Over nearly two decades of hard graft, The Pineapple Thief have established themselves as nouveau prog darlings, with guitarist and frontman Bruce Soord masterminding the group’s songwriting and direction.
Their efforts culminated in last year’s majestic Your Wilderness, a more sweeping, cinematic take on TPT’s sound, complete with guest appearances from Supertramp’s John Helliwell and Caravan’s Geoffrey Richardson.
Accordingly, the band have stepped up their live game, adding King Crimson/The Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison and Godsticks guitar solo supremo Darran Charles, who you can see when the embiggened Pineapple Thief tour Europe in September.
While he readies his rig, Bruce found time to take on the venerable 10 questions format, dishing the dirt on his priceless gear, picking woes and why The Pineapple Thief should never follow party bands…
1. What was your first guitar and when did you get it?
“It was a sparkly purple Marlin Sidewinder. I think they were the first true ultra-budget (aka shit) electric guitars? Anyway, at the time, I thought it was the greatest thing in the world. I think Mike Vennart actually has a Sidewinder bridge on his current guitar, so maybe it wasn’t so bad...”
2. The building’s burning down - what one guitar do you save?
“That would be my mate’s Strat, which I’ve had on loan for so long, it’s now mine by default. It’s a 2006 USA Deluxe Strat. Seymour Duncan JB (bridge) and SD '59 (neck) and just plays and sounds like nothing else I have ever touched. It’s one of those ‘one-off’ guitars that got blessed in the factory.”
3. What's the one effects pedal you couldn't do without, and why?
“If my rig blew up and I had to plug in with just one pedal? OCD. That thing can do pretty much everything and sounds so lush.”
4. Is there a guitar, or piece of gear, that you regret letting go?
“I had a Mesa Boogie MkIII that I sold when I was skint. I miss having an amp, and that little thing was a monster. I’m a Kemper boy now, but I do miss feeling the power of a valve amp behind me.”
5. What’s your favourite chord, and why?
“A minor. I can strum that all day. It’s just the perfectly placed chord for a guitar.”
6. Is there an aspect of guitar playing that you'd like to be better at?
“My picking technique is bloody terrible because I was self-taught. It makes me work twice as hard to do the more technically demanding stuff. It feels too late to learn a new golf swing now, but I am actually trying!”
7. If you could have a guitar lesson from one guitarist, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?
“Darran Charles from Godsticks, who also plays with us live. He has absolutely no patience with me. Calls me lazy and arrogant (because I never practise). If he was forced to sit down with me and give me a lesson I reckon he would spontaneously combust.”
8. What item of gear would you take with you to a desert island?
9. What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?
“In our early days, our agent somehow got us a decent slot at a German mainstream festival. Before us was a party rock band, getting the crowd whipped up into a drunken frenzy: “Now all the girls!” etc etc.
“So we go on with our melancholic prog-rock, and as you can imagine, it bombed. Then we lost our click track, went out of time and collectively fell on our arses. All hell broke loose, shit flying on stage from all angles. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough.”
10. What advice would you give your younger self about playing the guitar?
“Get your technique right from the get-go.”
The Pineapple Thief tour Europe in September:
6 September 2017 - Dresden, Alter Schlachtof
7 September 2017 - Warsaw, Progesja Music Zone
8 September 2017 - Krakow, Kwadrat Music Club
9 September 2017 - Czech Republic Brno, Melodka
10 September 2017 - Munich, Backstage Halle Monday
11 September 2017 - Zurich, Dynamo Tuesday
12 September 2017 - Stuttgart, Universum Wednesday
13 September 2017 - Cologne, Luxor Thursday
14 September 2017 - Zoetermeer, De Boerderij
16 September 2017 - London, ULU
17 September 2017 - Bristol, Bierkeller