'Turkey legs with Daniel Bedingfield'
Jessie Atkinson
17:17 28th April 2021

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“I miss Safeway. I miss it. A lot of memories there.” At this juncture - seven years after the mammoth debut of Brighton rock duo Royal Blood that is - you probably know a lot about Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher. Even if you don’t, you could go and look. Hot property makes for reams of adoring literature, so if you want to read more about Royal Blood’s inspirations, their troubles and their life in lockdown, then there are plenty of places to find that information. But if you would like something a little different then let’s start with this: Mike Kerr misses Safeway.

“A lot of memories there: the staff and the tone that they set was magical,” Kerr says in response to the question: which of the British supermarkets is the best? Thatcher says something about Marks & Spencer, but it’s Kerr, with a sarcasm so dry no American could discern it, who dominates with his answer.

It’s a different story when we get onto birds. “That’s a question for Ben” Kerr intones solemnly as I ask which of our winged friends is elite. “It’s a difficult question,” Thatcher says sagely. "Are we talking garden birds? Because my favourite garden bird is probably the blue tit.” He considers for a moment: “I don’t trust magpies, but I do like them. I like a Peregrine falcon. It’s a rare bird of prey that one. But who doesn’t like a penguin?” Kerr and I agree: penguins are hard to dislike.  “They smell though, of fish and shit” Thatcher concedes, before settling on the Peregrine falcon as the best of birdlife.

The theme continues apace: “Turkey legs with Daniel Bedingfield” Kerr notes as a memorable meal eaten abroad. “We had to get through it, together. I felt like Henry VIII. I actually looked a bit like him at the time, too.”

For Thatcher, the lobster bisque he imbibed in Bali one time stands out because, he deadpans, “I was sick afterwards.” And yes, even rockstars have unwarranted, excavation from the opposite end too. “I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t shit myself,” Kerr says in lightning quick response to the question of if they’d ever been caught short. “It’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” Thatcher, now in a pair of sunglasses to help calm my interview nerves, says, almost to comfort his friend. “It’s a bodily function that can go wrong.”

One can only hope that Thatcher isn’t a regular dinner guest at Kerr’s, or at the very least not a special one. Considering his experiences with the Bali bisque, he might want to be careful in Kerr’s kitchen, seeing as it’s a lobster ravioli the vocalist, bassist and amateur chef would cook if he wanted to impress someone.

But let’s not linger on these trivial things. To the music! Typhoons, the forthcoming third album from Royal Blood, is available on pink, blue, split colour and picture disc vinyl. A zoetrope edition sold out its 3,000 sale run on Blood Records within hours. But do the pair collect records themselves? “I do” nods Kerr. “Mainly dental records though.” His favourite? “Probably the denture work of Alan Johnson who’s a local celebrity for us. Just a great track record for his teeth really. He finally took the plunge around ’97 and basically did a full refurb. £15,000 worth of work but he came out looking great. That’s the most satisfying one for me.”

“I’ve got a folder here of all of my dental records dating back to 1992,” Thatcher adds, pulling a book from underneath his desk and flipping through it. He smiles at it indulgently. “The world’s longest tooth, you’ve got” Kerr says. “There’s a certificate here for it,” Thatcher confirms, pointing.

Though it would mean leaving their collections behind, neither Mike nor Ben, you’ll be pleased to know, are frightened of dying. “I’m actually scared of not living,” Kerr says. “That’s my position on the topic. I’m maybe scared of how I’m going to die but I’m not scared of dying.” Thatcher agrees: “If I did [follow in my parents’ religious footsteps] then I would be scared of death. If I believed that then I’d be going to a heaven where I’d live for eternity and that is not appealing to me. Things should come to an end.”

And they do. With a thud, when I ask if they’re true crime fans. “I don’t think I’ve seen it,” Kerr says. That, as they say, is that. No Royal Blood insight on the Delphi Murders for you.

Even fictional crime isn’t for Ben (“I don’t like being scared in a way that I think about afterwards”), though Mike takes the opposite view: “I think horror movies, if they weren’t scary, would be usually pretty bad films” he says. That’s why Saw is his favourite. “It’s a solid film. It doesn’t rely on being a horror film.”

Staying in Mike Kerr's Movie Recommendation Corner for a moment. "I was obsessed with Back To The Future" he says. "The opening scene! Although I didn’t skateboard that much, I was always late for school, that was already something I had in common with Marty McFly, and listening to Van Halen. And then that scene where he plugs into the giant amplifier and it blows up – that’s essentially why I’m in the band, because of that scene."

Look at him now! An international rockstar being asked questions such as 'Would you rather have three extra fingers or one fewer?' by the adoring press. (Answer: three extra.)

"I once had a best man speech," Kerr remembers, as we wrap up. "I realised I had half an hour of material of just really offensive jokes. It didn’t go down well." It isn't everyday that you identify so closely with musicians on the successful trajectory that Royal Blood have been on. But today, I definitely know how Mike Kerr feels. 

Typhoons arrives 30 April via Warner Records. Read our review here.

Issue Four of the Gigwise Print magazine is on pre-order now! Order here.

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Photo: Mads Perch