Towers of London
Telephone Interview with Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T, 31.5.05

Towers of London are a band to love. Or to hate.

Without ever hearing them, message boards are full of people slagging them off and putting them down. And others, like R*E*P*E*A*T, loving them for their mix of arrogance, slogans, loud guitars, singalong destruction and huge hair. Churning out huge slabs of terrace chant punk glory, they offer two fingers to the safety net of scenemongers and their in-crowds.

Not surprisingly, controversy has followed them like a dog on heat; the last time they played Cambridge some stuff was smashed up, the police were called and lead singer Donny Tourette was arrested and, according to Cambridgeshire police, "charged with two counts of criminal damage and one of assault."

On the day that Donny appears in court, Towers of London return to Cambridge to play a free gig for the Church of Noise at The Junction, along with the mighty Johnny Panic and Tsar. To anticipate what looks like being the gig of the year, R*E*P*E*A*T talked to drummer Snell on the phone as he headed towards the Birmingham leg of their NME tour, to try to find out if Towers of London are 4 Real…


- You'll have to bear with me, I've got no voice left…
* You were recording vocals yesterday weren't you..?
- It's not that, it's just too much partying!

* I see. So, Towers of London, who, what and why?
- Five guys from London, as the name suggests, just out having a good time. We're not part of any scene from London or anywhere else, the reason Dirk came up with the name is that we want to tower above everyone else from the city, that's why it's quite an apt name.

* So who would you put in the tower if you had the chance, or even in a noose?
- It'd have to be a big one, there'd be lots of people! Drowned in Sound?! Let me get back to you on that one.
* Have you deliberately gone out of your way to antagonise people like them?
- No, not at all. Because we're not part of a scene we get a lot of shit and people are shocked by us initially. We don't go out looking for fights, we don't go out to trash venues, but sometimes these things happen, and we're not sort of soft guys who'll take shit, we stick up for ourselves and that's all it is. We've had to fight for the band really, and that's where the press has come from.
* By all accounts, your last gig in Cambridge was fantastic, I wish I'd been there!
- Yeah it was a really good night, I really enjoyed it, there were about a hundred kids there and they were all getting into it, I don't know what happened, a couple of drapes got ripped down and the next thing we know is Donny's arrested! Crazy!

* What can people expect who come to the gig on June 13th?
- Just to have a good time. I think the whole point of doing the Cambridge gig is to go back and prove our point that that's not what we're about. We've got a bit of a bad name around Cambridge and we want to show that's not what we're about. We're a good time band, and that's basically it.

* Who are your heroes?
- The band members are all into a lot of different stuff. I'm into a lot of 80s stuff, Gun'n'Roses, Sex Pistols, Motley Crue, Aerosmith, numerous things. And I like Led Zeppelin, John Bonham was one of my idols, and Oasis…

* What's more important, ability or attitude?
- Attitude, definitely.
* That's right…
- If I wanted to be the best musician in the world, I could be a session drummer for Dire Straits, but it's all about attitude.

* What do you listen to when you're hovering?
- I haven't got a house, so I can't hoover! But at the moment if I was chilling, at the moment I'd be listening to The Damned.

* Instead of a reformed Spice Girls and Sting and all that shit, what would your ideal bill for Live Aid be?
- I'd have The Who, AC/DC, Motley Crue, Queen and Metallica with Cliff Burton.

* Are any of you Manics fans?
- Oh yes! Definitely! Motorcycle Emptiness, what a great song, I love it. That's a tune and a half, it's the one to listen to while hoovering, you could just pick the hoover up in the guitar riff and play air guitar with it!

* And you'd have time to do the whole house, it's such an epic! Seeing as the new single is called 'Fuck It Up', can you tell us what things have you fucked up lately?
- Cambridge!!!! That song is not about our sentiment, it's for everyone to take home and put to their own personal use, it's not about something the band's done. It's about what each individual who hears the song can take from it and relate to in their own life, it could be about some kid who did something stupid last Friday night, and that's what the song would mean to him.

* How did you get your record deal?
- We just played hard. We played a lot last year, our manager got us lots of gigs with Baby Shambles and so on, we got a few stories about us along the way - which helped; we then got spotted by one of Rick Reuben's A and R guys in Liverpool. Next thing I know we're playing to him and getting flown to New York and playing to every record label, including a few majors, but they just wanted us cos we were there and they didn't really understand what we were about. But there was one label, TVT, who saw us at our most controversial, at the In The City gig where Donny got glassed, and they really understood what the band was about, they didn't just want it so they could have it. They genuinely loved it and didn't want to change it in anyway. We signed to them on December 6th, so that took 4 months. The first single 'On A Noose' charted at number 32, even though it was delayed a few months; I think that's pretty good for a band like us cos, as I say, we're not the sort of band that can go and sell a lot of records just cos we sound like The Libertines. Cos we don't!

* I teach 10 year olds guitar. What would be a good song to teach young guitarists - or drummers?
- Motorhead, 'Ace of Spades'. When I was a kid I watched them play it in the lounge on The Young Ones, and that changed my life! So if you're a ten year old and into the guitar, go and watch that! It'll change your life.

* And one of the favourite insults in my school is 'Piss Weasel', have you got a favourite insult?
- That's a good one, as is 'Skunk Pussy'! They might like that one.
* Not sure I'll be telling them it! What's next for Towers of London then?
- We've got to get through this tour alive, we're off to Germany at the weekend where we'll be playing with Motley Crue which we can't wait to do! Then it's the second single which'll go Top 20! Maybe not, but it'd be nice. And the album's already recorded and it's due to come out in the autumn, it's being mixed at the moment, I can't wait to hear how it sounds when it's finished.

* Great. Last question is, what's best, chips or cream buns?
- Chips. Definitely.

And with yet another correct answer, it was time to bid Towers of London farewell. Thanks to Snell for his time and to tour manager Dave and Mike at hall Or Nothing for fixing things up.

Details of the free Towers of London / Johnny Panic / Tsar gig on June 13th are available from here and look here to see the good people of Cambridge discussing the band.
There's a spot on Towers of London review at www.vanguardonline
Pix used are by Alessia from The White Queen website, which has lots of original and stunning pix of the likes The Darkness, Franz Ferdinand, Johnny Panic and too many more to type. Apart from this one below which I nicked from Drowned in Sound, ha ha ha!

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