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Verbal Warning Interview


Was it a hard decision to bring the band back together, and who is playing with the band these days?

Paul: The decision was made for me, when I got together with guitarist Lee and drummer Ian. I thought I was going to form a new band but they wanted to keep the name Verbal Warning - a good decision by them. We soon realised we needed a singer so I dragged John in, known him for years.

Lee: No comment - I was still in nappies when these old timers were first doing the rounds.

John: Having been in a band that supported the old line-up several times it was odd to be singing for VW. Still, they did cover one of my songs years ago and have now recruited me so they must have some taste!

Are you still in touch with the other original band members, and did they give this version their go-ahead?

Paul: Still in touch with Dave the old singer. He's living in Ireland now but I see him a couple of times a year when he's over. I think he's quite pleased some of his lyrics have finally made it onto a proper recording and he was cool about using the name which he'd thought of. Lost touch with Colin the old bass player but Adolf, AKA Paul Clarke, the old drummer, still lives locally. He's not chosen to get in touch yet though I know he's aware.

John: Initially I felt a little awkward about it all when I met up with Dave again. But he was fine and said he couldn't believe Paul had taken so long to rope me in.

Why take a 22 year break and what were band members doing in this time?

Paul: The old band broke up because Adolf had his kit nicked and he said he couldn't afford a new one and we couldn't find a suitable replacement drummer. Then fatherhood reared its head and the band sort of died, or should I say went into hibernation. Then kids flew the nest and it was like what do I do now, I'm crap at golf so I thought why not? If Charlie Harper can still do it so can I.

Lee: For the past 22 years I've been mostly going through puberty, adolesence (which I still haven't grown out of), making and then destroying a number of relationships and trying to master the tricky art of three chord guitar.

John: My first band since Potential Difference and wish I had got back into it sooner. Too many years sat in a bar!

How are things different this time round? What has been the high point and lowest point of the bands history?

Paul: We're a lot more competent at playing this time around - in fact we rock! Last time we couldn't even afford half decent gear. Low point was the last gig of the old Verbal Warning. We had a new drummer who was, how shall I put it, limited, and Adolf on a borrowed bass - we were dreadful. High point for the old band was when we supported Conflict at the the Union Rowing Club 22nd January, 1983, still got the poster on my wall. Full house, lots of gobbing and beer being thrown around. Then Dave accused Conflict of being just another rock and roll band so they pulled the plug half way through the set and threw us off stage, which sort of proved the point - anarchy eh? One of the new band high points was when I was recently talking to the landlord of a hostelry about getting a gig there when a guy standing at the bar butted in and told the landlord to get us on cause, as he put it : 'They're fucking brilliant' and he had the CD.

Lee: High point - Sounds cheesey but making the album. Now I can cross that off my list of things to do before I hobble off this mortal plane. Low point - Can't think of anything specific but I generally get pissy if I've screwed up during a gig - our cover of Sheena is a Punk Rocker seems to be my nemisis for some reason (hell I never said I was good at guitar now did I!)

John: High point: Getting the album out. For so long we were playing out of our skins at gigs but, when folk wanted a CD at the end, all we had were crappy demos. Initially we tried to record the album ourselves on a portable studio but in the end we bit the financial bullet and went into a proper studio. But it has now paid for itself. Low point: None yet, loving every minute.

How has your debut? album 'A Kick In The Verbals' been received? What is your favourite track on there and what is it about?

Paul: The albums gone down well apart from the punk and oi review! my favourite track is Wot's Your Label because it was such a surprise how well it turned out. It's one minute 35 long - just right for a punk rock song, and its got a bass intro! It's about everybody attaching themselves to a name, like we're old school punk rockers. Some older than others.

Lee: Definitely more positive than I expected AND people are prepared to pay for them. Fave track has gotta be....errrm it's gotta be Free Country as it's great to play and gets to the heart of the censorship and reduction of liberties we have to suffer under the current President Blair regime.

John: Album has gone down a storm with good reviews (except for the punkoi one) and we were really pleased with it. It is a mixture of serious political statement mixed with some more tongue in cheeks songs. My fave is probably Bunny Boiler, written about an ex-wife. Everyone laughs at the words but, hey, I'm baring my soul here!

Lyrically and musically what influences Verbal Warning - and what is the best compliment you have been given about the band?

Lee: You'll have to see John for the compliments - he takes the plaudits while we're packing the gear away - it must be great being a singer!

John: We all share a love of The Clash and The Ramones and we all hold strong views. We often finish band practice arguing politics in the pub. But we also love the fact that punk can have a sense of humour as well as anger. Yes, I take all the compliments while they pack the gear away - it is great being the singer!

Which of your contempories from the 70's who are still going do you most admire and why?

Lee: I'm a Strummerite through and through - The Clash told you what was wrong with the world and gave you the belief that you can make a difference unlike some punk bands at the time who told you that life was crap let's just kick the shit out of it.

Paul: You've got to admire the UK Subs, the've never stopped, and the Undertones and the Rezillos are still top class live.

John: It is nice to see some of the old bands get back together for reunion gigs. But I really love folk like TV Smith and Attila the Stockbroker who have never stopped doing it and retained their belief in what they were saying as well as constantly producing superb new material.

What is the scene like in your area?

Lee: Reducing - A lot of places are moving away from punk and playing more younger modern bands - guess we're not fashionable anymore.

John: Junktion 7 in Nottingham, Derby Vic and Mansfield Town Mill are generally the best venues. The interest is definitely still there and we have Nottingham and Derby Punx Picnics this summer.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2007.

John: We are dusting the tents down ready for our three booked outdoor summer festival appearances and the possibility of another two. We want to get further round the country (anyone want to book us?) and we are still waiting on a definite yes or no for Rebellion at Blackpool from Darren for August which would be our summer highlight if we are booked. Release-wise we are slowly writing and rehearsing the second album, but that won't be out this year as we will be pushing the first one for some time yet.

Any final comments?

Paul: Yeah, mines a pint!

John: Seeya at a VW gig somewhere soon and check us out on our web sites. Mine is a pint as well!

Lee: Question everything and stay free.

Ian: Drummers don't have anything to say other than ' can I have me stick back please?'.

Please plug.....................

www.verbalwarninguk.com / www.myspace.com/verbalwarningpunk

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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