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WHAT WOULD JESUS DRIVE: TIFFIN AT THE FRAGILE MANSIONS - INTERVIEW BY DICK PORTER

With their excellent Fragile Mansions EP due out on 3 February and the hotly anticipated full length debut Black and Blue hitting shelves the following month, 2011 is already shaping up to be a big year.
An early listen to the album suggests that it even surpasses the sonic hooliganism of their terrific Girls Are In Charge EP – which the band are generously offering for free download at: www.whatwouldjesusdrive.co/girlsdigital.html

Not only that, but you lucky people can also score yourselves a buckshee download of WWJD’s Your Awful Kids EP by pointing your mouse in the direction of  www.whatwouldjesusdrive.co/kidsdigital.html

Having loaded my stocking with these goodies, I braced myself with a preparatory pint of festive advocaat and a rum baba and bellowed some questions through WWJD guitarist and co-vocalist Tim Box’s cat flap.

DICK: Could you tell us a little about the band and how you got together? What were you up to before WWJD?

TIM: Amy and I were in a band called the Barbs. When that packed up we decided to do a band together. We were going to be a two piece, but then Amy made friends with the gypsies that moved into the field over the road. Gemma was one of them, and used to DJ their travelling vaudeville show. She is one of the few people who dreamt of running away from the circus! So Amy insisted she join the band, and to compensate she said I could have a friend join as well. I don’t have any friends but John was hanging around at the time, so he joined too.

DICK: You’ve got a new album coming out in March – are you happy with the finished disc? How were the recording sessions?

TIM: We recorded the album at home, so the commute was pretty good. The album was re- mixed and re-mastered when it was discovered that my mixes were shit. It sounds really good now, though.

DICK: Which tracks would you say particularly stand out?

TIM: I think ‘This Skeleton’ really stands out for me because none of us say “fuck” in that one.

DICK: I reviewed your Girls Are In Charge EP a couple of months ago and suggested all manner of influences in the way that reviewers always do – what would you say your main musical influences actually were?

TIM: We all have our own separate influences. I am a huge fan of Jon Spencer, and I know Amy loves The Presidents of the USA. John’s a bit of a mystery but he mentioned recently that he liked ‘New Rose’ by the Damned, so he must have some taste. Gemma just likes polka or fiddle music really, or anything with that funny organ that you hear at the fairground.

DICK: The EP’s title track comes with a funky animated video. Did you have much input into the making of that? How did it come about?

TIM: That was made because a brilliant young artist from Cardiff called Rianne Rowlands got in touch and said she loved the band and wanted to turn us into cartoons. She’s a crazy vegan animal rights type but she can draw like a fury! I am constantly recommending her to anyone who needs anything artistic done. www.riannerowlands.com

DICK: You’re offering some tracks for free download – could you tell us a little about those?

TIM: No. It’s a secret. To be honest, I’m not sure which ones we’re giving away. Suffice it to say, they are amazing!

At this point, a man from the band’s Eye See Sound label pushed past me, took what was left of my advocaat and started telling me what is...

Label Wallah: Bloody artists, we get a plug and he doesn't have his crib sheet with him. On the website you can get the whole of the The Girls Are In Charge EP (includes two studio tracks, which aren't half bad as it goes...) and the whole of the Your Awful Kids EP (which includes 3 live songs) for free as high quality digital downloads (320kbps). We, as a label, and they, as a band, both sing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to giving stuff away for free, so if you join the mailing list you'll find we'll constantly trickle more stuff out.

In fact, if you come to a gig and ask you'll more than likely get the EPs for free on CD. We're rubbish business people but we call the band now and then and say nice things about them so they seem happy enough, even if they aren't going to be retiring soon.

I sat there nodding and chewing on what was left of my rum baba. After he went away (to get some yeast, apparently), I stuck my head back through the flap and resumed hollering at Tim.

DICK: You’ve been gigging fairly regularly and I guess you’ll be scheduling a run of shows around the album release – How have the live dates being going? What are your favourite kind of gigs?

TIM: We try and gig as much as possible, ‘cos it really is the best part of the whole process. Amy loves playing live, John likes any chance to go out, and of course travelling up and down the country is second nature to Gemma. I think our favourite kinds of gigs are the tiny venues with no space between us and the audience. Having said that, the festival we did in the Philippines to 50,000 people was pretty good too. Fuck it, we’re not fussy.

DICK: Finally, if you had to hit a bald man over the head with a flat fish, which fish would you select?

TIM: I’d give him a good slap with some fish fingers.

WWJD Website: www.whatwouldjesusdrive.com
Eye See Sound site: www.eyeseesound.tv

Interview by Dick Porter 11/12/10
Photo by Huw Davies