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My upbringing was very straightforward suburban working class upbringing.
My theory is this; I'm not a political songwriter. I'm an honest songwriter.
Most of the people that I went to school with - I went to secondary school - we were educated to go and work in the line at Ford's, and if we were lucky, technical skilled labor. I sort of rejected that, and thought I wanted to do something else.
It's not a very popular subject amongst my audience, who are by nature more internationalist, but I don't choose what to write about, I don't choose my subjects, they kind of choose me.
In that sense, I became politicized because the people in the coal mining villages who were involved in the struggle knew why they were there. But they couldn't understand why some pop star from London would want to be there.
I've had songs written during the Falklands war, and during the first Gulf war I got letters from soldiers saying they were listening to these songs, like Island of no return.
I'm trying to make a case for those people who don't have a sense of belonging that they should have, that there is something really worthwhile in having a sense of belonging, and recasting and looking at our modern history.
I'm still batting away on my politics for the Labour Party. I'm much further to the left of them than I used to be, but that's because they've moved, not me.
I was in a little punk band and we put out a few punk records that weren't very political, at all.
I try and write honestly about what I see around me now.
I enjoyed so much working with the guys from Wilco, and riffing off of them, and having someone come up to me with ideas, because normally in the studio it's me who has to come up with all the ideas.
I came into this whole business by going to see Rock Against Racism gigs with the Clash.
Even with politics, stuff comes around again. Woody Guthrie would recognize America today.
Men And Women
Things Happen For A Reason
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