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Saturday, 7 September 2013

Interview with Tim V: Sham 69 - Their Finest Hour (September 2013)



Following on from their brilliant 2010 album 'Who Killed Joe Public', Sham 69 are back with a brand new album released this month. 
Just to refresh your memory here's some links to the tracks from the 'Who Killed Joe Public' album.



  01. Shout.
09. What You Gonna Do.
10. The Public Enemy.
 

Music is often used as a form of escape from the harsh realities of life but Sham 69 confront head on those realities and like a kick to the head with Size 9 Boot leave your romantic notions of the fantasy life bludgeoned and bleeding on the pavement.
Sham 69 still have something to say and they do it well with crashing guitars, thumping drums and realistic lyrics about life in 21st Century Britain.

It's great to see that they are making new music rather than cashing in on some revivalist trend by rehashing what is old. 'Their Finest Hour' could actually be just that. Well worth grabbing a copy.

Tim V kindly agreed to answer a few questions for Soundtrack4Life, a big thanks to him for his time.

 Sham 69 Left to Right: Tony Feedback (Guitar), Al Campbell (Bass), Tim V (Vocals), Ian Whitewood (Drums) and Neil Harris (Guitar).

S4L: Just to prevent confusion (and there seems to be a lot of it about) can you sumarize the postion regarding the use of the Sham 69 name seeing that there are two bands out there using it these days?

Tim V: Well yes that's an easy one...the band has had many line up changes over the last 30+ years the only difference is we are one that didn't walk away. When Parson's and Ian sacked Pursey in 2006 it wasn't due to a bad taste in clothes it was for many reasons and more so what came to light after he was sacked, and that was because Pursey had been stealing money. Yes I'm sure it was with an element of sadness on Dave's part but more so that he missed the better days, but that sadness was more about insecurity. When the band carried on without Pursey.. it did just that carry on, when Pursey had openly denounced SHAM 69, the band and its name and went on to form Day 21. We entered into many legal positions and all of them referred to us and still do as the 'official' SHAM 69. Of late it was played out to the blind that they(Pursey/Parsons) own the copyright of the name and yes they registered the name in 2012...so yes and..? Anyone can register for copyright but you have to defend that right, which means getting it into court. Well apart from the occasional postcard and junk mail I haven't had any court letters. No this is a fruitless exercise I'm afraid as the facts would have to come out wholesale, so I warm to the day that'll happen.

What we have here is the real issue, and that's how fans perceive things and I'm afraid all the while we have holes in our arses no one will succeed in this debate. There are fans who have never seen Purseys lot before and those who 'do' know him and have seen them and there are those who just don't give a shit and 'they' are at this point in the majority. We meet many who say they love both line ups, but you will always get those who don't keep up with the movements of the band or its history. Over the years some people would call me Jimmy so that for me speaks volumes as to their sincerity. I do sometimes laugh at Facebook and other social media sites and the comments, but I'm afraid that has made cowards and drones of many. When you're seeing people praising that line up when you know they haven't a clue what they're saying and why you just laugh, but I also think its sad that people don't have any integrity to face up to what they have done but just carry on slagging us off..it's incredible really. But in my heart I know you will never gain and lose fans by bitching as life's more important, but I always get asked how do I feel..well I just see the Pursey/Parsons line up as the most sincerest relationship since Stalin and Hitler.


So in finality we are the official and generically true SHAM 69 and those that think otherwise can fuck of and be romantic.


S4L: As a band you still have a lot to say in 2013, so is it vital to you that you create new music rather than resting on the history of the band? 

Tim V: Well of course because we live in the real world and why should we rest on the history of the band..the band reflects its history and for any anoraks out there there's only 1 original member in each line up. So we have moved forward and we write songs that reflect the ongoing life for the average man woman and child. I'm not into pandering to market forces as was the band previously or band wagon jumping as most people know. People wanna hear the classics but we get alot of people who wanna hear new stuff and get irate if you don't and most bands like us get that. I know some people will say well its Pursey/Parsons names at the bottom of the singles etc..well Hey Little Rich Boy and Borstal Breakout was being played prior to Parsons joining the band so figure that one out? Its vitally important that people move forward in this life and see things for what they really are. I have to say that in the early stages of the bands life that Jimmy was a gifted lyricist but like many you tend to believe in the hype and he for me lost his way and its hard to claw your way back. Everyone has their moments in life but as long as you stay calm and balanced you won't fuck up. 

S4L: You have a great line-up with the band these days, what do each of the guys bring to the table that makes the band work both in the studio and live? 

Tim V: Good question..well yes I think it is, we are The Magnificent 7 of punk who have 2 in the bog. The band like many who have had changes and turmoil have now gelled and with Neil joining it's complete. Ian was part of the biggest change when him and Dave sacked Jimmy and has this year made 27 years as SHAM 69's drummer, with Al... well Al has been round the block and due to his time with UK SUBS he has learned the DIY ethic with knobs on and has really never parted company with spikes n studs..Tony well Mr.Nice guy known by anyone and everyone he has of course been at the forefront of both eras with Punk and Mod..I think most people know him for his time with Long Tall Shorty but in Punk its his time with Angelic Upstarts. There isn't many people in Punk n Oi that don't know Tony or he don't know. Neil well with him it's a different flag..Neil approached us when the Pursey/Parsons line up decided to aim for the money and sat me down to explain the history and pretty much like anything with this band it was a shock. It was only when I sat down with someone else who was in the band from the start who hadn't seen Neil for 25 years told me the same story word for word, I realised the picture. For me Neil is seeing out the inevitable closure of a book that 'he' along with Jimmy opened, so as such we are the ultimate collection and the most sincerest. Missing someone....lol yes me well I joined in 2007 when the band was on its arse playing to no one and illegally in debt up to its neck...call it pretentious call it what you want but I pulled the band around and made it work again and we did this with guts and I have to say we ALL did it in person but like most things it sorted out the grinders from the monkeys. As a band now we perform with total and utter sincerity and angst, there's no fucking pop stars in this fucking band. When people come to our shows they are seeing real people who they can identify with and likewise with us and I happen to believe that people ain't fucking stupid and more so don't forget!!

S4L: 'Their Finest Hour' - is that a declaration that you are more than happy with the new album you have created or does it have another meaning that you would like to expound upon?


Tim V: Haha..yeah I'm sure people say "hour" it isn't...no its a title that reflects everyone as I believe that everyone at some point has or will have their finest moment in life and like Warhol with his 15 minutes we have said an hour. I just think that in these days of oppression... yes boring political comment but true all the same, we all need some kind of beacon some kind of hope that if the shit storm comes people won't fail and they will unite. I have been on many a demo in my life and have many times been physical in my approach, however I have seen too many people fall on their arse and what becomes a sincere revolt turns into a free for all skirmish and its hard to gain strength from people shouting freedom from poverty whilst wearing a £100 pair of trainers. The album is multifaceted and says it as it says and most of all we 'the band' aint 18 yrs old were fucking in our 50s and we see things as that but with care. I'm not gonna write songs talking about the heady days of Punk when then we laughed at balding teddy boys gathering for their annual festivals crying over Elvis in 77, only to be doing the same thing today crying over Joe Strummer. Naah that ain't me I wanna write songs about things that make me wanna cry, or puke or pick up a baseball bat..I see things through bus windows or the balcony of a tower block. We are all parents now and we see the younger generation fucking up wholesale and more so than we did and so I wanna let rip. Kids today are more than capable of dealing with shit but instead of ignoring them like our parents and society did, we ain't gonna. 

S4L: Sham 69 seem to have been busy the past few years with making a movie (is that out on DVD yet?) and playing at home and abroad, does it still give you a thrill when you step out on stage especially overseas and seeing people responding to the music? 

Tim V: Yes it's been non stop from the get go really, the movie was in part the beginning of the end for Dave as it showed him in his true light but I'm sure people will make their own judgements and that's important. For me it shows the band in its true light really and one that is in essence in full meltdown. There's no staged working class hero bullshit in this as you see with many band films..this is real. I believe when other bands see it they will agree with it with a wry smile as it's them in reality, though I'm sure they won't admit it. The film is currently doing the rounds at film fests but is lined up for TV and by the end of the year a DVD release for sure. Yes playing abroad and at home is important and it's what we as a band firmly believe in and we will continue to do. Yes its a real buzz doing shows be they in a Pub or a festival arena..you take music to everyone not just those that have the big fees or big venues..fuck it when was Punk ever about that!!!???

Yes 'people' is where this question is at and where we are as a band, I love to see people enjoying themselves and if at the end of the day they go home happy and buzzed up out of their nut then fuck it happy days.

There are those of course that measure success by where you play etc and they know who they are, well to them I say  fuck yer you have no idea..plastics you are and plastics your stay. I'd rather play in a club where people are going fucking nuts than a stadium full of drones...we will always be offered stuff in all shapes and sized venues and we will perform 110%.
 

S4L: Are you out on tour with the new album and are you excited to be sharing the new music with the fans? 

Tim V: Yes we kick off the tour officially in China and then at the dates below, yes we will be playing some classics and some we haven't played for a few years and more from the new album and the past 2 albums...so yes really buzzing about it and I'm sure we will make some new fans and friends. But I want to say this to all fans and foes you only have one life and one chance to live it, so before you make a judgement call make sure you do it with total truth, conviction and integrity..and remember only we know the truth.


SHAM 69 ON TOUR

SEPTEMBER:18TH THE UNDERGROUND STOKE; 19TH TOWER ROOMS LIVINGSTON ;20TH DRUMMONDS ABERDEEN; 25TH ACADEMY MANCHESTER; 26TH SOUNDHOUSE LEICESTER; 31ST CAVERN CLUB EXETER; NOVEMBER: 2ND DSB LIVE PLYMOUTH; 9TH DOLLS HOUSE ABERTILLERY; 22ND YARDBIRDS GRIMSBY; 23RD KING GEORGES HALL BLACKBURN; 24TH ROADHOUSE BIRMINGHAM; 29TH HAIRY DOG DERBY; 30TH SANCTUARY BASINGSTOKE; DECEMBER: 1ST BORDERLINE LONDON;  2ND PENICHE FULMAR BRUSSELS BELGIUM; 4TH LE MOLOTOV MARSEILLES FRANCE; 5TH MISTRAL PALACE VALENCE FRANCE; 6TH GALVANIK ZUG SWITZERLAND; 7TH EXPLOSIV GRAZ AUSTRIA; 8TH SHELTER VIENNA AUSTRIA; 10TH ALTE MAELZEREI  REGENSBURG GERMANY; 11TH VELVET TEPLICE CZECH REP; 13TH MODRA VOPICE PRAGUE CZECH REP; 14TH BARONKA LITOMERICE CZECH REP; 15TH K-17 BERLIN GERMANY; 16TH HAFENKLANG HAMBURG GERMANY;17TH CHEMIEFABRIK  DRESDEN GERMANY; 18TH DAS BETT FRANKFURT GERMANY; 19TH THE TUBE DUSSELDORF GERMANY; 20TH WINSTON AMSTERDAM HOLLAND; 21ST LITTLE DEVIL TILBURG HOLLAND.



For more information check out Sham 69's Official Website.









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