Sep 24, 2021
By Celine Teo-Blockey
British punk duo Sleaford Mods (singer, Jason Williamson and producer, Andrew Fearne) are the guests on the latest episode of Under the Radar Podcast. They released their pandemic-inspired album Spare Ribs earlier this year. It is their third UK Top 10, following on from their career-spanning retrospective All That Glue and 2019’s Eton Alive.
Williamson joins us on the podcast to discuss their 11th studio album, which features women’s voices for the first time and memories from his childhood. Lyrically, the rants are richer, more poetic, and in parts intimate, stripping it of the machismo that his image might brandish to the casual listener. Here, Williamson sheds light on his shifting perspective, beyond just shouting about the world outside to ruminating on parts of his interior life that might have been locked away previously.
The 51-year-old opens up about his early life and growing up on a council estate in Margaret Thatcher’s birthplace of Grantham, Lincolnshire. The rocky road from wannabe indie rocker in his early 20s at the height of Britpop, to the disillusioned 40 year old who witnessed the despair around him and told it like it was—profanities and all. Williamson had long given up being on the radio or having any kind of career in music by that stage. But that yearning to express himself—to make sense of the rage, pain and boredom that he tried to numb with drugs and alcohol—that never went away.
“I think what got me through all those periods was drugs and alcohol. It would be a lifeline out of the tedium of you know—low paid employment,” says Williamson who has since embraced sobriety.
Spare Ribs’ title was inspired by the pandemic, as Williamson explained in a previous press release: “The idea of the amount of people that died from the first wave of coronavirus; human lives are always expendable to the elites…. We’re in a constant state of being spare ribs.”
Previously Sleadord Mods shared Spare Ribs’ first single, “Mork N Mindy,” via a video for it. The song and video featured Billy Nomates. They also performed the song on Late Night with Seth Meyers. “Mork N Mindy” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared another song from the album, “Shortcummings,” via a video for it (the song’s title referenced Dominic Cummings, the former Chief Advisor to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson). Then they shared one last pre-release single from it, “Nudge It,” via a video for the track. Both the song and video feature Amy Taylor of Australian punks Amyl and the Sniffers. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Taylor’s part was clearly filmed separately, likely in Australia. Eddie the Wheel directed the video. “Nudge It” was also one of our Songs of the Week.
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Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey. Upcoming guests this season will include Julien Baker, Xiu Xiu, and more.
Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips). Season 2, episode 2 featured Emmy the Great. Season 2, episode 3 featured Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Season 2, episode 4 featured James Yorkston. Season 2, episode 5 featured London Grammar. Season 2, episode 6 featured Lucy Dacus. Season 2, episode 7 featured Adrian Younge.
On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).