“We’re coming home!”


A GOOD few years ago I went to interview a band recording their second album at Great Linford Manor, writes Sammy Jones.

That Saturday night, while front man Simon Neil spent his time in the studio, I spoke with Ben and James Johnston who were a little miffed at being stuck in the studio while Foo Fighters were playing in the UK.

Biffy Clyro are back in Milton Keynes this week...as main support to Dave Grohl and his band.

It’s the stuff that dreams, and hard work, are made of.

These dates won’t be Biffy’s first with the boys, mind – they’ve already joined Foo’s touring parade stateside.

“We love that band and always have done,” drummer Ben tells me.

“Back when we started we used to cover those songs – Monkey Wrench and Hey, Johnny Park!, stuff off The Colour and the Shape. “I actually told Dave this recently in America and he was very surprised!

“It’s a dream come true to play with the guys, the best gig we could ever, ever hope for.

“Nirvana was the band that made us want to start and now Foo Fighters are just as important.”

And you didn’t even chase the shows? “They asked for us,” Ben says, “Dave saw us when he was playing with Them Crooked Vultures. “We were at The Hove Festival in Norway, and I was playing, turned around and saw Dave crouched at the side, watching.

“That is right up there with one of those s*** yourself moments, without a doubt!” he laughs.

“Subsequently they asked us to do the Milton Keynes thing and then came the offer for America, Helsinki and a few others...musically and stylistically we match up with them better than anybody.”

Playing to 65,000 punters a day is quite an ask, but then the Biffy Clyro of 2011 has come a long way since playing before a dour audience of 30 at their first date in MK, at The Pitz.

But no matter the size of the crowd, their passion has always been consistent.

“We still get a bit nervous, but we’ve done Wembley Stadium twice with Muse, and we’ve done the Barcelona Olympic Stadium with Rolling Stones...big gigs.

“They are daunting,” he admits, “but the more of them you do the more you can take them in your stride a little bit.”

Ben says that there will be a little shared love going on too...

“I think that people who are Foo Fighters fans are Biffy Clyro fans too, and vice versa.

“I don’t think it is mutually exclusive at all.”

Biffy Clyro might be a relatively new name to some, but this band set their roots back in 1995, and have since provided a body of work five albums long, with numerous B-sides.

Nonetheless, it must have been a little weird for the band to receive the Classic Songwriter Award at the Kerrang! Awards recently?

“Yeah, I still feel like we are getting started and the word classic in there is almost signalling you’ve done your best, or are coming to an end or something....that was a bit weird, but obviously it was a massive honour too.

Ben also revealed that the band have a huge chunk of material ready for album number six.

“We’ve got about 20 songs done. We are really excited , it is going to be in a different format and there is going to be a lot of material on there.

“Ideally we will start recording at the end of the year...”

But for the moment, the band has a summer of tasty gigs to plough through, including a headlining spot at next week’s Sonisphere Festival. Now, though, their eyes are on the Keynes.

When Biffy step out on Saturday it will be their first date here in nearly a decade too...

“We’re coming home!” Ben chirps.

“You are going to see the Foo Fighters anyway, so you are going to have a really good night if we are s*** or not.

“But hopefully you are going to see two of the most exciting, passionate rock bands that are around at the moment.

“You are going to go home very tired!”