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Interview with the band Beachbuggy, from the L2SB website.
It’s a Tuesday night at the Boardwalk, and Doncaster’s Beachbuggy are beginning a tour to promote their new album, ‘Killer B’.
“Eight shows in a row,” says singer/guitarist Jack Straker, “that’s going to kill us. We don’t usually play two shows in row, let alone eight, on consecutive nights”.
The album is their second to be produced by Pixies and Nirvana producer Steve Albini, after 2001’s ‘Sport Fury’.
“We were in rehearsals and we wanted to make a record,” says Jack, “we didn’t have a deal, nobody was interested and we thought what’s the best record we could make for our own personal satisfaction, who would we want to make it with, and we thought of Steve Albini.
“We got hold of his phone number and rang him up. We sent him a record we’d already made and he said yeah, come and do it.”
The album was released by Alan Mcgee’s label Poptones after the ex-Creation boss saw them playing London. The deal was nearly off, due to Beachbuggy’s insistence on their individual style.
“It was a difficult decision, for the strangest reasons,” says Jack. “Alan McGee has his own in-house artist who designs all Poptones records and were adamant we wanted to design the sleeve, and it was our sleeve or we don’t sign the deal basically.”
All Beachbuggy’s imagery is that of traditional British racing, from the record sleeves to the regulation blue racing overalls that act as the band’s onstage uniforms. Jack says: “I don’t take part but I go to drag racing weekends, and I used to go to a lot of circuit racing with my dad when I was younger. I’m a mechanic by trade and I’ve kinda got that kind of thing going through my family as well. I think it’s really stylish too, that 60s racetrack stuff. It’s just great.”
A further trait that stands out is the fact that Jack and bassist Al B Kirkey are joined by not one, but two drummers. Jack and Al stand on the sidelines to give the focal point to dual sticksmen AD and Danny Sicks.
“We had two people come to rehearsal,” says Jack. “They both seemed really keen and they were both really good, it seemed a shame to turn somebody down.”
The band describe their new album as “13 tracks about killing, alien invasion, riding a rollercoaster and what it’s like to be a bumblebee”. It’s a fine slab of garage rock, with quirky lyrics and (obviously) a lot of drums. They often get compared to The Pixies, but Jack can’t see it.
“Everybody says that, but it’s only since ‘Sport Fury’ that I even bothered with them really. I own one Pixies record, and I don’t think we sound like that.”
Jack and Al are currently listening to Hot Hot Heat and Electric Six – strangely enough two bands that found themselves on the wrong side of anxious wartime censoring along with Beachbuggy.
“Do you know Radio 6 wouldn’t play our single ‘Killer Bee’ because it contained the word ‘killer’”, he says. “But it’s about a bumblebee! I don’t know if people are too sensitive, or the media who are too sensitive about upsetting people. They should treat us with the intelligence to be objective and get some perspective on things.”
The album has received a 5 ‘K’ review in Kerrang!, and hopefully this is a start of a change of fortune for the band, who feel somewhat reticent towards the music press.
“When was the last time you saw us in the press, that wasn’t an advert we payed for?,” points out Jack. ” I don’t expect great things, but I would hope we have some good reviews. Hopefully it’ll help us play slightly bigger and better shows later in the year, which is all we want to do really.”
As well as the LP, the band are releasing tracks on the forthcoming ‘Box of Odd’ compilation which will be released by The Motherf*ckers’ Sheffield Phonographic Corporation label. It will also feature other local garage rock stalwarts such as Chuck and Texas Pete.
“They got together and wanted to do a record of a couple of tracks each. Which is exactly how we started doing things. And so I saw no reason why we wouldn’t want to do it just because we’re associated with Poptones. It would be utterly ludicrous to say ‘oh no, we don’t do that now, we’re on a proper label…’”
And so to the obligatory cheesy music interview-closing question – are Beachbuggy here to savemusic?
“I think music’s beyond being saved. Saved from what? Music’s music, today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper. It’s just music – we’re just a bunch of guys in a band having a laugh.”
Hopefully this time the music press will wake up and notice Beachbuggy. This could finally be the time we’ll see them race to the top, like a British racing green Mini. Packed with drum kits, of course.