Indieterria meets TommyandMary

Dear Readers,

Band logo

Since we are already in July and the days are longer, we will have a double (or maybe even a triple) portion of Indieterria this month. So much music to listen to and great bands to tell you about. This episode is all about Thomas and Mary Yaman, known professionally as TommyandMary.  This is our pleasure and privilege to introduce you dear readers to punk rock duo that is building themselves a cult following in London. Based in Brixton, they work hard, play even harder and have won their fans not only by the strength of their music, but also because of the affection and respect they show each other.

We have sat down with Tommy and Mary to speak about their new album, busking, being  independent artists and song writing.

Forget about Sid and Nancy, we have got better couple in town! And they rock!

The Angels of Brixton

The Angels of Brixton

You are described as British answer to The White Stripes. Like Jack and Meg White, you are married and until recently, you have played exclusively with each other. You also divide band duties in similar way as Mary plays drums whilst Tommy concentrates on guitars and vocals. Do you consider comparisons to The White Stripes to be a badge of honour, lazy journalism or perhaps you  just don’t care?

Tommy: I think people will always compare us to The White Stripes and many other duos. I personally don’t think we sound like The White Stripes at all. I grew up  when The Strokes, Kings of Leon and The Libertines and off course The White Stripes all came out at the same time. But Jack and Meg were never my cup of tea. Mary didn`t even know who they were until someone mentioned them to her while we were busking.

Can you remember the moment when you two decided to form a band together?

Tommy: Yes, very well. We were outside my old apartment where Mary and I lived for a while. The band I was in at the time and Mary joined had split. I wanted to play solo as I found it difficult to cope with all 5 personalities I had to play with at the time. And Mary thought it would be cool if we played just us two and carried on our musical journey together.

The fondness you show for each other is unparalleled on the indie scene. Band bio says “TommyandMary are one word because we are that close”. You wear matching attires (“I prefer the drummer” – Tommy, “Unavailable” – Mary) and then there is “Angels” – powerful love song  about yourselves released as a single. We have to say – it is incredible to witness such affection.

Mary posing in her signature “Unavailable” tee

Matching attires.

Tommy wearing his “I prefer the drummer” shirt

Mary: Music is a very sensitive and fragile form of art and the fact that we are married and are in a band together just makes it even more personal. We grow together as individuals and as musicians and the love that we have for each other makes everything seem possible. I hope it shows in our music!

Another thing that sets you apart from other acts is your working ethics. For the last two years you have combined regular gigs with extensive busking. It seems the life on an independent artist is pretty intensive.

Tommy: We’ve stopped busking for now. We couldn’t stand it anymore (laughs) but I think we learnt a lot from it. It built our confidence.

Your busking escapades quickly turned into a permanent residency at the Oxford Circus attracting hundreds of people each time you played. Can you tell us how does it feels to be playing on Britain’s busiest street?

Tommy: Busking gave us an opportunity to meet some amazing people from all over the world and acquire some professional contracts. Mary got sponsored by Underground and we both got sponsored by company called W.S.Studio. Not to mention that we had once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record our latest album “Authority” at Rupert Cobb’s Gun Hill Studios with the AMAZING Gary Wallis. So I think the goods outweighs the amounts of times we were harassed by the public and judged for being beggars by some clothing companies that had no idea about our passion for performing and playing music.

Tommy at The 100 Club

Mary posing for the Underground brand

Is it safe to be a busker in London? And  a question that must follow the first one – is it profitable  in the times of everlasting rush and gripping austerity?

Tommy:  I think anything is profitable when your passion for something is bigger than the price. And  to be honest, no it isn’t safe. Especially when there is still a minority of crazy, ignorant people in the world and as a busker you are exposed to it.

Your regular gigs took you to some of capital`s most celebrated venues. Among many 100 Club, Nambucca, Camden Assembly and now 229. How is club circuit responding to independent acts?

Tommy: We’ve definitely been to some amazing venues like 100 Club and 93 Feet East. It gave us a chance to meet some bands and musicians that have been in the game for a while longer than us. It’s inspiring but also feels overwhelming.

Mary at The 100 Club

TommyandMary supported number of prolific artists, most recently The Telescopes. How do you recall that particular show?

Tommy: Having been on the same stage as some legendary acts, we both felt like we really had to step up and not let our ancestors down.

Mary, you are known for very technical and powerful style of drumming despite downsizing your kit to bare essentials. Something similar was practiced by Palmolive  (original sticks woman of the punk heroines The Slits). What inspired you to hit things for a living?

Mary:  I can’t agree with saying that my drumming is technical at all. In fact loads of drummers criticised me about the way I sit, hold sticks and set up my drum kit. But yeah, I prefer aggressive style of drumming as it allows me to feel the songs and it is just boring otherwise. Tommy suggested busking one day and I just went with it.

As a band`s chief tunesmith, you don’t shy from tacking contemporary topics such as corporate/precarious work (“My manager is a prick”), obsession with celebrities (“Rich acting Rich For The Poor”) or going though existential crisis (“Red”). Do you believe that it is important for artists to be socially and politically active?

Tommy: I believe if an artist is only writing about ego or their own spoilt opinions, he or she is avoiding the honesty that lays in each person’s heart. Whether this is political or not, the truth is that we are all in this journey together and being ignorant, self indulgent or judgmental isn’t something that I encourage. But being empathetic to both worlds, the ego and the selflessness give me an insight into what lays in-between inaction and people’s willingness to ensemble, and this is something worth writing about. Contradiction is something that is often reflected in my thoughts and actions and I want to learn more about psychological and philosophical aspects of writing. So I don’t think politics is really my strength.

The band is on their third independent release. “Authority” was debuted earlier this year and was recorded at Gun Hill Studios in London. It is a significant change in sound compared to “The Things we love” (2015) and “Smoke Break -Side A” (2016). Your songs are layered, elaborate even. Are you satisfied with this new direction?

Sleeve to debut release Together We Love

Smoke Break -Side A – collage and pins, this record is in our musical archives and is signed!

Authority – third release

Tommy:  For our  first album “Together We Love”, I had written all the songs and Mary didn’t have much of a say or creative input. But as we grew musically together, we began to think collaboratively on our sound and direction. Our experiences started to reflect in our music and we really started to learn more about our sound and what we wanted to write about.

“Authority” is accompanied by three promotional videos (“Angels”, “Authority”, “The Rich acting Rich For The Poor”) and an alternative DIY video to “The Rich…” directed by the band, a fan documentary and a video interview. That’s an enormous amount of work put into promoting the album. Do you enjoy collaborating with others?

Tommy:  We have made a lot of friends from our music and we absolutely love spending time with them. The DIY videos that we made are all about the collaboration that we can have with our friends and using their talents to make things happen. But also it is important for us to have a great time making something together.

We heard though a grapevine that you are planning to introduce a new guitarist  to the fold.

Tommy:  A lot of bands add members after a while to create a wider range of sounds. We decided that this isn’t the direction we want to take. We want to keep it as it is. We don’t want to change. Although we were thinking of  bringing a friend in for our next show  as he is an amazing guitarist and writer. I know for sure that he will be very successful with his music in the long run. But no, we won’t be adding another band member.

Random. Last. Question. If you could travel to the golden years of rock music with whom would you tour?

Tommy: The Clash did a lot of busking in their days. So I would have liked to play a few shows with them.  I think Mary’s drums would have been a huge factor in pushing boundaries in the late 70s (laughs). Or perhaps I could be in New York playing a few shows at CBGB`s with The Dead Boys, that would have been amazing, having been given the opportunity.

Mary: I would have played with The Rolling Stones and Queen.

TommyandMary: One Word

You can follow TommyandMary here:

https://www.tommyandmary.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/tommyandmary/
https://twitter.com/tommyandmary
https://www.instagram.com/tommyandmary_punkduo/

Upcoming gig

0n 7/7/2017 TommyandMary will play a gig at 229 Venue in London, if you are around, grab your tix here:

http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/280535
http://www.seetickets.com/event/absent-kelly-introducing-bexatron/229-venue-2/1106054

See ya in the mosh pit  kids!

Rita+Mal

Indieterria meets Michael Knowles

We go political!

Michael Knowles blows a kiss towards audience at Drum and Pig pub/music venue on its final night before a temporary closure and management takeover. Worcester, February 25, 2017

Everything`s political as Skunk Anansie song goes. And May issue of Indieterria will be all that and even a bit philosophical.

We are steering back our ship to Worcester shores to introduce you to Michael Knowles – leader of The STDs and one of the most controversial figures in the Midlands. How politically incorrect is Mr Knowles? His new single is called “Theresa May is a cunt” and contains language so strong you may want to dig out your “Cop Killers” and “Straight Outta Comptons” out of the basement instead. We can see you rolling your eyes and ears dear readers. So we will ante up and tell you that besides being potty-mouthed, Michel Knowles has a voice of 4,5 octaves, a pitch perfect hearing and is a trained in music production.

Aha, controversial yet talented – now that is a hard mixture to swallow for some. It is much easier to dismiss musicians and artists as immature and looking for attention when  they are painted as  common nobodies. Much harder to do so when artists are seen as complex humans who have their strengths and exercise the right to freedom of speech.

The current world of pop music has been derived of controversial and outspoken characters to the point that you cant even hear songs on the radio that were in heavy rotation 20 years ago in the middle of the day. Try requesting Nine Inch Nails` Closer nowadays on the radio and see what they will play you.

Indie scene had always a place for counter culture and the obscene and we are happy to report that independent and unsigned artists are stepping in to fill the hole. Shame have fantastic “VISA Vulture” with its libelous video to match, The Blinders paint messages on their guitars and Michael Knowles and The STDs hammer the message nicely from our town.   You may see it as unnecessary and infantile – but we see it a form of balance. Music is broad enough to incorporate Little Mix and The STDs in all their respective popness and cockiness.

Fear not. The interview below is all nice and dandy and you may find out that controversial  figures can have a lot of cleaver things to say. We loved the passion Michael has for his musical heroes. So sit back and read on:

Michael Knowles performing live at Drum and Pig pub/music venue on its final night before a temporary closure and management takeover. Worcester, February 25, 2017

 

Michael Knowles – a stream of consciousness

Technology is a wonderful thing. For example, it allows you to interview artists even late at night from the comfort of your own office. You type the questions into instant messenger and wait for the answers to arrive. Piece of cake. On the downside, technology can`t replicate that old fashioned feeling of excitement that every music journalist feels when meeting a new and promising act in person. And you need to know Michael Knowles surely earned himself a name to be regarded as exciting and controversial in equal measures. He fronts a band called The STD`s, dresses like it`s 1980s and is known for performances that are politically incorrect yet hilariously funny. No journalist would pass  the opportunity to see what makes Michael tick and we are no exception.

This is what we have found out:

Tell us about the band. How many of you and how did you start?

There were only three of us to start with: Steve Church, Dean Thomas Carter and myself. Steve and I had worked together in the past on an album I never released. Dean and I had played together in the house band of The Flag in Worcester (back then known as The Tap). One day we went to this kid`s backyard studio and we all fit really well so we started looking for a bassist as at the start Steve was on guitar.  Over time we’ve had some great musicians join us on – George, James or Tadd. They have come and gone to find new projects. Right now the line up is Steve on bass, The Jack (Tad Jones) on guitar, Dean on drums and myself on vocals. Plus I play guitar too.

Michael Knowles & The STDs performing live on 14th January 2017 at Marrs Bar
Photo by Andy O`Hare
https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

So four guys in a rock and roll band that is nothing like Worcestershire ever seen.

This is true.

You have a very distinct image – very 80s classic rock. On purpose or is it just how you guys roll?

To be honest,  we’ve only really dressed up for gigs a few times but now I mean we don’t really want to have to look through stuff to wear!

So there`s image change on the cards? You know you have already made yourself a name of new Steel Panther in town!

It depends where we shop next (laughs) and really I thought we had the reputation of a noisy bunch.

Noisy yes. But people rather see you as classic rock revival. Quite an interesting twist on David Lee Roth and Poison.

Well, that wasn’t our intention.

What was your intention then?

Just to be noisy and chaotic.

We could add early Alice In Chains to the influences you represent.

There was never really a plan. Still isn’t.

You still evolving sonically?

We’ve got a lot of new stuff in the pipeline. We always do.

Michael Knowles & The STDs performing live on 14th January 2017 at Marrs Bar
Photo by Andy O`Hare
https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

If you were to describe new songs- what would you say? Shall we buy earplugs in advance?

Possibly. There’s  material about some dark times and then whatever we write in the meantime. Plus a concept album.

So no more comic rock and songs about female attributes?

Probably not. But who knows? Let’s face it there’s no plan.

You said that world doesn’t need love songs anymore. That world needs anger.

This is true. I think a lot of anything I’ve written that could be considered “love songs” are usually bitter sweet. With a hint of sarcasm and a lot of anger.

Well, Ledbury Song is very angry but at the same time hilariously funny. You have audience roaring with laughter.

It is less of a song, more of a rant really.

Michael Knowles & The STDs performing live on 14th January 2017 at Marrs Bar
Photo by Andy O`Hare
https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

We don’t know if you agree- but we see your lyrics as a mix of Tenacious D with Morrissey-esque cynical humour and playing with words.

I doubt I could ever be compared to Morrissey. I’m never that poetic (laughs)

The Ledbury Song has the same motif as Everyday Is Like A Sunday:  dislike for a small town that is becoming like a prison for a young person. Moz also wants to bomb the town and he is not poetic about it.

I haven’t heard it but I agree with him.

You come from a small place?

A small town. Small in size and small minded. Hard to be anyone there.

Do you think you would be different if you were born in London?

I’ve been to London and I hate that place. Too big and far too busy. Everyone in a hurry to go nowhere.

So perhaps there`s a positive side of being born in a small town?

I think the point is everyone hates where they are from eventually but it’s always where you call home.

Who would you put in your top 5 artists?

I’d say Tool, Amen, early Slipknot and honestly Trent Reznor and Bill Hicks.

Michael Knowles & The STDs performing live on 14th January 2017 at Marrs Bar
Photo by Andy O`Hare
https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

Very broad influences.

I just love their attitudes and way of creating. I love how Bill Hicks was born in the religious South yet could deconstruct the archaic institutions that he was thrust into. I love how angry Slipknot were and to a 13 year old outcast they represented hope that you might be a freak but there was a place in this world for you. Amen taught me that record companies are just stupid. Tool taught me the beauty of feedback and how atmosphere can really make the hairs on your neck stand up. And Trent is just the god of chaos in noise.

You talk so poetically about music. You will put Moz out of business one day.

It’s all I have really. My whole life has been music and everything else has come and gone but there was always solace in music.

You sing, write, compose, play instruments – that’s lot of talents.

I see it as separate parts of one whole encompassing thing that is just me.

Where do you think the music will take you or the band?

It’s less about what music can do and more about how far we take it. We’re not looking to be billionaire rock stars with handlers. Our goals are to play every show and know at least half the audience.

And will that be enough?

It was always enough to have fans to grow with than trying to appease the masses.

You can follow Michael Knowles online at:

https://www.facebook.com/MKandSTDs
https://www.instagram.com/michael_knowles21
https://soundcloud.com/michael-knowles-music
https://soundcloud.com/michael-knowles-music/michael-knowles-the-stds

https://www.facebook.com/michael.knowles.5832343

At the beginning of April 2017, Michael Knowles and The STDs began recording of their new material using premises at Marrs Bar in Worcester as a studio. The result is album (that still needs to receive a release date) and a single “Theresa May is a cunt”. You can listen it here:

https://michaelknowlesthestds.bandcamp.com/track/theresa-mays-a-cunt

As we said – you may not agree with the bands sentiments but taking into consideration news item such as: HERE  or HERE, it makes us wonder if the song should not be at least six minutes longer. To act as a vent for the anger and frustration, if not anything else.

 

Our interview with Michael Knowles has been kindly reprinted in Slap Magazine and you can see your copy at the link below:

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/slap-issues/issue-69-may-2017.pdf

Or download copy  here:

issue-69-may-2017

Some images for our records if anything else fails:

Slap Magazine feature – May 2017 edition

Photo of the article

Kudos to Andy O`Hare from BBC Hereford & Worcester for allowing us some of his photos.

And if you found this edition of Indieterria too much, bear with us. Next time we are going to the church!

Malicia

**** Update 02/06/2017****

We have awesome news to report. This summer, UK will see a gigantic series of gigs and concerts under banner of “Musicians Against Homelessness”. This initiative was started in 2016 by legendary A&R and founder of Creation Records – Alan McGee. Its aim is simple – to gather funds for Crisis, charity that helps fight homelessness.

Literary everyone involved in the initiative works/plays for free (that includes us as well)  and every penny raised is passed to Crisis. One of MAH events will take part in Hereford at the legendary Booth Hall (Never been? You have only yourself to blame) on July 8th as part of Hereford Punk Festival. If you are in the area, please come down and have fun because Rich Lovell and Minky Cuadra of Underground Revolution did pure magic and got together two sets of pure punk, rock and poetry madness.

Hereford Punk Festival – line up in aid of Crisis

Hereford Punk Festival – MAH event just looks incredible

Michael Knowles is obviously on the bill and that will be just a fantastic opportunity to listen to his new material tested on the stage. He will not play lullabies, we warn you.

If you want  to learn more, here are some links worth checking:

Musicians Against Homelessness
https://www.facebook.com/mahgigs/

The Booth Hall
https://www.facebook.com/TheBoothHallHereford

Rich Lovell
https://www.facebook.com/rich.lovell.37

Minky Cuadra
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010293331172

Underground Revolution
https://www.facebook.com/groups/undergroundrevolution/

Crisis
https://www.crisis.org.uk/

 

Oh and STD`s album launch happens one month before  the gig in Hereford on June  9th at Marrs Bars in Worcester. So get your copy and you will be set up for sing a-long. It will be also one day after the snap elections, so you know 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/events/1786676631644926/

Humor is the devil`s friend – album cover

The STDs in all their glory

 

Xxxooo
Rita+Mal

Indieterria meets The Fidgets

Hello Dear Music Explorers,

The Fidgets are not worse than Lisa Loeb. They have some fashionable glasses as seen in the band`s logo

Indieterria has retreated to more familiar waters . Once a month we will be giving exposure to a local artist from music scene in Worcester- acts that we believe have original sound, work hard and bring something new to the sonic table. First on our list are The Fidgets – jangle pop duo that may put our city on a musical map quicker than you are able to say Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Mixing influences ranging from The Beatles, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones to The Kinks and The Byrds, The Fidgets begin where Cast and The LA`s have left in the 90s. That makes them unique on the whole indie scene at the moment.  The newest act with similar sound are The No-Ones (project that  includes Peter Buck of REM), so you can see how high is the bar for Max and Ryan.

Not only we sat with The Fidgets for an interview, but also got to hear their new single.  We tell you – this town has some amazing scene and we are here to chronicle it!

Move along people – much to see below!

Max and Ryan photographed by Josh Foster https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

From buskers to cathedral town heroes

These days, it is hard to imagine the High Street in Worcester without two distinctive figures busking around. With their signature glasses on,  guitars in hands and voices in perfect unison – The Fidgets have become an important feature in Worcester.  A ray of hope to put the town back on a music map. With a vision and passion, The Fidgets cultivate pop melodies and vocal harmonies placing themselves in a league on their own on an indie scene saturated with noise and postpunk rebellion. We`ve met the band to see what they have got in store for 2017.

You are one of the most prolific bands in West Midlands at the moment. But for those who may not be familiar with your history, please introduce yourselves.

Hi! We’re The Fidgets!! The two of us – that would be Ryan Skidmore and Max Stockin – met in 2012 when Max answered an ad placed by Ryan on http://www.joinmyband.com for musicians inspired by ‘60s pop music, and especially The Beatles. We played live for the first time in March 2013 (coming up for four years!) and we’ve played God knows how many times since then – the 500th gig was early last year.

Your music is a mix of classic rock, blues, northern soul and mod revival. Quite unusual for today`s pop music climate. Who are your sonic heroes?

The Beatles, of course! Everything comes back to them, it’s been nothing short of an obsession for years! Around that, our influences are really varied, we both love ‘50s and ‘60s pop in general and the two of us each have our own little avenues. Max is very into Blues and Country music, he’s a big fan of Teddy Thompson, and he’s a huge fan of Chuck Berry. Ryan is a very big fan of modern pop and is currently very much into The 1975 and Ed Sheeran. We both love loads of stuff, but the bulk of our influence definitely comes from the ‘60s.

Looking into the future.
photography by Josh Foster https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

The band seems to be moving on up at incredible speed. Your first EP (“I`m Alright”) came out in 2015 to local acclaim and well attended gigs . You followed last year with another EP “Its Only You” and immediately were invited to do BBC Introducing session. It must have been a quite an experience.

I suppose things are moving a bit fast! It never looks that way from the inside, you don’t have time to think about it, everything just goes by in a bit of a blur, it’s only when you look back that you realize what you’ve done. 2016 was big for us! We did a handful of things for the BBC which was exciting! Of course, The Introducing session was fantastic, and the crowd at the Christmas Lights Switch-On was amazing.

BBC Hereford & Worcester placed you at no 7 of the best bands for 2017. Slap Magazine previously described your music as “brilliant”. With such a strong support from local audience and the press, The Fidgets truly are on a brink of better things to come. Does the band feel it too?

Honestly we don’t know what’s going to happen! It definitely feels like things are getting bigger now, but we’ve been in the game a lot longer than anyone remember us for! We’re very excited for the future, but we try not to get cocky!

Recently Worcester News ran a controversial article about new busking scheme to be introduced in town, placing you on the front cover of the paper. Are you getting used to attention?

Definitely, yeah. We’ve been well known around Worcester since the tail end of 2015 and it’s rare for us to go out without being recognized now. It has really picked up recently though! Around Christmas time we were chased through Crowngate Shopping Center by a teenager and her mum for a signed CD and a hug! That kind of thing is getting quite common. It’s brilliant, but it hasn’t stopped being strange!

Worcester News with The Fidgets on the cover,
Every publicity is good publicity

Sometimes you expand for your performances. Would you tell us about the musicians you work with?

We’ve put together a backing band! Dave Whittaker, our bassist, was a friend socially first, we saw each other a lot at the Marr’s Bar on Wednesday open mic nights and he’s a great player. He was the natural choice. Our drummer Jack Bowles went to Sixth Form with Ryan in Bromsgrove, and Ryan had his eye on him from a band even before he was in one. He’s amazing.

Gracing the covers. The Fidgets in Slap Magazine
Cover photo by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

Your new single “Everywhere I Go” comes out in March. It will be accompanied by a video. Can you tell us more about it?

We’ve had to put off the release of the single until later in the month unfortunately (technical difficulties!) We shot the video around the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, and we’ve just had a first full draft come through as we speak. We’re very proud of it, it’s a big step up from what we’ve done before and it’s the first of our videos to feature anyone other than ourselves.

The band has been teasing big things to come in 2017. What should we expect? New material? Festival appearances?

Well, we can’t give away too much I’m afraid! But 2017 is already looking like a big one. Yes there will definitely be new material with an EP being released in May and yes we are already booked in for festivals in the summer at Mello Festival and Severn Sounds Festival on the main stage and there’s guaranteed to be more confirmed soon. Watch this space!

Slap Magazine cover
Photo by Josh Foster
Slap Magazine interview (page one)
Photography by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

You have also been involved in collaboration with Royal Shakespeare Company. Can you disclose any details about this project?

Ah we’re very happy to be a part of it! I’d love to tell you what it is but I don’t have a copy of our contract handy and it’s possible we’ve been sworn to secrecy! Besides, we don’t like to spoil our surprises. When there’s something to know, you’ll know!

The Fidgets went from busking to heroes of a cathedral city. Where do you see yourself in the years to come?

Heroes is a bit strong, but thank you very much! We’re very proud of where we’ve got to already and things can only get better in the future! We’ve got all sorts of big ambitions but everyone knows if you tell wishes they don’t come true!! Just keep an eye on the charts and we’ll see what happens shall we? We like big dreams. Unrealistic is our thing!

Eager to prove themselves but playing cards to their chest – The Fidgets are on their way into promising future. With a new release, a single, home coming gigs and an upcoming festival season – they cannot fail. Here`s to the boys that sing.

***

The Fidgets  – “Everywhere I Go” (single review)

The cover for Everywhere I go single, photo by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

Worcestershire based duo, The Fidgets are releasing their new single “Everywhere I Go” this month. SLAP magazine was lucky to hear it first and we can report that this melodious, 60’s inspired love song is going to be a new fan favorite.

“Everywhere I go” opens up a new chapter in the bands history, proving that The Fidgets have evolved and matured considerably since their last release “It’s only you” in 2016 and became a truly unique, pure-blooded rock and roll act deserving their place on the BBC Hereford and Worcestershire list of bands to look out for this year.

The mid tempo, Beatlesque three minute single is filled with perfect harmonies, catchy riffs and will undoubtedly have the crowds swinging and singing along. It also has a distinctive Northern vibe to it, with Max Stockin sounding eerily similar to  Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Fans of classic rock, The LA’s and The Cast will have a chance to catch The Fidget rocking the Marrs Bar on March 17th.

Banner for the single release on Spotify

The single is accompanied by obligatory music video:

If you are on Spotify, listen here:

 

***

 

The Fidgets in full line up with Jack Bowles and Young-Dave Whittaker recording a session for BBC Introducing 18.09.2016

If you wan to follow The Fidgets – please use these links:

http://www.thefidgets.com/
https://soundcloud.com/the-fidgets
https://www.facebook.com/thefidgetsband
https://twitter.com/TheFidgets
https://www.instagram.com/the_fidgets/

Part of the band`s charm are the session musicians that support Max and Ryan on stage: drummer Jack Bowler (EMPYRE/Willow Robinson) and  Young-Dave Whittaker. This rhythm section is so powerful, they are locally nicknamed as Worcester`s own  Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce.  Kid you not.  Many a band lined up to work with Dave and Jack but to no avail. Max and Ryan know that you should never change a winning team.

You can follow Young-Dave and  Jack below:

https://www.facebook.com/jack.bowles.520
https://www.facebook.com/youngdave.whittaker

 

Slap Magazine interview (page one)
Photography by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

 

Slap Magazine interview (page two)
Photography by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

You can  see this interview in Slap Magazine for March 2017

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/slap-issues/issue-67-march-2017.pdf

or you can download the copy here:

issue-67-march-2017

That`s all from us for now. We hope you had fun reading.

Mal/Rita

****Update 18.03.2017****

It`s their party and they can rock if they want to!

We have written on our blog before that The Fidgets were to headline a home coming gig on March 17th at Marrs Bar in Worcester. What we have not mentioned to the band is that we planned to treat them to an unexpected cake-and-candles party. See, both Ryan and Max celebrate their bday within one week from each other and it was just too good not to use this opportunity.  So Vanadian Avenue ventured to the gig armed with two huge chocolate torts, candles, napkins, lighters, paper trays and a spatula.

The Fidgets took their headlining duties very seriously and  delivered 1,5 h set filled with their original material and covers. Guests came on stage to join the band for certain performances and the entire audience had a wonderful time, one by one slipping into the darkest corner of the venue to sign cards for the birthday boys.

When the last song came to an end  cakes were brought on to the stage and signed cards were handed. Max and Ryan had each a chance to blow the candles and make a wish.  Each member of the public was given a piece of the chocolate tort (you should always bring a spatula to the party) and the audience roared an out of tune birthday song.  Top night. Some pictures for you to enjoy below:

The Fidgets perform at Marrs Bar on March 17th 2017

Performance ends with a bow

Cakes!

Make a wish

Till the next time kids. We are off to find some alka seltzer.

Mal/Rita

Indieterria meets Tigerside

Hello,

 

Tigerside (from left): Riven, Esther, Greggs, John and David.

Tigerside (from left): Riven, Esther, Greggs, John and David.

Welcome to the first week of Indieterria. If you are not sure what we do here, read the intro.

We are on a year-long journey to create an atlas of new sonic landscapes for 2017 by introducing readers to artists that have something original and innovative to communicate. They may not be huge or ready to hit Top 40. Some of them may be on a way to greater things, but we will also look at artists who are unsigned and  still perfecting  their craft. It doesn’t matter how established you are in a long run. If you have got that spark, your own way of doing things or something interesting to show, you may find yourself featured on our musical map.

On the margins, we will also tag venues and other places to give our readers a deeper understanding of the local scene that the band came from.

We begin our travels  with Tigerside- a five piece from Salford, Manchester.  So, welcome everybody to Mancunia – the fabled land that gave us Hacienda & Anthony H Wilson, The Smiths & The Roses, New Order & Joy Division, Es & the baggy pants. Something is definitely in the water in Mancunia as they have more bands per square mile than the capital of grunge!

Paul aka Greegs

Paul aka Greegs

John Nash leading Tigerside

John Nash leading Tigerside

The idea for Tigerside (do not mistake with French  drone/ambient project My Tiger Side fronted by  Rémi Saboul) has been born a decade ago during Glastonbury Festival. It took few more years for  members of the band to relocate to Salford and properly concentrate on the project. Some line up changes occurred but are shrouded now in mystery. Currently the band consist of John Nash (on vocals), Esther Maylor (vocals, harmonies), Paul/Greggs (guitars), Riven (electronics/keyboards) and David Eagle (drums).

If you know Manchester scene a bit, you must be grinning like a Chesire Cat this very moment. If not – let us tell you a secret. Esther Maylor is known in town as  a member of another band with strong following –  b i e d e r b e c k.  She is also the landlady of Eagle Inn pub/venue in Salford.

Examining the  band`s pictures Tigerside look like they just enrolled into university, but don’t let that deceive you. All band members are in their 30s and come with quite an experience on stage and a whole list of musical heroes.  The band grew up listening to Radcliffe and Lard Show on BBC Radio 1 (that`s Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley if you are not familiar) and quote The Verve, Underworld, REM, Human League and Madchester scene as inspirations. They have been featured on BBC Introducing Manchester twice and sold out domestic venues such as Sound Control, Gullivers, Ruby Lounge (here they were supported by another rising star of Mancunia – The Blinders). Their London gig at Dublin Castle also sold out to the last place we are told. 2017 will see them playing festivals in Sweden and perhaps a steady supply of homecoming gigs.

Riven

Riven

John Nash live

John Nash live

Tigerside also come with an  unique ability to confuse music journalists. They describe themselves as  “postpunkhousepop”. Now try to describe that to your editor or readers. When we asked them for a bio, the band sent us this absolutely brilliant tagline. Let us quote it in full – because it would make early Manics green with envy:

“[Tigerside are] the sound of an afterhours party in a back street Salford boozer where everyone’s in and everybody knows your name. In the gutter and singing at the stars; it`s a baggy thing, a rocking thing but most of all a dancing thing. It`s chaos and a commotion and they’ll be your best friends through it all”.

Guys! Send this to Creation Management and you are guaranteed that Alan McGee himself will walk to your next gig!

If we had to define the sound of Tigerside, we would mention the likes of M83, Bastille, The XX  – so anything within the range of electropop/indie electronic and synthpop if one is to throw around musical labels. But you can`t box this band so easily as you may think.  Surprisingly there is a lot of Madchester sounds and rhythms in there (La La Samba), space and melody that bring Hooky`s The Light to mind (Pen Lea) or …even elements of classic U2 at their height (Song For The  Crow). John Nash channels Ian Curtis on stage with his strange dances and charisma, while Esther Maylor brings an element in harmonies that remind us of Sarah Snow from Maltese/Danish act No Snow/No Apls.

Other reviews we read mentioned Pink Floyd…

Head spin, isn’t it? That’s the real beauty of this band.  Whoever is able to trace all ingredients that go into musical elixir of Tigerside will undoubtedly receive a Mercury Prize or Godlike Genius award .

Some links for you dear readers:

YouTube offers a great live footage of Pen Lea

You may also hear the band though their Soundcloud and other social media quoted below:

https://www.facebook.com/tigerside
https://twitter.com/Tigerside
https://soundcloud.com/tigerside
https://www.reverbnation.com/tigerside

Tigerside are managed by Cathy Gregory and you can book the band via Cathytigerside@outlook.com

We recommend that you do.  Tigerside receives a stamp of approval from Vanadian Avenue and if any of our readers ever has the opportunity to listen to the band live – do not hesitate. You are in for a wild, yet very satisfying ride.

Malicia/Rita

 

Indieterria – all-on-board

All you good, good people – listen to this!

If you are confused, check with the sun

If you are confused, check with the sun

Music on Vanadian Avenue always had a strong presence. Few years ago, we ran a very successful series of interviews: Burton C Bell (Fear Factory/Ascension of The  Watchers), Valerie Kaye (Valium  of legendary  Pist On), Edu Mussi (Echoes and Shadows), John & Brittany or Steve Howard of Arado among others:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/category/interview/

Last year, we used Twitter to start showcasing new bands and discovered gems like Liines, TommyAndMary or The Lucettas:

http://www.weareliines.com/
http://www.tommyandmary.co.uk/
https://soundcloud.com/the-lucettas

This year we want to try something different.  Again.

We will compose our own  alternative/counterculture best of 2017 – by presenting one artist a week  though-out  the year.  We will give MNE a run for their money (they just produced a list of 100 bands to watch this year and most of them have been on the radar for at least two years) and create proper sound of 2017 as it unfolds.

So welcome to our new installment – Indieterria.

This section of the blog takes its name by mashing a famed night club (Danceteria) with a Latin word terra and focuses on the indie music.

We like to think of it as a musical atlas for new sonic landscapes. We`ll allow artists to take us on a journey  and see what we can find. One or two trips a month. We hope to discover islands, landmasses and  even entire continents.

All entries will be showcased below for easy access:

Discovery 1: Tigerside (Salford, Manchester)
Discovery 2: The Fidgets (Worcester)
Discovery 3: Jodie Hughes/The Lightweights (Worcester)
Discovery 4: Michael Knowles and The STDs (Ledbury/Hereford/Worcester)
Discovery 5: nth cave (Worcester)
Discovery 6: Jesse River Dylan Murray (Worcester)

If you like what we do on Indieterria or you would like to suggest an artist to showcase, you can let us know via blog, email or social media (we are setting those up, we know it’s a high time):

https://www.facebook.com/VanadianAvenue
Mal/Rita

Interview Logs: Val.Ium of Pist.On

Hello everybody!

We had a few days off but now we are now back into action! As you can see, we are still going through our archive and we are finding a true treasures there. This is the oldest interviews we have ever conducted! In 2002, Rita and Mal have been contacted by one of the journalists from Polish Radio Programme 3 to create a fan led music website that was to be called “The Rock Service”. Unfortunately, the project never really took off and we were left with several interviews and lots of materials.  Please read our conversation with the to incredible bass player Val.Ium. Enjoy!!

Interview with Val.Ium (ex – Pist.On)

There are not many women in metal music. Val.Ium, a bass player for New York City based band Pist.On is a notable exception. Known for her incredible skills and stage performance, Val took the male dominated music world by storm. The following interview has been conducted in April 2003 for a “Rock Service”, a fan created music website in co-operation with Polish Radio Programme 3. Sadly, the project never took off,  but the interview has been placed on PistArmy website two years later. Now updated with new information, it proves that the legacy of the band still lives on!

Part I: Life before music

Vanadian Avenue: You are one of the world’s top female bass players. What made you to pick up the bass guitar for the first time?

Val Ium: Well, I had originally learned to play the piano as a child, but, when I got into my teens, I developed an attraction to the heavy thumping beats of the bass. Once I met Henry, he wanted to switch over to the guitar, as he was originally a bass player as well, so, I just practiced my ass off so I could keep up with him.

Vanadian Avenue: You were raised in a religious family. You even attended two Catholic schools for 12 years. Do you think your childhood had any impact on your adult life?

Val Ium: Look at what a freak I am. What do you think?! 🙂

Vanadian Avenue: I know that The Cars are one of your favourite bands. Can you name your past and current favourites?

Val Ium: I grew up when MTV had just begun, so I was exposed to everything from Devo to Judas Priest and I’m thankful for that! MTV today in theUS sucks! I hear very little new bands that I really get excited over; I get more excited listening to the old metal bands; Priest, AC/DC, White Zombie, Motorhead, etc.

Val interview page 1, all rights reserved

Part II: A life in Pist.On

Vanadian Avenue: Was Pist.On your first band?

Val Ium: It was my first serious band! I played in a few others that I consider “practice” now looking back.

Vanadian Avenue: Pist.On was described by many music journalists as a cross between Metallica and Paradise Lost. True or false?

Val Ium: I never even heard or heard of Paradise Lost until we signed with their manager. I think the Metallica thing was a result of Josh Silver making Henry sings like Hetfield on that first record. They were never considered an influence though!

Vanadian Avenue: You are good friends with Type O Negative. Your first record “Number One” was produced by Josh Silver You can be also heard singing on one of their records – “October Rust”. How do you recall working with them? Are you still in touch?

Val Ium: We don’t really keep in touch at all anymore. We’ve all basically gone our separate ways in life. I sang on “In Praise of Bacchus” because I was there during the recording and I worked cheap!

Vanadian Avenue: Does Peter Steele scare you?

Val Ium: I would think that  I scare Peter much more than he could ever scare me. I’m sure he’d agree.

Vanadian Avenue: Shortly after finishing your debut album guitarist Paul Poulos and drummer Danny Jam Kavadlo left the band. Later your second drummer – Jeff McManus was told he had only six months to live plus you had numerous other problems not easy to solve. Bad luck, curse or a fatal fate?

Val interview page 2, all rights reserved

Val Ium: All three!

Vanadian Avenue: Ok, what’s the story with dropping the dot in your name for Atlantic label in the US?

Val Ium: Atlantic Records refused to release anything that “referred to bodily fluids”. We were against it from the beginning but no one ever cares what the band thinks when that much money is the issue!

Vanadian Avenue: After releasing your second album $ell.Out your band went on hiatus. Henry have satisfied himself that Pist.On wasn’t active for almost year and a half. He said, “My current [back in 2001 – Rita] situation made me attempt to disappear from the human race for the past three months”. – Can you tell what happened?

Val Ium: Allegedly he went into a deep depression, but looking back I think he just needed a little attention and knowledge that some people still cared.

Vanadian  Avenue: In statement published in January 2001 on your official web site you wrote, “We realized that we are happier being miserable together than being miserable apart and beside that we all tried to join other bands. But nobody wanted us so we are all doomed to stay together forever.” But six months later you have announced your departure from the band. Why?

Val interview page 3, all rights reserved

Val Ium: Because I was tired of trying to hold things together. Looking back I realize that it was just a selfish effort I made to keep the band going when no one else really wanted to do the work anymore. It was probably a mistake, but, if it did nothing else, it made me realize that I definitely had had enough. I regret things turned out the way they did to this day, but, it was a question of whether or not I wanted to keep my sanity. I chose to keep my sanity.

Part III: Life after the band

Vanadian Avenue: Ex bands should be remembered fondly. What was the best thing that has happened to you while being in Pist.On?

Val Ium: Without a doubt the two things I am proud of; the friends that I made whom I still keep in touch with and the places I got to see and things I got to do that very few people are lucky enough to. Meeting some big rock stars wasn’t too bad either. 🙂

Vanadian Avenue: “Val will be missed as she was my friend and my business partner for many years, but the show must go on”. These are the words of Henry. Is there a band without Val.Ium?

Val Ium: That’s a question for Henry to answer!

Vanadian Avenue: In an interview for Delirium mag, you said, “I’m pure evil … don’t come near me.” Are you still that angry?

Val Ium: No, my anger ran out when I left PistOn I think. My bitterness remains, though.

Val interview page 4, all rights reserved

Vanadian Avenue: You used to write for British edition of “Metal Hammer”. Do you plan the return of “Vanity Case”?

Val Ium: I doubt “Metal Hammer” would care to hear from me at this point!

Vanadian Avenue: What are your plans for the near future?

Val Ium: I am going to school to get a degree in textile design. (In May 2012, Val graduated with MA degree in Social work from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College – Rita)

Vanadian Avenue: Is there anything nice you would like to tell your hard core Polish fans? 🙂

Val Ium: Sure. I’d like to say that I appreciate every moment that I was fortunate enough to live my life as a musician. There is nothing like it in the world and I encourage anyone who wants to do it to work hard and not give up, as long as the fire burns within you. I also say thank you to YOU for even being interested in listening to me!

XXXOOOO Val

Interview and layout
by Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz
Pictures used with permission, all rights reserved

Important links:
https://www.facebook.com/valerie.kaye.33 – Val’s official Facebook page
https://www.instagram.com/dollyofthevals/ – Val on Instagram
https://www.facebook.com/PistArmy/ – fan page on Facebook
www.pistonline.com/pistarmy – a fan website dedicated to Pist.On
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pist.On – Wikipedia entry for the band

Thank you so much for reading!

The PDF version of this interview can be seen here:
https://cocamidemea.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/val_interview.pdf

The Issuu version can be found here:
http://issuu.com/vanadianavenue/docs/val_interview

First publication of this interview was posted on Pistarmy website several years ago and still can be seen there:
http://www.pistonline.com/articles/rita/

A screenshot showing the original interview at Pist.On official fan website

A screenshot showing the original interview at Pist.On official fan website

Screengrab to show our interview being featured on Pist.On official fan page

Screengrab to show our interview being featured on Pist.On official fan page

As with other interviews, please do not re-post them without our approval. It happened to us many times and we consider it stealing, even if you provide links! Please write for permission first. any questions? Rdabrowicz at yahoo dot com.

Muchos gracias,
XXXX Rita and Mal

****Update 19/05/2017****

Screenshot from the fundraiser for Val Kaye – the campaign raised most of its funds in 6 hours and is trending!

A lot of time has passed since we updated this particular entry but now we have a good reason.
Valerie Kaye – the fearless former bass-player of NYC heavy yet melodic outfit Pist.On needs our assistance and we are more than willing to step up to the task.

Known under her stage name Val Ium, Valerie recorded and toured with Type O Negative and Marilyn Manson among many other biggest acts of the 90s. Now Val pursues a new career in a new state. However due to unfortunate circumstances she lost a car that is vital in her current situation.

It will cost a bit to get the car back – so please help out. Any donation counts.

https://www.gofundme.com/please-help-val-get-her-car-back

As a thank you – here are some scans from our personal archives of metal madness featuring Val.Ium in all her glory:

Val.Ium on a feature in Metal Hammer UK, 1997

Val.Ium in Metal Hammer UK, 1997

Val.Ium featured in Metal Hammer UK, 1997

Val.Ium on a feature in Metal Hammer Poland, 1996

Love and kisses
Mal+Rita

 

****Update 20/05/2017****

Val reacting last night to the fundraiser. How awesome!

You people are incredible. No seriously, you are all rock stars in your own right. What happened last night is just awesome. In just one day the goal of the fundraiser was met and currently it stands at $3,130

That means Val may recover her car and pay all the necessary fees and charges. But let`s not call it a victory yet. We strongly appeal to anyone who wishes to still contribute – do it. Help Val to assure she can safely be back on her road to build a new successful career. It ain`t easy, and if you can offer a helping hand or few bucks or RTs, we all will be grateful.

https://www.gofundme.com/please-help-val-get-her-car-back

“We rise by lifting others”
-Robert Ingersoll

We promised ourselves that if the fundraiser reached $3000, we would post more images from our musical archives. So here they are:

Close up of Val from Pist.On debut album #1

Pist.On with Val on their debut album #1

Val and the boys on second album Sell Out

Val on the sleeve of Pist.On second album – Sell Out

Keep on rocking good, good people of the world
Mal+Rita

 

****Update 21/05/2017****

Tattude Lady website logo

The fundraiser is still going and we are now at £3275! So it is only fair to reach down to our archives again and share some more Val.Ium related goodies. Did you know that Val used to have her own official page called Tattude Lady? It is now offline but guess what – we have saved portions of it so you can get to see it.

Main page

More screens recovered from old website

Some good old sarcasm from Valerie – she is known for it.

Page debuted around 2000 – and it may look very simple by today`s standards.  However remember  that Valerie was one of the first in the business to actually have her official page. And she was to our knowledge the only bassist in metal community to maintain this side of business at that time.  It was through Tattude Lady that Val communicated her departure from Pist.On to her fans by publishing a special interview (another first in metal world!)  – you can read it below, and it makes a fantastic addiction to our own interview with Val.Ium. See, we do spoil you!

Interview p1

Interview p2

Interview p3

That was the beauty and tragedy of Pist.On – they were ahead of their time by at least a decade, both musically and business wise.

We kind of wish Tattude Lady was resurrected.  Perhaps one day it will.

All the tours that Val.Ium was on

Please continue to donate. We still have few things in the archives which we are willing to share.

https://www.gofundme.com/please-help-val-get-her-car-back

xxxooo`s
Mal+Rita