Not so long ago, when his teeth were falling out from all the crack he was smoking, Antony Genn wouldn’t have received a particularly warm welcome at the swooping Rem Koolhaas–designed, luxury-shopping Prada terrarium in Soho. He’d played with Pulp when he was 16 and was roommates with Robbie Williams. Eventually, he was just getting wasted with Shane McGowan. But since he got sober, his old friend Damien Hirst paid for him to go into the studio, and on September 7 his band, the Hours, will play a private gig at the Prada store for Fashion Week insiders. (They’ll be performing under a mock-up of For the Love of God, Hirst’s $99-million diamond-encrusted platinum skull.) He spoke to Carl Swanson.
Are you pals with Miuccia Prada?
I would definitely not even say that I know Miuccia. If I saw her I’d say, “Hi Miuccia”—she knows I’m Damien’s mate. She probably thinks, “There’s that guy that used to be completely out of his fucking mind with Damien all the time.”
The album, Narcissus Road, is largely about redemption.
I was a hopeless drug addict. So much so that Damien, and a lot of my friends— I won’t say turned their back on me but realized that they couldn’t help me any more and that I just had to either die or sort it out for myself. I was just so out of control when I was in [Joe] Strummer’s band, he had to sack me. I was turning up to a gig a minute before we went onstage wearing one shoe, with a black eye. And no teeth. It’s not a good look.
Why did Hirst pay for your recording?
The thing is, he’s funded so many people to do so many things. Oh God, I’ve known artists that he’s kept food on their tables for the last ten years. He doesn’t have that much money because he fucking spends it. He buys art, he gives it away, he buys other people’s art, he puts money into projects, he gives loads to charity.
The Raconteurs played the Prada shop last year. Why you?
What about doing something with a completely unknown British band with some maverick fucking geezer in it and his mate Damien coming in and doing art?