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The Tights 25/02/2007

First please introduce the band to readers who may not have been born the first time you were round?

Formed as teenagers in 1977 in Malvern, Worcestershire, we were the first band on The Cherry Red label. We released two critically acclaimed singles: “Bad Hearts” (Cherry 1) and “Howard Hughes” (Cherry2), the first of which was voted “Record of The Week” in the now defunct Record Mirror. These were championed by John Peel and we shortly sold out of the initial pressings. Although we were only together for some eighteen months, the subsequent worldwide release of our singles on “Punk Singles Collection ” has lead to the bands increasing in popularity. We reformed in 2004 with the same line up bar the drummer.

How different are you finding the scene today?

The early scene was incredibly cliquey. People are less snobbish now. Although punk was supposed to break the meld of Prog- Rock, with the performers all wanking on stage,the early punk scene was very very elitist, A lot of the inner sanctum of London Punks and Coke-head Journo’s would not even speak to us. They had never heard of Worcester and I think they thought we were a load of “sheep-shaggers”, (metaphorically of course!)
There were some friendly people though, people like Bruce Foxton , Topper Headon, Jerry Nolan and Billy Wrath. All Drummers and bass players, Funny that! Nobody would put up with such twatty behavoir today.
Birmingham was much friendlier than London. At places like Barbarella’s the punk scene was entwined with the Dub- Reggae scene and people were a lot warmer.

Also we no longer get covered in gob at gigs. Not something I have particularly fond memories of! I can’t say that I am really aware of the scene today although it’s weird the way punk sounds far less dated today than all the eighties synthesizer shit that followed. I am so glad that we split before we lost it. The early punk years were incredibly ephemeral. Like a virus we died with it. Although the good side of this is that we don’t have a dodgy eighties period with loads of reverb and a shit electro drum sound!

How long before 2007 was 7707 planned? Do you have other new material on the
way?

Early 2006. Rob had a cracking guitar sequence which was nearly complete and a partial vocal melody but the song really came together when Detour Records asked us to contribute a track for a thirty years of punk compilation. So we decided to write a song celebrating the thirty years anniversary and eulogizing some of those we have lost along the way. I came up with the idea of tagging an anthemic outro on to Rob’s arrangement. In this case inspired by “From The Underworld” by The Herd (One of the greatest and most underrated pop songs of all time!). Yes we are currently recording an album for release late 2007. We have some blinding new material!

You were the first band to release on Cherry Red - why release the single yourself this time, and what went into the process?

Yes, in fact the download release is with Cherry Red. It’s just that they don’t put out EP’S any more. Although we will be releasing our first album with them later this year.

How are the gigs going? What is the best and worst gigs you have ever done and who else was on the line-up?

The Gigs are going great. It’s fantastic to be playing live again. I think we are much better live now than we were in ’78. Our main problem now is that we are all spread around the country. Rob is in London, but Malcolm and Hodge have both moved back to the Worcester area. Unfortunately I live in Broadstairs which is practically in Belgium! So getting together is sometimes a bit of a problem. We will be playing again in London in the next few months and we are confirmed to play Rebellion festival in Blackpool in August. This should be great as not that many people have ever seen us live. After that we are going to the States for the first time. We going to do a tour of skate parks. Strangely we are one of the hottest bands on the US skateboarding scene. This is largely due to the use of our song “Cracked” in the Skatepunk film “Beautiful Breakdown “ featuring Corey Duffel who is a sort of Dee Dee Ramone doppelganger.

For me the best gig we ever did was when we played The Marquee in 1978. That place had such a special atmosphere. Eater cancelled and we had to win over their fans who were pretty hostile. I think we got em on our side by the end, although I got fucked off with the barrage of gobbing and booted a guy round the head who I thought was the ringleader. Trouble was I was wearing winkle-pickers and I nearly left my boot in the geezer’s ear. Him and his mates were waiting for us our the front after the gig, so we had to make a hasty exist out the back way.

The worst gig has to be when we plated a pub in Bristol in early ’78. Neither our manager or the pub had bothered to promote the gig, and so we basically played to the Tuesday night regulars which consisted of two Hell’s Angels, three old men and a border terrier called “Snowy”. The human’s just sat there with their mouths open although we had Snowy pogoing by the end of the evening and he still turns up at our gigs from time to time

Has any band member played in other bands, if so what?

Yeah Robbie and me have been in several other bands together. In The Eighties I sold my bass and took up rhythm guitar and lead vocals as went through several incarnations; “Ashes of Rose” a sort of “Smithsie” Cow-Punk band with twangy guitars and rockabilly drumming, a bit like the Pogues or The Men They couldn’t Hang; Then “Yule”, a fairly hardcore three piece with a strong Husker Du influence.

Malcolm has become a very accomplished percussionist during this period. He went to live in Cuba to study Salsa drumming which he now teaches. He has also played in a number of Latin/world music type projects, as well as sung in a funky solo project.

Hodge played drums in eighties band Fabulous who toured extensively with Carter and The Buzzcocks. We also have a recording project called GB-Liquidator in which I play keyboards and samples. This is much more a hybrid of skinhead reggae and Northern soul and is completely different from The Tights.

Do you ever hear the Tights influence in other bands?
Quite a few American skater bands like our sound, and a few of them have covered stuff. But our most influential song by far is our least punky:“China’s Eternal”. This has been hailed as the first ever Grunge record (Mostly by us!)

What is the strangest rumour you have ever heard about the band?

That we can play! I still really struggle with the bass and so I find it really
weird that anyone would tell me how good I am. I think technical ability is a real lead weight in this game. We have got very good at making sure we don’t get very good. Personally I have always hated Muso’s I always feel physically sick when I am confronted by one of those cunts in music shops who jerk off all over your instrument before handing it to you to play.

Any final comments?

no Comment!

Please note that the opinions expressed by band members does not necessarily reflect the views of this website. Punk & Oi in the UK Limited are in no way liable for comments made by interviewees.

 

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