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TNS is 10: Interview - Towers of London

19th April 2013

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The Towers of London have a reputation; so when they appeared on the bill for Thursday’s regular live music night in The Delph Bar, Lincoln Keith Jeff went to see what all the fuss is about. 

Donny TouretteIt was with a hefty amount of trepidation that I made my way to ‘The Delph Bar Presents…’ but I reminded myself as I approached the building; that my blood flows with mindless journalistic bravery; that thought would get me through the frightening night ahead. I had already decided that if getting punched in the face would be the story then that is how it would be, I could take a black eye for a few column inches. I was armed with nothing but a reasonably sturdy Dictaphone and was about to meet one of the most notorious bands on the UK circuit today, notorious but punctual. Things get broken when the Towers of London are around - furniture, speakers, guitars, drum-kits, photographers legs - I had decided to challenge them on the subject. 

Beside the Delph Bar stage a few hours into the night I am waiting by the entrance to the green room. My reserves of Dutch courage are in good supply and I am poised with my Dictaphone outstretched, ready to ask some serious questions. The Towers of London have been skulking in their bus all night but with a flurry of activity from their scruffy entourage I am sure they are due to appear very soon. I am right. The first of the band, I have no idea which, stalks past me. 

Me :     “What are you going to break tonight?”

ToL:    “We’re not gonna break anything.” 

He hurries on and slumps himself on a sofa a short distance away eyeing me with suspicion. I continue. 

Me:      “So you’re not going to break anything tonight then?”

ToL:    “Yeah we are; we’re gonna break you.” 

I’m doing well; I’m off to a strong start, threats have been made and I’m feeling confident. I glance around to see if the other band members will be passing soon and something small and pointy bounces off the side of my head. Observing the crown cap off a beer bottle from the rider hitting the floor, I look up to see the first band member grinning and pointing at me; his missile’s recipient. There is little more opportunity left as another rush of activity envelopes me and the rest of the band are whisked by. My hurried please for damage prediction are virtually lost in the confusion but for a few bewildered glances. I must get another drink and wait until after the gig. 

Following much shouting, monitor balancing, speaker climbing and bouncer bothering (them not me) I catch up with the band as they leave the stage denying the crowd an encore. I get lucky and catch the attention of the lead shouter. 

Me:      “Why aren’t you going back on?”

ToL:    “We’re drunk” 

Me:      “You’re drunk?”

ToL:    “Let’s get drunk”  

Me:      “Guys, Why aren’t you going back on?”

ToL:    “‘Cos we can’t be arsed.” 

Me:      “So what’s the band all about then?”

ToL:    “What do you mean what are we all about? What are you all about?” 

Me:      “I just saw the set; I want to know what you’re all about. Where’s the next gig then?”

ToL:    “Tomorrow night, Huddersfield.” 

Me:      “What are you going to do in Huddersfield?”

ToL:    “What do you mean what are we gonna do, we gonna do the same shit we do every night and that’s fuckin’ play rock n roll music.” 

Me:      “You play rock and roll? “

ToL:    “Yeah.” 

Me:      “What is rock n roll?”

ToL:    “Eh, mate, fucking hell man, you stood in the crowd there, you was watching us for forty five fuckin’ minutes, you tell me what’s rock n roll.” 

Me:      “I know what I felt – what did you feel?”

ToL:    “I felt fuckin’ great apart from falling off some big fuckin’ shit on the side of the stage.” 

Me:      “So what’s your mission in life?”

ToL:    “To keep playing great gigs like we did tonight, fuck as many birds as possible, and drink every brewery out of house and home.” 

Me:      “Ok”

ToL:    “How’s that for ya?” 

I don’t know how to tell him I’m disappointed, so I suddenly look incredibly interested in something else. He too has his concentration averted and relief is clear on both our faces. I can’t help thinking his off stage self is somewhat dull compared to his stage persona, I find another blonde Towers chap with big hair and ask him politely for his time. 

Me:      “What’s going on with Towers of London then?”

ToL:    “I suppose you can see the scene as art-rock, you know like Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party.” 

Me:      “Art-rock, so it’s rock and art?”

ToL:    “It’s nothing to do with us, the scene, the scene ain’t nothing to do with me.” 

Me:      “OK, I get the scene, Towers of London what’s…”

ToL:    “[shouts away] cheers for coming down alright!... No look, there’s a scene, the scene that’s dominating British music is art-rock, and that’s nothing to do with the fuck I’m involved with you know.” 

Me:      “OK, forget the scene, what’s Towers of London all about.”

ToL:    “Towers of London, oh just like, just like having a laugh and doing what you want really.” 

Me:      “I’m up for a laugh, I get what you’re doing, you want to throw things about…”ToL:    “Listen mate, I just wanna enjoy myself, and I wanna do it to the full, and at the end of the day, that’s it.” 

Me:      “I’ve been asked to talk to Towers of London, why am I talking to you?

ToL:    “‘Cos we’re the most important band of this generation, as much as people are in denial about it, and most people are scared of what we do, because it changes everything in music right now. We’re out there by ourselves; they can’t deny what’s happening with our band. What’s happening is people are realising you don’t need to look at your shoes; you don’t need to wear a shirt and a tie to be into great music anymore.” 

Me:      “That’s what I’m after ‘cos I don’t know music.”

ToL:    “Everybody knows music mate.” 

Me:      “I know what I like…”

ToL:    “Yeah basically man, we’re just doing our thing and having a good time doing it.” 

Me:      “It’s all about good fun.”

ToL:    “Yeah its all about having fun, and also, you know you wake up sometimes and you feel like s**t. It’s about venting your fury in a positive way and getting rid of it whilst watching a band or whilst being in a band and getting rid of it that way instead of just being negative. There’s nothing negative about what we do.” 

Me:      “I was playing around with you guys at the start, because all I had was just the story that goes with you guys. You break things; that’s the story that I have, that’s all I’ve got to talk about.”

ToL:    “Well things have been broken but it’s not exactly what we do you know.” 

Me:      “Right, so what you do is…?”

ToL:    “What we do is have fun, on stage with our music.” 

Me:      “I see so the fun is just live life to the full is it.”

ToL:    “Yeah the fun is, basically mate just f**king anything you’ve ever dreamt of doing, anything you’ve ever dreamt of being, just have it all ‘cos tomorrow may never come.” 

Me:      “I see that, you’re living it and you’re just going with what you got and…”

ToL:    “Have it all basically.” 

Me:      “Totally. So is there any message?”

ToL:    “Message? That’s the message, to do what you want and don’t be f**king scared of looking different, don’t be scared of being yourself and like, don’t let people push you into a direction, do your own thing you know.” 

I think I’m starting to get to grips with the inner complexities of the enigma people call the Towers of London; I’m starting to understand what makes them tick. They’re telling me I shouldn’t be scared of looking different, I shouldn’t be scared of being myself. This makes me feel good, I’m realising that these loud young men actually care about me more than I ever realised. They want to make sure that I don’t feel scared; they don’t want me to ever be afraid again. I think they’ve been misjudged.

I respect the fact that they are very busy gentlemen but I can’t help but want to spend more time with them. The time I spend in their company has an indescribably addictive care-free quality that fascinates me. 

Me:      “What’s the Towers of London all about?”

ToL:    “Towers of London is five young kids doing what they do best.” 

Me:      “What do you do best?”

ToL:    “Play rock n roll, like no other. That’s what its about, five f**king kids, that don’t need to put up with their lives, wanting to get out of the s**t-hole they’re from, getting together like that, after being brought up on Beatles records, The Stones, bit of The Clash, just giving it some. Oh I’ve got an idea, lets join a band, and f**king enjoy it while we can, as simple as that, that’s it.” 

Me:      “So what does rock n roll mean to you?”

ToL:    “Rock and roll don’t mean s**t to me.” 

Me:      “What does it give you in your life. Something has got to be there in your life to make everything go, surely.”

ToL:    “The only thing in my life that makes me go is my band that’s all it is.” 

Me:      “What gets you out of bed in the mornings?”

ToL:    “Knowing that I’ve got rehearsals, knowing that I need to rehearse, write some tunes, hang out with my best mates and go party. It’s easy, it’s not hard, some people try too hard. We’re not grinding it out every day we’re just f**king, ringing everybody up, get out, get up, let’s play rock n roll and get f**ked. Us five guys in this band, have got nothing going for them, we’re like that, we play well together, we’re best mates, you don’t get bands these days that are best mates and can do anything with each other, it’s not like we grind it out at rehearsals, we just do what we do, we’re playing.” 

Sadly at this point our conversation ends, his busy schedule has got the better of us and he returns to his shabby battered tour bus. I can’t help thinking that I’ve made some new friends this evening. I came expecting violence but what I got was love, tenderness and understanding. I think the world can learn a lot from the Towers of London.

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