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 and 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 get through.

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 only'"… 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 band!
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 and Dirk.
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 it be?
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 list.
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 people.
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 so ever.
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 down sides!
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 buns?
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 the band

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 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 this interview!

Many more live Towers of LOndon pix by Steve Bateman here

Visit Towers of London here

Be a rat about this interview on our message boards here