Matt Johnson The Exclaim! Questionnaire

Matt Johnson The Exclaim! Questionnaire
Hello pop pickers, it's Matt Johnson from TheThe here. I've just embarked upon a two-year campaign of releases leading up to my group's 25th anniversary in May 2004 (can you believe how quickly time flies?!?). The first release, a singles compilation called 45 RPM: The Singles Of The The, is out now. On July 2, deluxe editions of four of my Epic albums: Soul Mining, Infected, Mind Bomb and Dusk will be available. Next year there will be a DVD collection and more boxed sets. Did I mention that a world tour is also in the works?

Current fixations:
Japanese flute music. ‘70s French glamour films. Investigative journalism such as that by John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Will Hutton, Eric Schlosser, etc. Bicyles, chess and shortwave radio (particularly Latin American stations). Asian food, particularly Japanese, Malaysian and Thai. Oh, and also Middle Eastern such as Palestinian and Lebanese.

Mind-altering work of art:
The Tibetan Book Of The Dead.

Most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
My first ever gig as an 11 year old performing in a friend's garage. We charged 15 pence for admission and it was the beginning of a life long love affair ... with music.

What has been your career high and low?
High: Releasing my first record, "Controversial Subject," in 1980 and seeing it top the various independent charts (when there was such a thing) across Europe.
Low: My miserable 18 month stay at the awful Universal Conglomerate during 1999 to 2000.

What should everyone shut up about?
September 11.

I would drop everything to play a benefit for?
Mr Kite.

What trait do you like and dislike most about yourself?
I'm too humble and cheerful for my own good.

What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
I have kicked people out of my band before. For addictive drug abuse and generally flaky behaviour. Out of my bed? ... erm ... let's see. Don't think I've booted anyone from between the sheets but then if I didn't want them there I wouldn't have let them climb inside in the first place!

When I think of Canada I think?
Of forests, lakes, fresh air and a small but friendly population trying vainly to maintain its identity in the lengthening, darkening shadow of the USA.

What is your vital daily ritual?
Up at sunrise. Meditate. Shave my head. Ice cold shower. Six mile run or four mile swim. Then back to bed for a well earned snooze.

How do you spoil yourself?
By indulging my addictions.

What was your most memorable day job?
I've only had two. First as an assistant in a recording studio. Second as a runner for an insurance firm. I enjoyed the first but absolutely loathed the second.

If I wasn't playing music I would be?
Fighting to preserve old buildings and local communities from being swallowed up by property developers.

What is your greatest fear?
Sliding into insanity.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
The same as most men probably. To be invisible so I could hang around woman's changing rooms! Other than that? The ability to time travel.

What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
Love of life.

Music and sex: Is there a difference? Why?
Hmmm. Well, if you don't know the difference by now my dear I doubt there's anything I could say that would really help you out here!

Strangest brush with celebrity:
I usually stay at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles. On one trip I accidentally walked into the wrong room and there before my disbelieving eyes was a very (very) well known female film star stripped naked and strapped to a chair .... with an apple in her mouth. She looked horrified and embarrassed but couldn't move a muscle. I lingered slightly longer than I should but then quickly made my excuses and got the hell out. I saw her in the breakfast room the following morning and she blushed slightly but then looked the other way.

Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Jesus Christ. A bread roll and a glass of wine.

What does your mum wish you were doing instead?
All she ever wanted was for her children to be happy. So I'm sure she's quite happy I'm doing what I want.