Jay Price Interview

How did you come to audition for The One? Via the Melody Maker ad or by other means?

Yes - through the advert in Melody Maker.

What were you doing before auditioning for the band and were you an Only Ones fan prior to auditioning?

I had moved to London about 3 months prior to seeing the advert, basically with the intention of getting something started – I’d been in various bands going nowhere and wanted a fresh start. I had been introduced to The Only Ones’ music probably about 6 months to a year before the audition. I really liked them but wasn’t what you’d consider a fan.

What were the auditions like? How many times did you have to audition and what was played?

I remember I had sold a lot of my stuff to get to London and all I had was a knackered Japanese Tele and a wah wah pedal. The day I auditioned, there were loads of guitarists waiting around who all looked a lot older than me and very professional… one even had a roadie. I was 22 and my youthful naivity or arrogance probably got me through it! We’d been told to learn AGAP and The Big Sleep. When I actually auditioned, the bass player was Rich (Vernon) with another drummer. We played through the songs and afterwards, either Peter or Steve (the manager) asked me to hang around as they might want me to come back in. I seem to remember the second time I went back in, we played the same tracks.

Who was already in the band before you were selected?

At that time, nobody other than Miyuki, but I think they made the decision on Steve and Rich fairly quickly. I learned later that they were undecided about a guitar player for a little while longer. Even after I was given the job, they were still considering another guitarist who came down and played with us. That was all a bit weird… I remember carrying the guys amp into the rehearsal space, so as not to appear threatened!

What was your initial impression of Peter?

He was a lot smaller than I had imagined. I also remember, for some reason, expecting him to be more effeminate than he was and was quite surprised by his love of football.

Can you remember what was played in the first band rehearsals? Mainly Only Ones material or new stuff?

I remember playing Hostage To Fortune, Shame Of Being You and You Gave Birth. There would have been more, but I don’t remember.

How did the band usually work? Would Peter bring songs in as home demo's? Were the band given creative freedom? Did Peter jam with the band much?

Yeah, Pete would have the bones of a new song with the main chords and lyric. We would then all start jamming round it, feeling our way into the song. It was pretty democratic and Pete was never controlling in the creative environment. Particularly in the early days, we would rehearse 3 or 4 times a week and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed rehearsing with a bunch of musicians as much as I did then. The guys in the band were all really special players and although, being the lead guitar player I was often singled out, I felt really lucky to be playing with them… and if I’m honest, slightly out of my depth!

What were your feelings on the Cultured Palate EP being released, considering they were considered to be just demos? What are you memories of the recording sessions and was anything else recorded during the sessions?

We recorded it at a big round house in Chertsey, owned by Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music. I think it was okay, the sessions were long but the mood was good and so I have fond memories. I’m not sure if we recorded anything else… perhaps some acoustic stuff maybe.

Woke Up Sticky is sometimes criticised for being overproduced. What were your thoughts on the choice of producer at the time and how do you think the album turned out?

At the time, I don’t remember having any reservations to the choice of Marc Waterman, he was obviously a really talented producer. In hindsight, I don’t think it was necessarily the right choice. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with the album from the day it was finished, particularly the mix. The band were really cooking and we’d spent a long time crafting the songs and most of that work, in my opinion, was erased. I think Pete’s songs always stand up because of his unique talent but they could have shone so much more. I think the record already sounds dated due to the heavy production.
I’ve tried over the years to be more open to the record, but I recently took it on a long car journey and found some of the levels that my guitar had been mixed at pretty offensive really. There were also a lot of effects added and general audio manipulation that took place in the mix stage and so my guitar sound just wasn’t my guitar sound. I much prefer listening to radio sessions we did.

What were your thoughts on the song selection?

When there are so many good tracks to choose from, its always going to be a contentious issue with 5 band members, but overall I think they were good choices. I was never particularly keen on Falling or our version of the Kinks track.

What were the sessions for Woke Up Sticky like?

I think we’d kind of been through it all a bit by then and the collective twinkle had gone. I remember Pete was hanging out a lot with Marc the producer, a bit like a new best friend, and the rest of us were just getting on with it in our own way. There were definitely factions at that point. Me and Steve seemed to spend quite a lot of our time in the toilets.

Is there much in the way of outtakes/alt versions from the sessions?

There probably is, but I’m not aware of it.

A number of songs such as Mutilations In Space, Five Minutes To Midnight and those featured on the live album were never released properly. Were tracks such as these ever recorded?

I think they were, certainly 5 Minutes To Midnight was. There are radio sessions of lots of the tracks that are really good… a few from Dutch radio and a couple of BBC radio sessions. We also recorded the song Daughter for a compilation called ‘Volume’. And another little gem in my opinion was the cover of the Abba track ‘Does your Mother Know?’ recorded for a compilation on Domino Records that never saw the light of day. That was a great version I seem to remember.

Do you have any recollections of tracks being played live/in rehearsals but not recorded at all?

Troika, a track called Black From Red, Smokescreen… and Hostage to Fortune… don’t remember any more.

When/where was the last recording session as a band, and what was recorded?

It would have been the Chiswick Reach sessions for the album. I don’t recall the actual last day’s recording.

Tracks such as Hostage To Fortune, Smokescreen, Waiting For The Resurrection, Geordie Girls, Solid Ground, Man Of Steel, Troika, Close Enough To Touch have been mentioned, but weren't played live by the band. Do the titles seem familiar? Did the band ever work on these songs?

I don’t recognise Waiting For The Resurrection, Geordie Girls, Solid Ground, Man Of Steel. Close Enough To Touch rings a vague bell. I can’t imagine Pete singing a song called Geordie Girls… that’s made me laugh.

Do any gigs stick out in your mind as being particularly memorable or enjoyable? And do any stick out as being particularly bad even?

The gig that really sticks out for me is the first London show at the Underworld. It was packed to the rafters and there were various ‘faces’ in the audience that you’d recognise such as Chrissie Hynde. I felt like I’d arrived! I was also wearing a pair of very tight leather trousers that Zena (Pete’s wife) had taken in for me by hand…you don’t tend to forget things like that!
I don’t remember any bad gigs other than feeling really like shit in Osaka, Japan and having manic anxiety after a horrendously long bender in tropical heat. Pete was really suffering with kidney pains and backstage before the gig generally felt like a war hospital. It did in my head anyway.

You formed The Genteels with Steve during downtime in the band, presumably due to frustration at the lack of activity with The One. Did this ever clash with commitments with The One and did Peter have any opinion on such extracurricular activity?

I remember in the early days of the band, Zena phoning me on behalf of Pete. I had told the band that I was playing guitar for a band called World Of Leather at a gig in Brixton. Pete actually got Zena to call and say that he didn’t want me to do it, rather than call himself. So, anyway, I didn’t do it. The Genteels was much later and I wouldn’t have cared what Pete thought either way really. I was 24 or 25 and wanted to play guitar and write songs.

Over the course of the band, what was it like working with Peter?

I really enjoyed being in the band in the early days, musically it was really rewarding and the people in and around the band were great fun to be with. Pete could be both very kind and extremely selfish and I suppose like all relationships, people let their guard down over time. In the beginning, the only testing thing about Pete was his heroic tardiness and he would regularly keep us waiting for up to 4 hours to rehearse. We all wanted it to work and so tolerated this. However after 3 or 4 years, this begins to sit with you a little less comfortably and so things began to fall apart. Also, at the beginning of the band, there was a strict, ‘no drugs or drink whilst working’ policy which seemed, for a while, to be adhered to. By the end, this had spectacularly gone out the window for a few of us.

No end date was ever given for The One. When would you say the band actually ended? Straight after the Amsterdam gig?

I don’t think the band ever broke up! We just never bothered playing together again. The Amsterdam gig was certainly the last… not sure if we rehearsed again.

Was any one person the main instigator behind ending the band? Did Peter wish to continue?

I honestly don’t know – the whole period is really foggy for me and there was definitely no falling out between us. I remember speaking with Rich a few years back and he was under the impression that my involvment in The Genteels had been instrumental in breaking the band up. This really surprised me as I didn’t have any recollection of this being the case. I know I’d pretty much had my fill of waiting around for Pete and I had new things on the horizon that I wanted to do, so I could have perhaps been the one who was quicker to move on.

What were your thoughts on the disintegration of the band? Do you think thing's could have been handled differently?

Perhaps – I think it had probably run it’s course. Looking back I aways felt that Pete had achieved what he had set out to do. He’d woken from a long hibernation, formed a band to record some of the songs he’d written and then once he’d done this almost began preparing to go back to bed again… which is pretty much what he did.

What have you been up to since The One?

Well, after The Genteels I’d really had enough of the whole slogging around with a band thing, trying to get heard. I always preferred the studio environment and so started writing music for television. That was around 1999 and I’m still doing it now.

Nothing was heard of Peter between The One ending and the surprise Only Ones reunion, bar a handful of guest appearances with The Libertines and Love Minus Zero.
Did you keep in touch with Peter at all and were you surprised at the news of The Only Ones getting back together?

No, I haven’t spoken with Pete since Amsterdam I don’t think. I always meant to write him a letter, and now with email perhaps I’ll drop him a line one day. I went to the first Shepherds Bush Empire gig and enjoyed it. It’ll be nice if they get to record some new material and I’d definitely buy the album.


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