Towers of London – Featured Band, November 2017
If I say to you ‘Towers of London’ how do you react? This is a band that usually elicit a passionate response. It seems that people either love them or love to hate them, there isn’t any happy medium.
I’m not going to give you a detailed history of the band, there’s plenty of information available online. See Facebook , Wikipedia or type their name into a search engine, all true? I don’t know but, what is true is that, they are back with a new single ‘Shot In The Dark‘ with the official video released today via BrightVibes: –
I’ve always liked them. Why do I like them? Let’s go back to late 2006, early 2007, I was sat minding my own business (or causing havoc on Facebook more like) with Scuzz or Kerrang on the TV in the background and a song came on which immediately grabbed my attention and stopped me causing havoc for nearly three minutes. What was it? Well I had to wait until the end to make a note of the song and the band – Towers of London – On A Noose: –
Looks like a low budget movie, shot in the back of a van or some dodgy cellar but who needs big bucks! I just loved it instantly, went out and bought the bands’ first album Blood Sweat & Towers which, to this day, is one of my favourite albums of all time. Looked out for a gig and the first one I could get to was at Liverpool Academy in July 2007. I have since discovered that The Rev (lead guitarist) and Snell (drums) had left the band, literally the week before. Whilst I liked the music I didn’t really know who was in the band other than Donny and Dirk so it didn’t make any difference to me. I enjoyed the gig, the music, the energy. I have since seen The Rev in The Howling and Snell depping for Dog’s D’Amour, so whilst I haven’t seen The Blood Sweat & Towers line-up playing together I have Seen It All! Get it?
I eagerly awaited their next album Fizzy Pop, unfortunately I was disappointed, it isn’t bad per se, it just didn’t appeal to me in the same way that Blood Sweat & Towers did. I don’t like every song by any band so I wasn’t going to be put off by one mediocre album, I still went to the next gig I could, which was at Manchester Academy in October 2008. I enjoyed the gig although it seemed more subdued than the first gig. Fast forward a year and the next and, for now, last time I got to see them was at Moho, Manchester (now Dive NQ) in November 2009 on their Back to Basics tour, where they had an introductory film and, if my memory serves me well, they played every track from Blood Sweat & Towers, not necessarily in the same order as the album track listing, come on, I can’t remember the set list! However, I was glad to see them back on top form. Alas, after that they seemed to disappear from the radar. There have been a few gigs in the last couple of years, which I couldn’t get to, and the single Shake It was released in late 2015. I have kept following their Facebook page for updates looking for a gig I could get to. Good things come to those who wait, at last there is a new single out, an new album due out next year, two gigs next month, and, as luck would have it, one of them is in Manchester, where I live, see here for tickets. The band kindly took some time out to answer a few questions for PlanetMosh: –
Towers of London (ToL) achieved a lot of notoriety from 2004 to 2009 then went on hiatus for around six years. What were you doing in the intervening years?
We’ve all done different things, from working on building sites in England, to chef’ing in the alps, to writing and producing TV shows for various channels in U.K. And USA. But always have been working on our skills as songwriters and working to better ourselves musically all the time.
Who is the creative force behind ToL?
Frankie, Tommy and Donny write the songs but we’re a band of five people and everybody brings something unique to their own part.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
We draw our inspiration from our failures and the lessons we’ve learned along the way. The desire to better ourselves as a band and as people. To write with heart and with honesty. All of these things are what drive us now creatively.
Who are your biggest influences?
Donny – For me it’s not a case of who, but what?…my biggest influence is the universe, the universal life force energy, the fact that we are all connected to one another and we are all one whether we can see it and feel it or not. The realisation that if we can learn to control our mind and our energy then anything is possible in this world. And what an exciting thing that is :)
In 2015 there was movement in the ToL camp again with a few gigs and the single ‘Shake It’ which has an interesting video. Did you take acting lessons or was the video the equivalent of Reality TV?
Lol, will leave that one for you to decide!
Speaking of Reality TV and Donny’s infamous escape over the wall in Celebrity Big Brother are we likely to see any ToL members in any shows in the near future? Dancing, skating, first dates – anything?
Hahah, it’s doubtful.
ToL of old supported Guns N’ Roses and appeared on the mainstage at Reading and Leeds Festivals and also appeared at Download Festival. Can anything top those?
Those were great experiences but maybe being slightly soberer to properly recollect them would be a one up!
Were you really banned from ever playing Download again? What’s your side of the story.
Well, put it this way we’ve never played download since the rumours of us being banned so I guess you could say they were true.
There are plenty of smaller festivals, mud free and with proper toilets, where you get chance to play up close and personal to the fans. Hopefully we will see you at some next year. Are there any in the pipeline?
Yeah we’ll be looking to play at loads of festivals next year. They’re a good chance to play to people who normally wouldn’t come to one of your shows, so are a good opportunity to convert some people…hopefully!
Dirk’s dropped the Tourette and gone back to Frankie Brannan. Why?
Just felt like I wanted a change to be called by my real name.
Any plans for Donny to lose the Tourette or Tommy to drop the De’Ath?
I prefer to be known as Donny T these days, but the Tourette part is a hard one to escape so I’ll probably just keep rolling with it. Tommy’s real surname is actually De’Ath believe it or not…so he’s all good with that!
Donny – You got a lot of bad press back then, I bumped into you at a couple of gigs and found you to be perfectly pleasant and polite, so I have pointed out to people who don’t like ToL, but have never seen the band anyway, that I can only judge someone as I find them. The bad press seemed to be for publicity. What is your side of the story?
Yeah I’ve had my fair share of bad press, but I guess that’s to be expected when you do absolutely everything with a bottle of vodka and a case of red bull inside you! Alas that’s no longer how it is so maybe we’ll see a change in attitudes press wise. Or maybe not. Time will tell.
Donny – What made you become a Reiki Practitioner?
My mum was ill with cancer and all the traditional medical routes weren’t helping her so I explored other avenues, one being reiki.
Donny – How has this influenced you?
It’s made me feel there’s more to this world than just the physical. It’s quite a life changing thing to be honest.
Donny – Do you practice Reiki on the audience before a gig, you know calm them down?
Hahaha I haven’t had the opportunity yet, but who knows…it could become a thing if things start getting out of control at shows!
How has the vision you had for ToL back in 2004 changed in 2017?
Our songs are more anthemic now than they were. We want people to be singing with us instead of just going crazy. Although a bit of both is still nice.
Please tell us a bit about the new material and what we can expect from the shows?
They’re bigger songs, more sing along, more meaning behind them. I think they could go down well in pubs or stadiums alike. Hopefully it will be the latter, but hey, we all like a good pub so it’s win win. What will be will be.
Any final message?
If you’re somebody who’s always hated the band then it’d be great if you gave our new single a listen before writing us off completely. You never know, you might like it.
Thank you for your time – I look forward to seeing ToL in Manchester.
Thanks for the questions, appreciate you putting some thought into it. Look forward to seeing you in Manchester too.
Donny T, Frankie Brannan, Rocco, Stevie Sunset, Tommy De’Ath
The Crowndale, Camden, London – Thursday 7th December 2017 see here
Night People, Manchester – Saturday 9th December 2017 see here