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Friday, 31 August, 2001, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Festival headliners Travis quizzed
Fran Healy, lead singer of best-selling band Travis, spoke to BBC News Online hours before taking the stage to headline the Gig on the Green festival in the band's home town of Glasgow.

Travis have confirmed their position as one of the biggest bands in the country with headline slots at the Reading, Leeds and Glasgow festivals.

Healy answered questions about the shows, their next single Side and the influence their songs have on their fans.

 Click here to listen

The band's last two albums went to number one, they have been bestowed with Brit awards and are seen as one of the British bands most likely to conquer America.

The festival appearances came hot on the heels of success with their third album, The Invisible Band, which is still near the top of the charts 10 weeks after being released.


We have had loads of questions e-mailed in from your fans from all over the world. The first one is from Afron Williams in New Zealand who wants to know what it is like playing to 100,000 people at a big UK festival compared with playing in small town hall in Auckland?

Fran Healy:

There is absolutely no difference whatsoever - just more people I suppose. One thing we realised by playing to Glastonbury last year - we have played every kind of venue you'd care to mention - but by playing at Glastonbury that was the one thing we feared would be less intimate. However when we stepped out on the stage it became apparent that no matter how many people are there in that show, when everyone is singing, the audience is like one big, giant monster, if you like, it is huge. When we were in Ireland - we played in the Witness festival - I asked the audience who did you enjoy over the weekend at the festival and all together the whole one big thing went - David Gray.

I think at Glastonbury it was about 140,000 people gig - it was really intimate because if you think of it as 140,000 individuals you'd never break that down - I think if you keep it like one thing it becomes a lot more intimate and very enjoyable. It is all the same - no matter where you go - whether you are playing in front of one person or 100,000 people, it is as nerve-racking as it ever it. It is always how the song is going to go - am I going to sing in tune? Are people going to enjoy themselves? It is the same old, same old.


Well that is good to hear. You have a new single coming out next month called Side, which is the second from the Invisible Band album, I think I am right in saying. Julianne who is in London but she is French asks: Side to me is conveying the same message as John Lennon's Imagine. Is she wrong?

Fran Healy:

Probably not in a thought out sort of thing. But maybe yeah. All I can say is what I think it is conveying and that's the fact that everyone has got differences with one another. We are all told you're an individual, you should be yourself, think for yourself. Over the past 50 years that has been drummed into us and there is less community nowadays you know. I always think that if you find a difference with someone you say - your on that side and I am on this side - but the fact is that we are all standing on this world and it is like a circle and the circle has only got one side - so really you are standing on the same side as whoever you think you are different from. To be honest - we all sleep, we all eat, we all do the basic things - the fine print is not really important you know. If you lose someone really close to you for instance, no matter if you're a rich man, a poor man, a black man or a white man - you are still going to be devastated by the loss. It is only in times of grief or times of absolute joy that your actually realise this truth - this, like, universal truth which is God we're always saying - you know - we are just here like just killing time.


Another question from Katy Jacobs in Chester who wants to know do you feel that any particular song of yours has touched people?

Fran Healy:

I think all of the songs. I think definitely by going on the message-board - a lot of people write on the message-board on - the website - and there are some amazing stories like of songs that people have just - it's almost as though they wrote the songs. I think that just goes to prove that songs don't really belong to bands - they belong to people. I mean, they belong to me just as much as they belong to you. If that song says some about you then that is great. If it makes you smile, if it makes you cry, if it makes you feel as though God at least I am not feeling miserable - at least someone has been there. Songs are like postcards from places where you have only heard of before and when you eventually go there yourself it is almost like on the postcard it is like a map of the area - the emotional area and the song helps you work your way through it and get out of it or enjoy it while your there.


I know you've got to run off because you have got a very busy evening ahead of you - so best of luck for your show. Thank you very much for joining us for the BBC News Online forum.

Fran Healy:

Thanks very much.

The band answered more of your questions off-air. Here are their answers:

Has it been hard coming to terms with your huge success and have you found it hard adjusting to your new life as a number one band?
Robert Lambert, Leeds, UK

Fran: After the Glastonbury show, actually, that was when we first really started noticing people coming up to us a lot. But it still doesn't really happen very often.

What do you think about crowd-surfing? Should it be banned as a health risk or should it be allowed to continue?
David Denny, UK

Fran: I think there should be a special rule that all crowd-surfers are forced to wear soft shoes, because every time somebody comes crowd-surfing over the top of you, you get hit by a big boot. I've been hit by a few size 12 Doc Martens in my time.
Dougie: You start to get worried when they start crowd-surfing when you play the ballads.

I find your music inspirational and reassuring, reflections of a thinker. Some of your critics label you as dour or moaning Scots. I don't find this true, do you think their criticism is justified?
Carrie, Sydney, Australia

Fran: Everybody's got their own opinion, we're just glad we provoke a reaction.

Where's the ROCK gone?
Graeme Renfrew, Saskatoon, Canada

Dougie: It's being revived as we speak.
Fran: We feel that each of our albums is a progression - that's the idea.

How do you feel about the current state of British guitar music - apart from yourselves?
Stuart B, Manchester, UK

Andy: It's good. Everybody keeps saying it's not as good as it used to be, but that's rubbish.

Is there any music you have made in the past that you look back on with embarrassment or disbelief?
John Jellema, Motherwell, Scotland

Fran: There's some footage of me, when we first started, lying on the floor while we were playing - I'm embarrassed about that. But as for any of our releases - no.

What success have Travis had in the US and how do you plan to build on it?
Alastair Scollay, Winterthur, Switzerland

Neil: We've just been touring over there, supporting Dido, which was really good.

Would you ever consider working or performing with Dido again?
Tim Eavis, London, UK

Fran: We don't really think like that - we don't really work with other people.

Big following here in Texas. Are you fans of country music?
William Zarco, The Woodlands, Texas, USA

Dougie: My girlfriend has just got The Best Country Album In The World... Ever and is playing that all the time.

So, can we expect the next album to have more country influences?

Dougie: We've already got a banjo on the new album - how far do you want us to go?

If Travis were in the Big Brother house, who would be evicted first and why?
Miranda Ashitey, London, UK

Dougie: Me, out of choice.

Do you all get on well when you're on the road?

Andy: Yeah, we get on really well. When you're living on a tour bus, you have to.

What do you think of people trying to get free music from the internet?
Abdullah, Oman

Neil: We think it's great - music should be free.

So you don't mind people swapping your songs over the internet?

Neil: Not at all.

See also:

27 Aug 01 | Reviews
Travis triumph on home turf
25 Aug 01 | Reviews
Rock reigns at Reading
11 Jun 01 | Reviews
The Invisible Band: Your Views
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