Interview – The Immigrants

(Originally published in Inform Magazine, November 2003)

Tell your racist Grandma to calm down, for the name of this month’s band is The Immigrants, who actually hail from round these parts but probably can’t wait to get away. Sean, Bill, Ben and, er Law-raaa from the band are the subject of Mike Flange’s attempt to bring local bands to the masses this month. Remember, he does this because he gets paid to.

Hello The Immigrants. Now I understand you’re a really small band who play really small gigs in Liverpool. Presumably this is why I’ve never heard of you?
Sean (Vox/Gtr): Probably.
Bill (Gtr): We attained the dizzying heights of support band on Inner City Sumo though, fuck knows how that flew over your ignorant little head. We’ll play Wembley in a year or so. Shame we’ll only be playing to powertools and JCBs innit?

What’s that name all about then? Are you trying to encourage blue-rinsed old people to call for your deportation?
Bill: It’s a statement, man.
Sean: The name has no meaning whatsoever really; the fact that it was chosen around the same time a spree of ‘We Are All Immigrants’ posters were littered about Liverpool was just a good coincidence.

Now I understand you play this ‘indie’ music. Why do you do that then?
Ben (Drms): I always thought that indie meant independent, and that’s pretty much what we are. We pester people for gigs ourselves. we alienate crowds by ourselves, and we rip peoples’ eardrums out by ourselves. Independent? Fuck yes. But we don’t make ‘indie’ music.  Christ no.

Do people actually like you?
Sean: Some people do, some people really don’t – it’s not often we don’t get an extreme reaction, whether it’s positive  or negative. We’re quite happy with either.

Which other band would you all rather be in? If you had the ability?
Sean: The Immigrants, but with more ability.

I presume you like music. What other music do you like? Please make sure I’ve heard of it.
Bill: Aphex Twin, Daisy Chainsaw, Radioheads, Manics, Dead Kennedys, Butthole Surfers, Stig, At The Drive-In. We want  the rest crucified, give or take ten bands or so.
We hope to stage a reconstruction of the battle of Waterloo with the four of us, an army of Viking commando Glaswegian warriors vs Stereophonics.

Who would you like to ‘imitate’ on Stars In Their Eyes?
Sean: Aphex Twin.
Law-Raaa (Bss): Wings.

Why aren’t you on Pop Idol or Fame Academy?
Ben: Because we don’t need to go on TV to prove we’re amazing. Obviously I’m fucking joking. It’s that restraining order Simon Cowell got against me that fucked my chances up there.

Have you ever thought of going somewhere else? Touring I mean.
Bill: Bangkok, Beijing, Thailand, Cambodia, Swaziland, Iraq. Immigrants rock the Balkans tour would be good. For  the kids of course. The Balkan kids. And those poor starving Glaswegian children.
Sean: Glaswegian?
Bill: A lot of them are born into boxes with only fag ends for teddybears. Poor sods.

Which member of the band would you like to get rid of, ’cos they’re holding you back?
Sean: Me, I’m fucking useless. Couldn’t replace me though.
Ben: I’d kick Bill out, at least ’til he got that hair cut.  Fucking hippy.

Remember when music used to be good. Whatever happened to those days?
Bill: Erm, not really.

Are you going to miss the Picket?
Law-Raaa: As much as I’ll miss Quiggins.

Have you got any thing you’d like to plug?
Sean: Gigs, 14th November at The Slaughter House, 20th November at The Zanzibar, 21st November at Bar Zero and the website http://www.theimmigrants.co.uk

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Interview – Day With Mary

(Originally published in Inform Magazine, October 2003)

Coming to you unbelievably late this month (I’ve got to send this off in an hour) are nobody’s favourite munchkins Day With Mary, who have played lots of gigs and sprayed lots of walls in the name good pop music. Mike Flange, Europe’s only fan of Star Trek: Enterprise, spoke to various members of the band in various states of moodiness.

Hello Day With Mary. Now I understand you’re a small band who plays gigs in Liverpool. Is this why I’ve never heard of you?
It’s as good as reason as any – but it could be that you’re not looking hard enough!

What’s that name all about then. And what was wrong with Dopamine (apart from everything)?
Well you answered your own question there – but there was also about five or six other bands that were called Dopamine. One of them Lostprophet’s mates. So we thought fuck it, you can have it.

Now I understand you play ‘indie’ music. Why do you do that then?
You understood wrong.

Do people actually like you?
Yup.

Which band would you all rather be in, if you had the ability?
Well, even I probably wouldn’t need the ability for them but I’d say Ramones!

What is your favourite music? Please make sure I’ve heard of it.
Mine is loud rock music. With riffs ’n’ that.

Not heard of it sorry. Who would you like to imitate on Stars In Their Eyes?
Mathew Kelly.

You could probably do with the benefits of Pop Idol or Fame Academy. Where do you think you’re going wrong?
Maybe going on Fame Academy would be going very wrong – since the winners so far are mostly even more obscure these days than Lord Lucan’s nipples.
You’ve never heard of David Sneddon?! Have you ever thought of going somewhere else? Touring I mean.
We have done. And we’re going again, February 2004. With a single to be released through Glasswerk media to coincide.
Save the plugs ’til later. Which member of the band would you like to get rid of, ’cos they’re holding you back?
Paul, obviously!

Remember when music used to be good. Whatever happened to those days?
Dunno like.

Really? I thought you’d be at the sharp end as far as that’s concerned. Is Jennifer Ellison the new Kylie or what?
I went to Jenny Ellison’s engagement party actually. It was shit. But I met the old bassist from Junk Culture…

Golly. Thank you Day With Mary. Have you got any thing else you’d like to plug?
Perhaps our website at http://www.daywithmary.com would be good, we may even update it one day. And I think I mentioned our tour in February. And an EP.

Yes you did.
And our regular clubnight in the Zanzibar club (runs alternate Tuesdays). Cheers!

Interview – Former Miss America

(Originally published in Inform Magazine, September 2003)

In our ceaseless search to find all kinds of local bands and give them a mouthpiece, it’s appropriate that our favourite ringpiece Mike Flange, top local radio DJ and goose tickler, should be the one to interrogate them. This month it’s the turn of top popsters Former Miss America and band member Tony – also known as Carter apparently.

Hello Former Miss America. Now I understand you’re a small band who sometimes play gigs in Liverpool. Is this why I’ve never heard of you?
That’s the most accurate description of us that I’ve heard in a while… it does seem the most logical reason, I guess. We kind of keep ourselves to ourselves and get on with our own ‘small’ thing, and occasionally cross paths with good people like yourself (which is always nice).

Sweet of you to say. You’re not really a collective of ex-beauty queens from across the pond are you? I mean, that must be one odd coincidence.
I realise that it’s hard to believe when seeing us for the first time, but not one of us has ever held the title of Miss America (though Chris was nominated for the milk marketing board’s Dairy Queen of the Year 1987).

Now I understand you play ‘indie’ music. Why do you do that then?
Thats a shocking thing to say, though I’m unsure exactly what constitutes ‘indie’ music in this time of naming every sub-genre of music. We use a guitar sometimes and, although our tunes are quite melodic at times, we do not walk the populist path of the S Clubs and J-Los… so maybe that’s ‘indie’. We do it because we don’t know any better.

Do people actually like you?
The more people we meet ,there are more people that like us, but also there are more people who don’t… as for percentages, that’s maths and I was always better at artsy stuff.

I think that’s the best answer I’ve had to that question. Which band would you all rather be in, if you had the ability?
As long as we were in the same one, it’d end up sounding like this, so I guess the name would be irrelevant.

What is your favourite music? Please make sure I’ve heard of it.
Dean Martin sings Kraftwerk.

Never heard of either of them. Who would you like to imitate on Stars In Their Eyes?
Jennifer Ellison.

Eww. You could probably do with the benefits of Pop Idol or Fame Academy. Where do you think you’re going wrong?
My belief that music is inherently about self expression, and not about a desire to be a picture in a Now! magazine montage. Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong… however I think I’m doing fine, thanks.

Have you ever thought of going somewhere else?
I’ve often thought about, then done it, then got there, then found that there’s always somewhere else (including where you’ve come from). It takes a whole lot of effort, but sometimes the journey’s kind of cool so you don’t mind.

Which member of the band would you like to get rid of, ’cos they’re holding you back?
If anyone was holding us back they’d know it, and willingly sacrifice themselves for the common good.

Remember when music used to be good. Whatever happened to those days?
Music is still good, but it’s being made by small bands that you’ve never heard of.

Like these ‘Dean Martin’ and ‘Kraftwerk’ chaps I suppose. Anyway, thank you Former Miss America. Have you got any thing you’d like to plug?
We’ve got an E.P coming out on Robot Records (www.robot-robot.co.uk). Check out downloadable tune etc.

Yes, yes, I was just being polite. Next month is someone we haven’t quite worked out yet. Exciting isn’t it?

Interview – B*Movie Heroes

(Originally published in Inform Magazine, August 2003)

Another month, another unsigned band. Except this lot ain’t and they’ve got an album out to prove it. Neal from the B*Movie Heroes will be the one taking the questions from Mike Flange, top local radio DJ and someone who thinks Riley is the best character in Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Hello B*Movie Heroes. Now I understand you’re a local band who plays gigs in Liverpool. Is this why I’ve never heard of you?
We’re from Worcester, Which is the posh part of Liverpool. Maybe you’ve never heard of us as we’re far too cool for you ? Very underground you know. We’ve played Liverpool about 4 times and hardly anyone turns up, that’s how cool we are. For god’s sake man, get with the programme.

That’s an, er, interesting name. Is the asterisk supposed to be there or did someone make a mistake?
Is that the best you’ve got? That the asterisk was a mistake? Ooh, how rude. We’ve been humiliated by grammar.

Glad to see you realise that. Now I understand you play ‘indie’ music, whatever that is. Why do you do that then?
No we play rock music. Our last E.P. title clearly states that.

It does? Right. Do people actually like you?
Our parents are very proud. Anyway, don’t fanzine writers normally make friends in internet chat rooms? I’ve heard about people like you.

My many millions of online pals would never say a word about me. Anyway, which band would you all rather be in, if you had the ability?
I’d have liked to have been in the “B” band at school but unfortunately my lack of mathematics’ ability seriously handicapped me and I had to make do with the “C” band with the other thick kids.

Nice use of humour there. What is your favourite music? Please make sure I’ve heard of it.
If it’s got to be stuff you’ve heard of, I’m forced to say the sound of windows 98 starting up. Or maybe the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme tune. Star Trek Voyager ?

Mmm, Captain Janeway. Who would you like to imitate on Stars In Their Eyes?
I think I could do a damn good Elvis. Presley or Costello – it doesn’t matter.

You could probably do with the benefits of Pop Idol or Fame Academy. Where do you think you’re going wrong?
Fair play. Good question. I think it’s that I’m 26, balding, fat and, although I can hold a tune, I’m no Jason Orange. I am how god made me. Anyway, surely you should be writing for Q? Where do you think you’re going wrong ?

I make sure I never know where I’m going wrong. Now I understand you’re a local band. That’s your choice, I’m not judging you. Have you any thought of going somewhere else?
We’ve been to lots of places. Only last week we went to Blackpool. We’re always local to wherever we are. That’s the problem.

Which member of the band would you like to get rid of, ’cos they’re holding you back?
Ha! We just parted company with a bass player. He thinks he left but we’re gonna convince him we sacked him for being crap.

That shouldn’t matter should it? Anyway, on to more important matters. Hot isn’t it?
What is?

Well, it all is really. Remember when music used to be good. Whatever happened to those days?
They are all lovingly cherished on TOTP2. It’s on after the Fresh Prince.

Mmm, Will Smith. Anyway, thank you B*Movie Heroes. Please go away now. Next month we’ll have the delights of a Former Miss America. Unless that’s the name of a band, which will be disappointing.
B*Movie Heroes’ debut album Anthems for the Underdog is out now

Interview – No

(Originally published in Inform Magazine, July 2003)

No, that’s really what they’re called. No, honestly. No are a local rock band of four guys who make loud music to entertain your hairy ears, and who else could we get but local radio DJ and pig fondler Mike Flange to interview them in his own unique way.

Hello No. Now I understand you’re a local band who plays gigs in Liverpool. Is this why I’ve never heard of you?
I think it’s more down to our, at times, prolific self-promotion. We’ve been known to distribute literally ten or more flyers in a frenzied promotional build up to a No gig. Madness!  Some or more people do actually know us, but by the name of “No Tongues” – which was in no small part due to the hilariously pun-tastic website addy we adopted (www.NOtongues.com). At the time was the only address we could buy with our limited funds. We’ve just bought http://www.NOrock.co.uk which is much better by all accounts.
For those who didn’t quite catch it the first time round, our name is No. Just fucking No, ok?
That’s an, er, interesting name. Was that the best you could come up with? Aren’t you worried about the negative vibes you’re giving out?
…and what a very fine name it is indeed. No – sometimes the beauty and simplicity of our band name astounds me.
I had a raging argument with some bloke after one of our gigs. He was saying ‘how can you project a band into the world with such a negative name’, but for me it’s the strength of the word I love, and besides there is so much saccharin niceness in music today it absolutely needs to be readdressed with some negativity… but he was right.
Are you the complete opposite of Yes then?
See? This is what I’m talking about. We’re giving you journos a free ride with our name. “No talent, No tunes”… “Are you a Yes tribute band”… this interview is virtually writing itself. The amount of diatribe you can milk out of our band name is phenomenal. Hey, backwards it spells “ON” which is the opposite of “OFF”, y’know.
God you’re right. Now I understand you play ‘indie’ music, whatever that is. Why do you do that then?
Indie music? Do one mister; No does not play indie music. No play ROCK; a label generic enough to encapsulate us (and every other ’kin band on the planet). We’ve also been called alternative, punk, punk ‘n’ roll, gertcha, slacker rock, dirty rawk growlers, the list goes on… but no-one has called us indie yet; at least, not to our face.
Do people actually like you?
People are too scared to talk to me / I’m too scared to talk to people. It’s a reciprocal relationship. Onstage is a different matter. The band is known to go a bit loopy, bless ‘em.
Which band would you all rather be in, if you had the ability?
Van Halen – unfortunately I don’t have the ability to do star jumps clad in spandex, or get my hair to style to such an incredible size.
Who are your favourite bands? Please make sure I’ve heard of them.
No has many favourites. We like Sebadoh, for honesty and humanity and great riffs. Pavement and the Pixies are also in there, because there’s always room for them in your life.
Who would you like to imitate on Stars In Their Eyes?
Matthew Kelly? Owww, no, sorry, bad joke. I’m amazed no one has realized that there is real potential for subversion on that program. I mean I’d love to see someone do Peaches’ Fuck the Pain Away on prime-time Saturday television. Now that’s entertainment.
You could probably do with the benefits of Pop Idol or Fame Academy. Where do you think you’re going wrong?
We took a lot of from the combined wisdoms of Pop Idol & Fame Academy; it appeals to our vulture-like whorish desire for celebrity. Surely the best thing in the world is to be on TV? Do people exist outside of TV?
Now I understand you’re a local band. That’s your choice, I’m not judging you. Have you any thought of going somewhere else?
Maybe to get away from you, ya big meff!
Which member of the band would you like to get rid of, ‘cos they’re holding you back?
I wouldn’t say any one member of the band is holding us back; I’d like to think it’s the combined effort of all of us.
You see No is all about the team ethic… oh, and music and guitars and stuff; but mainly team effort.
Remember when music used to be good. Whatever happened to those days?
Are you forgetting the dark days of the late eighties? There was nothing but pop on the radio, we were overrun by talent-less antipodeans like Kylie Minge, and Pete Waterman had a vice like grip on the charts. Er, hang on…
Ok, so the mainstream music culture is piss poor, even the cool stuff about at the moment is a bunch of Americans making garage music and post-rock electro stuff… I don’t worry, because it’s times like this that underground culture can really kick against the bollocks.
No thank you very much. I mean No, thank you very much. (This is fun, you’re right).

Interview – Surge

(Originally published in Inform Magazine, June 2003)

We all like punk music. Apparently. And there’s no one more punkier than young urchins Surge, who are no strangers to the odd Ramones cover. Local radio DJ and a man who’s already got his order in for the new Barbie range Mike Flange is the man for the job of talking to singer Aaron, because he hasn’t got a clue what punk is, although he does hang around Quiggins on a Saturday afternoon.

Hello Surge, now I understand you’re a local band who plays gigs in Liverpool. Is this why I’ve never heard of you?
If we put aside the grammatical errors in that question, I would say the reason you havent [sic – Revengeful Ed] heard of us is that you are ignorant and have spent too much time listening to Iconoclast.

Interesting name, was that the best you could come up with?
No actually, we came up with loads of great names. Killing Joke, Joy Division, Bill Hayley and his Comets. Unfortunately these names had all been taken up so we had to settle for the only one that wouldn’t land us in court.

I understand you play ‘punk’ music. Isn’t that all a bit old nowadays?
Nah, not really…. there are a lot of bands now that think themselves to be ‘punk’, when actually they’re shite, ripping off american pop bands. We’re just concerned that kids think punk is wearing a cap backwards with a pair of baggy kecks, without actually taking note of its roots.

Do people actually like you?
Probably not, but we don’t care. As long as some fat cat record company geezer, who’s willing to throw bin bags full of money at us likes us, that’s the main thing.

Which band would you all rather be in, if you had the ability?
Cock Off… they wish.

Who are your favourite bands? Please make sure I’ve heard of them?
I can’t quarantee you’ll have heard of them, I only like cool bands. Well, my fave band of all time has gotta be The Clash, but I also lurve The Ramones, Stiff Little Fingers… a lot of crusty punk bands. To some extent though, it’s a shame that I’ve had to look into the past to find exciting music, it’s pretty soul destroying to think that there is very little inspiration around at the moment.

Who would you like to be on Stars in Their Eyes, if you had the ability?
It’d be good to try and be Mathew Kelly trying to be Gary Glitter. Perhaps with an alleged guest appearance from Pete Townshend.

You could probably do with the benefits of Pop Idol or Fame Academy, where do you think you’re going wrong?
We’ve never heard of either of those things, but I think we should have jumped on the scall rock bandwagon when we had the chance. I hate the fact that scouse music has been pigeonholed, but if you get a whiff of money you should follow it. Yeah, that’s defo where we’ve gone wrong… too little emphasis on making cold, hard, evil cash. One of The Crescent lives on my road, get in touch if you want all the dirt on ’em.

Now I understand you’re a local band. Have you any thought of playing gigs outside Liverpool?
Hactually, we’ve done quite a few outside Liverpool. We done The Cathouse in Glasgow once and ended up owing them £60 ’cos we didn’t get enough heads in, the thieving bastards. They don’t exactly help the Scottish stereotype! We’ve got plans to tour soon as well, taking a couple of local bands with us.

Which member of the band would you to get rid of ’cos they’re holding you back?
Ha ha! Good ’un! To be honest, we’re sick of kicking people out of the band, were down from six members to three now! Any more and we’d be fucked.

Remember when music used to be good.  Whatever happened to those days?
Are you shitting me? We have lots of quality acts today, just look at Good Charlotte or Bowling for Soup. You just won’t find better bands in the group aimed at five to eight year olds. Music hasn’t gotten worse, our standards have increased. Now I’m off to swap recipes with Kling Klang. They make a rockin’ sponge cake y’know.

Interview – Corolla

(Originally published in Inform Magazine, May 2003)

After talking to people who’ve actually been in the charts last month, we made sure that it didn’t go to Mike Flange’s head by giving him a band who have only just started. Corolla is the name of the band, and Keith the drummer is the guy who Mike – Europe’s biggest fan of Stargate SG1 – is going to talk to in the hope of giving them a leg up.

Hello Corolla. Now I understand you’re a local band who plays gigs in Liverpool. Is this why I’ve never heard of you?
Well to be honest we’ve not been going that long. The final piece of the puzzle was when Hosey joined the band back in about September 2002. Since then we’ve only had four gigs. Three in the Zanzibar in Liverpool (November 2002, Jan and Feb 2003) and the last one back in March in the Retro Bar in Manchester. But don’t worry, once we finish our EP in May we’ll be doing a lot more gigs and speading the CD around.

Interesting name. Was that the best you could come up with?
Not for me personally. I had a load of really cool names. It was just that we couldn’t all agree on one that we all liked.  In the end Nick (guitar/vocals) and Sonny (bass) were sat outside the place where they were doing a music course trying to think of a name. Next thing this Toyota Corolla drives past. The rest is history as they say.

I understand you play ‘indie’ music, whatever that is. Why do you do that then?
It’s just what we like. Personally I’m a man of all music genres. But it’s Nick and Hosey that come up with most of the songs. And it’s their main influence. I try and add a bit of funk to the mix where I can. But it doesn’t always go down too well with the others in the band.

Do people actually like you?
Yeah they do. When we got a recording of our first gig at the Zanzibar, my girlfriend didn’t stop listening to it for months. And we get people coming up to us after gigs telling us they really enjoyed our set. Which is always nice.
Obviously there will be some people who don’t like us.  But you’re always gonna have that with any band.

Which band would you all rather be in, if you had the ability?
For me I’d rather be the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But who the fuck wouldn’t? I’d say Nick and Hosey would rather be Oasis but they would kick my head in for saying that!

You could probably do with the benefits of Pop Idol or Fame Academy. Where do you think you’re going wrong?
I don’t think we are going wrong to be honest. We haven’t been going too long just yet so it’s early days. Still plenty of time to make our mark. We are coming up with new songs all the time and our different personal influences help balance the songs out and keep them a bit varied.
Like I said, we have a 4 track CD that’s nearly finished that will give us a chance to get our stuff heard a bit more and hopefully from that we can start planning a few more gigs. If we had to resort to being muppets on Pop Idol or Fame Academy, then I would be worried!

Now I understand you’re a local band. That’s your choice, I’m not judging you. Have you any thought of going somewhere else?
Well we started off just doing Liverpool.  But with our last gig we ventured to Manchester and it was a good change.  Hopefully we can try a few more places once we have a demo to send out to places where people haven’t heard of us. Everybody has to start somewhere. We definitely hope to get around and won’t be happy just being a good local band. It might suit some bands but not us.

Which member of the band would you like to get rid of, ’cos they’re holding you back?
I’m sure the rest of them would get rid of me because I can be a moody sod at times. But if they did they wouldn’t have anybody to taxi them round!

Remember when music used to be good. Whatever happened to those days?
Well we all look back and think things were better back in the day. But a lot of the time it’s just a bunch of bullshit. I think we block out the bad and tend to just remember the good. Every decade had it’s good and bad music. Today is no different. The 90s might have been a great time for indie, britpop and grunge. But you still had Mr Blobby at number one! Same goes for every decade.

Thank you Corolla, you’ve been, er, great. Next month it could be Surge. If anyone can find them.

Corolla’s 4 Track CD Last Minute Journey will be out soon.

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