Saturday, 19 October 2013

Music: Interview with Echo and the Bunnymen guitarist Will Sergeant about his new project, Poltergeist

Will Sergeant can be credited for coming up with some of the most iconic guitar riffs of the 1980s as part of Echo and the Bunnymen, but his new band Poltergeist draws its inspiration from German Krautrock.

“It’s something I’m doing in tandem with the Bunnymen,” says Sergeant. “The Bunnymen are still going, but we haven’t done a lot lately.”

The dynamic of Echo and the Bunnymen has changed drastically over the years, and the band is a source of frustration for Sergeant.

“There’s quite a lot of stress in the Bunnymen, so it’s nice to be able to call the shots,” he says.

“In the early days, we’d just go into a room and jam, and just see what came out. Nowadays Ian [McCulloch] just presents me with the songs and says ‘here you are, play some guitar on that’ – it’s c**p really.

“I don’t get any creative satisfaction from the Bunnymen stuff any more,” he adds. “I was driven to forming Poltergeist because the Bunnymen had gone so weird. It just feels like I’m a session musician nowadays – without Poltergeist, I’d probably top myself to be honest.”

The new project has given Sergeant the creative outlet and freedom that he so craves.

“We don’t want to have to stick to the verse-chorus-verse format, because that’s what we have to do in the Bunnymen,” says Sergeant. “We’re trying to do something that’s a bit different, and a bit more open-ended. We can do anything with this project because we’re not governed by any preconceptions about what people expect.”

“If we wanted, we could do a 40-minute ambient nose flute solo if we really wanted, you know? I just like that aspect that we can take it anywhere.”

For the project, Sergeant reunited with former Echo and the Bunnymen bassist, Les Pattinson. Pattinson left the group in 1999 and stayed away from the music industry for a decade.

“He was treated really badly by various members of the band,” says Sergeant. “He’d just had enough. I never fell out with him, so we always stayed mates. So it’s been really good, he’s just got straight back into being Les on the bass.”

This article was published by the Yorkshire Evening Post on October 17, 2013.

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