East Anglian ska and reggae giants NEW TOWN KINGS have had their world rocked by tragedy with the sudden death of their guitarist Stuart McClung.
Stuart (left in pic) died on Saturday night when a car mounted the pavement and ploughed into the smoking area outside The Spinnaker pub in the band’s hometown of Colchester, Essex.
One man was airlifted to hospital with life-changing industries, while another man and a woman were also injured in the crash. A 40-year old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder, causing grievous bodily harm with intent, death by dangerous driving and assault.
Formed in 2006, New Town Kings quickly made a name for themselves on the international circuit with the albums Sound Of The New Town and M.O.J.O., released through Bomber Music, playing more than 500 shows in ten different countries. An infectious and reliable festival draw, playing the likes of Boomtown and Secret Garden Party, they’ve also become firm favourites at Rebellion. Their most recent album was last year’s Reach Out.
Our thoughts are with Stuart’s family, friends, bandmates and many fans.
Pirates Press boss Eric ‘Skippy’ Mueller waxes lyrical with Dom Warwick, discussing vinyl innovations and family values, during the build up to their Rock The Ship 15th anniversary event.
Pirates Press are based in Oakland, California, and have been at the heart of a revolution that has seen a major reversal in the popularity of vinyl in recent years. Having started a manufacturing company from the confines of his bedroom in 2004, Skip branched into his own label, aptly titled Pirates Press Records, a year later. The business now spans across the world, with the manufacturing side averaging 3-4 million records pressed each year.
2019 marks their 15th anniversary, and never being one to shy away from the unconventional, Skip will be marking the occasion with what some might call not just crazy, but bat shit crazy, a weekend of events with the centrepiece a gig staged on an aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet. But how was this even possible?
“A lot of planning and a little bit of luck. After the last Rock The Ship event, celebrating our 10th Anniversary, we stewed over ways to take it up a notch. One of the consistent comments was to do it on an actual ship. Exploring our options here in the bay, there are not many ships that can accommodate a large enough crowd, but we found one, a famous one at that! While they haven’t put on many concerts, certainly not any of this magnitude, they are equally excited about it and going above-and-beyond to help make sure that it is a fun and successful celebration for all of us and everyone who attends.”
The ability to make this possible stems from Skip’s innovative vision and seeing barriers as opportunities rather than points of failure, although there is also a sense of tradition and family.
“After a year of pressing records for other people, we had the ‘itch’ so to speak. Starting off by releasing a six picture disc box-set (for 12 of our friends’ bands), we proceeded to curate the label’s releases using bands that were either comprised of Pirates themselves, or friends of Pirates. The label more-or-less evolved organically from there, bringing on lots of new bands, both big and small, to help create the community that we see today. We could not be more humbled, or proud at the evolution of the company.”
From these modest beginnings, the vinyl pressing business has been booming, with Pirates Press using both modern and old technologies, along with being the first to open a brand new vinyl press.
“Whilst making records for all the major labels and their subsidiaries, a vast majority of our business comes from independent record labels and bands, with an average pressing of somewhere between 500 and 1000 units. Ultimately, it’s a lot of titles spanning virtually every genre of music and every type of ‘scene’ there is out there. Being able to help people across the globe get some of the best records in the world made is the one thing everyone at Pirates is most proud of, as it undoubtedly has the biggest impact on music in general, worldwide.”
Creativity knows no bounds, aside from the coloured vinyl, there have been other special pressings, one particularly personal, incorporating the ashes of Bruce Roehrs, columnist for Maximum Rock n Roll.
“Putting our friend’s ashes into a record is definitely up there, although I probably wouldn’t even try and do it myself again, even for a friend. It was an ordeal, emotionally and logistically, but very, very special and for Bruce, unbelievably fitting.
“In the same vein of crazy, but perhaps a half a notch down, we have also made records with holograms for The Ratchets, bullet-shaped bits milled out of the main area of a NOi!SE record, made Detournement a molotov cocktail flexi with a printed bandanna and even made Rancid an official Louisville Slugger wooden baseball bat to go with their 46×7” leather-clad boxset. We like a good challenge, and we like turning heads even more.”
A full review of Rock The Ship will appear in our next issue of Vive Le Rock!
After a successful 2019, JIM JONES & THE RIGHTEOUS MIND kick off the New Year with a bang, with two shows in one day.
Hot on the heels of their ‘Get Down And Get With It’ hit single and tour, the band have lined up a pair of shows at London’s famous Lexington venue on Sunday 12 January.
Jim and the band will play an all-ages matinee show kicking off at 2pm, followed by an 18+ set from 7pm. Support comes from hostile Deutsche blues anarchist BONE ZENO (afternoon) and fast-rising London psych-freaks DAEMONIK FONCE (evening).
“Think of it as a double Sunday Service,” says Jones. “The earlier show will help baptize kids into the righteous ways of rock’n’roll, while the later show will be more of a confirmation. Either way, you can’t beat the Devil’s music on the Lord’s day.”
Tickets, priced £14 for each show on £25, are available here.