Jez Kerr is a Manchester legend the bassist/vocalist from A Certain Ratio who are one of the cornerstones of Manchester music. He has stepped out for a solo jaunt and the results have been great explains John Robb
Jez Kerr interviewed by John Robb Feb 2011
ACR are part of Manchester musical DNA. Their early eighties records combined the melancholia of fellow travellers Joy Division with a dark funk and were groundbreaking. They were one of the key bands on Factory RECORDS and their story is entwined with all the major moments in the city’s music scene. A pre Smiths Morrissey was a big fan, the Hacienda and by extension the late eighties indie dance explosion was patented by the band years before and their records really stand the test of time.
Very much one of the key players in the post punk period, their punk funk has been a key influence through the decades- especially in the past three years where barely a week goes by with out some hipster band from Brooklyn using them as base to their sound.
Tony Wilson adored them and they were part of the furniture in the Boardwalk rehearsal rooms in the mid eighties were my band the membranes rehearsed across the corridor from them. We are always stunned by their rehearsal room that looked like a space ship crammed full of recording equipment and also by the way you would see them everywhere cycling around. Unlike any other band in Manchester they would make music every day and despite avoiding commercial success have become a key influence on many bands from all over the world.
Jez Kerr is the bassist and vocalist from ACR and has also made the occaisonal solo project. Back out solo again his single, ‘Play Sumthing Fast’ is released through Higuera Records and is a really cool swerve in musical direction. A dark piece of almost indie tuff pop, it also packs a brusque punkiness and is a great signpost to something really interesting.
LTW! grabbed a quick interview with Jez.
1. took your time going solo! why the wait?
I have done a solo project before in 2004/5 when I was in a band called 24 hours. We played a few gigs at the Kings Arms and supported Pere Ubu at the university, and there was an album which I produced myself called ‘Soundtrack to an imaginary film’. But this is the first purely solo project. It came about after a conversation with Higuera records. The other members of ACR were busy doing their own thing and I found myself writing more gritty, punky songs that didn’t sound like ACR. So it just seemed like the right thing to do at this point in time.
2. whats happening with ACR?
ACR have a gig at the ‘ Friends Of Mine’ festival in May, and a gig at a festival in Italy in July. We don’t play as many gigs as we used to, but I’m sure we will get round to playing more and writing at some point.
3. the single is great- quite a stylistic switch from ACR, is it fun to work without the expectations of ACR?
I’m always writing, and ‘Play Something Fast’ really stood out for me as a single, so that’s what I did, (with a little help from Higuera Records)and released it as a single and at the same time put the band together to play the album that I have.
4. I have not seen you cycling around town for a bit- on the bus now!?
I don’t live in Manchester any longer, I haven’t done so for 5 years. I now live in St. Helens.Merseyside.
5. Your drummer is ‘funky’ Si Wolstencroft- the great Mancunain drummer who somehow managed to leave the Stone Roses and the Smiths before being in the Fall for decade- at LTW! we love his drumming. How did that happen!
I needed a drummer for the band and it was Tin Tin (New Order DJ) who suggested Simon, he liked the stuff and I liked his drumming.
6. what is the ‘Sumthing’ that you are playing fast??
Not sure exactly what u mean by that John, – a punky tune with a good lyric?