hail hail rock’n’roll: the glitterati

24 10 2004

The Glitterati are a rock’n’roll-fuelled five-piece who left Leeds behind to take London by storm. Their swaggering guitarslinging has taken them to LA and back in the company of legends such as David Lee Roth and The Wildhearts. Rich Trenholm caught up with Paul, Nick, Jamie, John and Billy before a triumphal Camden gig.

They may not have been around for long, but it seems like The Glitterati have been touring forever – and with everyone. Genial frontman Paul admits, “We played with everyone we could play with and that gave us time and space to do things the old-fashioned way. Which is much healthier in the long run rather than just getting on the cover of some magazine straightaway. And we’ve been touring with so many different styles of band, like Dave Lee Roth, Jet and The Killers, we’ve been trying to steal as many people as we can each time we play.”

The ‘old-fashioned way’ is at the heart of their rock’n’roll philosophy. “I don’t think anyone really is rock’n’roll at the moment. There’s a lot of rock bands. It’s a completely different thing. I think its really easy to be a rock band, you just need a distortion pedal. But a rock’n’roll band, it’s a lot more about the attitude and the swagger and I don’t see many bands, I’m sure other people do but I don’t personally see a lot of bands that I think are rock’n’roll.

“But I think its good that it’s getting talked about and a lot of the bands that we liked are getting more credit. Probably not a good thing for us. But I don’t think there’s anyone really doing what were doing at the moment. I think there’s a lot of bands…” he pauses, considering which bands are faking it. “I’m just going to get in trouble if I start naming bands!”They do like The Killers, 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster and Kasabian. “It’s not even always a loving the music thing, they were just nice to us!”

“We could if we want, but when we’re at festivals and that, we don’t go and check any bands out, we just sit around all day! Talking to each other and hanging round the bar,” Paul admits. “But the bands we’ve mentioned are all bands that we’ve played with and got to check them out a little bit. Those bands are all totally different to us, so we’re not just looking at them going ‘we can do that better’ but we just see the great songs.”

Jamie shrugs. “It’s difficult when you’re doing this to find out about other bands because your focus is turned inwards.”“Kasabian I think are quite similar to us, because when we’ve met them they seemed like a unit and they’re genuinely really nice,” continues Paul. “I mean, we’re pretty easy to get along with, and we’ve got on really well with just about all the bands we’ve been on tour with. The Wildhearts were fantastic. Even DLR – David Lee Roth. He was just… David Lee Roth!”

The old-fashioned ethic and retro look doesn’t make them irrelevant in the modern age, however. We always need attitude-injected rock’n’roll bands committed to the soul and the stage lights. Their songs are rooted in the here and now, sweaty miracles of equal sleaze and glamour. Last single ‘Back in Power’ is all about sex, drugs and friends at the bar. “It does actually say friends up above but they kind of mean the same thing,” Paul informs re:fuel. Oh, right.

“It’s about us when we first moved down here, about being confident and getting your shit together and where we were going. And it’s all happened to us since we wrote it. It is a song about being confident in yourself… and sex and drugs!”

The band have been recording their debut album during breathless pauses from playing live. With over 30 songs written, confidence in the record is high. In fact, their confidence generally is pretty healthy.

They love the US, where they’ve been recording. “We got dropped off somewhere really random and we saw on one side of the street probably about six Americans with signs going ‘support our boys’. Real pro-war. We thought that’s a bit unusual and then we looked across the street and there was about sixty people going ‘no, don’t do the war’. And they all had signs going ‘honk if you agree with the war’. And the other side had signs going ‘honk if you don’t agree with the war’, and so everybody’s beeping and both sides were cheering because they both thought it was for them.”

And it seems the US loves them back. John describes the early signs: “We got straight off the plane and went to this bar and the waitress said ‘are you in a band? Which band?’ We said ‘you won’t have heard of us’, but the guy who owned the place just sent us loads of drinks for looking like we were in a band.” “You bring the Yorkshire accent down to London and it doesn’t do fuck all,” says Paul ruefully, “but over there they love it.”

Then there’s the occasion where they took Kelly Osbourne’s usual table. “She wasn’t happy,” remembers Paul. Perhaps they’re slightly to blame: “I always try to convince them that we’re far more famous than we actually are,” he laughs.

It could be only a matter of time, though. “We never got in a band to be like this little underground indie band getting critical acclaim or anything like that,” states Paul. “Bands that we loved were huge and had long careers and the music we make, I don’t think any of us would want to be in a band where we didn’t think we could be a huge band. We want to go the whole way, as far as we can go. Enormodomes!”

Do they rate their chances? “It sounds cocky but there isn’t that many bands, because everybody gets separated into their little groups: NME bands, Kerrang! Bands, that can ever get that big anymore. I really think we have chances and that’s all we want, chances.”

They may be thinking big but they started small, with a series of secret gigs: “Just because we knew no one would turn up and it wouldn’t be quite as embarrassing! At the time we had a lot of record company interest. We’d signed a publishing deal but we hadn’t actually been out playing live because this was a new band put together out of other bands and then we moved down here. But before we moved down here we’d done a demo and we had people wanting to come and see us. So we thought fuck that, we’ll take a step back and get our shit together live.”

“We played out in the sticks in Scotland and stuff, just in the middle of nowhere. It was good because the longer we stayed away from London the more interest we got, so by the time we got to London there was loads of interest. We were getting offers before we even got on stage and stuff like that.”

The strategy paid off: “It sounds cocky but we’d kind of expected and we’d been in other bands that had fuck-all interest for love nor money so to get the interest we were like ‘bring it on’. And by the time we’d done all that we were totally ready. It just went from there basically, and everything after that was just so quick it was just like, choosing the label, kind of thing. But even then we took a bit of a risk because we put out a single on Poptones, even though we’d had interest from other labels that were as big. But we were bored with having to go and meet people and we were like, ‘yeah let’s get a single out’ because we’d never had a single out before, and Alan Magee wanted us for Poptones so we were really pleased. But thinking about it, we got good press, but if we’d got slagged off in the press then we might have lost those deals that were on the table. So everything we’ve done hasn’t been in any way planned, but everything seems to have worked out really well for us.”

Nick puts it into perspective: “I think we’ve always known that to a certain extent this is down to us to fuck up. So we’ve got enough confidence in ourselves and what we do to know that if we do it and do it right its gonna be good, d’you know what I mean. Only we can fuck it up.”

One thing that didn’t turn out as expected was the revealing video for ‘Here Comes A Close-up.’ “At the time we were in the studio recording the track and the record company said do you want to play your instruments in a white room or do you want to be writhing around (naked, with a girl)? And we were like ‘fuck it’, we’d never done a video, ‘we want a girl in the video’ and it didn’t turn out how we wanted it,” remembers Paul. “The idea of the video is we’re supposed to be with the girl, but everyone’s like ‘so why are you guys on a trampoline?’ and ‘why are you guys hung upside down?’ She’s in it at the end but not that obvious. I think she needed to get into her role a little more.”

Videos, record company bidding wars, tours, festivals… ever look around and think ‘this is it?’ “It seems to happen all the time. First time we played Hammersmith Apollo, we were like, ‘fucking hell’. And meeting the Guns’n’Roses guys at the Kerrang! Awards, and doing our album in LA, and doing a video in Atlantic City… Every month there’s, like, something else that makes us think we’re glad we’re doing this. It could be so much worse. With us being in bands before, we feel like it’s finally… it’s really exciting,” marvels Paul.

“But as well as that there’s something else the next day which you don’t get a chance to sit back and go that was absolutely great, there’s always something more… and I like it like that. It’s exciting for that night, then you’re onto the next thing. It’s been amazing, if you really think of what, if you put down on video what we’ve been doing…”

Well, The Osbournes people aren’t doing anything these days… “Five Tramps in London,” he laughs. “It’d need to be subtitled if was going to be shown anywhere but Leeds,” adds Nick.

With that they pile out of the van and into the Barfly. Hours later the amiable Northerners, having talked the talk, explosively walk the walk to a packed crowd. You gotta love the Glitter.

This interview originally appeared on uelsu.net in 2005. The interview took place in mid-to-late 2004 in the back of a minibus parked up outside the Camden Monarch, or the Barfly as it would have been by then. I hadn’t done many interviews, and only heard two of their songs, but it went well because they were such a top bunch o’ lads.


engineers. tom vek. fallout trust

18 10 2004

Camden Barfly 18.10.04

The Fallout Trust are a frown of high-cheekboned, indie-battledressed intensity. Tom Vek serves up either some funk-addled bollocks or punk-addled bollocks, not sure because I can’t read my own writing, either way it’s all bollocks innit. Apart from the occasional bit of bouncing. Much, much better are The Engineers , who live up to their name by tunneling into my brain with their foundation-shifting sonic barrage. They meander in front of a mesmeric collection of visuals, making a swarming, surging noise that hypnotiiiiiiiiises and deafens and makes you fall over AND fall in love with noise.

million dead. colour of fire

5 10 2004

Islington Carling Academy 05.10.04

The Colour of Fire sound soars and ricochets over the sides of the Islington Academy and should by rights sweep away the walls of a venue which used to have a proper name but is now just one of a chain of beer outlets, and it’s in a bloody shopping centre f’chris’sakes. But the walls are still there, and there’s a few people by the bar but no-one down the front, so the purple waves of sound overlap and disappear. If there’s no-one there to listen, does a surging post-emo outfit make a roar?

Million Dead , meanwhile, do make a sound, I know because I can hear people cheering them. But I’ve lost interest because I’m in the upstairs bar, which has sofas and TVs and no queues. These corporate venues are good, aren’t they? Yeah right.