You’ve played a few gigs for the 30th anniversary tour in the U.K. already and you’re getting ready for Canada and the States. Do you notice any differences between the U.K. crowds and the North American ones?
Generally speaking, an audience is pretty much the same the world over. You’re standing in front of a bunch of people that hopefully have bought your records and seem to know what you’re all about. Obviously, the longer you’ve been around, the friendlier the audience is.
Back in ’85, during the Psychocandy times, it wasn’t necessarily like that. There was a lot of hostility from the audience because, basically, the Mary Chain grabbed people by the throat. Live, it was quite aggressive. We were quite shy people so the only way we could think to do it was to get pretty fucked up on stage, which made it all a bit chaotic. It wasn’t “show business,” put it that way. A lot of people had heard the hype and had been coming along out of pure curiosity. You certainly weren’t standing in front of an audience that you already had in the bag. You had to win them over. We were not very good at doing that.
How have you changed as a performer over the years?
I’ve come to terms with what I can and can’t do. But back in those days, I felt as if I just didn’t have what it took, andthat was a lot of the reason I would get very, very drunk or take drugs on stage. It’s because I just never felt good enough. I used to want to be Iggy Pop but I couldn’t — I was just too crushed with shyness. It’s not easy for me. I don’t talk to the audience and I hope at this stage of the game, people know that I’m not being aloof and I’m not being rude. I just focus on the songs and by doing that, I think I enjoy it now more than I ever have.