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The Comedy of Errors


5 September 06 words: Martin Naylor
"Nottingham seems to be populated by really fussy bands who know a lot about what you're not supposed to do, but not much else."

Signed to the city’s Gringo Records, Lords have made more than a few waves since the release of their debut album This Ain’t A Hate Thing, It’s A Love Thing earlier this year with their unique blend of noisy swamp-grunge Rock and Blues.  Highly praised reviews in publications such as Uncut and Kerrang even fail to do justice to a band whose live shows rarely fail to get even the most hardened curmudgeon’s toes-a-tapping... 

Lords formed from the ashes of Wolves (of Greece!) and Reynolds, right? 

Sort of. It was just me that was in Reynolds, and then Wolves had both me and Phil in it. I'd probably say Lords was born out of arsing about at Wolves practises with things that maybe weren't 'allowed' in that band for whatever reason.

Didn’t Reynolds do a Peel session?

Wolves actually did one first - a live gig in Nottingham - so we all got to meet him. I saw him cracking up laughing when we were playing. He let us watch him broadcast the show from the women's changing rooms at the Boat Club (even though we were pretty drunk and probably a pain in the arse too).

The Reynolds session was on my 25th birthday. We went to the pub with him and the production people beforehand and it was all pretty relaxed. I remember running back to the BBC at 9.55 with him and the team as we were on air in 5 minutes. He later told me he picked Wolves as his favourite live band of 2002, but the BBC told him he had to choose someone else as we had no records out at the time. I was also very ill that day and he was erm...supportive. I went to his funeral, and it was pretty strange as you can imagine - in a good way, if such a thing is possible.

None of you are from Notts, are you?

I'm from East Anglia, Phil is from Leicester and Elvis is from Cornwall. Phil was at Uni doing photography. Elvis ended up living locally because he knew the band Cable, and they got him down here from Scotland where he was living in a caravan. I just moved here after University because Matt from Gringo wanted to move here - we were friends and I'd just joined Wolves Of Greece and was driving to weekly practise from March, just outside Cambridge and it seemed sensible to move. I’m the only one who still lives here now.

How difficult is that?

Its a nightmare. Honestly, it's brain bending. Especially as getting into/out of Nottingham takes an hour in itself. People always ask the question of why Nottingham doesn't produce big, successful bands - it's because it takes so long to get out of the place that bands are always late for gigs and play badly!

What’s Gringo Records like to work with?

We like a lot of the other bands on the label and Matt still only lives 200 metres from me so getting hold of 'stock' or 'merch' is nice and easy. I'm not militant about it, but I like it that Matt concentrates on British bands and I feel good to be part of that set-up. UK bands are either criminally ignored or patronised in comparison to their American contemporaries, who they are usually better than anyway.

How’s the album doing?

I honestly have no idea. We sell a lot at gigs. Ultimately, Matt is still talking to us so it's got to be OK. It'd be nice to get it licensed abroad so it could come out properly in the US, and not just as an import.

You must be pleased with the outcome of the album...

We wanted to do justice to what we thought were good songs, and that steered us a little into making the record quite professional - but at the same time we're basically a loose band, so it was never going to sound too tight or slick. We're really loud live, but when we recorded we wanted to convey that by being rowdy and fun, rather than being all distorted and fierce.

It’s party music…

Definitely. Lords came about purely through being sick of playing hardcore gigs where you're expected to drive 150 miles and be angry onstage when you get there We wanted to be a fun band, so even if we drove all night to play to 15 people and the promoter went home without paying us we'd have a good time - and if anyone else likes it, it's a bonus. Not many bands seem to have fun these days, so we're trying to fight the corner for a bit of enjoyment in music - not joke music, but something that isn't about what you're 'saying' or what your 'attitude' is or crap like that.

Any memorable gigs that stick out for good or bad reasons?

Opening for the Magic Band felt pretty good, we formed after seeing their first reunion show so it was like coming full circle. The older fans seemed to be split but it was good some of them dug it. Playing with Lightning Bolt was fun as we know those guys from when we were in Wolves so it was nice to catch up with them. Dot To Dot worked out OK for us - I was worried we'd look like Status Quo on that bill but people seemed to like it.

Do you enjoy playing in Notts?

Not really! Nottingham isn't my favourite place to play. I guess it's just familiarity, maybe. I always feel like a cock 'rocking out' in Nottingham as my mates are in the crowd usually. I find knowing the audience personally makes me feel more reserved. I've seen some insane gigs here though, so I don't think we're any worse here than anywhere else.

Favourite Notts venues?

I like playing certain places, but being a punter there is awful - I'd like to think the people watching are having a good time too, so that discounts a lot of the city's venues for me. I like the Boat Club. I have good memories from that place and it always sounds good for us there.

What other local bands would you champion right now?

Not many! Nottingham seems to be populated by really fussy bands who seem to know a lot about what you're not supposed to do, but not much about anything else. So many bands seemed restricted by rules of their own making here. And it's a weird place to make music as everyone's a critic. You go out to the pub and everyone's banging on about music. I just wish people would get on with it and talk less about it!

I like anything Steve (who drummed in Wolves) is in, as his bands are always amazing live, he's got something on the go with his old bandmate Kalv from Heresy and Gords from John Holmes, and I can't wait to see that. I like Felix, but me and Elvis sometimes play in that so that doesn't count! The Hellset Orchestra always do the job when I see them - they seem out there on their own so I feel affinity with them for that in a way.

I really liked Spin Spin The Dogs, so I'm excited about their new thing Kingdom Time. Designer Babies are old friends who have always done amazing stuff and pretty much baffled the city's musicgoers for the better. Their drummer Patch plays in The Good Anna, who can be pretty difficult at times but I've seen them be mind bending. And Clambake have always been up there for me, they're just always no-fuss excellent and they've been that way for years now.

What next for Lords?

Second album would be nice sometime. It'd be good to get our saxophonist Chris Tree on the next record a bit more, he's been playing live with us lots recently. I'd personally like to support The Stooges at some point too, if anyone could play Jim'll Fix It for us and sort that out…

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