By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
New Times: How was the show?
Justin Sullivan: It's the first time I've seen him, and he's one of those people that's been with me since I was 13 or so. Wonderful. He just is what he is. I think he's my favorite guitar player now.
NT: After seeing him tonight, you mean?
JS: Well, he's been creeping up my guitar players' charts over the years.
NT: Many Americans aren't especially aware of British politics. Most of us know little, if anything, about Oliver Cromwell.
JS: Well, with the band name, I don't suppose people outside Britain know anything about it at all. Why should they? Much more embarrassing to me is that lots of British people don't know anything about it, either. Basically, we had a revolution in the 17th century, and the New Model Army was the army that won against the king. From that army came all the first ideas about democracy. It's actually a very important part of American history as well. But the name, for instance, in Ireland, means something completely different, because Cromwell later took the army to Ireland and committed all sorts of atrocities.
NT: How do people receive you in Ireland?
JS: Fortunately, the Irish have got quite a bit of a sense of humor [laughs]. The interesting thing about revolutions is, they all follow the same pattern. There's always a revolution followed by a period of anarchy — with a huge ferment of ideas and idealism — followed by a military dictatorship.
NT: Just like punk!
JS: If I think back about punk, it was a little cultural revolution. It then turned into a style of music, which is actually not what it was at the time. The principle was that the spirit with which you play is the important thing. This comes back to Neil Young's concert; Neil Young is absolutely a punk. Punk rock didn't just mean playing three chords badly. At the time, it meant poets getting up in pubs, or singer/songwriters doing basic stuff with a banjo and a washboard — anything. It was basically an anything-goes era. And then, sadly, it turned into a style, in which you've got to play very basic music. It was the spirit we were interested in, and have still taken with us, I think. We still go up onstage every night believing "this matters, this is about something, this is for something," but it's not to do with a particular style or music.