When you get your debut album Produced by Flood (PJ Harvey, New Order, Foals) you have to e onto something don’t you? An album that features three singles already released from the band “Feeling Fades”, “Green & Blue” & “Don’t Cling To Life” as well as their breakthrough song ‘More Is Less’. Its give you a fairly panoramic vision of how the band sound.
post-rock on the two-part ‘Slowdance’, to the slower, ‘On Twisted Ground’ a song about loss and keeping your friends close is simple in its bass notes leading the way. To finish the band lay into some industrial throb of the albums sign off ‘Love, Love, Love’, Its an extremely confident album that’ll see The Murder Capital hoover up an audience because at times I hear early U2 (don’t let that put you off) and that’s not a lazy connection due to their geographic existence. They also touch on Joy Division and I’m also hearing shades of New Model Army thrown into the melting pot as well as a whole bunch of other bands I get flashes of.
There are times when it feels cold and bleak and other times it feels crushing and warm and every available space is filled with noise and that’s not an easy thing to do. Especially not from a band on their first album. The album’s opener is better dressed than Idles but I guess comparisons will be made. ‘More Is Less’ is like a late-night bare-knuckle street brawl when the guitars kick in and there is an excitement captured in the music. Its an album you’ll have to invest some time in to get to grips with its widescreen appeal and one I can see peeling back track after track like an onion revealing different layers with every play. It’s easy to see how Flood wanted to produce this record and a fantastic job he’s done too.
About to head out the door to tour the backside of this album The Murder Capital are reaching for the stars and they might just catch themselves some. An amazingly confident and complete debut in the field of alt post-punk or whatever you want to call it.
‘Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres’ will have many rushing for the exit and some will stick around and check it out whilst others are true believers that Doherty was handed the baton of real rock and rollers who always find what they’re looking for even if they don’t quite know what it is they are looking for. They manage to write with great talents to interpret what’s coming out of their mind and who just click and make all the madness sound cohesive and at times quite beautiful, it’s fair to say the record at times is intimate with tales of love, loss, happiness, tragedy, addiction and work on many levels. The album was recorded live to capture the essence and spirit of the Puta Madres at a family home overlooking a fishing village in Étretat, Normandy, over four days in the summer of 2018. so as the needle drops we are gently led into ‘All At Sea’ with the unmistakable wavering vocals of Doherty. The band are given the room to breathe and at times I’m reminded of albums like Dylans ‘Blood On the Tracks’ and Velvet Underground for the loose arrangments and use of instruments (ok so this might not stack up to those two albums but you get the gist).
‘Whose Been Having You Over’ has a galic flavour and once you lock into the groove its a majestic thing with some fine guitar work from Jones and Doherty and as the first track the violin of Miki Beavis is exceptional and add eastern flavours. ‘Paradise Is Under Your Nose’ is Dohertys finest five minutes and his duet with Jack Jones is on another level for a quite beautiful song.
The autobiographical ‘Narcissistic Teen Makes First XI ‘ is classic dreamy Doherty. I promise the payback from this album is massive if you invest a bit of time and energy into it. sure I can see how people will play it once and call it a shambles I get that but give it a chance. There’s a gentle hand at work here and Doherty sounds content and comfortable with the musicians he’s assembled around him for this record as they play around his relaxed skiffle on tracks like ‘A Fool There Was’ as that gypsy violin leads a merry dance.
It’s not The Libertines and its not his loudest record but it might just be his best.
“The Kritikal Beatdown continues as Black Gladiator and Slovenly Recordings present the second album from Athens via Crete dynamic duo HAND & LEG. The new LP is called “Lust In Peace” and it advances the post-punk infused concoction of blazing garage and art-driven destructo-rock as established on their grinding debut. Murky shades of sexual negativity plow forth with the help of white-hot distortion, alternating between soul-crushing fuzz bass dirges, ungodly squalls of noise, and occasional playful rhythmic rituals that offer brief respite from the saturation of musical sadism.”
That’s the labels blurb taken care of as we turn up the speakers to furniture shaking levels to get the full experience of this headfuck of a record. after ‘Faux’ sort of give you a peek behind the curtain its ‘Softyhead’ where shit gets interesting as we get the ying and yang of the garage rock clashing head-on with the post-punk grind but that’s only the aperitif for ‘L.I.P’ (fuck knows what’s going on here) but its loud and I mean LOUD! as the guitar fuzz hacks and slashes whilst the vocals are Numan like monotonous and flat in their delivery until the chorus when things sound like a nuclear reactor gone out of control.
This album twists and turns as it tries to find a comfortable place whilst scratching at the listener. I daren’t ask what the lyrical content is about I’d rather just enjoy the noise pouring out of my speakers. Take ‘Grave Gravy’ for instance its creeps into existence and your just waiting for the breakout but its more subtle than that or so you think.
At times this ten-track assault on the ears can be a challenge as the brain struggles to cope with the audio bombs going off left right and centre and the duo revel in the attack. ‘Shoplift’ doesn’t sound like a good experience and not a soundtrack you’d have liked playing whilst fingering the pick and mix in woolies. Having said that ‘Peter Pancake’ is someone we’d all like to get to know. Iro and Stelios have delivered a post-punk garage meets art-rock album that will fuck with you play after play. I’m guessing they like to fuck with the listener but with a cheeky wink here and there and some serious ringing in one’s ear. The art rock crowd of the lower east side would have been all over this one and a perfect touring partner for VU has finally arrived decades too late ho-hum check out hand and leg the crazy fuckers.
Slovenly Recordings presents the latest full-length hunk o’ junk from San Francisco’s last standing Budget Rockers THE CONTROL FREAKS! Remember a time when bands like The Ramones pumped out albums full of sing-a-long singles that you could jump around to well, The Control Freaks do that. From the opening explosion of the title track, we’re off and running. Its garage punk with plenty of pop sing-a-longs. count in 1-2-3-4 and the wonderfully titled ‘I Hate Your Face’ muscles in. it’s full of bluster and has a wonderful garage rock rattle. What’s not to like?
‘Elevator Girl’ kicks off with a dirty overdriven bass before steaming off.
‘Telephone City’ seems to be the catalyst to up the insanity a notch or two as shit gets faster and a little more out of control. ‘Hate List’ takes it up a notch or two with added madness.
So yeah, like, It’s fair to say this record is packed with hit after smash hit like “I Hate Your Face,” ‘Creep You Out’ is on the level with some top tub-thumping and sleazy guitar slashing. ‘I Am Crime’ thrashes about some more if you haven’t already had enough. and you might need A ‘First Aid Kit’ it might come in handy at some point if you’re slamming around to these tunes and the cheap keys are gonna drive you insane. Its ferocious and sweetness rolled into one take ‘Time Out’ with some sweet vocals over an absolute banger that Dee Dee would have been proud to have penned.
‘Dowanna Love’ is the first, (yup I did say first) cover on the album by Babeez Greg takes the vocals here whilst the second comes as the penultimate and more laid back (really) ‘Nobody Wants Me’ where Sherrilynn Nelson takes the vocals and delivers the best sultry Debbie Harry style vocals for thirty years on this dark lo-fi slice of scuzzy rock.
This is one of the most consistent garage punk albums I’ve had the pleasure of in quite a while. Why would anyone mess with Jessica? she sounds a handful. Thirteen tunes crammed onto one album with every conceivable bit of space filled to the gills with rock and roll noise noise noise. I love it and you will too. Go get some kids you won’t be disappointed and if you are then I suggest Rock and Roll just isn’t for you either that or you might want to check for a pulse.
Christened as ‘A Long Weekend Of Empty Bottles’, Tyla and his Dogs announced a short run of dates celebrating the 30th anniversary of ‘A Graveyard Of Empty Bottles’ recently. Dates in York and Birmingham to be special shows previewing acoustic and electric shows that will form part of the following two nights of celebration in London.
Classed by some as the best acoustic album ever released (me included), ‘A Graveyard Of Empty Bottles’ is a timeless snapshot of the classic Dogs D’amour line up at their peak. Recorded in December 1988 over a 10 day period, the album captures the essence of a band riding on the tail end of a whirlwind year and the comedown that followed a sold out, end of the year Astoria show.
The 8 song collection of ‘soft songs for hard people’ has recently been re- recorded by the current Dogs D’amour line up, and while I initially gave it a wide birth, I have to say the new version does bring something fresh to a bunch of songs I always felt should not be tampered with. In fact, I liked it enough in the lead up to this gig, that I only went and purchased the vinyl for the collection.
Joining the band on this little adventure are London’s finest rock ‘n’ roll reprobates The Dirty Strangers. Still led by loveable rogue Alan Clayton, a man with more Rolling Stones connections than Mick Jagger’s heart surgeon. In fact Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards both played on their debut album back in 1987, they even roped in The Damned’s Brian James and Joe Brown along the way too.
The four-piece band play no-frills, dirty rock ‘n’ roll, just the way it should be played. The singer, dressed in a stripy top and pork pie hat, a telecaster slung over his lanky frame, leads his band through a selection of bar-room boogie rock ‘n’ roll. The raw and unadulterated twelve-bar boogie of ‘Bad Girls’, with its “woo-hoo’s” hollering and some tinkling of the ivories sounds great and the low slung rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Are You Satisfied?’ goes down a charm. The singer and bassist share a mic for vocals on several songs in full Jagger & Richards style. And it doesn’t get more rock ‘n’ roll than ‘Gold Cortina’ does it? Full of cheeky cockney charm and rock ‘n’ roll swagger, The Dirty Strangers were the perfect band to open proceedings tonight. Great stuff indeed.
The Fulford Arms is classed as a hometown show for Tyla and The Dogs these days. It’s intimate, it’s packed and it’s hot… very hot. The band is playing two sets tonight, one acoustic and one electric, the anticipation is high and the atmosphere is electric.
“Who gave him a mic?” says Tyla, as drummer Simon starts with the piss-taking before the singer has even picked up his acoustic guitar. The joking continues for most of the night. With the band perched on barstools they launch straight into ‘Comfort Of The Devil’ followed by the fantastic ‘I Think It’s Love Again’. With the full band treatment these versions of ‘Graveyard..’ tracks are heavier and slower, but still contain those great infectious melodies. The latter particularly benefits from the updated treatment, it’s the little nuances in the arrangements, like where the band hold the note in the chorus just that little bit longer. It sounds ace.
This band have been a unit for a good few years now, live and in the studio, and it shows. The camaraderie and ability is second to none. Tyla plays acoustic, to his right guitarist Gaz rips on a telecaster and to his left the ever cool, vampiric Matty James, all dressed in black, doesn’t even break into a sweat on bass. The guys watch their leader for cues, they play off each other to perfection.
I’ve heard a few of these songs live before, but never all of them together, what a treat to behold! ‘Saviour’ is transformed from heartfelt balladry to a more bluesy, rock ‘n’ roll groover with added tinkling of the ivories and ‘Angel’ is still the sing a long hit single that never was.
The version of ‘Bullet Proof Poet’ they pull off tonight is simply stunning. An extended, tripped out version with Gaz ripping a killer solo. A song to get lost in, it’s over in minutes, yet somehow, it feels like we’ve been lost in it for hours.
Tyla takes over on bass duties and Matty brings out the blues harp for a mesmerising, sweat-soaked blues workout. I think it was called ‘Stealin’ From The Devil’? Correct me if I’m wrong.
A couple of killer tunes from last year’s excellent return to form ‘In Vino Veritas’ album (namely ‘I Don’t Love Anyone’ and ‘Bottle Of Red’) round off set one nicely. As Gaz suggests we all go outside to cool down while the guys prepare the stage for round 2.
Tyla’s bottle of red is on its last legs already as he straps on that iconic road worn Gretsch and strikes out the opening chords to ‘Billy Two Rivers’, the first of a small greatest hits set. Songs to sing a long to and songs to drink to, songs that soundtrack our youth and transition into adulthood. It’s nice to see some younger dudes and dudettes in attendance, many who weren’t even born when Tyla first hit the stages with these tunes.
Classic follows classic, ‘Last Bandit’ is as amazing as ever, ‘Firework Girl enthralls and induces goosebumps and ‘How Come It Never Rains’ is the ultimate drunk and sweaty sing along it was meant to be.
By the time we get to ‘I Don’t Want You To Go’ Tyla is visibly struggling in the heat, (as we all are) and finishes the last few songs perched on an amp. The red wine has all but gone and he looks ready for a nap. But he ain’t quite done yet. ‘Satellite Kid’ rounds off the hottest, sweatiest gig of the year so far as we all sing a long and smile for the final time this evening.
I feel very lucky to have witnessed this band in this venue multiple times. Every gig has been different, from various album celebrations to just good, old fashioned hits shows. Sometimes I’ve been drunk, sometimes I’ve been sober, but every time it has been a blast. Like a fine red wine Tyla’s Dogs D’amour get better each time I see them, I never take it for granted and I will always come back for more. At the end of the day, it’s one of my favourite songwriters singing some of my favourite songs in my local watering hole. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Jesse Malin’s transition from snotty frontman for NY punks D Generation to acoustic troubadour has been a natural progression over the last 15 years. The long and winding road has seen him release 7 solo albums, collaborating with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams and Brian Fallon along the way.
Critically praised, yet commercially ignored (hey, aren’t all the best songwriters? Ginger,Tyla and Butch Walker, here’s looking at you!). His live shows, whether solo or with a band, can be an immersive experience full of storytelling, comedy and crowd interaction. Jesse Malin continues to tell tales of dreamers, schemers, hustlers and dealers. These are his songs about the characters from his native New York and stories about those he meets on the road.
Jesse’s latest album ‘Sunset Kids’ is a collaboration with country legend Lucinda Williams, who Malin met by chance in a club. They discussed making an album together after she invited him to Tom Petty’s final concert. During the writing and recording Jesse lost his father, his good friend Todd Youth and even the engineer of the album Davis Bianco.
Opener ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World Again’ is a re-recording of the lead track from 2017’s ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World’ EP. This version benefits from Lucinda’s lush production and masterful guidance. The verse, sung in Jesse’s lower register with the addition of warm bass and a tinkling of the ivories, comes on like prime Lou Reed. It lends itself well as a great build to the infectious chorus full of lush, gang vocals. It’s a laid back, lazy sounding slice of retro rock ‘n’ roll, the kind that only a New York resident could produce. This is Jesse walking on the wildside and that’s about as rock ‘n’ roll as you can get.
Next up, the countrified ‘Room 13’ is a reflective ode to spending time in hotel rooms (Jesse has been known to book himself into hotels to write songs in isolation, with no distractions). This is prime Malin songwriting, featuring Lucinda’s lush vocal harmonies and twangy countrified guitars, the sparse instrumentation creates space and atmosphere that only adds to the laid back, signature melodies Jesse creates.
There’s a nice ebb and flow to the album, from the upbeat to the downbeat. Reflective, acoustic laments like ‘When You’re Young’ and ‘Revelations’ rub (leather) shoulders with funky 70’s groovers such as ‘Do You Really Wanna Know’ and the overly cool ‘Dead On’, 2 tunes that deserve to be jammed out by cool cats in smoky bars, while whores hustle and hustlers whore around them.
The upbeat ‘Chemical Heart’ has the same feel as his version of The Hold Steady’s ‘You Can Make Them Like You’ from the excellent ‘On Your Sleeve’ covers album. Nice stabs of Hammond give this song a quirky burst of energy. It’s one of the coolest on offer, along with ‘Strangers and Thieves’, co-written by Billy Joe Armstrong as part of their Rodeo Queens side project. A euphoric, countrified rock ‘n’ roll blast if ever there was one. Lucinda’s lush backing vocals add depth, great percussion and twangy guitars give a Stonesy ‘All Down The Line’ feel. A much needed dose of urgency.
Jesse’s tales of working class guys, lost love and dreaming of breaking out of the rat race have been popular themes with the guy since D Generation burst onto MTV with ‘No Way Out’, and although the production may have changed, the message is still the same. As he suggests in ‘Shining On’, you gotta keep on, keeping on. “Call me a cab for the last plane to tomorrow” he asks on ‘Promises’ and ‘Grey Skies Look So Blue’ floats along on a summer breeze as Jesse dreams about packing his bags and getting away.
When an artist goes through tumultuous times, when a songwriter experiences heartache or pain, and truly has something to write about, THAT is when they are at their best. Like much of Jesse’s solo work, ‘Sunset Kids’ is a reflective body of work, full of heartfelt tenderness and cool rock ‘n’ roll, but for whatever reason it resonates so much more than his past albums. And with the help of Lucinda Williams, he may well have made the album of his career.
Canada continues to churn out the finest in punk rock anywhere on the globe (sorry flat earthers) Blink and you might miss this one as Slovenly knock out four tunes in just over five minutes pressed onto wax. Its Sore Points first release on Slovenly and the Vancouver punks aren’t hanging around here folks this is like blunt trauma frenzy punk attack. First up is the fuzz fest of ‘Not Alright’ – to the point its like an audio punch in the face and before you can gather your composure were into ‘On The Wire’ and Sore Points are like a frantic frenzied loon just rabbit punching the listener round the ears.
Pause, deep breath and flip this bad boy over as ‘One More thing’ is up with its rolling riff but they have saved the best till last with the brutal ‘Not Coming Back’ which just slays with its rough riff-a-rama. it’s brief, it’s brutal but its good and Slovenly don’t do bad records and to get on a label like this you have to deliver so its a no brainer, buy Sore Points end of. A long player should be the next target and the sooner the better. CEO of Slovenly please make this happen thank you kindly RPM
Rock’n’roll legends The Quireboys have released a brand-new video for their new single “Original Black Eyed Son” – which is the lead track taken from their latest album, the critically acclaimed “Amazing Disgrace”.
With the new video in the can and doing the rounds, The Bar Stool Preachers are continuing their never-ending tour schedule for the brilliant ‘Grazie Governo’ and RPM highly recommends you catch them at one or more of these dates.
1st BLACKPOOL, UK – Rebellion Festival, Winter Gardens
1st BLACKPOOL, UK – Rebellion Festival, Winter Gardens
4th COMPTON MARTIN, UK – Outcider Festival, Fernhill Farm
Bouncing Souls + The Bronx + THE BAR STOOL PREACHERS
9th MONTREAL, QC, Canada – Foufounes Electriques
10th TORONTO, ON, Canada – Phoenix Concert Theatre
11th PITTSBURGH PA, USA – Mr. Smalls Theatre
13th CLEVELAND, OH, USA – Grog Shop
14th DETROIT, MI, USA – Saint Andrews Hall
17th CHICAGO, IL, USA – Metro
18th MINNEAPOLIS, MN, USA – Varsity Theater
19th MILWAUKEE, WI – X-Ray Arcade
THE BAR STOOL PREACHERS + The Raging Nathans
20th DAYTON, OH – Blind Bob‘s
21st LANCASTER, PA – American Bar & Grill
22nd ASBURY PARK, NJ – Asbury Park Brewery
23rd ALLSTON, MA – O‘Brien‘s
24th DOVER, NH – Brickhouse
THE BAR STOOL PREACHERS
13th KINGSTON, UK – Fighting Cocks
14th DERBY, UK – Hairy Dog
15th MANCHESTER, UK – Star ’N Garter
16th LEEDS, UK – Brudenell Club
17th NEWCASTLE, UK – Trillians
18th GLASGOW, UK – Stereo Cafe
19th CARLISLE, UK – Brickyard
20th BLACKPOOL, UK – Waterloo Bar
21st CARDIFF, UK – Club Ifor Bach
22nd ILSON, UK – Latch Lifter (ALL AGES)
New album – Glasto appearances – and now an interview with Ben at RPM it’s all happening for Ulysses at the moment check out this cheeky Interview on everything Ulysses.
The new album ‘On Safari’ is a bit of a monster, well-done sir! It has been getting a great response from fans and critics alike, are you surprised at all the positive feedback?
Relieved probably! I didn’t really have any expectation of how it would go down other than I knew people who already like us would have to get their heads around it as it’s a different animal than ‘Law And Order’ and I hoped they would eventually consider it as good, if not hopefully better. Every album we do is different though, we don’t write music to order, we just do what we do and if anyone whatsoever at all likes it, it’s a bonus!
I think I referenced everyone from Kiss and ELO to Supergrass and Super Furry Animals in my review. You have a lot of classic 60’s and 70’s influences going on but there’s a bit of disco and new wave going on, you seem to have branched out your sound more than ever this time?
We were listening to a lot of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers anyway and then he died so were listening to them even more! The Cars we’ve always loved, just feeling the late 70s / turn of the 80s thing really, the English end too, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, etc. ‘Doctors And Nurses’ chorus popped in my head fairly fully formed, I heard it a bit more Grange Hill theme tune, we kept some of that but it also turned into a full-blown Disco smash, maybe I was listening to too much Bee Gees. I did personally stop worrying about being stuck in one or two styles and just did what I used to do which is just do whatever I want and not worry about it.
What song on the new album are you most proud of?
‘Calendar Street’ was a beast – I’m proud to have finally tamed it, I dreamed the Medieval intro and that helped finish it off. I think ‘Bad Tattoo’ is the best overall song in terms of songwriting and conciseness, although I felt uncomfortable with how ‘serious’ it was to begin with. ‘Situation Man’ is a personal victory/breakthrough, it’s a step in a different direction. We’re proud of all of them though really.
How do you approach songwriting?
Just things or a part of a song pop in my head to being with, fairly fully formed. I usually sing something into my phone or grab a guitar or piano and then figure it out and play that into my phone. Then I’ll bash out a rough demo of it where I can throw down some other ideas / parts at it. Takes a while to craft it into a final version, sometimes playing it with the band and doing a band demo of it is when it finally all comes together / Denny and Shane will put their stamp on it etc. There’s no real formula. Lyrics I find the hardest to finish, but I probably enjoy writing lyrics more these days so that’s getting easier.
Have you ever written a song, only to be told it was just a rip off of something else and then scrapped it?
Only by myself. Once when I presented a song to the band they all laughed, but then it turned out to be one of our best and most popular songs – who’s laughing now eh?
The weirdest is when you get a review saying a song sounds like a song by someone you’ve never even heard of.
Like many bands in today’s musical climate, am I right in saying Ulysses is not a full-time thing for you guys. Band members have full-time jobs and families to feed. In that respect, is touring and promoting a new album an easy thing to workaround for you?
It is difficult, but I feel we’ve got to a point where I consider us lucky – we can do the band fairly legitimately and with a degree of success but basically alongside our normal lives with families and jobs, etc – I’d say that was pretty cool really. I think there are too many models in music these days in my opinion, I don’t think you can be model for that corporate shit and be an edgy Punk musician, sorry. I blame Vice magazine, or maybe it’s not their fault, it’s just symptomatic. Music should be made by suburban weirdo outsiders, not rich kids who grew up seriously good looking.
Let’s talk about the fantastic cover art by Caitlin Mattisson. How did that come about?
We had Howlin Rain and friends in common on Instagram and I just immediately loved her work, so I sent her a message and we cut a deal. I wanted something celestial – turned out perfect! Would love to work with her again.
It looks like a page from an adult colouring book. Maybe a second pressing of the vinyl is in order, the cover on matt paper and some free crayons?
We’ve sold half of the vinyl already but alas all the money is going to into the big black hole of debt. Maybe if someone could stump up the money we could do a ‘Ulysses band members’ scratch n’ sniff version?
You recently played multiple sets at the Glastonbury festival. How was that experience?
It was great thanks, probably not as glamorous as it sounds. We played 4 of the smaller stages, so it mostly working out how were going to get our gear from one stage to another etc! It was really lovely though, great people everywhere we went pretty much – one of the best. We also met Steve Frost from The Young Ones / Who’s Line Is it Anyway etc when we played the Theatre And Circus Backstage Stage – he was a total dude.
Who was the best artist you saw that weekend?
We clashed with The Cure which was the only band I really wanted to see alas. By fate, we shared a bill on the Acoustic Stage Backstage with Marla and David Celia, a Canadian / German acoustic duo/couple, and they were fantastic. Great to hang out with too and we’ve stayed in touch, hopefully, do something with them next year. And of course our good friends Magic Bus who were the perfect hippy festival band on the Croissant Neuf stage.
You have toured and shared stages with many bands over the years, who is the nicest musician you have met?
Hmm the nicest. Well apart from the above, Marc Ford was a big hero for me, he was great, very sarcastic though. We drank a lot! Scott Holiday from Rival Sons is a pal and top guy. Richard Thompson was lovely, he had sandals and socks on too. Probably the nicest was either Bobby Conn who I’m a huge fan of (the most humble should-be-a-massive-star mega-talent around) but we fell out as I don’t like cats, or Michael Tyack from Circulus who I don’t think gets enough credit for helping bring in this current wave of Medieval and Pagan influenced culture around at the moment. Oh and also Ed Bazalgette from The Vapors who not only is a magnificent guitar player, he is also a very lovely fella.
I have to say though that as far as I can remember everyone we’ve played with or met has generally been pretty lovely company. There’s a few who have been hard work but they probably have conditions etc.
We have a really wonderful network of DIY and indie label bands that we play with and are friends with and love. I would liken it to a modern version of CBGBs – its lots of disparate and stylistically quite different bands thrown together by basically all having very limited outlets / opportunities, but appreciating each others’ talents and weirdness. That’s what the ‘Indie’ scene is these days for me.
The worst celebrity encounter though was Barry Wom when me and Shane Ulysses went to see The Rutles play in Bristol a few years ago. We went to talk to him after the show about Patto the great 70s band he was in, and he literally just completely blanked us and turned around and carried on drinking his pint with a handle. Pretty cool though.
If you could have one of your heroes guest on your next album, who would you choose and what instrument would you get them to play?
It would have to be Paul McCartney and he’d be on drums, sorry Shane. Or maybe Lindsey Buckingham on whatever he wants, if he’s feeling better.
When people think of Luke Smyth, what do they most associate you as being?
Hairy, like Jeff Lynne crossed with Marc Bolan, like a bearded Marc Bolan basically. Possibly a bit of a weird pervert? You tell me!
RPM: What was your first guitar, and what song did you first learn on it?
LS: God… Um first guitar was my older brother’s I think, and I could play along to the melody of Beatles records by ear when I was about 5, which is kind of weird now I think about it.
What do you think was the best year for music in your lifetime?
I thoroughly enjoyed 1993 and 1995, but during 1997/98 I worked in an independent record shop and there was a phenomenal amount of good albums that came out in that period, Air, Spiritualized, Super Furry Animals, Pavement, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Supergrass, Beck, PJ Harvey, The Make Up, Massive Attack, Primal Scream, an endless list.
If you could have a billboard anywhere in the world, where would you have it and what would it say?
In the middle of the Sahara desert, and to quote The Heads “Everyone knows we got nowhere”.
If you could go back to your 20 year old self, what 3 pieces of advice would you give?
Oh just the usual: make love to as many women as possible, travel about a bit, and stop worrying about everything so much for God’s sake. There’s definitely a few people I would advise myself to avoid.
And finally, if you could have a drink with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and what would you drink?
If it was a man I would share a drink of Peyote and magic mushroom tea with Paul McCartney, or if it was a lady I would share some kind of bedroom enhancing beverage with Winona Ryder, or maybe late ‘70s Dolly Parton, I’m not fussy.