Occasionally, a great band would come along, like Blondie or OutKast who could be pop and bring interesting ideas into the mainstream at the same time. That's now gone, because of this weird mutation of pop, rap, R&B, bad rave, and supposedly soulful singing on top of it.
Now, I'm a dad, I'm an adult. I've been solo for 25 years; I've been in other people's groups but I'm solo [in a broader sense]. I stopped comparing myself to other people's maps when I was maybe 24, really. The trajectory that I've gone on is not one that I can compare with anybody else.
We're in a society where no one's putting a gun to your head and making you use your phone, but some people start to crack. "I Want the Heartbeat" is about the downside of it. People can and do break up friendships and relationships because of the internet, and that can't be good. You have to find a balance. You can't let it be the boss of you.
I really like Howler and an American band on Sub Pop called Jaill. There will always be new bands that I like, it's always been that way. I still go out to shows. One thing I don't like now is this idea that all singing needs to be expressed at maximum volume with so much bullshit sentimentality - it's pervading regular pop music.
I met my manager when I was 17, when I didn't have enough money to buy a set of guitar strings. There are not very many people who are looking out for you and being in business with you when you're at that stage. And it's not in my nature to think that success as a musician makes you any different from anybody else.
You've got to understand that. We all look out for Morrissey. It's a very brotherly feeling. When we first rehearsed, I'd have done anything for him. And as a person Morrissey is really capable of a truly loving relationship. Every day he's so open, so romantic and sensitive to other people's emotions.
Navigating with a partner makes it half as difficult. We keep each other in check. It's not like she [Angie Marr] was ever a quiet little wifey wife behind the scenes. She's exactly like me. She's very smart. We're very lucky that we've always wanted the same things. She loves guitar music, she loves important records, and our lives are about records and shows and great bands.
I haven't been walking around for years with some burning desire to do a solo record. If I had, maybe I'd have made a record that was experimental. Usually, the idea of a solo record is to get some weird stuff out of your system, but I don't think like that. I wasn't interested in making something that was a hard listen - maybe I'll get around to that some other time. I wanted it to sound effortless, not like I was trying to reinvent the wheel.
The reason I don't drink is that the drinking lifestyle robs me of my musical intensity and sharpness. I live a super-healthy lifestyle not because it's sensible or that I'm contrite, but because I need to keep my focus on the music I'm making. To do that, I need to be wide awake.
I am very proud of the fact that 20 years on people tell me they became a vegetarian as a result of 'Meat is Murder'. “I think that is quite literally rock music changing someone's life - it's certainly changing the life of animals. It is one of the things I am most proud of.
I dont like to waste notes, not even one. I like to put the right note in the right place, and my influences have always been those kinds of players. Keith Richards comes to mind, and I really like Nils Lofgrens soloing, because hes so melodic. I love John Lennons rhythm playing, and George Harrison was an incredible guitarist.
I've run all the bands I've been in. A great front man needs that other person. It's not enough to have a guy with a cute face standing behind a microphone. I see it like the classic romantic relationships with men and women, where the woman lets the man think he's running it. It's a classic matriarchal trait, and that's always been part of my personality.
I moved to Portland because Modest Mouse is there. I didn't necessarily mean to live there permanently, but I've got a really good feeling for it. The sensibility there really suits me. I happened to have grown up in Manchester, a city that was a pretty cool place to be a musician. It's close to Portland in a lot of ways.
When you're young, you obviously have people you look up to. People like Andrew Oldham and Nile Rodgers inspired me then, and they inspire me now. But at some point, you start to try to be the best you can be and you're not copying anybody else. I'm just doing it in public, and my work needs to reflect that as well.