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Bad Manners
28/08/2003 (interview with Buster Bloodvessel)

So who is in the band these days, and what keeps the Bad Manners boys going after all these years?

On drums there’s Rob, on bass there is Lee, on guitar there’s Andy, on keyboards there’s Rick, saxophone is Treacle, on trumpet is Nipper, trombone is Waz and that is the band.

All sorts of things keep the band going. One of the big things that keeps us going is the fact we get reactions wherever we go that are really great. And I think we have achieved something that is a bit special in the business these days, because we are an 8 /9 piece band and to survive how we have is quite amazing. We have kept going through shit hard work the whole way through. We never really wanted to come just for the glamour of making it to Top Of The Pops. We don’t’t mind playing pubs and I think bands should lower themselves to such thing, because bands seem to get above themselves sometimes and only want to play the big places. Which is ok, but in smaller places you get crowds whole love to come along and see you like tonight. It works

How is the current tour going?

The current tour is going great. It’s a new band and we change around a lot for the simple fact that Bad Manners people come and go, and go onto other things. We allow them to go off and play in other bands, because I think it is important that we should not be held back by other members of other bands. So I do my best to help.

How is the current tour going?

The current tour is going great. It’s a new band and we change around a lot for the simple fact that Bad Manners people come and go, and go onto other things. We allow them to go off and play in other bands, because I think it is important that we should not be held back by other members of other bands. So I do my best to help.

And what has been the most memorable gig you have ever done and why?

There are so many gigs. You can imagine, you know the whole 27 years we have been touring, so so many brilliant, brilliant gigs. I would say the biggest gig we have played was at the Pokklepop festival in Rotterdam and it was 110,000 people and they were all dancing like crazy. The trees were actually shaking with the noise and the ground was moving with people dancing. Quite an impressive site really.

Does the constant summer tour put a lot of strain on the band member’s families? And how do people cope with holding down regular jobs, or are you all professional musicians?

Yeah, it is not an easy life being a musician, especially if you are the girlfriend or boyfriend. It seems that it is harder to hold a relationship because you are away so much and temptation is expected. And you can be as good as you possibly can but it is sometimes very hard when you are miles and miles away from the person you care from it’s quite a challenge to not do it. All the band members are professional musicians. People do not just play in this band but do other things like agency work.

I have been on your website and eye-catching design wise it is the best of one of the ones I have seen.

I would like it to be so much better. I think that websites are actually boring as hell. I really want to make them adventurous and different. I think that it is quite a shame that not enough people are imaginative. They are all so factual and it is good that things are down factually, but there is no panache to anyone’s site. It’s so boring. To make your site that little bit different, make it stick out more. It is like the front cover on the book or magazine. They do realloy take time and effort over the cover, the rest of it they just throw whatever straight down. The front cover is important.

I have read that between dates you are also busy recording. What releases are planned, and when for?

Good question. Very good question it deserves an answer, many people would like to know. We have got our 10 box set album which be released in December but it will probably only be sold on tour. It might make the shops. It’s got 10 albums in it and each has got a diffent theame to it. There’s a ‘Fat’ alubm, a ‘Skinhead’ alubum, there’s a ‘Rock’ album, there’s a ‘Crooner’ album, there’s an ‘Alchol’ album. There’s lots of new tracks as well as tracks that have been around for a long time. Like we had to put ‘Lip Up Fatty’ on the Fat albumn. I am sure many people have got ‘Lip Up Fatty’, but it still has to be put on there as it was the whole reason this was made.

And what has been your favourite Bad Manners album so far?

Out of this ten I really like the ‘Crooners’ album. It’s totally different for us to sound like crooners, but we have done it with a ska vein. Lots of the songs really do work. It sounds like Bad Manners doing crooner songs which really works.

My favourite album with ever made was called ‘Fatsounds’ which wasn’t a huge hit in England but it sold loads in Europe. And we did quite well in America, but it never really got the chance. It was radio friendly, people should have put it on their radio station., but of course they didn’t because it is ska. And as much as it is very popular music, people still haven’t got a clue what ska is. They’re like “what?”. They haven’t got a clue. But it is very sought out music. You still hear it in all adverts. Whenever they want to brighton something up they use a ska track. And in TV programs always somewhere along the line you will hear a ska song. And it shows that people who like these like ska. And unfortunately radio stations for some reason, what ever they thing do not think it is a good movement so they don’t invest any time or effort into any ska. It is a music that has been made famous by England, now they have gone on from where it originally came from which was Jamaica. But it’s very worldwide and everywhere you go people love ska. Yo9u know there is always a very ska following wherever you go.

Has the rise in ska/punk bands in the last few years affected Bad Manners audiences?

Yeah I think it is great. I don’t think it has helped our audiences as much as I thought it would. I thought we have more people crossing over from that style and liking Bad Manners more. And do certainly see lots more younger people in that vein turning up at shows. So that is really good, but I thought the music should have been bigger than it actually was. And because it has probably got that ska connection as well as the punk connection it fucked itself up with it’s name. What should have really happened, that people got behind it more, again radios. TV and Record companies if they had actually pushed it. It was a music for younger people and it was more of a visual standup playing proper music rather than what everyones being forced boy and girl bands. I just think it didn’t get very big because redcord companies did not get behind it because they want the boy and girl bands because that is easy-peasy.

Is it a genre you enjoy?

Yeah I enjoy it. It has got a real great presence about it and I like to think that Bad Manner laid a lot of seeds for them to grow like that. From the Bosstones, who influenced that more punkier ska then it went onto bands nowadays who play with that sort of feel. So really we know we are quite responsible for quite a lot of that. So of course I think it’s great music.

How do you think ska will develop over the next few years, and what would you like to see in the scene?

Well I would like it to be appreciated a bit more by radio. It is a music that will always survive no matter what happens because musically live it is kick arse, it knocks people over. And when a music does that and it does it for real then it can’t be looked down upon like it seems to be these days by radio station. I think that we are lucky to have this and it is quite exclusive. You know, people who want to be into it will be into it and people who don’t won’t. In some ways that is great as it keeps it in it’s own tribe. And if it blows out of all proportions like I have seen it done in many occasions it’s amazing that people just knock it.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you whilst touring?

That is always the hardest question. There are so many things that happen. And you ask for one and it is not always in your head.

What is the best and worst Bad Manners cover you have ever heard? And who would you be particularly honoured to cover one of your tracks?

The worst cover we have done, I know that - it was ‘When Will I see you Again?’. But the best for me would be ‘Midnight Rider’.

Mighty Bosstones were probably the best. I saw them doing the ‘London Rider’. They do it about twice the speed we do it and we do it very fast. And bad covers, where do I start – Madness! It would be an honour for Abba to cover one of our tracks.

If you could put any five bands on a gig line-up with you, who would they be?

Funny you should ask that, I am. We are doing a tour hopefully for next summer, which we are not quite sure how it is going to run. It’s going to be guest bands and the first people that have been chosen are Bad Manners, the Buzzcocks, the Beat, UK Subs, Meteors, Chas & Dave and the Wurzzels. I have put this proposal to all of the bands. And have said that we should do it ourselves and maybe charge less first of all so we build it up so it becomes very big. And I hope that they listen to my philosophy. And the great thing is no one can do it without us.

I thought of this a few years ago to put a lot of people together. So I have been waiting to do it at Butlins, but unfortunately Butlins has tossed me right amount but hopefully we are going to be doing a weekend at Butlins. And also we will be doing a London show at Christmas but we are not quite sure of the line-up yet. We hope it is going to be at the Electric Ballroom and it should be the 21st December. It is going to have a mixture of all those bands, and the other band, which I did not mention amongst that lot, are the Blockheads.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2003 and do you plan to go on forever?

It never stops. We have got four things on the go at the moment. We are compiling a list of every song Bad Manners have ever made and who played on what and incidents that happened. Making it into what should turn into a book. We are still gathering information. The worst nightmare of anyone is to go round old Bad Manners members and interview them and get all the bits and pieces off them. There is quite a lot of resistance through Bad Manners. We have had a few upset ones. But there are a lot of musicians who have been trough Bad Manners and most of them are pretty happy. We have had a few upset ones but that is the way it is.

We have also got a video that we have got planned, we have also got a DVD panned. We have also got the singles album which is out and we are promoting at the moment.

We have a Christmas tour coming up. We are going to Japan, Italy, Spain and America.

We set it all up ourselves. We have our own record company, our own Agents for our own videos, for our own everything. We went down that road many times and a record company doesn’t work. You have to really convert people to work or if you can make it profitable. We just sort of survived. We share the work amongst ourselves. I get people to do things all the time, not that they always do it willingly. I don’t understand why band start and then stop. What the fuck did you start if for if you’re not going to have a good time. We have always had the motto of just carrying on forever – it’s sort of our thing. I hate it when bands end. Why? And then just come back to earn money, it’s all a little bit sick and it has been done so many times. You might as well say we might as well have a rest now and come back soon. And soon means later so they can do whatever they want.

Any final comments?

It’s nice to be back in Leeds. It’s a good city, I like it.

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