'I can’t lie': Reverend and the Makers' Jon McClure's frank views on The Libertines reunion, Radio 1 and Tom Odell

'I can’t lie': Reverend and the Makers' Jon McClure's frank views on The Libertines reunion, Radio 1 and Tom Odell

'I have to be honest, I can’t lie': Reverend and the Makers' Jon McClure's frank views on The Libertines reunion, Radio 1 and Tom Odell

'I have to be honest, I can’t lie': Reverend and the Makers' Jon McClure's frank views on The Libertines reunion, Radio 1 and Tom Odell

First published in Leisure latest news
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News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , leisure editor

Arguably the most exciting festival announcement of 2014 was The Libertines reunion at British Summer Time at Hyde Park.

Pete, Carl and the boys will headline a guitar band’s dream day on July 5 that has not only pleased the fans but the other bands on the bill.

Reverend and the Makers, who released their fourth top 20 album earlier this year, will play the Barclaycard Theatre stage and front man Jon McClure is excited.

He said: “I am very much looking forward to it. Carl’s a very good friend of mine, I know Gary (Powell, drummer) pretty well. They’re great lads.

“I love the band as well. My brother was a big Libertines fan. It is no exaggeration to say they – not saved his life – but played a big part in his life. I think they are one of those once in a generation bands.”

Reverend and the Makers' breakthrough hit Heavyweight Champion of the World

It is 10 years since Jon formed Reverend and the Makers and he is grateful to still be going strong while other bands like his have faded away.

He said: “Think of me as a rat in the rubble after a nuclear disaster.

“That’s who I am. I’m a cockroach geezer. They can’t kill me. The record industry has collapsed.

“I got into it at the end, I got a big old publishing deal and bought a house. I’m laughing.

“Six months later, the walls crumbled and everyone’s gone. Out with the old and in with Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Justin Bieber, Tom Odell.

“It all starts getting a little bit safe and corporate and boring.”

Jon is disparaging of a lot of the acts in the charts – “It’s almost like a couple of idiots at Radio 1 decided guitar music was dead, incredibly prematurely” – especially, those bands who don’t write their own songs.

And Tom Odell.

There could be an upswing, however, as Jon thinks he’s made a breakthrough that can’t be ignored.

The new single, Devil's Radio, is out July 7

He said: “Crucially, no-one’s heard it yet, but I have just made a record that is going to change everything.

"For me, not for the world. It’s not Sgt Pepper.

“It’s not like anything I’ve ever done before.

“When you hear it, you wouldn’t think it’s Reverend and the Makers.

“It is just totally fresh.

“Even trendy people may have to admit I’m brilliant. Even hipsters.”

Despite not currently getting radio play, Reverend and the Makers have carved a niche for themselves on the back of a strong live show and organically-grown fanbase.

Jon, 32, said: “I’m never going to be Coldplay, I’m never going to be rich and famous.

“But I have got a level of ghetto fame that enables me to earn a living. I can have a nice life and say whatever I want.

“I can say I think Tom Odell’s rubbish, because I think he is, and it doesn’t impact on me.”

That freedom to say what he wants appears to be one of the things most valued by Jon, and Twitter is the perfect outlet for that. In fact, his indifference to possible reaction has probably won him fans.

He said: “We have a laugh. I’m 32 years old. I can’t be arsed to play silly games. I just feel fortunate that I can go to work with my Mrs (Jon’s wife, Laura, is in the band) and my best friend and make music.

“Because I’m quite a Marmite character, if you stay the same way for ages people start to think your convictions are real and you’re not full of s**t.

“I think people think ‘you really are a c***, aren’t ya?’ Yeah, I am. I’m not playing at it. I really am.”

Part of the fun appears to be berating the likes of Tom Odell, with whom he has been having a back-and-forth Twitter spat.

At one stage, he compared Odell to Coronation Street’s Gail Platt and called him a ‘f*****g bedwetter’.

When we speak, Jon explained: “Twitter has been great for me because I can be honest, and I think honesty is refreshing.

“I’m in a pub with you and you say ‘What do you think of Tom Odell, John?’ And I say ‘he’s f*****g s**t’. Because I think he is. Why would I be different on Twitter? I have to be honest, I can’t lie.”

The Only One, the lead single from the current album, 32.

That outspoken streak has not always worked to his favour. By his own admission, the band’s politically-motivated second album, French Kiss in the Chaos, was not a huge success.

“It honestly fell off the edge of the cliff after the second album.

“It was like you can’t make a political album and have a drug habit. You have to do one or the other. They’re mutually exclusive those two things.”

He added: “The thing with political statements is that if you keep saying them, they become boring very quickly.

“I’ve got no desire to be Billy Bragg.

“I’m not a Frank Turner who totally disavows his political statements, I’m totally behind everything I have ever said. I still feel exactly the same but life has many colours, doesn’t it?

“I love Billy, but come on Billy, chill out a bit. Do you ever just fancy having a w**k and watching the footy, Billy?”

Reverend and the Makers play British Summer Time at Hyde Park on July 5, a day which is headlines by The Libertines and features The Pogues. Go to bst-hydepark.com. Their new single Devil’s Radio is out July 7.

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