In the leafy (but shit) suburb of Sutton Coldfield, over six years ago…
Ska-reggae-rude-boys Lobster began making noise to curb their teenage boredom.
Now after over 160 live shows and some dodgy demos they’ve finally recorded tunes they’re proud of. Johnny Kowalski meets with Spud (vox) and Joe Cook (drums) to talk about their new songs, asshole promoters and the BNP.
Joe – “We did our first gig when I was 17 in my mates’ back garden and Charlie (bass) was 15. The first proper gig was in Walsall and some kid shot the window up. The first few shows were loads of random bands shoved together that didn’t complement each other. Nobody got paid, not one, in any way shape or form.The all-dayers at the SoundBar, which were usually us and ten metal or emo bands, they were good fun.”
Spud – “We only knew one trumpet player, so naturally, he had to be in the band.”
I can imagine you lot as the shunned punk kids in school, like, ‘YEAHWEGOTTAFORMABAND!’
Spud – “What, like out of rebellion? There were a group of us like that. We just wanted to be like, ‘fuck the BNP.’ ”
Joe – “There were loads of BNP flyers coming through my front door. It was the first time that I became politically aware, or like, engaged. A lot of people at school were into it, even my friends. I thought it was a joke. I remember reading one of their leaflets and thinking ‘this is complete bullshit.’ I used to struggle writing songs because they’d appear disingenuous. But when I started writing about something that made me angry, something just clicked. We set out to have something to say, but we’re not looking to change the world or anything. We’re not like [puts on angsty punk-voice] ‘the government are liars! look how edgy we are!’ or anything.”
When did you first record?
Spud – “January 2010.”
Joe – “And it was shit!”
Spud – “We Googled ‘ten hours recording time’ and took the cheapest thing we could find. At the time we thought it was great, but it really wasn’t. We gave the demo to someone who liked our live set and wanted us to come on her radio show. She rung back to tell us how awful it was and that she no long wanted us on the show!”
Joe – “When you’re a young band it’s easy to get over excited and be quite naive about the process. The next recording we did was at Toolshop Records, Mr Shankly’s studio.
[At this point we all agree that Mr Shanky, who’re a great Birmingham ska band currently on hiatus, should get back together and do more gigs.]
Tell me about the new songs.
Joe – “I wrote Queens Head Hunter. It’s about promoters that don’t pay bands or are just dickheads. Everyone in the industry has stories about dickhead promoters but rarely does anyone write about it. There were a few instances that pushed us over the edge.”
Spud – “My worst experience was when we’d traveled over an hour to play a gig, sat around for two hours waiting to sound check, and then the manager who booked us came and asked to see our IDs. He wouldn’t let us play because Charlie was underage…
The other tune’s called Here Comes The Lobsteppa. It just goes on and on, I don’t know how to describe that song.”
Joe – “You’re really selling it…”
Spud – “Well we grew up listening to two minute punk songs! So [having a long tune] is a big thing for us. It goes through a couple of different genres too, half rapped, half sung.”
Do you guys ever fight?
Spud – You headbutted me once [laughs].
Joe – Nah man I was wasted, that was something completely different! We definitely bicker though. When’s someone’s being a twat you have to say something otherwise you’re just some guys mucking around in an attic. It’s like ‘dude, turn up on time and bring your instrument! There was a time I could have punched [Spud] you. When you turned up without a guitar. I could have broken a pool cue over your head.”
What’s for the future?
Joe – “These two tracks are the first step towards an album. We’ve only jus trealised that we’re in a band that people actually want to see. People who aren’t our moms want come to see us. It’s only taken six years!”