Britrock Must Be Destroyed! comes to Digbeth Arena on 5th May

The bank holiday weekend in May is shaping up to be a great one in Birmingham.  On the Saturday (5th) Britrock Must be Destroyed! visits the Digbeth Arena.

The event line up (which rotates) includes Reef, The Wildhearts, Terrorvision and Dodgy and Birmingham Live will have a team there to review.

Ahead of all the excitement the bands have provided a collective Question and Answer session:

Ginger from The Wildhearts, Tony Wright from Terrorvision, Jack Bessant from Reef, Nigel Clark from Dodgy.

1 – What are your stand out memories of the 90’s music scene in the UK?

Ginger – Severe disappointment, to be honest. I wasn’t allowed to let The Wildhearts expand into something greater than a generic rock n roll band, which I’d always planned to do. The band made a popular debut and were constricted to fit that shape for our career in the 90’s.

It wasn’t until I self sabotaged the bands career with the ’97 album Endless Nameless, that I felt like I was making any kind of musical statement.

Once Oasis blew up all people wanted were nursery rhyme simple singles, or forget it. While making a lot of people money, singles markets are least remarkable source of interesting music, like everything has to fit a melodic blueprint.

I don’t mind a catchy song, but for fucks sake, music is supposed to be the sound of feelings, not just cash registers.

Tony – Erm, a bit vague really. Had some great times at top of the pops and the festival circuit. Loved touring. Playing Reading/Leeds had to be a highlight. Donington of course…. It was all a bit of a blur really… not cockney fella Tommy Steele-u-like Blur… I mean fuzzy.

Nigel – Lots of gigs in towns everywhere, people wanted to get involved with music as it gave them an escape from the old ways of doing things. The 90’s personally was more of a lifestyle. Living with friends in the city putting on gigs going to gigs and writing songs about the people you met.

Didn’t have much money but that didn’t seem to matter, no one else had any way….

Jack – My stand out memories of the 90’s music scene are that there was so much good time crowd surfing … there are more crowd restrictions at venues & festivals now but I can remember when we first played at Reading festival in the early 90’s … we played in a marquee where throughout the gig there was a continual wave of people surfing & coming over the front & then allowed back in to the gig … another great memory is when Reef supported Paul Weller 3 nights in a row at the Albert Hall in London … it was on his Wildwood album & watching him with his band play was such a treat every night.

2 – A few of indie acts of the day seemed to get pitted against each other in the media but were there any band rivalries you may have had back in the day that we may not have know about?

Ginger – We had no rivals. I didn’t even think we had any equals, but that’s the beauty of youth. Our press person tried to push us as the Stones to Oasis’ Beatles, for a short while, but that was never going to work with me, it seemed far too desperate an angle to take seriously.

I liked Oasis a lot, but I saw the constant comparisons to them as destructive to this  ‘We Are England’ dream that people were peddling. Badly peddling, as it turned out, as the whole things fell apart when the only band people cared about started writing uninspiring songs, which was always going to happen.

Tony – I remember Blur and Oasis being hailed as something of a rivalry but there were just tons of better bands like Space and Pulp who were just making great original tunes and probs too busy doing that to play the game. I wasn’t aware of any rivalry in Rock but then I wasn’t aware of a right lot back then…

Nigel – Yeah, I think bands in the 90’s secretly hated other bands – it made it all that much more interesting- then you would meet them and they would be really nice hahaha.

Jack – We were/are just out there doing our thing … no rivalries just doing what we love/loved.

3 – Looking back do you think it was the perfect time to be in a band, given people bought records, you had TV shows like Top Of The Pops and The Word and there seemed to be no shortage of labels willing to sign acts?

Ginger – It was a great time to be in a band, but the perfect time was the early 70’s, when bands were allowed to experiment with their direction, and the record companies were happy to fund it just as long as it found a market.

In the 90’s, record executive seriously thought they knew how the music business worked. They unfortunately forgot about their real bosses, namely the audience.

Too much coke made everyone so over confident that they never even saw the huge wall hurtling towards them. I miss Top Of The Pops. The Word was fucking shit.

Tony – Yes it was a more colourful and vibrant time but it was a different time and things change. Most bands and the like back then did what could only be described as an apprenticeship by playing little venues and dives and getting there shit together that way till they got to the bigger venues and now it seems to be more celebrity based and competition winners who probably will lose out on that experience…

Nigel – Maybe it was the perfect time, I’m not sure? I think the music industry had a lot more money to throw around and there were a few people that made  money but probably  business people rather than the artists themselves. I think the truth of the 90s is we saw the boom and bust in one decade and the industry is still desperately trying to recover from it.

We started off as an indie band (whatever that meant) but to us it meant doing your own thing – having our own rehearsal space, running the dodgy club making your band both different and memorable. I hope we achieved that, the jury’s out I suppose.

 Jack – I look back & yes there was a big record industry gong on with lots of labels competing & bands being signed … once we were on tour in Vancouver in Canada … we were picked up in a white stretched limo & taken out on our day off to Whistler mountain (stunning) … there we were given lift passes snowboards & free reign for the day … i think this kind of thing wouldn’t happen now unless you were a BIG money earning act/artist …

4 – This tour is being billed as Britrock Must Be Destroyed, did you feel part of the Britpop/rock scene back then?

Ginger – There wasn’t a Britrock scene, there were just a bunch of bands gigging, making music, having fun. Labeling that, trying to create a ’scene’ will always usher in the end of that scene. I’m just glad it killed off the record labels too as it, sadly, did away with a lot of good bands.

Tony – We were Terrorvision from Bradford and we were proud. We fledged our pigeonholes…

Nigel – Not really- I suppose we ticked most of the boxes but to be honest it felt like if you donned a Parka a Fred Perry & Adidas trainers You would fit the brit pop bill. We never really did that. It felt a bit fake at the time. We were much happier with long hippy hair ripped jeans and sandals ……Would I do it now? Fuck yeah, where’s the brit pop clothing store ???

Jack – We were/are just out there doing our thing … letting our own freak flag fly.

5 – You are all still performing, what differences do you see touring now as to the 90’s – be it crowds, venues, attitudes?

Ginger – I can only speak for myself. I see that the fans I’ve made over the years create a community that looks after the people in it. The shows these days have a level of family spirit and belonging that we didn’t even know we were cultivating back in the 90’s.

And all it ever needed was to look after your fans and respect them, which far too many musicians forgot to do.

Tony – T-shirt sizes are bigger!

Nigel –  Well, in the 90s we had a whole marketing and PR dept a tour bus and managers. Clothes shops wanting us to wear their clothes videos and interviews where ever we went- now we prefer to keep that all in house hahaha.

Gigging now is a lot harder, as we drive ourselves. Pretty much roadie and manage ourselves  (just like our indie roots). As a musician/singer I prefer gigging now as I think we are better musicians. Some of the venues are still the same and the audience love to sing along. If I’m honest the crowds are smaller generally when we tour but somewhere inside we believe that we deserve to headline Glastonbury one day…..don’t we all.

Jack – Yes different venue crowd & security restrictions with more high vis jackets … things move on & you move on with it … the simple act of making a sound on stage still remains true & this is the fun part especially with a group of fellow players who you are into.

6 – Do you still enjoy touring?

Ginger – Right now I honestly think it is keeping me alive.

Tony – Love it. Personally I could live on a bus and just travel and play for the rest of my life and die happy.

Nigel –  I love playing gigs, I still get the buzz whether playing a pub or a festival. The only problem is, there are like 10 million more cars on the roads so getting to the gig can be sometimes pretty close. Especially on a Friday on the M6.

Jack – Yes I still enjoy touring … if I have my skateboard & a guitar with me I’m happy … mix this up with a variety of different cities & country festivals ALL GOOD.

7 – Any past experiences you’ve had in Birmingham you care to share? :

GingerThe Midlands was always our second home. We made so many friends, and so many memories. Our entire crew were Brummies at one point. I’ve always loved being back here.

Fans in the Midlands seem to understand the importance of music, having such a rich heritage with so many bands creating genres and styles in music. Our fans there have always been so loyal and have never let us down.  Shows in Birmingham and Wolverhampton have always been a highlight of any tour.

Tony – All the midlands are great for Rock bands. I suppose it is the British home of rock music when you think of all the people who have been in bands from there and how much the place rocks.

Nigel — We played the Institute last year and it was the 1st time I’d been there since I was a young punk watching Crass in 82′ . Fantastic memories and a blinding gig if my memory serves me right.

8 – What’s happening with new music, are you recording at the moment?

Ginger – I’m recording a new album with The Wildhearts in November, which I’ve been writing and rehearsing with the guys in York over the last few months. We hope to have that out early next year.

I’ve finished recording the follow up to my current solo album, Ghost In The Tanglewood, which I hope to release later this year.

I’m also writing some new songs for an album that is even confusing me. I don’t even know what kind of music it is, but it’s very emotional and I can’t wait to hear it recorded at some point this year.

Tony – I’ve just recorded an album of country tunes with a guy called Ryan Hamilton from Texas. The place not the band. We always say in Terrorvision that if we have some songs to record then we’ll record them and if we don’t then we won’t. That’s how to get the best for the fans from a band and that matters to us. Watch this space as I might be dropping a subtle hint there…

Nigel – I have a studio in my basement & am currently writing new songs for an album. We will be releasing a new album in the near future. I also do mixing and post production when I get the time.

Jack – Yes we have a new album released on the 4th May called REVELATION.

9 – Your mission statement for the tour has been to wage war on “boredom, mediocrity and probably each other”…do you believe that there is an element of mediocrity and a lack of buzz and excitement in the current live music climate?

Ginger – Yes, I think everyone feels the lack of excitement these days. Bands are getting huge but from YouTube videos, which create no real excitement for anyone, so success these days equals sales and little else. Real characters have all but disappeared in rock music; no-one seems to want to stick out anymore. I think that’s why people are still interested in the 90’s.

Regardless of your opinion on 90’s music, there were always lots of unique characters around. I miss that.

Tony – I went out to Nation of Shopkeepers in Leeds the other week. Local independent bands playing brilliant loud rocking sets to let anyone who wishes to hear and get that kinda thing can still have it. If you look then it is there. If you get someone to look for you then you’ll get what you deserve. It’s in the venues not on the tele or the radio. They have to play it safe.

 Nigel I play a lot of solo gigs these days with Chris Helme (the seahorses) & Mark Morris  (the bluetones). One of the issues I have is people talking so loud when I want to hear or play the music. If people could appreciate the music a little more then I think the artists would be able to get in the zone and put on a better show.

I think ticket prices are way too high for the bigger bands and I will be honest here there are loads of good bands playing every night up and down the UK that need your support.

I Support local live music.

Jack – There is always room for someone or something to be happening somewhere … an underground movement or scene … this tour is going be great fun hooking up with the other acts & hanging out … the publicity & hype seems similar to a imminent boxing match … words that the promoters are using to attract a crowd … lets just have some fun & play some great music together

10 – What can fans expect from the tour and have you any expectations?

Ginger – The fans can expect to enjoy all four bands more than they might think they will. All the musicians here are seasoned pro’s, and the quality of these performances are going to shock and delight everyone in the crowd. My only expectation is that our crowd will be louder than the other bands on the bill’s fans.

Tony – We are the fans and we know what we want to see and we have been playing through our full repertoire to find the best to give. If you’ve seen Terrorvision play then you know what it encompasses and you know to come prepared. Take the days after the gig off work and get the nurse on speed dial.

Nigel — Well fans can expect to see their favorite bands on a big stage again. I want to see people enjoying themselves. We live in a very political world and I think music is a great antidote/cure for that.

Jack – No expectations other than turning up & letting it all happen … like I said it’s going to be  amazing for us to be out on tour with a new album out.

11 – Will you be jumping on stage to collaborate during each other’s sets on the tour?

Ginger – Fuck no. I hate that shit.

Tony – Not on purpose but that doesn’t mean no. We’re all rock bands not boy bands…. ooh but we are all boys…. For now anyway. I had a friend called Jo, when friends were hard to find.

Nigel — If they let me then why not.

Jack – these kind of things happen naturally if they are meant to be … it will be fun to hang out with all the other musicians & am looking forward to the tour … really excited to see all our fans again & hopefully turn new people onto the Reef vibe.









Tickets are available NOW via this link

Interview courtesy of PR.

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *