Cornershop Interview

2017 June 22

cornershop 3Will Astbury talks to outspoken frontman, Tjinder Singh, to find out a little bit more about the band’s new record and the messages spouted within.

It’s been seven long years since Cornershop have released a collected works for the public to peruse, but never fear; they’re back and awaiting your judgement.

The band have sat of the fence since recording ‘Handcream For A Generation’ in 2002, poised and waiting for the “right moment” to release the much anticipated ‘Judy Sucks A Lemon for Breakfast’.

Now the band feel that the music industry can cope once again with what they have to offer and you’ll be able to lay your hands on a copy of the record on July 27th. 

Talking about the band’s extended absence from our ears, Singh said: “To be honest with you, we were waiting for the right moment to release this record because, for the last seven years, the music industry has been all about white guitar music and black and white R’n’B.

“Now the music industry has come full circle so we think it’s a good time to come back.”

Singh’s distaste for the modern day music industry is easily identifiable on ‘Judy Sucks A Lemon’ and played a part in Cornershop putting this record out themselves rather than through other labels.

The opening track ‘Who Fingered Rock’n’Roll?’ which is probably the best song on the album, is a scathing rant, questioning how the UK’s music hierarchy organises what goes into today’s charts.

Touching again on his favourite subject, Singh said: “Lets put it this way, we had to wait for everybody to get bored of talking about their trainers and about how they met their girlfriend in a car park before we put out this record.”

Funnily enough, when I asked who the culprits of these musical crimes were, Singh declined to name names although he did seem to have some people in mind.

‘Judy Sucks a Lemon’ harks back to Cornershop’s classic psychedelic style and is a natural progression onwards from ‘Handcream’. ‘Who Fingered…’ even shows really positive punkier elements that were probably most prevalent on the group’s first album ‘Hold On It Hurts’ released in 1994.

The band won’t like being described as quintessentially Brit Pop but that is what they are. They still possess the same musical styling as the likes of Kula Shaker, Oasis and Primal Scream. I think the Indian element to their music adds to this comparison, as much of Brit Pop for me was about bands bumming The Beatles – not necessarily a bad thing – it just characterised the time and sound of the music.

The album does have one fundamental boob on it. It’s cover of Dylan’s 1967 classic ‘Quinn the Eskimo’.

When asked whether covering Dylan was a daring thing to do, Singh said: “I think it is daring – the Dylan version is excellent and the Manfred Mann version is great.

“On ‘When I was Born for the 7th Time’ (1997), we did Norwegian Wood, and from all accounts that was pretty good so I’m pretty confident this is good too.”

Well I’m afraid by this account, Cornershop have done a pretty poor job of covering an excellent song. ‘The Mighty Quinn’ takes away all the charm of the original and it’s clear that the band stuck it on the album because they enjoyed playing it, aiming to satisfy themselves rather than any other listeners.

‘Judy Sucks a Lemon’ does have some gems on it though. Track seven, ‘The Roll Off Characteristics (Of History in the Making)’ is no exception. This anti-war, pro-people song is classic 60’s-influenced Cornershop, and the line: “war ain’t nothing but technical plip-plop” has a comic subtlety that reminds the listener of Lennon.

Singh produced the record and said his favourite tracks from ‘Judy Sucks a Lemon’ are the title track, the reggae influenced ‘Operation Push’, and of course, ‘Who Fingered…’

Commenting once more on the tight grip he and the band like to have on the music they put out, Singh said: “I produced the record and we release the music ourselves because we feel, with they way things are going digitally, and the way bands are signing away their rights, that we didn’t want to belong to a record company.

“It has been hard at times but we come from a fanzine culture and that is the way we have always done it. Bands have a duty to say what they think, not what they have been told to say they think.”

The band will be appearing at venues and festivals up and down the country this summer. Check out their website to listen to their music. If you like it, go and see them.

Words by Will Astbury

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