you say ‘I love that bit in that record’. All our records have that moving or exciting feel”.