SPiT LiKE THiS, not a group of people you'd want to bump into down a dark alley
You all know about the celebrity appearances, the signings, the parties, the screenings, the panels and the fun-times which will dominate your every waking moment at the SFX Weekender ; but it wouldn’t be the white hot event it’s destined to be without some top tunes!
We recently had a chat with the lead singer of one of the bands who will be gracing the stage next February in Camber Sands, lead singer of SPiT LiKE THiS Lord Zion, about their upcoming gig, sci-fi influences and the t-shirt business.
How would you characterise your music?
That has been the hardest question for us since day one! All four of us have vast influences that enter this huge funnel and get condensed into whatever comes out the other end. Some people view us as a glam punk band, others more a classic rock band. If I had to pick something to say, I'd say get Adam Ant in a blender with the Cramps, Motley Crue, Rocky Horror and Aerosmith. Somehow we emerge out of it! I like to think that what we are doing is pretty unique; we aren't trying to be the next XYZ band, but the first SPiT LiKE THiS.
How did the band get together in the first place?
Well, Vikki and I were the founders of the band and, initially, it was a bedroom project. We had no money so ended up selling her used underwear on eBay to fund the first EP. After a couple of successful EP’s, we really wanted to put the show on the road and met the rest via the internet. This line-up (me, Lord Zion, on vocals, Vikki Spit on bass, Cyndi Rott on guitar, Vile Gilez on drums) has been together since late 2006.
You told me that you're a big ol' geek really - brilliant! What sort of things are you into?
It all started off for me with Star Wars IV: A New Hope. It was the first movie I ever saw and I was hooked. Like all kids in the 1980's I collected Star Wars figures and also had a few Battlestar Galactica ones. I even have a Stormtrooper tattoo on my hand now, it’s my badge of geekdom! I was also heavily into the Flash Gordon movie that Queen did the soundtrack to, and it was my love of that soundtrack that got me into heavy rock music. Vikki and I were, more recently, totally hooked on the BSG reimagining and were dead chuffed when Kandyse McClure (Dee) purchased some of our t-shirts at London Expo!
How does being a sci-fi fan influence your music?
Even though primarily we are a heavy rock band, on everything we have released so far, there has been some synth-based work which comes from my aforementioned love for the Flash Gordon soundtrack crossed with the best of Gary Numan! In my head, it sounds like a really bad (ie awesome) B-movie sci-fi soundtrack! I suspect the main influence comes out in our imagery and album title. "We Won't Hurt You (But We Won't Go Away)" sounds like a B-movie title and we were very keen to get a great artist on board to capture our vision of us looming large over London. I remembered a famous picture I had seen of Daleks crossing Westminster Bridge, so we used that bridge on the art and had the crowd running away from us. Finally, there is the small nod to the Bat Signal up in the clouds...
You're a regular at things like London Expo. What do you get out of those occasions?
We absolutely love doing them! I actually used to deal in Star Wars memorabilia around the time of The Phantom Menace (I was the first dealer in the UK to get the first batch of toys, which led to an appearance on the Big Breakfast!) and I was always impressed at how many rockers and metal heads were at the larger events - it often looked more like a concert! Hell, I even met Queen's Brian May at one once - he bought a Gamorrean Guard from me! So, more recently, we were trying to think of a way to reach out to more people when it dawned on me: most of the people that come to our shows are what you might affectionately term as geeks. We have always drawn that kind of crowd (probably because we are geeks ourselves!). Not only that, but a lot of the T-shirts that me and Vikki design and produce are bought by the exact same types of people. In other words, we could attend these shows, sell our t-shirts AND plug our band to an unsuspecting public! It's also really nice being in that environment - Expo in particular feels like some huge, completely bonkers, family - so we are happy to be part of that. It would be awesome to perform at an Expo event too.
What sort of things can our readers expect from your performances at the SFX Weekender?
Well, we are veterans of hundreds of shows now so the number one thing guaranteed is that we put on a great show! We're just coming up to our third appearance at the Hard Rock Hell festival and have been able to include things like fire breathers at those larger events. Hopefully that will be something we can bring with us. But, even if it is just a bare-boned affair, we will just do what we do and that is rock. Hard. With a capital R! We like to put on a blistering performance which takes a slight left turn half way through when we launch into our ever-popular cover of the Rocky Horror Show's "Sweet Transvestite". If that doesn't get you, nothing will!
Which SFX Weekender special guest are you most looking forward to meeting?
I have been told that I have to have a naked photo taken with John Barrowman by the people on my Facebook page. So if he reads this I’m sure he will be avoiding me in case I attempt it (don't worry John, I won't!). I'm a big Buffy fan too so James Marsters would be good.
You also have a t-shirt company. How did that come about?
Out of necessity, really. Being in a band is expensive and very time consuming. Having any kind of regular day-job is not conducive to band stuff, gigs are always late and jobs always tend to be early. Plus, I am not designed to have a boss. I had been selling a few of my own sweary t-shirt designs, we took the most popular one ("Smell Your Mum") and built a whole company around it! It started off very small in 2002 but in 2004 we launched www.smellyourmum.com as it is today and, 11 million hits later, we have become an institution within the alternative world. It is still run by Vikki and I (I design most of the tees and run the site, Vikki does all the printing by hand) and, with the band, it’s like having two full-time jobs. Our hours are ridiculous, but we love the way that the t-shirts promote the band and the band promotes the t-shirts. It is also ethically pretty awesome - I love the DIY punk ethic of '77 and you cannot get much more DIY that our set-up.
Which came first, the band or the clothing?
They were both at the same time, really. Our official launch for both of them was at a very rainy Bulldog Bash, years ago. We had our tees hanging up and our CD's and flyers on a table. We liked the idea of being able to promote the band via the T-shirts (as the market is pretty much identical) and it worked out pretty damn well!
If you want to check out SPiT LiKE THiS ahead of their sure to be unmissable show at the SFX Weekender head to www.spitlikethis.com to view live footage, along with other bits and pieces. And while you’re at a computer (or internet enabled phone, you tech savvy types you) why not visit www.smellyourmum.com to check out the range of t-shirts and merchandise on offer.