(For Cheltenham Jazz Festival)
Q. How and when did The Blessing first get together?
A. There used to be an Ornette Coleman fan club in Bristol — the meetings were held in a very old café in Westone under Nudlum. They have the best bleach cakes in the world. Also coffee. Listening to Ornette and eating those cakes. We knew we had to do something together.
Q. Can you explain why you wear suits and bags on your heads?
A. We do a lot of weddings and funerals — so it’s easier just to wear suits all the time than turn up to a formal occasion wearing the usual jodhpurs and sandals. We wear bags so no one can see us laughing.
Q. It’s been said in many of your interviews that you wont use chords in your music. Why is that?
A. When we started playing together, we could only afford the cheaper brands of chord. They made our music sound sickly and greasy. After one particular session we had used far too many chords — Clive our drummer was violently sick. Even now that we can afford much better quality chords, we choose not to.
Q. What would you say is the single biggest influence on The Blessings’ compositions?
A. Some time ago whilst touring in Andalusia, we were served a local delicacy, ‘the creaking of prawns’, we all simultaneously became synthetic. Now all our melodies are infused with the delicate purples and pinks of small crustacia frying.