Jon McClure is probably best known as the Reverend, the lead singer of Reverend and the Makers whose hits include “Heavyweight Champion of the World” and “Open Your Window”, which many of you will know from a certain football game soundtrack. He also has a number of side projects such as Mongrel which features Lowkey (UK Hip-Hop Artist), Andy Nicholson (Ex-Arctic Monkeys Bassist), Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys Drummer), Drew McConnell (Babyshambles Bassist), Joe Moskow (Reverend and The Makers) and Jagz Kooner.
He is a close friend of Alex Turner, lead singer of Arctic Monkeys, who McClure met on a bus in their native Sheffield but what many don’t know is Jon is a huge fan of football games and even runs his own 32 team tournaments. Luckily I managed to snatch a few moments with the outspoken frontman to talk about his love of gaming for This Is My Joystick.
Q. You were the first person to play Football Manager 2010 outside of Sega Sports Interactive as a games tester, how did you get involved?
“I just went down to Sports Interactive to see what they do and really enjoyed it, I picked up loads of useful tips, I’m the fucking Daddy at it now, but after twenty-odd seasons it has started to get a little boring.”
Q. What is your earliest memory of being in control of your first football side?
“Managing Newcastle when they were a good side, the Kevin Keegan years with Les Ferdinand and co.”
Q. Do you begin a season playing at your beloved Sheff Wed, or do you head straight into a top six premiership side?
“Fuck that shit, they have enough problems at the moment without me getting involved, if you’re playing Football Manager, you want to be playing Champions league not pissing about in the lower leagues, it’s just too hard.”
Q.Tell us about the time on tour playing Football Manager on your laptop when an attractive female approached you and asked you what you were doing.
“I was in Europe on my way to do some press, when a very attractive female asked what I was doing, I felt like a bit of a geek so had to come up with something fast, so I told her I was a scout for a football club and was scouting for players and I use this new system and she said “Wow that is so cool”.
Q. Did you pull it off?
“I don’t think so, no. [Laughs]“
Q. What is your gaming console of choice?
“I’m a PS3 man, but if I can blag an Xbox 360 I will play that too.”
Q. PES or FIFA?
PES all the way for me, it’s just so fucking slick, I have dabbled with FIFA but nothing comes close to PES.
Q. You recently Played PES with Kasabian on tour and even organised your own tournaments, but who would win a super tournament of Kasabian, Artic Monkeys, Mongrel and Reverend and the Makers members.
“Me of course! Serge from Kasabian calls me the “Pepper Grinder” because I always grind out a result in every match. We have proper 32 team tournaments, my brother is the boy at this game and my cousin is the fucking daddy and would beat any of the above. One thing you need to put in capital letters though is that ANDY NICHOLSON IS SHIT, and I even beat him 7-1 once. Promise me you will put this in capital letters.”
Q. Does it ever annoy you how some people rush to select Man Utd, Chelsea etc online in PES?
“No, No, No I don’t play online brother, it’s a bit fucking kinky that. It’s like swinging, it just feels kind of dirty and wrong playing with strangers. Rob Nicholson has been known to create a slimmer version of himself in the game and have skills like Ronaldo and I’m like “what are you doing?”
Q. What other games do you enjoy?
“I do enjoy Tiger Woods golf, which is a great game.”
Q. Please tell me you don’t play golf in real life as it would scar my rock n roll image of you, and replace it with the Reverend in chequered trousers.
“No way brother, the only golf I have ever played is “Scally golf” where you take a few mates to the park and pick out something like a bandstand in the distance to hit. I recently broke my shoulder skiing which made me realise that some sports the working classes are just not cut out for; skiing and golf are those kind of sports.”
Q. Is Gaming becoming too corporate?
“It’s the way of the world, you just have to look at the music industry to see that. If the quality of the games improve then it’s no bad thing, but again like music it originates from creativity so it’s important that side of it remains.”
Q. You had a lot of fantastic writers on board for your idea of a truly independent music magazine called “The Ark” is this still a possibility?
“Absolutely, and you should read more about it in the next few weeks. I’m not massively involved, as the idea encourages people to create their own user-content-based-magazine.”
Q. Are printed magazines that are slaves to deadlines and advertisers in danger of being threatened by independent websites that have the luxury of telling it like it is and publishing it instantly?
“Absolutely, digital media has become massive; nobody buys newspapers anymore do they? Why would I when I can get the latest news on my phone. Even the independent newspaper is available on my phone.”
Q. Gaming now outsells CD’s and DVD’s does this surprise you?
“Not really man, if you go into HMV you find they are selling more games than music which shows just much things have changed.”
Q. What do you think about the whole Gaming is corrupting the nations youth vibe?
“Never listen to the Daily Mail. You just have to put the telly on to see much more violence than you will ever see in a game, but looking back as kids before violent games existed, we used to play with Toy Soldiers and pretend to blow heads off etc so to blame video games for societies problems is just a lazy answer and doesn’t deal with the real causes and issues. The only thing I will say is that kids need to go outside and play more.”
Q. What is your favourite game soundtrack of all time?
“I don’t know about my favourite but I can tell you I hate the soundtracks to the Pro Evo games, [starts to sing] ~Well there was Kennedy, and there was King, There was John, There was Jim, They did come, to teach and sing, To save our souls, forgive our sins.~ I hate that song but it sticks in your head. I’m sure Konami have enough money to buy a few decent songs, I will gladly give them a few of mine on the cheap. COME ON KONAMI SORT YOUR TUNES OUT!”
Q. I hear you are playing Glastonbury this year?
“We are playing at Leftfield but I urge anyone going to check out our Reverend Sound System show on the Sunday in the dance village if you are there, that’s going to be something else, I promise you.”
Q. Speaking of which one of my most Bizarre Glasto memories is seeing you in a jumpsuit with a guitar saying “I’m on stage in 35 mins”, and some security guard replying “No pass, No Entry”…
“You saw that shit? Don’t get me started, he was a typical posh kid who managed to blag a job at the festival and the power went to his head, what a wanker. What is it about a Hi-Viz jacket that turns people into a neo-Nazi?”
Q. Do you have a favourite Rock N Roll/Gaming Quote, you can leave us with?
“James Skelly from the Coral was once asked about what preparation he had done for their third album and he replied “Smoking weed and playing Pro Evo”… [Laughs] genius.”
I thank the Reverend for a little introduction to the state of things, and wonder if Andy Nicholson will want to defend his gaming pride, or if the next PES game will have a Reverend and the Makers soundtrack… Watch this space.