Freddie Cowan talks departure from The Vaccines: "There was no Machiavellian nature to it"

29 March 2023, 18:25 | Updated: 29 March 2023, 18:29

Freddie Cowan announces departure from The Vaccines
Freddie Cowan announces departure from The Vaccines. Picture: 1. Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns/Getty 2. Frank Fieber/Press

By Jenny Mensah

The guitarist has spoken to Radio X's John Kennedy about his decision to step down from the band and his debut solo album Answer Machine.

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Freddie Cowan caught up with Radio X's John Kennedy and spoke about everything from his decision to part ways from The Vaccines to his debut solo effort Answer Machine.

The If You Wanna outfit announced the news that the guitarist would be stepping down from the band "for the forseeable future" on Wednesday 15th March, but it was revealed Cowan had shared his intentions to go his separate ways last summer.

Asked why the announcement appeared to come "out of the blue," Cowan revealed: "There was no kind of Machiavellian nature to it. The guys said 'Let's just sit on it until we're ready to say,' and I said: 'Absolutely it's in your court. Justin texted me and said we're going out with it, and I said, 'When? [He said] Five minutes".

Quizzed if the band's quick decision to drop the news was typical of The Vaccines' style, he said: "Yeah, but that's reflected in our music.

"And I think that it's part of the sound. That, 'No we're not doing this this way, we're doing it this way. We don't do this in The Vaccines. We only do this...' and potentially that became frustrating for me, but actually I can recognise that that's part of the parameters that make a great band. And I think Vaccines actually. I would give them that accolade of being a great band."

He added of his decision to step away from the band: "It wasn't a big blow up. It wasn't a big drama. It was like, 'OK this is time, for now, for this to go in a drawer..."

Listen back to the full interview on Global Player now.

READ MORE: The Vaccines' Freddie Cowan steps down from band for "foreseeable future"

Cowan has been busy working on his own solo project, which he's released under the moniker Freddie and the Scenarios, and he discussed the mostly positive reactions to him. moving on creatively.

"Yeah, it's mostly been very, very loving," he told John Kennedy. "And actually, a lot of those years are quite hazy to me, especially the early years and it was nice to hear mostly, basically unanimously, 'Oh I met you at this gig and you were amazing and you inspired me with this'. And I thought that was amazing. I'm not sure if I was just drunk for three years."

The lead guitarist-turned-solo artist went on to explain that he spent quite a lot of the band's early days drinking as a way to cope with their success and he understands why so many young bands fall victim to it.

He recalled: "People tell you at the time, 'Isn't this amazing and isn't everyone so proud?' But I think I struggled to be present for a lot of it because it was probably a coping mechanism for how overwhelming it was.

"We went from years of playing to no one [...] and then suddenly you're in a band where, 'OK we're going to play Kentish Town Forum in a week as a warm-up before Reading' and it sells out like that and that takes a long time to acclimatise to.

"So I guess the behaviour and the drink, I think there's a reason why it happens with with young bands in successful positions, because it really does help you to cope."

When it comes to his new project, for Cowan it's all about following his "intuition."

"I have a great faith in my life," he reflected. "My primary job with everything I do in this sense is just to remove as much fear as I can, so that I'm not making bad decisions and I can make decisions on my intuition instead of trying to figure things out, because I've seen that and I know it doesn't work."

Freddie and The Scenarios' Answer Machine is out now

Listen to it in full here:

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