Q magazine Questionnaire
Q: What's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
NM: First, check the bed for occupants; wife, young children, etc. And acting on that information I decide whether sex is on the agenda. If not, it's porridge.
Q: What was the first gig you went to?
NM: It was Tommy Steele, in 1956 I think. His appearances on 6.5 Special would have been my first rock'n'roll experience and after that I had to go and see him.
Q: What song do you wish you'd written?
NM: Practically anything by Dylan. I think you'd have to aspire to his range as much as any particular song, though Masters Of War springs to mind - that ability to make a meaningful political statement without being at all pretentious. If you asked me what I wished I'd drummed on, I think it'd be something by Cream...probably NSU.
Q: What's the best advice you've ever received?
NM: I think Noel Redding said it best: Get a lawyer, buy a gun. That, or, if you make a mistake, always glare at the bass player.
Q: What is your most treasured material possession?
NM: Whatever is the racing car of the moment. Which at the moment is a Maserati of the sort Stirling Moss won in at the Nuburgring in 1960.
Q: Who is the last person you slept with?
NM: See question one.
Q: What do you think of Bob Dylan?
NM: Pivotal. He's produced good work, behaved erratically and then continued to produce good work, rather than fulfill what people expect, which is produce good work, behave erratically, go mad and explode. And I think that's enormously endearing. Can't stand his songs though.
Q: When did you last cry and why?
NM: I suppose at the birth of my last son, Cary. Happy and relieved.
Q: What characteristics do you think you've inherited from your parents?
NM: The ability to avoid confrontation. And a love of motor sport, which I think must be genetic rather than environment.
Q: What's the biggest myth about fame?
NM: Well, you're asking the wrong person, because I'm not famous; I'm part of a famous enterprise, which is rather different. Most genuinely famous people seem to be driven by the notion that fame will make them feel better, and when it doesn't they try and plug that gap with more fame. So yes, Pink Floyd are desperately damaged individuals and we're just not famous enough yet!
Q: What are you like when you're drunk?
NM: Not like the old days, when we wouldn't hit the stage unless sensations had been dulled by rum and blacks or Stone's Ginger Wine. These days I'm a bit louder...and an incredibly good driver.
Q: Who would you have play you in a film?
NM: Someone very British. Kenneth More, maybe, or Robert Donat.
Q: Pick five words that describe yourself.
NM: Wry, reserved, scruffy, absent-minded, motivated.
Q: Is there one piece of criticism that sticks in your mind?
NM: I do remember one review that Robin Denselow wrote, years and years ago. He said we'd done a rather poor show and I had to agree with him. Everyone else had raved about it for one reason or another, and I was impressed that he'd actually been listening. Another's from last year, the Chicago Sun, a live review I was so incensed by I actually wrote to the journalist. He said we were overweight, which I thought was irrelevant. In fact, I got a most delightful letter back retracting that element of his criticism, so I suppose it was worthwhile. Critics expect even the most vitriolic criticism to like water off a duck's back. But it still hurts sometimes.
Q: Do you believe in God?
NM: No I don't, though I quite often wish that I did. I believe in God Dylan.
Q: What is your most unpleasant characteristic?
NM: Perhaps the most hurtful, ultimately, is my failure to confront things. But I'm also a terrible tease, and I can produce a number of people willing to testify to how unpleasant that can be. In court, if necessary.
Q: What is your greatest fear?
NM: Death. I can't think anything more alarming than that.
Q: What ambitions do you still have to fulfill?
NM: I'd like to be rather better at the things I already do. For instance, I wouldn't mind being a better drummer. I've driven at Le Mans, which was always a great ambition, but I'm never going to be world sports car champion so I'll be happy just being a better driver.
Q: Are you afraid of failure?
NM: Well, I suppose I must be, otherwise one wouldn't go to such lengths to succeed. One definitely wouldn't like to be jeered at by one's peers but you have to risk it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Q: What do you never leave home without?
NM: The conviction that I've left the gas on.
Q: Who is your best male friend and your best female friend?
NM: I haven't really had one "best" male friend since Roger left the band. My best female friend is my wife. I enjoy her company... and if I said anyone else she'd kill me.
Q: Who would you most like to meet?
NM: This is one of those Desert Island Discs sorts of questions, do you pick your actual 10 favourite records or the ones that make you look good? It's the same here; there's no point in me saying Noel Edmonds, because even if I did want to meet him it wouldn't endear me to the readership. Still, I'm enormously grateful to have met Ayrton Senna, and a couple of figures from the past I wouldn't mind having dinner with would be Groucho Marx and Stravinsky, whose journals are hilarious.
Q: What music would you have played at your funeral?
NM: I wouldn't like any music at all. I'd like the funeral to be canceled on the grounds that I was, in fact, OK. But if I was to be sadistic, it would be the whole of Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly.
Q: When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see?
NM: I don't like what I see but I've learned to live with it. I'd like to see a proper pop star staring back at me, and I don't.
Q: Do you have anything to declare?
NM: That I'm non-resident for tax purposes! That I've told the truth, the whole truth and something like the truth...So help me Bob.