MUDKISS FANZINE

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FURIOUS: RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, TAKE ELTON FOR A SLIDE ON THEIR ‘DUCK ARSE’ RIDE - INTERVIEW BY CHUMKI BANERJEE

 
Formative years largely free of rockabilly influence, strangely it was arrival in Liverpool which ignited passion for its cheeky, irreverent beat, though must admit, first attraction was a particular sleek quiff which I longed to ruffle. Since then, rockabilly has held me in seductive sway, so despite sharing adopted hometown and musical fervour, it surprised me I had not previously heard of Furious.

Epitomising spirit of their Liverpool heritage, Furious rage against soul sucking strictures of society’s controlling machine, not with fists, but more infinitely persuasive tools, the power of music. Taking fate into their own youthful hands, anger and disillusionment dissolved, vaporised by great balls of rock and roll fire in the belly , feet freed to fly, they have literally touched hallowed soil, realising twin top male fantasies, playing at Anfield and virtual celebrity status, as air guitar rock legends, romping through cyberspace. From rubbish tip to top ten, Elton John flailing in wake of  greased lightening duck arse quiffs, a story to conjure with, so read on as I tentatively, reach out to stroke Furious’s stiff quiffs and wildly bucking Zebra ......

CHUMKI: First things first, to set the scene …who is in the band, and what inspired you to start the band?

FURIOUS: Mark is on Double Bass & vocals, Andy's on Guitar and Jimmy is on Drums. We were just fed up of seeing bands with no passion... and at the time we were in school with people who had the wrong idea about rock n roll so we wanted to show them what it was about.

CHUMKI: How long have you been together as ‘Furious’?

FURIOUS: We have been together since 2005. We've just been really lucky since then to travel the world. We were best mates in school and being fed up of the music that was out at the time we just tried to learn a few instruments and have a go ourselves.

CHUMKI: How do you define your music?

FURIOUS: It's good fun rock n roll. We're not too interested in being categorised. Real rock n Roll can pick you up when you’re really down and I think everyone needs a bit of that.

CHUMKI: I love your sound and look, hugely evocative of 1950’s rockabilly, rollicking rock and roll, it conjures up brothel creeping Teddy Boys with attitude and Teddy Girls in bobby socks, pouting red lipstick, flicking their ponytails, a time you are far too young to remember first hand. What drew you to this era and style of music? How did you learn about it?

FURIOUS: It's the excitement! The music is just amazing and seems like a lost art form in today’s media, real rock n roll that is, not all of this false stuff. We found some old records years ago and it drove us crazy! There was nothing that interested us after that. The media tries to ignore it and I think that makes it even more interesting to us.

CHUMKI: Having heard your version of ‘Be Bop A Lula’, I am impressed by how your own songs take that template of instantly recognisable rock and roll musical themes, phrases, and instrumentation, which it epitomises, spike it with frenzied Psychobilly energy and  inject your own slant, both musically and lyrically, such as swapping blue suede shoes for ‘ASBO Shuffle’ pursued by sirens and sampled parental admonishments or “...you ain’t  nothing but a  scruffy Ted”, in witty  hound dog ‘Hang Your Head ...’. How do you write your songs, what gives you inspiration and how closely do you stick to that familiar palette of musical progressions, coloration and sounds? It feels so tempting and so wrong to say Elvis inspired, I know this is more than mere sycophantic emulation. What drives your musical soul?

FURIOUS: I think it’s just anger inside us against society... Rock n roll is freedom from that and we don't mean Elvis or Grease! The music drives us really... it gives you a great feeling.

CHUMKI: As indicated above, as well as musically, your songs borrow and subvert traditional rock and roll lyrics, bringing modern life to bear on themes which continue to occupy humanity, love, lust, fighting and partying ‘All Night Long’. How do you compose your lyrics, write the stories of your songs?

FURIOUS: The lyrics seem to come anytime, while at work or travelling somewhere but it’s all real thoughts and stories of our teenage life. I don't think anyone our age can relate to driving a Cadillac or going to a juke joint. We're always conscious of writing to people our age which is mostly Bargain booze and old hairy old women (laughs).

CHUMKI: Your instrumentation is a gorgeous mix of old and new, double bass, semi hollow F-hole electric, pounding drums with jazzy hi-hat, touches of piano. How did you choose your instruments, where did you get them, how long have you played, how did you learn to play  and did you decorate them yourselves, especially love the zebra bass.

FURIOUS: Our first amps and guitars were out of the tip. It sounds daft now but we used to wire up speakers and old amps to play clubs and pubs and then as the gigs got bigger we were able to afford some proper guitars and Mark bought an old bass and decorated it himself. We all thought he was daft but everyone seems to love it and for some reason they all want to stroke it! (laughs)

CHUMKI: What music do you listen to, who are your favourite artistes, past or present and name some favourite songs that you could not be without?

FURIOUS: There's soooo many! Everyone who ever sang from the soul! We just couldn't live without Rock n Roll.

CHUMKI: You were signed to ‘Nervous Records’ in 2007, have released an EP ‘ASBO Shuffle’ and an album ‘'Wreck The Hoose Juice' (which I am impressed to see had a vinyl run). What sort of label are ‘Nervous Records’ and how did you come to their attention. How does being signed to a record label effect the band’s direction and prospects, practically and musically? How has the EP and album been received?

FURIOUS: Nervous records specialise in Rockabilly and roots music. We were 16 & 17 years old traveling the country in our little van and the word got around about this young band playing rock n roll so were very lucky to be approached by a few labels. Nervous were perfect for us though because they were really interested in getting the music publishing right. We've learnt a lot about the music business from them and we can't complain. We're free too book all our own shows, Nervous just push our music onto big companies and other crazy things. The albums have gone down great, better than we could have ever expected! The EP sold out in weeks and the vinyl charted at number 10 in the national charts! ...On top of Elton I may add ...but not quite literally!

CHUMKI: How did your music end up being played at Anfield and featured on the computer game ‘Rock Band’? Do you get paid for stuff like that or is it for the prestige and to get heard?

FURIOUS: That’s all through Nervous Records. Rock Band approached them looking for some rockabilly music and they just liked one of our songs. We couldn't believe it at the time! We haven't played a computer game in years but it’s funny when we hear computer fans talk about it and we get paid so we're thankful for that.

CHUMKI: As you might have gathered from previous emails I am totally enamoured of Chris Isaak, and your song, ‘My Eyes Run Dry’ , which departs somewhat from high velocity, roaring rock and roll, lusciously languishing in bluesy chagrin  puts me in mind of ‘ Wicked Game’ with its spacey vocal and guitar anguish. Was this deliberate diversion or exploration of another side of the same rock and roll coin?

FURIOUS: We're always writing and experimenting with new sounds but at the time we were getting a bit of a reputation as being wild or whatever so we wanted to show the world we can play and there's more to us than being loud. We hope it came across that way anyway.

CHUMKI: What are you working on at the moment musically and what gigs have you got planned? It is evident from YouTube videos that you love performing live, how does it make you feel to be able to arouse such delight in audiences?

FURIOUS: It's an amazing feeling. We love the people who come out to see us! They're all mad! We're gonna work on new stuff for a while, improving on what we've done before then come out with a new album and hopefully tour  the world!

CHUMKI: Your video to ‘Cool Little Sue’ really is cool, proliferating essence of your image, shot in black and white , ‘50’s time warped to present day Liverpool, enigmatic, atmospheric, boarding sleek finned Zephyr on dockside, perhaps after rehearsals at once salubrious Vulcan studios, to play another institution, the Magnet, where modern day burlesquer, Millie Dollar (who incidentally used to waitress for me, more modestly attired) takes a tawdry turn, present mimicking  past, repeats itself in modern idioms. A fascinating vignette, like your music, steeped in air of another era, seems to express tender regard for this city. How did you come up with the idea and realise the video? Do you plan more in the same vein? Do you think Liverpool helped to foster and nurture your aspirations?

FURIOUS: The video was Nervous Records idea to promote the album and get a bit of coverage on the internet. If we make a new album we may just make a new video but it’s something strange for us. We weren't used to the cameras and ended up drinking ourselves silly and I think it shows (laughs). It was good fun though! Growing up where we have has definitely shaped our musical interests, there are so many interesting bands and musicians about, we've never been taken in by the mainstream and we think it's a shame all these bands aren't getting a look in with some of the crap about today.

CHUMKI: Finally some girly stuff; As well as walking the walk, you dress the part, where do you get your fabulous attire , how much hairspray do you need to slick your quiffs and do you go as far as the duck’s arse?

FURIOUS: ha-ha there's no hairspray, just a load of grease on our ugly heads...We're not into girlie stuff (laughs). Anyway it’s too much hard work trying to look smart.

CHUMKI: Too modest I think and while the duck arse question remains unresolved, thank you Furious for your time and music, I definitely look forward to hearing more and rest assured I won't attempt to ruffle those quiffs.

www.rockfurious.com

Interview by Miss Chumki Banerjee
Live photos by Mel [whilst supporting Imelda May in Manchester 2010]