Twisted Wheel

MANCHESTER band Twisted Wheel lead a charmed life. Paul Weller loves them, they supported Oasis at Heaton Park and this year they finally released their first album. Singer Jonny told Judith Dornan how he came to have a techno dance off with Noel Gallagher and why he put the phone down on Paul Weller.

TWISTED Wheel frontman Jonny Brown is still only 23 - but he's already got a lifetime's worth of tall tales.

There's the time he partied with Noel Gallagher after supporting Oasis at Wembley. He says: "I went back to some mad house in London with Noel and his girlfriend and all their mates.

"And we had a dance off to techno music - which was something I never thought would happen with Noel Gallagher."

Or there's the time, he put the phone down on Paul Weller. "I was just in my room and the phone rang and I answered it and he said hello - and it was Weller on the phone.

"I thought it was my mate messing about - there's one of my mates that's a bit of a comedian and I thought it was him winding me up. But it wasn't, it was actually Weller.

"So I put the phone down on him the first time! He rung us back, yeah. The second time when I heard it again, I thought, Oh, it is! It just took me twice to realise!"

He admits: "It is just bizarre, isnt it? But loads of bizarre things constantly happen to us and me personally as well so I suppose it's just another one of them things, isnt it?

"You just sort of think, Oh, that's mad, and wait for the next thing to happen. I hope something mad's going to happen again like that - and it has done!"

Twisted Wheel, from Oldham, Manchester, seem to be every dour old rockstar's favourite band just now.

They recorded a 10-track EP at Weller's personal studio after former Inspiral Carpet,Clint Boon, gave the Modfather a CD by their old band, The Children.

They sent him their new stuff when they became Twisted Wheel. Jonny says: "He listened to it straight away and he text back saying he loved it."

Now signed to Columbia, they're supporting him on his upcoming national tour, including his date at Preston Guild Hall later this month.

But first they're returning to 53 Degrees this week for their own headline show. Jonny says: "I played about three times with my old band and probably three times with The Wheel.

"The people are nice. The DJs there, they always play our tunes and when they've sent the feedback back to us, they've always give us 5/5."

The core of Twisted Wheel, Jonny and bassist Rick Lees, have been mates since nursery school - although, from their earliest days, Jonny had the frontman temperament.

Jonny says: "We did a Nativity play and he was one of the Three Kings and I was Joseph and I was gutted because I wanted to be a King.

"I just walked round the whole play with my head down, like, in a mood. My Mum said, 'If you do the main part, I'll get you a toy gun.' So I just did it for the gun."

With the addition of drummer Adam Clarke and Neil Lavin on keyboards, they morphed from the Children into Twisted Wheel.

Previously, they have claimed they took their name from Manchester's northern soul nightclub, the Twisted Wheel, inspired by Oasis naming themselves after a Swindon music venue.

But now Jonny denies this. He says: "Er, I think we've given a different answer to that question because we've been asked it so many times, we just said whatever we felt like on the day.

"I didnt really know anything about the Twisted Wheel. I just saw the name and I thought, Oh, that's a great name for a band.

"We didn't think we're going to find a club and call the band after a club or anything like that. No, I just seen it."

The most amazing moment of this year was walking onstage at Heaton Park opening for Oasis in what turned out to be their last ever hometown shows.

Jonny and his Dad both enjoyed it to the full. Jonny grins: "I drunk that much over them three gigs that I was in bed for a week after with kidney failure.

"My Dad were there every day. He's got this little van - it's the van we're in now, usually we have a proper Splitter but my Dad's just helping out today.

"But he slept in the van, he said he nearly got hypothermia in the night. But he just goes round having a mint time, telling everyone: "It's great, it's like being in the 1960s!"

He says Oasis bonded with them on the first date in Sheffield. He recalls: "I was in the canteen in catering and seen Noel and he said alright to us and I had a little chat to him.

"And then I went for a cig with him in his dressing room and straight away we were talking to all the band in there and Liam.

"And then I was getting fruit salad after me tea and Liam came up to me and started dancing round my shoes, saying, 'I like your shoes.'

"Then the next night, we all had a big party in their dressing room and our drummer ended up falling asleep and spewing on the sofa.

"I must have robbed all their cigarettes actually because when I got home and looked in my pocket, I had, like, three decks of 20 B&H. We just got really pissed and had a good laugh and I think that sort of broke the ice."

Most of the time, he just accepts this extraordinary life. But sometimes it hits home. He says: "Sometimes I think, nah, I'm meant to be doing this so I just dont think it's weird.

"But sometimes I wake up in the morning and just think, bloody hell, mad!"