Mongrel recruits Doherty, M.I.A., Saul Williams

Andy Nicholson talks about new band's debut album

MANCHESTER, England -- Pete Doherty, M.I.A. and Saul Williams are all likely to feature on the forthcoming debut album from Mongrel, the new band from former Arctic Monkeys bassist Andy Nicholson.

Nicholson, who quit Arctic Monkeys in 2006, is joined in Mongrel by former bandmate Matt Helders, who will take time out from the Monkeys to drum for the new band. Other members of the group include Jon McClure and Joe Moskow from U.K. alternative rock band Reverend and the Makers, Babyshambles guitarist Drew McConnell and London-based rapper Lowkey.

Speaking exclusively to, McClure described the as-yet-untitled record as an incendiary mixture of hip-hop, dance and rock, with a strong political message.

"I'm the singer, Lowkey raps and then we've got a few features from other people. We had Saul Williams come in and do a thing on it and hopefully M.I.A. is going to do something and maybe Pete Doherty. It's got a good flavor," McClure said.

"We're producing it ourselves and I've paid for it so far out of my own pocket just because I believe in it," he continued. "I'm excited about it because I think that it's an important record. We're saying things on this record that nobody's really had the bollocks to say in the last eight years. We're really taking a few people to task, kind of like we're Public Enemy or something."

The album is being recorded at London's Deep Street Studio and is set to be released in late 2008. Mongrel intend to make their live debut this year.

McClure also revealed that the forthcoming sophomore album from his group Reverend and the Makers is going to sound "apocalyptic and psychedelic" and that it will be heavily informed by "the overwhelming sense of the apocalypse being upon us."

"I feel that we're heading for a bad thing as a race of people," McClure said. "We're five tracks in so far and it's going really good. I'm going to do a poem on this record, which I think is an important thing."

McClure also launched into a stinging tirade against celebrity culture when asked what inspired the band's new single, "Silence Is Talking," which will precede the untitled album.

"That's hopefully going to be out by the end of the summer and it refers to the fact that nobody has had anything to say post-9/11 about what's the most critical time in human history," he said.

"In those eight years, we've had absolutely nobody that's dared to raise their head above the parapet," he said. "Unfortunately, I think people become scared because you get the Dixie Chicks who speak out and their career bombs, 3D (Robert Del Naja) from Massive Attack gets labeled a pedophile when he's done absolutely nothing wrong, the late Anita Roddick (founder of U.K. Cosmetics firm the Body Shop) questions war machines and global capitalism and is called scatty and hormonal. So I think people become fearful of speaking out."

"Where the f*** is David Beckham on these issues? Unfortunately, celebrity is the currency that people understand in this day and age so when a celebrity speaks people listen," he continued. "But unfortunately nobody has had any bollocks, really. You get your usual suspects like Billy Bragg and I suppose I fall into that category of 'leftie musicians.' But in terms of major celebrities nobody has said anything, and I think that's a travesty."