60s garage to broaden the narrowest of minds and sweat all over a broken heart

Photography by Elinor Jones

60s garage to broaden the narrowest of minds and sweat all over a broken heart

Let’s presume you pick up Loud And Quiet on its first day in the wild. That makes today August 15th, 2009. It’s still the AM, of course, as you wanted to make sure you definitely picked up this month’s issue. This afternoon, Camden psych trio The Vinyl Stitches will cover the whole of ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ in a jeans shop on Carnaby Street to open a new Andy Warhol exhibition. You should go.

Lead singer/guitarist Claude-Claws: “I don’t want to sound like an arsehole but there’s too many indie bands and shit fucking bands around that aren’t really doing anything.”

Sam-Bam [drums]: “We’re really big, strap-on dildo rock [laughs], which I think sounds better live.”

Claude: “It’s much better live, yeah‚” it’s loud. I just think differently when we play. I was really bad in the past, when we first started the band, and I’d attack the audience and attack the soundman and throw my microphone, I don’t know. I get fed up when people in the audience are just lame. It’s just a good show, a high energy show, you know, lots of sweat.”

See! You should definitely go. ‘Dildo Rock’ sound like The Darkness (cock rock played by a dildo called Justin) but The Vinyl Stitches in fact sound like a modern equivalent to their heroes – namely The Velvets, The Stooges and all great 60s rock’n’roll bands. In a Camden pub they’re visibly passionate, excited to be ‘talking shop’, knocking others out of frustration as opposed to arrogance or shock tactics, dressed how we wish all bands would but don’t. Their garage is primal, “played as a unit” (say the band) and with every show Claude has less need to lash out at a lame audience. The Vinyl Stitches can even make tabloid fodder dance.

“We had Jack Tweed, Jade Goody’s Jack Tweed, and his entourage come and watch us play the other night,” says a still amazed Sam “and they just came in and started going mad and convulsing on the floor and doing turtle spins. It was crazy. It was in Hoxton, at El Paso. It was so dead because of the tube strike so I went outside flyering to anyone just saying, ‘yeah, you can come in’, and I gave one to Jack Tweed and didn’t realise and then they came back with the flyer.”

“We would have taken the piss,” says bassist Vin-Sinister, a Texan aesthetically akin to a lost Horror “but they took the piss out of themselves. It was amazing, I think everyone was just watching them making asses out of themselves.”

Prior to that, sweaty shows of note include the band’s best, packing out a Weatherspoons in the less than forgiving Chelmsford, Essex (” People were coming up to us like we were Jesus Christ’s disciples or something,” explains Claude) and their worst – “We had people trying to kill him,” says the singer, pointing at a grinning Vin. “All these druggies. Where was it?”

“From the first second, as soon as we walked in it was like, ‘urgh, where are you from?'” remembers the bassist.

Claude: “‘Are you Indians?’ It was kind of like really racist but funnily enough when we started playing they were all dancing to our music and loving us‚” DEPTFORD! It was Deptford!”

The Vinyl Stitches – a band to make the male equivalent of a WAG turtle spin and Deptford less racist for half an hour; a band that refuse to let egos get in the way of the finished product (“new bands are too complicated for the sake of it,” they note – Sam was recruited for her primitive drumming); an outfit better read than most.

“A lot of bands who request us on MySpace are like, ‘Let us know what you sound like’,” explains Claude “and I look at their influences and it’s like The Libertines, like new bands and it’s like, oh my god, you don’t know anything. Sorry. It can be embarrassing when some people say, ‘oh you guys sound like the Von Bondies.'”

“But not only that you go, ‘oh the Von Bondies, they were heavily influenced by The Velvet Underground’,” adds Sam “and then it clicks. The thing is, music is like a journey, you keep on going further back and you think, ah, hang on, that new band sounds like this, that’s where they got it from, and it’s amazing.”

Free of misconceptions, The Vinyl Stitches know exactly what they are. As their self-title debut EP (on Death Pop records) suggests, they’re a band that make stripped garage psych about girls to dance to (“All the songs are about…” Claude thinks. “Shagging,” says Sam).

“New bands might think we’re just a throwback band and we need to get with it but music’s music, you know, rock’n’roll will never go out of style and that’s what we are, we’re rock’n’roll.”

No, seriously, you should go and see them.


Originally published in issue 9 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. August 2009

« Previous Interview
Next Interview »