More info than you ever really needed to know in our SFA FAQ
Last updated: 29 January 2009
- Where did the group get their name?
- How do you pronounce the band members' names?
- I've never heard the Furries' music. Where's a good place to start?
- Do the band still refuse to play on St David's Day?
- Did Rhys Ifans really once sing in the band?
- What cover versions have the band done?
- Is it true that 'Text Messaging Is Destroying The Pub Quiz As We Know It' was really a working title for Rings Around The World?
- Where's the secret track on Guerrilla?
- Did SFA really remix The Beatles?
- Is it true that the band owns a soccer team? If so, what team?
- How do I play football as SFA on the PlayStation?
- Was that really Paul McCartney chewing veg on Rings Around The World?
- I heard something about a techno album by SFA. When's it coming out?
- Is there much more unreleased music?
- Who are Das Koolis?
- Where is the secret footage on the Phantom Power DVD?
- Can you help me get a message to the band?
Where did the group get their name?
According to legend, the name came about when a band member said it on a drunken night out. The following day t-shirts featuring the slogan were made by either Gruff's sister, or by friends/girlfriends of the group. People began to call them by this name, so they decided to adopt it.
However, Guto once told the BBC, "It was written in the sky. It appeared in letters in the sky. I've no idea where it came from. I think a swarm of locusts created it.
How do you pronounce the band members' names?
I've never heard the Furries' music. Where's a good place to start?
Recommending any one release is difficult, as they all have their own individual strengths. However, Radiator (1997) is an excellent showcase of the band's early pop; the Welsh-language Mwng (2000) is full of homegrown delights; and Rings Around The World (2001) was the band's technicolour attempt at tackling a big canvas. Get these first. Then get all the others!
Do the band still refuse to play on St David's Day?
"That came out of the political climate at the time, when the Tories were in power," said Gruff. "They wanted to bring in Trafalgar Day in October, to celebrate beating the French in the war. There was a campaign to make St David's Day a national holiday in Wales. If every worker in Wales had it written into their contracts that they had St David's Day off, it would become an unofficial national holiday."
In reality, however, it rarely happened. As Daf explained, "We never take St David's Day off. We can't afford it. We end up playing in Harwich or somewhere."
Did Rhys Ifans really once sing in the band?
He did, but the band was very different at the time. When they started, Super Furry Animals were a loose collective playing techno. The one-time Notting Hill star joined them for a short time on vocals, before the lure of prancing about on screen in his pants became too much to resist. Ifans also used to live with Daf from the band.
What cover versions have the band done?
The first cover to be released by SFA was a version of Y Teimlad by the Welsh band ,Datblygu. They have also played a version of Meic Stevens' Y Brawd Houdini live. And somewhere in the vaults there's an unreleased version of The Smiths' The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, at one point intended for a tribute album but never used. According to Gruff, "We did them an electro version. It was very... sacrilegious."
Is it true that 'Text Messaging Is Destroying The Pub Quiz As We Know It' was really a working title for Rings Around The World?
No. This came about after an NME journo saw the phrase written on an ideas wall in the studio, though it was never intended as an album title. It was coined after Gruff received a text from a friend whose pub quiz team was stuck on a particularly devious mindbender. According to the texter, the question was: "What was the name of the drummer in The Who?"
Where's the secret track on Guerrilla?
The song The Citizen's Band appears before Check It Out at the start of the album. To hear it you need a CD player that'll allow you to 'rewind' to a point about five minutes before that song. They also did the same thing on Out Spaced, with a nameless demo recorded by Bunf in 1992.
Did SFA really remix The Beatles?
Yes. In September 2000, the track Free Now was released. It was made up of out-takes from Beatles recording sessions, and remixed by SFA. It was released, along with a 17-minute remix entitled Peter Blake 2000, on the Liverpool Sound Collage mini album. Super Furry Animals got involved after Cian approached Paul McCartney at the NME Awards.
Is it true that the band owns a soccer team? If so, what team?
If they only had the millions! In September 1999 SFA announced a sponsorship deal with Cardiff City Football Club, which carried the band's logo on their team shirts. They were also available for fans to buy while the deal lasted, though they're harder to come by now.
If you had the chance to put your name on your favourite football team's shirt, you'd do it, wouldn't you?Guto Pryce
Guto told Melody Maker: "We chose to sponsor Cardiff City because the opportunity arose. If you had the chance to put your name on your favourite football team's shirt, you'd do it, wouldn't you? I am a big fan because it's where I grew up."
However, it was a bit of a poisoned chalice for the team. Gruff told Channel 4 the following year: "Don't remind me. That was bad. We jinxed Cardiff there. We only had the money to sponsor them for the cup. They got knocked out by Barry Town in the first round. Sorry City. Bangor City is my real team. I'll leave their shirts well alone."
How do I play football as SFA on the PlayStation?
In the band's Play It Cool video they were shown as digitised characters beating Brazil in a football match. And you can play as them too, if you have a copy of the game Actua Soccer 2. Enter the following code: left, left, square, right, right, circle, up, down. Gruff and Bunf told Select magazine how this came about:
Bunf: " We thought they were gonna give us a team that was made up of us and all our heroes, but they went and gave us mass murderers like Genghis Khan on our team."
Gruff: "They thought we just wanted anyone with a strange name. They picked Stalin and Churchill and I hate both passionately. We asked for Bob Marley, Fidel Castro, Bill Hicks, Muhammad Ali. We want to distance ourselves from the line-up they picked. But I like Fifa 98 better anyway..."
Was that really Paul McCartney chewing veg on Rings Around The World?
Yep. The evil genius behind the Frog Chorus was recorded chewing carrots and celery down the phone by the band, who used it on Receptacle For The Respectable. It was a reference to McCartney's similar contribution to the Beach Boys' 1967 song Vegetables, on the Smiley Smile album.
I heard something about a techno album by SFA. When's it coming out?
The band recorded a number of instrumentals before the release of Mwng, though they were never released as a set and they weren't techno. According to Gruff, "We lost two discs containing about 20 songs, but Cian found them inside a record cover." The band have indicated that the long lost recordings may be released at some point on Placid Casual.
Is there much more unreleased music?
For such a prolific band, it's unsurprising that there are plenty of unreleased songs in the SFA vaults. Since the days of Rings Around The World, the band have described the difficulty in compiling a coherent single album from their stockpile of recordings.
Inevitably, a number are released as b-sides, but some never see the light of day. Known songs include DX Heaven, which was written by Cian and recorded at Real World studio. It was aired during a Peel Session, but Gruff later revealed they were unhappy with the mix.
In an excellent 2005 interview with Under The Radar magazine, Gruff said: "We recorded another album in Real World. We formed an alter ego band, which I can't reveal the name of, in case we ever release it. We recorded this suite of music called Steelworks In Stone. Instrumental stuff. At the time there were all these bands saying they were the best band in the world, whatever that means, and we wanted to make a band that was technically the best band in the world, undisputedly.
"So we made a series of graphs and pie charts, which proved why this alter ego band we formed was technically the best in the world. It wasn't very good, but it was a challenging record. It's the most academic music we've ever recorded."
Who are Das Koolis?
Das Koolis was the name by which John Peel introduced the band's song Charge, during the broadcast of an SFA session in 1999. The same year, an issue of Select magazine had mentioned "the formation of an improvisational digital art outfit called Das Koolis - same members, different band". Charge was later released as the b-side to Ysbeidiau Heulog.
What's the secret footage on the Phantom Power DVD, and how do I reach it?
Gruff RhysTowards the end of The Undefeated, you can hear the sound of gunfire. As Bunf told us, "these two guys from Yorkshire turned up with two Uzis and two Kalashnikovs. It was noisy, full of testosterone, with pumped up guys in the woods trying to kill furry animals! We were just going for the sounds of the guns, because I think we weren't happy with the quality of gunfire."
The DVD has a hidden short film showing the band with the guns. To access the footage, go to the page for The Undefeated. Wait by the 'listen to song' button, but don't press Enter yet! After 22 seconds, the lettering will blink. At 24 seconds it blinks a second time. Press Enter between these two blinks, and Gruff's yer gun-toting, headband-wearing uncle!
Can you help me get a message to the band?
Sorry, but no. Much as we'd like to, we don't have direct access to the band members.