In Conversation With Jamie Perrett

Photo by Josh Aberman

Sitting in the dressing room of Islington’s The Grace, it’s obvious that Jamie Perrett lives and breathes music. You can feel the excitement radiating off of him in anticipation of playing live with a band again. I got to the venue in time to catch the end of his soundcheck and was surprised to see how much heart he put into a performance with no audience—an energy that was only multiplied when he began the gig. He moves in the interview the same way he does on stage, with an openness and light-hearted demeanour that obviously comes from the joy of doing what he loves. Having grown up with Peter Perrett of The Only Ones as his father, it’s no surprise that Jamie’s made music his passion. Having previously played for his father in projects like Babyshambles, he is long overdue a spotlight of his own, and his first singles, Angel of Santiago and Masquerade of Love, are only the beginning of his plans for his solo work.

What was the inspiration for your singleThe Angel of Santiago?’

I don’t like to go into too much detail about what songs are about generally, because it’s good to leave people with their own interpretation of the song. I guess it’s about taking someone for granted. The song was written after a car journey. I went to Barcelona to the Primavera festival, I stayed out and got a bit too drunk and we had a train the next day to go to the next festival. We missed our train by seconds, and I had only half an hour’s sleep. We thought we could get a coach and went all the way to the station and the coach didn’t exist and we thought ‘this is getting really bad.’ It was like the Scorsese film After Hours—where everything just goes wrong. I remember lying down on the floor of this coach station and feeling really tired. I play guitar with my father Peter Perrett, and he was texting all of us like ‘where the f- are you, you said you would get to the gig on time!’ We started panicking and the person in question, the ‘angel of Santiago,’ got us to the gig. We got in an uber to a car hire place, and she just said we're going to make this gig. I was like ‘Brilliant!’ Still drunk, I just pointed in the direction of France and said ‘to France!,’ and she just put her foot on the accelerator, and we got the 400km in a few hours. We actually got there before my dad! The song was written in appreciation of that person going to the end of the line to be so kind when I didn’t really appreciate it at the time. That friendship subsequently ended. I felt sad and heartbroken after that trip. The song became a form of therapy—I sang it over and over.

You mentioned your dad—do you think you learned a lot from him?

I learned from him in a lot of different ways. Musically I learned a lot obviously, listening to great records around the house. I had some guilty pleasures like Ace of Base. I love Britney Spears too! They're all my guilty pleasures. When I was young, I discovered bands like Small Faces, then I turned to Bob Dylan who changed my life and the way I look at things lyrically. So musically [my Dad] introduced me to a lot of things and in terms of the lifestyle and his history, it taught me the things not to do in life.

What’s the most important lesson he taught you—musically or otherwise?

Musically, it's just: keep going and believe in what you’re doing. Trust your instincts. One thing about my father is that he’s really strong-minded and he doesn't let anything alter his mindset. You just cocoon yourself against the world and do what you must. In a lifestyle sense, be careful what can happen in the rock-and-roll life. It's sad that people can be seduced by certain things outside of music, and a lot of the ti