Twisted Wheel are a Manchester institution. Beloved of Liam Gallagher and having gone through a series of ups and downs, playing huge venues and falling apart due to drug problems before recovering to their current touring status, the four-piece have a devoted following away from the radio play world of 21st-century indie.
I spoke to frontman Jonny Brown about the band’s redemption, and the journey so far.
First of all, you took a bit of a break a while back. Have things been any different since you returned?
Massively. The dynamics to the music industry is totally different to how it was ten years ago, and I believe social media has a lot to do with that. We are living in a new age generation where sounding and looking great isn’t the only factor to success as a band, your social media has to look the part too; which in some cases I don’t mind, as I can be more intimate with fans at a click of a button.
You seem pretty confident about the contents of the next album – what constitutes success for you guys at this point?
As an unsigned band, I’m pretty proud of the achievements we have made all on our own and any success big or small we achieve at this point whilst we are unsigned, let’s us know we are heading in the right direction. To name a few big successes: one is getting a number one in the physical charts for our last EP, ‘Jonny Guitar’ and being personally asked to support Liam Gallagher at both Manchester and Finsbury Park, based solely on the fact he enjoys our music. I was also pretty chuffed to hear my all-time hero Shaun Ryder said we were one of his favourite bands to come out of Manchester.
It’s been quite a long time since you last put out a record. Obviously lives change, perspectives change. Did you take a different approach this time around?
Definitely. I’ve grown up a lot. Learnt a hell of a lot through my mistakes. Developed a better way of living and adapted my creativity to the music industry we have today.
Does it feel any different to play in Ireland compared to back home?
Well yeah…haha, the venue is full of Irish – who know how to handle their drink and have a good craic. I love it.
You’ve been fairly open about his problems with heroin in the past. Is it hard to steer clear of those kind of issues when you’re living a touring band lifestyle?
When you’re working hard and concentrating on the job in hand, you haven’t got time to be worrying about that kind of stuff. It can ruin your life and it only takes a walk down any town street to see the end result. There’s only one winner, and it isn’t the user. I had issues in the past, but I got the help that I needed and I have changed my lifestyle for the better. I am a lot more content with my life, have a lot to live for and generally a happier person living a settled life doing what I love.
What are your plans for the future?
Release my latest album. Start working on the one to follow. Perhaps try get a support slot with the likes of Miles Kane, Fontaine’s D.C, Liam Gallagher (again), Jamie T, Idles or Slaves. With us being a heavily punk-influenced band, I think we would set the stage well for those mentioned above and it would just be great to be noticed alongside them.
Long term goals, I would say keep producing raw rock n roll music and eventually fulfil my dream of owning my own studio.
Aside from music, I plan to keep healthy, travel the world and enjoy life to the fullest!
Twisted Wheel play Whelan’s on October 4