Heard the latest news - Editors are back in town
Jon Perks speaks to Editor-in-Chief Tom Smith
The Flapper and Firkin holds a myriad memories for Editors frontman Tom Smith.
The canalside pub was where he and the band cut their live teeth, and where their management team of Rob Whittaker and Jackie Wade book the stream of great live gigs.
The band met when they were all studying music technology at Staffordshire University - Smith is from Stroud, bassist Russell Leetch from Solihull, the lead guitarist, Chris Urbanowicz, from Nottingham and the drummer, Ed Lay, from Ipswich.
But while the four members hail from every point of the compass, they're 'a Birmingham band', the city their base and inspiration - and witness to their huge success over the last three years.
Debut album The Back Room has sold over half a million copies in the UK (a million worldwide), while last year's follow-up An End Has A Start went number one and has spawned a clutch of Top 20 singles.
Smith has also bagged himself a celebrity girlfriend, Radio 1 DJ Edith Bowman (who is expecting their first child) - but any thoughts that fame has gone to their heads should be dispelled right now.
He and Bowman are hardly OK! magazine fodder, and he's reluctant to say too much about the upcoming birth:
"It's amazing, my partner and I are both dead excited. That makes me sound like a robot, sorry, but I have no interest in being emotional about that side of my life in the press."
As Smith sees it, the foursome have changed little since their early days as The Pride and Snowfield:
"I really don't think we have, I think that's why we haven't killed each other being on the road for three years," he jokes.
"It's unbelievable; Birmingham really has done us proud with this one, easily the biggest show of the tour, and our lives, in the town that gave birth to the band," says Smith.
"We can't wait, it is the pinnacle of our career so far. We'll be drinking down the Flapper beforehand, a stone's throw away - and where it all started."
He adds: "The scene we became part of was very supportive; we made loads of friends and played with loads of great bands. The alternative was moving to London and I'm still glad we didn't, we weren't ready really.
"Birmingham looked after us while we worked on our songs and identity - being away from London and the industry allowed us to do that very naturally and without influence.
"It's not the most glamorous of places, everyone knows that, but that's okay. I like the fact there's such a huge range of people, different backgrounds and cultures; I like Moseley a lot, Russell still lives there and whenever I stay there the sun seems to be out.
"For me, being from a village in Gloucestershire, then attending Stafford to study, it was the first proper city I lived in; the structures, overbearing grey architecture left its mark on me. I think much of the bleakness, especially in our first record, comes from that... and I like that.
"I miss a good curry," he adds. "Kabbabish in Moseley is something else, it really is. I miss seeing bands in the Flapper and the Jug too."
Playing before 10,000 fans at the NIA is a world away from Editors' early days in their adopted hometown. Rehearsing and gigging at night, Smith and Leetch worked in a bank's call centre, while Lay and Urbanowicz sold shoes in the Bullring.
Now they've number one albums and Brit nominations to their names, this current UK tour coming off the back of a recent visit to the States "It's been so cold, -30ºC in a few places, unbelievable bone-crunching cold, we're not used to that type of cold," says Smith.
"I've quite enjoyed it though, makes you feel alive. All the shows have been great, Denver was fun, you get affected by the altitude, makes the experience even more memorable, pretty much passing out by the end. And New York wasn't bad either; the New York crowd can be a miserable bunch but this time they went off, seems they've relaxed a bit."
He adds: "I get filled with self doubt all the time - one bad review sets me off. When I step back and really look at what we've achieved it makes all that go away, I realise we do deserve to do what we like and we're not just lucky sons of a bitches... we're that too, mind."
Any regrets so far? "I regret letting them have All Sparks for that terrible dinosaur programme (ITV's Primeval); they used it over the credits," says Smith.
"I only saw one episode but we were sold it as Planet Earth crossed with Jurassic Park... actually, what the hell were we thinking, that sounds terrible. We didn't get much cash for it that's for sure... a career blip! Ha!" * Editors play Birmingham NIA on February 29.