INTERVIEW: The Britpop Footballer SPEAKS!

INTERVIEW: The Britpop Footballer SPEAKS!

Paul McGregor, aka The Britpop Footballer, originally from Liverpool who went on to have a successful football career playing in Europe with double European cup winners Nottingham Forest, before signing for Plymouth Argyle and Northampton Town, this was all whilst plying his vocals chords to a number of bands he helped form in and around the 90’s Britpop era along with later in 00’s.

Paul is now making waves with his new band along with a forthcoming podcast, he spoke to Gigslutz to talk about the past, the present and the future!:

Hi Paul, can you please tell me the first music you can remember hearing?

My old man never listened to music but my mum always had the radio on. One of my earliest memories is hearing my Mum singing Crazy by Patsy Cline in a thick scouse accent. That might sound unappealing to most but it was beautiful to me. She also had about 8 vinyl in the house which consisted of The Beatles Rock n Roll volume II, Best of The Troggs, An Evening with John Denver, I’m Coming Home by Johnny Mathis, Star Wars & Other Space Themes by Geoff Love & His Orchestra, Dedication by The Bay City Rollers and finally The Jungle Book. I can kind of hear all of that in the stuff I do now.

What was the first serious music you can remember hearing?

Not sure what you mean by ‘serious’ but other than The Beatles the first album that proper stopped me in my tracks and took me to another planet was New Gold Dream by Simple Minds. Adam Ant and Madonna were my first loves but then I went up to Comp my mates had some super cool older brothers. I can remember one of the first times I hung out at my mates house and I could hear Promised You A Miracle coming from a bedroom across the landing. I was mesmerised. Still, to this day I get that exact same thrill of feeling like a young teeneager in the 80’s when I hear that album. I still listen to it often.

Who influenced you to start singing?

I guess my Mum in the sense that she just sang unashamedly and at the top of her voice every weekend whilst cooking Sunday dinner. Whenever I put music on back then it was just normal to sing along, it always felt natural to me. I sing all the time whether there’s music on or not. There’s always something playing in my head.

What about composing your own songs, who influenced you to do this?

Not someone but something. On top of my wardrobe was a knackered old acoustic guitar. It had an E string and the bottom two strings on it. All out of tune. I used to sit for hours just playing extremely linear riffs over and over and over. Sometimes I’d put words and melody to it but would never write anything down so in some way you could say that I wasn’t really song writing I was more forming taste. Can you imagine how my tiny brain exploded after doing that for 10 years then hearing Spacemen 3 for the first time!?! It’s the reason I’m drawn to drone and repetition within music. My new band The Upper Body was formed around the sole idea that I would play an exact copy of that 3 string guitar on stage, just riffing on the E string with a band wrapped around it. Every single track I’ve ever written has been written on an E string and then handed over to a “musician” to make it listenable. It’s a discipline of sorts and leads to places that are “wrong” but I love writing like that. I just feel like a kid again.

Your previous music output includes Merc and Ulterior. Are you particularly proud of any of the work with these bands?

Merc were just a school band that I happened to be in when I broke into Nottingham Forest’s first team. We had 6 songs and 2 of them were covers (David Essex’ Rock On & Beebop Deluxe’s Maid In Heaven) but we found ourselves undeservedly in the national press. We were all a bit embarrassed by it to be honest. We weren’t ready. I don’t count them as part of my musical output. The bands people should check out are Ulterior, Vilence & The Upper Body. All three are active and I’m proud of everything we’ve put out.

Your new project is The Upper Body. Can you please tell me how this has come to fruition and who is in the band?

It’s a joyous cheese dream of a band. During Covid I had a bit of a break down/ epiphany even if it was artistically driven subliminally by fear and unease. In that long, hot first summer my musical taste had regressed back to pure melody, harmony & just great song writing. My natural state before Covid was The Sisters Of Mercy, Suicide, Spacemen 3, The Velvet Underground, Nick Cave, Scott Walker, Nico and loads of techno. Pretty goth tbf (I’m a moth) but that shifted back to The beatles, Stones, Big Star, Beach Boys, Kinks, Jam and loads of 90’s guitar stuff. All highly unfashionable but it felt right and I couldn’t explain it until during one of our (then) regular family trips to sit at opposite ends of my Mum n Dad’s garden, drinking at a legally safe distance of course, my Dad gave me a bin bag full of my old training kit and match worn shirts that he’d found in the loft. It was a treasure trove of memories and to cut the story short sparked some kind of character in me inspired by what the papers used to call me…”The Britpop Footballer”. I hated the term back then but I feel this character has allowed me to carry a past that artistically has been a bit of an albatross to me if I’m honest, wrap it in Umbro and turn it into art. The band members are myself, Craig (The duke) Yorke & Regan Naughton with a special shout out to Kev Smith who is set to play drums live with us.


How does the bands music come together?

The Britpop Footballer writes all the tracks on his E string and then The Duke turns it into something listenable. We then record it straight into the computer and release it.

First track XL Bully nods towards The Fall, The Stooges and Velvet Underground. How did the track come together and what’s it about?

See above. It’s actually our 6th release and It’s not about anything in particular.

Are you planning on releasing an album?

No. Just singles. Write it. Release it. Constant content. That said, if someone made us an offer we’d consider it.

How about gigs, you going out on tour?

No touring. We’ve all got families. Touring for no money is a young man’s game. We’ll play shows when we fancy playing one or if we like the offer. There’s no burning desire to be in this band on someone else’s terms. Imagine saying to the Mrs n kids “Hey, I’m off round the UK in a van for 3 weeks”? Lolz.

I understand you’re also in the middle of bringing out your own Podcast too? Can you tell me about this and when it’s going to be unleashed?

The Britpop Footballer presents The Fifty-Fifty. It’s the ultimate clash of music & Football. One footballing legend x One music legend with me in the middle. I can’t tell you anything about it I’m afraid as it’s about to launch any day now! What I can say is that we are going to be taking it live very quickly so keep on the lookout on my socials. Just search The Britpop Footballer. I’m on Twitter and Insta.

Finally, what’s on your turntable at present?

Still all over False Lankum. Incredible album. Love The Fat White Family’s new single too but today I have listened to some Julian Cope, some Stones and some early Napalm Death (I sound like I’m working in the store in High Fidelity!).


You can find The Britpop Footballer on Twitter 

Matt Mead

Matt Mead

Freelance writer who likes anything with heart and soul