Mark’s not feeling blue

Mark Morriss

Mark Morriss

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avoiding getting too caught up in the ‘Britpop’ hype that swirled around them, The Bluetones went on to outlast most of their mid-90s contemporaries – in fact next year it will be 20 years since the band first got together.

By then, however, the West London foursome will be no more, for they’re finally calling it a day after a farewell tour this autumn.

In advance of those valedictory gigs, frontman Mark Morriss is hitting the road for some solo shows, one of which is in Wakefield, at The Hop, on Wednesday June 22.

He said: “I’ve been doing this travelling troubador routine for the past three or four years, it’s a pleasant distraction from life in a band.

“It keeps me in touch with what’s going on out there and it’s a nice break from the routine of rehearsing, recording and touring.”

Contemplating the end of The Bluetones, he said: “There’s no sense of finality just yet, in fact it’s quite hard to get your head round the idea of it all finishing. I guess it will probably sink in during the tour in October.

“We’ve been together since 1992 – Adam (Devlin, the band’s guitarist) and I have played together since 1989 – and it’s a privilege to eke out a career from something we love.”

Outside of their dedicated fanbase, it’s fair to say the band slipped beneath the radar of most music fans some years ago – though Mark has no regrets that, to coin a phrase, they’re not famous any more.

“It’s not true that you keep looking back when your career has followed the path that ours has,” he said.

“There were occasions back then when we thought ‘this isn’t real’ but it was a great time, it opened doors for us and found us an audience.

“There’s no feeling of falling by the wayside, I just think it’s lovely that people heard us and so many of them have stayed with us all this time.”

Looking to the post-Bluetones future, Mark has no plans set in stone, despite his regular solo outings and a well-received album, 2008’s Memory Muscle, which showcased a folkier side to his songwriting.

He said: “To a degree I’m caught between two stools: do I try to make more of my solo career or do I look to collaborate with others?

“There are a few people who I might work with and see where that leads, so whatever happens I don’t think I’m going to be solely solitary!

“I’m a songwriter, that’s what I want to do – so I guess whether it’s just for me, or for other people as well, that’s what I’ll be doing.”