Bear Trade Interview

 

Anybody who has followed this blog will know of my respect and admiration for uk band Bear Trade. Last week I described as “think Leatherface, the replacements and wedding present getting together to write some songs with northern sensibility” for Thursday Tunes. Or when I reviewed their excellent new album, Silent Unspeakable and described them as “I know none of bear Trade but the beauty of music makes me feel like they are in my community and we all look out for each other. Along the way they are providing part of the soundtrack and it’s such a good one it would be a real shame if you missed out.” In 2014 I described them as my “new favourite band” and nobody has overtaken them since. I thought it only proper, in a blog that documents what is good in diy, that Bear Trade get their deserved space and sent the bass player Lloyd some questions.

For the benefit of people reading can you give me a breakdown of band members and maybe a feel of some of the bands you have been in or indeed still are.

Greg was in 46 Itchy, The Mercury League, Former Cell Mates, Broken Few and also most recently toured with Medictation
Peter was the drummer in Leeds fast punks The Mingers
Callum played in Writhe and with Pure Graft
Lloyd played in Blocko, Ruin You!, Southport and Spines

Greg, Peter and I have known each other for years from our previous bands, and Callum was friends with Greg…when none of us had a band and we all lived relatively close to each other, we were naturally drawn to each other as we are pretty much on the same page musically and personally..

What’s the relationship with Japanese record labels? Have you tried to get the band on any particular label?

I knew Kazu at Waterslide since back when Blocko toured in Japan which was booked by Yoichi at Snuffy Smile who put out our split with Minority Blues Band there to coincide. Kazu had a tie in as a sister label with Boss Tuneage (who Blocko released records with, and Waterslide distributed), so that helped me and Southport get records out there too and a chance to tour. He does a great job and is a great person with a wonderful family, and so it was a no brainer to ask him if he wanted to help out when Bear Trade were recording. He actually helped remix/master our first CDEP there, “Whiskey On A Bluebird” before release. It also worked well in as much as Waterslide do primarily CD only releases, so in terms of formats that ticked that specific box.

My feeling of a bear trade practice or gig is a gang of mates getting together (probably in a bar) and having a chat about life and a sing song. Is that an accurate description

Yeah, pretty much spot on mate! Hahahaha! I guess our band output is a continuation of our collective personalities and likes/dislikes. Three of us are married with children now too, so it gives us a chance to recharge our batteries and simply be mates out together sharing – what we believe is – our special bond.

You’ve a few videos on YouTube, who does them for you? Why the need for this?

Greg pretty much made them all. “Spielgerg” can go a bit left field sometimes, but as he has access to the gear and the skills to mould the visuals around a song we all play a willing part. There is no real “need” I guess, solely provides a fun and different medium for presenting a song and ourselves I guess, and again I would like to believe that these captured the essence of what we are about. My kids star in a couple for example.

Words, are they important to a song?

Very – words and dialect and meaning, and how they can elicit a feeling or emotion in a listener. In my opinion it is certainly a skill that Greg has honed and a lot of people find that they can relate to them, either specifically or in capturing a reflected view of their own daily challenges and struggles in life.

My life is in its fiftieth year so I can relate to many of the words on offer. For those those who haven’t read up on the band can you tell us what you sing about? Death is a reoccurring theme, any reason for this?

The songs are very much around the day to day occurrences in life that getting older throws up, about our relationships with people, with animals, with alcohol…as we get older death becomes more and more a part of living, and so how we deal with those losses is brought more into focus more often. On the flipside, family life is also about nurturing our relationships with our partners, and also creating new life, and how that in turn changes your perception and outlook on the past, present and future. “Sad punk for happy drunks” Drew Millward labelled us. Pretty apt I guess.

I have to talk football. Are you a season ticket holder? What is the ultimate aim for a Bromley fan like yourself?

I was a season ticket holder for a couple of years, but living near York meant for a long while the closest Bromley games in the regionalised south east centric leagues for me were still around the M25. I made the trip a few times a season, but their amazing title win in 2014/15 and elevation to the Conference National (now just The National League) opened up a whole range of games much nearer or more accessible to home. Funnily enough it often takes me longer to get to some of these games than my friends from the South East, but there are a few northern exiles who get together and travel to these, meeting fellow fans there. I would recommend reading Home And Away, by Dave Roberts, which is a best selling tale of that first season in the big boys league and which I feature on the cover and also in some pages. Bear Trade get a mention too, as Dave is a fan and sees us when we play in Leeds.

The ultimate aim in the 2015/16 season was to not get relegated. Most of the people I go to the match with I have known for approaching 30 years, and there were times when if it wasn’t for that kinship there would have been little reason to go. The club was on its backside, and very nearly slid into oblivion. So those old school heads remain realistic and grateful for what we are currently enjoying. Lot of us have sons now so we’re passing the bug on to them! Going forwards, the club has a phenomenal owner (and ex player) who saved us…we now have sensible investors and are building the infrastructure including a new stand with facilities, developing a huge Academy system and we now have a 3G pitch which is a valuable asset, along with our 3G training facilities. The aim is to try and build a club where the finance is self generated from not only match days, but throughout the week, with a core of youngsters brought through from a child to the ultimate aim of the 1st team. So I’m just enjoying the ride just now J

I often wonder for fans of teams in the conference as it seems like they are the “real” football fans. If their team gets promoted to the football league do they loose their grip on reality? What is it with football and it’s completely incredible sums of money? I find it so difficult to even read about it these days as huge businesses take over clubs and community seems to be less of a thing.

Yeah, I fell out of love with football like that 30 years ago, mainly because football fans were solely treated as a commodity and the police seemed solely interested in making your day as sterile and controlled as possible. Funnily enough, there has always been a similar pecking order in non league circles, and currently Billericay Town are making national headlines as they have a new testosteroned to the max Essex millionaire pumping insane amounts of money in and signing ex league players (e.g. Jamie O’Hara, Jermaine Pennant), as well as deciding he will be the manager too. He is trying to play the “community” card here but you can’t pay for that, only attract sycophants and hangers on and glory hunters. Of course, it would be naïve to not accept that money will always have an influence, but what is happening there is being done in a manner which is both vulgar and classless…two words which describe much of the Sky Sports/Premier League/Champions League world of today.

Water slide ask you to put together lloydfest with an unlimited budget as they have unearthed a footballer with unlimited talent. They give you free reign on 6 bands to ask who would they be?

The Wedding Present (George Best era line up)
Broccoli
Hot Water Music
Jawbreaker
Strike Anywhere
The Cure

You’re on the guestlist Niall


You’re a family man, what gives you the urge to leave the family and go play a gig 200 miles away to 50 people?

I have always felt drawn to music and the feeling that music evokes in me. It has also provided me with the opportunity to travel a lot around the world, and being able to bump into friends and visit old haunts, as well as discovering new acquaintances in towns and cities I’ve never visited is a big part of my life. In the last couple of years I have been fortunate enough to tour with Strike Anywhere around Europe again, and the camaraderie which I have always shared with them is something I treasure and hold dear. When it comes to playing – and it may seem like a cliché – but when I was first in a band I always thought that if you play to a people, there may be just one person who hasn’t heard you who might have just had their ears opened to something new, and every time I play, I think of that one person that I might be connecting with. Also, I find Bear Trade are a part of my family, and when we are together and away we are feeding off each other, making us better people, happier people. Without that, I truly believe that as an individual I would not have what I have to offer to my family at home, to share the experiences and energy and passion that I have that money or TV or Facebook can’t buy. To show my children who their dad really is.

All the band have “form” in the diy, independent music scene. Is that by design or chance and why?

I first started watching bands regularly in 1987 and then worked for bands from 1990. The independent music scene has always been in my blood and always will be. I feel strongly that whatever you put in, you will get back, either directly or indirectly. We looked after our own then, and still do now to a certain degree. To me, it has always revolved around people, and (especially in the early days) the trust and confidence that you have in individuals you have probably never met or even spoken to. I remember going on European tours with a piece of paper with an address and the promoters home phone number on and you rolled up 400 miles from home and that was all you had! You and I are probably a good example of this, having first met in 1991 (I think!) in Dublin when I travelled over with Drive and slept on top of the bass cab in their van for a fiver a day. I try to explain to people who ask that it worked just like Facebook in many ways, except with real people and real places and real situations. But I guess that would just make me old, right?

I’ve got to ask about Brexit as it’s referenced in one of your songs. Do you know anyone who voted for it and what is their reason? I ask because I can see the virtue in splitting the European Union but amn’t sure that’s why Brexit was so popular.

My parents voted for Brexit. We had a bit of a bust up last time I stayed with them after a few drinks. The suggestion was that they did it for their grandchildren…did what exactly, I’m unsure. It is very much indicative of the small town England mentality which still prevails, but this gave it a voice. The greatest despair is that people are so ignorant that they completely bypassed the realities of what Brexit would actually mean and simply voted out…as you say, the vote was not based on the pros and cons of leaving the EU, but more about our insecurities as a nation and an opportunity to sing Rule Brittania whilst waving a flag. I live in a small village in East Yorkshire now, and there were posters put up spreading the unsubstantiated claims and the underlying (at best) xenophobia and at worst straight up racism which this vote has given a voice to is depressing and worrying in equal measure. Humanity and compassion go out of the window, and it is the “foreigner” blamed for the failings of the very Government that these ignorant masses have continued to vote in. If I could emigrate I would seriously consider it.

Do you get a chance to play many gigs? Any chance you can get over to Ireland at some stage?

No. But yes.

No – because we all have family and responsibilities and sometimes these take priority for a period of time until we can work it all out.

Yes – because we all have family and responsibilities and sometimes we need to take priority for a period of time before we need to return to them.

niallhope

Another Epic Record

Epic Problem

’11-’14

Boss Tuneage

EPICPROBLEM_pshot

http://bosstuneage.bigcartel.com/product/epic-problem-11-14-digipack-cd

 

I have raved about Epic Problem many times in the past and hope to be able to do in the future. They mark this 2015 with a compilation of releases from the previous 4 years. 17 songs from varioius ep’s since 2011

All tracks have that gruff vocal over fast guitar riff. All belters, coming at you fast paced and joyful. Right from the off we have the blistering guitar of Petrol Blue with Jake McCullogh proclaiming that “it’s a long way down” but then Blindside would have to move even those busking statues on many busy town streets. If they didn’t move during Blindside then Lines would have them jumping up and “whoaaaaaaaa-ing” as musch as any 7 seconds fan.

How can you say this is a classic in a way that doesn’t feature those words. Short, sharp, snappy anthems that are top top class.

niallhope

This weeks News – August 31

This weeks news August 31

Instigators were a UK hardcore band who played Ireland in 1988. I remember being blown away by their onstage antics as singer Andy Turner used the wooden stage as a springboard. he moved trampoline like from amp to amp, corner to corner. Their first album was re-issued on Skuld last year, with the Second Now available for pre order from Boss Tuneage

Also available to preorder on Boss Tuneage is Retard Picnic by the Stupids.

It’s not just UK bands that are getting re-issues – US legendary hardcore band The Dicks have had some of their records re-issed by Alternative tentacles including Kill from the heart . There is a movie about the band being screened around the States over the next while.

On the way

slf
Many of us old punks remember Stiff Little Fingers as having some classic punk songs. Infalmmable material was the album that took us away from our 4 bedroom walls and inspired many to make their own noise. Henry Cluney and Jim Reilly from the band are back playing as XSLF. They are returning to Dublin on September 19 to play in Fibber Magees. Also on the bill are Dublin Street Punk band, Hooligan, Dundalk punkers The GAKK and Clash Jam Wallop. All for €10, bargain

There’s plenty of excitment for Fuzz coming to Dublin this week. They are bringing their riff laden sound to Whelans on Wednesday. As U:mack put it “The mood is not light. The songs project a state of perpetual paranoia and eroding mental health.
And as it should be, you know? It’s a record for the burners.”

Dublin Songs and Stories was an event organised by the people behind Come here to me blog. It was a night exactly as described and raised over €2,000 for Pieta Housse. The second colume is on this week and is a benefit for Rape Crisis centre. BP Fallon, Steve Averill and ADW will be telliong some tales, Mick Pyro and John Flynn will be singing some songs and there will be loads more in between. Sounds like a great night ahead .

Forthcoming Gigs

Fuzz – Whelans – September 2

Dublin Songs and Stories – Sugar Club -September 3

Workmans Club 5th Birthday Celebrations – Sept 8th – 12th
Al Porter – Sept 8th
The Hot Sprockets – Sept 9th
Little Green Cars w/ guests Other Creatures – Sept 10th
Little Green Cars w/ guests Bleeding Heart Pigeons – Sept 11th
Eternal Summers w/ guests Pleasure Beach – Sept 12th
Tickets to all shows just €5

Jello Biafra + Paranoid Visions + Sissy – Hangar September 9

Vic Goddard and Subway Sect + The Dubtones + Gakk – Fibber Magees – September 11

Eternal Summers + Plpeasure Beach – Workmans Club – September 12

Dope Body – Whelans – September 12

August Wells – Workmans Club – September 13

Sleaford Mods – Hangar – September 19

XSLF + Hooligan – Fibber Magees – September 19

La Misma + Disguise + Overbite + Surge – Dublin September 20
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Whelans – September 26

Wheatus – Whelans – September 28

B Dolan – Wormkans Club – September 29

We Shall Overcome – Dublin – October 2-4

Hard Working Class Heroes – Dublin – October 2+3

Juan Wauters + No Monster Club – Whelans – October 4

The Lemonheads – Academy – October 5

Hey Rosetta – Workmans Club – October 9

Giveamanakick – Whelans – October 10

Nothing Clean – Tenterhooks – October 10

Cockney Rejects – Grand Social – October 10

Inner Terrestials – Fibber Magees – October 16

English Dogs – Fibber Magees – October 23

dAVID kITT – wHELANS – oCTOBER 24

Litovsk – Dublin – October 25

US Girls – Whelans – October 25

Liturgy – Whelans – October 26

Dragster + Angry Itch + Stop start Again + Black Pitts + Jobseekers – Fibbers – October 30

Deer hunter button factory – November 1

Slaves – The Academy – November 5

Girl Band – Button Factory – November 7

Stiff Little Fingers – The Academy – November 13

Coitus + Paranoid Visions + Coldwar + Liberty – Fibbers – November 14

Mercury Rev – Button Factory November 22

Chelsea Wolfe – Button Factory November 25

Peter Hook and the Light – The Academy – November 27

OM – Button Factory – November 28

Therapy – Button Factory December 11

The Selecter – The Academy – December 11

Bad Manners – The Academy – december 28

HDQ – When Worlds Collide 7″

HDQ –
When Worlds Collide 7″
Boss Tuneage

hdq

Melodic Hardcore punk from the legends that are HDQ. You may not know the history but HDQ have their roots in 80’s hardcore. There was a time when the highly influential Leatherface were just starting and on their poster were ex HDQ as 3/4’s of them came from the Sunderland 4 piece.

In the age of torrential rain and water charge protests there’s a lot of water flown under that bridge since HDQ released their 2 albums and Leatherface went on to champion and be championed.

A couple of years ago Aston from Boss Tuneage added HDQ to his long list of lost hardcore records that he wished to re-ignite passion with the punk rock community. Boss Tuneage re-released the first two HDQ records as Golly and Dickie from the band got back playing together. I’ve seen them twice since and while the agility is not quite there in such an abundance as previously (their live show was spectaculour due to Golly’s on stage movements.) it is still an entertaining spectacle.

HDQ were based in melodic hardcore, always musical and never afraid to throw a few guitar solos in. 29 years after the release of their first record a 7″ has surfaced. A white marble slab of record with one song on either side. Both songs worthy of an a-side and both with that early energy still shining in abundance.

Fantastic

niallhope

Hope Show 35 – The Lowdown

Tonights show, the lowdown

1. THe Blades – Last Man IN Europe
2. Bangers – Blind Hindsight
3. NoFX – US Aholes
4. The Great St Louis – DOnt ASk
5. The Jam – Down IN the Tube Station
6. BL’AST – SSSHHH
7. Fury – Resurrection
8. Rudimentary Peni – The Rain
9. HDQ – Sometimes
10. Jawbreaker – Friendly Fire
11. Hunx and His Punx – Rat Bag
12. Revenge of the Psychotronic Man – red Top Bullshit
13. The Ruts – Something That I Said
14. Neurotics – Take Strike Action
15. TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers – Bored Teenagers
16. TV Smith – Not IN My Name
17. Ghost Mice – England
18. Captain Chaos – Up The Punks
19. The Flatliners – Bad News
20. Vic Chestnutt – You are never Alone

My friend Ramor is partial to some mod music, he reminded me last week I have neglected this genre on the show. I thought playing Southport would have him enough soul in recent weeks but that hasn’t been the case. I read during the week that the Blades may be reforming. I suppose they all got together at the Phil Chevron gig and decided to do it while they can, and good on them too.I love the last man in europe. That soaring riff, infectious chorus and slight Pretty Vacant guitar intro. brilliant

Bangers came to my notice courtesy of No Idea records and fit in with the theme of singalongs, as do NOFX. Maybe not mod but still sharp eh Ramor

The great St Louis have those soaring songs too, intelligent songs I call them

And to finish off this set I had to dig out the Jam, some great songs, still sounding great

I played Bl’ast last week and loved every second of it. The remixed new record is a blast, go get it. Jade Tree records re-released some stuff by Fury a couple of years ago. This is resurrection from it

Rudimentary Peni are not hardcore in a musical sense but from a way of running your band they are hardcore, Speaking of bands reforming (which I was at the start, keep up) HDQ have been doing gigs on and off and have a new record coming out. This is from Soulfinder on Boss Tuneage . When HDQ played Dublin in the 80’s we were amazed that a band from the UK could sound like a band form the US, and boy could they jump

I end my hardcore set with Jawbreaker from the US. Tuneful in a way BL’ast never were but they always packed a friendly fire to their sound.

Hunx and his Punx blast out obnoxious punk and i’m liking the new record more each day. Whether they live in a rat bag or not doesn’t matter, it’s a reflection on the world.

Red Top Bullshit may not be an obnoxious song and Revenge Of the Psychotronic man are not poster boys for gay punk rock but it fits in here somehow as The Ruts bounce us in to Something That I Said. I wrote about the ruts in my first fanzine in 1984 – I’m still listening to them just as much. Another band from just a bit later that I still return to are the Newtown Neurotics . I had the pleasure of seeing them a couple of times in recent years and that is why I would urge the Blades to reform while they can. If the songs are good they stand the test of time and if you’re doing it for the right reasons (music rather than money) then go for it. I picked this neurotics song as there has been so much talk around the centenary of the lockout from those in power n a country that still hasn’t legislated for Collective Bargaining

This may not be No Time to be 21, or it certainly wasn’t when Tim wrote this song in 77. Boss Tuneage released this record of the Bored Teenagers performing the first Adverts album with TV Smith on vocals. If you’ve none of Tims records, I’m asking you person to person, right now to get one. Not In My Name was written about the war on Iraq, it’s as relevant as ever now in these ever so dangerous times of nation building.

Ghost Mice and Plan-it-x records are great. Ghost Mice are so interesting. They brought out a cd about their European tour and have a song about each country. It’s a personal zine set to music. Youeven get bonus pictures on the cd and a load of songs from their tour. One extra song is “Up The Punks” “Punk rock music save my life” – brilliant “That’s why I sing and ask you the sing with me – Up the punks, up the punks”.

The Flatliners have a new album out this week . I haven’t got it yet so you have to make do with a song from their last excellent record.

No doubt you’ve been singing along to everything through the show so I am finishing on a note to let you all know that when you come down from all this dancing, You are still not alone, never feel that way or let it envelope your life. Live this life as best you can and stay true

Thanks for listening

neverAlone