Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Exclusive interview with 'Screaming' Al from The Computers
On the eve of their UK tour I caught up with Screaming Al from Exeter based hardcore legends in the making The Computers to talk facial hair, the rising price of Quorn and how they got Rocket From The Crypt’s Speedo to record their debut album. Strap yourself in, it’s gonna get messy...
The Hearing Aid: To someone who hasn't heard you before how would you describe your sound?
Al: Take all the best styles of music from the last 60 years, mash it all up in your mum’s favourite bowl, add soya milk. And what have you got...GARAGESOULPUNKnROLL. That’s us. Dig in.
The Hearing Aid: Hmmmm...now that’s a tasty dish. I’d probably skip the soya milk and add a dash of bourbon though. Okay, what’s your definitive song so far then? What really captures what you’re all about?
Al: ''Teenage Tourettes Camp’’ rock n roll... DESTROY EVERYTHING!
The Hearing Aid: Everything? Even that puppet of Iggy Pop on those ads for car insurance? I reckon he’s indestructible. I wouldn’t mind having a bash mind you. How important is the image to the band?
Al: Very important! To play tight you must look tight. The all white outfits are a blank canvas. No one can work us out when we first walk on stage, and we like it that way. Good guys wear white!
The Hearing Aid: Except the pope perhaps. Although he did wave at me on his recent visit to Bearwood. Well, I say wave, it was more of a two fingered gesture. What were your musical inspirations growing up?
Al: Garage bands, soul singers, punk bands and rock n roll. to name a few... the Sonics, Ray Charles, The Clash, Chuck Berry, The Hives, Smokey Robinson, The Bronx, Little Richard, The Cramps, The Supremes, The Smiths, Nerve Agents, New York Dolls, Wipers, Aretha Franklin, Social Distortion...NEVER MOTLEY CRUE!
The Hearing Aid: Who do you rate today, who would you like to work with?
Al: There’s only one man worth working with, and we have done it.
The Hearing Aid: Speaking of which...what was it like recording with Speedo (John ‘Speedo’ Reis – former front dude of legendary rockers Rocket From The Crypt), how did it come about? I heard you nailed the whole thing in 4 days?
Al: We were lucky enough to play with John's new band 'The Nightmarchers' at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds (thanks Matt).
We had fantasised for years about how amazing it would be to record with him. We are all such massive fans of all his bands, Rocket From The Crypt, Hot Snakes, Sultans, Drive Like Jehu. I saw John packing up his gear at the end of the night, and after a few drinks, and a few more, I went up to him and just asked him if he was still recording bands. He replied '' Yeah man''. '' Would you be up for recording us?'' ‘‘Totally'' we exchanged numbers and a few months later we were at the city of refuge (his house in sunny San Diego) jamming with the Swami himself. It’s true we did record the whole album in four days, live, no over dubs. And yes we did nail it. It was an amazing experience.
The Hearing Aid: Wow...can't imagine many producers being quite so approachable. Does Aidan still have his tache, it rocks. What about the rest of the band, will they be adopting that bad boy?
Al: The tache comes and goes, that’s the beauty of facial hair. I don’t have one at the moment but Al's sported a few big ones in his time. Sonny The Saint can’t grow hair above his lip, just from his side burns around to his chin sometimes developing into 'savage nu metal beard' as we like to call it. He has to keep a close eye on that one. As for Good Vibes, he's currently sporting a bin man’s beard. It’s big and well kept. But still, it’s a beard. There is only one man I know of who can pull off a beard, and that man’s name is Mr Mark Pycraft (our manager).
The Hearing Aid: Cool. I’m looking forward to seeing that ‘bin man’s beard’. Remember though kids, a tache is for life...er...not just for Christmas. Okay...vinyl, cds, tapes or mp3?
Al: I love vinyl, I have a big collection and love every single one of them. I also own a lot of cds and love most of them. One of the latest things I bought was a Smiths Best Of on tape. Joe strummer said is favourite type of audio consumption was tape, so if it’s good enough for him its good enough for me. I can honestly say I don’t know what an mp3 is. I don’t have an I pod, and don’t own a computer. I buy my music from shops or Amazon, it’s all I’ve ever known and probably ever will.
The Hearing Aid: Good man. Not sure I can agree on the tape thing though...Joe Strummer nearly ran into me at Glastonbury a few years back...I suspect he was probably listening to a Big Audio Dynamite tape on his Walkman at the time. Any groupies, male or female? Any tales?
Al: We are not that sort of band. We have many friends, male and female. And we share our tales with each other. That’s it.
The Hearing Aid: Aha...so there are tales eh? I guess we’ll have to wait for the book. Hopes and fears for 2011?
Al: I hope that the price of fuel won’t keep going up, but I fear that it will. I hope good record shops won’t keep closing down, but I fear they will. I hope people like our album and that they try to remember what life was like before Facebook and Twitter and i phones and Blu Ray (whatever that is). But really I just hope Iceland keep their Quorn products cheap, but I know they won’t.
The Hearing Aid: That sounds a bit like a stock market tip. Buy Quorn now, stash it away and you’ll make a bundle in six months time. How long does Quorn keep for? I can’t believe I’m asking that questions. Ignore me. I’ll buy some and find out. The public needs to know this stuff. You wouldn’t get this kind of in depth meat substitute based analysis from Kerrang eh? Anyway, you’re about to tour with Gay For Johnny Depp, don’t they scare the bejesus out of you? The videos freak me out...
Al: The Computers are scared of no one. We have toured with the Gays before and it was great. The show itself is a bit scary, but it’s good to be a bit scared sometimes. To be content and peaceful is a very boring place to be. X
The Hearing Aid: Amen to that. You can catch The Computers on tour right now, if you're in the Midlands they're playing a date at The Flapper on Wednesday 23rd February. Tickets available here! Check their MySpace thingy for details of their other dates or just look out for gangs of people carrying huge sacks of Quorn...