R13: Well firstly, apart from probably in Manchester, how did the band meet?
Vinny: I was playing a solo gig in Manchester's Star and Garter where I ran a club night [Kitchen Sink Disco] in 2004, Andy Rourke was DJing, saw the show, we got talking, Mike Joyce came along to the following gig and we formed a band. Ben Knott joined on keys and we toured as a four piece, UK, Ireland and the odd Swedish festival. Andy left the band in 2005 after our Glastonbury show...Craig Gannon joined a little before Andy's departure...

R13: What is it about Manchester that you think creates such quirky and interesting bands?
V: I think there's a sense of belief in the arts communities in general here that they are the chosen ones...where the confidence comes from I've no idea, I wasn't raised here, I'm just a grateful adoptive incumbent...

R13: Your songs have utterly refreshing subject matter, where do the ideas come from?
V: That's nice of you to say so...I think mostly I write about things that trouble or perplex me and try and make some kind of sense of them...my DIY ineptitude, youth cultures eternal flame, the consequences of my actions...confessional in some sense, regressional in others... I just wrote a song about the perfect song I never wrote...which we are about to record,

R13: With such cutting lyrics, have there ever been times when the audience really hasn't "got you" and how do you react?
V: Yes. I suppose a certain amount of concentration and engagement is not everyone's idea of appropriate audience behaviour, especially in a pub, where people want to talk and drink and fight and kop off. Audiences vary. Theatres are usually best if I'm playing solo as people tend to know their job is to listen. Mostly I tend to carry on regardless. Playing with the band is a different gig really...if there's a whiff indifference I just hit the pedal marked punk rock and turn the volume up to 11.

R13: What would you say your ambitions for the band are? I'd personally like to see you running the country but I doubt that's on the immediate agenda...
V: I love that scene in Billy Liar when he's talking about running the country...Tom Courtenay as prime minister .. Julie Christie foreign secretary...I could live in a place like that....The band are in a state of minor flux at the moment. We're rehearsing a new bass player and recording new demos for the next band album. I'm keen to move things on with the band sound wise. I feel we've been lumped in with indie pop culture which has never really suited me; we are never going to compete with the Artic Monkeys in that sense. We are never going to belong in a genre so dominated by youth culture, we are simply too old for all that. I want us to sound like Nick Cave and Bad Audio Dynamite, I think sometimes the Smiths connections sets up the wrong mindset of expectations but I digress, I could go on...but you'd asleep before you know it!

R13: You've also released a spoken word recording; do you think you could ever put your words to paper and create a novel or memoir?
V: I think a memoir would be easier than a novel, I keep a diary...I've tried writing a novel and it's really hard, characterisation, story and plot...the endless redrafting...but never say never I say...

R13: Do you think that music is something that should make deep and serious political comment, or act as an escape from such everyday tedium?
V: I think it can be both. Either can work together or alone. Often songs have a message that no one really gets or needs to...it's just a great tune and you cant stop singing it, especially if the chorus really speaks to you. Baby Bird's 'You're Gorgeous' is about a pervy camera shoot and is really quite subversive...try discussing that with the girl dancing to it on her 18th birthday and she'll tell you where to stick it. She doesn't need to know.

R13: Is there anything in your life that you wouldn't ever cover in your songs?
V: Probably not...although I do have a few secrets I'd prefer to keep that way...affairs of the heart...that kind of stuff. Love songs are pretty challenging and best avoided really.

R13: If your band was kidnapped and you were forced to replace them with any other musicians, living or dead, who would you choose?
V: I like Colin Moulding from XTC...he's my favourite bass player and he's alive.
On guitar I'd get Andy Gill from Gang of Four...he makes a right good racket.
On keys/lute Henry V111...for the green sleeves vibe and the rock n roll persona
I'd keep Mike Joyce on Drums ...I think him and Henry would get along just fine...

R13: What was the first song you ever heard which made you realise how magical music is?
V: I was very smitten with early Simon and Garfunkel...I used to write to Paul Simon when I was a kid... I still think he's a genius.

R13: What do you think of the rest of the current music scene, is 2007 good for music?
V: Without sounding too much like a grumpy old man it's hard to be objective. I think nowadays we get a shower of similar sounding/looking bands thrust upon us from every conceivable media. Some of them are good [The Artic Monkeys for one] but many still need to develop...it seems a very transient marketplace, one of instant gratification. There is little mystery involved. I think I'd prefer less bands and more diversity...there seems so little left to discover as everything is so in your face. That said I think I'm going to buy the Maximo Park record for the singers hairstyle alone...comb over style...I saw a documentary on them the other night.

R13: Having two ex-members of The Smiths in the band, I have to ask if you were a Smiths fan or if you initially found their success at all intimidating?
V: I was a big Smiths fan, at the time skulking on the back of Midland Red buses travelling to the asylum where I trained as a nurse. I never really got Morrissey though, still don't. Working with Mike, Craig and formerly Andy was never intimidating, never a problem...it's just musician to musician. I must confess though to being thrilled when they approached me and still am to be sharing the stage with these people...not because of who they were [although of course I respect and admire them and their achievements] but because of who they are today.

R13: You've recently toured Europe, what were the highlights of that?
V: Austria and Germany were wonderful. Germans are very clean- the Atomic Café is possibly the cleanest nightclub in the world. The shows were well received and the people were very decent. I bought a video camera in Munich going for a song...it's just broken so I need to get back there in the next few months to sort out the guarantee!

R13: Which would you prefer: Tony Blair or Maggie Thatcher?
V: Ten years ago I would have definitely said Blair...now the similarities seem irrelevant.

R13: Has anyone or anything today give you inspiration for a song or lyrics?
V: I'm finishing a song about Enlightenment...it's about a quest for spiritual type things I can't begin to understand...I just read a biog on Bill Hicks...he spent a lot of time looking to be enlightened...his life is inspiring and it's inspired this song.

R13: Your music has received plenty of compliments, what's the weirdest comparison that's been made and who would you like to be compared to?
V: When I got my new glasses Mike Joyce said I looked like Ronnie Barker...I don't really want to be compared to anyone in particular...but I do love that UNCUT quote 'if Tony Hancock had made pop records they would have sounded like this'...

R13: It being Easter, what's the best part: resurrection or rabbits?
V: Rabbits and chocolate eggs.

R13: How did you spend your Bank Holiday weekend?
V: Finishing home demos in time for rehearsal next week...

R13: Thanks for your time and I wish you tremendous luck in the future!