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Idles “appropriating a working class voice”, says Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson

By | Published on Thursday 14 February 2019


Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson is not averse to bad-mouthing other bands – even if they refuse to take the bait. Recently, tensions have been arising with popular punk outfit Idles. So in a Guardian Q&A this week one fan came out and asked him straight, “Why the beef with Idles?”

“I quite liked [Idles’ debut album] ‘Brutalism’ when it came out”, admits Williamson. “It wasn’t my kind of music but I liked some of it – it was catchy. And they were nice lads, polite online and stuff. But I thought they were kind of a street band, there were lines like ‘Tarquin’ [in ‘Well Done’] that would insinuate that they were knocking the middle classes, but it turns out they’re not working class. That offended me, because I then held the belief that they were appropriating, to a certain degree, a working class voice”.

“Obviously that excelled when the second album came out, and I felt a bit cheated”, he goes on. “I also became jaded by this idea that we were a band that was campaigning for social justice, when we’re not, we’re just talking about what’s around us. Music can’t solve political problems. And I think their take on it is cliched, patronising, insulting and mediocre. And that’s why I have a problem with them”.

He concludes: “I take music seriously, and I’ve come from a place where this music has been created. Without that, we wouldn’t be here. I went through a lot of pain – I understand Idles’ singer has gone through a lot of pain. But I don’t believe their slant on this. I don’t like them at all”.

Well, you did ask. Idles haven’t responded to this, but they have written a haiku about top sitcom ‘Arrested Development’.