Britpop’s greatest Nuisance is back again, as singer Johnny Dean today officially announced the return of Menswe@r. Of course, Dean is the only original member taking part in the relaunch — nearly 20 years after they first crashed the UK pop scene — but that’s OK. He’s always been our favorite.
The new Menswe@r lineup features Steve Horry, Robert “Bobbles” Smith, Dexy Klepacz, Jon Sheehan, Lee Macey, Mira Manga, Emma Cooper, and Fran Levin. The Menswe@r ladies have been dubbed “the Swe@rettes.”
As for the founding members of the ‘Swe@r, guitarist Simon White and Chris Gentry manage bands like Bloc Party and Phoenix, drummer Matt Everitt works for BBC 6 Music, and bassist Stuart Black apparently plays in a band called Bella Echoes.
In March, a shiny new Menswe@r isn’t the only thing that the Britpop faithful can look forward to: Patrick Duff from Strangelove and indie up-and-
comers the Bright Ones are also on the bill. Duff has enjoyed success as a solo artist in recent years while the Britpop-influenced Bright Ones bring strong King Adora vibes.
Here’s Dean back in June at the Buffalo Bar tribute to Bowie…
Also today, Dean’s camp released a Frequently Asked Questions packet, and well, since you no doubt have questions, we’re gonna repost the whole joint down below.
Frequently Asked Questions with Johnny Dean.
Why reform Menswe@r? And why do it with different musicians? Is it really Menswe@r?
I try to tackle these individually. I’m not sure if it’s really interesting, but you never know.
In June I did my first gig for about 15 years. I didn’t want to do Menswe@r stuff, so we did a Bowie tribute. My experience with Menswe@r the first time around was a bit chaotic. I was an undiagnosed autistic in a notoriously cut throat business surrounded by vultures, vampires and vagabonds. The nature of the music industry, the get rich quick and run ethos of the many non-musicians involved, well it attracts the lowest, most opportunist pissants out there. There are some good people, but they are like gold.
Unfortunately Menswe@r were seemingly lumbered with some of the worst, most morally bereft, most self motivated chancers you could probably ever come across. I could count on one hand the people who were actually worth something, stand up people, they know who they are because I still speak to them. But everyone else? If I trod in them I’d throw away the shoe. Our record company guy, he was all mouth and ears, waste of blood, terrible human being, I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire. Our manager? Not much better. Utterly self motivated. Completely deluded about his own importance and competence. Full of shit. A bad joke. And mean as a snake. Me, him and a dark alley, and I’d probably wind up “doing porridge”.
Add internal band difficulties that deserve a whole book let alone a paragraph, and you have yourself a volatile mix. So when Menswe@r split, I ran like the wind, and didn’t look back.
What tempted me back? Well I did the first gig as a benefit, a way to raise money for the National Autistic Society. I was still a little anxious about getting involved in music again, but after a couple of rehearsals with the guys and girls gathered together by Steve Horry I relaxed and let myself enjoy it. This led to the revelation that I was actually enjoying something that meant to be enjoyable, because the first time ’round that didn’t happen. The gig itself was so much fun that I regretted running away 15 years previously, I felt I had wasted all that time hiding and denying my nature. So I had this mixture of happiness and regret. Bitter sweet.
So, then we were approached to do another little show for charity, this time doing just Menswe@r stuff, I thought “Fuck it, if I’m singing, it’s Menswe@r.” Simple. Because people can moan about it if they want to waste their time, they can cry about it if they’re that unhinged, but the fact is that without me it isn’t Menswe@r, and with me it is. This is logic. It’s not rocket science, and at the end of the day if it upsets you then you’re probably in dire need of professional help. Besides, it was my band, to begin with anyway. So it’s mine to do with as I please. During those four short years Menswe@r went through line up changes anyway, it happens, look at Suede. It’s the music that matters in the end. And let me tell you, this line up sounds good, better in fact.
The plan this time is really quite simple. To have fun and hopefully entertain. I don’t really care about anything else.