When I say to The Coral’s Nick Power they’re one of the last of the great British guitar groups left who aren't in their dotage, he scarcely misses a beat.
This jingly-jangly Liverpudlian outfit may be about to release their eighth album shortly but multi-instrumentalist and published author Nick still remembers the day the band joined their first label Deltasonic as raw teenagers, writes Graham Chalmers.
“We were like kids when we first formed. In fact we were kids. I had to get my mum to sign the record contract on my behalf.”
To these ears, The Coral still seem like a young band, if the songs on new album Distance Inbetween are anything to go by.
But the fact is, keyboardist Power first got together with fellow Coral-ers Bill Ryder-Jones, Lee Southall, James Skelly, Ian Skelly and Paul Duffy a full 20 years ago.
Emerging in the gap between the demise of Britpop and the arrival of the likes of the Arctic Monkeys with whom The Coral toured in 2007, the band were nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2002 for their eponymous debut album and a string of hits soon followed such as Dreaming of You and Pass It On which combined infectious guitar pop with a natural flair for mild psychedelia and the twisted blues of maverick musician Captain Beefheart.
Nick said: “Beefheart was a total legend in my book. We lifted quite a few things from him early on, including time signatures.
"It felt great at the time to do so well. We’d always thought we were too weird to be successful.”
Despite a string of impressive releases since classic second album Magic and Medicine in 2003, things haven’t been all plain sailing since then.
With enough ideas between them for several bands, solo projects have abounded as this most creative of bands turned into a minor cottage industry.
Operating without a manager didn’t help, either.
But the new album on Ignition Records, home of Primal Scream and the Stereophonics, has been well-received, especially in Paris where Nick has just returned from heavy duty promotional duties when I speak to him.
“It’s wall to wall interviews all day long but we shouldn’t complain. We’ve always done well in France.”
Fans can expect a wide-ranging set in The Coral’s latest tour which arrives at Leeds’ famous Brudenell Social Club on Monday, March 7.
Nick is looking forward to playing on stage with new guitarist Paul Molloy of The Zutons’ fame who came aboard after Lee Southall became the latest member of The Coral to do his own thing.
Nick said: “He’s a great guitarist and played in our drummer Ian’s solo outfit Serpent Power. Lee’s been working on his own project for three years. He moved to Leeds to be with his kid.”
And The Coral as a whole can't wait to ger their teeth into their new material on stage.
Nick said: “A lot of the new album was recorded in one of two takes. It’s quite geared to being played live. We had to have to have time off between the last two albums. It’s all or nothing in this band. If you only half commit you end up drowning.”