Track By Track: BLAKFISH - Champions
A track by track run down on their upcoming album and how possessing a book full of lyrics concerning sex with the dead can lead you into trouble with US Customs officers
As one of the most hotly anticipated albums of 2009 in Midget Towers, we've been busy counting down the days until Blakfish's debut long player Champions (Reviewed here) drops for some time now. Recorded in Seattle earlier in the year with These Arms Are Snakes sticksman Chris Common, big things are expected of the Brummie quartet having recently signed with Hassle Records. Following our latest chat with Sam Manville, we innocently asked the vocalist/guitarist to talk us through Champions in its entirety. What we weren't expecting however was to unearth a multitude of side-splitting tales involving Jehovah's Witnesses, red, white and blue heroes and about how possessing a book full of lyrics concerning sex with the dead can lead you into trouble with US Customs officers...
"Speaks for itself really. I guess it's about us not having money and other people having lots of it. We're poor as sh*t and some people would say that's cool, well it's not, it's bollocks. It was also written around the time that "Recession" was the big buzz word, and it got me thinking that it wasn't really affecting me, I was still just as poor, I thought that was pretty funny. Also it was an excuse to rant about Abbey National."
'Ringo Starr - 2nd Best Drummer In The Beatles'
"The title was just a funny quote we found in a book at the studio. It kind of ties in with the subject as it's about the state of the music industry, although it's all very tongue in cheek. I love how bands and artists are completely exploited by labels, agents and managers, it's great. We have tried to book our own friends bands in the past, these are people we have lived with or at least known for years, and their agents and management have gone ape sh*t because we didn't go to them first. You can't even text your friend and ask if they want to hang out with you and play a show, it's a f**king horrible way to work. Even when we have gone to agents first, we've discovered they've turned down offers with out even asking the band if they want to play. This is why we still don't have an agent, we're waiting for one that isn't a silly c**t. I think we've always been very aware of the industry, or probably more wary of the industry, hopefully this will be the reason we can stick around longer than most. We're doing a slow burn, work hard, keep your head down, don't get chucked in with a scene and build a steady loyal following, well that's the plan anyway... Someone referred to us as being the Deftones to some other current bands Korn. I liked that, I love Deftones."
'Your Hair's Straight, But Your Boyfriend Ain't'
"This is a classic Robert Fruit quote, I remember when he came up with the title, we were sitting in a bar in Seattle and the five of us laughed for about an hour straight. The song's about fashion and how f**king ridiculous it all is, although everyone, including us, is completely guilty. Clothes are just there to keep you warm, people take is so seriously. I guess it's just another jibe at the British public, you'll see that that's a recurring theme."
'If The Good Lord Had Intended Us To Walk, He Wouldn't Have Invented Roller Skates'
"The title is a quote from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the one with Gene Wilder, not Johnny Depp, although I do love Mr Depp. The song is about a friend of ours who's girlfriend was going travelling for ages. I remember having a conversation with him about how he felt about her going for so long and it seemed like a nice subject to write about. The funny thing is the bastard ended up quitting his job and going with her, he's still in f**king Australia so it kind of voided it all."
Why did you decide to go with this track as lead single?
"We didn't, Hassle wanted us to. We would have much rather released something else. I can understand their point for radio but I still think 'Randy Sage...' would have been better."
'We Beg, We Borrow, We Steal'
"The title is similar to a line in the song, which is pretty rare for us. It's about being a child and growing up with people that now work 9 to 5, have mortgages and are thinking about marriage, but remember them having the same stupid dreams as us when we were kids. It's so easy to fall into either lifestyle. It's security or chaos I suppose. It also highlights the bad points and arguments for both, which I always like. I hate films that have clear good guys and baddies, not many things are ever that simple. Both sides should always be represented, Kingdom of Heaven is a good film for that, you would have thought that they would have just slagged off the Muslims, but they probably show the Christians in a worse light, I like that."
'I Saw A Car On Fire There Once'
"The title comes from a spot on the M40 where Thomas Rock actually saw a car on fire. He told me that when we drove past the place once, I thought it was interesting. The next week we drove past it again (we spend far too much time on the M40) and he told me for the second time, forgetting that he had told me previously. Then the next time we went past he told me again, knowing I already knew, and oh how we laughed...The song is mainly about London and how f**king dreadful it is drive around, that's about it for that one."
'The Closer To The Bone, The Sweeter The Meat'
"The Closer To The Bone, The Sweeter The Meat is an old saying that my Grandma uses, she's a fountain of knowledge and has endless Irishisms, well she always tells me that they're Irish but she thinks shoes are Irish. The song comes from pushy Vegans, a few in particular, that have had a go at us for being such avid carnivores. I suppose it's like religion, I don't give a sh*t how other people live their lives as long as they don't try and preach about it. Saying that I had some great Jehovah's Witnesses come to my house the other day, I opened the door and the lady said, "Hello, we're from the church of blah blah", I said, "I'm sorry I'm Jewish", and she just said, "OK, thanks a lot" and f**ked off. I thought that was pretty nice of her, they usually try to convert you. Saying that I'm not really Jewish I just like f**king with them."
'Randy Sage - True American Hero'
"We had to transfer at Atlanta to get to Seattle. Atlanta is a f**king huge airport. We were on this escalator looking rather confused about where we had to go, when this pilot turned to us and said, in a very powerful American accent "Can I help you guys, you look lost", or something like that, to which we replied in typical British fashion, "No, we're OK thanks". After he wandered off Fruit pointed out that he had a name badge, and that his name was Randy Sage. We decided that he must be a true American hero with a name and voice like that. Richard Hollywood actually internet stalked him and discovered he was in the army and loads of sh*t, he really was a True American Hero. We really hoped that he would be flying us home but he wasn't.
"The song itself is about the ball ache of getting into the States. I got taken into a f**king interrogation room where the guy read through my whole lyric book, starting with '9th Base' (you'll see why that was a bad thing when you see what it's about) and they almost sent me home. I haven't sh*t myself like that for a long time."
'I'm Laughing Now . . . But It's No Joke'
"The name comes from a very drunk guy called Bennett when we were at our friend Matty Otters house in Leeds. I wasn't actually there but I believe he drank a bottle of wine in a minute or so and then continued to tell Thom and Rich to listen to Mogwai and Oceansize. He was trying to be serious but kept laughing. Mr Rock wrote this song about the film Into the Wild. It's a good film."
"The title comes from a pissed night on tour when we were working out what all the sexual bases were. 1st base is holding hands, 2nd base kissing, 3rd base fingers and tongues, and a home run is f**king, but we wanted to see how far we could go. After a while we worked out that if 8th base was f**king someone and killing them, then 9th base was f**king someone, killing them, then f**king them again. Don't ask. The song is about being sexually perverted and dangerous to the opposite sex, which we all are..."
'Scotland's Worst Invention'
"We really got this wrong, TV wasn't invented in Scotland but f**k it. To be honest from looking online no one can agree on who invented it so whatever. The song's about TV being bollocks, mainly daytime TV and soap operas. I think some of my favourite lines on the record are in this track, "What's with all these f**king soaps, I want Ray Mears not Holyoaks" and "I don't take note of what they say, I look good naked anyway". F**king TV eh. "
Click here for the rest of our Blakfish Interview, where Sam talks about doing battle with coked up crowd members, glamour model girlfriends and ball licking police officers
Blakfish's debut album, Champions, is released on August 10th through Hassle Records. Click here for the RM review.
Blakfish are running the inaugural Off The Cuff Festival this September! We're giving away tickets! Click here to win them! Exclamation marks!!!!