TRCH Mindgames

Arse Full of Chips Have Reunited

23 November 17 interview: Ash Carter
illustrations: Tom Rourke

Arse Full of Chips are a local Notts band who make no apologies for being absolutely bob. After years of taunting dead celebrities, parading around their naked mascot, and making ears bleed, they chucked the towel in to wails of both joy and disappointment. Now, they’re playing a reunion gig at nowhere other than Rock City’s main room, so we rounded them up to ask such questions as “How?”, “What?” and “God, why?”

For the uninitiated, who are Arse Full of Chips?
Will: Arse Full of Chips started off as a drunken joke; it was supposed to be a one-off gig. After our first show in 2007, The King Blues and Capdown discussed us on Radio 1 with Mike Davies, so we decided to do another gig. Fast forward ten years and here we are: four grown men singing about poo.

We don’t have a drummer, one of us doesn’t even play an instrument – and gets naked during our set – and all of our songs contain about 100 swear words. But we like it that way. We’ve never tried to be ‘good’, I think that’s our niche. If you like bands that sing offensive songs, badly, while drunk… we could be your new favourite band.
Stan: We are the heroes Gotham didn’t deserve.

What songs might people know you for?
Will: Our most popular song on YouTube is the Harry Potter song; it’s had over 20,000 views. That’s pretty mad considering the video is just Stan dancing around in his pants in our old house in Sneinton. Another classic Arse Full of Chips song would have to be the Michael Jackson one. We used to capitalise on the demise of celebrities; the media do it, so why shouldn’t we?

What was the motivation behind your reunion gig at Rock City in November?
Will: Since the end of AFOC, we’ve all started or continued making music in other bands. Normal bands. My wife and I were chatting about how difficult it is to get people down to gigs these days, especially if you don’t have a gimmick; it used to be pretty easy for Arse Full of Chips because we had a naked guy. We were never going to do another gig, but the temptation was always there. A few pints later, I text Stan and Raph asking if we should do a one off ‘Chips gig? Both responded: “Yeah, OK.”

The next day, we emailed DHP asking for availability for the small room at Rescue Rooms, which is around 100 capacity. We weren’t sure if anyone would come, so we booked it for the end of the year, leaving us nine months to sell tickets. We ended up settling for The Bodega, which is around 200 capacity, and the gig sold out in a week. We moved to The Basement, which sold out in a day.

What were we then to do? Rescue Rooms wasn’t available that night… We could play a sold-out Basement or an empty Main Room. Then we thought: “F*** it!” The chances are we’ll never get this opportunity again. Arse Full of Chips are going to headline the Rock City Main Hall.
Greg: Plus, Stan probably doesn't want to be doing naked roly polies in his forties. He could break his back. I think all of us wanted to do another show at some point. We missed an opportunity – after the previous last gig – to play in a cinema, at the premiere of the movie Green Room, because we stopped checking messages. Our reaction, at least in part, was “Wouldn't that have been fun?” rather than simply brushing it off. It feels like the right time.

What can people expect from an AFOC live show?
Will: For a £6 advance ticket, you’ll get your money’s worth. We play as many songs as humanly possible. There will be blood, sweat, tears… and an entirely naked man doing hundreds of roly polies. There will be singalongs, balloons, party poppers, costumes, stunts; it’s going to be mental.

The usual AFOC gig has a budget of £5, of which we normally get some balloons from Poundland. This gig has sold almost 600 tickets, so we have an actual large budget for the show and a shopping list as long as Stan’s foreskin. Expect big, ridiculous things.
Stan: It’ll be like Björk on Sherbert Dip Dabs.
Raph: If for whatever lame reason you can’t make it; get a NoFX album, rub it with sandpaper, microwave it, then play it through the speakers of a 2003 Dell laptop. Pour a bottle of vodka down your throat and a bottle of mustard in your ears, trash your living room and it’ll be like you were there.

You’ll be performing on a stage that’s been shared by The Kinks, The Smiths, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana and David Bowie. Where would you rank yourselves among those kind of bands?
Will:
They might all be rich and famous and have big houses and cars, but do they have naked band members? I think not! I’d say our costumes are on par with Guns N’ Roses, we’re hated by some people as much as Morrissey, and Stan’s dancing is as sexy as the late great David Bowie’s. Other than that, they’re all actual good bands and we’re rubbish.
Stan: I can’t believe you missed Dappy off your list.
Greg: We’re like Leonardo Di Caprio in the movie Titanic. He can pretend to be one of the successful passengers, and fail to convince anyone, but really he belongs downstairs slamming booze and dancing like an idiot.

Which band from the past do you think you could most accurately compare yourselves to?
Will: Kunt and The Gang (RIP) described us as “a poor man’s Kunt and The Gang”, which is probably true. We’ve also been compared to the Mac Lads. I like to think we’re a mix of Black Lace and Chas & Dave.
Raph: I think in terms of social impact and musical prowess, probably Jedward.
Stan: Eiffel 65.

You can count legendary TV host Pat Sharp among your celebrity fans after he recorded himself in a video promoting the upcoming gig. How much does that sort of support help?
Will: It was great. When we had the idea of a one-off gig, we were only going to do it if Pat Sharp would announced it on April Fool’s day. Luckily he got the video to us in time, so we announced it at 9am on the first of April, and we’ve never had so many Facebook notifications; we thought our phones were going to explode. “Is this real?” “Is that Pat Sharp?” “What the f***?!” “Who are Arse Full of Chips?”
Raph: The response from that video was outrageous. It’s a wonder more promoters don’t pay more D-list celebrities to announce stuff, people go mad for it. Imagine Ian Beale announcing the next Foo Fighters tour. Imagine it.

Sharp made some big claims in the promo video that there will be prizes to be won at the reunion show. Was he telling the truth?
Will: I’d love to say that Pat and the twins will be there, but the truth is we paid Pat to say it all. He probably hates us, but he needed to pay his bills. We all need to pay our bills sometimes.
Raph: Is this an interview about Arse Full of Chips or Pat Sharp?

Sorry. Do you think there’s any chance of you guys playing more gigs in the future?

Will: The last time we did a last ever gig was great, but there’s no way we could ever top headlining the Rock City Main Hall. This will be the last ever Arse Full of Chips gig. We promise this time.
Stan: No. Rock City really will be the last chance to say goodbye/good riddance to us.
Raph: A third last ever gig would probably be a bit of a piss take.
Greg: What they said.

Arse Full of Chips play Rock City Main Hall on Saturday 25 November.

Arse Full of Chips on Facebook

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