This London trio’s catchy second album, Endless Now, is all zippy no-fi sounds with a grungy, surf-pop sheen – it’s so good even their heroes The Vaselines went to check them out at a recent gig and tweeted their admiration post-show. We spoke to frontman John Webb (above right) to get the lowdown on the band.
John is pretty hardcore. ‘When I was 15, I was in a rehearsal room in the back of a pub and there was a nail poking out of sofa and I cut open my forearm. It was really big and I should’ve had stitches, but I put a coffee filter on it and put some gaffer tape around it because that’s all there was, so consequently I’m scarred for life. It didn’t get infected though, so maybe gaffer tape and coffee filters are the way forward.’
They have one pre-show ritual. ‘We’re all massive Smiths fans and for some reason we were having a bit of a glum period in the depths of America, so we started listening to a lot of Morrissey in the van to cheer us up. Now we always listen to “Everyday Is Like Sunday” before we go onstage. It’s developed into a superstition.’
Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo hunted them down for a collaboration, which they initially thought was a wind-up. When they eventually set up a studio date, he was late. ‘He was coming straight from the airport and he was an hour and half late. I was terrified, just sitting there staring out the window, thinking he wasn’t coming. He came in this blacked-out car and this guy in a suit opened the door for him and I was like, “He’s here! He’s here!” He was really normal and asked lots of questions about us. We were only together for three hours and he was like, “We can either write a song for Weezer or we can write a song for you guys.” We wanted to write a song for Weezer so we did and he disappeared into the sunset.’
They didn’t have the balls to get a photo with him and so resorted to surreptitiously snapping him while he ate pizza. ‘I got one shot but it looked quite strange because our bassist, Kev, was walking away in the background. He looked like Big Foot, all out of focus, so it looked like Rivers was eating his pizza with a sighting of Big Foot behind him.’
John has a lot of tattoos: some serious, some ridiculous, some self-administered. ‘One of my good friends is a tattoo artist. One night when he’d just started out, we had a few drinks and I stayed on his sofa. The next day I remember taking my trousers down to get in the shower and I had [The Beach Boys album titles] Surf’s Up and Friends tattooed above my knees, which I’d apparently done to myself with his gun. I’d totally forgotten! It looked like a small child had written it with his left hand. I do love The Beach Boys, so I’ll take that to the grave. I have some serious ones as well to balance it out: I have a noose tattooed around my neck. It seemed like a good idea at the time!’
It’s not all about music: John has other interests too. ‘I’ve been a massive fan of [London football club] QPR since I was a kid. Me and my dad used to go to all the home games. That filters into our music with football chant-style choruses.’ [He’s kidding.]
Water-based physical activities are important to them. ‘We try to stay in hotels that have swimming pools or a gym. Kevin actually used to swim for the London borough of Hillingdon when he was younger. We all swim together. No one has Speedos. That’s too terrifying a thought.’