Becca is the latest addition to the Bobby McGee’s and is described by Jimmy as a combination of, “my looks and Eleanor’s ukulele ability.” Not content with that description, I grilled Becca for some more details.
How did you come to join the Bobby McGee’s?
I saw Jim and El play in my Fresher’s week, and then met them through a mutual friend; before I knew it we were sharing a flat and they were badgering me about playing saxophone with them. For a long time I refused, but when they told me they were playing on BBC 6 Music, I realised that my secret ambition had always been to play with them.
You’ve added ukulele to the long list of instruments you play. How does it compare?
I definitely love the uke a lot. It has a style and tone all of its own, and it’s been inspiring to listen to some older ukulele stuff, and realise there’s a long tradition of music which goes all the way back to its home in Hawaii. I like that the uke is still rooted in this particular tradition; it lends itself to a different sort of music than a lot of instruments. That said, all the instruments I play do different things, and while I enjoy playing some more than others, the rest of the band seem to like the overall result.
How on earth do you get a tune out of a saw? It seems like the hardest instrument to learn.
I think it’s a lot like bass, easy to be not very good at (like me!) and very hard to play well (see the Hot Potato Syncopators for example). The basics are not really that tricky: you start by putting the saw between your legs, with the teeth facing in; then you just have to bend the saw into an S shape and find the harmonics with some sort of bow, and then shake parts of your body to make the vibrato sound. If that makes it all sound a bit pervy, it’s because it kind of is!
Which three songs does everyone need to hear?
Since seeing them at Glastonbury I’ve been singing Art Brut non-stop; they were so good. My current favourite is ‘Slapdash for no cash’ about how over-produced music is a waste of time; the whole new record is great but I’d recommend having a look on you-tube for it too, cos Eddie Argos always seems to tell different little stories in the middle. Also everyone needs to hear Eleanor’s song ‘Mary Kate and Ashley’, she hates playing it because it’s really dark and disturbing, but I think it’s an important critique of body culture and commodity fetishism! Sadly it’s not on the new album but hopefully next time. And Graves by The Stars Down to Earth, they’re one of the best Brighton bands I’ve heard for ages, oh apart from the Tulips, who are also great. Argh! Three isn’t enough!
How do you put up with Jimmy? And why?
He really hates it when you pinch him on the bottom of his arms (the triceps is it?); it seems to get him to do what I want most of the time. But most of the time he’s okay actually, I think when he puts the make-up on he becomes more evil! Also I like playing music that’s a bit different; that encourages the audience to take part, have a dance, and hopefully go away and write their own songs. And Jimmy’s very into that, which is great.