“…all the England fans in a campsite in Sardinia all on E, all having big parties. All the Italian hooligans were outside trying to get at them, and they were all like “Fuck off, we’re having a party!”, it was hilarious, the Italians couldn’t understand it.”
It was 2016 and The Stone Roses were in Dublin. That meant Haçienda regulars Mike Pickering, Graeme Park and A Guy Called Gerald were brought in to supply the soundtrack to the thousands of revellers flocking into the city centre from Marlay Park.
The concept of this issue is exploring different concepts of home. So to start off simply, do you feel at home in the club environment?
Myself and Graeme Parks were having a drink earlier talking about it, it’s still in our blood really. Most people would look at a space and say it’s just a room with black walls. I cherry-pick where I play and the gigs I do. It’s hard to play somewhere that’s not very good after you’ve played the Haçienda.
It’s a bit like playing at Bury’s football ground after you’ve played at Wembley.
Stone Roses are selling out the Etihad and Kasabian played The King Power after Leicester City won the league. You just mentioned a couple of stadiums, but what do you make of that intrinsic link between football and music?
Well we’re Man City fans, and they’ve always been very linked with music. Noel and Liam Gallagher, and Johnny Marr are season ticket holders, Mark E. Smith’s a big fan. United have got Ian Brown and Mani, Liverpool have got Ian Broudie and Ian McCulloch, so it’s always been like that. Music’s a lot posher now though. All the young kids who’d work in the industry used to be working class kids, and now they’re all posh kids. I’ve got two scouts, and one of them went to Cambridge. They’re the only ones who can afford to work there, because the jobs don’t pay. And bands that come in, they’re all called Tarquin or Crispin or something weird like that. Whereas all bands used to be scally working-class lads.
So that link between football and music was always there?
Yeah, especially in acid house. It’s funny, I remember playing at The Trip in the Astoria, going to the toilet there and walking out and thinking “Fucking hell, this is all Millwall!”
A few years earlier you’d shit yourself, and then all of a sudden they were all hugging each other, it was fantastic. There’s a great video at the Italia ’90 World Cup of all the England fans in a campsite in Sardinia all on E, all having big parties. All the Italian hooligans were outside trying to get at them, and they were all like “Fuck off, we’re having a party!”, it was hilarious, the Italians couldn’t understand it.
I remember them all singing “Let’s all have a disco!” and doing the conga, and from that moment on, hooliganism, to the scale it was, kind of died off, and the whole continent took it on.
House at the Haçienda took off very similarly to Northern Soul. Northern Soul was a secret society as well. You used to get the train up north for the football on a Saturday, and these kids who’d support Wigan or Blackpool, they’d know each other and they’d think “No one knows what we’re doing here” and they’d go dancing all night, which was dead cool.
In fact, when I first started playing a lot of house at the Haçienda on a Friday night, pre-ecstasy times, probably ’85, ’86, there were loads of old Northern boys who used to come and dance, because it was the same four to the floor. It was a bit harder for them, because they all lasted five, six minutes and they were used to two minutes and fifty nine seconds. But it was great.
A coming together of different people. Obviously ska brought a lot of people of different races together, your movement brought a lot of people together…
Like a fusion of cultures and musical cultures. I think that’s what British music has always done better than anyone else, even The Happy Mondays who I signed to Factory, they were a fusion of indie and dance music. You listen to modern stuff and there are so many influences, usually from immigrants into Britain; Jamaicans like you mentioned with ska; Indians and Asians you get bhangra influences.