With the imminent release of the brand new album from Booze & Glory, I eagerly took up the offer to interview vocalist/guitarist Mark and guitarist/vocalist Liam. The album is called Chapter IV and it's out on 17th March on Burning Heart Records. Having been lucky enough to have heard it, I'm sure it's going to be a big hit for the band so make sure you check it out. You can get more info on the album plus their extensive 2017 touring schedule here : http://www.boozeandglory.com/
Just Some Punk Songs (JSPS) : For those that are unfamiliar with Booze & Glory could you start by telling me how you got together as a band and what you were hoping to achieve
Liam : We got together in 2009. I’d just got back to London after having just spent a year in Australia and I heard that Marek was looking at putting a band together, so we talked. Marek had previously been in a band with Bart back in Poland, We got Mario on drums and that’s where it all started.
To start with, we just wanted to kill some free time, jam some of our favourite songs and hang out.
That didn’t quite go to plan!!
England Will Never Change
JSPS : Though the band is based in London, your line up features members from several different European countries. With Mark having now moved back to his native Poland, does the distance between you all make things difficult or is it an advantage coming from different backgrounds?
Mark : With us playing mostly in mainland Europe at the moment, It’s actually made things easier. We now have our own studio in Poland, so we all just meet up there a week before going on tour to rehearse. Its certainly an advantage us all coming from different backgrounds because it means that wherever we are in Europe there’s a vague possibility of at least one of us being able to speak a few words of the language!
'Cause We're Skinheads
JSPS : I mentioned I was going to be interviewing you to a fellow admin at the Church Of Oi Facebook group and he commented that one of his top 10 favourite ever songs was 'Cause We're Skinheads. There's lyrics in that song "We don't care for politics and all that white power shit, but we all agree better dead than red." Is it difficult in a scene that's riddled with politics to speak out and criticise the more extreme elements and have you ever encountered any problems from either side of the political divide?
Liam : No, we’ve never had any trouble. From the start we made it clear where we stand. We do not support extremists and do not want their support at our shows.
Only Fools Get Caught
JSPS : Early on you were tagged as an Oi band and whilst you still belong in that genre you've moved away somewhat from your skinhead roots, with your newer releases being more melodic. Is it just a case of natural progression due to line up changes and improving as a band over time or is it a concious effort to appeal to a wider audience?
Liam : I do think it is a case of natural progression. Over the years we’ve grown as writers and musicians, as well as growing as people. When we started, we were less able to articulate our thoughts and feelings than we are nowadays. I think its only natural that the sound would progress -for example with line-up changes: since Frank has been playing drums with us, his input has given our sound a lot more depth.
London Skinhead Crew
JSPS : I've commented a few times on this blog that the Oi scene is currently undergoing a resurgence with some great music being released and plenty of excellent new bands popping up. Just a quick glance at the number of views your videos are getting on Youtube highlights that there's a massive audience out there for this kind of gritty street music. As Just Some Punk Songs trys to promote new music, are there any new bands you'd like to recommend we check out?
Mark : You should check out Hardknocks from Los Angeles and Legion76 from Philadelphia. As for the UK, Arch Rivals and Seaside Rebels have been putting out some great songs recently. Suede Razors from San Francisco, The Upset from Barcelona and Lazy Class from Poland.
JSPS : Your new album, Chapter IV, is out on March 17th on Burnibg Heart Records. What can people expect from the album and why Burning Heart?
Mark : Chapter IV still has the same essential core as our previous recordings, we’ve just expanded on that sound. We spent a lot more time on the writing, recording and production than we have done before and we think that’s immediately noticeable in the finished result.
We’ve been thinking of using some different instruments for a while and i finally convinced Liam to add some of the many things he plays. As a result the album has Banjo, Mandolin, Accordion, Piano and even a String Section!
Burning Heart Records have an incredible history, releasing records by bands such as Turbonegro, The Hives, Millencollin, Refused and Parkway Drive. After many years of co-operation with Epitaph, Burning Heart decided to once again go it on their own, with fresh ideas and new artists. We’re really proud to represent Burning Heart, along with our friends and label-mates Giuda and recently signed Buster Shuffle.
JSPS ; You've a busy 2017 lined up touring in support of Chapter IV, you'll be playing Europe, The U.S. and then Japan. What can the audiences expect and how do you think you'll cope with such a daunting looking schedule?
Mark : This year we’re playing over 100 shows, over four continents, so it’s going to be a busy year. We’ve also got an unusual amount of UK shows too!
We can’t wait to get to Japan as its somewhere we’ve always wanted to play. There’s nothing we love more than playing in new places.
At the shows, the audiences can expect to be hearing songs from Chapter IV, along with the usual live favourites. Like all of our shows, we expect it to be hot and sweaty, the usual stage invasion sing-alongs: a fun night for all involved!
I’m sure it’s going to be hard work doing such a long tour, but we’re not about to start complaining about it. We get to do what we love and we couldn't be happier!
Many thanks guys and good luck with the new album