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Interview

Stiffs
17/08/1999



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

The current line-up is STRANG (Guitar, vocals); Tommy O`Kane (Drums); John McVittie (Bass, vocals) and myself Phil Hendriks (Lead vocal, guitar). This is the original line-up that recorded the bands early material, from 1979 to 1981, including all the bands singles for Dork records, EMI-Zonophone and STIFF records, although we never recorded an album. We split up in mid 1981, then reformed briefly in 1985 for a reunion concert. The bands last record, the 'Young guitars" 1985 featured myself and Strang with different musicians under the name STIFFS `85. We soldiered on with various line-ups before finally calling it a day in 1989 when we all disappeared to various parts of the country.

The current (original) line-up reunited in 1999, after Captain Oi! records issued a "best of" album. The reunion in July `99 was recorded and has just been released by Receiver records as a live album. We found ourselves back together again in July 2000 for the H.I.T.S. festival.

Discography.

Singles:
"STANDARD ENGLISH" / "BROOKSIDE RIOT SQUAD" / "DC-RIP" Dork records 1979
"INSIDE OUT" / "KIDS ON THE STREET" Dork records 1979
"INSIDE OUT" / "KIDS ON THE STREET" Zonophone 1980
"VOLUME CONTROL" / "NOTHING TO LOSE" Zonophone 1980
"GOODBYE MY LOVE" / "MAGIC ROUNDABOUT" Stiff 1981
"THE YOUNG GUITARS" / "YER UNDER ATTACK" Dork 1985

Albums:
"THE STIFFS-The Punk Collection" CD Captain Oi! 1999
"VOLUME CONTROL - LIVE" CD Receiver 2000

Describe your sound.

That`s a tough one - someone once reviewed it as "Pop with steel toe caps." Someone else called it "a cross between The Professionals and the Glitter band." I don`t mind either of those but if you really want to know, buy or blag a C.D.!

What is the best gig The Stiffs have ever done and who else was on the line-up?

The one that sticks in my memory would be the LYCEUM in Feb. 1981 with U.K.Subs, Chelsea and Anti-Pasti. I`d only left school a few months earlier and there I was in this world famous theatre,playing to a sell-out crowd. Another gig that sticks in my memory was playing the MARQUEE in 1981 when Steve Jones joined us on stage for a version of the Pistols` "Silly thing."

If you could take a vocalist, guitarist(s), bassist and drummer from different bands to make your perfect band who would you choose (can be deceased)?

Charlie Harper (lead vocal), Knox (guitar),Keith Richards (guitar), Lemmy (bass),Rat Scabies (drums) I don`t think it would make the perfect band but just imagine what kind of noize would they make together ! I`d love to see them on T.O.T.P., playing live - average age about 65. Christ, that would make me feel young! Even better would be to see them interviewed on that shite Jo Whiley TV show that people only ever watch `cos there`s bugger all else on TV. I`d love to hear their views on the new releases and hear Whiley trying to invent some poncey monicker to describe their sound.

Do all the band members do other jobs as well as being in the band? If so, what?

Yes, they all have to eat - next time I see any of them I`ll ask them what they do.

Do you still go and see other punk/oi bands when they play in your area? If so, what was the last band you saw and were they any good.

I don`t see many gigs, as where I live there isn`t much happening.

If The Stiffs were a type of alcohol, what drink would they be and why?

Probably Hooch - tastes like pop but kicks you in the arse!

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2000.

Trying to negotiate a release for some previously unheard Stiffs material, including a session featuring ex Mott the Hoople drummer Dale Griffin. There`s also a rumour that EMI might release their unissued Stiffs recordings after 20 years - I`ll believe it when I see it! We`ve also discussed recording a brand new album - some songs are already written, so it`s a distinct possibility. No "live" dates yet confirmed for 2000.

Any final comments?

Thanks to all those who bought our sporadic records over the years - we`ll try to make them appear more frequently from now on, so expect another album by 2008.

Phil Hendriks


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