On The Verger Greatness – Makers' FA Cup Bid
From FIFA album appearances to summits with God, Reverend & The Makers’ pacy wingers have plenty of chalk on their boots.
But now the Sheffield five-piece face their own final as they bid to score the official FA Cup Final anthem for this season’s competition. Ahead of the final between Wigan and Manchester City on May 11, the Makers are battling the likes of The Twang, Lethal Bizzle and The Enemy in their Wembley dream. But they need your nod, so if you haven’t already, dribble your way to the FA website and vote for your fave Steel City pop stars right now. We caught up with Makers’ big man up front for a chat about the compo – including a footie analogy Delia Smith would be proud of – plus a look ahead to the next album…
Exposed: You’ve lots of previous with football but you’re more often seen in Sheffield’s stands. What’s got The Makers contemplating an away game down That London?
John McClure: We wanna be the FA Cup anthem! We gotta win!
And you’re pitching ‘Shine A Light’ from the latest album as part of your push. Wouldn’t ‘Noisy Neighbour’ have been a good one for finalists Man City?
Yeah, but the lyrics man! ‘Shine the light of luck on me tonight,’ is a proper FA Cup sentiment.
Sounds like you’re supporting the underdogs here. Are you gonna be sat with the Lantics if you get the gig?
When we played at the semi-finals we were in the Club Wembley bit with all the hobnobbers and the prawn sandwiches! If you imagine Wembley’s a cake we were the jam in the middle of the sponge.
You picked out Slade’s ’Give Us A Goal’ as your fave footie song in the feature with NME earlier this week. It sounds like a cross between Gary Glitter and Primal Scream…
Here’s the thing about Slade. Imagine you’re a bricklayer in seventies’ Sheffield – would you want to listen to Stairway to Heaven or Cum on Feel The F*cking Noise? I feel an affinity with Slade – terribly out of fashion but people loved them and they just keep going. They look like they’ve come from a fancy dress party tho. I love bands with people who shouldn’t be in bands. That’s one of the reasons I love doing Africa Express.
You’ve been busy as a bee with the Africa Express tours recently.
Yeah, done stuff with Baba Maal, Bassekou Kouyate, Femi Kuti. There was one gig in Nigeria where I was playing guitar and I looked up and there was Damon Albarn, Flea and (master afrobeat drummer) Tony Allen. I was like, “How did I get from Grenoside to Lagos?”
There’s lots of overlaps between footie and music aren’t there?
Sports dudes love music and vice versa. I’ve met Paul McCartney but I MET BRUCE GROBBELAR AT LEEDS FESTIVAL! It's weird. I went to a thing recently and there were loads of music celebrities but I was most excited about meeting Gareth Southgate! With musicians you’re meeting people who do what you do – songs and gigs. With footballers it’s something else. When we did that interview with Chris Waddle I was buzzing! I’m not like that with musicians. Stevie Wonder could be sat there and I’d be, “Would you like a cuppa, Stevie?” But I’m overawed with sportsmen. If it was a choice between FA Cup Anthem or a number one single, I’d rather have FA Cup anthem.
It’s easier to be a fan of someone who does something you don’t do, isn’t it?
Yeah. The magic’s unsullied. Tell you what – you give me a band, I’ll tell you which footballer they are.
They’re big. As big as it gets at one point. But were never that big in America. People thought they should have moved onto another club but they never did. It’s tempting to say a Man Utd player – Peter Schmeichel.
You see I could talk about meaning of what my lyrics are but I’d much rather do this. Give me another one!
Stylish. Eighties. They’re Glenn Hoddle.
Speaking of which, when are you gonna get round to that cover of Diamond Lights by the way? We can just see you in a white suit wi sleeves rolled up…
Oof. No way. I would rather eat my own face. As much as I love Chris Waddle…
We like Diamond Lights.
You see that goes back to what I’m saying. Your footballers all wanna be rock stars and your rock stars all wanna be footballers. Anyway, give us another.
Early Wayne Rooney. One Direction would be David Bentley by the way. Can we play this for the rest of the afternoon?
Nonono. I wanted to talk about next Reverend & Makers album. Five singles from last one!
We did alright. Top twenty, back in the game. We pressed the reset button.
You described it as a bit, not ‘make or break’ but…
It were. It paid off though. Just got another record deal. If someone had said to me ten years ago ‘you can have three top 20 records, take it or leave it,’ I’d have their hand off. It’s a lot more electronic than it’s been – since Heavyweight. We’re more contemporary electronic with stuff like ‘Bassline’ and ‘Depthcharge’ and we’ve got half of the new album done. There’s some f**king good stuff on it.
Well, we’re back to footie again: it’s always about the next game. ‘@Reverend_Makers’ had all these collabs on the mixtape while the album was much more core Reverend and The Makers’ band.
I really enjoyed that last album and I don’t feel like I’ve said all I’ve got to say. We’ve found a groove we like and it suits me.
Is the work with Africa Express gonna influence the new material?
I’m sure it will. You can’t just do the same stuff. But I’ve not finished exploring this groove. We’ve got a good side and they’re still young so I wanna win more titles before we do anything else.
The lads aren’t looking leggy yet. There’s been plenty of subs in the Makers haven’t there?
I like to reshuffle my pack! I’m like Fergie! But I feel like we’ve qualified for Champions League this year.
Interview by Rob Barker. Vote Reverend & The Makers' Shine A Light for this year's FA Cup Final Anthem on the official FA website.