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Masters – Corduroy

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Masters3

In the early 1990s, something unusual happened and something that has not happened since; two small independent British record labels were formed that defined the entire decade musically. On one side driving the Britpop era was Alan McGee’s Creation Records and on the other, Eddie Piller’s Acid Jazz which flew the flag for eclectic soul and funk. Part of that Acid Jazz roster was a band which may have had modest chart success, but retained a loyal fan base and critical acclaim for every album and single they released. NUTs caught up with frontman Richard Searle to talk about Corduroy and their forthcoming headline appearance at Le Beat Bespoke 12.

01. When did you get Corduroy back together and why?

We reformed in 2013 to promote a Corduroy CD box-set released by Cherry Red Records, featuring 3 of our 5 studio albums plus a Japanese live album; plus a previously unreleased live album via Acid Jazz Records.

 02. When did you first become interested in music?

We didn’t have a record player when I was a primary school kid. I grew up during Glam, (Slade, Sweet, T-Rex); but my oldest friend, who lived down my street (Elibank Rd), had a record player and his brother had two Who albums; so The Who were formative, and are still my favourite band.

03. Do you regard yourself as a mod? How did you get into it?

I bought punk records from 77 onwards, The Stranglers, The Damned, Generation X, Devo, Pistols etc, but I used to follow The Jam, they were ‘my life’. I saw them for the first time in 78 (supported by Generation X and Slade). My first parka cost £14 from Paraphernalia in Lewisham). My first bespoke suit, when I was 15, was from a tailor in Lewisham called James Joyce – the jacket still fits. When the ‘mod revival’ happened, I’d already started listening to psych stuff (the first Nuggets album, Velvet Underground, Shadows Of The Night, Electric Prunes, Love), so when the ‘New Psychedelic’ scene reared its head, I was already wearing more ‘swinging sixties’ gear, my hair was a ridiculous back-combed bouffant. I didn’t fit with the British ‘mod’ look, I was never into Two-Tone. When people ask, I say that I was a ‘psychedelic mod’.

04. How did the whole Doctor and the Medics thing come about?

The ‘psych scene’ was based around a couple of clothes shops, The Regal and Sweet Charity and a Soho club called The Clinic (in Gossips – Soho); the resident DJ called himself The Doctor he was my patrol leader in the scouts. The Doctor (Clive) was given the opportunity to record a single on Whaam Records, so he put a band together. It was only supposed to be for the one single, and a couple of gigs, but we had fun and carried on. I left after 8 years.

05. Which clubs did you visit during the late 80s and early 90s?

In the 80s it was mostly psych clubs, The Clinic, The Taste Experience, The Pigeon-Toed Orange Peel, and the Alice In Wonderland (a club which took over from The Clinic, in which The Doctor was resident DJ and The Medics played regularly). I went to The Bat Cave once – once was enough. In the 90’s I was going through a beatnik phase – Smashing, Frat Shack, Tongue Kung Fu. DJs like Martin Green and The Karminski’s were where it was at.

 06. How did you join up with Boy’s Wonder?

Boys Wonder were friends, they were truly great. They sacked the bassist Chris Tate and I filled in for a hand-full of gigs (a couple of head-lines at the Marquee and supporting The Hoodoo Gurus at the Town & Country, now The Forum).Tony Barber then joined.

Despite being ‘in vogue’ they were dropped by their record label, Sire, and then sacked Tony Barber. The Medics had stopped being fun by this point, so when they asked me to join permanently, I did so. The band then started a long downhill spiral of musical styles, band wagon jumping and failed attempts to get re-signed. By the time Boys Wonder finished, we were truly shit.

07. How did you meet Eddie Piller?

Acid Jazz was one of three record labels that the newly formed Corduroy went to see. Ed Piller booked us into his studio two days later.

His first words to me were… ‘Are you a mod?’

08. What is your assessment of the influence of mod on Acid Jazz and vice versa?

Acid Jazz became a refuge for displaced survivors of the mod revival, mainly because it was owned by one, (Ed Piller), but musically it was all over the place. The Sandals came from the ‘beat scene’, Emperor’s New Clothes were proper jazzers, and Mother Earth just wanted to be Traffic. Some bands initially did appeal to mods (JTQ and then Corduroy) but I think musical tastes changed with the labels’ output, which became quite ‘fusion’ orientated. Fifteen-minute hip hop, jazz funk, jam sessions by stone-heads with pubic beards wearing socks on their heads – just isn’t very mod.

09. What was the inspiration for the Corduroy sound?

We each had very different musical tastes, but we all shared a love of film music; this was the main inspiration for the Corduroy sound at its best (the first two albums). By the third album, that uniting force had vanished (lost through ego and endless Steely Dan records). I will always regret not actually leaving Corduroy after the second album.

10. What are you most proud of from your Corduroy years?

Record-wise, I guess the second album – High Havoc. Supporting Blur at Alexandra Palace, (with Pulp and Supergrass), was cool. Seeing the world, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia as well as traveling all over Europe. But my fondest memory is of pulling a girl’s knickers off with my teeth, during an excellent round of strip-dice (a game that I invented).

11. What was it like being signed to Acid Jazz and part of a vibrant scene in music?

The Acid Jazz ‘scene’ meant that people would listen to you, who normally wouldn’t, simply because they were into ‘the scene’. At its best, this meant that there was a family type atmosphere between the bands, and a sense of belonging, plus lots of work. At its worst, by the time Acid Jazz stopped being known as the record label and became regarded as a music genre, the bands couldn’t develop. When Brit-pop then over shadowing things, it became more fashionable than, the Acid Jazz scene, bands identified with ‘the genre’ were ultimately finished. The ‘scene’ itself moved back into the clubs – eventually with Acid Jazz Records buying The Blue-Note.

12. Which clubs did you visit during the 90s? Was Blow Up one of them?

I went to Blow-Up at The Laurel Tree a couple of times, more so when it moved to The Wag… Corduroy played a gig there. I had my own bar tab at The Blue Note.

13. Which bands, music, clubs or scenes have impressed you during the last decade?

Bands: Super Furry Animals, Spiritualised, Verve, Manson, The Dandy Warhols, Kula Shaker, The Prodigy, Earl Brutus,

Clubs: Smashing, was for a year or so, the best.

14. What has been the response to Corduroy coming back?

Very positive; getting lots of international invitations for shows as well as UK interest. We are currently writing new material with every intention of recording a new album.

15. What can we expect from Corduroy at Le Beat Bespoké this year?

Groovy, spy themed, organ-fueled, raw garage, punk-jazz, dirty mod, fun!

16. Are you looking forward to it?

Yes, very much!

 


We are too Richard. Thanks for taking the time to talk to NUTsMag

Corduroy headline Sunday night at lebeatbespoke.com at 229thevenue.co.uk Central London.

Check the bands facebook page here: facebook.com/CorduroyBand/

This interview was originally the one I did with Richard Searle for the updated Influential Factor.


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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February 23, 2017 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, , ,
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Leslie Cavendish: The hairstylist to The Beatles…

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Fashion Scene 4

I first became aware of the name Leslie Cavendish when I was researching for an article that I wrote a few years ago. That article was on the boutique ‘Dandie Fashions’. When the said boutique was taken over by the Apple Corp in the spring of 1968, the boutique then changed its name to ‘Apple Tailoring’. It was decided that it would remain in the hands of John Crittle to run the day to day activities surrounding the boutique. Within the premises there was an unused basement, which became a unisex hair salon. Clientele could be fitted for a garment and then pop down the stairs to the basement for a haircut! The person who was put in charge of running the hair salon was Leslie Cavendish. As far as my research went for the article on Dandie Fashions – that is as far as I got with the hair salon / Leslie Cavendish part of the story.

As I delved deeper into Leslie’s background, it became quite clear to myself that he was an important part in that whole time period of the mid to late sixties. With some more research, I eventually managed to get in contact with Leslie, and as our correspondence increased, a meeting was arranged!

On a cold and grey late November morning, my wife Susie and I headed to London to meet Leslie. The rendezvous venue was chosen by Leslie, so we headed over to Hampstead and a pub called ‘The Old Bull & Bush’. I have to admit that I was quite nervous as we entered through the doors of the pub – lots of anxious thoughts racing through my mind. Within seconds of meeting and exchanging pleasantries, I knew that we were all going to get on fine. Phew….

From the pictures that I had garnered from the internet, it is crystal clear that Leslie was a man of style and great taste. Dark-haired, handsome and mysterious looking – not dissimilar to the guy that used to front the old Milk Tray chocolate adverts! As I looked at Leslie while in our conversation – he still retains the same qualities.

I got to work on asking my questions, almost immediately! Leslie gave me a brief story of his childhood in London, which eventually got to the part where he started an apprenticeship with Vidal Sassoon. From working with Vidal, he eventually got onto the subject of The Beatles and how he become part of that inner-circle. While our conversation deepened, it became apparent that Leslie had incredible understanding and memory of what was happening, in and around himself – back in those heady days! Even within the short time that we shared Leslie’s company, he managed to regale us both in some wonderful stories. I got the feeling that Leslie was enjoying telling his stories, as he had found the perfect audience. Leslie is hoping to get his book of memoirs published in 2017, and I expect lots of these incredible stories to be in the book. So, until that time, the tales Leslie did pass onto Susie and myself will remain as our own special secrets!

We spoke about music, fashion and football. I have to mention that Leslie is a lifelong QPR supporter or sufferer! And like myself, every now and then he was looking to his mobile phone for football updates.

There were still lots of questions that I wanted to ask, but I was aware of not bombarding Leslie or overstaying our welcome. So I asked if I could email him some questions – and that way, he could spend a little more time in his answering.

Before you read the Q&A part of my article – I have to mention what a charming and warm natured man Leslie is. As we left the pub, I think that we both felt we had gained a new friend.

I emailed Leslie a number of questions – here is what I asked, and Leslie’s answers:

01. What age did you take up hairdressing?

I left school at 15. I then started an apprenticeship at Vidal Sassoon at 171 New Bond Street. The apprenticeship was for three years, where I became Vidal’s junior for three months, and I was then promoted to junior hairstylist at his Grosvenor House hotel, Park Lane, salon. Just before my eighteenth birthday.

02. How did you manage to find a job working for the world-famous Vidal Sassoon?

My best friend at school and still to this day, Lawrence Falk (he started the first unisex salon in the U.K. called ‘Crimpers’) started working in a salon in London. I thought why not try it myself – so I asked him where would be the best place to start out. He said ‘Vidal’s salon’. So I called the salon and managed to get an interview and from there I got an apprenticeship.

03. Tell us something about the kind of clientele that would frequent the salon?

The salon had a very mixed clientele. From wealthy ladies who wanted the latest Vidal style to young models (some of which became household names), famous actors, musicians, fashion designers, to big film directors, and Mary Quant, who with the ideal hairstyle, set off the swinging London scene.

04. The world’s music, fashion, arts and hairdressing seemed to all explode in the early to mid-sixties – did you personally feel like you were part of something special that was happening in London?

You didn’t really think too much about it at the time. Life was exciting anyway working at Vidal’s. Added to that, the music and fashion were part of my youth. You did feel like ‘the times they were a changin’!

05. How did you become the personal hairstylist to The Beatles – and what were they like as people?

At Vidal’s, a client of mine was Jane Asher (who was Paul McCartney’s girlfriend) – she asked me one day if I would like to cut her boyfriend’s hair! And I think you know what happened next…

I met them all at a time when they had all decided to stop touring. So they were all a lot more relaxed than I imagine they would’ve been if they were on the road. All four of them were different and I had a good friendship with them all. This also applied to the team that was around them. I was the only one who wasn’t from Liverpool, but because I never spoke to journalists about my link with The Beatles – and never hassled them for autographs etc – I become one of the inner circle that they could trust.

06. What are your memories of managing your own salon within the boutique that became ‘Apple Tailoring’?

It was an intimate salon and very personal to whoever came in to have their hair done. My clients came from the music world and from streetwise people who just found the salon – and loved to have their hair done in the remarkable atmosphere that was ‘Apple Tailoring’! Being in the boutique and watching the dandies of London being dressed up in velvet and frilly, patterned shirts, was extremely interesting. They came in the shop to be dressed, and left as peacocks!

07. What are your memories of working alongside John Crittle at ‘Apple Tailoring’?

At first, John was great to be around, and I used to like watching his friends, who were mostly from the ‘Chelsea Set’, hanging around the shop. After a while though, I lost a lot of respect for John, as he was often stoned and spoke to people in an arrogant manner. He seemed to think that he was a Chelsea via Australian aristocrat, who was doing everybody a favour in dressing them, and he didn’t have time for the regular customer – who were the ‘real’ customers!

08. You were part of the chosen entourage for the now cult Beatles’ film ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ – what are your memories of that journey?

The MMT was one of my great memories and to be on tour with THE BEATLES, especially as they had stopped touring, was something special. If you have watched the film, you will have seen the coach journey and it was great to be one of the passengers, and to be able to watch The Beatles close up. More of which will be in my book!

09. I know that you were very interested in the music that was happening all around you – what were your personal favourite bands, both live and on vinyl?

When I was young I used to like Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, and The Everly Bros. Later on, I discovered Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Vanilla Fudge, The Doors, CSNY, and many more West Coast bands. My taste in British bands were The Animals, Free, The Kinks, Dusty Springfield, and Cat Stevens. I was also into folk music – and Neil Young was a hero of mine. I saw many bands live, but CSNY at the Albert Hall, and David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust), and not forgetting The Beatles, were concerts not to be forgotten.

10. What are your thoughts on the clothing that you were wearing back in those days? From the photos that I have seen you certainly were a snappy dresser!

I loved the whole hippy look – Afghan coats and velvet jackets with ‘Anello & Davide’ shoes. I also got into suits from ‘John Michael’ and ‘Take 6’.

11. What are your thoughts on contemporary men’s hairdressing – and do you still cut hair today?

I am like a gunfighter who put his scissors away in a holster a few years ago. Today’s hairdressing is an art form. The use of electric cutters and the thinning outlooks, makes out for spectacular hairstyles. Hairdressing is like Punk music – nobody makes the rules – you do what you want and that is called fashion.

12. And finally – what other interesting things are you up to these days?

I have now finished my autobiography about my life as a hairdresser at Vidal’s, and this included my time with The Beatles. The book should be out this year. I have given lectures at universities about the culture and fashion during the sixties period. I have been asked to be a guest speaker at The Beatles week this year in Liverpool, which I am looking forward to doing.

I occasionally do VIP Beatle tours. My clients come from all over the world and instead of the usual Beatle tours that take place around London, I can tell them what it was actually like in the recording studios, as well as being in the building, while The Beatles performed on the roof!


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Peter Feely

Married to Susie, both actively involved in the UK 60s scene for many years. My personal interest in 1960s culture goes back over 30 years, with my main two passions being music and fashion, both in equal measure. I run my own menswear label – ‘Perfumed Garden’ clothing, catering for the discerning dandy male - in addition to sourcing and selling vintage mens’ gear, with a particular interest in those hard-to-find jackets and shoes! I also run the Facebook group, ‘Psychedelic Clothing for Men: Then and Now’, with 2200+ members. Although I have no formal training in the fashion industry, what I do possess is a real passion, and through the years I have gained valuable knowledge of many areas of mens’ fashion from the mid to late 1960s. I’m also a musician and have played in many bands in my younger years. I’m an avid collector of music and music-related paraphernalia. I started running my own club nights back in the mid-1990s, and at present I run a psychedelic night in Derby – ‘The Perfumed Garden Of Musical Delights’. Through this I also get to DJ at many exciting events up and down the country

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February 15, 2017 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Inspiration Interviews News Tags:, , , , ,
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The Lovely Eggs speak to NUTsMag

The Lovely Eggs bring their own artful autonomy and pickled noir humour to a growing list of original, vibrant and offbeat compositions, films, gig/parties with a bold visual and cinematic flavour that really should be on the National Schools Curriculum to dispel the whiff of ‘X Factor’ drudgery and all of its equivalents. Art meets real life talent, we introduce The Lovely Eggs, your own real, new favourite everyday band!

Members:
David Blackwell: drums, guitar, tamb, other stuff.
Holly Ross: Singing, guitar, tamb, other stuff.

01 How did the band get together?

In Paris in 2006.

02 Where did your name come from?

A pigeon laid two eggs in an abandoned nest on our bathroom windowsill.The eggs were incubating while we were writing our first songs. Then during the summer they hatched and that is when we flew back to England and formed our band. It just seemed a natural name. There were two of them and two of us and we were born at the same time.

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

We are influenced a lot by everyday life. A lot of our songs are quite observational about the ridiculous things people get up to every day. So in a way just getting up in a morning and mooching round is a big inspiration to us. It’s good living in Lancaster, which is a small northern town, so you know everyone and its funny to see life tick along. We’re also influenced by the obvious poets and writers and artists and that predictable stuff. Our favourite is Richard Brautigan. We don’t despise anyone.

04 What drove you to make music together?

We just wanted to be in a band where there were no rules where we could be free to make exactly the music we wanted to hear.That seems hard for some bands these days but it is really easy!

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

We like to have a party at our gigs. Parties are timeless.

06 Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

David’s mum. We write about everything in the life capsule.

07 How did your music evolved since you first began playing together?

We maybe sound more powerful now. When we first started David had never played drums before. We had a lot of soft songs when we first started. Now we are more wild and raw.

08 What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

Our biggest challenge was probably touring across America for 21 days in a car with another band and all the equipment WITHOUT Strongbow!

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

We’re generally not into playing covers, although we once did a cover of It’s Spooky by Jad Fair and Daniel Johnston for a B side of our Halloween single Haunt Me Out. We also covered Hotpants Romance before just to make them scream!

10 Where did you envisage the band being in five years time?

Depends what day, but if it’s January 16th 2017 we’ll probably be mooching round our mums house.

11 Who would you most like to record with?

Well Jonathan Richman would be pretty good.

12 What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

Some more records, some more gigs and a bit of falling about. We are playing at Le Beat Bespoke 12 Easter next year (2017) We are really looking forward to the whole event.

Thanks To The Lovely Eggs.

www.thelovelyeggs.co.uk/
www.myspace.com/thelovelyeggs
twitter.com/TheLovelyEggs
soundcloud.com/thelovelyeggs
www.facebook.com/thelovelyeggs

 

Thanks to eyeplug.net © 2011


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admin

Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

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December 7, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, ,
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Masters – Bronco Bullfrog

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Masters3

01.  For those new to Bronco Bullfrog, can you give us a quick account of who, how, when and why the band started?

Andy: 1996 (20 years ago – Jesus!). Mike and I had been in The Nerve and Louis had been in The Beatpack, Immediates, Morticians and probably others. He was in garage bands when he was about 10. These bands were playing the same ’60s/mod circuit in London and slowly got to know each other; dogs sniffing each other’s arses, so to speak. I joined Louis’ post-Immediates band Vibraphone sometime around 1990 but left after we were involved in a motorway accident after a gig in Spain. In ’96 all three of us found ourselves at a loose end and decided to try our luck together with something a little different. The garage/psych/mod approach had been mined pretty deep and we’d all started listening to a wider palette of music; country-rock, folk, powerpop, sunshine-pop. The aim was to absorb all of these influences into one cohesive whole while retaining our roots as Who/ Kinks/Small Faces worshipping fanboys. There were no rules at the beginning: if we liked the sound of it, it was in.

02.  You took your name from Barney Platts-Mills’ 1969 film, and your debut LP included ‘Del Quant’, based on the main character. What was it that captured your imagination about that film?

Andy: We’d all discovered the film around the time the band was starting out and I suspect, like many bands, needed a name for a poster in a hurry. It was to hand and it stuck. I had no idea there was a Spanish Oi! label with the same name. We watched the film endlessly and used to run off copies of my third-generation VHS, taped off Channel 4 in the ’80s, for our mates. When we were writing that first flurry of songs, it loomed large in our world and that’s where the lyrics to ‘Del Quant’ came from. Louis and I wrote it in the kitchen in the house we were sharing in Fosse Road South, Leicester. ‘Down Angel Lane’ is also named after a street in Stratford that appears in the film.

03.  Your debut album, Bronco Bullfrog, came out in 1998 on the small independent Twist label. In the preceding few years swathes of bands with even the slightest 60s echo were signed to big labels and had money pumped into them. Bronco Bullfrog had far more depth, imagination and superior songs (I’m allowed to say this, you can agree….) but got overlooked. Why do you think this was and was it a source of irritation?

Andy: We’ve talked about this a lot over the years (and over the beers) and we’re still not sure. Laziness? Nonchalance? Ignorance probably. When we started there was very little awareness of a lot of the stuff that most bands seem to crave from day one: we had no desire to get signed up or play at certain cool gigs or support Supergrass or whatever. We’d come up through provincial bands where playing to 40 people on a Saturday night was kind of enough. We weren’t chasing any kind of success or acceptance; we were literally doing our own thing. It all felt very insular; us against the world, getting stoned and buying obscure pop and psych records from Leicester market and writing these little songs.

We’d save up our pennies and when we had £150 we’d go into the cheapo studio in Leicester YMCA and cut three or four songs; that was our first album. Mark Le Gallez from Twist asked Louis if he had any Immediates recordings that he could put out. Louis said no but he had a new band, that was that. We recorded a couple more songs and all those short bursts of music on there and Twist put it out. We were on the same label as The Solarflares so all was well.

04.  You enjoyed a greater appreciation in other parts of Europe than in the UK. What were the differences at home and abroad and why do you think that was?

Andy: Again, we’ve asked lots people, particularly in Spain, where we’ve achieved a modicum of success, about this as we have no idea. The over-riding impression we’ve been given is that they like the songs primarily, and secondarily the way we try to put them across, with gusto and without fear of failure! Perhaps our tendency to “over-write” songs, to keep adding more musicality, more chord changes and structural elements, singled us out somewhat. I wasn’t hearing a lot of bands playing songs as naively adventurous as ‘Greenacre Hill’ and ‘7:38’ around that time. Still don’t actually. I guess the balance of downbeat, often melancholic lyrics in a spunky, super-pop framework isn’t that common either.

05.  Talk us through the Bronco Bullfrog albums. Are you self-critical? Some of the songs, particularly early on, appear very autobiographical and personal. What emotions do they provoke in you now?

Andy: Like I said earlier, this was 20 years ago, we were young men writing about the travails that young men go through: break-ups, breakdowns, high times, low times, girls, films, pubs and cake. Life was easier then – we didn’t have responsibilities like we do now.

What I hadn’t done before (as primary songwriter) was to write about myself and my emotions and those of my friends and the world around me. The Nerve was resolutely a psychedelic rock band; the lyrics were, for the most part, meaningless. The wah-wah and the Hammond were more important. It was only when people started telling me how much the words to ‘Paper Mask’ or ‘Sweet Tooth’ meant to them that I started to consider that there might be some emotional depth to what we were doing. Then we’d get on stage and try to be The Who in 1968 and any subtlety went straight out the window!

All three of us are incredibly self-critical of Bronco Bullfrog’s recordings, I can’t bear to listen to anything other than the first album and a couple of tracks from each of the others. They were all recorded cheaply, quickly and honestly – which is the way we wanted it – but that method can result in some rather, er, candid performances. We weren’t confident in the studio and would continually swap instruments if the other guy could do it better. That spirit was lost as time passed. And the red light syndrome always defeated us.

06.  Which three songs would you pick to give the best representation of Bronco Bullfrog and why?

Andy: Tricky. The first batch will always remain the most resonant as they represent a snapshot of our lives and our friendship at that time; precious, life-affirming memories. After that we tried our hand at all sorts of things but ended up gravitating towards a fairly regulation powerpop / power-trio format and some of that variety was sacrificed. Stylistically, a selection that I like would be ‘Paper Mask’ for its emotional heft, ‘Sweet Tooth’ for its blind pop optimism (poptimism?) and something like ‘Down Angel Lane’, ‘History’ or ‘One Day With Melody Love’ for almost capturing the essence of all those ’60s 45s we adore: punch, power, melody and dynamics. And mistakes!

07.  After years away Bronco Bullfrog have reformed in a very gentle manner, releasing a series of stand-alone 7 inch singles and the occasional gig. Tell us about those. What prompted the three of you getting back in the studio? Did you have songs you’d already written or did you write them once the idea had settled?

Andy: I guess we needed some time apart after the band split up in 2004; some growing up had to be done. I’m not saying any of us have grown up but we’re all best mates again now and that’s by far the best thing that’s come out of this reunion.

The singles were a natural by-product of getting back together and not wanting to go straight back on stage; we were more interested in writing and recording a bunch of new songs in as informal and low-key a manner as we could manage. We went to State Recorders when it was in Folkestone, then when it moved to St Leonard’s, as we’d known Mole and Marty since their Mystreated days and liked the rough and ready sound they were busy patenting. I emailed a few labels and low and behold! We’ve done four 45s on four labels so far.

08.  So many bands reform years down the line. People have mixed views about this, what’s your take? What makes a successful reunion, both from the point of view of a musician and a fan?

Andy: I can only speak from my own experience, which is that the whole time we were out of action we were still getting requests to go and play in Spain, Germany and Italy. After a while we realised that people remembered us and maybe we should give it a shot. We did a couple of warm-up gigs late last year to quell the nerves, then headed back to Spain in December and dived in at the deep end at Purple Weekend. We’ve done two tours over there since then and, while we’ve undoubtedly become less ragged, we’ve also realised that playing those songs for 90 minutes when you’re 47 is knackering!

09.  What can we expect from Bronco Bullfrog in the future? More gigs? Singles? An album?

Andy: We haven’t recorded anything for 18 months as we were preparing our sea legs for the Spanish shows. We’re all in other bands too and have assorted jobs and families that require our attention. The plan, however tentative, is to record an album and another single early next year. We’ll probably do it ourselves, in our time and space, on a couple of old four-tracks so a) it sounds more like the old records we dig and b) you can’t hear the mistakes so well.

10.  Finally, your 2013 single for State Records included ‘Never Been To California’ (my favourite track of the new BB-era). For someone whose songs have so often included Californian sunshine pop in their grooves, please tell me this isn’t true!

Andy: Sorry Mark, it is true. Neither Louis, Mike nor myself have been to the US of A so I thought I’d write a song about it and we’d try and make it sound like a Californian sunshine-pop band. Obviously we failed but that’s what Bronco Bullfrog has always been about really: creating something interesting and exciting by failing!

Weblinks:

broncobullfrog.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/broncobullfroguk

Gigs:

Sat 22nd October – Crossfire 29 @ 229 The Venue, London 


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Mark Raison

I've spent three-quarters of my life wandering the mod path with detours down its side streets and dark alleys. From an enthusiastic youth to a still-enthusiastic-but-harder-to-tell grizzled old goat, I've dabbled in all parts of the scene from writing fanzines 'Round Midnight and Something Has Hit Me; to promoting bands; attempting to manage bands; singing in the mighty garage combo The Electric Fayre; putting on indie, psych and soul clubs including Freak Scene, Orange Sunshine, and Shake!; writing liner notes for Reg King releases on Circle Records; and, in fitter times, tucking away the odd goal for the New Untouchables. I still DJ from my box of R&B humdingers but more often you’ll find me tapping away on my blog at monkeypicks.co.uk. I like the poetry of Charles Bukowski and dislike the taste of cheese.

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October 3, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, ,
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The Baron Four (Newbreed)

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Newbreed5

Band Members:

Mike Whittaker (Bass/Main Vocals)
Joe Eakins (Git/Vocals)
Kevin Smith (Git/Vocals)
Mole (Drums/Vocals)

Discography:

She Said Yeah (7”)
Yes I Do (7”)
Out Of The Wild Come (LP)
Walking Out (7”)
I Don’t Mind (7”)

01. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?

The band has been going for about 4 years, the current lineup has only been together a few months. We knew each as we were all already in other bands and would end up on the same bill sometimes. We always seemed to be on the same page music wise.

02. What influences do the band members have in common?

Humour, we all have an immature sense of humour which is important when you’re around each other a lot. Obviously we all enjoy the same sounds and styles of music which is also quite handy…

03. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?

Not particularly. There’s a few good bands around but not much new… The Missing Souls, The Masonics, The Thanes, The Teamsters, The Kaisers are all pretty exciting.

04. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like where you’re from?

There isn’t one.

05. How would you describe the style you play?

Raw & Savage Beat Music.

06. What are your live shows like?

Unexpected.

07. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?

Main influences would be mainly relatively unknown 60’s groups. Blues music has been a massive influence on my life – Howlin Wolf, LIghtnin Hopkins, Slim Harpo, Leadbelly to name but a few, also a lot of Soul music, Punk (70’s Punk that is).

We do a few covers – You’re No Good (Dee Dee Warwick/Clint Ballard Jr), I Just Wanna Make Love To You (Willie Dixon), Wild Angel (James Bond & The Agents).

I despise talentless mannequins who are marketed to make money.

08. What are your main influences outside of music?

As Cliché as it sounds, probably sights, sounds, experiences and feelings.

09. Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?

Myself (Mike), my strange thoughts and feelings, love, hurt, depression. Subjects that people might relate to but also subjects where people probably have no idea what I mean (or what I’m saying for that matter).

10. What’s your favourite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?

My favourite song of ours at the minute is probably ‘Certain Type Of Girl’ simply because it’s brand new, fast and fun to play, pretty catchy too if I do say so myself.

11. How would you describe the current underground scene?  Do you participate?

Not really sure there is one? I’ll go to something if there’s genuinely something good on or a band I really want to see otherwise I’m not fussed.

12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

Touring for 6 months at a time, that was in my previous band Thee Vicars though, that was pretty challenging being around the same 4 people for that long without killing each other.

13. How often do you Rehearse? Play Live? Record? Anything interesting coming up?

We don’t get a lot of chances to practice as we all live so far apart. Generally we normally play often enough to stay tight together, or even practice just before a show. We record probably twice a year, it depends on how quickly the recordings get released. We have a 2nd LP to come out soon, we are taking our time to choose the label wisely, with a tour to follow.

14. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?

Shite.

15. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?

No, there was a spell where there were some great bands coming in but then they all went south very quickly. Bands like The Strokes, The Hives, even Kings Of Leon were great when they first came onto the scene but JESUS, WHAT HAPPENED!?

16. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?

Joe Meek because he was incredible. Also Phil Spector.

17. What should we expect from you in the future?  What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?

Release a 2nd LP, and then much more after that I’m sure.

18th November – Putney, London (Half Moon Pub) w/ The Masonics
31 December– Nutty NYE, London @ www.229thevenue.co.uk
4th February – Wachina Festival – Valencia, Spain.

 

Social Networks:

facebook.com/thebaronfour

Updated Releases and Tour Dates:

LP coming soon…


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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October 3, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, , ,
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Paul Orwell and the Night Falls (Newbreed)

This entry is part 6 of 22 in the series Newbreed4

Band Members:
Paul Orwell (Guitar,Vox)
Michael Parrett (Bass)
Stu Marsh (Guitar)
Scotty Roberts (drums)

Discography:
Tell Me Tell Me (vinyl only) single,
Only 250 made and sold out in just 7 days of Pre Order a month before release

Updated Releases and Tour Dates: Tell Me Tell Me / Little Reason 45 on Heavy Soul Records (SOLD OUT)

01. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?

As a band not long, we have done around 14 shows, I met Michael at a gig we did ages ago in different shit bands, I trashed the stage before he got on, fun times!

I got him to trade the guitar in for a bass, the other members answered adverts I put out it’s worked out well.

02. What influences do the band members have in common?

The Beatles and 60’s fashion.

03. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?

Nah, they are all bleak, boring and predictable… well from what I can see and hear.

04. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like where you’re from?

I haven’t found one, a massive gap in the market I think.

05. How would you describe the style you play?

Freak Beat.

06. What are your live shows like?

Fun, tight, magical, raw.

07. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?

A lot of early beat, R&B and RnR. We only play lively covers if at all that we enjoy, not your every day covers the more obscure the better.

08. What are your main influences outside of music?

Hard one as my whole life is music, from producing, writing, and finding new gems. I love record collecting and Art.

09. Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?

Me (Paul Orwell) and my tainted heart, messed up mind and butchered soul.

10. What’s your favourite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?

My personal favourite is “Little Reason” as I sometimes get a chance to go and interact and dance with the crowd, we sometimes do a cover of “When The Night Falls” By The Eyes, that’s fun!

11. How would you describe the current underground scene?  Do you participate?

Not really, I’m only sociable around friends, family and fans. I’m not one of those who find it important to be part of a scene, just to do my own thing, that’s what is important. If people like it, great if they don’t, sod them.

12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

Producing a track that takes me weeks to get right.

13. How often do you rehearse? Play Live? Record?  Anything interesting coming up?

We are good with rehearsals, we are perfectionists so we can get everything right to enjoy being loose on stage. We only play gigs that suite our style, sod playing a load of indie gigs, no fun in that. I record every day, lots of interesting things coming up including new releases, new videos, maybe some more gigs abroad. I would love to do a tour.

14. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?

It’s been along long while since I’ve read a music mag or listened to any up to date radio station, so I can’t really answer. I should imagine it’s all favouritism.

15. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?

Again I don’t listen to much past 1972, I like some, Hypnotic Eye and The Teamsters seem to have some magical sounds going on.

16. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?

Producers: George Martin, Joe Meek, Phil Spector

Artist alive: Paul McCartney,

Artist Dead: John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Syd Barrett, Otis Redding

These artists all play big parts in the way I think and are very important to me and music.

17. What should we expect from you in the future?  What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?

Record deal would be nice and some good support slots.
29 September 2014 – The Finsbury, London with Magnetic Mind
11 October 2014 – Crossfire 25, 229 venue, London

Web Links:

facebook.com/PAULORWELLOFFICIAL
twitter.com/PAULORWELLMUSIC
soundcloud.com/paulorwell


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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October 2, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, , , ,
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The Beatniks (Newbreed)

The Beatniks are based in Southend-On-Sea, Essex, UK, featuring band members: Andy (Hammond/Keys), Tony (Vox/Harmonica), Sean (Bass/Groove), Paul (Guitar/Fuzz), Heather (Drums/Beats) we caught up with them recently.

01. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?

We started with the official line-up at the beginning of 2015, with our first gig together being Valentine’s Day at The Railway Hotel for Dandy Bloom. Sean and Andy were the original members with a different drummer and singer, and once they left Heather and Paul joined shortly after. The four of us were trying out different singers for quite a while. We really wanted to find someone who not only suited the style of music we play, but was fully immersed in the scene too and then we found Tony!

02. What influences do the band members have in common?

Musically speaking, we’re all into the general mod/sixties vibe but we all have specific genres that tie in together quite well. For example, Tony is more of a 60s psych man, Andy is into his acid jazz, Sean is more classic mod/scooter, Paul loves his funk and garage and Heather loves a bit of a northern soul. This dynamic works really well, especially when it comes to writing songs. We’ve got 4 new tracks in the pipeline that are completely different from the next, but they all fit in with the ‘mod’ scene.

03. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?

Tuppenny Bunters are a fantastic husband and wife duo, really energetic and simply amazing to watch live. They’re also owners of our favourite local pub (and DJ residency) The Railway Hotel. Mo Fingers are a brilliant Hammond driven band (similar to us but more instrumental based). There’s so many, more though! Just off the top of our heads… The Scarletts, The Ends, Howling Black Soul and Rollin’ Machine. It goes on and on!

04. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like where you’re from?

We usually head up to London for that sort of scene (mostly for your nights Rob!) but you’ve got Almost Grown at Saks, they also do a mod weekender in May which we’ve played at twice now and the only other one would be Dandy Bloom, both usually play Northern Soul/R’n’B sort of stuff. We’re actually thinking of starting our own local night which we can DJ and play live at. Because of our eclectic interests (as mentioned previously), we’ll have a mix of genres that we reckon could get a good crowd in. It’s just a case of coming up with a name and getting a venue sorted!

05. How would you describe the style you play?

It’s a mix of all the different styles of music we like collectively. Hammond stuff, garage, soul, acid jazz, psych and even a bit of indie thrown in. We don’t sit down and think we are going to come up with a Northern Soul or an instrumental track or whatever. We just jam it out and it ends up how it ends up.

6. What are your live shows like?

They seem to be getting better and better. Now we have a few gigs under our belt and working more originals into the set list, it’s getting more exciting and fun for us and we hope that reflects onto the crowd.

07. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?

Again, it’s the mod scene in general. We started off doing covers by bands like The Small Faces, Brian Auger, The Kinks, Shocking Blue, Terry Reid and various other bands and we are not against cover versions, but is so much more satisfying playing our own songs. Who do we despise? Bono is pretty much universally despised and with good reason, so probably him… and Coldplay too. There are many to pick from.

08. What are your main influences outside of music?

Generally speaking. it comes back to music, but if we had to pinpoint specific influences we would say the fashion that comes with that 60s era/vintage clothes and the scooter scene too.

9. Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?

We are all involved in the writing process. One of us might turn up with a riff, a chord sequence or idea and we just jam it out. Tony has written pretty much all the lyrics so far, but that’s just how things have worked out. Any one of us can come up with a lyric or riff and if it sounds good, then we will use it.

10. What’s your favourite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?

Our newer songs (Seven Suns, Soul Jive, Inspector 71) are probably more fun to play purely because they are the newest. By another artist, and it changes so very often, but we would say at the moment, ‘Dude’ by Pappy’s Haunted House or ‘If I Could Only Be Sure’ by Nolan Porter.

11. How would you describe the current underground scene? Do you participate?

We’ve noticed in the last few years there’s a younger generation trickling through the scene who seem to be influenced by the 60s Mod look and that seems to be growing. We do tend to go out as a band, whether we’re playing or just participating we try to get out to various venues within the scene.

12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

Probably finding a singer. Since Heather and Paul joined we were rehearsing for about a year as an instrumental band, but really wanted a front man or woman. We had a few people come down to audition, but for one reason or another wasn’t right or didn’t fit. Then we met Tony through a friend of the band and he came down and it all seemed to work. Maybe it was fate as we sort of knew one another through friends of friends and we all seem to gel really well as a group and really got on. We knew he was the man almost instantly.

13. How often do you Rehearse? Play Live? Record? Anything interesting coming up?

Well, we try to get at least one rehearsal in a week, but twice a week leading up to a gig. We book our own gigs at the moment, so it’s really when we are able to sort one out. We have had a few people contacting us now though and that always helps. Coming up, we are on a compilation called Dirty Mod which is out through Well Suspect Records with a launch party at Pretty Green in Carnaby Street, we are really chuffed with that. We would like to put an EP or album out this year, but on CD and vinyl, this time as our debut was vinyl only.

14. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?

Not great in the media is it? They focus too much on what makes a lot of money instead of what actual talent is. There’s still a lot great bands about, but you have to dig a little deeper yourself. There isn’t much coverage of the stuff we like in the media, but the internet is a good source of information, as are recommendations.

15. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?

Fogbound are really good. We played with them at Crossfire last year and they were excellent. Great band, great tunes and a really nice bunch of chaps too.

16. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?

We could mention dozens of people, but I think we all agree that Steve Marriott would have been great to record with. I think we would all be in awe being in the same room as him, let alone record with him! They don’t make ‘em like that anymore sadly.

17. What should we expect from you in the future? What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?

We have been coming up with quite a few new songs and ideas and recently recorded a few tracks that we are hoping to put out on an album or EP a bit later in the year. It all depends on how many songs we have got together and how quick we want to get them out. Getting signed would be amazing, but we self-financed our first single and would go that route again to get the songs out. Would love to play 100 Club or the odd gig abroad. Amsterdam or Spain would be really cool. We have Village Green, which is a pretty big festival in Southend we’re all looking forward to that. Other than that, we have a few local gigs lined up, but the Brighton Mod Weekender is the big one that we are really, really excited about. So see you there and hope you enjoy our set.

Discography:
Single: 2016 – AA 7” ‘CC (Love Surprise)/Ball & Chain’ (Self Released) – BNR001
Compilation: 2016 – ‘Dirty Mod’ (Well Suspect Records) – SUSSLP07/SUSSCD07

Weblinks:
Main Site: thebeatniks.co.uk
facebook.com/The-Beatniks
twitter.com/BeatniksBand
soundcloud.com/thebeatniksband


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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July 13, 2016 By : Category : Bands Beat Front Page Fuzz Garage Interviews Music News Scene UK Tags:, , ,
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Big Boss Man (Newbreed)

This entry is part 22 of 22 in the series Newbreed4

1. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?

We’ve been together for 20 years and we met in a pub called the Dolphin.

What influences do the band members have in common?

Mexican Food-fine wine-an eye for the ladies.

3. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?

The Wurzels are from our way and they are amazing.

4. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like where you’re from?

I think the Godrergraig mod 60’s scene is among the best in the world.

5. How would you describe the style you play?

Hammond-Bongo-Fuzz.

6. What are your live shows like?

“The best live band in the uk” was a quote from alive and giving mag.

7. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?

Soul-Funk-Blues. We don’t play covers though we did used to play im a man and Cloud 9 with congas in.

8. What are your main influences outside of music?

Baking, shed building and goat herding.

09. Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?

Nasser writes a lot of the songs and the band also write collectively in their Welsh Mountain Studio “Beat Mountain” Subject matters usually revolve around horses.

10. What’s your favorite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?

Crimson 6ts is my live fave at the mo, fave song by another artist is
“summer holiday”

11. How would you describe the current underground scene?  Do you participate?

Thriving and yes I participate.

12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

Getting the Hammond B3 down the stairs of the WAG club in an orthopedic shoe after ten pints.

13. How often do you Rehearse? Play Live? Record? Anything interesting coming up?

We rehearse every week midweek and play live most weekends at the moment, the last few years have gone crazy, maybe down to BBC6 music plays I think. New Bongolian album is due for release in July.

14. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?

Rubbish.

15. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?

The Mynd Set are a great band.

16. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?

Georgie Fame would be cool I think.

17. What should we expect from you in the future?  What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?

A new album in the winter, we’re playing live all over UK and the rest of Europe, A US tour is on the cards and Japan so its easy to see us live.

Web Links:

Main Site: www.big-boss-man.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/bigbossmanofficial
Twitter: www.twitter.com/bigbossmanmusic 
Instagram: bigbossmanmusic 
Spotify: www.spotify.com/bigbossman

Band Members:

Nass Bouzida: Organ, Moog & Bongos
Des Rogers: Drums
Scott “the Hawk” Milsom: Electric Bass, Double Bass
Trev Harding: Guitar

Discography:

Vinyl Releases:
7” Singles:
2000: Sea Groove
2001: Big Boss Man
2004: The Hawk
2006: Party 7
Lps :
2001: Humanize
2005: Winner
2009: Full English Beat Breakfast
2014: Last Man on Earth

Updated Releases and Tour Dates:

22nd April ’16 Acapela Studio, Pentyrch Wales, UK
23rd April ’16 Destination Anywhere Swindon, UK
7th May ’16 TBA Cornwall, UK
27th May ’16 Blues Kitchen London, UK
29th May ’16 Mod & Sixties Festival Margate. UK
3rd June ’16 The Stoke Guildford, UK
24th June ’16 TBA FRANCE


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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April 19, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, ,
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Masters The Embrooks

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Masters3

1. When did the Embrooks form originally and why reform now?

We met in the summer of 1995, when Mole’s group at the time, The Mystreated, played with the group Alessandro was playing then, Head & the Hares, at the Italian beat festival in Castel San Giovanni (Piacenza). In September of the same year, Alessandro moved to London to study and stayed in touch. Mole and Lois first created The Lyds (Lois on drums, Merv on guitar and Mole on bass and vocals), they released one single as Lyds then Merv left and Alessandro was invited to join. The group really began to exist at the end of 1996 and lasted until the summer of 2005 (our last show was in Liverpool as part of The International Pop Overthrow festival). The main reason for reforming is the fact that, after almost 10 years of retirement, Lois and Alessandro re-started actively playing music (with Thee Jezebels and Merry-Men, respectively), before that it would have been a struggle to even think of getting us together in a practice room. Other factors are the fact that concrete offers came along to play at Festivals in the UK and Europe and possibly (this might sound silly) the fact that Alessandro recently bought a 1964 Vox AC30 amp and did not know who to use it with (laugh).

2. What influences do the band members have in common?

The aggressive pop (Easybeats, The Who, The Small Faces, Move, The Yardbirds), the freakbeat/psych bands (Eyes, Creation, Game, Smoke, Open Mind, The Koobas, anything on the Rubble compilation series), the rock of the late 60s early 70s (Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath), classic pop (the Beatles, Zombies, Left Banke), the US garage rock (Love, 13th Floor Elevators) but also lots of European and Australian beat. Many different things as you can see!

3. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?

Because of recent involvement of Mole in the Medway Scene, we have to mention Galileo 7 and Graham Day and the Forefathers. We also like bands based where Alessandro currently resides (London) as the Magnetic Mind and See See/Hanging Stars among those with a more authentic 60s sound and Pacers for their 60s influenced but less nostalgic approach (Alex, the singer, has a brilliant voice!) and Little Barrie and Cat Black in the 70s rock/Stones/Flaming Groovies department. We are looking forward to share the stage with some of these over some of the future New Untouchables events.

4. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like where you’re from?

There was a prolific scene in the 80s garage revival period mainly gravitating around the figures of Martin Ratcliffe, Tim Ray and Mole (Mystreated, Stewed). These bands subsequently gave birth or support to other combos that are still active today such as Higher State, Paul Messis and, of course, us.

5. How would you describe the style you play?

We started off by being a group inspired by USA “moody teen-punk” as of bands sounding like those included in the New England Teen Scene or Crude PA compilations. That period is reflected in our early 45s and our first LP, Separations. However, we have agreed not to include any of this material in our current live shows. Over the years we have gradually evolved into a more Euro-beat and British sound taking most of the inspiration from UK freakbeat and psych. Our latest LP Yellow Glass Perspections (YGP) could be described as “Mod Psych” and this is more or less the style that we are currently playing digging a lot from Our New Day, YGP and slightly earlier Toe-Rag sessions.

6. What are your live shows like?

Extremely loud! We also aim at keeping the energy high and especially to have fun on stage. There is nothing worse than seeing people not enjoying what they do.

7. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?

We mentioned all our main influences above. Mole had roots also in the punk/post punk sound from the 70s and Alessandro is recently digging a lot the modern ‘psych’ bands from California (White Fence, Ty Seagall, Oh Sees) and Australia/USA (King Gizzard, Nightbeats, Heaters) although we still pretty much sound the same as we ever did. We are still performing most of the covers that we used to play in the early 2000s, personal favorites are ‘Dawn breaks through’ by the Barrier and ‘Francis’ by Gary Walker and the Rain as our versions have been often indicated to be superior(!?) to the originals. The latter is also our only song to be present in Spotify. We are not into ‘posers’ and people who are not genuinely passionate about what they do.

8. What are your main influences outside of music?

Alessandro digs cinema a lot, especially Italian movies from the most prolific era of the 60s and 70s (‘commedia all’Italiana’ and giallo/horror especially, which has implicit links to music via soundtracks Goblin and more recently Calibro 35).

9. Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?

Historically Mole and Alessandro wrote the original material separately or in collaboration and this is what still currently happens. Initial ideas from the writers are brought to the practice room and finalized as an Embrooks product altogether. Alessandro’s songs are typically autobiographical and related to heart-breaking love stories and daily life. Mole writing is a little more eclectic ranging from autobiographical experiences to more fictional/poetic material such as ‘Emilia Burrows’.

10. What’s your favorite Embrooks song? What’s your favourite song by another artist?

Emilia Burrows, Standing Upside Down and Helen are possibly our top three songs. Helen never came out as a 45, which is probably our biggest regret. One of the aims of us reforming is to try to go back in the studio to rectify this. The list of favorite songs by other artists would be rather long….we all probably agree that ‘You’re gonna miss me’ by 13th Elevators is one of the top tune ever written!

11. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

The USA tours in the 2000s were fun but also a bit of a challenge. The worst show we ever did was definitely one given in November 2000 in Iowa City. No one had come to the concert, the hall was empty and there were only us and our first parts! This city was a University town full of students and stupid farmers who have absolutely no interest in rock! The next day we had to reach New York after an almost 24 hour drive during which we were also stopped by the police for speeding on the highway and risked to be taken to the police station had not we paid the speeding fee on the spot!

12. How often do you Rehearse? Play Live? Record? Anything interesting coming up?

Currently we are trying to practice twice a month, or at least monthly. After our first reunion show on Dec 31st 2015 as part of Hipsville NYE extravaganza, we have been committed to a number of festivals in the UK and Europe in 2016. We are planning to re-record Helen for a brand new 45 backed by a new original this summer. We are looking forward to do as much as possible in the near future. There are already offers to do more shows in 2017.

13. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?

We tend to avoid mainstream publications, some have become even worse than they ever were (e.g. the new free version of NME, ouch!). There are a number of old and new mags targeted to a more niche audience whose coverage is excellent and some available in the main shops. Flashback is probably the most interesting one, not proposing features of acts already largely covered in the past. We also rate Ugly Things and Shinding! Mole was a contributor for the latter.

14. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?

We look with interest to the ‘new psychedelic’ scene which includes a lot of different styles some of them which we would not personally classify as ‘psych’. There are definitely interesting bands playing at those festivals. Besides those mentioned above, other often neglected bands from the UK are Clinic and Archie Bronson Outfit for example. Their approach is modern but 60s influences are undeniable and they seem genuinely into what they are doing.

15. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?

Most of our recordings were done at Toe-Rag studios in Hackney engineered and produced by Liam Watson, famous for his work with numerous 60s sounding recording over the past 20 years as well as the Grammy awarded work with Jack White on the album Elephant in 2004 as Best Alternative Music Album (White Stripes). More recently Mole has started his own recording studio (originally in a basement in Sandgate more recently in Hastings and now in his own living room) producing excellent material mostly featured in his own successful ‘State Records’ label. This will be also the home of next Embrooks recording session.

16. What should we expect from you in the future?  What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?

We’d like to promote the new 45 and get as much exposure as possible. We still have some of our historical fans following us around but most of the ‘new generations’ have not heard or seen us live so the challenge is to try to impress them as well as retaining the old ones. As mentioned we are have interesting offers to play other festivals and mod-rallies across Europe and we hope to build on those and possibly attract attention even outside the usual niche of 60s aficionados.

Band Members:

Mole (Bass and vocals)
Lois Tozer (drums)
Alessandro Cozzi-Lepri (guitar and vocals)

Website:

facebook.com/theembrooks

Discography: 

Albums

Separations… (Dig the Fuzz; Dyonisus) 1999
Our New Day (Voxx) 2000
Yellow Glass Perspections (Munster) 2004

Singles and EP

The Embrooks EP (Sympathy for the Records) 1998
But I Didn’t Know Him/Fight Fire (Dig the Fuzz) 1998
More Than Ever/You Can Be My Baby (Guerssen) 1999
If You Let Me Go EP (Max Picou) 2000
Jack/Dawn Breaks Through (Circle) 2000
Back in My Mind/The Time Was Wrong (Butterfly) 2002

Compilations

45 & High Times (Munster CD) 2005


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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May 4, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, , , , ,
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Rat Race Interview

I caught up with Laurence the owner of Margate’s premiere Mod clothing shop Rat Race for a chat about his passion for fashion.

1. When and how did your passion for fashion come about?

As a young man growing up in Thanet, I experimented with many different styles of clothing. As I got older, I got more into stylish clothes but also wanted to wear something other than what could be found in regular department stores. I was fully aware of Margates’ role in harbouring the youth subcultures and styles from the 1960’s to 80’s and I loved looking at old photos of my father and his friends wearing their crombies, boots & braces.

2. When did you turn your passion into your profession?

I accompanied a friend to a trade show in London and spotted some classic Harrington jackets with an embroidered badge ‘Keep the Faith Margate’ on the sleeve. I thought the people of Margate would love them, the jackets were well made and in the original 60’s style. I opened my first fashion store in Margate in 2010 with the classic Harrington jackets, sta-prest trousers and traditional button-down shirts amongst other styles. This is where my passion for Mod and classic styles developed. I did not see the Mod trend as a sub-culture revival; I knew the style had never really gone away.

3. When and where did Rat Race first open?

During the Spring/Summer of 2014 and after experimenting with opening other stores in the South East I decided my passion for Modernist menswear was much better suited to Margate. I joined our two high street shops together internally, re-named and re-branded the stores to open as Rat Race and solely as a classic British clothier. Towards the end of 2015 my partner Bonnie and I expanded further, occupying our third neighbouring shop, which became Rat Race Girl, a store which stocks Mod, Skinhead, Rockabilly and Vintage girl styles .

4. Rat Race is a very popular amongst the Modernist fraternity, please tell us more about the clothing range available in the shop?

We’re a 21st century take on the 20th century’s finest subcultures, Mixing up mod clothing, skinhead style, a touch on the fifties and then adding a contemporary twist. We are official stockists of Merc, Art Gallery, Knightsbridge Neckwear, Brutus Trimfit, Trojan Clothing, Dr.Martens, Delicious Junction, Ikon Originals and many more. Rat Race also stock many other iconic brands, plus Rat Race Girl holds collections from Freddies of Pinewood, Collectif, Lindy Bop and Dolly & Dotty.

5. Are all the items sold in the shop available online?

We opened our online shop only at the beginning of 2016, a lot of our core items are available on our website. We’re growing our website all the time and new collections are added regularly. We always like to hold a few pieces back just for the shop-floor and for our not so web connected customers, so you’ll always find something which isn’t available online – I believe you still can’t beat that moment of stopping into the street to gaze at something in the window.

6. Any famous clientele dropped by the shop?

We’ve had a few well-known customers shop at Rat Race including Neville Staple, Dave Barker & Buster Bloodvessel. Our most recent being Paloma Faith, Preston and surprisingly enough the chatty man himself Alan Carr.

7. Any plans for a Rat Race clothing range in the future?

We have lots of plans and ideas we’re working towards. Our next project will be working in partnership with the 60’s Suit Co. to develop an off-the-peg range of suits designed exclusively for Rat Race. We work closely with the 60s Suit Co. and we would both be involved in the design process to create and release a range of suits, tailor-made for the Margate mods & skins. We are also going to be doing four types of trousers, all in different fabrics, and something to appeal to the Mods, Skinheads and Suedeheads.

8. Do Rat Race cover men and women’s fashion?

We certainly do, we have three high street shops conjoined to make one large shop. Within Rat Race you’ll find ‘Rat Race Girl’ which is our latest addition. It’s great to have a space solely for the girls but also where men and women can shop together.

9. How important to the Rat Race philosophy is it to have local people who know their onions about Modernist fashion working in the shop?

It’s very important to have knowledgeable staff, our Rat Race team certainly know their onions and they also have the same passion and enthusiasm as myself for what we do. I also think it’s important that our staff share the same vision and drive for Rat Race and help create something unique that will stand the test of time.

10. Why do you think the sixties style is still revered, respected and revisited with each new generation?

People from every new generation want to look good and find a style that suits them. When you look good, you feel good, it gives you confidence and young people look at the sixties style and see that un-apologetic swagger. They want to emulate that feeling, they want to know that they look good enough to stand out from the crowd. There is nothing better than Modernist fashion for a clean-cut style and sharpness.

11. What are your favorite vintage and modern fashion brands?

That’s not too easy to answer, there are many brands that I’m into. I love the stories behind the brands and how they have become popular, for example: Brutus Trimfits’ story of Keith Freedman’s visit to Hong Kong’s in 66’ to discover a shop selling half sleeve button-downs shirts for off-duty American soldiers. The shirts were not available in the UK and so with a few adaptations he ordered them in 12 different colours and to this day they still fly off the rails! There are many stories like this and it’s all part of the history of the brands we sell and love.

12. Where do you see Rat Race heading in the future and any exciting projects coming up you want to tell us about?

We hope to continue as we are doing, finding new brands to offer our customers and building up our online shop. We have a meeting with Gabicci this month and hope to become a Gabicci stockist before the coming Margate Mod and Sixties Festival. You can also find us at Folkestone Skabour in September, this will be our sixth trade event for Skabour. It’s a great Ska weekend where we meet many customers and friends, both old and new. Check our website or pop in to see us if you get a chance.

13. With the Mod/Sixties festival coming up at Whitsun where can we find you in Margate and what are the opening hours?

You can find Rat Race and Rat Race Girl at the lower end of Margate High Street, just up from the piazza and harbour. We’re open 7 days a week until 5.30pm and 5pm on Sundays. but check the links below and our website!

Now in-store & online at www.ratracemargate.co.uk // Spring/Summer 2016 Collections from Merc, Art Gallery, Brutus & Trojan Clothing.

Classic British mens & women’s wear.
Open 7 days a weekly 10-5.30 (10-5 Sundays)

Main Site:  ratracemargate.co.uk

Social Networks:

facebook.com/ratracemargate
twitter.com/ratracemargate
instagram.com/ratracemargate
pintrest.com/ratracemargate


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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May 4, 2016 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Interviews News Style UK Tags:, , ,
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Masters – The Stairs

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Masters3

The Stairs were truly one of the great lost bands of the early Nineties, championed by Elvis Costello, Paul Weller and many other luminaries, they influenced (along with the La’s), a whole new generation of musicians including The Coral & The Zutons).

We are delighted to have The Stairs headline at Le Beat Bespoke, London, on Thursday 24 March. See full details HERE!

Mark Raison caught up with drummer Paul Maguire  & vocalist and bassist Edgar “Summertyme” Jones.

01. The Stairs first came to most people’s notice after you signed to Go! Discs and released “Weed Bus” in 1991. Can you tell us a bit about the formation of the band and your history up to that point?

Edgar: We were just psychedelically attached friends having a laugh really in bedrooms and bedsits with acoustic guitars banging ashtrays etc . Eventually we were borrowing the only spare time in my bro’s pracky room with a friend Pete Baker (the sleeping mexican on LP sleeve) on bass and me on guitar. Pete didn’t really take to the bass so things were slow. We gradually gained some momentum when I joined in Ian McCulloch’s group on bass (mid 89) and took over the bass duties in the group. Also now we were able to afford are own room and gear.

It wasn’t till we played and handful of our songs at a ridiculously rammed new years eve party (1990) at Mike Mooneys house that we realised that we were capable of pleasing anyone other than ourselves. We got a fortnightly residency at the Cosmos club playing covers & originals. Marc Riley was often in attendance & Alan Duffy from imaginary records came to check us and plans were formulated to record our 1st Ep (later sold on to Go Discs) with them.

Paul: Me and Edgar met on a youth music scheme around 89, we had a similar music interest of 60s garage punk. Ed had a few tunes he had written including weed bus, which we jammed and me and him started there. Ed knew Ged who was on the same music scheme so we roped him in . We skinned up and we got it together. We had our own night every Friday in the cosmos club where we played a set of covers, then we’d dj then we would play our numbers.

02. The first couple of EP sleeves and the shows around that time featured a fourth member, Jason. What was his role and what happened to him?

Edgar: Jason was a friend whose role was originally in his words as personal manager but eventually we managed to Coax him on-stage to play percussion, gob iron & keys as required. I don’t think he really took to the role as he would come & go frequently from the group. The comparisons to Bez & Eric Idle didn’t really help I suppose.

Paul: Jason was meant to be our manager in the beginning, but he wasn’t any good at that stuff. So we gave him a harmonica and maracas which he played. Haven’t seen him for years.

03. Go! Discs seemed to understand where the Stairs were at: recording in mono, strong 60s artwork etc. How was your relationship with them and why did it come to an end? What was their expectation of the band you signed?

Edgar: Thanks to being well-managed at the time by Pam Young we went to them with a strong vision of how we wanted things to look and I think they had fun what with it being a little different from their norm at the time. Our A+R man initially was Carl Smith (chas smash) from Madness. We were his first signing and he was very accommodating and enthusiastic. Unfortunately Madness reformed shortly a few months after our LP came out. With no key man clause in contract that was were our troubles began.

Paul: With go discs we were signed by Carl smith (chas smash from madness) who really loved our band. He got us the deal, liked all the artwork and the mono deal. He understood our band and was good dealing with us.
Then he decided to leave go discs. When Carl left there was no one there who understood the band. They thought we were a bit of a joke and didn’t know what to do with us. We left them pretty soon after.

The Stairs

04. Mexican R’n’B is, quite rightly, regarded is a classic LP. How did you feel about it when it came out and how do you view it now?

Edgar: Why thank you sir! How I felt at the time is a complex affair I’d need Sigmund Freud and couch and a few hours to get to the bottom of that. I’m definitely happier now as it seems to have stood the test of time. We definitely created a little slice of the 60’s in the early 90’s there.

Paul: I loved that album then and I still love it now. I’m very proud to have been involved and made Mexican. We were still all learning our instruments and grooves and singing when we recorded it. I thought at the time and I still think it now that Edgar is a genius. His songs and playing were so fucking cool. We were recording this at a time most of the world was getting into acid house. We wanted to give the general public something else to listen to. Get them on the Weed bus so to speak.

05. People often refer to your marijuana singles – ‘Weed Bus’, ‘Mary Joanna’ – but I’ve always noticed the preoccupation with rain on Mexican R’n’B, at least three songs mention it. Any correlation?

Edgar: I was probably because I was spending too much time in Manchester as their retrogressive shopping experience has always been far superior to ours despite the constant rain!

Paul: Well you’d have to ask Edgar that. Personally I like rain, except when it gets me spliff wet at the bus stop.

06. After being released from Go! Discs you were still gigging, recording and exploring different styles. How were the band developing at that time and why didn’t a second album materialise?

Edgar: Looking back I think we were too eager to move on from the Mexican R’n’B sound (we should have made another 3 of those really) and with having no one at Go to recognise this (not that we’d have listened) and with the copious amounts of weed being smoked I think we just wanted our music to be more mad really both structurally and sonically. The fact that I was just starting wholeheartedly to discover Soul music too just confused matters. We we’re constantly demoing but Go weren’t prepared to let us start a new LP as such. This went on for about 2 yrs and then we left the Label.

Paul: We started to sound a bit heavier, and we got better at playing. We loved touring always a good laugh. But it was hard to get any backing , we weren’t being taken seriously by any record company or music papers. We spent all our money recording the second album, so at the end no one wanted to release it.

The Stairs

07. Viper Records eventually released Who Is This Is. What are your thoughts on that? Is that how you’d envisaged the second album?

Edgar: After leaving Go we thought it a good idea to record the LP ourselves. A long-winded complicated affair with members coming & going. By the time it was done we’d about run out of speed hence it not seeing the light of day till Viper’s release.

Paul: I’m glad we did it, for me it has some great moments. But looking back it also sounds confused,which I suppose we were also at the time.

08. How did you feel about the reaction from your reunion gig in Liverpool? Had you kept in touch? Is it something you’d thought about over the years?

Edgar: Absolutely smashing! We’d all kept in touch but our paths only ever brought us together sporadically but usually only 2 of us in same room at same time. The first rehearsal was great when we kicked into Mary Jo it was more like we’d had 2 weeks off rather than 20+yrs. It was great to see the 2 tiers in our fan base that night. Those who were older and were coming back to see us again and the younguns who were there to witness the legend that got created by word of mouth in the past 20 yrs. The crowd reaction was fantastic I don’t think either tier felt let down.

Paul: The reunion gig was magik, the reaction was just overwhelming for all of us I think. Incredible, old fans , new fans. They knew all the words ha ha. I’ve always bumped into Ed round town when I’m there as I live in Reykjavik. I hadn’t seen Ged for years. We all moved in slightly different circles. I’d been hoping we could do at least one gig for a few years. And when Mike from the Wicked Whispers called me up, it felt exactly right. With the amount of toss that goes by the name of music nowadays, I think you need the stairs in your life.

The Stairs

09. What are the plans for the band now? Will you be recording new material? Any old material we’ve not heard before be resurrected from your archives or will you write from scratch?

Paul: We’re not sure just yet. Anything can happen in the next half hour.

10. There’s a new Stairs collection The Great Lemonade Machine In The Sky out now. Tell us about what’s on that.

Edgar: I’d recently found a suitcase full of cassettes in the loft at my mum’s that I thought had been thrown out when I’d left home way back. The previous Viper comp had come from the collections of friends and colleagues with my own thought lost at the time. So the idea was to create a second volume of ‘right in the back’ . I spent a fair bit of time trawling through them (lots were mix tapes etc.) and mixing down the 4 tracks where available and it was a real nice touch that it all came together in time the reforming of the group.

Paul: I left my copy in Liverpool so I haven’t listed to it yet. But I think it’s old demo tapes and some live tracks.

11. ‘Shit Town’ is a pretty mad single taken from it and might come as a bit of surprise to people who only know Mexican R’n’B. What was the story behind it and is it about anywhere in particular?

Edgar: It’s primarily about Liverpool if I’m right (Ged?). It was definitely one of the finest finds of the suitcase trawling. It was recorded during 2nd LP sessions. What you’re listening to is a remastered monitor mix. It was mixed with the others as Ged had left the group by that point.

Paul: You’d have to ask Ged, It’s obviously about Liverpool. The city was a lot different from it is now. On the other hand…

12. Which are your favourite three Stairs songs and why?

Edgar:

Weed Bus will always be big in my heart as it was my first song written in the Stairs style as such. Although it’s not our song I’ve always been proud of our arrangement of’ You Don’t Love Me. I guess to pick a third from the rest it’d be Right in the Back of Your Mind as its pretty kick ass and stress free to play out live (well for me anyhow?)

Paul:

1. Woman gone said goodbye. It’s just the best of us. Growly, beaty,
big and bouncy.

2. Mundane Monday. I think it’s such cool little groove, and we sing about rain.

3. Skin up. I love playing this live, but it’s a bit tricky to skin up and play the drums at the same time. I used to do it back in the days.

 

Photos: Mark McNulty

Website: www.markmcnulty.co.uk
Blog: www.rivercool.co.uk


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Mark Raison

I've spent three-quarters of my life wandering the mod path with detours down its side streets and dark alleys. From an enthusiastic youth to a still-enthusiastic-but-harder-to-tell grizzled old goat, I've dabbled in all parts of the scene from writing fanzines 'Round Midnight and Something Has Hit Me; to promoting bands; attempting to manage bands; singing in the mighty garage combo The Electric Fayre; putting on indie, psych and soul clubs including Freak Scene, Orange Sunshine, and Shake!; writing liner notes for Reg King releases on Circle Records; and, in fitter times, tucking away the odd goal for the New Untouchables. I still DJ from my box of R&B humdingers but more often you’ll find me tapping away on my blog at monkeypicks.co.uk. I like the poetry of Charles Bukowski and dislike the taste of cheese.

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March 2, 2016 By : Category : Bands Events Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, , , ,
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Little Barrie

Little Barrie are a trio originally formed in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, who since relocated to London. Their sound is a mixture of Garage Rock, Rhythm & Blues, Surf and Psychedelia. The trio is behind the opening theme to ‘Better Call Saul’. Fronted by vocalist/guitarist Barrie Cadogan who has been a touring member of Primal Scream since 2006 and has also worked with artists such as Anton Newcombe, Spiritualized, Paul Weller, Pete Molinari and Scott Asheton. Drummer Virgil Howe is the son of Yes guitarist Steve Howe.

We very much look forwards to seeing them at Le Beat Bespoke 11 on the Saturday night! Darius Drewe caught up with them recently.

Over the last ten years, we have definitely seen a resurgence of musicians with similar inclinations, from Jim Jones’ numerous bands to the Stone Foundation, Cat Black (featuring your ex drummer Billy Skinner) Lynne Jackaman/Saint Jude, Miraculous Mule, Marcus Bonfanti and Vintage Trouble (USA). It seems like a “vintage rock” explosion. But do you see it as a scene? Or is it merely a simple case of several individual bands happening to be in similar places at similar times?

I don’t think some of the bands you mentioned have much in common musically. In cities there are always people making all different kinds of music at any given time. There’s also been an interest in rawer, stripped down forms of rock music for many years. There are bands and musicians that we have a camaraderie with like Jim Jones and Gil De Ray, either through gigging and working together or just liking each others music and having in interest in similar music, but I don’t see it as a scene.

How important is it to have clubs such as Blues Kitchen, What’s Cookin’, Heavy Load and of course our very own NUTs been to establishing it and encouraging musicians and music lovers to combine? And, conversely, now that venues all over the capital seem to be closing every day, how do you think it will be affected? Is there ANYTHING that you think should be done to prevent this wanton destruction?

Music venues, bars and clubs are hugely important to any cities music culture. Some new venues have appeared, but there are so many we’ve played over the years that are now sadly gone. Places where we also saw great gigs, heard new music and met people who have been important to our lives in many ways. These places should definitely be preserved for future generations. The social and cultural cleansing going on in London right now seems to be purely in the name of profit. The people at the top simply don’t care about places of artistic importance or encouraging creativity in the artists of the future. Central London is becoming more bland and boring each year. London could end up just being a giant dull shopping centre no one wants to hang out in, with only Disneyfied versions of its old cultural haunts aimed at the tourist market. The power of change lies with the money men, but I don’t think they give a shit.

On saying that though, the public shouldn’t be underestimated. People will still want to play and listen to music, go out and have a good time, you won’t stop that. Maybe folk will get more guerilla about things and get creative. It’s also easier for people to communicate now through technology and get their heads together.

Lewis: – I feel the  scene / atmosphere in London since I moved here in the early nineties has changed massively. I moved to London excited about music old and new, there were so many outlets for me to DJ music I had already collected and find out about and hear new things I was yet to discover. I genuinely felt I was in the middle of something really vibrant. I used to go to clubs and if I heard a song that was good but unknown people would react positively and now new things seem to clear the dance floor unless they have been on a major advert or radio campaign of some kind. I feel now that there is very little outlet for a scene to develop. Nothing is hidden or underground these days it seems so it doesn’t seem exotic or special. There are a very few venues such as the Blues kitchen that keep what I remember as a night dedicated to a certain quality of music rather than chasing the pound and playing it safe.

As a vocalist and guitarist, who would you say influenced you (Barrie) the most? I can hear traces of everyone from Steve Marriott and Robert Plant to Van Morrison, John Lennon, Dave Berry and even Duffy Power in there: I can even pick up a few traces of Brian Setzer and Gene Vincent!! However, all these could just as easily be accidental…

I’ve had so many influences over the years. As a vocalist I’m pretty limited but I was first drawn to more rhythmical singers like Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan and Lee Dorsey. I do love vocalists like Steve Marriott and Van Morrison but they’re leagues above me. As are all of my favourite singers like Sly and Rose Stone, Iggy Pop, Roky Erickson, Tina Turner, Gene Clark and the mighty Howlin’ Wolf to name a but a few.

My sisters record collection in the late ’80s was a huge influence on me guitar wise. My first big influence was John Squire, followed shortly by Johnny Marr, J Mascis, Jimi Hendrix (from my dad’s records), Ray Hanson from Jim Jones’ band Thee Hypnotics. From there everything opened up and over time keeps going. I’ll keep this short but I love Steve Cropper, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Nolen, Magic Sam, Neil Young, Michael Karoli, Ron Asheton, James Williamson, Tom Verlaine & Richard Lloyd, Stacey Sutherland, Danny Kirwan, Steve Jones, Link Wray, Wayne Kramer & Sonic Smith, Cliff Gallup… Better stop!

Though the band’s name is taken from your frontman, the sound is very much the combined work of three people. Do you think listeners sometimes have difficulty remembering that, and tend to not give Lewis and Virgil enough credit for what they bring to the table?

I can’t speak for other people but I think Lewis and Virgil’s presence on Little Barrie recordings and onstage is incredibly powerful. People definitely pick up on that at our live shows. Although the guitar can be upfront in our music and the sound has evolved over the years, it’s always been very rhythmical and beat driven. So much of that comes from the bass and drums. They have their own sound and groove. I do write alone a lot but it’s only when the three of us play together do the songs become what they should be. They’re brilliant musicians.

Has having a drummer with a world-famous father also been in any way advantageous to you, or might it be actually something you perceive as a bit of a millstone? Or do you reckon many people aren’t that aware of it anyway, and simply judge your music on its own merits?

Over to you Virgil: Virgil declined to answer!

Although you’re a contemporary band, your sound is undoubtedly rooted in the classic period of soul, blues and rock 1965-75: a song like Precious Pressure, for instance, sounds like it could easily have been lifted from an album of that period. When recording and playing, therefore, is there any particular guitar amplification, drum kit, bass cab, vocal mike, strings or even choice of instrument you would consider essential to achieving this sound?

We do like a lot of music from that era but we’ve never been on a mission just to replicate old records, we’re not purists. We just want to make music that sounds exciting to us and captures the feel we’re after. The aim is to find sounds we like and try to use them in our own way. Although I love a lot of old guitars and amps for their tone and character, they’re not essential. The key to capturing certain sounds in the studio or onstage has a huge amount to do with how the sounds are being recorded and who’s playing the instrument. To find engineers who understand the difference isn’t always easy. Two people I think are fantastic are Mike Burnham at Lovebuzz Studios in Bermondsey and Seb Lewsley who has worked with Edwyn Collins for many years. They know how to get great sounds. A lot of modern recordings involve over clinical by the book techniques which can kill the soul out of any performance. And for some reason some people nowadays seem reluctant to break those rules. Twelve high spec modern microphones on a drum kit and into a state of the art digital mixing desk won’t help you get a filthy sound like The Sonics. You’re better off with a cassette 4-Track or recording the band in one go on your phone and adding the vocal after.

How important is the bands image and how you present yourselves?

Image is important to us in our own ways. We all look different from each other and dress a little different too. I’m not really a flash dresser, but I do really like clothes and it’s always been important to me. I love old denim, vintage sweatshirts, military and motorcycle leathers and simple slim cut smarter jackets etc. and 60’s style boots. I wear a lot of ladies shirts.

Lewis: I have very little interest in following current trends unless something vibrant and vital has cropped up, most of it is the same old crap being regurgitated or some random baseless idea invented by people desperate to keep their job at a fashion / music mag. A lot of classic styles that I’m personally interested in are because they are things that have been generated by and represent attitude toward how you personally choose to live your life.

As a guitarist, you, Barrie, have played with some of music’s most legendarily “awkward” frontmen, such as Morrissey, Bobby Gillespie and Anton Newcombe, while the entire band has backed Paul Weller (also perceived as being slightly ‘difficult’ on occasion) Are these people the enfants terribles that their legends would suggest, or is it mainly press speculation and exaggeration?

I can only speak from my own experience. These people have all been cool
with me.

One of the biggest influences all three members share is obviously the blues, and a few years ago, two of you got to “live the dream”, as it were, when you went to New York to play for Hubert Sumlin. Tell us a little about that experience.

We opened for Hubert at a gig in 2005. We first met him the year before when we were both on the same US label for a few years. We’d asked if there was any chance of meeting him but didn’t expect anything. So we were in New York for the first time on a promo ‘meet and greet’ trip and had to do this awkward lunchtime showcase gig in the label office in front of the staff (about 15 of them) playing through little amps. We were just setting up and Hubert walks in and sits down right in front of us. I was half over the moon and half shitting myself because now we had to play in front of him. It seemed to go ok although it was nerve-wracking as hell, he was the guitar on Killing Floor! Hubert was a lovely guy, very kind mannered and charismatic. He spent quite a lot of time chatting and took a few pictures with us. He was very encouraging. The following year we were recording in Brooklyn with Russell Simins playing drums. The label had brought him to the studio with the idea of us doing a song together but we never got chance to get stuck into anything. But a week or so later we got a gig opening for him in Manhattan. Towards the end of his set he called me up onstage to play Got My Mojo Working with him. I couldn’t believe it was happening. It was one of the best moments of my life, a true privilege. We hung out and talked with him longer that night. He told us some amazing stories, about him getting his first guitar, him leaving Wolf’s band for a short while to play with Muddy Waters and also that he thought his brother was a better guitar player than he was. It means even more now he’s no longer with us. We were all grateful to have met him.

We couldn’t go much further without discussing your highest-profile recording to date, the theme to the hit US TV show Better Call Saul. How did this come about?

We were approached by Thomas the music director for the series. He was into the band and had all of our albums, which was bizarre to us as he was based in LA and we hadn’t played there much at all. He asked if I could write 17 variations of a short guitar piece for the main title theme of the show and get them recorded in three days. I scrapped all other plans, got them done and we recorded and mixed them on day three and sent them off to him that evening. A few days later he got back to us and asked for 12 more variations, so we did the same thing. Other people were pitching for it too. A few weeks later we found out they’d chosen our theme, which was really cool. It was nice surprise – I’d never even seen
Breaking Bad.

Your new album has seen you experimenting with Krautrock influences- is this something you’ve always been a fan of?

Yes I first discovered Can in the early/mid 1990’s. I’d read somewhere that their sound may have influenced band like the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays who inspired me a great deal. I went out to Selectadisc and bought the Ege Bamyasi album – It totally blew me away. It sounded so modern still and it was from 1972 or something. It was mesmerising, they had a fairly regular rock band set up – guitar, bass, drums & keys but played nothing like British or American rock n roll or R&B. The core of it being that amazing hypnotic rhythm of Jaki Leibezeit’s drums. I got to play with Damo Suzuki a few years back in Paris with a few friends of mine. It was great. He’s an amazing guy, he had some stories too. About his adventures traveling the world solo in the late ’60s. He came to see us when we played in Cologne and took us a Russian bar after the show. A gentleman, a hero and a great host.

You’re already onto your fourth album, in what seems like a short space of time, and each has been a progression from the last, suggesting immense longevity for the future. But where do you see Little Barrie in two decades? Will you still be touring and recording?

To be honest I think we make albums fairly slowly, but some of that can be down to other commitments and financial constraints. We’re writing a new album right now. Little Barrie in two decades??! Who knows… It would be cool if we still played together though. I want to play for as long as I can.

I’m actually doing what you did in reverse in a few months, and decamping from the South to the East Midlands. How would you describe the music scene up there, and are there any clubs or venues you’d particularly recommend, particularly with regard to psych, garage, freakbeat, prog or vintage rock?

I’m probably the worst person to ask Darius… I’ve been in London for 15 years now and am very out of touch with what’s happening in Nottingham these days. I don’t get to go back very often and when I do it’s all about seeing family and a few old friends if I can. But I’ll try to ask a few people and get back to you if they have any ideas. Quite a few of my old friends are music fans and big record collectors. There’s some good record shops there – Look up Rob’s Records and Big Apple for second-hand stuff. There’s also a Rough Trade and probably others too. They could be good places to meet people.


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Darius Drewe

Darius Drewe was born in East London in 1974. As a small child, both parents inflicted their musical tastes, from The Beatles and The Moody Blues to Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, on him, and he was never the same again. Despite being born and bred a 'Cockney tosser', Drewe actually spent his teenage years in and around Birmingham, attending his first 60s/50s-themed nights there at The Ship Ashore, before "coming home" in 1993 to the South, where, with the exception of three years spent in Glasgow between 2007-2010, he has remianed ever since. In the almost two decades that have passed he has trod a strange meandering path from a shy 60s/70s-obsessed teen with no 'scene' to speak of to a Metalhead, sleaze-glammie, Goth, indie kid, glam-punker, garage-rocker, eventual Mod and psych freak (first attending Mousetrap in 2000) In that time he's also written for Shindig! Britmovie, DarkSide, Black Velvet and Get Ready To Rock, promoted various vintage and veteran acts at Camden Underworld, Glasgow Ivory Blacks and several other venues, DJed everything from psych, garage and soul to Metal at practically every well-known club in central London. Drewe is trying to build a time machine that will enable him to visit any period between 1960 and 1980 but still be able to use a mobile and Facebook. His ambition, aside from directing films and building said machine, is to morph into a cross between Jason King, Timmy Lea, Jerry Cornelius and Richard Hannay, and drift about the ether having adventures in a kipper tie, pinstriped flares and camel hair coat.

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February 22, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News UK Tags:, , ,
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Jim Jones And The Righteous Mind

Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind, the new band from former Jim Jones Revue / Black Moses / Thee Hypnotics front man. The new band doesn’t exactly pick up where his previous one left off, there is bluesy garage rock guitars and honky-tonk style piano, but also more reflective and more experimental sounds. Tracks like Boil Yer Blood, the title track of their debut EP, are loud and raucous; but the gently psychedelic 1000 Miles From The Sure is more distinctive and the groovy Hold Up is driven by drums, handclaps and backing vocals in counterpoint to Jones’ crooning.

We very much look forwards to seeing them at Le Beat Bespoke 11 on the Saturday night! Darius Drewe caught up with them recently.

01. Let’s start with the new songs. The three I’ve heard already, from the “Boil Yer Blood” single, are sonically very disparate, meaning that whereas I could get a “handle” on your previous bands quite easily, I’m still slightly perplexed by the Righteous Mind. Is this band deliberately meant to be un-classifiable, or is there a more clearly defined “modus operandi” you haven’t unveiled yet?

Hello mate, Yeh, the Jim Jones Revue was a fairly specific sound and, as you say, easy to get a handle on, so, after eight years or so of that, which involved a lot of touring, the first thing you want to do is ‘everything else’ .. you know, travel to new and exotic lands etc.

There’s already more than an albums worth of Righteous Mind material recorded, and it is fairly varied, by design, but there is a thread, or a kind of pattern that you can get a hold of once you’ve heard a number tracks… On the Boil Yer Blood EP. though, it was a conscious decision to put quite a wide spectrum across as the first release, so as not to get boxed in too early in the game.

02. What particular musical influences have shaped this new venture? Have you discovered any new sounds that excite and thrill you, and if so, what are they?

All the same stuff mostly; roots music especially, but from a different angle than before; from the standpoint of time and experience… I think all truly great music comes back to haunt you again and again in the best possible way; it’s like a lesson that you learn a little deeper each time.

03. On a similar subject, do you ever get tired of shifting from band to band? This will be the fourth group you’ve fronted in just under 30 years, and from the MC5/Stooges-infused psychedelia of Thee Hypnotics through the funky soul rock of Black Moses to the rock’n’roll revivalism of the Revue, they’ve all differed from each other significantly. Obviously, many of music’s greatest innovators, from Bowie to Miles Davis, constantly reinvented themselves but do you think people ever wonder why you can’t/won’t remain in the same outfit for more than five years at a time? Or has it simply been an accidental mixture of coincidence and circumstance?

It’s probably more like eight to ten years at a time, but I’m not counting. Trouble is: not everyone has the stamina to regularly get out on the road for long periods of time and give a hundred and ten percent of yourself night after night, it can take it’s toll… Once it’s in the blood though, it’s hard to do anything else. Most people will have a lineup change and keep the same name, which I guess is the smart way to do it, but I suppose I’ve never been business minded in that way, I always see it as a chance to wipe the slate clean and reinvent yourself. Hopefully The Righteous Mind will be the one that keeps rolling. Which is another good reason for the broad horizon on the first single.

04. Tell me a little about the other members of the line-up and how you came to know them.

I’ve always been pretty lucky when it comes to finding good people to play with, and The Righteous Mind is no exception, in fact it maybe the best unit so far.

Gavin Jay, as you know, was also the bass player in the Jim Jones Revue. First time I saw him, he was playing in a small club, the band and the crowd were pretty static, but he was throwing himself into it with gusto; a sharp dressed man, who could play well, and knew how to put some presence onto the stage… I’ll have some of that! I ‘borrowed’ him at first but the Revue soon became ten times busier than his other band and the rest, as they say etc etc. Gav is really great to work with and is also known as ‘Mr One Take’ in the studio – He plays amazing stand up bass too, with and without a bow, which was ignored in the Revue for one reason or another, so that was one of the first things I wanted to utilize with the Righteous Mind.

Phil Martini is on drums, I’ve known Phil from a while back and from his previous band The Tokyo Dragons. He was my first choice for someone to work with, and I approached him as soon as JJR started making noises about calling it a day. I’m always pushing the drummer to try to find an unconventional groove, a different approach and something unusual sounding for each song, which isn’t always easy for them, but Phil’s taken everything I can throw at him without batting an eyelid. This has meant that I could work really fast at getting new material together.

On piano we have the brilliantly mysterious Matt Millership. Originally, Henri Herbert was set to be part of the project, but around the same time I was starting to work on the bare bones beginnings of the songs that I had, Henri’s YouTube clip of him playing piano in St Pancreas station went viral and he was flooded with offers to come and play straight boogie woogie piano which had been a lifetime dream for him, so I just said good luck, and wondered where the hell I was going to find someone as good as him (???) It was Henri himself who recommended Joe Glossop. Joe’s an amazing intuitive player who’s been around the block, we worked with him and got the lions share of the songs up to speed and subsequently recorded. Joe did the first short tour with us, but when it came time for the first single release he couldn’t do the show’s that went with it… ‘what do you mean you can’t do the shows ?’ – ‘Sorry, I’ve been asked to go on the road with Tom Jones’… fair enough, as long as it’s a Jones… So I had to hunt around again and was lucky enough to get Matt. He had been in the frame to possibly replace Elliot Mortimer in the JJR but the timing hadn’t worked out and that’s when Henri had turned up just in time. Matt jumped straight in where Joe left off and without missing a beat, we were on the road again.

Malcolm Troon (Dr Troon) is playing pedal steel, theremin, additional guitar and percussion. I’ve known Malcolm for a while as a hot-shot Denmark street guitarist. He’s a formidable musician, and also, like Matt, stepped in to rescue the band when our original and also incredibly talented guy David Page was called away by Rick Ruben and the gang to work on an LP.recording with The Ruen Brothers… Phil had worked with Mal before in the Dragons and it was his suggestion to get in touch with him. As you can imagine; finding a pedal steel player isn’t the easiest thing, let alone finding two of em! The pedal steel itself takes a high degree of skill and confidence to master, and to make matters worse; I’m asking these guys to then NOT play it in the traditional way but to subvert it and use it to create new sounds. They’re all great to work with and easy to be around, I can’t believe how lucky I am really.

05. Do you think this band has an advantage over its predecessors, inasmuch as that whereas all the others began at “cult” level and attempted to work their way up, you were already famous by the time you formed this one? It has enabled you to more or less launch straight into medium-sized venues and big festivals, whereas both Black Moses and the Revue began their careers in small clubs..

Yeh, it’s definitely taken some of the slog out of the thing.

06. With the Revue, you were definitely perceived as a flag bearer for the vintage/retro/revivalist scene that was proliferating in the UK at the time, filled out by bands like your close friends the Urban Voodoo Machine on one side and the likes of Vintage Trouble and Little Barrie on the other. Did that sort of tag piss you off? And if so, is the Righteous Mind a deliberate attempt to escape it?

To a certain extent yes; on the one hand it’s frustrating to be misperceived, as I’ve never viewed the old/new thing in that way… It was never to do with a trend; in fact it’s more of a ‘reaction’ to bullshit trend’s or fashions… It can be a fine line sometimes, and I’m quite aware of how easy it is to fall into a weird kind of role play, and you have to avoid that at all costs if you want to feel you’re doing something valid and not just regurgitating the past. Just to be clear though: if there’s a choice between old and new; and the old thing is still valid and in working order; 9 times out of 10 the old shit is 100 times better than the new shit.

07. When I first knew you, you were living near Ladbroke Grove but these days, you reside in “trendy” Dalston. How do you view the perceived “hipsterization” of the East End these days, and more importantly, the music scene in London in general?

Hackney has now become a bit like Ladbroke Grove was when I left there… I live in Walthamstow now, which is where I was actually born and it still hasn’t been completely gentrified.

08. And what about equipment? One musician of my acquaintance (won’t name him, but he recently joined a reformed 70s punk act on drums) is such a purist that in order to achieve what the believes to be the “true rock and roll sound”, he insists his other band, in which he writes the material, only use certain guitars, basses, kits and amps. And, though I wouldn’t take that approach myself, he’s not the only one. But where do you stand on it? Obviously I can imagine what you wouldn’t use- I’d be unlikely, for instance, to ever see you playing a BC Rich or an Ibanez- but are there any particular brands you favour? And how essential are they to your music?

It’s not to try to sound like someone else; because that’s a dead-end; but I like old stuff, if it’s still working, or new stuff that’s built as good as the old stuff. It feels more honest, like it’s come out of the earth.

09. A lot of your music tends to celebrate an atmosphere of bohemian, bacchanalian decadence. How much of it is genuine? Is it a creed by which you live your life? I only ask because I’ve seen you leap across tabletops at a party with drink in hand, surrounded by stunning burlesque women, but I’ve also seen you being domestic, reading your kid bedtime stories. Is there a “real” Jim Jones? Or is he a mixture of all those disparate elements?

Yeh, it’s always nice to be a little more three three-dimensional, don’t you think? You really can move between worlds, as Tom Waits says: ‘You don’t always have to stay the night.’

10. On that subject, do you think rock’n’roll musicians sometimes have to play up too hard to their public persona, sometimes resulting in their premature demise?

Yeh, it can become that ‘role play’ thing again. It’s all nonsense really… I think what a lot of people miss, is that the difference with people like Lemmy or Keef is that they put their work first.

11. Final question. It’s taken you approximately 28 years’ worth of work, self-belief and dedication to get where you are now – do you think everything you’ve had to endure along the way has been worth it? Or do you think that it’s more a reflection of how long it takes to achieve anything in this country outside of the mundane, and that had you been born in the US or Europe, you’d have been a star by your 20s instead of your 40s? More to the point, if longevity is the goal, do you think you’ll stay the course like your mentors Iggy Pop, Wayne Kramer and Tom Waits have?

I don’t think it’s any easier in the States or Europe although there is more money for arts in places like France, but then that’s one less thing to kick against… I’m a lifer, there’s no getting around it, and it’s not really a matter of choice, you know, more of a vocation… I think the key is: don’t look back !

Web Links:

www.righteousmind.co.uk
www.facebook.com/jjatrm
www.twitter.com/JJandtheRM
www.instagram.com/jjandtherm


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Darius Drewe

Darius Drewe was born in East London in 1974. As a small child, both parents inflicted their musical tastes, from The Beatles and The Moody Blues to Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, on him, and he was never the same again. Despite being born and bred a 'Cockney tosser', Drewe actually spent his teenage years in and around Birmingham, attending his first 60s/50s-themed nights there at The Ship Ashore, before "coming home" in 1993 to the South, where, with the exception of three years spent in Glasgow between 2007-2010, he has remianed ever since. In the almost two decades that have passed he has trod a strange meandering path from a shy 60s/70s-obsessed teen with no 'scene' to speak of to a Metalhead, sleaze-glammie, Goth, indie kid, glam-punker, garage-rocker, eventual Mod and psych freak (first attending Mousetrap in 2000) In that time he's also written for Shindig! Britmovie, DarkSide, Black Velvet and Get Ready To Rock, promoted various vintage and veteran acts at Camden Underworld, Glasgow Ivory Blacks and several other venues, DJed everything from psych, garage and soul to Metal at practically every well-known club in central London. Drewe is trying to build a time machine that will enable him to visit any period between 1960 and 1980 but still be able to use a mobile and Facebook. His ambition, aside from directing films and building said machine, is to morph into a cross between Jason King, Timmy Lea, Jerry Cornelius and Richard Hannay, and drift about the ether having adventures in a kipper tie, pinstriped flares and camel hair coat.

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March 2, 2016 By : Category : Bands Clubs Events Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, , ,
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Mousetrap 25 Years

01. When did the Mousetrap first emerge?

I had been looking all over London during 1991 for an allnighter venue and had almost given up when I stumbled on Fabio’s which is what it was called back then.

02. Why the name Mousetrap?

The venue had two entrances and the one to the basement had a sign above the door called Mousetrap in a great font. The club started in the basement only, so we would use the Mousetrap entrance. I also really liked the name and the connotations it threw up like ‘Get Caught in the Mousetrap’ as the strap line on our early promotional artwork.

03. Tell us a little about finding the Venue and why you stayed?

After looking around a few venues in Finsbury Park, I drove past Fabio’s, parked the car and went inside. The first thing I noticed as I entered was that I was pretty much the only white person in the venue. I was only nineteen and a little apprehensive as I enquired about the venue over the bar. This was where I met Anthony who was managing the place at the time. I explained what I wanted to do which raised a few eyebrows and asked to take a look around. The ground floor had a bar, DJ booth, dancefloor with a raised seating all around. Over in the corner was a metal spiral staircase which went down to the basement. As soon as I got down there I knew it was perfect. The basement had a very low ceiling with a black and white checked dancefloor, DJ booth in one corner and bar in the other with lots of nooks and crannies and small seating booths. It was just how I had imagined those original sixties venues like the Scene or Flamingo. It also had a killer sound system that was used for the Dub Club and other Reggae based nights at the venue.

04. What were the early Mousetrap nights like, what was the format?

We started on one floor only in the basement the first night which was a success despite sharing the toilets with the venue regulars who had never quite seen anything like it before. The owner liked it and more importantly – us, which are comments I get wherever we go and have a party. The music at the time was right across the board sixties, before Popcorn or Psychedelic sounds became popular. British beat and soul would be played alongside the American sounds.

05. What were the big sounds in the early days?

Early records that were popular were mainly the established Mod scene classics and current club sounds it took a little while for the club and DJ’s to develop the Mousetrap sound.

06. Can you name some of the DJs that were part of the first decade of the Mousetrap?

Obviously the NUT’s team past and present including; Pid, Chris Dale, Speed, Lee Miller, Gav Evans, Mark Ellis and Nick Hudson. Early guests included Paul Hallam (Sneakers), Roger Banks, Jon Paul Harper, Scott Copeland, Nigel Lees, Tony Castle, Putney Sean, Paul Newman, Ian Jackson, Karl Flavell, Dave Ingle and Shinzo Shnijo.

07. What were the highlights and low points of the early years?

The club went well from the start and in 1995 Loaded magazine did a great article on the night which you can read elsewhere in the NUTsMAG, Timeout also covered us early on. By the mid nineties Brit-Pop was in full swing and a new younger clientele started mixing with the regulars. Round this time the club moved into its best era on two floors with the beat basement and soul loft and sometimes a third floor the jazz lounge. The atmosphere was incredible and the scene was very exciting. We should have finished at 6am but often went well beyond that most nights.

08. Moving on with the New Untouchables era how did things evolve?

The club was a separate entity throughout the Untouchables era and then became part of the NUTs portfolio in 1998.

09. Did the music policy change to reflect the times as it were?

By the mid to late nineties the resident DJ’s had started developing the Mousetrap sound. Records were broke at the club every month and became hits all over the European club and weekender scene. Some off the early tracks to break included Hopscotch, Larry Trider, Mike Proctor, Randy & the Radiants, King Size Taylor, Jigsaw, Dusty Wilson and Callum Bryce.

10. How did you manage to keep the various passionate musical tribes in the Scene happy?

The club continued on two floors for the best part of a decade with black music on one floor and white sounds in the basement until the owner sold the ground floor in the mid naughties. During this time an incredible amount of records went onto to become big sounds.

11. You eventually split the allnighter into 2 separate nights?

The downside of having two floors for a long period was that both crowds were used to hearing their favourite sounds all night and those like me who enjoyed both would move between the two floors. So when the ground floor was sold going back to mixing all the music together just didn’t work so I started the separate dances each week.

12. How did that change things, did some folks happily attend both?

Yes, some regulars like Niamh and Innes, Mark Raison and the twins who enjoy all the sounds attended both but the majority went one week or the other.

13. Twenty five years is a massive achievement, you must be proud?

I’m very proud, there is something magical about the venue even on a quieter night we still have a great atmosphere and on a busy one there is nowhere better. It’s my second home and I get to enjoy the night as it’s a relatively easy production. I love Djing there as well as you can always slip some new sounds in which I’m passionate about.

14. What would be your all time top 10 Mousetrap spins from all styles in one list?

So many Mousetrap anthems over the last 25 years and many ended up on the free anniversary single. Mike Leslie – ‘Right or Wrong’ is one I always use to play at the end of the allnighter. Gene Latter – ‘Holding a Dream’ is a great funky blue-eyed soul dancer with fuzz. The Latin Dimension – ‘Mr Mod’ was an LP only track and available for the first time on the Mousetrap 45.

I found the Jack Hammer 45 down in the subway at a record fair in Sweden when I was Djing out there for a couple of quid. I later realised that it was only released as a 45 in Sweden and would start to fetch big bucks as its popularity grew. It went on to become one of the most popular releases on the label.

The first European track to be released for the Mousetrap 14th anniversary 45 was Erick Saint Laurent – ‘Le Temps d’y Penser’ which is a killer groovy garage dancer. Speeds discovery ‘Lovemaker’ by Callum Bryce also went on to become a massive Mousetrap record.

Although no doubt played on the Soul scene Chris Dale introduced tracks like ‘Fine, Fine, Fine’ by Judy Hughes and Dusty Wilson – ‘Can’t Do Without You’ to the Mod scene at the club. The list is endless and I have not even mentioned The Paragons, Bit a Sweet, Tam White, Chris Britton, Phil Wainman, Don Fardon version of  ‘I’m alive’ (which eventually ended up on a TV advert featuring Don), Louisa Jane White, Heidi Bruhl, Jimmy Thomas, Paul Nicholas and The Tops that all ended up on the Le Beat Bespoke album series. You can view all the Mousetrap releases here or even buy them via the NUTSTORE.

15. You have even managed to fit a few film crews into the Mousetrap over the years too?

MTV came down to film in the mid nineties as part of their series on club land culture and made a great snap shot of the club which features interviews and footage from many of the regulars and is a great testament to that era of the Mousetrap. You can view it on our NewUntouchables TV youtube channel here.

We did a fun shoot a decade later in 2005 this time with no interviews just footage from the club which turned out a bit like a scene from a movie and was beautifully shot by Simon Smith who did a videos for The Cure and the Wonderstuff amongst others. Take a look here.

There is also a really nice interview with Rhys Webb of the Horrors a club regular who recalls his first visit as a sixteen year old from Southend and the whole new World he discovered. Rhys is quite often seen behind the decks spinning his vinyl treasures or grooving away on the dancefloor. Watch it here.

16. What has the past few years been like for one of London’s great institutions?

We have had our ups and downs like any club over a period of twenty-five years and are now on our third or fourth generation of regulars. I’m very humbled and happy when I get comments from the new faces experiencing the club maybe for the first time, about it being their favourite night out in London and without doubt it’s still mine after all these years.

17. How do the venue owners feel about having a club night running for so long?

Anthony the boss, has always been supportive and has seen the bigger picture when things are not going so well, which is rare in the fickle World of London club land and the pressures of running a venue. Ade the security chap and Alex at the cloakroom, have been with us a long time and I want to thank them all too for the fantastic ride we had together so far.

18. Any names that you wish to check for their help over the years? What’s the tiny Mouse called in the logo?

Many heroes behind the scene for me who I would like to thank including those who run the door Maz Weller, Paul Owers, Ellie Tracey and Kolorz. The great artwork created by Dom Strickland, Jason Ringgold, Mary Boogaloo and Bazden at Pip! Pip!

The resident DJ’s past and present who have helped me create the Mousetrap soundtrack Chris Dale, Speed, Lee Miller, Jack White, Gav Evans, Pid, Steve Bowstead, Mark Ellis and Nick Hudson. The hundred or more guest DJ’s who have often travelled far to spin I thank you all.

Most importantly the regulars both past and present that have supported the night and created some of the best times of my life.

Marvin and I hope to see you all get caught in the Mousetrap once again on either 20th Feb 2016 for the Psychedelic allnighter or 27 Feb 2016 for the R&B allnighter to celebrate an amazing twenty-five years of Mousetrap!

Best Wishes Rob Bailey

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December 1, 2015 By : Category : Articles Clubs DJs Events Front Page Music News Tags:,
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