Guto Pryce and the Super Furry Animals were central to the Cool Cymru era on the cusp of the millennium. Formed in 1993, the ‘Furries’ have recorded nine studio albums that have reached the UK Top 25 (One gold and four silver), while ‘Billboard’ described them as “One of the most imaginative bands of our time.” NME also dubbed them one of the most important bands of the last 15 years back in 2011. So VFTN was in highly regarded company when bassist Guto Pryce answered Gareth Baker’s questions.
Its well known you have a huge love of Cardiff City, can you tell us how you came about supporting the Bluebirds?
Yeah, I first started going down when I was very small. My big brother would take me down every Boxing Day and then I started going sporadically. When I got to around 14-15, I started going down with my own pals during the Jimmy Gilligan season. It was quite an exciting time. I remember Coen Griffith, he was a favourite as well.
Would you ever sneak in to the ground in those days?
Sneak in! I can’t remember to be honest. I was doing it all on pocket money, so it was quite possible. I was a good boy, though. It was the days of the run-down Bob Bank at Ninian Park, so maybe.
You mentioned Ninian Park there, how would you describe that much cherished stadium to the new generation of Cardiff fans who weren’t able to visit?
Well, it was a big shed essentially, wasn’t it? The Bob Bank was famously the longest terrace in football at the time. It didn’t have those yellow fences… the anti-hooligan fences.
Is that the technical term?
Ha! Probably not.
So nearly three decades following Cardiff, that’s a lot of players coming in and out. What would you say is your best Cardiff City XI?
Well, I’ve picked people who I’ve watched regularly rather than players like Kevin Ratcliffe who I was unfortunate enough to not see live. I’ve been looking at the squads over the years and there have been some players who I can’t believe managed to get in the squad, but these I can only feel would have got into a lot of different teams in their prime;
Looking at that team, it would be hard to not say it would absolutely destroy the Championship!
Oh yeah, definitely. It was great seeing them play live. I live in Scotland now, so I don’t get a chance to watch Cardiff as much as I’d like to, and to be honest I lost a little bit of passion a few years ago after the first spell in the Premier League with the rebrand. I got a bit cynical after that. There was a time when I’d buy a season ticket for Cardiff and it felt like you were genuinely keeping the club afloat and there was a point to it. It’s all about the global appeal now. We’re a long way now from Rhys Weston’s Dad’s decorating company sponsoring an advertising board!
Moving onto music, for those reading this who are unaware that Super Furry Animals wrote a song about cult hero Robin Friday called ‘This Man Don’t Give A Fuck!” NME even named it as the 89th best song in the last 15 years in 2011. Can you tell me how you came about constructing that song?
Top 90, you can’t go wrong with that! To be honest, it didn’t start out as a song about Robin Friday. It was written as more of a protest song about “The Man.” It used a sample from Steely Dan, so that’s where the chorus comes from. At the time the record came out on Creation Records, Bonehead from Oasis had written a book about Robin Friday. In a marketing genius move, a guy from Creation Records suggested we put that famous photo of Friday on our album sleeve. It just took on its own life from there.
Robin Friday’s story is crazy enough in its own merit, but the fact you guys made this song about him and it done so well, do you feel you helped enhance his legacy?
I wouldn’t go as far as that. We’re just grateful for him giving us that fantastic photograph, and of course for my football team as well. He’d be a legend at any team he played for. I don’t know anyone who actually saw him play though.
The question I’ve been dying to ask you is about the shirt sponsorship. How did that come about? Every time they go on eBay, they seem to go for 200 odd quid
Well I’ve actually lost my shirt, so I hope its not mine! That actually came about from again Creation Records and a man from Splott called Mark Bowen. A city fan as well. It came from him essentially. It was on the messageboards asking for a sponsor for the FA Cup run. Mark, being a marketing genius, saw it as an opportunity for us marketing-wise. This was a time, bearing in mind, where it only cost about £5000 to do it as opposed to now, where to sponsor a shirt it would be a lot more. Cardiff were a different club at the time. I think they were just grateful to get a sponsor at all.
Goldie Looking Chain tried it as well with Newport County of course, implementing a golden chain on the kit.
Yeah, that was great. Well done. Love those. I remember our kit was supposed to be a Toffs style shirt. It ended up being… not a Toffs shirt! It was quite badly made. I remember there were plans for a Riverside shirt as well. I never even saw that in the end. That would have been good.
You guys have a new release soon. ‘Guerilla: 20th Anniversary’ is due on the 1st November. The NME seem to be big fans of you guys including it in their ‘Top 500 Albums of All-Time.’ They also named it the 3rd best Album of 1999. Is the re-release down to the success of the album and is it an album close to the bands heart?
We’re getting to the point that all our albums are coming up to their anniversaries, so it’s just convenient. The band isn’t doing much these days, so there’s been enough space between the records to do it. We were always a forward looking band, so we didn’t like reissuing things and looking back, but twenty years down the line we can look back and be less critical and hope a new generation enjoys it.
When you stick that CD or Vinyl on twenty years later, what are your thoughts when you listen?
Do you know what? I just don’t listen to them. I’m just too critical. I’ve just got a new copy of the ‘Guerrilla’ CD, so I might stick that on in the car to listen again.
You should have a listen to ‘Wherever I Lay My Phone’ because when I listen to that, I can’t forget the hilarious trivia behind it; that you used a sample of yourself falling over a cable while recording the song, alongside one of your phone’s ringtones. Revolutionary.
We honestly thought we were so technologically advanced. I think we were touring in Japan at the time and we thought we were living in the future. We were just excited to have a mobile phone. It was the days of ringing your missus in the phone box. Having to save all your 10 pences, clogging up the phone box for an hour. Dark days.
I have a business question to put forward to you. As we mentioned you guys wrote a song about Robin Friday back in the day, well here’s my pitch to you: write another song about a Cardiff player. My suggestion is Peter Whittingham, ‘The Man Who Does What He Wants.’ Please say you’ll record it. I don’t want any royalties I just want a lifetime ringtone.
I think you should record it.
I don’t think I have the reach you guys have.
Just put it up on YouTube I’m sure you’ll get some hits. In all seriousness, I’d write a song about Gary Medel. I always liked Medel, I reckon he’d be a laugh to know and hang out with.
You can pre-order ‘Guerrilla Remastered’ now at