FEROCIOUS DOG ANNOUNCE RESCHEDULED DATES AND ALBUM!

Folk-punks FEROCIOUS DOG have announced the rescheduled dates for their 2021 UK tour and forthcoming new album The Hope.

The 22-date tour will start in Liverpool at the O2 Academy 2 on Friday 8 October and concludes at the Leadmill in Sheffield on Sunday 4 December.

The band promise those attending “will be part of something very special, watching one of the very best folk-punk bands in the UK with a high octane explosion of the very best live music. People who have attended Ferocious Dog shows know exactly what to expect. People who are new to FD live shows will be welcomed by the ‘Hell Hounds’ as part of the growing FD family.”

To coincide with the tour, Ferocious Dog release their brand new studio album The Hope which takes its name “from a song idea from Dan Booth and written by Dan and myself,” explains Ken Bonsall. “The Hope is a very hard hitting and deep reflection of someone coming to terms and living with depression.” While the album cover, created with Daniel Hubb at Make-North (Bullet For My Valentine), “had to be hard equally hitting to create and capture the sentiment of the song.”

The Hope carries on in the strong tradition of Ferocious Dog albums, with thought-provoking and politically charged lyrics, seamlessly combing with dynamic and eclectic music. Ferocious Dog now have two new band members Johnny Edwards and Ryan Brooks “chomping at the bit to put their stamp on this new album”

Released on 16 October through Graphite Records, The Hope is available to pre-order on CD and vinyl, with ticket and t-Shirt bundles available, plus an exclusive limited edition green vinyl album, limited edition cassette and signed CDs here.

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THE REAL DEAL!

High-octane rock’n’rollers LUCIFER STAR MACHINE have just unveiled a new video.

a cover of Kansas City rocker Lee Dresser’s 1969 loungeabilly classic, ‘El Camino Real’ is taken from the Hamburg quintet’s latest album The Devil’s Breath, which came out in April via The Sign Records.

A Tarantino-esque carcrash of Reservoir Dogs and Smokey And The Bandit, the video was directed by renowned Kustom Kulture filmmaker Dirk Behlau and features a guest appearance from MAD SIN’s Koefte DeVille.

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REMEDIAL MEASURES!

Folk-ska-punks THE PENNY BLACK REMEDY have the first of a pair of new compilations out this week.

With the Coronavirus lockdown effectively curtailing the band’s touring and recording plans for 2020, the band’s nucleus of Keith M Thomson and Marijana Hajdarhodžić have taken the opportunity to assemble the anthologies of previously unreleased recordings.

“Keith writes a lot of material in between albums,” explains Hajdarhodžić. “So after three studio releases (and a fourth in the pipeline), we thought it would be a good time to collate some of our favourite songs from these ‘stray recordings’ and release them over two compilation albums.”

Released digitally, Owing To Certain Complications… Vol. 1 features a selection of acoustic recordings amassed over the past seven years since the release of the band’s second album Inhale…Exhale, OK, Now You Can Panic! and subsequent to their most recent full-length Maintaining Dignity In Awkward Situations, released in 2017.

“These songs weren’t originally intended to be released together,” adds Thomson. “But we’re delighted with how cohesive (and lyrically, how oddly prescient) the album has turned out to be.”

The pair recently shot a typically good-natured new video for the track ‘Before I Go’ in rehearsal in Dubrovnik with local musicians Antonije Doranja, Ivo Kukuljica Kucac and Igor Surjan.

The second anthology – “a significantly less acoustic affair” – will follow in 2021.

Due for release on 16 October on the band’s mono del mundo label via Cadiz, Owing To Certain Complications… Vol. 1 is available to pre-order here.

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GETCHA MOAT A’RUNNIN’!

MOAT, the new project from former THE CHURCH and ALL ABOUT EVE guitarist Marty Willson-Piper have unveiled a single from their forthcoming new album.

A glowing, propulsive road-movie of a song for a planet in crisis, ‘Acid Rain’ is the second single to be revealed from the album Poison Stream, following on from ‘Gone By Noon’ released last month.

Moat, a collaboration between Willson-Piper and composer/multi-instrumentalist Niko Röhlcke from Swedish indie band WEEPING WILLOWS, released their self-titled debut album back in 2013.

Recorded at the VIP Lounge studio in Penzance with co-producer/engineer Dare Mason, Poison Stream is set for release in February through Schoolkids Records and is being funded through IndieGoGo.

‘Acid Rain’ is available on Spotify and all the usual digital platforms.

 

Moat on Facebook

Pic by Olivia Willson-Piper

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FUTURAMA RETURNS!

The legendary FUTURAMA FESTIVAL is being resurrected more than 40 years after it first took place.

Starting in 1979 at Leeds’ Queen’s Hall, the two-day Fururama was a radical addition to the UK festival calendar, being as it was a departure from the rock and folk-dominated outdoor circuit. The brainchild of Leeds promoter John Keenan, the event underlined the changed that had taken place on the UK music horizon with a rollcall of artists across the years drawn from the spheres of post-punk, art-punk and electronica, including PiL, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Joy Division, Gang Of Four, Psychedelic Furs, Theatre Of Hate, Soft Cell, Simple Minds, The Smiths, Bow Wow Wow, The Fall, Teardrop Explodes, Echo And The Bunnymen, OMD, Cabaret Voltaire, Bauhaus and many more.

Working alongside Keenan, Liverpool promoter Marc Jones is bringing Futurama over the Pennines to his home city where it will take place at the Invisible Wind factory / Make Arts Centre and Ten Streets Social over Easter Saturday and Sunday, 3-4 April 2021.

Theatre Of Hate and The Chameleons will be making their return to the festival, while headliners Peter Hook & The Light will be performing Joy Division’s set from the inaugural Futurama in ’79.

“Futurama was one the first festival experiences I ever had,” remembers Hook. “John Keenan the promoter became a lifelong friend. He was one of the first legends. The gig was the first time I’d ever seen caravans used as dressing rooms indoors, but it had a great atmosphere. It really put Joy Division on the map and the groups on the bill were very well matched to the audience. There weren’t many indoor festivals prior to Futurama so it was quite ground-breaking for the genre in the north. Funnily enough it gets talked about a lot even now. John became a legend and, in many ways, so has the festival. Let’s hope we can capture that wonderful atmosphere again.”

A second headliner is yet to be announced but appearing over the weekend across four stages – including one sponsored by Vive Le Rock! – are the likes of Warmduscher, The Blinders, The Lovely Eggs, Spizz Energi, Imperial Wax, Just Mustard, Membranes, Evil Blizzard, Sink Ya Teeth, John, Heavy Lungs, We Are Not Devo, DSM IV, Bob Vylan, Billy NoMates, Witch Fever, Tokky Horror, Pozi, Crows, St Agnes, LibraLibra, Courting, Crawlers and Joe & Shitboys, with many more to be announced.

Tickets priced £80 are available here with an instalment scheme for the financially strapped.

Keep updated for details as futuramafestival.com

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SERVICE PLEASE!

SPEAR OF DESTINY are to issue a new ‘recreated and re-imagined’ version of their classic album World Service.

The band’s third album, World Service would be the band’s highest charting album, just grazing the Top 10 and featuring their highest charting single up to that point, ‘Come Back’.

Produced by former Rich Kid and Blitz club DJ Rusty Egan, at Kirk Brandon’s behest, and on the receiving end of some fantastic reviews, Brandon was never entirely happy with the sound of the album.

“You could say why re-record what is a a classic album from the 1980s,” says Brandon. “You’d have a point. But, it has been my intention to re-record this set of songs much more in line with what I feel they were originally written for, much more of a rock album, as opposed to a pop/rock album.

“With the original recording there was a lot of compromise, which to my mind today, meant the album’s worth of songs was never done the justice it deserved. I’m not trying to re-write the past, I’m trying, and I believe we have succeeded, in doing this album justice, finally, to how it was meant to sound.

“I can only thank my longstanding band members, for helping me to achieve this with their sympathetic ears. We have played songs from this album for decades and I knew on this occasion, we would all step up to the mark with its re-recording. The proof is in the pudding.”

The new version of WorldService @ 35 is due for release on 26 October. It’s available to re-order here.

Kirk Brandon on Facebook

Pic by Simon Drake

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DODGY GEEZERS!

HOODOO GURUS’ latest spurt of activity continues apace with another new video.

‘Get Out Of Dodge’ follows on from their anti-Trump single ‘Hung Out To Dry’, released in June.

Appropriately adopting a Western theme for the video, the song reflects on the increasingly pervasive lynch-mob mentality infecting society.

“The world we live in is becoming more polarised and less tolerant every day, and we can often find ourselves confronting extremist views, some of which may be hostile to who we are or what we believe,” explains frontman and songwriter Dave Faulkner. “Religion, politics, sexuality – there are any number of reasons why people might take a set against you, or try to browbeat you into toeing the party line. When you come to realise that they won’t soften their views to accommodate you – and that you shouldn’t change who you are to accommodate them – then what can you do? You get the hell out of Dodge!

“As the old saying goes, discretion is the better part of valour and it can be very satisfying to leave the hateful to stew in their own juices. A good surgeon knows when a damaged limb can be saved and when it’s better to amputate, so cut your losses and get yourself to a better place, somewhere people will cherish and support you, and live to fight another day. As the song says, ‘We’ve gotta get out of Dodge – while we still can!’”

Recorded at Harry Vanda’s Hercules Street Studios in Surry Hills, Sydney. The track features guest backing vocals from BANGLES’ Vicki Peterson (who’s guested on various Gurus tracks over the years) and her husband John Cowsill of legendary Sunshine Pop band THE COWSILLS and also, currently, THE BEACH BOYS.

Out today, ‘Get Out Of Dodge’ is available to stream/download here.

Hoodoo Gurus on Facebook

Pic by Christopher Ferguson

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DOWN ON THE PHARM!

Veteran of the 80s Aussie underground wars, MICK MEDEW is back with his first solo album.

A founder member of seminal Brisbane garage band THE 31ST, the guitarist and singer racked up several indie chart hits with his band THE SCREAMING TRIBESMEN, with now classic singles like ‘Igloo’ and ‘Date With A Vampire’.

He would go on to record with Naked Lunch, Mick Medew & The Rumours and most recently, The Mesmerisers, who released their second album Open Season last year.

Psychopharmacologist features nine songs worked up over five years of solo shows in Brisbane and Mlebourne and includes an instrumental retooling of the classic ‘Igloo’.

Psychopharmacologist is out now through I-94 Bar Records and is available to buy through Bandcamp.

Check out the video for ‘When The Wood Is Brown (Full Return)’…

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APEMAN SPACEMAN VIDEO PREMIERE!

London alt-rockers APEMAN SPACEMAN have a new single out and they’re premiering the video exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

Following on from last year’s ‘Civil War’ single, ‘Truth Is A Thing Of The Past’ casts an eye on the grim absurdity of the current world political climate. The self-made video, edited by Nick Mason (not the Pink Floyd one, we suspect), sees the band members as world leaders engaged in schoolboy larks as society teeters on the edge of the abyss….

Says frontman Johnny Cooke, “We are in danger of losing our democracies to international gangs of sociopathic school boys playing games with the lives of billions, and the very fabric of society is being undermined by a tidal wave of bullsh*t. We must fight for the truth.”

Formed in 2015 out of the ashes of Island Records-signed Top 40 hitmakers DOGS, Apeman Spaceman are Johnny Cooke (vocals and guitar), Rikki Mehta (guitar), Alexi Christou (bass) and Ethan Kennedy (drums).

‘Truth Is A Thing Of The Past’ is available to pre-save on Spotify.

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SHOW NO MERCY!

Aussie rockers THE MERCY KILLS are back with a video taster for their new mini-album.

Live favourite ‘Fall’ is taken from the Melbourne quartet’s forthcoming 7-tracker X which is due out on Golden Robot Records on 2 October. It’s a remastered version of the track that previously appeared on the b-side of their New Rule EP back in 2010.

Formed in the seaside suburb of St Kilda in 2008, the band, who’ve been described as mixing Appetite for Destruction era Guns N’ Roses with Ramones-style punk began their career sharing stage with local legends like Rose Tattoo, You Am I and Tumbleweed, going on to tour with such international stars as Killing Joke, New York Dolls, Misfits and Supersuckers.

‘Fall’ is available digitally here.

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L.A. JUNK

London punks HEALTHY JUNKIES have just unveiled a video for their new single.

‘Last Day In L.A.’ is the first single to be taken from the band’s forthcoming new album Forever On The Road.

The album title reflects the band’s relentless touring and the single, naturally, harks back to a day spent in the city during the band’s 2018 US tour. The album was recorded by the band when they were forced to curtail their touring activities.

‘Last Day In L.A.’ is available now on Spotify and all the usual digital platforms.

Forever On The Road is set for release on 25 September on their own Banana Castle label.

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SPECIALS ANNOUNCE 2021 DATES!

THE SPECIALS have announced a major UK tour for next Summer.

The Coventry ska legends resumed active service in 2008 and, still featuring founder members Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter, released the widely acclaimed new album Encore, their first new studio album in 38 years, in 2019.

The dates, which have been lined-up for late August and September and see them visiting most parts of the UK, will culminate in two shows at London’s iconic Roundhouse venue. Full dates are…

31 August – Swindon Oasis Centre
02 September – Plymouth Pavilions
03 September – Bournemouth Windsor Hall
04 September – Brighton Centre
06 September – Glasgow Barrowland
07 September – Edinburgh Usher Hall
09 September – Manchester O2 Victoria Warehouse
10 September – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
11 September – Coventry Ricoh Arena
13 September – Hull Bonus Arena
14 September – Blackpool Empress Ballroom
16 September – Birmingham O2 Academy
17 September – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena
18 September – Doncaster The Dome
23 September – London Roundhouse
24 September – London Roundhouse

Tickets go on sale at 10.00am on Friday 11 September.

Check Vive Le Rock‘s ticketmaster shop for tickets.

The Specials on Facebook

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B.O.C. OWN UP!

Rock legends BLUE ÖYSTER CULT are back with a brand new album, heralded by a new video.

‘That Was Me’ is taken from the album The Symbol Remains, the New York band’s fourteenth studio album and first in almost twenty years.

Only singer Eric Bloom and guitarist Donald ‘Buck Dharma’ Roeser remain from the band’s original line-up while guitarist/keyboardist Richie Castellano and drummer Jules Radino have been with the band since 2004 and bassist Danny Miranda returned in 2017 after a long sting in the late 90s and early 00s.

The video features a guest appearance from the band’s original drummer Albert Bouchard on vocals and cowbell, a reference to the enduring Saturday Night Live ‘more cowbell’ sketch.

“The goal was for the new music to stand up to the quality and vitality of our legacy recordings and I believe we have successfully achieved that,” explains Roeser. “Other than that, the sound of our voices and style of our writing and playing can’t help but sound familiar to fans of our work.”

Bloom adds “The album title comes from a quote of an old Sandy Pearlman lyric, which basically we are using to show that the band is back and still rocking after all these years. To me, it means we’re still here and doing what we do.”

Sandy Pearlman was a student colleague of the Cult when they formed at Stony Brook University, London Island in the late-60s, managing and producing the band and contributing to several songs. He would infamously go on to produce Give ‘Em Enough Rope by The Clash.

Pitched between psychedelia, the proto-punk of the MC5 and the biker rock of Steppenwolf, their self-titled debut, Tyranny & Mutation and Secret Treaties (the latter two featuring lyrics by Patti Smith) – have been hugely influential, not least on Radio Birdman and the Australian underground scene of the late-70s and early-80s.

Set for release on 9 October through Frontiers Music on double-vinyl, CD and download, The Symbol Remains is available to pre-order here.

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THE MASTER OF THE STRATOCASTER!

This Autumn will see the release of a major new anthology from Irish guitar legend RORY GALLAGHER.

Born in County Donegal by raised in Cork, Gallagher was revered as a player by early contemporaries such as Hendrix and Clapton, and was even shortlisted as a Rolling Stone, going on to put his unique and uncompromising stamp on the blues-rock format.

Passing away in 1995 from complications following a liver transplant at the age of just 47, he released eleven studio albums and three live albums during his lifetime, selling 30 million albums worldwide and influencing a raft of musicians such as Brian May, Johnny Marr, Slash, The Edge and many more.

The Best Of Rory Gallagher has been compiled by Rory’s nephew Daniel, the MD of the Rory Gallagher Archive and draws from material right across the guitarist’s career, from the 1969 debut of his early power trio Taste, right up to his final studio album Fresh Evidence in 1990.

Available as 2-CD, 1-CD, digital and double vinyl editions, the 2-CD and vinyl versions will feature as bonus tracks (the latter as a 7″ single) ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ recorded with Jerry Lee Lewis, and ‘Cruise On Out’ from Rory’s 1978 album Photo-Finish. ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ will also be given as an instant download on digital pre-orders.

Set for release on Friday 9 October, The Best Of Rory Gallagher is available to pre-order here.

Check out ‘Shadow Play’ from Photo-Finish live in ’79 at Middlesex Poly for the BBC’s Rock Goes To College

Rory Gallagher on Facebook

Photo © Strange Music Ltd

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SHAKE APPEAL!

Devon rockers MORIATY are back with a brand new single and video.

‘Shake’ is the first single to be taken from the duo’s new album The Die Is Cast, which is due out in October.

“It’s a riff that popped into my head whilst driving to a rehearsal,” says singer and guitarist Jordan West. “As soon as we set up I played it straight away, and moments later we had a song. It’s one of those songs that – quite fittingly – just fell from the sky.”

Hotly-tipped at the time of their debut album The Devil’s Child back in 2013, Moriaty picked up a huge following for their 21st century punk-blues, with several high profile festival slots and dates with the likes of Muse and Seasick Steve. Along the way they’ve picked up numerous celebrity fans, including Thom Yorke and members of IDLES, who’ve even starred in their videos.

Much delayed by such life-changing events as births, deaths and Covid-19, The Die Is Cast is set for release through Easy Action Records on 23 October.

‘Shake’ is available now on Spotify, Apple and all the usual platforms.

Moriaty on Facebook

Pic by Thom Heywood

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CRASS REMIX PROJECT: STAGE 3

CRASS’ Feeding Of The Five Thousand Remix Project reaches its third stage with the 12″ Normal Never Was 3.

The release features a new remix of the Crass classic ‘Banned From The Roxy’ by Grammy-nominated DJ and producer Steve Aoki, and a new version of the controversial spoken-word piece ‘Asylum’ by Japanese outsider musician Mikado Koko, which is being premiered exclusively by Vive Le Rock!

With a background in theatre, music and dance Koko has spent the past few years as a club music producer, incorporating elements of Japanese traditional music. She now focuses on avant-garde poetry reading related to feminism and gender equality. She released album Ru I U Ta in 2019 and The Japanese Rimbaud in 2020.

The inclusion of ‘Asylum’ on The Feeding Of The Five Thousand originally led pressing plant workers to refuse to handle the album, forcing the track to be removed. The track was re-recorded as ‘Reality Asylum’ and released as a stand-alone single, drawing the attention of the Met Police’s vice squad and threats of prosecution.

Says Crass’ Penny Rimbaud, “Mikado Koko is a ground breaking Japanese artist and musician stretching the boundaries of feminism and the avant-garde, no wonder, then, that she was drawn to remixing ‘Reality Asylum’ and thereby proving the universality of the liberationist cause.”

“I have learned and discovered so many things from Crass,” says Koko. “DIY ethic, anarchism, feminism, graffiti, Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Cage, Stockhausen, and more. So I wanted to do a remix showing my respect. As I have been a fan of the iconic vocal of Eve Libertine, I selected ‘Asylum’ and made a poetry/glitch/impro style remix.”

As previously reported, late last year Crass made the original separate track stems of their seminal album The Feeding Of The Five Thousand available as free downloads with the intention that anyone interested could come up with new remixes of the tracks.

The 12″ Normal Never Was 3 will be released in a limited coloure vinyl edition on 21 August by Crass Records via One Little Independent. All proceeds will be donated to the domestic violence charity Refuge.

Pic by Tony Mottram

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DEVILISH GOINGS ON!

Retooled post-punks FOLK DEVILS have just unveiled a creepy new video for the lead track from their new EP.

As previously reported, the three-track Forever EP represents the London band’s first new music in more than three decades.

Recorded at London’s legendary Konk studios with Grammy-winning producer Rik Simpson, the EP comprises new songs ‘Forever’ and ‘My Slum Soul’, plus a new version of live favourite ‘Ink Runs Dry’.

Originally existing from 1983 to ’87, the Notting Hill-formed band earned a reputation as an incendiary live act through shows with the likes of The Gun Club, The Fall and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.

The band reconvened in 2016 with founder members Kris Jozajtis and Mark Whiteley joined by Nick Clift and John Hamilton from a 1987 line-up plus new frontman Dave Hodgson in place of the late Ian Lowery.

Released through Optic Nerve on 18 September as a download, CD and limited edition clear red vinyl 10-inch, the Forever EP is available to pre-order here, while the title-track is now up on Spotify.

The Folk Devils on Facebook

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FRANK TURNER vs NOFX!

During strange times strange things happen! Who was expecting a joint album from NOFX and FRANK TURNER? Certainly not us! Below, Frank takes us through the tracks on West Coast vs Wessex

SUBSTITUTE

“Substitute was kind of an important song in my catalogue, in the sense that it was one of the first times that I finished a song that really felt like a country song – in the style of George Jones or Merle Haggard. And what I mean by that is something that’s simple, but really self-contained, and lyrically neat, but not in a trite way. It said exactly what I wanted it to say, and I just felt really good about that song as a writer when I finished it.

“It was also the first song that I heard NOFX’s version of, and it was an amazing thing to hear that vocal tone, guitar tone and drum beat – all the characteristic markings of a NOFX song – be applied to one of my songs. It was a really humbling, wonderful and exhilarating moment. And it sounds like it could be a NOFX song, which blows my mind.”

WORSE THINGS HAPPEN AT SEA

“This song was written at a moment in time when I was trying very hard to be a folk singer, and the original has no real instrumentation on it – certainly no drums or electric guitars, or anything like that. So it’s really cool to hear it translate so well into a punk rock musical environment. It was a very emotional and angry song when I wrote it back in 2006. But in 2006, I had no idea I’d ever hear Fat Mike sing it.

“Their arrangement of the song is very complex, and there’s a lot of tempo changes, stopping and starting, and a lot of rhythmically complex material. And a lot of people tend to dismiss NOFX – and punk in general – as being musically simplistic, but their version of this song is a pretty good riposte to that.”

THATCHER FUCKED THE KIDS

“Thatcher Fucked the Kids is an interesting one: it’s a song in my catalogue that’s been quite thorny, for me, for a long time. When I wrote the song and first started playing it, it was kind of a big hit in my solo career and it certainly opened a lot of doors for me. But some of those doors opened into rooms that I wasn’t all that interested in going into; there’s a certain type of political music scene, and political music show, that I find really boring.

“At the end of the day, I always wanted to be more Adam Duritz than Billy Bragg – with all the respect in the world to Billy. That was never quite what I was aiming to be. And this song is definitely in that vein. So a shit load of people decided I was going to be the next Billy Bragg, and then they started getting angry with me when I didn’t conform to that expectation, which I found deeply irritating. For that reason, it’s a song that I haven’t played much in recent years.

“When I first heard the NOFX version, I was so stoked. One of the things I’ve always said about the song is that I’d love for someone else to just take it and run with it, and make it their own. I never expected the band to do that would be NOFX, but here we are. I’m surprised they didn’t change it to ‘Reagan fucked the kids,’ which would’ve been the obvious switch to me. But lyrically it’s a pretty straight cover, and I thought that was really cool. It’s a really sunny treatment of the track, too: it’s a really upbeat little ska number, which will be good for the summer when it comes out.”

BALLAD OF ME AND MY FRIENDS

“This is something that I haven’t necessarily spoken about out loud that much in the past, but the lyric ‘And we’re definitely going to hell / But we’ll have all the best stories to tell,” is a tiny bit of a steal from NOFX. There was a track on an EP of theirs [The Longest EP] called I’m Going to Hell for This One, and that’s actually where the idea for that lyric sort of evolved from. And as far as I can remember, that lyric is not actually in that song. I remember listening to it and thinking, ‘That’s a fucking swing and a miss isn’t it?’ And it’s such a great sentiment, I remember saying, ‘Fuck it. If he’s not going to use it, I’m going to use it.’

“Obviously it switched around and became about something else entirely, but there’s definitely a bit of NOFX lineage in there. And in terms of the commonalities between my song writing and Mike’s song writing, I think Ballad of Me and My Friends is the perfect example, in the sense that the chord sequence and the melodic structure of that song is very Fat Mike-esque. So it was interesting to me that they chose that one, because I was like, ‘Well, of course you did.’”

GLORY HALLELUJAH

“The arrangement that NOFX did of this song is the sound of them pushing their own boundaries, which I love. Mike text me when he’d finished it to say, ‘We’ve given it The Beatles treatment.’ I was like, ‘What does that even mean?’ Now, of course, having heard it, I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s what you mean.’ And it’s really cool because apart from the break at the end, it’s not in what you would call the NOFX mould.”

SCAVENGER TYPE

“Broadly speaking, I think people would expect NOFX to take acoustic songs and make them punk, and for me to take punk songs and make them acoustic. But I thought I could subvert that a little bit by me taking one of their only acoustic songs and make it punk in the way that I do punk, which is different to the way that NOFX do punk. So that was kind of fun.”

BOB

“With all the respect in the world to Rancid, they didn’t find that thing that I was looking for with their cover of Bob – in terms of rearranging the song and finding a different angle on it. And it’s always been a country song to me: the first four lines could literally be a Merle Haggard song – and I say that as an enormous Merle Haggard fan. It’s so seventies traditional country, it’s ridiculous, and it seemed to me that it deserved that treatment.”

EAT THE MEEK

“This was the hardest song for us to get right. We went through so many different iterations of it, none of which were really landing, and it was starting to get quite frustrating. The breakthrough was the word Fugazi. I said to Tarrant [Anderson] and Nigel [Powell] – the rhythm section of The Sleeping Souls – ‘What if we play this like Fugazi?’ Then Nige kicked into this fucking amazing beat.

“The Bob arrangement was so easy that it just fell straight in, no problem. Scavenger Type was pretty easy as well. Eat the Meek was a little bit trickier, but once we got that rhythm section pumping it was like, ‘OK. Here we go.’ And we kept the chords going so that Ben [Lloyd] could go to town on his weird guitar work that he excels at. This is my favourite track off our side of this record.”

PERFECT GOVERNMENT

“For this one we said, ‘Let’s just do one that’s in our wheelhouse.’ And we decided to make it sound like the songs of mine that I’m known for. So we went down that road for Perfect Government. And it was a lot of fun, but because of that this was a really easily song to figure out, and it really didn’t take long to throw the arrangement together because everyone just did the kind of shit they usually do.

“But it’s always been one of my favourite NOFX songs, not least because it’s got a degree of anger to it that I love: ‘You point your fucking finger / You racist, you bigot / But that’s not the problem / Now is it?’ As a 15-year-old hearing that for the first time, it grabbed me, because that bite is exactly what I was looking for in punk rock. And I had so much fun singing this one, because I got to record a song that I’ve known like the back of my hand since I was a kid.”

FALLING IN LOVE

“When I sent Mike the mix of this song, he called me back straight away and was like, ‘This is the fucking best song on the split by miles.’ The recording methodology for the rest of the record was we tracked the drums in our rehearsal space, and then we tracked guitars and bass as we were on tour with the Dropkick Murphys in February. But this song is just me – and Tim Brennan from the Dropkicks playing accordion.

“Tracking vocals when you’re on tour is always something that’s a bit weird, because quite often you have tour voice and you’re tired. But I decided to take advantage of that. We had a day off in Germany, and I took my laptop and an acoustic guitar up to my bedroom, and I pretty much just put a blanket over my head and decided to let the tiredness in my voice take centre stage. And I sung it way lower than I usually sing.

“What I also wanted to do, by taking away any element of ‘punk’ from it, was demonstrate what a great fucking song it is, regardless of genre considerations. It’s a beautiful lyric, and a beautiful melody, and I wanted to let that shine by putting as little on it as I could. So it’s just an acoustic guitar, a couple of noise synths, a little accordion from Tim, and my vocals – and that’s it.”

West Coast vs. Wessex is available now through Fat Wreck Records.

Read an exclusive 4-page interview with Frank and Fat Mike from NOFX in the new edition of Vive Le Rock! out now!

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