One of 2013’s best surprises was former Reuben frontman Jamie Lenman’s announcement that he’d be returning to music with the double disc solo album Muscle Memory. Although initially he was only going to do one UK tour to promote the album he decided to do 3 headline shows and a couple of festival dates this year to promote his recently released Double A-side vinyl It’s Hard To Be a Gentleman / All The Things You Hate About Me, I Hate Them Too for Record Store Day. We caught up with him before his show at London’s Islington Assembly Hall.
IS: It’s been over half a year since Muscle Memory was released, how have you taken to the reaction it’s received?
Jamie Lenman: Yeah, very pleased. And relieved as well because I wasn’t sure what people would make of the dichotomy of the styles on the album but I think it’s been accepted universally. I’ve not heard anyone say that they only like the one side of the album.
IS: So you have these shows and a few festival appearances planned over the summer. Do you know what you and the Heavy Mellow Band have planned after those shows?
JL: No. It’s the same as when we were on the December tour, we didn’t have any plans to do any more touring or festivals after that and then the festivals asked us to play and we agreed and then my team asked if I could do any more shows and I said “yeah, alright”. I’d be surprised if there were any more shows after this but you never know.
IS: Fingers Crossed! Are you likely to release any new music in the foreseeable future?
JL: I can’t really give a straight answer to that. I wish I could but imagine if I said yes or no, and then I did or didn’t deliver? So who knows? That’s the question. Probably not for a long time, it’s taken a lot out of me to do this and I’ll probably need another fallow period. But in all likelihood, probably but not for a while I should imagine.
IS: Would you be interested with collaboration with Frank Turner again in the future if the opportunity came about?
JL: I’ve been there and done that, collaborated with him before. Old news.
IS: Okay. So if there was a musician you could collaborate with who you’ve never worked with before who would it be?
JL: Paul McCartney!
IS: That’d be an interesting collaboration. Why Paul McCartney?
JL: Because he’s my favourite musician!
IS: A good choice, Ringo’s my favourite Beatle personally!
JL: Well sadly you haven’t got many left to choose from these days.
IS: What has been your favourite albums of 2014 so far?
JL: That’s a good question. I really like the Empress AD album, I listened to that and was very impressed. I heard an album that’s coming out soon by a band called Stanley Knife and I really liked that and there’s an EP by a band called Shrine, that’s great as well.
IS: Are there any bands at the festivals you are playing this summer (ActTanGent & 2000 Trees) that you’re looking forward to?
JL: Definitely looking forward to seeing Rob Zombie! He’s definitely going to be… umm. Actually I’m not sure what festival he’s doing. I’m looking forward to seeing Kill Chaos who supported me on my last tour again. And I was looking forward to seeing Baby Godzilla at Takedown Festival but they had them on at the same time as Feed The Rhino so I didn’t get to see them.
IS: You’re in luck, they’re at 2000 Trees!
JL: Are they? I’ll definitely be seeing them there then!
IS: 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Reuben’s debut album Racecar is Racecar Backwards. Are there any plans to celebrate this anniversary? Maybe a re-release of the album on Vinyl?
JL: I’ll be celebrating in my own way. I might have a small cake and listen to the vinyl. But I don’t know. To be honest I’ve had such a busy time recently that I haven’t really had time to think about it but you’re right it turns 10 in the summer so I’ll have a think about it.
IS: Were you aware of the existence of Camp Reuben at 2000 Trees? (A camp at 2000 Trees festival started by Reuben fans in which many musicians [including Frank Turner & Dave McPherson] have shown up over the years after the bands to finish playing to cover Reuben songs).
JL: Yeah, it’s the first thing everyone says to me. I heard about it when it started.
IS: Is there any chance of you showing up to play a set at Camp Reuben after hours?
JL: No, that’d be a bit weird. It’d be like turning your own tribute and doing the lead vocals. I know it’s not like that. I think it’s rad that it happens and I’m very flattered but if I actually turned up there it’d just be nuts. I don’t know what it’d be like but it’d be weird.
Only one way to find out I suppose. Well thank you very much for the speaking with us and we can’t wait for the tonight’s set!