Lee Harvey’s Interview

Dublin band the Lee Harvey’s have been on the go 8 years and in that time have released 3 albums on foad. I’ve seen them only a handful occasions but have always been impressed. Their sound has a feel not unlike those northern Irish bands on good vibrations but where good vibes had a lot of pop going on Lee Harvey’s are more rooted in clash and punk, lots of great melodies though. I’m sitting here listening to their Still Angry album on a plane journey back from Spain. I spend 7 days there on a family holiday and this was a perfect accompaniment for heading home. As I pondered going back to the real world and wondered what was going on in the world I had bitzy’s observations on the states in my ears. This album was written before the current President made claims for most powerful man in the world. No doubt that will provide fuel for rainforests of lyrics but the observation of

“It’s what you do that makes you count
Not who you serve”

is as deliberate as ever in the week white supremacists felt it was ok to March and then commit a terror attack. What will happen will become the history books of our children’s children, let’s hope it doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

I sent Bitzy a few questions after their successful appearance at Rebellion and here is what he had to say.

For those interested can you give us a bit of history to a) the lee Harvey’s and b) some of the other bands you’ve played in? What do you do outside the band?

I formed The Lee Harveys in 2009 with Mike a guy from work who has gone back to New Zealand. I wanted it to be a sounding board about all things good and bad with the USA. It is a country full of contradictions…plenty of subject matter forever.

We did our first gig in Thomas House. Paul joined after that.

I was in The Strougers back in the 70’s and played the Dandelion market etc, Paul was in thee amazing colossal men, guernica and firewater creed. Tony was in jobseekers. We were a 3 piece for a long time until Rory joined on lead guitar

I work as an outreach worker with homeless drug users and people with alcohol issues

How did the three albums on FOAD come about? Who asked first and what does the process involve?

We recorded the first 2 albums in ashtown studios. PA and Whelo from the dubtones guested on guitar. basically PA said he would put the records out on FOAD which we were happy to do. Our current album is also on FOAD and fair play to them for helping us immensely. we sell cds at gigs basically. gun city is sold out and still angry is almost sold out so several hundred sales there.

how many times have you played rebellion? What are your honest impressions of it? Did your opinion change after attending the festival?

We’ve played rebellion 4 times. The first time is now part of folklore., too long to go into but I still have nightmares bout it. My impressions of rebellion are a very well oiled rock n roll machine. Its good to be rubbing shoulders with some of the punk rock legends, but there are some of the older bands from back in the day who seem happy to just play the circuit and not release anything new. Its a great festival run by great people.

can you tell me your favourite gig a) to play and b) to see ?

I loved playing with buzzcocks a few years back. rebellion, as i said, is great coz the sound ya get is second to none. Seeing the clash in TCD and Ramones 4 times was the ultimate.

what made you pick up an instrument to begin with and decide yes I can be in a band? What makes you keep doing it?

Punk happened at the right time for me, 1976, hearing new rose and seeing the radiators from space told me that anyone could do it, they were a great irish band. i do it for the love of music, not for money coz theres fuck all money in it and coz ive still got something to say.

we ain’t gonna ever play jazz, put it that way.

niallhope

Rebellion 2017 – Day 2

Before every trip to Blackpool I sit down, pore through the lineup and pick out the must see and the nice to see. I have a problem today. 34 bands are on the list. That may not have been an issue for 18 year old self but it is a problem. It will sort itself out over the 13 hours.

The way I see it is that I’m a sponge and rebellion is my education. I may never see some of these bands again, we may never be in the same country together so I want to make the most of it. Let’s go for 34

Poly-esters were new to me. Playing in the huge empress ballroom, home to Darts, they engaged and rocked the lunchtime crowd.

I’d been looking forward to seeing Petrol Girls. There’s a scene of bands out there that have wiped gender breakdown away. Of course it doesn’t matter what gender you are playing in a band but Petrol Girls are screaming out about misogyny and sexism and their toe tapping noise is a glorious soundtrack to that manifesto. Petrol Girls are top of the pile throwing away the punk stereotype and ready to challenge you if you’re too comfortable.

Matilda’s Scoundrels from Hastings have that folky punk sing along feel. You want to be in their gang. Im struck by the fact that they seem to be the first band not selling merchandise as the 6 piece take over the stage.

I guess the real mackenzies are a Canadian version of Matilda’s Scoundrels, it seems bizarre to me but Canadians in kilts singing about drinking and playing bagpipes is something I’ve missed out on. For years though I ignored drop kick Murphy’s and am now a convert so maybe there’s hope for me for the real mckenzies. To be honest I hope not

Interrobang are taking music and adding some theatre, trying to unsettle the crowd but playing angular music. It’s not in your face but they are looking to reach into your heart. Dunstan sings like he is starting in Chumbawamba once more and he is still angry after all these years and will never calm down. We need bands like interrobang telling us they as mad as hell.

I’ve been communicating with Doug from flies on you in various guises over 30 years it all started when he was bass player in nerve rack and talking about playing in ireland. That never happened and decades got lost. Now he is on the “new” band stage with flies on you who have two great albums out. Doug has dropped the bass but the acerbic sound remains and it’s a fall-esque sound, well starts with the fall and nerve rack and mixes a whole lot more in. Great to see them on stage.

The featherz brought some glam to the day, at least for the three songs I caught. Nice change to the wall of noise on offer elsewhere.

Dave dictor tempted us last night with acoustic versions but tonight was the turn of the powerful MDC, more relevant than ever.

I missed the FU’s when I started listening to American Hardcore. Boston punks exploded on the stage tonight. Even treating us to some straw dogs sings which is what some of the FU”s became for a while.

Subhumans never change, even if some of the personnel do. They are still as good as they were, and playing many of the songs they played in, the youth expression Centre in an early 1980s dublin. These are another necessary feature of Blackpool. Again more relevant now as our political structure becomes more similar to the 80s.

Same with DOA, Canadian punks screamed for change in the 80s. Lead singer Joey keithley ran for office. They wanted a better future. They got a different one, better in many ways but the question remains was it worth it? This three piece were are as fast and powerful as anything else today with some tunes there screaming out

 

Attila The Stockbroker is on great form. Not just politics but emotions too. It must be so frustrating for any artist with all talking going on in the background in the acoustic room as people settle in for a drink and a chat. Attila defied them and told us all about the band we should form called “winter vomiting bug” which was dedicated to the band sick on the bus. He gave some newer poems which detail how working class people are still second class citizens despite all the years of words

I never saw or listened to Frank Carter before except when he was in gallows who I didn’t enjoy that much. At one stage he got a circle pit going right round the hall and just like the junior b hurlers they ran and ran badly in that circle

It’s been an interesting festival as the politics of today has lead to a lot more statements from bands on stage. If we can’t talk about what’s going on what can we talk about?, and bands grasped that. They have also reached out to those struggling with mental illness and this punk rock community should know it’s ok not to feel ok and just talk if things are getting to you. We are all in this together, whatever this may be. Frank Carter reminded us of words Petrol Girls had spoken earlier, it’s fine to be down just share it and let’s look after each other.

Membranes are special to me. This is their home town, well it’s not really but it’s the original bands birthplace and singer john Robb, is the sole remaining original band member. They have diversified in recent years and the post punk sound is still there but drone and power are the main traits on display. Tonight they have the backing of a choir which just adds to the sense of surreal spectacular in this car park stage

Wonk unit are increasing in popularity by the day. Each gig sees them getting more popular. Second last band on the empress tonight and Earlier they played a stripped down version of their set in the acoustic room. Not even room to stand. Empress crowd weren’t left standing, we were too busy moving our feet.

Their good friends slaves followed them. For a two piece they can sure fill out a stage. For a drummer with two drums and 2 cymbals there is some sound on stage. At times it felt like maybe, just maybe, they were trying a tad too hard but the power was something else, as was the visuals

I wasn’t sure if their style of humour would suit that big stage. But it did. Alex treated the crowd as if we were visitors to his regal home, sticky dance floor and all. Wonk unit have been described as a modern day snuff and that’s not far off. They will play any gig, won’t get lost or worried in the trapping of success. And they listen to punk rock and know they are no different to us watching them. Perfect.

Kiss my acid were the first of many Irish bands for me to see today. Snotty abrasive tunes with green day playing grunge feel.

I am a car crash are gaining interest. It’s easy to see why, more rock than punk and more post the pre, it was great to see the dublin lads on the big arena stage.

Protex played the opera house. It gave us a chance to sit down, relax and enjoy their power pop tunes.

Lee Harvey’s have a 1978 feel to their sound but with power. Close your eyes and they could almost be part of that northern Irish good vibrations scene. Great set.

Paranoid Visions pack some power. Deko says they are tjebhate of the city’s well there’s a certain section thaysboroud of them. Singing and powerful as if killing joke had attitude for dinner. There is a large Irish contingent at rebellion playing and spectating. Most of these were in the large pavilion crowd tonight as the visions played more recent material and are as strong, prolific and valid as ever

Ok I didn’t quite make the 34 but managed to squeeze in songs from Godfathers, the Professionals, and Bono too

Niallhope

Do you (need) to remember when?

I had a good chat with el presidente yesterday. He was up for the tv smith gig as we reminisced and discussed world affairs as we prepared to our ears for the sounds of TV Smith playing some Adverts songs. That first Adverts album is an absolute classic. Crossing the Red Sea with The Adverts. It should go into any end of century lists. While it may not have the anger fuelled passion of The Clash it compares to pretty much everything else that spawned form that era. Criminally ignored.

So we spoke about that and Irish punk as we listened to the Lee Harveys. They remind me of a Good Vibes era pop punk band, el presidente says its more the Lurkers or the Members. There’s similaritaries in them there descriptions. It was good to chat with el presidente. we spoke of community resistance and how politics is more relevant when communities are empowered. be that in South or Central Americ where it can happen frequently or in paces like Marinaleda in Spain. There are communities like Ballyhea or Rossport in Ireland that are speaking up. Little buds are growing throughout the country as the water tax protest gather momentum. We agree it’s not just about water but hopefully this generation will have a different body politic when they are discussing times gone by in twenty years.

We were trying to figure out when we saw Paranoid Visions for the first time. For me it was the ivy Rooms, ironically where Fibbers now stands which is where we were. El presidente isn’t sure, maybe the Project. We both agreed they were chaotic and fearful events. Tonight the chaos is gone, the fear has imploded but there is still something there. Some anger and some great songs.

It was easy for us back in the 80’s to get drawn into music and poitics. There was a culture of it. Kids have different genres to cling on to, be that rude boy, mod, punk or hippy. We wondered what this homogenised generation do? Anyone know? I’ve asked my teenage kids and it really seems to boil down whether what size heel you were, all the rest are the same. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe the young punks of todays are the teddy boys of my generation. There was a few Elvis fans when I was a teenager but they seemed so irrelevant…..

TV Smith is not irrelevant, to us anyway. He is still bringing out music, doing it his own way and hoping yu might join in. The Bored Teenagers are named after a song from the adverts first album. Imagine their delight, as three young men from Barcelona, when asked to join tv on a tour playing those songs they love. No Time to be 21, Gary Gilmores Eyes, Bored Teenagers. great, great songs. Even better when they played some songs from tav smiths excellent new album.

A joy

niallhope