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These Animal Men documentary

Articles 94 | 96 | Reviews 94 | 96

Melody Maker cuttings:

July 93


July 94

Oct 94

NME cuttings:

July 94

Intro article in Vox, July 1994:

The Bestial Boys

Brighton Shock

Still flying the flag for skinny white boy rock'n'roll, but will These Animal Men become the new Vibrators?

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be, according to mouthy glam-punk foursome These Animal Men, as they seek to distance themselves from recent revivals of all things New Wave.

"Paul Weller was allowed to like Pete Townshend," protests the Brighton bands's guitarist Hooligan, aka Julian. "Pete Townshend was allowed to like Chuck Berry, but you don't get that kind of enthusiasm any more. English rock has killed itself with boredom."

A sorry state of affairs, which these former Catholic schoolboys are trying to remedy by recreating the glory days of British guitar rock, claiming a lineage running back through the Manic Street Preachers to The Jam, David Bowie, The Who and beyond.

"The best bands wear their influences on their sleeves, they've taken the past and put a bit of themselves in," argues Liverpool-born bassist Patrick.

All of which produces the perfect get out clause for being shamelessly derivative, of course, but These Animal Men have bigger ambitions in mind. They aim to live in the present, to take up the gauntlet thrown down by dance music in the past five years and pull youth culture back towards the instant three-minute thrill of guitar pop. But in a fragmented society, with so many musical options, this might seem like a doomed attempt to turn back the clock. After all, can any contemporary rock band ever mean as much as The Clash or The Smiths did?

"Maybe not, but it's fucking well worth trying," insists Hooligan. "Music used to be so fucking cool, and it's just not anymore. We come from Brighton and the dance scene is so massive there. You look at those kids and how they appreciate their art, how they dress and get together, it's so completely different to English rock. We've forgotten how to put music in its place."

Behind their mildly provocative slogans about masterbation and amphetamine sulphate, one of These Animal Men's chief aims is restoring white music culture to centre stage: but any racist connotations are quickly quashed. They are not opposed to black music, explains Patrick, they just want a riot of their own. "We're the post Enoch Powell generation; the only England we know is totally multicultural and multiracial. It's just that every aspect of our cosmopolitan culture seems to be proud and self celebrating, apart from English rock."

There is no closet racism in this statement, however naive it sounds. While nowhere near as overtly political as fellow travelers S*M*A*S*H, These Animal Men take a classic liberal line similar to Morissy's give-the-BNP-a-platform stance, disdaining the oppressive orthodoxy of political correctness and all censorship. This follows the minor furore caused by their amphetamine-fuelled debut single, 'Speeed King', which aroused the ire of Plymouth MP David Jackson and caused several last-minute cancellations during their last tour.

"If you put something on the top shelf people just want it more," concludes Hooligan. "It's like having a Catholic education, it makes you want to wank all the time."

Stephen Dalton
These Animal Men's debut mini-album Too Sussed is released on Hi-Rise this month.

Live review, ~1994

(Click to enlarge)

(Thanks Matt H for this and the two following scans)

Melody Maker Live review, May 1994

(Click to enlarge)

Public NME snippet, ~1994

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Interview in "Scathe" fanzine, April 1994

These Animal Men played at Southampton's 'maple leaf' club on 16 April 1994. Scathe had a chat with Hooligan and Patrick before they went on stage.

“How did the band start up?”

H: "We all went to school together, but none of us really played an instrument until we were about eighteen. It was only recently when music was getting more and more 'bollocks', and we're genuinely lazy people so we shouldn't have bothered if there were some good bands but we’d just had enough, and decided we’d go and me what we percieve to be the perfect band. We only really formed about a year, eighteen months ago.

P: “Each of us had gone off and done some crap local bands, but we got together and realized we had a common interest. When you think about it, it’s not that hard to get yourself signed, or whatever your goal is…”

H: “Out of these millions of people, there must be a hundred thousand bands or something ludicrous like that, and they're all trying to get, at the end of the day, what they perceive to be the final thing - like a record contract. They think as soon as they get one it's all over, like a Duke of Edinburgh award or something. But if you've got the kind of attitude where it's just the start, you go to London and people want you instantly. Even when you get a contract with the biggest record company in the world, it's still up to you to have some serious art in you"

P: “You’ve got to realize there’s more to music than music. Playing the chords on your guitar is just part of it.”

H: "It's a means to an end. Because in the end, you want people to pay for you to exist, because for you to exist is important to them.

Who or what inspired you?

H: lyrically, and philosophically, William Burroughs, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, people like that, maybe Brian Jones, or even Nick Cave but musically, from the first British invasion with the Stones, The who, through to The Specials, Two Tone, Primal Scream, The Jam, everything that has sucked up the past and put a little bit of itself in."

Do you think your image played an important role?

H: "Absolutely, we're so introverted, so one-track-minded. we've got what we perceive to be this 'mega-culture', this multi- cultural Englishness and anyone our age, we hope, will understand that. This image and aura, and all- encompassing 'coolness' that we want to capture all these people in, that made a really big impression with the media and the financial side of things.''

P: "It's like dressing well, and looking as good as you can. We've all done down different fashion avenues in the past, but this is the kind we've always liked best, and it's what we looked like when we were twelve. A lot of them are old clothes that have just been in the back of the wardrobe that we never really stopped wearing."

How do you feel about the 'new wave' tag that the press have stuck on you?

H: "I don't even think about it to be honest. But, what else could they have done? How else could they have described a certain number of bands that aren’t going to stand up for noble causes. Not that they are not interested , but 99.9% of bands go down the easy avenue of anti-racism, anti- homophobia, preaching to people that are already converted. I mean, they’re fantastic causes, but it’s not enough to be JUST that. Us, and maybe people like S*M*A*S*H are NOT saints, we are all kleptos, Shoplifters, drugtakers, and we are interesting people. That's why we formed, because bands were becoming more and more bland. Every now and then you’d hear anti-racism, and anti-homophobia, which is fantastic, but what people don’t realise is that you have to be a complete ignorant wanker to be otherwise! So what’s the point in hammering it home to people that have got no problem with it anyway?

P: ''It got to the point where middle-aged parents were buying the records before their teenage kids were, which is a bit revolting. We're the diametric opposite of that.”

Do you feel that the press have concentrated too much on the drug aspect of your image?

H: ''I think the press take drugs, and that's how we got on with them. We went out with them and just had one fucking hell of a time, and three or four days later when the binge had died down, all this stuff came out of it. They're just as enthusiastic as everyone else. And the drug taking, I'm not ashamed of anything we've said because what we've said is from a personal point of view. We're not drug dealers, we've never sold a drug in our lives, we're just young, and we've got this lust for life. We have genuine enthusiasm for living, trying everything.''

P: "We've set ourselves up for that in a way, with the titles and the artwork, but it was never meant to be like a big pro-drug thing. It's just that we did on a Friday and Saturday night, though maybe more than most people."

H: "We had a honeymoon with it, but the thing is, it was an important thing to do, not just for us but for everyone because with a fantastic thing like the dance movement, they know how to dress, and they know how to feed their head, they know what's cool. All the English guitar bands and the people around them only knew how to turn up! They all wear the same thing, and it doesn't particularly flatter them. And they don't know how to feed their head, and they don't known how to create an atmosphere which will get a lot of people together to have a good time. A lot of people took cover when that came out, and disassociated themselves with us. We had a mass exodus of bands and like-minded people who just thought 'Fucking hell, man, I admire you for what you've done, but you take the baby'. Now they're all coming back again. But what with Kurt Cobain, I know it's a tragedy, the guitar has become a serious paintbrush now, a serious instrument of art. I think everyone involved in the 'new wave' thing has forwarded that a lot, the fact that the media can be involved now. Maybe everyone will just take a bit of time out to be young again."

What are your longterm aims? P: “We don't really think about it in those terms. We’ll do this for as long as it’s worth, as long as people want us, and when it comes to the end, as long as it’s definite, and hopefully a bit spectacular, then that’s alright.”

H: “I think it’s unfair on people if you start thinking about pension schemes or whatever. You've got to put all your effort, all your heart and soul into what you're doing now. Otherwise you're just going I to have some sort of horrible plan, which is not a cool attitude."

P: ''There's an album, which is the only thing that's definite at the moment."
Do you find it easy to write material while you're on tour?

H: A lot of people are looking for excuses all the time. They think if they moan and moan, people will forgive them for releasing a piece of shit. There’s no excuses for it, people have given you the opportunity to do this, and you’ve got to do it. We’re not going to say it’s hard to write on tour, because it isn’t really.

P: “It’s no harder than it is anywhere else.”

These Animal Men are signed to "Hi- Rise Recordings' distributed by Pinnacle. Many thanks to These Animal Men, Caffy (Hall or Nothing) and Matt Willis (Globeshine).


Description in the Glastonbury 1995 Festival Program:

These Animal Men

Those skin-tight shirts, the limited edition vinyl, the banned gigs: These Animal Men had all the accessories - and they did indeed mean it, man. But just when you had Hooligan, Boag, Patrick and Stevie fitted out with recycled bondage gear, back they come with 'Taxi for TAM', broader, still exciting, just more interesting. "Most bands are just a cool singer with some potatoes behind," roared Hooligan, "We don't have potatoes in this band."

The vegetable-free zone should be pulling you up by the roots this weekend.


Article from Reading 95's Volume 14 compilation booklet:

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5
(Thanks Dave S)


Interview with Hooligan and others in "The Face"

Available from the nwonw mailing list message board (thanks to Simon again), though a bit hefty in size at about 5 megs total. Here's some more optimised (about 300k each) versions:

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Page 8

Page 9

There's a lot to be said for PC bands", says Paddy, "but there's too many Chumbawambas and not enough Rolling Stones

Quote opposite from an Interview, in Melody Maker, October 1994:


Articles 94 | 96 | Reviews 94 | 96