Voodoo’s Johnny Kowalski talks with Mike Parker from Stiff Joints – a ten-piece ska outfit aptly designed for the rowdy and stoned. If you fall under that noble description, have an affinity for punchy brass sections or harbor a secret contempt for the small town of Kidderminster, then Stiff Joints deserve to be on your radar.
“It’s famous for carpets what more can I say? We have a lovely carpet museum in Morrisons THAT YOU HAVE TO FUCKIN PAY FOR! The gall of Kidderminster council! Opening the possibly the most boring museum in the history of museums and feckin’ charging. Don’t get me started on Kidderminster. It’s a festering rat-run rife with rowdy retards, jibbering junkies and apathetic assholes. Nowt to do but drugs or music. That’s why the dump has spawned some top musicians I believe. Having a shit life boosts creativity.”
Stiff joints are a pretty slick unit nowadays, how did you lot go from being a bunch of lads having a laugh in the back of a pub to the festival killers you are today? Did you all sit down and say “right we’re going to go for this “or did it happen more naturally?
“It was pretty much a fateful thing. I’m not really into ska that much but when I first heard the Stiffies they were hard, fast, driving ska that was incredibly fun. Right up my street. When Sid and I came along they had already done the crappy leg work so I slotted into a fully functioning band on the verge of venturing into the no-man’s land of original material. ‘Great stuff, let’s get writing.’ And write we did! Lots and lots and lots. In fact we can’t stop writing.”
Tell us a bit about the two EPs you’ve released and if you have any plans for recording in the near future.
“The first of the two EPs is called Rowdy And Stoned and the latter’s Circus On Repeat. I find it interesting that the maturity of the second EP shines through. It’s amazing how we much we’ve ripened in the year between making them, although the first EP contains our signature song K hole. We’re just discussing the possibility of recording an album this year although we’ve got to save some pennies so we’ve started pimping Burgs (guitar) out to all of his groupies. He only charges 20 quid a nosh, girls.”
What have been your favourite Stiff Joints gigs so far and why?
“Well Boomtown last year was absolutely awesome, seeing an arena full of strangers loving what you’re doing. I also enjoyed a recent gig that we played in Peckham. This was a room full of total newcomers and we were an unknown entity but we go the whole room bouncing.”
Okay that’s some of the fun side of being in stiff joints. What are some of the stresses and annoyances?
“One of my pet hates is an ill-prepared venue, one of ‘those’ gigs as we like to call them. Also long journeys home are often tough going. En-route we usually fart around and have a laugh. But moving all the gear and having to drive back from London just ain’t fun. Non-music types think being in a band is easy. It is anything but easy.”
If one of you was to make a bid for Phil Collins style solo pop-stardom, which would it be?
“Hmmmm. Do you mean who would sell their soul for fame and fortune? Good question. Well Jim lad is a reptilian and doesn’t have a soul so that excludes him. Ummm to be honest with you we’re a pretty damn tight so I don’t think anyone would jump ship. It really is a rare state of affairs…ten performers and not a scrap of counterproductive ego. “
How do you see the future of stiff joints panning out? Any big changes on the horizon?
“It would be nice to make a living from the band for a start but as a 10 piece band that’s not looking likely. Maybe if we all sell our souls to Satan? We shall keep plodding on in our little family and hopefully bring some joy and a ruddy good old knees up to the beautiful people who enjoy our music.”
You can listen to their two EPs on their Bandcamp page here.
You can get your knees up to Stiff Joint at the following 2015 events:
February 20 @ The Adelphi, Hull, with Babar Luck + Coins
April 5 @ Full Moon Club, Cardiff
April 4 @ The Boars Head, Kidderminster , Ska-a-mania 2