Interview: The Magic Heroes

Photos: Dom Henry
Interview: Al Needham
Saturday 30 July 2005
reading time: min, words

"We can't go anywhere without someone commenting on our afros. If we go near Flares, some girl will always try to rip our scalps off."


They rock, they roll, they take their shirts off and turn down interesting career opportunities at Poundland in the name of NottsRock. They played at this year’s A drop In The Ocean festival on two different stages, but they look like they haven’t seen the inside of a barber shop since the last century. They are Paul ‘Stav’ Mylonas, Chris Reeve and Ian Starr, better known as Notts Rock titans The Magic Heroes. God help us if there’s a war…

How did it start out for the Magic Heroes?
Ian: We were in a five-piece during sixth form called Spinner and played pretty much every pub in town, including a residency at the Trent Nav. Proper little Indie Kids, we were…

You’ve put out your first CD off your own backs. How did you go about doing it?
Stav: A producer saw us in The Social, and has been incredibly helpful to us, letting out the studio, offering advice, giving us the chance to develop. From writing the songs to recording them, it’s taken us two years and cost us at least five grand.
Chris: We all packed in our jobs to do this, so a lot of the money has come out of our savings, credit cards, gigs and a bit of, er, ‘garden centre work’ …
Stav: We’ve been offered new jobs by the dole office, but they don’t appeal. I was offered an interview to be manager of Poundland opposite Slab Square, but I somehow managed to turn it down…

So what are you doing now with a 70s fixation?
Ian: It’s not contrived, we like it because we like it. I suppose we get it from our parents…
Chris: Tell me about it. My Dad used to listen to Cream non-stop in the car, so I’d be strapped in listening to 20-minute Ginger Baker drum solos…

You’ve played pretty much every music venue in town. What your fave?
Stav: My favourite gig was Stealth last Christmas Eve, which we rammed out. Unfortunately after the gig we forgot to ask for our money and we still haven’t been paid. We just left.
Chris: What can we say? It was Christmas. We were fucked.

So, Ian…why haven’t you got an Afro yet?
Ian: I’ve been trying! I’ve been eating my crusts, but it’s just not happening. We always get the ‘fro questions…
Stav: It took me about two years to get it like this. If you want to get your hair like this, kids, just don’t cut it, then get up in the morning and just go out. Do that for two years.
Chris: I had an Afro long before Stav. When I was two. But then I shaved it off.
Stav: You can’t go anywhere without someone commenting on it. If we go near Flares, some girl will always say “Is that real?” and then try to rip your scalp off. But we wouldn’t be in a band if we didn’t want to be noticed.
Stav: One of our mates stole a bus, and we went on a random excursion round Nottingham. You can’t get more Rock n’ Roll than getting picked up in the middle of the night by your mate in a bus! It even broke down at one point, and we had to hotwire it and give it a push.
Chris: When the trams started running, I was obsessed with the idea of hitching a ride on the back all the way to Hucknall. Just when I got up the nerve and went for it with me arms out, the next thing I knew a copper had me in a chokehold and told me not to be so stupid. I’ve never done it again…

So now you’ve established yourselves in Nottingham, what’s next?So what’s the most Rock n’ Roll thing you’ve ever done?
Chris: We do a bit of schmoozing with labels (we’ve taken a few of them out on the batter in Notts) but we’re not going to jump into the first deal that comes our way. Parlophone offered us a demo, but we’re staying with the people who we’ve been working with.
Stav: More and more people seem to be getting on board, but we don’t want to be a one-hit wonder and then fuck off. We’ve been really lucky in the sense that everyone we’ve been involved with has been schooling us as to how not to get ripped off.
Ian: We’re definitely working harder on songwriting than we ever have before.

One of your new songs is about Whycliffe, isn’t it?
Stav: I’d heard all the rumours about him, about how he got chewed up and spat out by the record industry. There’s a line in it about Dannii Minogue, of course. Because I knew the story, I used to feel really sad when I saw him and thought “Yeah, that could be me in a few years if I go down the wrong road”. I used to buy food for him, until he asked me why and I told him I knew about his past. He never looked at me in the same way again. He looked really ashamed. It’s more of an anti-crack song, than anything.
Ian: He’s a part of Nottingham heritage.

So who’s that bloke who does an encore with you every now and then?
Chris: He’s The K, goddamnit!
Stav: He’s a good friend and a great musician. He’s got a great voice.
Chris: He was the first person who believed in us and told we had the potential. And he’s been there, done that, had the deal, and knows his shit.

Finally…who’s your personal Magic Hero?
Chris: Paul Daniels.
Ian: George Clinton.
Stav: Jimi Hendrix.
Chris: Shit, can I change mine?

Chris: Oh.

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