Interview: The Enemy
Published on September 22nd, 2009 | Jonny Abrams
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Rocksucker caught up with Andy Hopkins and Tom Clarke from Coventry rockers The Enemy, and challenged them to a game of FIFA 10, which is soundtracked by the band’s new single ‘Be Somebody’…
Are you guys experienced FIFA players?
AH: Yeah, I’ve got FIFA 09 at home. I tell you what, I think the controls are a lot better [on the new one]. It feels a lot easier to play. ‘Cause I was rubbish at 09, to be honest.
Well I’m going to challenge you to a game, if that’s alright.
Both: (General muttering indicating that the challenge is accepted)
Should we play Rangers vs Celtic? Because they’re the Auld Enemy. And you’re the new Enemy.
(Lets slightly lame suggestion hang in the air for a moment or two, before we end up choosing our respective clubs of choice: Everton and Coventry City.)
So, do you follow the Sky Blues closely?
AH: We used to.
TC: I only moved to Coventry when I was 16. I grew up in Birmingham. When we’re back, we try and get to games but it’s f***ing impossible to follow any sport when you’re never home and essentially living on a bus.
(I deviate from the real Everton’s regular 4-5-1 line up, pairing Saha and Yakubu up front in a sophisticated 4-2-2-2 formation. Joleon Lescott is of course removed from the starting XI, and the virtual Mikel Arteta is fit enough to take his place on the right of midfield. Andy leaves his Coventry side unchanged and plays the first half.)
TC: I like the fact that you’re serious about this.
I’m representing my club; of course I’ve got to take it seriously. Why is there only one player and one goalkeeper on the pitch?
AH: Oh, that’s just while it’s loading. You get to practise. They’ve thought about it.
Oh right. That’s a good feature. So are you not massive Coventry fans, then? I was hoping to natter about ‘Cookie’ Coleman and Clinton ‘Goal Machine’ Morrison…
TC: I tend to say I like to see Cov do well, which happens rarely.
Did you follow them during their Premier League years?
AH: Yep. That’s when I was a massive fan. But it’s hard to follow it when you’ve been away for three years and you’ve got other things on your mind. But I’ve got a Fantasy Football team this year so I’ll probably keep up with it a bit more.
We interviewed Steve Froggatt a while ago. He once scored a blinding goal against us live on Sky.
AH: I played a charity football match with him the other day. It was against loads of ex Cov players, like David Busst.
Nice to hear that Busst was involved. That was an horrific injury he suffered.
AH: He’s still limping. But he put in a good performance. Compared to us lot, anyway.
You had some memorable names at Highfield Road back in the day. Dion Dublin, Robbie Keane, Darren Huckerby, Peter Ndlovu, Roy Wegerle. Who’s the best you ever saw?
AH: Micky Quinn. Or Roy Wegerle, yeah.
Have you read Micky Quinn’s autobiography, ‘Who Ate All the Pies?’ ?
Oh. Ok. (Regrets not preparing a contingency set of questions, as a dour encounter remains goalless.)
Er…do you recall the game on the last day of the 97/98 season where you very nearly sent us down?
AH: Earl Barrett?
Don’t think he played that day but, yes, it would have been roundabout the Era of Earl Barrett. What about that famous final day escape when you won 2-1 at Spurs? Any memories of that?
AH: Erm…who scored?
Can’t remember but I think Gordon Strachan was manager at the time. Did you used to go to the games at all?
AH: Yeah. I used to play for this football team who always took us to away games. But I never really used to go to Highfield Road.
This is a dreadful game so far. Please accept my apologies; I play quite an attritional game. (Trying desperately) Coventry have had one or two exciting results in the last few years though, haven’t they? Like winning 4-1 at Blackburn in the cup?
Er…so what are you up to with the band at the moment?
TC: Liam’s been on holiday for the last three weeks. We’ve had three weeks off, which is the longest we’ve had in three years. We’re doing a UK headline tour in November.
What festivals did you play this summer?
TC: We just did V, which was f***ing brilliant.
Did you ever used to go to any festivals?
TC: No, I could never afford it. Just look at how expensive Glastonbury is.
(Finally, some incident – I concede a sloppy penalty which Leon Best converts with aplomb to put Coventry 1-0 to the good.)
It’s nice that you can play as Championship teams on this now.
TC: They’ve had that for years.
Oh right. Sorry – I’m still playing off muscle memory from World Cup 98.
TC: (Animated at last) That was the best!
These games have come a long way. I remember being amazed by Striker on the SNES. But it looks ridiculous now. When you scored, a clown would appear on the scoreboard and applaud you. (Realises during the ensuing silence that the SNES was quite possibly before their time and feels old.)
TC: (Assuming control) Sorry, it’s kind of sad that Cov are 1-0 up and I’m gonna take over half way through. Probably lose 3-1.
(One of my boys goes down in the box. I appeal for a penalty but it falls upon virtual ears.) Do you follow any other sports?
TC: I’d like to but it’s f***ing impossible.
AH: You do F1 a bit, don’t you?
TC: I’m bang into Formula 1 but I can’t follow it.
You did a phone interview just before this. Has it been a hectic day?
TC: Today’s been pretty chilled out.
(Awaits elaboration but none is forthcoming.) Roland Nilsson, eh? He was the man. What a player.
(Silence. A sublime through ball puts me one on one with Keiren Westwood but the ‘keeper comes out on top.)
So. (Tries desperately to think of a decent question. Fails.) What’s your favourite pizza topping?
TC: Andy’s just f***ing weird; he puts everything on pizzas.
AH: At the moment, I’m loving spicy chicken, pepperoni and jalapeno.
I’ve discovered that jalapenos and pineapple go brilliantly together on pizza. You should try it.
TC: You can’t put pineapple on pizzas. That’s out of order. It’s too sweet.
AH: I was served pineapple with a White Russian last night. Did you see that? Gave me a White Russian with a f***ing slice of pineapple in it. What the f*** is that about? It was f***ing horrible.
A lion versus a tiger, in a fight to the death, each beast covered in gravy in order to ensure optimum savagery. Who wins?
TC: Liam’s thought about this a lot. It’s a shame he’s not here. I’d say that a tiger’s probably gonna be more vicious. I don’t think they cohabit though, so it’s highly unlikely.
It’s hypothetical. Gorilla versus a grizzly?
TC: Yeah. Grizzly’s got claws, hasn’t he? One swipe and…I mean, gorilla’s got strength, but…
(Just then, the Yak, appropriately fed, breaks free and scores.) Oh, what a beauty!
TC: This is the beginning of the end, man. This is what happens to Cov.
(At that point, I’m informed that I have three minutes left. Time to go for the jugular.) So, out of all the bands and artists you’ve met, who have you disliked the most?
TC: To be quite honest with you, you meet c***s all the time. You’ve just got to f***ing ignore them, frankly. When you’re in this position, there’s always someone who wants to cut you down.
You must have met some amazing people too, though.
TC: We’ve toured with f***ing amazing bands. We’ve just done the Oasis tour…Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics…
So, of all the people you’ve ever met, who have you been most in awe of?
TC: Probably Noel [Gallagher]. I know it’s an obvious one but…oh shit…(gets player sent off for a professional foul)
Off! Off! Off! (I make a total mess of the resultant free-kick.) Do you guys play football?
TC: Yeah. There’s always a football on tour.
What positions do you play?
TC: I’m not good enough to say I play any position.
(Proceedings degenerate into general swearing, grunts of frustration and the occasional “Oh no!” as the final whistle of an error-strewn game approaches, with the score still locked at 1-1.)
Let’s get vaguely topical. How would you celebrate if you scored a last-minute winner for Coventry against Villa? Bear in mind that the Villa fans have been giving you stick all game.
TC: [I’d celebrate] quietly. The Villa fans can be a bit nasty. Depends if we’re home or away.
You’re at the Ricoh Arena.
AH: I’d just do a Klinsmann or something. I can’t do backflips.
Who’s gonna win the World Cup?
AH: I actually do think it’ll be England. They’re mint at the moment. Last World Cup, I didn’t think they’d do it.
TC: I’m gonna throw it out there: I don’t think England will win.
(After another gap in conversation) Any tips for good new bands?
TC: Twisted Wheel. They’re a Manchester band…(trails off into mumbling as I break through again…only to screw it up again. Further non-conversation ensues before the Yak strikes again to give me a last-ditch 2-1 lead. I emit a rather undignified roar in celebration.)
So how did ‘Be Somebody’ come to be used on the game? Did they just approach you and say, “We like the song. Can we use it?”
TC: Sort of, yeah. That was a foul, surely.
Ah, I think he made contact. With the ball, that is. Do you have a favourite football cliché?
TC: “Game of two halves” is a classic, innit? I like saying it about gigs: “it was a gig of two halves”.
(The whistle blows. Final score: Me 2-1 The Enemy)
TC: Congratulations. Convincing win.
(Moral of the story: don’t conduct an interview over a game of FIFA.)