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Lurkers Interview

09/01//2018

THE LURKERS ARE BACK!

Three original members of The Lurkers, guitarist Pete Stride, bassist Nigel Moore, and drummer Pete ‘Manic Esso' Haynes, have been working together again for some time now, first as God's Lonely Men, then The Lurkers GLM, but now they're back as simply The Lurkers, with a new single called High Velocity.

Released by Human Punk/Damaged Goods on 7” pink vinyl in a limited edition of 500, the single is a perfect mixture of classic Lurkers pop/punk and more modern influences that have flavoured some of their other recent work.

The title track, with guest vocalist Danie Cox of The Featherz, is driving, punchy, punk gem in the great Lurkers tradition, with Cox's insistent but slightly coy vocals giving it a hint of The Runaways, while Pete Stride takes on the vocals for the b-side tracks. White Noise And Feedback is a pounding chugger with a great soaring chorus, then One Butterfly is a brooding, contemplative song that also does a nice line in soaring choruses.

The Lurkers' second bass player, Arturo Bassick, has been touring his own version of the band for many years, so there has been some dispute over use of the name. Here, Pete, Nigel and Esso talk to us about that, the new single, the recent Beggars Banquet five CD Lurkers box set and vinyl reissue of The Lurkers' debut 1977 single Shadow, both released to celebrate its 40 th anniversary, and many other Lurkers matters.


When did you all begin working again as God’s Lonely Men?

Nigel: About 2011 or 12.

What had you all been doing before then?

Pete: I finished touring in 1991 and then took a really long break from music, maybe a few years! Then I started building up a little home studio and generally tried to learn as much as I could about modern computer- based recording and all that entails.
It wasn’t till around 2008 that I started to get back to playing guitar and feeling like I wanted to do something with a band once again.

Esso: I hadn’t been doing anything in music. I worked for the NHS, for MENCAP with people with learning difficulties and mental health difficulties and in the Falls Road, Belfast, in a victim’s group. My writing is my thing, I’ve had five books published. Ricci Harnett has just done a film of one of my short stories, Bye Bye Baby.

Why God’s Lonely Men rather than The Lurkers?

Pete: We all felt that the time wasn’t right for us to release records as The Lurkers at that stage, we needed space to create something new and different without the pressure of being expected to conform to people’s expectations of what we “should” sound like.

Nigel: We didn’t want to be confused with Arturo’s Lurkers

What did you do as God’s Lonely Men, and The Lurkers GLM?

Nigel: Two albums, Chemical Landslide in 2012 and The Future’s Calling in 2016.

Pete: Yeah the Chemical Landslide album is really something out on its own, it has a definite dark atmosphere which I think makes it a very interesting listen, mind you there is still plenty of our trademark big catchy choruses and hooks throughout to balance things out.
With the later Future’s Calling album we moved much closer to what the fans would recognize as The Lurkers sound, although much bigger and more powerful than in the old days, and we were really chuffed to have it released on vinyl as well as CD.
Vom Ritchie of Die Toten Hosen has a small “boutique” label called Drumming Monkey and they released the vinyl version in Germany. The CD was on Unlatched records.


Why have you now reclaimed the Lurkers name? 

Esso: I don’t know if it’s reclaiming it, rather just using it as it is our name. After all, I named the group, I think of it as my group.

Pete: We all felt that the time was right, we had realised that it was too late in the day to really “break through” under a different name. Also it was becoming difficult to justify to people why we weren’t using it. And we knew that the Beggars 5 CD Lurkers box set was gonna be coming out and that our new stuff would also benefit from all that promotion and publicity. And I think that has proved true, for example they set up a radio interview with Steve Lamacq which I would imagine has helped towards the success we have had with the High Velocity EP. 

Were you pleased with the box set and vinyl reissue of Shadow?

Pete: They put a lot of time and effort into the box set and I think it’s great, a really nice package. And the reissue of Shadow was a nice bonus too

Why did you choose to release High Velocity on vinyl?

Pete: We were lucky enough to be offered the chance to record a 3 track EP by the Human Punk label and they only release vinyl so no choice really! You have to be very grateful these days to anyone who is prepared to take a chance with releasing records into a very limited marketplace, but thankfully everything has gone extremely well sales wise and it looks probable that all copies will be sold fairly soon.

Nigel: Vinyl sells more than CDs for our style of music and downloads have no physical presence and there is more scope for cover design on a 45rpm single than a CD. Being one of the vinyl generation I prefer it, but I’m not sure you get a true analogue sound as most music is recorded digitally nowadays..

Could you tell us about the recording of it?

Nigel: It was recorded in our studio at my flat. It’s not purpose built and to say its cramped is a gross understatement, we’re practically standing on one another’s shoulders when recording. The final mix was done by Pat Collier at his studio in Forest Hill where Chemical Landslide and The Future’s Calling were also mixed.

Pete: It was recorded in our home studio as usual and mixed by Pat Collier at Perry Vale studios. Originally I was doing the vocals but it just needed that extra lift which I really think Danie was able to provide.

How did you come to work with Danie Cox on High Velocity?

Esso: I thought it would be a good idea, so I asked her. She contacted me about one of my books and I had met her a few years before. I thought it would be good, funny and quirky having a young female singer, all hair and fishnets, with us three un-hipsters from Suburbia! I thought it was a very Lurker-ish thing to do, and of course she has a great voice.


What sort of deal do you have with Damaged Goods?

Pete: The deal is with Human Punk actually but Damaged Goods handled the distribution and mail order side of things, actually it has now sold out at Damaged Goods but people can still get hold of a copy from Rough Trade while stocks last…

Esso, how are you now?

Esso: Not a hundred per cent, I had the heart attack, a stent put in, and recently had a hip replacement which plays up. And I’m down to have the other one done next summer – great!

What about new recordings?

Pete: We are already deep in recording new material, and it’s sounding great.

And finally, what else are you all up to these days?

Pete: Got enough on my plate writing, recording etc, nothing else really, although real life does intrude occasionally.

Esso: My writing, check me out on www.petehaynes.co.uk. Cheers.

Nigel: All sorts.

* Interview by Shane Baldwin

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