Andrew Barnett of Red Ronson and Claire/s Brother has a chat about love, music and the future of Red Ronson. After our last interview with him, we learnt two things to not ask about, 1) defining the music that he plays (Rock or Heavy Metal – read the interview !) and 2) Come Dine with Me. We couldn’t resist one of them…
But first, following on from the release of “Sweetheart be Mine” (accompanied with a brilliantly creative video) just in time for Valentine’s Day last year, Andrew in his guise as Claire/s Brother will play a Carnivale special on the 14th of February, 2014.
I wondered if it was just a coincide or whether there was something drawing him to the “season of love”. Andrew’s understanding retains a ,more than expected, tongue in cheek response; “It is no coincidence, the season of love is 365 days a year and if I could I would perform 365 days a year! Boke!”.
In truth he had planned a further attack on the heartstrings for Valentine’s Day, ” We have actually re-recorded “Sweetheart Be Mine” and “Salvador Dali” with the intention of releasing them again for Valentine’s day.” He does concede his preoccupation to love “…But yes I do insist on persistently writing about love all be it mostly ironic so I appreciate being given this “special date” to play.”
So given these contradictory feelings, what kind of night should we be expecting on the 14th? “It’s hit or miss what to expect, I am an incredibly strange individual and my heart has about as many alter egos and split personalities as my mind so although Disney and American indie movies have given me an unhealthy belief and hope in true love and romance, I am also incredibly sarcastic and cynical at times …. Possibly just realised why I’m single.”
With that self awareness he suggests “I’d expect irony at least!” amidst a mixture of empathy and mishief he adds “I would like it to be valentines for single people like me… So if your single or cynical come along and I’ll be the goose to your maverick…. And we might also break some happy couples up because… What does misery love?….”
With a sense of trepidation I ask Andrew what is his favourite love song ” “Because I Do” by Katie Sutherland (formerly of Pearl and the Puppets) because I’m incredibly fickle and that’s what I’m currently listening to… “ Out of nowhere he adds “”Seventy Times 7″ by Brand New? Because again… I’m fickle and was having trouble with this question so I asked a very pretty girl for a suggestion… She suggested this … I’ve never even listened to Brand New… But I pretended I really like that song so she’ll think I’m cool.” Illusion, shattered.
Returning to talk of the Carnivale gig, Andrew will be performing under the guise of Claire/s Brother who he describes the act’s personna as the kind that will ” take your mother out for a lovely steak dinner and never call her back…”. “[It’s] just a name I can hide behind to write honestly about other things… He is my Tony Clifton (an alter ego played, albeit not exclusively, by Andy Kaufman in the Seventies) . But he’s also a massive Red Ronson fan so there will be plenty of that as well.”
On asking Andrew about his longer term plans, he starts by reflecting on 2013; “Well for Red Ronson last year was fairly overwhelming. It all kinda started just for something to cheer me up and get me out of the house and then we did festivals and radio and all the things you hope to do when you start writing songs. We had a massive amount of support from folk like yourselves, Marion Scott, Netsounds, Houdi, Margaret, Dave just everyone! I think it will be very hard to top that this year.”
In saying that, Andrew adds “I think it will be very hard to top that this year but I’m always writing and always happy to meet new folks and always happy to just be a part of such a vibrant and eclectic music scene! I hope for more of all that and we’ll keep playing until people stop listening … Then we’ll have a break and do a reunion tour”.
Andrew was of course filmed for Come Dine With Me when the program ventured to the Highlands, I felt the need to ask when he would be on the cookery program (in all fairness it was not the first time we had asked (and yes we know it was on TV last year)).
Regardless Andrew played along “Come Dine with Me… Glad you asked… I dunno if you knew this but I was actually on that show in the summer sporting a skin head and looking awkward as I made a girl cry…. Tears of joy… I’m available for acting work also… My moustache makes me ideal for roles such as ww2 raf pilot… A supervillain or if anyone wants to write a part for me? Call me”. If ever there was a good time to stop asking questions….
Claire/s Brother will play a Carnivale special on the 14th of February, 2014.