2017 continues to be a great year for Streetpunk. It seems that everyone is pushing their efforts to the max. So, what is it that is making this year so exceptional? Through my observations, here’s what I discovered. 1) The already established streetpunk bands have just gotten better. This is obvious. Practice makes perfect, right? 2) The new, and younger bands are paying attention to the sounds that really started this whole thing. As the skinhead population declines, the youthful… shall I say “The Saviours”?… are really stepping up and doing what they can to preserve our beloved scene. Some old dogs, somewhere, taught these kids right. “Kids” isn’t even the appropriate word. When someone claims skinhead, they are officially men. Some of you judgemental types should consider giving these new guys the respect they deserve. Support and encouragement go a long way when it comes from the skins they’ve looked up to. Ball busting is one thing. Being a shitty old coot is another. Oi has changed over the years, but the spirit is still alive with the new breed. Show some love, or consider fucking off 😉
Also, we’ve been paying attention to a lot of you struggling punk bands out there. Sure, you’re having a hard time finding your place. Broke as fuck… we’re listening. There’s some amazing music coming from you guys. We hear what you’re throwing down… and you will be hearing from us soon.
Dan Tope, Co-Editor in Chief (Is that a thing? I don’t know what our job titles are) has been all over the place checking out shows. Most recently was War At The Shore. So, if you’re in a band we like, and I can’t reach you online, Dan will come knockin’ on your Marshall cabinet… There’s no escape!
In this issue we got interviews from Wolf Bites Boy, and The Jollars. Both are great fucking bands and we’re honored to have them here today. Mr. Mick Fletcher also stops in to do an AUDIO FIX for us. You’ve seen him all over social media with his “Just Some Punk Songs” show. We know what the Hell he listens to, but let’s check out his favorites.
Click Here: Sounds Of The Street Webzine
CLICK HERE: American Oi!
Wolf Bites Boy has been earning world wide attention, for good reason. Heavy melodic streetpunk, with classic stylings, geared to make your feet move, and catchy sing a longs are what these boys are all about. They’re already booked to play Rebellion Fest ’18, but you don’t need to wait until then to check ’em out. Paul Hankey gives us the backstory on one of the fastest rising bands in streetpunk today.
Tell us a little bit about the band members and their backgrounds. How did the band get started?
P: Rob (guitar), Stu (vocals), and myself (drums) were mates in the late 90’s living in Stoke, but were in different bands and decided to do something together, so we formed Senseless.
Senseless was a great hardcore/streetpunk band that did some of the most chaotic gigs I have ever seen, with the drum kit often ending up in the mosh pit.
Gotta Get Amway, and I‘ll Be There For You, which are on the first WBB album, are both old Senseless songs.
Like a lot of things though, life got in the way, we all had young kids, no money. Stu was moving away, so we decided to call it a day and let our then bass player carry on with new members.
Rob and Stu remained friends, but I dropped out of the scene altogether and gave up playing completely.
Fast forward, me and Rob would bump into one another at Rebellion punk festival and reforming the band would always crop up. About 2013 we all finally met up for a rehearsal and the rest is history.
Within a couple of months of starting, we did a video for an old Senseless song “Stevies Boy“, and had a weekend in the studio which resulted in Rise Again, Fighting On, Backstreet Kids Gotta Get Away, and a Buzzcocks cover.
We have recently recruited a new bass player, Rob P., who fits like a glove. This has freed Stu up for vocal duties, so expect even more energy at live shows.
Can you tell us some about the themes of your songs, and a little bit about the song writing process?
P: Our songs tend to be about the day to day battles with life and surviving them. Inclusion, community, pride in your self and others, and the refusal to give up…………ever.
Rob & Stu tend to come up with the initial song ideas, bring them to rehearsal and within about 10 minutes the songs will be written. Never known a band like this. They just fall into place. In fact, if we lived closer, and we could be arsed to practice more (it’s an 85 mile round trip), we could probably write an album a month, haha.
What other bands / musicians have you found to be most influential over the years?
P: Depends which of the band you ask. We all like different areas of punk/oi. For Stu, it would be mostly American bands like the Bouncing Souls, Dropkick Murphys, Suicidal Tendencies, For Rob, it would be bands like Blitz and The Partisans, Cock Sparrer, etc. For me, it would be Rancid, Old Firm Casuals, Last Resort, Gimp Fist, Booze and Glory.
I think Rancid is the one band we can all agree on, a massive influence on us.
So, it looks like you guys have played some decent shows. What has been some of your personal top moments so far?
P: There have been so many. Played with great bands and met some great people.
Last years Rebellion was unreal, we played the introducing stage and didn’t know what to expect. We started off with a half filled room, and by mid set the room was full to capacity with people standing 10 deep at all the entrances trying to get in. A very humbling experience.
Supporting Discharge in Stoke was special for me. As the granddad of the band, I used to drink with members of Discharge in the early 80’s in a pub called the White Swan, a few hundred meters from where we were playing. It certainly bought back a few memories.
Lars Oxley asking us to do some support slots with The Old Firm Casuals (Doesn’t get much better than that).
What’s the first song in your collection that you would point to someone who’s never heard your band before? What track do you feel best represents what Wolf Bites Boy is all about?
P: So many. Probably Gotta Get Away or Wear Your Heart With Pride. Fighting On, for the sheer “fuck you” attitude.
Are you currently working on new material, or planning for any new shows? What’s up ahead for 2017?
P: We recently released a split EP with The Seaside Rebels on Randale Records. We had 2 tracks on Oi! The Tape, Vol 1. on CCM, which is turning into a monster series of compilations. We have just finished our tracks for the split album with the Brazilian band, Fibonattis, which will be released Summer 2017 on the Brazilian label, The Firm records. We will have a couple of weeks off, then back into rehearsal to write our 2nd album for Crowd Control Media (A big shout out to Sheldon and the guys for the support). Last, but not least, we will hopefully have a track on the upcoming Oxymoron tribute album. We also played Rebellion Festival again this year, the greatest punk festival in the world!
Where can we pick up your music and merchandise?
P: Our Bandcamp Page, Crowd Control Media, Spirit Of The Streets, Fight To Live Records, and Randale Records.
Thanks for the music. You guys all have backgrounds in the scene, and got a great thing going on now, so do you have any final words for the readers concerning the scene?
P: The scene, at the moment, is the healthiest it’s been in years. There are literally hundreds of bands coming through. Way to many to list, and the difference this time is they are all helping one another. No backbiting, and no shit being taken. Imposters and Wannabe’s are soon found out and dealt with.
The future looks bright the future looks punk.
Links: Wolf Bites Boy Facebook Page, Wolf Bites Boy Bandcamp, Crowd Control Media – Wolf Bites Boy, Fight To Live Records, Fight To Live Records Facebook Page, Randale Records Facebook Page, Crowd Control Media Facebook Page.
From the first moment I heard the chorus sung, “Rebel Boot Boys”, I was hooked on this Cork City based band. The album, Half Cut, quickly became one of my top 5 personal favorite releases of the year. That ranking is pretty important to me considering I’ve recieved hundreds of albums so far this year. It came right at the moment when I needed to hear something fresh, original, not too overproduced, and just the right amount of beer drenched dirtiness. Well, luck o’ the Irish, I found it with The Jollars!
So, tell us a bit about your bandmates and what brought The Jollars together as a band.
B: So, The Jollars are Brian (bass and vocals), myself (guitar and vocals), and Nora (drums); Me and Brian used to play in a streetpunk band with a bunch of other drunks called Cruibin, and that band finished and we decided to start an Oi! three piece together. We asked our friend, Nora, to play drums. We knew she was a great drummer, and liked punk rock, but hadn’t really played in a punk band before. We had a lot of fun together and it’s all worked out pretty well! It helps that we all like drinkin and don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Half Cut is in my top 5 favorite Oi albums of all time. What influences from other artists, or most importantly, life in general, do you feel contributed to your overall sound?
B: Wow, that’s high praise. Thank you very much! I suppose when we started, the idea was to play really stripped down, simple, and aggressive stuff with some catchiness to it like old Rejects stuff, The Oppressed, The 4 Skins, The Business. As time went on, I think the songs got a little more complex and the more melodic influences came out a bit stronger than the “knock you teeth out” stuff, but it wasn’t intentional. That’s just the kind of ideas we were having. We never really think anything out that far! One of my favoutite bands around at the moment is Rixe from France. Hearing them really made me want to go write something similar for the next Jollars album.
As far as life influences, we just write songs about the same kind of stuff we talk about over a few beers, and don’t try to be anything we’re not. Simple as! I think every working class person has stories to tell, and they resonate with other people who’ve had the same experiences, wherever they’re from, so we just tell ours. We try to keep a balance between the serious, angry songs, and the fun ones, because that’s what we’re like as people. We keep our eyes open to the fucked up things going on in our society, but we still like to get drunk and talk absolute bollocks too! Irish songs tend to be about social issues, oppression and/or drinking – so they are hard habits to shake.
There are certain tracks on the album that Im curious if they are inspired by true stories; especially Wrathclyde and Thick Like Me. Are there any stories behind those two songs, or any of the others on the album?
B: Yup, anytime we write a story type song like that, it’s a true story of something that happened to us! Wrathclyde was written after this time Brian got hassled by the cops in Scotland for being a skinhead in the wrong place at the wrong time; there was an Irish Rebublican (ie pro re-unification of the Island of Ireland, as the north of the Island is governed by Britain – just in case our American firends didn’t know!) march going on, which he didn’t even know about, so I suppose they were just looking for suspicious characters, of which he certainly is one!
Thick Like Me is about one time this fella from the local metal scene started trying to make friends with me, Brian, and our buddy Chris at the local rock bar (Fred Zepplins, where we put on punk gigs for years) by telling us how he hated immigrants, and especially black ones. He was obviously operating under the skinheads = racists logic. It was pretty funny watching him backtrack at top speed when he realised he’d just said the wrong thing and there were now 3 guys staring daggers at him, while he was on his own!
The song, Hang Em High (yeah, I know Perkele has a song of the same name, but it slipped my mind at the time I named it!) is about the damage done by the Catholic church in our country. They got away with outrageous shit for decades; child rape on a massive scale, putting unmarried mothers into institutions where they were worked half to death and abused by nuns, taking the kids off said unwed mothers to sell to Catholic couples abroad. It’s insane, but the facts are out in the open now for history to judge. It really makes me sick that the people responsible for this will probably never be brought to justice. So all I can do is write a pissed off song about it!
What’s your favorite song on the album, and why?
B: Probably the Gone Offie. Just in case the title is a bit obscure for American readers, in Ireland and the UK we call a place that sells take away booze an “offie”, and this one sells stuff that’s past it’s sell by date for really cheap! Brian wrote the lyrics, I wrote the tune, boom! It makes people laugh, which is always good. If I had to pick another, I’d probably pick Hang Em High – I stand by the sentiment in that song, fuck those cunts.
What is something you want music fans to know about The Jollars and what they stand for?
B: I’ve always been a fan of the old idea of “having a laugh and having your say”. Some of our songs are about drinking and football and fun, and some are about serious shit like austerity politics (shorthand for the policies which make an economic downturn hurt the poorest the most, while the super wealthy are protected) and racism. You can do both!
I think anyone can tell from reading our lyrics that we are pro-working class, unity and solidarity, for the building of strong trade unions, and other organisations to protect our interests, and against the rulership of the business and political class. They need us, we don’t need them.
From what I understand, The Jollars is slang for beerguts? From the looks of your band photo, I don’t see any beerguts. Is this something your planning for the future, haha?
B: That’s cause we were sucking em in for the photos! Yeah, a jollar is a slang term from the area me and Nora are from. Brian thought it was the funniest word ever, so that ended up being the bandname. Pretty stupid but as I said, we never think anything out too far! I have definitely developed quite the jollar since those photos were taken – the Beamish in Cork is just too delicious!
Is there any new material in the works? Can you give us any spoilers?
B: Yeah, we are waiting on the final masters of 2 songs we recorded a while back with the plan of releasing them as a split with out buddies United Bottles from Belfast. That will hopefully be releases on Aggrobeat, who were so helpful to us in releasing “Half Cut!”, much respect! There’s also a ton of new songs that we’ve been working on that haven’t been recorded yet. Brian lives in the UK now, so it’s harder to get stuff done but we’ll manage! There’s enough songs between us for another album already, but we just need to find time to meet up and polish them in the practice room.
You guys capture a gritty, unpolished sound that I personally feel is important for good Oi, which is why this album stuck on me so hard. Keep it up. Great stuff! Any final words for the readers?
B: Thanks! And I wondered if it sounded too polished when we finally heard the album haha! Yeah, I think all punk rock is best when it’s kind of raw and live sounding. I don’t think it gains anything from being fancied up. Some our favourite albums sound like they were recorded on a broken tape deck in a garage, but they’ve got that atmosphere to them that makes you go “fucking hell!” We’d like to invite American Oi! fans to check out some of the bands from Ireland that you might not have come across, especially the great Runnin Riot from Belfast, featuring our friend Colin, who was taken from us too soon (RIP Colin). They had such an overwhelming positive influence on Oi! And Punk in Ireland – the best live band ever.
Check out Takers And Users, Hardcase and United Bottles (featuring ex Runnin Riot lads) also from Belfast, and Grit from Dublin, all great bands. Finally, thanks to you for the interest in our band and stay tuned for new releases! Cheers and Beers!
Here we go again with another Audio Fix! This time, we’re talking to Mick Fletcher. Mick is one of those guys who goes out of his way to support, and strengthen, the scene. You’ve probably come across his show “Just Some Punk Songs” at http://mixlr.com/global-punk-radio/ and his blogsite at Just Some Punk Songs. Well, now you get to see, and hear, what this music mans top choices are!
Thanks for letting me share 5 albums that I love now as much as when I first heard them. These long players never grow old. Some may be obvious choices, but they’re only obvious because they’re so damn good.
1) Stiff Little Fingers – Inflammable Material
Any album that beats The Clash’s debut as (in my opinion) the best release of the 70’s, must be bloody good. From the opening bars of Suspect Device, to the dial tone at the end of Closed Groove, this is a perfect album. Passionate, honest, and never bettered. I’m sure you all know and love it.
2) Operation Ivy – Energy
Rancid have released some great records down the years, but I don’t think anything is quite as good as the album that featured Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman along with vocalist Jesse Michaels and drummer Dave Mello. I’m talking of course about Energy by Operation Ivy. It was the bands only lp, and showed how ska punk should be done. Raw, energetic, and crammed full of classic tracks. You need this in your collection.
3) Leatherface – Mush
Damn, that Frankie Stubbs has got one hell of a voice. Passionate, gravelly, intense. The Sunderland band were described by The Guardian as “The Greatest British Punk Band of the Modern Era.”, and it’s hard to disagree. Mush was their 3rd full length, it came out in 1991, and as with my previous 2 selections, is packed with classic tunes.
4) Pacer – Making Plans
My 4th pick isn’t as well known as the previous 3,but is to my ears one of the best punk releases of the last few years. Pacer formed from the ashes of The Steal, and are an up tempo punk band that has the knack of writing catchy, but still hard hitting songs. Their debut album was called Making Plans, and it’s perfect for those days when you’re out driving in the car with the windows down.
5) Takers & Users – Backbars And Alleyways
The 2nd Belfast band in this selection, Takers & Users are a gritty oi band influenced by Runnin‘ Riot. Their debut album Backbars And Alleyways, was my favourite release of 2016, and they proved it wasn’t a fluke earlier this year with the excellent Glory Days single. As with most of my selections, the passion just oozes out of them.
That’s it for this one. Thanks a million to Wolf Bites Boy, The Jollars, and Mick Fletcher. We’re hoping this slightly shorter issue format will help with load time. Feel free to let us know. Until next time….