Revenge of the Psychotronic Man interview questions
- Please describe the ethos and music of Revenge of the Psychotronic Man for the un-initiated?
Andy: For me we are about a no nonsense approach to music. We’re not trying to sound or look like any of the in bands. We just want to play as hard and fast as we can and have a kick ass live show, playing music that we all like and having a ruddy good time in the process! Musically I think we are in a similar ball park to bands like Kid Dynamite but I think we can comfortably fit on bills with the current crop of punk bands and more old school bands, which is great.
Liam: I joined the band most recently so I guess I can offer both an internal and external perspective. What attracted me to join the band was the bullshit free approach to the music. There’s no pretences, no emphasis on image, just pure balls to the wall, all out punk rock.
Dave: Getting pissed and having fun is my main ethos.
- A simple question; has modern punk lost its way?
Andy: I personally think that’s a hard one to answer because there are so many different strands of punk rock, some of which are thriving and some of which… are not. For example the emo ‘scene’ (I hate using the word ‘scene’) seems to be loosing its integrity very rapidly with a complete lack of originality in some areas. However, there are those who would argue that the emo scene is not a part of the punk scene anyway. I think on a local level there are some very good things going on punk wise, which makes me think that there is a good future.
I just hope the punk world doesn’t become too image obsessed. For example there are people who dress in a way that associates them with punk rock but it’s all about the look. The chances of them doing anything proactive and actually trying to help punk bands or labels are very slim. Because it’s quite trendy to be punk at the moment you are always going to get the fakes and hangers on, but hopefully there are enough people still in it for the right reasons for punk to maintain its integrity.
Liam: Not in the least, you just have to dig deeper to find it. As Andy said, the ‘scene’ has become so splintered now and there are a lot of people involved for the wrong reasons, but Manchester does have some great bands.
Dave: In a word, probably no.
Big Hands: Punk as evolved in the same way that other music has. Some people are going to like that change and others aren’t. Personally I still like the same bands I used to, as well as some of the newer ones and I don’t feel the need to look into it any more deeply than that.
- How do you marry the two loves of your life; producing That’s not skanking and producing searing punk?
Andy: I suppose that’s one I should answer. Sometimes with it’s with great difficulty, but I love both so it’s worth the hard work. I try to treat them as two separate things but they obviously cross over. I mean the TNS band nights were started by the band but we decided to advertise them through the fanzine to reach a wider audience. Therefore we end up playing most of the TNS nights. Obviously we always distribute fanzines at our gigs too so there is an obvious relationship and it has been useful for making contacts both ways.
I do have a few sleepless nights trying to get new issues out sometimes, but with setting my own deadlines it’s normally manageable. It just takes up a lot of my evenings and weekends, which is OK because I get bored very easily.
Big Hand: We just let Andy do all the work on both, he likes taking the credit anyway.
- Which of your songs sums up your current mood and why?
Andy: The songs I’ve written for the album are quite observational and sarcastic at times. A common theme for my lyrics is to take the piss out of people who think they’re above me and who basically think they are a lot better and more important than they actually are (these people are often the types of people we mentioned in the second question). Therefore, I suppose if I had to pick one track it would be a little thirty second wonder called Vuz Lightyear. I’ve been trying to organise tour dates lately and so many out of town promoters will do nothing to help out of town bands. Vuz Lightyear is having a go at money grabbing promoters who care more about lining their own pockets than they do about music so I guess that’s the one that’s most relevant to my current mood.
Liam: Ha ha, ‘Here’s One For You’ sums up our attitude to the ‘scenesters’ who in my opinion are the individuals ruining any sense of unity within the Manchester punk scene. You’ll notice an us vs the world attitude in a lot of our songs.
Dave: Most stuff I write sums up my mood at the time, be it ‘I hate the scene’ or relationship lyrics. At the moment I’m loving Straight Hedge because of the lyrical genius of “umpa, lumpa, stick it up your jumper”.
- You seem a close knit quartet, how do you resolve any creative differences that arise?
Andy: Yeah I reckon it’s important that a band are really good mates outside of band commitments because you have to spend so much time together (actually, saying that, I hate Big Hands!!!). I think with some bands you can tell immediately that they are not all coming from the same place. I also hate it when you see a band which revolves around one member. My favourite bands tend to be ones where each member is as important as the next and that’s what we have tried to obtain.
We will often argue for ages about tiny little parts of songs but I think it’s important that everyone is confident to say what they think, knowing that the rest of the band won’t take offence. Eventually we do tend to reach compromises on tough decisions.
Liam: Bare knuckle boxing…no seriously, Inner City Sumo.
Well I’ve only recently joined the band so I’m bringing my approach to Andy and Daves songs, but neither of the guys has been overly precious about their music and have been very open to my suggestions. I’d like to think I’ve left my mark on the album.
Dave: To be fair we all like similar stuff. If we do have any differences we just listen to some Broad Sword to see how they would solve the issue.
Big hands: We have to be close knit cause we have no other friends, especially Dave. If he wasn’t in the band he would just sit at home getting his Mum to cook him fish fingers.
- How motivating is it being a band based in the same place as the home of The Buzzcocks, who created the blueprint for much punk that has followed from all over the world?
Andy: Again this may differ for the rest of the band, but for me playing in and around Manchester is one of my main reasons for actually moving here. Unfortunately there is very little going on in Stafford where I’m from in terms of out of town bands. It’s obviously a big thing to play on a stage where a band you idolise has previously performed and Manchester has always had a pretty thriving music scene so there does tend to be a bit of interest in up and coming bands.
Liam: I don’t see the Buzzcocks as an influence myself. There are many other great bands from Manchester who have influenced the worldwide punk scene such as Slaughter, Blitz, etc. I see contemporary bands such as Goldblade and DTX as having a bigger influence on the current Manchester punk scene. For me the Buzzcocks are just a panto band peddling songs they wrote 30 years ago.
Dave: I’ve always lived around Manchester and therefore find playing outside Manchester more exciting. I often find crowds are more appreciative outside of Manchester.
Big Hands: It does push you more. In our old band we were probably one of the better bands in Stafford (where we lived at the time) but obviously it’s much harder to claim a similar spot in Manchester.
- How many crowd surfers have you had at your gigs and what do you think of this pastime? How do you feel that it is becoming like smoking and is now banned in some venues??
Andy: As far as we are concerned the more bruises someone gets after seeing us live, the better the time they have had!
Seriously though, I don’t mind a bit of crowd surfing in the right spirit of things. It’s not great getting kicked on the back of the head but we’ve all been through it and dished it out in our time and people do tend to look out for each other in ‘the pit’.
I think sometimes the security can be a bit harsh with people moshing or surfing but that’s often because they don’t understand the culture, but then I suppose on the flipside there are those people who act like complete tits in the pit who give it a bad name. I also hate it when people just get on stage and stand there…what’s that all about, but I digress.
Liam: I guess venues have some legality issues regarding this, but a lot of security guards are heavy handed (at the Apollo especially). Like Andy says, there is nothing more encouraging for a band than seeing people going mental to your music.
Dave: We are the first band in history to create the ‘Moshage’ That’s a mosh pit with dog toy strings of sausages flying around instead of fists. It’s more dangerous than it sounds!
Big hands: At the end of the day we all know what goes on in the pit and if you don’t like it stand at the back like the old boring ones, which I must add that I have turned into recently.
- How would you describe a Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man gig and how did you want to leave people feeling after witnessing one of your live sets?
Andy: I think that we give everything we possibly can to our live show. We’ve been told that we are one of the most energetic bands that you could witness which makes me proud. I reckon our set is full of energy, aggression and no nonsense punk rock and I just love it when other people get into that. If from watching us live you can get a sense of even half of the energy and enthusiasm we put into our set then I think it would be good. I certainly wouldn’t turn up and expect a quiet affair. We literally try to rock the audiences faces off!!
Liam: Sweaty, funny, loud, fast, chaotic and a lot of our gigs are FREE to get into so we don’t even have to worry about people getting value for money. Nah, a lot of people have said nice things about our live show so we must be doing something right.
Dave: Cross a Broad Sword show with a circus and you’ll be getting close to our live set. We do need more monkeys onstage though or maybe a panda.
Big Hands: It’s fucking fast!
- Do you have a message for people still purchasing Limp Bizkit and Good Charlotte albums?
Andy: If a twelve or thirteen year old kid starts listening to Good Charlotte, many of them will progress from there and get more and more into their music and eventually get into some really good stuff. I don’t really see people listening to that sort of music as a bad thing, but I do see it as a starting point. No one is born listening to obscure music but often more obscure, underground music is awesome. I’m proud of the fact that I went through the stages of getting into music, starting with the equivalents of Good Charlotte and got to what I’m listening to now. Everyone should have bought music that they now cringe about in their early teens, that’s how you get into music.
Liam: As Andy says, people have to start somewhere. I’m gonna use this as an opportunity to recommend some of my favourite bands, that people may not have heard before. Get down to your local record emporium and look up some of the following: Dillinger Four, The Beltones, 12 Step Rebels, The Briefs, Broad Sword, Christian Le Vaux, Sacquois Faire and also, from Manchester, Goldblade, DTX, Kid Voodoo, the Fractions and the Medicine Bow.
Dave: I started with Europe and Bon Jovi…is that similar?
Big hands: I’d rather the charts were full of Limp Biscuits and Good Charlottes than Take That’s and Boyzones.
- Finally, what does the future hold for you guys?
Andy: Big Hands wants to be the King of England. We’ve told him that’s impossible but this is the guy who said that a lion is a type of dog and thought that Phil Collins invented cross-arm drumming.
Personally I’ve got no ideas above my station. I want us to become established as a touring band and I want to get our music distributed as widely as possible and to write the best songs that we are capable of. Anything on top of that is a bonus.
In the next few months we are releasing a mini album and are touring between 6 th and 13 th August as part of a busy summer schedule of gigs. After that, who knows, maybe Big hands will become Prime Minister…now that would be good!
Liam: As Andy said, in the immediate future we have the album and nine date UK tour in August, plus the FREE monthly TNS shows on the first Sunday of EVERY month, plus a handful of all dayers with bands such as Vice Squad, the Dead Pets, Abrasive Wheels and Goldblade.
I guess in the long term future, I just wanna do this as long as it is still fun and hopefully gain some credibility along the way.
Dave: I want to own an owl sanctuary or have some exotic pets. I also want plastic surgery so I look like Magnum PI. Seriously though, I’d settle for a girlfriend who has had a bit part in the Bill. Big Hands says he is going to shag all the Roadies.
Big Hands: I’d be happy if I didn’t have to go to work. I’d love to earn enough money from the band to pay the bills and do nothing but play gigs and get pissed. I’d also like to have enough money to fit Dave with a tracking device for the next time he drinks too much and disappears.
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Catch Revenge of the Psychotronic Man live;
sat 23rd july - the thatched house, stockport
with: vice squad and more