I interviewed Animal at 100 Club, London earlier this year here. Since then Anti-Nowhere League have played Sonisphere and done a tour of the USA. I had a chat with birthday boy Shady after their gig at Manchester Academy 3, in a dressing room with a few topless band members, (it’s a tough job being a rock journo at times!) to get an update and find out what’s in store for Anti-Nowhere League fans. A few comments were chipped in by Animal, Tom and Nato along the way: –
The last time I saw you was at the 100 Club in London (24th April 2014). I wanted to get a quick catch up with you guys following on from there.
Yeah that seems a long time ago now thinking back to London.
You played Sonisphere. How did that go?
That went well, as good as we could have hoped for. There was a good vibe in the air.
Which stage were you on. One of the big ones?
Tom will know – what stage were we on. (Tom chipped in with The Jagermeister.) Yeah, that’s right the Jagermeister stage. We were treated to quite a few free Jagermeisters afterwards. It was late afternoon but there was a buzz in the air, and a few business people saw us as well, and were properly impressed by us so it worked for us anyway. It was just after we got back from the States, Sonisphere wasn’t it (to Tom and Nato) no I get confused it was just after I got back from holiday.
Did you play the States before or after Sonisphere? I can’t remember.
Before, it was just after I got back from a nightmare holiday with my young boys, camping in France, which I’ll never do again! It was a good event Sonisphere, I think some of the other stayed but Nick and I, we went for the afternoon we played, we watched a couple of bands. Watched a bit of Metallica then went home.
I was going to ask if you caught up with Metallica?
We didn’t catch up with them this time. We saw a bit of their set, but we caught up with them in the States.
Are you a fan of theirs?
Yeah, sort of. I’m a bit old to be one of their original fans but Dave (Nato) and Tom brought me round to their way of thinking, I guess, by playing stuff in the van and whatever. I’m probably more a fan of Black Sabbath and the people who influenced them, I guess, more than them themselves but I do like their music and I definitely like their treatment of So What.
Did they play it at Sonisphere?
No. They wouldn’t do it the night we were there doing it. We did Download and hooked up with them that time a couple of years ago. There’s no point is there when….
No if the band are there that did it I don’t suppose there is.
We have to do it in our set and it wouldn’t offend us but it’s almost like who’s version is best so they wouldn’t have done it, I guess.
You toured America before Sonisphere. How did you go down over there?
Mostly really good. The main reason we went was for the Punk Rock bowling in Vegas, which was exteremely good. It was a really good day. We had a good time slot. A really good reaction. We were very happy with that. Every tour you do abroad is well …. I don’t think there were any totally bum nights but there were a couple you think I wouldn’t bother doing that again. The L.A. show was a really good show. It was in this really big Warehouse with a shit sound system and we were thinking oh my god what are we doing here! But it turned out to be one of the best shows on the tour. The atmosphere. A proper old school punk show with a shit P.A. but the atmosphere was there. Really good. We had a nice leisurely time round California, a day on, day off, day on, day off. We stayed at this block of houses in Hollywood that was built by Charlie Chaplin for all his crew. It was in the midst of all this hectic, modern Hollywood and there’s this quiet little mews road with all these palm trees and old fashioned house that we chilled out it. It was a nice time and good shows. After that we went to the East coast and did a short stint with the Cro-Mags. Which was interesting because it was something a little bit different from our normal sort of audience.
I don’t know them. What sort of music are they?
New York hardcore. Very, very aggressive. In a way we’re an aggressive band but compared to them we’re sort of a jingly, jangly pop band almost (laughs) so it was quite strange because we’re normally at the heavier end of what we do and we weren’t, but we got on well and it worked. The shows worked because we had different audiences so we both pulled new people into our worlds.
So you gained new fans.
Yeah possibly. It wasn’t a problem mixing the two up, it felt right every night we did it.
On this tour you did a warm up show a few days ago, was it in Skegness?
Well not really a warm up show. We did The Butlins Festival in Skegness.
Who was on there.
Anti-Pasti and The Damned were on our stage. There were only six bands on. Three bands on two stages each night so not overkill like some of these festivals. Again it felt like the right occasion. An interesting mix in a way. A slightly different mix and these Butlins things because you’re in your hut, you get that for the weekend so people are happy. You don’t have to worry about getting home. A lot of gigs you do like tonight half of that audience are thinking about getting the last bus home or thinking can I have another beer or am I pushing it to drive home, whereas the Butlins things the only way you can get a ticket is if you get a hut for the weekend. You know that at the end of the night all you’ve got to do is stagger over there and fall asleep. Almost like the old school let loose and going wild. It’s more that than young people.
Do you guys stay over?
We stayed over for the night but we had things to do so we couldn’t stay for the weekend unfortunately. We’ve done Minehead a couple of times as well, the first time we did that the audience stormed the stage and knocked all the security over so it was quite eventful. We were the first band at the first punk festival they had done and before the end of the set we had a stage invasion and the security just giving up and thinking – oh fuck it we’ll just stand aside it’ll be easier. They have a really good atmosphere there and it’s good for us to hang about after and have a drink.
Is tonight the first official date of this tour?
Yes I guess so.
It’s quite a small stage really, especially compared to somewhere like 100 Club. Do you kind of practise on different size stages?
Well not really. Manchester’s not our hottest place I guess. I don’t know why but it never has been.
You used to play Stockport a lot didn’t you?
Yeah. I don’t know what happened with that.
The pub shut down, unfortunately.
That place (The Thatched House) people went there because it was somewhere you could have a craic really. It was good there. We play The Witchwood (in Ashton) sometimes. This place (Manchester Academy) sounds good so that’s the attraction of it. It sounds a lot better than the other places on offer.
This is the first time I’ve actually seen The Anti-Nowhere League headline in Manchester although I’ve seen you a couple of times here with Rancid and with Motorhead.
Again we got a really good reaction at those shows. I’d have thought that might have brought a few more in tonight. There were a few of Motorhead t-shirts in there. Obviously someone’s come along from that but I guess it’s Thursday night as well.
Yes we were talking the other day about how not everyone goes out to see gigs and one of my friends said Oh there’s no wonder bands don’t come to Manchester but I said well it could be any place, any town it’s not just Manchester. Tomorrow you’re in Glasgow at Ivory Blacks. That’s the first place I saw The Anti-Nowhere League and only by chance. I’ve always been heavily into Rock, saw that gig thought you were fantastic. A really good gig, it was about 2011. A good venue there as well.
It is. He’s a nice guy Kelvin. He’s genuinely into the scene as well, He does it because he loves doing it. I don’t know whether he really makes any money he just about hangs on in there. He runs a really good club. It’s one of the best sounds anywhere. You walk in and your sound check’s done in five minutes. He normally gets us in somewhere to drink after the show and whatever, it’s proper hospitality I guess.
Are you guys drinking tonight?
It’s my fiftieth birthday so we’ve got to have a few drinks.
Happy Birthday! There’s a band on in a pub further down (Oxford Road) called The Grand Central
Nato chips in – I do remember going to a place before that was rather good. It would be nice to go out somewhere but it’s up to Nick (Animal) really. How far are we out in Ashton about 20 miles?
No Ashton’s only around 8 miles away. (Whether they went or not I don’t know). You’re playing Wakefield on Sunday. I go to quite a lot of gigs in Wakefield, It’s a good venue Warehouse 23.
We haven’t done that one before.
I’ve seen you at The Hop
Yeah The Hop, upstairs, again I’ve always enjoyed it when we’ve played there.
It sold out when I came.
What’s Warehouse 23 like then?
It’s a really good venue, but it’s big (I meant compared to The Hop) it holds around 700.
We might bring a bigger crowd in then. Some people just like some places but don’t like other places I guess.
Well there’s a big Punk scene round there.
All around the world there’s that situation where somebody can put you in, what should be a good place but all the kids who like Punk don’t like that place and they won’t turn up even if it’s ….. you need the right promoter who knows the local scene really.
I think you’ll be alright there. I think you’ll get a lot of people in. There’s Wakey Punx Sunday Service, they put a lot of gigs on. I think they’ve organised this
So if your weekly calendar is going out on a Sunday night and going to a gig.
I would have gone, cos my Mum and Dad live nearby but there’s a band Nashville Pussy playing Manchester and I’ve never, ever seen them.
Nashville Pussy? We’ve come across them somewhere. We know them don’t we (to Tommy and Nato)
Nato – they were at one of out gigs (in America) I think she was wearing a Duane Peters t-shirt. We’ve toured with Duane Peters, that was a mad tour he’s bonkers, you know. Of all the people I’ve ever met in Rock ‘n’ Roll he’s probably more bonkers than anybody I’ve met anywhere (laughs)
That name sounds familiar. The Old Bell hasn’t that closed up now. Didn’t he go bust or something?
I think there was a shooting and it had to close down. The guy (singer) in Fight-Back used to be the drummer in The Exploited.
It was a bit of a shit hole but it always sounded really good and there was always a really good enthusiastic crowd. There’s never been a bad night.
Where are you looking forward to playing most on this tour?
I don’t know really. I think tomorrow night will be good.
Yeah – it should be good in Glasgow. I’m sure.
It’s nice to do a bit of a tour. Wolverhampton – The Robin’s always a good show. The Underworld in London’s a good one. It’s a bit of a shame we’re not doing a Newcastle gig.
They (the fans) did say they wanted you to play in Newcastle but you’re playing Middlesbrough so….
Yeah, maybe it will bring a few more people to that. It’s just a shame because Newcastle’s always a good show but it’s probably a bit of an issue finding the right person who wants to pay the right money as such and the right conditions. Newcastle’s hard sometimes. We have an agent who does it and we have a minimum requirement of what we’ll do just for our own sake, because you can really over balance yourself if you start negotiating with sound standards and that sort of thing. There’s normally a reason why someone can’t afford to put on a proper show so it immediately becomes a bit of a suspicious situation. It’s not really over the money it’s over the fact that you might have a shit night and come away feeling embarrassed for yourself and that’s something you don’t want to do. You live and learn in this business. There are some strange people out there putting on shows in small clubs and things.
After this tour have you got any releases coming out?
We’ve just got a deal with Cleopatra Records in the states so we’ve done a re-recording of ‘We Are The League’ which is a live in the studio recording. They really like it. That’s the first thing they’re putting out for us. I think it depends a little bit on how that goes. If that goes well they’re talking about wanting a new album from us. That’s what they’ve said they want but they’re going to see, in business terms, how the one they’re got sells. Hopefully it will sell and then that will be the next thing, that they’ll finance an album. It’s one of those things, to make a good job of it you do need a bit of money behind you. We made a loss on the last few albums we made. We get a new set of songs and we record them within the realms of what we can afford to pitch in and do. In the modern world you put it out and it’s being downloaded in seconds. People come up to you all over the world going ‘I love your new album. My mate gave it to me’ whatever, you just make a loss doing it at our level. With the right record company behind it, it might be different. It would be nice to do a recording, well we try and operate almost live anyway in the studio, but to go in there without having a pre-determined time limit of what you’ve got to do. You almost know that you’ve got to get these songs done today because, well I don’t know, it kind of makes it exciting but there’s something nice about thinking we’ll have another day to do backing vocals. We’ll see what happens with that. There are plenty of ideas there if the opportunity arises for something new.
If he (referring to Animal) hasn’t lost his hatred of the world yet. In fact I think he’s getting better with age I think (laughs). He’s more angry than he was when he was younger.
Thank you very much for talking to us and enjoy the rest of your birthday!
You’re welcome. Cheers and Thank you.