Lead singer Thom Rylance insists he has grown up a lot since the day he was expelled from school for locking the headmaster in a storage unit.
Just as well really.
Thom and his band The Lottery Winners are on their biggest headline tour to date, on the back of signing to Sire/Warner Bros Records.
Thom insists he would actually like to apologise to his head teacher now. And no, he wouldn’t lock him up again if he turned up at a gig…
“Actually, my old PE teacher came to a gig recently. He had shown me up in front of the full class once, made me do a big lap of the field. I took the opportunity to get back at him at the gig in front of a thousand people. Yes, I have grown up, but I do slip sometimes!
“But yes, I was expelled from school. I was one of those creative types that don’t work in a school environment. I was on report, and I was going to get a bad one, and I knew that the headmaster was about to phone my parents and that I would be grounded for the weekend. He went into the storage unit, the keys were in the door and that was that. I shut it and locked it and went home. I think he was in there for a couple of hours.”
Expulsion was inevitable, but at the next school a key ingredient in the current band slipped into place: “Rob the guitarist was the guy that was asked to show me around. I asked him what sort of music he liked. He said ‘The Darkness.’ I lied to him. I said I had seen them live, and it was a lie I had to maintain for years afterwards. It kept coming up in conversation, and I had to keep lying. Eventually, after eight years, I had to tell him that I had never seen The Darkness live. I don’t think he trusts me anymore!”
As for their own music: “A friend once said to me that the music that we make is smile music. I really liked that. You look at the crowds and they are all smiling.”
The band are currently working towards their first album which Thom anticipates will be ready early next year: “But I don’t know how it will be released. There might be a couple of singles first.”
The problem for the band is that they have got to sift through eight years of material first: “That’s how long we have been together. We have been having arguments about what stuff to include.”
But at least it is all coming together for them now: “It has been about hard work, but we are also amazingly talented. But you have got to put the hours in. I always knew that the band really had something and that it had the potential to go far. But it has been a lot of work. It kills your social life. You can’t have another job. We have been skint for years. But every time I started to get a little bit down about it, there would be a nugget of something good coming along. I think it is important when you are striving for a dream, you have got to allow yourself to enjoy the little victories along the way. I don’t think you should always be focusing on the big thing on the horizon. You should be focusing on the next thing along and building it all up.”
The band play Brighton’s Hope & Ruin on Monday, September 26. Tickets on 08444 77 1000.
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