Photo by David Canning
Anyone still waiting for the revolution in sound and vision promised by the Horrors a couple of years ago can probably go home now. Southend’s finest have left their mark, though, because today a whole bunch of bands are happily thriving below the radar, breaking things and getting in people’s faces with zero regard for who is listening or, in fact, if anyone is listening at all.
These bands share bills, club nights and labels while somehow managing to sound nothing like each other and could easily hoot and holler right past the waiting world while giving less than an eighth of a shit as long as they get to play approximately 20 times more a month your average pointy-shoes-and-trilby band thought humanly possible. In fact, they’ll probably be annoyed we’re even telling you about them.
Labels such as Dire and Static Shock have been putting out records by bands as varied as snotty Guildford garage punks The Shitty Limits and destructive power-punk guys The Scepters, who play nights like Dirty Water in places like the Cave Club and the Guildford Youth Club for ages. If you want to have a good time and not sit around ingesting pizza in front of Strictly Come See Who’s Got Talent or whatever, you could do worse than check out those places.
With their liberal “appropriation” of Standells twang, Dead Boys snort, Headcoates blustering and nice matching suits, Thee Vicars might be our favourites of the lot. So we gave Mike the singer guy a call in sunny Bury to see what’s up.
Vice: Hello Mike, how is the Bury scene these days?
Mike Whittaker (bass and vocals): Shit.
Nothing good happening in Bury at all?
Mike: No. Playing is fun and you get to get away. We’re playing Valencia with the Mummies next month. That’s better than day jobs in Bury. Thee Vicars brings in some extra money but some aren’t being as generous with the donation plate.
Hang on, isn’t your guitar player 16? Shouldn’t he be doing his GCSEs or something?
Mike: Yeah, I’m the old one. Jasper (Kemp) who plays the drums is 17 but Marcus (Volkert, guitars) and Reuben (Kemp, guitars) are both 16.
You dress a bit too snazzily to be actual vicars. If you had to choose a religion to belong to, what would you go for?
Mike: Probably the Five Percenters.
Like the RZA?
Mike: Yeah, he’s good at chess as well. I like chess.
SHADOWS OF KNIGHT
Thee Vicars’ “…Let Us Play” single is out now on Dire Records. myspace.com/theevicarsuk