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Battle of the bands

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On hearing rumours of the next big band rivalry spat, I’m over to Birmingham like the proverbial journalist up a drainpipe. I’m told this could be bigger than Blur and Oasis, bigger than The Kooks and Razorlight, bigger even than Posh Spice / Another Level and Sophie Ellis Bextor… It could be huge!

The TeatsMisty’s Big Adventure and The Teats have fallen out of sorts, and like some eager beaver, wordy wooden spoon, I’m here to stir their melting pot of creative fury. Several weeks ago, filming took place for MBA’s new video to accompany their latest single ‘Fashion Parade’, featuring on screen performances by The Teats. The song according to deadpan front-man and self appointed ‘friendly dictator’ Grandmaster Gareth ‘is all about a band that buys a load of post-punk records, rips them off and then makes a ton of money’. It’s rare to see anything as much as a twinkle in this man’s eye, more rather the look of a small beleaguered puppy dog begging for mercy, but in contrast today his eyes are positively iridescent - he’s been up to something.

“We needed to find a band that would play [the band] in the video. The Teats played a gig with us a while ago. They were awful. So we instantly thought of The Teats.” Gareth tells me, “I managed to get in touch with their singer Charlie and told him we were doing a video, we needed a band to be in it and would they be interested. It would hopefully get on MTV and we might even be able to give them a bit of money for doing it… He said he’d get back to me.”

“The next day, I got an email that was supposedly from their manager Martin Hazard (though judging by the spelling mistakes I’m guessing it was actually written by Charlie). It said that though they were friends with Johnny Borrell and they were already ‘on the radar’ having had quite a bit of interest from EMI, they would do the video. They hadn’t heard the song. I suggested they should, but they replied it wasn’t necessary, they weren’t really into our music ‘cause it’s a bit weird.’”

“The filming went without incident, but the day after we finished, I received a strange text message that said ‘UR DED CNTZ’. I had no idea what it meant. Erotic Volvo suggested it might be some sort of ancient inscription. He always thinks things are ancient inscriptions. But I started to worry it might have been from The Teats. And sure enough, the same day, our manager Mathew got an email from theirs, Martin Hazard, saying something along the same lines. They’d finally heard the song, realised we were taking the piss and wanted the video withdrawn. They also wanted more money and an apology. We did nothing. Except, of course, finish the video.”

Now I’ve heard of bands clawing at each other over single releases, backstage flaps and broad confrontation, but never before have I come across a band having the piss taken out of them whilst appearing in another’s video. This is hot stuff, so I finish my cuppa with Gareth and immediately head over to find The Teats and seek out some vitriol.

In Misty’s new video a remarkably familiar band is lurching around the stage, performing for the camera and miming along to ‘Fashion Parade’, they are of course, new art-rock band The Teats. With their spray on jeans and stripy chain gang t-shirts they are very much ‘of the moment’ - so much part of ‘the scene’ and yet so ‘starkly individual’. I find Charlie Teat, their already legendary lead singer slouched in his flat watching Jeremy Kyle. The door is ajar so I let myself in.

“F**king what?” he spits aggressively as I appear in the doorway. Taken aback, I meekly explain that I’m a journalist.

“F**ks sake,” he mumbles. I’m no stranger to musicians with arrogance towards the press so I boldly continue my introduction and tell him I’m doing a piece on Misty’s Big Adventure.

“Do a piece on Misty’s? I’d take a piss on Misty’s,” comes the venom, “but not if they were on fire,” he continues after a moment’s thought. His wit and passion overwhelms me.

OK, so we didn’t get off to a good start, but this tune journo has reasonable experience of dealing with embittered musical personas and after a little ego stroking on the subject of his stylized manner with a microphone stand, he softens up, clearly recognising a friendly ear. I offer The Teats’ lead singer a cigarette and pull up a pouffe.

Charlie, it appears, has good enough reason to appear like he’s been through life’s psychological mincer a few times. Teat (his true surname has been erased from history) is one of ‘The Branston Set’, a clique of indie notables connected to the foetal days of the early noughties scene. By the age of 17 his spiralling drug habit had already taken him through several unpleasant band break-ups, many of which still haunt him both behind the scenes of the scene and in rivals’ song lyrics - an ex-band member from The Lutherans (who cannot be named for lethal reasons) reputedly head-butted him backstage this summer at Greed Festival.

“The thing about Misty’s Big Adventure,” continues Charlie, back in his stride, “is that Gareth trades on the whole - ‘John Peel called me ‘the new God’ thing, which is just bollocks. Me, I’m the greatest songwriter of our generation, and I think Gareth just wanted me in that video so he could bask in my glory.”

“They’re just showing off, trying to be weird. They think it makes them look clever ‘cos they don’t just play guitars and they make weird noises… When I first heard this single, I thought ‘f**k me!’ This record is the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard and they’re just taking the piss out of the scene, its obscene, have they not seen the scene!? If Gareth can live with himself after that production, and if he feels like he has to slag people off to keep up, then I’m sure his nights are long and those moments of doubt are really painful… and don’t even get me started on Erotic Volvo.”

I get him started on Erotic Volvo, Misty’s Big Adventure’s hyperactive interpretive dance monster.

“He’s a disco fool; he’s like Gareth’s pet or something. For a start, he models his style on me, it’s like they’re just rolling over with their arses in the air trying to get 6Music to f**k them. I hope they all get AIDS. F**k ‘em!”

With this much bile flowing, I was inevitably lead towards the question; why did The Teats take part in this video if they hate Misty’s Big Adventure so much?

“Lots of money!” comes the reply. “But they f**ked us over, and we’re gonna f**k them up back. Nobody fucks with The Teats. All our fans are spamming those f**k-badger arseholes… we’ll f**king show them!”

The Teats are currently recording their much anticipated debut album ‘On Yer Radar’. Misty’s Big Adventure are putting the finishing touches to their third studio album ‘Funny Times’ which is expected early next year.

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