The Men They Couldn’t Hang, formed in the early 80’s, their first album was "Night Of A Thousand Candles", in 1985 they blasted high into the
I took the opportunity to take in another gig of theirs (I first saw them at Strummercamp in 2007). So, after a bit of cyber chatting to Swill we managed to come up with a plan and we arrived at
After soundcheck, we meet Tom; he introduces us to Swill, Tom smiles and says they are a bit drunk, having been in the pub all afternoon. Swill happily sorts our triple A passes and takes us on a journey backstage. We followed Swill (who is a little merry, but happy) into the labyrinth of the Academy. We get lost along the way, eventually we arrive in the dressing room, a few of the guys are hanging out, equally as happy and merry, waiting to go on stage.We're offered a drink by Swill and introduced ourselves to the other members, and go forth with the interview.
It would prove to be silly, funny, a drunken, frolicking affair, with so much laughter and general noise and chatter that it’s hard to hear back on the tape but a good time was had by all (the best part was when the recorder was switched off, so there’s a lesson learnt) so here goes:
Mel - Right, here we are with The Men They Couldn’t Hang, would you like to introduce yourself.
Photo: by Vanessa Cush interviewed by Mel
Mel - So I believe your celebrating 25 years in the business, did you think it would last this long?
Vanessa directed me to sit down and promptly picked up the camera and started snapping away.
Mel - Don’t argue about who is sitting where hahahaha
Swill - Yes, 25 years. It seems just like yesterday
Mel - Did you think it would last this long?
Paul - Didn’t think it would last any more than 10 months really!
Lots of laughter……
Swill - It wasn’t meant to last
Mel - How do you think you got from 1984 to 2009?
Mel - Any pitfalls, made along the journey?
Swill - So many!
Mel - Talk us through some happy times, one’s that really have fabulous memories since you started out.
Mel - Any regrets, mistakes?
Mel - There goes a song! - Do you have any, well you probably do, it’s if you have any you can talk about a crazy rock and roll stories from your time on the road? Laughter erupts from the band
Mel - Just one story.
Mel - A sex story, let’s spice it up a bit? (To the other guys) – might as well make the most of it whilst he’s drunk hahahaha
Mel - Sexy stories, backstage groupies?
Mel - But there’s time yet!
Mel - Did you ever play on the same bill as The Clash?
Mel - What were those early days like for you?
Swill - Poor, we were very poor, yea we were very poor
Mel - What made it all worthwhile to carry on going, friendship?
Swill - You prompted him, you put the answer in his mouth.
Mel - You all seem like really good mates!
Swill - Do we (chuckles of laughter)
Mel - If you weren’t in this band who would you have liked to play with?
Cush - Er Jennifer Lopez (laugher again around the room) no ermm Rhianna yea. I like to hear a producer.
Mel – What do you do when your not playing in the band, hobbies, interests, causes ect?
Mel - I can see were this interview is going hahaha
Tom - Yea hahahaa
Mel - You appear in chapter 4 of the book ‘Hater’ by David Moody, what’s this all this about?
Mel - I saw it on MySpace!
Swill - I’m a fan of his Sci fi & post-apocalyptic & Zombies (mayhem reigned with
Tom comes in to tell the band they have 10 mins then they are on stage. So a quick run through of some of the questions I had prepared.
Mel - What’s the tour been like with Wonderstuff, so far?
Cush - Well, we’ve only done one gig but last night it was great, we had a great conflab after the show and errr talked about all things that matter to us. Yea it was good.
Mel - Where did you play last night?
Mel - A car boot sale
Swill - A car boot sale, boots!
Mel - Can we anticipate any new material to be played live tonight?
Cush - Yes you can and it’s great, you’ll hear it and you won’t have to wait very much longer.
Photo: Tom & Paul
Mel - You played at Strummercamp what was your experience of this?
Mel - A statement on your MySpace page says ”There was no way we could have not come to Manchester - over the years it has been a true home from home and source of some of our wildest and fondest stories. We’d love to hear a wild story from
More raucous laughter fills the air…
Mel - I believe your playing at The long weekend Witchwood Music festival on Fri. 29th May, how much are you looking forward to that?
Do you enjoy the festivals more than normal venues?
Mel - hahahahaha I’m not looking forward to transcribing this back.
Another reminder of the time….Right let’s move on a bit….
Vanessa yells “to be continued”
Mel - Yea, but we’ve gotta catch the last train
Mel - We’re going back to Newton le Willows
Cush - Oh yea, we got a gig to do
Mel - Do you want us to carry on with this after?
End of part one….and its up to the top floor to witness the band in action.We leave the guys to change and sort themselves out for the show and head upstairs.
Up close in the photo pit, had a great view of the guys, and took advantage of my new Nikon D60. They were on good form, but hadn't got a drummer. Both Swill and Cush have tremendous, powerful vocal ranges, passionate singing.
As usual they did a bit of on stage banter, Cush did a little rant about the Tories and a general fuck em all attitude, he was the last to leave the stage.They played for around 3/4 hour, the best of the songs in my view were 'The Colours', 'Ironmasters'. I'm looking forward to buying the new album which is out June 1st.
PART TWO - Back for a second helping of hilarity and exuberance, we knock on the closed dressing room door. We hear a friendly “come in”, peep our heads around the door and ask is it safe to come in. The boys are all chilled out on the leather sofas. So with Dictaphone back on, we press on with part two and hope for the best…."help yourself to the bar"
Mel – So we’re back again…(lot’s of chatter, & laughing, which I can’t pick up). Right were shall we start?
Mel – Is there anything you’d like to say?
Mel - Why are you so happy?
Mel - So you’ve got a fantasy to be an easy rider have ya?
Laughs all round...
Mel - San Quentin!!!!!!
Some discussions went on about Johnny Cash and a concert….
Mel - Who writes all your songs?
Mel - This is going online ya know hahaha
Mel - Yea this interview. We were gonna actually video it, that would have been good fun that actually.
Swill - Post it up on utube!
Mel - Right let’s get back to that question, you didn’t want me to ask initially. There’s been a comparison with The Pogues, how does this sit with you?
Mel - Never mind that lets move on. You’re like naughty school boys.
Cush - What is your preconceived your perception of us?
Mel - Good time boys!
Mel - What inspires your writing?
Cush - Ermm well everything, breasts, he says glancing at my cleavage “Breasts!!!!” Peaches, death, breasts, anger, more breasts.
Vanessa - Who writes the songs all of you?
Swill - That’s a good question, yes we do!
Mel – Who are you currently listening to, and I don’t mean me talking hahaha, I mean music?
Cush - God, Imelda May and what was her name the jazzy girl with the glasses, can’t remember her name. That was the last album I was listening to, no actually the last album I listened to was ‘Devil On The Wind’. Do ya what; I went down lovers lane the other night, yea on my own! Listening to ‘Devil On The Wind’, I’ve got this ego problem.
Much laughter……..Photo: Tom
Mel - Do you do cover versions?
Mel - hahahahahaha, you’re very entertaining anyway.
Mel - Do you have an all time favourite song of yours, that you enjoy doing the most?
Cush - Well, actually at the moment, ‘Mrs Avery’ is my favourite song that I like doing. Leave the studio (he says to the band) and you two can stay (to me & Vanessa). Have you got a tripod?
Mel - Tripod!!!! Yea but not with me?
Cush - Well get these fuckers out of here!
Mel – (Moving swiftly on) your new material released is 'Devil On The Wind’ an EP. Can you talk us through the tracks on the EP – ‘Devil On The Wind’, ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me‘, ‘Girl From The North Country ‘, ‘The Colours ‘, ‘Tyburn Tree’.
Mel - What’s it about?
Mel - What are the lyrics about?
Mel - So what can we expect on the forthcoming album? When will it be released and any title yet you can talk about?
Cush - Chaos, mayhem, and fucking total carnage!
Mel - Have you got a title yet?
Paul - ‘Devil On The Wind’
Mel - That’s it’ really, the interview is finished!
Cush - Oh come on…come on…
Mel - I’ve done 26 questions!(smiles)
Mel - Is that really true
Mel - This is one finalquestion for you! (Looking at Cush)
Mel - Just for you! (Looking at
Mel - Will you stop looking my chest!
Mel - Just for the record, whose lips would you love to plant a Muddy kiss upon?
Cush - I think that’s pretty obvious at the moment isn’t it (Everyone laughs) and on that note here comes the wilderbeast. Errr Charlotte Rampling.
Mel - hahahaha Thank you very much guys!
The tape was switched off then we began to have a much better conversation, flowing about our first punk gigs we attended, Paul wanted to talk about Generation X, Billy idol, Cush shared a little saucy story, he wanted to know all about Mudkiss, found out he doesn't own a computer, used to go to my local Wigan Casino all nighter, we even had a little sing song and lot's more! (That'll teach me not to stop the tape rolling after the questions have stopped)
Photo: Vanessa has a cuddle from Cush, Swill, Paul & Felix (Guitar Tech)
Check out more about The Men They Couldn't Hang on the links below and check them out at a venue near you supporting The Wonderstuff.Thanks for a good craic guys, hope we meet again!
Interview & photos by Mel 16/05/09