Sleaford Mods: 'Everything's getting worse. The same people are still just as disgusting'
- Claire Sawers
- 28 September 2017
Sleaford Mods frontman, Jason Williamson, talks anger, shit bands and overcoming addiction
'Obviously, if I acted like I did onstage, just walking down the street, that would be bad news. I wouldn't last fucking two minutes,' explains Jason Williamson as he's out walking his dog. The frontman of Sleaford Mods is not long back from the gym, and he's heading home soon to get on with the housework. Chatty, funny, gentle, even – off-duty Williamson is positively cuddly compared to the bile-spitting, head-slapping, geezer-nutter persona with the vein spasming in his neck at gigs.
'I like performing, deffo. Of course we put across a certain image when we play live. That tradition has been there since day one. I've got a lot of anger, yeah, sometimes I wish I wasn't like that. I try to be more diplomatic these days.'
Diplomacy is not what's got Sleaford Mods where they are today. Iggy Pop didn't call them 'undoubtedly, absolutely, definitely the world's greatest rock'n'roll band' because they pull their punches. Their cynical, politicised and arsey style has struck a chord with disillusioned audiences in Broken Britain and beyond, fed up of boybands singing anodyne love songs, and ready to hear a middle-ager from the East Midlands ranting about things that really get on his tits.
Sleaford Mods' most recent album, English Tapas – with on point, embittered and biting words by Williamson and earworm music by his head-nodding, beer-drinking, onstage hypeman and friend, Andrew Fearn – homes in on more sides of British culture that disgust him. In the past it's been 'EDL twats', dole offices, 'able-bodied vultures' declaring war on society's poorest and most vulnerable, and those who criticise Jeremy Corbyn, who Williamson describes as someone who 'reeks of compassion'. The 2017 update sounds off about The NME's website, the BHS pension nightmare and the UK's 'work like fuck' culture.
'That sadness and anger is never going away,' says Williamson. 'It's gotta be constantly in your music all the time. Because you're exposed to it in the street every day. Everything's getting worse. The same people are still just as disgusting. That anger speaks to people.'
Frequently criticised for his love of swearing, Williamson has always defended his lyrics as being how people really speak; it's the sound of people on comedowns, on the factory floor, kicking off outside pubs at closing time.
'So many artists now are talking dogshit. I don't feel they're being honest – it's an insult. Who gives a fuck about the night out you had in a club? My five-year-old and two-year-old would like that kind of music. They're too young to understand the realities of the world. Those bands may as well be calling out the numbers at the bingo on a Wednesday.'
Although Williamson's got in trouble in the past for naming and shaming the bands he thinks are guilty of blanding up the charts, he's holding his tongue today.
'There are like five or six bands at the moment that really fucking annoy me, but I'm not going to mention who they are. You live and learn. Twitter's a right playground for that kind of thing. It's pantomime, pure theatre. There will always be shit bands – I need them so I can feed off them. I'd be out a job otherwise.'