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Interview

Boots & Braces
12/08/99

 

Please give a brief history of the band, including current line up.

You can divide the Boots & Braces history in roughly 3 phases.

Phase 1 1983 - 1988 BOOTS & BRACES started back in 1983 as a 3 piece band with Matt on guitar/vocals, Florian/drums and Alf/bass. We had hardly any musical experience before that and just started doing 3 chord songs wanting to sound like the 4-Skins, Infa-Riot which we were listening to at the time. After the first 2 gigs and a demo-tape, Matt & Florian (brothers) moved about 100 miles further north and had to look for a new bass player. Over the last 15 years the band went through a number of line up changes of which the most significant were: 1986 - B&B becomes 4 piece band with new singer Ralf who went on singing for 8 years, Alex plays Bass that time 1988 - Alex leaves the band, so Matt takes over the bass and the band recruits the then only 16 year old Martin on guitar. With this bastard son of Jimi Hendrix the band starts to write real catchy songs for the first time.

Second phase 1988 - 1994 This is the second phase of B&B and the band gets a more professional approach with catching a record deal with Metal Enterprises. The band records their "hit" album Party Piraten. A new member is added Dani as second guitarist. 2 more albums "Andere Seite" and "Schoen war die Zeit" are recorded. The band plays historical gigs in Hungary, gets to play with The Business for their 10th anniversary.... plays all over Europe gain a huge following but never gets a chance for a whole tour. Then the chance is there to tour with Bitter Grin in 1994.

Third phase 1994 - 1999 Just before the tour with Bitter Grin singer Ralf decides to call it a day. So with 8 weeks to go Matt decides not to let the chance slip the band has been waiting for all the time so he takes over vocals again and plays bass too. The tour is a huge success even so people are very surprised to see Matt back on vocals after 8 years.... a new sound is born ! However soon after the tour Matt leaves Germany to live with his family in Ireland. Nobody gives the band a chance anymore but things work out finally. With the US tour ahead in 1996 the band decides to move Matt away from the bass to make him more flexible on stage they get a temporary bass player and that really changes the live performance again....... They tour Germany 4 years in a row and each year the tour still tops the one from the previous year, unbelievable...... Just weeks ago finally a new record was released. The current line up is Florian/drums, Dani/bass, Martin/guitar and Matt/vocals.

Discography.

1987 - Aufrecht gehen 7" EP Farm Records
1988 - Wahnsinn LP ROR
1990 - Party Pirtaen LP/CD Metal Enterprises
1990 - Wahnsinn re-released on CD
1992 - Andere Seite LP/CD Metal Enterprises
1993 - Schoen war die Zeit Pict.LP/CD Metal Enterprises
1995 - Live in Vienna CD
1996 - Boots & Braces over America 7" EP GMM
1999 - 11 Pints of Oi Metal Enterprises

as well as a couple of compilations e.g unauthorised ones by ROR and Metal Enterprises

Do you do any covers in your live set, if so what?

When we went over to the States in `96 we thought we have to do a few covers to get people going which was right. So we played "Real Enemy" and "Last Years Youth" as well as "Runaway" the oldie song. We never before played any covers nowadays we still play the two last ones.

What is the best gig Boots & Braces have ever done and who else was on the line-up?

That's hard to say we played nearly 200 gigs I think (not much in 15 years I hear you say but for an Oi band gigs were rare in the eighties other German bands might have only played not even 100 gigs in the same time...). A very good gig was our 10th anniversary party with the Business when we played in Vienna in front of 700-800 people in the Rock Haus a very professional club. Other highlights were e.g. the first gig in Hungary in front of 1.000 people with 2 Hungarian bands in 1990. Also the USA was great with a big gig in Atlanta together with Man's Ruin, Anti Heros.... or the Miami gig where we went straight from the hotel pool in the cab to the gig like rock stars ha, ha..... or recently the first gig in Warsaw/Poland where the people went berserk...... we had so many fantastic experiences over the years in so many different countries it's hard to single out some gigs. One thing is for sure it doesn't matter how bog the gig is, how well you played or how many people attended, all the gigs stay somewhere in your memory. A small gig in Vienna for 50 people back in `90 as much as the other one for 700 in `94. It's mainly down to the people you met you partied with.......

What is the favourite song (and what band is it by) of each member of the band?

Matt: Impossible to single one out out of hundred favourite ones ha, ha but if it has to be it has to be a UK Subs one lets say "Stranglehold"
Florian: "CID" U.K. Subs
Dani: "My world" The Crack
Martin: "TNT" AC/DC

If you could see any band play live, either of the past or present who would it be?

I have seen most bands I like UK Subs, Cockney Rejects, Angelic Upstarts, Motorhead, Cock Sparrer, Business, AC/DC most of the eighties/nineties punk bands back then or at HITS also the Dropkick Murphys....... so a band I would really like to see (they played Germany recently but I had rather seen them back then) is ROSE TATTOO !!

Do you think street music will rise again?

We went through all phases with Oi/Punk we were banned from playing in the eighties because we called ourselves an Oi band and had a large Skinhead audience. We went through that without calling it a day even though 7 out of 10 gigs were cancelled sometimes hours !! before a gig by the councils, authorities...... So we were quite happy when we finally got to play quite regularly in the mid nineties due to a comeback of streetpunk/Oi, It was a big boom then, it's still on a high but it seems bigger companies both record and booking wise are taking over now just to get their slice of the cake so I don't know. We are happy as it is just now being able to play gigs.....

What is the Punk/Oi scene like in your area?

Where the others live in Germany it's a rural area, small town a good few (mainly young) skins, a few punks but mainly just a great bunch of lads who stick together have 3-4 bands in between them, go to gigs together..... there's a club nearby where some of the touring mid-sized punk/oi bands play, next bigger cities like Stuttgart or Mannheim host all the other bands just an hours drive. Where I live here in Ireland down in the Southwest punk/Oi is almost non-existent, not even a handful people here. But Dublin has a very good scene lots of gigs almost weekly, bands come over on tour recently Dropkick Murphys, Oxymoron, Ska bands......Belfast has a big and good scene as well as far as I know I saw Distortion there.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 99.

well it's already the second part of `99, we played our annual Germany tour in May 9 gigs also Poland and Czech Republic went better than ever, great gigs, new faces... great. Our new record is just out. In October we'll support Condemned 84 on their 2 gigs in Germany should be good sold-out crowds there. We plan on recording a few new songs for a 7" as well as some compilation tracks and to release our album over in the States and go on tour there in early 2000 !

Any final comments?

Thanks for the interview I think you do a great job for the music in the UK especially as there's a good bit lack of information. Whenever I want to know about a gig on in the UK I just go to your page, GREAT !!


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