Towers of London Interview
March 5th 2007 at Cambridge Junction
Love 'em or loath 'em, Towers of London are a band
you can't ignore. Having been long term fans of the band's attempts
to inject a bit more excitement into the music scene (especially in
Cambridge, ha ha!), R*E*P*E*A*T was delighted to catch The Rev, Snell
and the taciturn Tommy at their return to The Junction.
Fucking It Up : Joey and Rosey
Live Oxford pix by Steve Bateman, more here
Live Cambridge pic Jemima Willcox (more here
Spot Joey amongst the Towers... (Camera phone pic Rosey)
Joey: Firstly, how's the tour been going so far?
Snell: We've done two nights so far, Cardiff and Bristol, and then we
had a day off and it's been going great, it's not been going too long
but it's been sold out and we've had a good reception so far.
The Rev: It's been a while since we've done a proper U.K tour on a tour
bus and most of the days on this tour have been sold out. And at the
first two we had some pretty hardcore fans.
Snell: Yeah some of them did get a bit carried away which was bad, we
just thought "wait a minute, we don't need that, we're here to
have a good time".
The Rev: And our next day off is Saturday so we've got a full week to
Joey: Donny was on Big Brother earlier this year, do you think the
publicity of Big Brother has helped Towers of London in any way?
Snell: Absolutely! At the time when he got offered it we thought absolutely
no way, every one sat in a room and discussed it and we were all thinking
"no we can't do it, we definitely can't do it", but we all
got home and had a think about it, and at the time we were getting shunned
by MTV and radio so we thought "we have to do this, otherwise we
could look back in a year's time and just think 'if only, if only, if
I think with this business, I'm not saying you have
to prostitute yourself totally, but there are certain things that you
have to do, and if we're not getting the publicity we want from certain
avenues, then this could kick start the band's career and future. It
must have pissed Radio One and MTV off a bit that we managed to find
another way to get the publicity, with 8 million people finding out
a bit about Towers of London.
The Rev: You've got one shot at it and you've got to play it smart because
you've got to be fucking stupid to turn something down like that! But
it doesn't mean we're not out there making good music, we're not just
T.V fucking personalities, we're Towers of London, we're still a rock'n'roll
Snell: You either 'sell out' and make a career in a band, or you get
a job and end up playing in The Dog and Pot or whatever it's called,
the local pub, every Friday night. If you want to call that selling
out, then we're still doing it!
Joey: What can people expect from the Towers of London tonight?
The Rev: You're going to hear some new tunes in the set and I think
you can expect a very lively band that has had a day off. It's a great
venue, a venue we know and like, the sound is awesome, so you're going
to get what you paid for and some more!
Snell: We'll be very lively tonight as when Donny was on Big Brother
we weren't rehearsing and touring and so on, and we kind of forgot we're
in a band. These gigs are a kind of reminder!
Joey: How have you changed since you were called "The Tourettes"?
Snell: The Tourettes were just a starting point, that was me, Donny
The Rev: I wasn't in the Tourettes so I haven't changed much!
Snell: It wasn't the case of "let's start a band!", the only
reason we were in that was that we loved our music and there were no
exciting new bands around London at the time. We'd got a little World
War 2 air raid shelter to rehearse in, so the band just sort of came
about really. It was a like stepping stone for the Towers, "On
a Noose" which was the first song we wrote as "The Tourettes",
we still play it live, so it was like a stepping stone!
Joey: What do you think about new scenes such as "emo"
and "new rave"?
Snell: I'm not against any scenes; I think it's the music that counts.
I think that's why we started The Towers because we took a lot of shit
for our image and our hair, and we have that image because it's what
we want to do, and if other people want to do their thing then that's
completely fine and if I don't like, that's fine, and I won't slag it
off. There needs to be a variety of scenes in music to accommodate everyone
and see what sort of music they like!
The Rev: I don't really pay attention to anything, I don't get into
really! I'm too caught up in what we're doing!
Snell: I like My chemical Romance - are they an emo band? Well I think
they're pretty good, they're good musicians and a brilliant live band.
Rosey: Tony Blair has announced that he's going to force the unemployed
to have haircuts so they can get jobs, if you were to forcibly give
Tony Blair a haircut, whose would it be?
Snell: I think he'd need a wig, he's bald isn't he?
The Rev: I think that's fucking stupid! I got told to cut my hair when
I was at school and got threatened with being booted out of school.
Rosey: Blair's doing the same with tattoos actually as well, so you'd
be in double trouble!
The Rev: Well it's a good job that we're in the line of work that we're
in, we've got tattoos and long hair so we're fully equipped for it,
and whatever he says it doesn't really matter to me, but I think that's
fucking daft! If you try to make people conform to a strict code and
strict sense of what you're going to do, then I just think that's bullshit.
You should be able to dress the way you want to dress and have your
hair the way you want to have your hair.
Snell: Why should you have to look like that to get a job? It doesn't
matter how my hair or tattoos are, it's still me!
The Rev: It's just rubbish!
Rosey: If you could play in any other band other than Towers of
London, who would it be?
Snell: Metallica! Cliff Burton years, of course, Master of Puppets was
an amazing album! The reason I play drums is because of Metallica!
Joey: Who are your main influences, musically and other?
The Rev: Personally I was inspired to play guitar when I went to see
Aerosmith so Aerosmith have been a big influence on me. My dad used
to play me a lot of classic rock and I still remember the first time
I went to see Aerosmith with him. I'd say most of the rock around the
seventies and eighties, but I think if you asked the other boys they'd
probably say the Pistols or the Clash, and I think we have an eclectic
mix of music as a band as a whole, but we all like the real great rock
n roll bands. We appreciate big timers, great songs and great artists
who influenced a generation and haven't just jumped on the bandwagon
of some sort of scene.
Snell : We just appreciate good music. People say we're a punk band
but last night we were watching Michael Jackson on the tour bus!
Joey: If you had to get an actor to play you in a movie who would
Snell: I'd have Orlando Bloom because I get a lot of people telling
me that I look like him.
The Rev: I'd probably have Noel Fielding!
Rosey: Apart from Chris Moyles, who's a twat?
Snell: I don't like slagging people off but I've got one person, I met
Bruce Dickinson and he was a twat! And he was a hero of mine
it crushed a lot of my illusions, he was an arsehole!
Rosey: That's a real shame, when your heroes let you down. Joey,
you look up to him don't you?
Snell: Yeah same, I mean I was a big fan of Iron Maiden, I loved their
music, but when I met Bruce he was a twat, he was just fucking rude.
And he was someone I looked up to!
The Rev: Never meet your idol.
Rosey: That's why I've made a career of never meeting The Manics!
Snell: But that's wrong as well, cos we played with Motley Crue and
they were great. We've toured with a lot of bands such as Guns n roses,
New York Dolls, Prodigy, Backyard Babies, Babyshambles and All American
Rejects, and they've all been great with us! That's all the bands we've
ever played with, and they all chose us! Gun'n'Roses sent people down
to check us out and invited us to play two dates in the States!
Rosey: How's it going over there?
The Rev: We've not done that much there yet, just eleven dates. You
could spend five or six years doing mini tours like that over there
and still get nowhere. We're already quite big in U.K so we're going
out on another American tour - because it's such a big place to cover
it will take us a long time to do it; so many English bands get sucked
into that little hole where when they play England they're so fucking
huge, butwhen they go out to America they're playing half full venues,
and most of them get demoralised and can't be arsed with it, so they
go back home where they're the big fish in the little pond.
Rosey: Are you big in Japan?
Snell: Yeah we've done alright in Japan. We also did "Rock am Rio"
and that was a really good gig, it was a big place with lots of big
names in the set list, we were on at 11:15 in the morning which was
an early start, but there were 25,000 people there and they know all
the words to the songs! And then when we turned up at the hotel we got
photographs taken by the press and about 10 minutes later those photographs
are fully developed and on the internet. Another crazy thing about the
internet is that my real name has never been out in the press, never,
and yet a Japanese girl on my myspace messaged me saying I know your
real name! And I've never seen her in my life, she's just on my myspace
The Rev: How they do it I don't know! It's a crazy world out there.
Joey: I'm in a band at the moment, have you got any advice?
Snell: Develop your music as early as you can and don't go looking out
for the deal. Otherwise you'll get pushed around and told what to do!
The Rev: Don't try and copy anybody and don't put up with any shit from
Snell: Don't let people tell you what to do. You only get that one shot.
If you peak too early, you might look back and say 'oh shit, I wish
I'd done that!'
The Rev: If you know you're a great Rock n Roll band, you're working
hard and rehearsing every day and living it, then don't let anyone tell
you otherwise! If you want to be in a successful rock'n'roll band, then
that has to be your life, your one thing you do.
Snell: Eat, breath and shit it, and if anyone tells you anything else
to do, then that's it, you're fucked!
The Rev: Playing a half hour set will not get you signed, there's so
much more you have to do. You have to be the best, but you also have
to meet the right people, take their names, get known by them. Play
everywhere and anywhere you possibly can, even your Dad's fortieth birthday
party, because you'll only get tighter, you're only going to get better
as a band and you're only going to get more experienced. Play to 2 people
like you would play to a crowd of 20,000, because those 2 people could
go away and tell their 2 mates about you and they could tell their 2
mates and you could get 6 people and those 6 people could go away and
come back with more mates. I mean, if you play to 50 people, 49 could
go away and say "they're shit" but the 1 person could say
that "they're the most amazing brilliant band ever" and they're
going to come back and see them with more mates.
The Rev: Just keep rehearsing to keep at the top of your game and also
have a fucking laugh about it, never take yourself too seriously what
Snell: And rehearsals should be something you want to do.
Tommy: I fucking hate rehearsals!
Snell: That's why he plays the fucking bass!
The Rev: And also don't ever be in a band with someone you couldn't
spend 24 hours, 7 days a week living in a cardboard box with.
Snell: Be very selective about your members! If you can't live with
a guy for about 10 years every day in your face, then you can't be in
a band together.
The Rev: I was in a band with my best mate for about 4 years, but we
drove each other up the wall. I had to say "look I'm sorry, I'm
best mates with you, but this just isn't working".
Joey: How do you get your hair like that?
Snell: Just a hairdryer, some straighteners and I use "Tresemme"
hairspray. So no back combing whatsoever.
The Rev: We all cut our own hair. It's all about short on top and long
Snell: I'll cut your hair if you want?!!
The Rev: Do you want us to cut your hair?
Joey (moving quickly on!): Lastly, what do you prefer Chips or Cream
Snell: I think I said chips last time so I'll stick with that.
The Rev: Cream buns when you're stoned but apart from that chips, they're
far more versatile!
Joey: I see, I agree, thank you very much!
Competition question!!!!!! Set by
Win a promo CD of "I'm A Rat!" (also featuring
footage from the Bravo TV series) signed by The Rev, Snell and Tommy,
by answering this simple question:
Q: Which band member has recently dyed his hair a different colour?
E-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
by April 9th when the winning answer will be drawn out of our virtual
hat. Good luck...
Thanks to the band for their warm hospitality, to
The Rev and Snell for their thoughtful, intelligent answers, to Tommy
for his one line of genius, and to Warren at Chuff Media for organising
Many more live Towers of LOndon pix by Steve Bateman
Visit Towers of London here
Be a rat about this interview on our message boards