Harry Potter and the School of Rock
By “Muggle Meer” for the NME, June 5th, 2004.
Transcribed by Christiana for DanRadcliffe.com.
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe on his love of the Sex Pistols, Lou Reed, The Libertines, Pixies, the Zutons, Chili Peppers, Audioslave, Razorlight, The Strokes, Bloc Party, The Delgados, Kings of Leon, The Cribs, Nirvana, Hope Of The States…
At just 14 years old, Daniel Radcliffe (aka Harry Potter) is the biggest star in Hollywood and the second-richest teenager in Britain, behind Prince William. So why is he more interested in raving about Sid Vicious, The Libertines, and if the Razorlight album is as good as Johnny Borrell says it is?
NME: Hi Daniel. What are you up to?
I’ve just done the Jo Whiley show on Radio 1 which was brilliant, so much fun. It was kind of one of those false interviews where they do the interview and pretend that the music’s being played in the middle of it. So I was very confused at certain points. I picked some of the songs I liked, so hopefully they’ll play some of them. They’re definitely going to play The Walkmen.
What other songs did you pick?
I picked the new Bloc Party single, “Banquet”.
I love Bloc Party. Awesome band. They’re just one of those really fresh bands like Art Brut. There’s all these cool really fresh bands around and there’s something kind of really punk about them that I really really like. They’ve got a really cool attitude.
How did you hear of them?
One of the guys on [the Harry Potter film] set told me that he went to a gig where there were about seven unsigned bands playing and he saw them there and said they were fantastic. Then about three or four months later I heard they had released a single that had got runner-up single in NME.
Are you a big fan of the New Cross scene?
The Others and The Rocks and people — yeah, it’s really, really cool. It’s awesome that English music now is so brilliant.
Have you ever been to New Cross?
No, I’d love to.
Er, do you actually know where it is?
I’ve never been, I’d like to find out. I’d like to go, it’d be awesome to go to a few gigs there.
Do you get to go to many gigs?
I’ve not been to many. I could lie but there’s no point, really. I went to the Strokes last year when they played Ally Pally which was fantastic and then I’m seeing the Chili Peppers at Hyde Park. But the thing I’m most excited about is the Pixies supporting them who are like one of my favourite, favourite bands.
Who else are you listening to?
I always take about 30 albums to the States with me. Do you want me to list them? There’s Weezer, Hope of the States. When I was at Radio 1 they gave me The Killers’ album. Is it amazing? “Somebody Told Me” and “Mr. Brightside” are great. I’ve also got the Cribs and Soundgarden. The Cribs are one of the few bands who actually manage to mix a really punk attitude with great melodies and I’ve not really come across another band that can do that. Have you heard the Razorlight album? Is it as good as Johnny Borrell says it is?
Nothing’s as good as Johnny says it is — that’s the whole point…
I really like the singles. I can’t wait to hear it.
You’ve said that you want The Libertines to sing “Happy Birthday” to you. How did you get into them?
I’m 15 in July and wouldn’t The Libertines singing “Happy Birthday” be the greatest thing ever? I got into them from a punk compilation called “Punk’s Not Dead”. It had old stuff like the Sex Pistols and The Clash and new stuff like The Datsuns. One of the tracks was by the Libertines. So I immediately went out and bought the album and I was just like blown away by it, I mean it’s so… it’s the start od the new English music scene. They’re right at the forefront of it… and he’s gone into rehab again…
Do you worry about Pete?
Yeah, he’s in a really bad way but I think he’s gonna be fine. That might just be wishful thinking, I’m not sure, but I just really hope that he is ‘cos he’s such a talent. They’re all so cool.
Do you listen to the Libertines on set?
If there’s a scene with alot of anger in it you’ve got to have a thought in your head and you’ve got to represent that thought through your face. If you’ve got an angry scene and you’ve been listening to Audioslave or something like that, it really helps you get to that place where you need to be. For certain bits of the film I listen to the Delgados, and Radiohead’s “Street Spirit” for when I have to be sad.
Do you play these tracks to your co-stars?
I got Gary Oldman into Audioslave and he gave me a bass lesson on the first film – he’s actually a really good player. And I got David Thewlis into the Libertines and Strokes. I got Emma [Watson, who plays Hermione Granger] into Jet which is preferable to her own taste in music and Rupert [Grint, who plays Ron Weasley] into Kings of Leon.
What was it like working with Ian Brown, who has a cameo role in the new film?
He’s the coolest guy, he was telling me stories about Oasis and all those guys. He’s possibly the calmest man I’ve ever met. I read the story about him threatening to cut an air hostess’ hands off, but he’s the nicest guy and really, really funny.”
You know why he’s the calmest man in the world?
Ha ha ha, I can guess but I’m sure you’re probably gonna tell me.
Did he smoke out on the set?
Not that I know of.
What’s the most Rock ‘n’ Roll thing you’ve ever done? Ever chucked a TV out of a hotel window?
There’s always a huge temptation – but that’s in my house, ha ha. I once wore a [guard’s] jacket to school – The Libertines coat. I got cries of “faggot” everywhere which was really nice of my school chums. But that’s certainly the most Rock ‘n’ Roll thing I own.
So your mates don’t rate your musical tastes?
Oh, god, right, can I have a bit of a rant now please? Basically at my school there’s one other boy who’s the coolest dude. His name’s Ollie Josem, he’s awesome and he’s the only person other myself who likes good music. It’s horrific right what these people listen to. People at my school are taking bands like McFly seriously! It’s horrific. They were saying really stupid things about Kurt Cobain – who is a genius in my opinion – saying that he was a smackhead, which he was and is awful obviously, but they were saying he was a smackhead with no talent… hmmmm. Obviously you’ve listened to all of Nirvana’s albums haven’t you? And then people saying stuff like all the Chili Peppers’ stuff sounds the same. It’s stuff like that that really irritates me.
What band would you like to see in the next Harry Potter film?
I reckon one band whose music would go really well is Mercury Rev. I think some of their stuff would go fantastically well. I absolutely adore the Zutons. I think they’ve got something slightly wizardy about them. Like Dave looks like a witch or wizard so I think he should be in it somewhere. I think we should find a cameo for him.
He could zap enemies with his shroomadelic vibes.
Yeah and the Great Hall would suddenly become a really trippy place to be — probably. I’m guessing.
Have you met many of your favourite bands?
I wish! I’ve met Feeder which was cool. They were shooting a video for “Find the Colour” in the next studio at Shepperton. Other than tha I haven’t met that many. I’m going to the premiere of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in New York and The Strokes were invited but unfortunately they’re out of New York at the time. I wish I could have met The Strokes… just one of them, any of them, I don’t care.
What would you say to them?
I don’t know. I’d probably try to act really cool in front of Julian Casablancas and fail miserably ‘cos I’m not a cool person. I can’t help getting excited about when I meet people I really admire. So I probably would have made an arse of myself basically, but it would have been worth it ‘cos then I would have been able to say, “Yeah I met Julian Casablancas.” The person who I’m really jealous that they have met is Lou Reed. God, I would kill to meet that man.
He’s famously grouchy.
I don’t know. It’s like what would you say to Morrissey if you met him? Did you see Jonathan Ross? After that, how would you approach him? If you know that he only likes seven people in the world, how would you actually approach him in the first place? Would you say “Hi, I’m Dan, I want to be your eighth friend”? But with Lou Reed I don’t know what I’d say. I’d say thank you for writing “Walk on the Wild Side”.
You’re probably a hundred times more famous than any of these people.
Well I shouldn’t be. ‘Cos those guys are like… Lou Reed is so important to everything in rock ‘n’ roll history. Bands like the Pistols wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, and Sid Vicious who is my idol.
Heroin’s never been that productive for any rock ‘n’ roll star. I mean, he screwed up majorly. I don’t know… there was something about him. I mean everyone hated him, but he genuinely… you get loads of bands nowadays who pretend not to care what people think of them, he really didn’t. The Sex Pistols are my favourite band. My favourite track is “Holiday in the Sun” which I read Preston from the Ordinary Boys saying was a rip off of “In the City” by the Jam but it’s so not. I love the Ordinary Boys, but that’s wrong.
Ever thought of setting up your own label?
It’s actually my absolute dream to be in a band because I can sing but I can’t write songs at all. I write terrible awful songs. What kind of band would it be? I’d make everything from Adam Green to Audioslave.
Will you be going to the Festivals this year?
Unfortunately because I’m filming the whole way through there’s not time, but the one I would love to go to is T in the Park ‘cos they’ve easily got the best line-up: the 22-20’s, Snow Patrol, Ben Kweller who’s great. I wasn’t too happy with his new album but if you get “Sha Sha” it’s a really awesome pop rock album. This guy on set who does sound gave me that and Brendan Benson.
You can’t like every guitar band going, surely?
Two bands that I think are really overrated – and this is gonna go down badly – are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The White Stripes. I don’t get them because I don’t get the drumming. While he gets some fantastic sounds out of the guitar the drumming puts me off every time. I really hope I don’t meet them now – Jack White’s gonna hit me ‘cos he really did Jason von Bondie in badly, didn’t he? And obviously I hate all pop music. It’s not music that should be made or sold. Record stores are just encouraging this… I think there should be a fine for every pop album they sell. That’s the only thing I’m going to do if I become Prime Minister – which if there’s any sense left in England I won’t.
- Daniel fancies Brody Dalle and Marcie von Bondie
- He’s never been out caning it ‘cos “I’m only 14. That’s all gonna come I’m sure, with many other things.”
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is on general release now.