CONTROL – Hooligan Rock’n’Roll
CONTROL is one of the premier bands in the recent explosion of Punk, Oi! and Hardcore bands taking Punk back to the streets where it belongs, with their anthems of everyday struggle in these troubled times. Being praised as the most promising band around by no other than RANCID who they recently toured with, and currently working on their much anticipated third album, I had a chat with singer Iain about the present, past and future of the one and only CONTROL… Enter at your own risk!!!
First thing, congrats on making two of the greatest, freshest sounding Punk albums out there at the moment! Who is Control, and what are they all about?
Many thanks, I am pleased you like the records. We are pleased with how they have come out but we always strive to become better all the time.
Control are a band based in Sussex in the south of England, originally from Scotland and play what we think is our own brand of punk/oi!/hardcore/rock & roll which we branded Hooligan Rock & Roll. It is not about trouble making, it is what we think describes our sound best as we do not really fit in to any of the pigeon holes bands are automatically placed in to these days, we feel with outr sound and experience we deserve better than that.
You’re currently at work on your third album, when can we expect it to hit the streets, and what label will it be on?
We aim to have it out in the summer of this coming year, 2013. We have several options regarding which labels to put it out on thanks to the sales of the first two albums, but to be honest to me this is not as important as worrying about making sure we keep progressing and improving as a band with our releases.
Musically, the second album is a bit more varied than the first one, with the almost folkish "High Time I Hung Up My Boots" and the amazing buildup on "Job To Do" offering a change of pace. What can we expect from the third album, have you progressed much between the two?
Yeah, those two songs you just mentioned are very popular live and have set the standard that we must at least meet with the next album but I am pretty confident that I have come up with the bare bones of songs that will not disaapoint. We played two of the new tracks in the soundcheck before a recent show on the Rancid tour and Tim Armstrong came over saying he thought the songs were superb and asked if we had more new material to go with them, I said we have.
Control, in my opinion, provides a fresh breeze of honesty and frustration about the status quo, and a sort of "streetlevel" view of politics as well as social problems.
Is Control making Punk a threat again?
It would take more than just us to mak punk a threat to the authorities again but we are more than happy to sing about the people in authority who ruin peoples lives by telling us all the things they will change if we vote for them and then when they get our votes, they do the exact opposite of what they promised.
You seem to have your boots firmly planted in the Oi! and Hardcore catalogue as well as Punk, and you’ve managed to create quite a successful blend!
What bands and styles lies closest to your heart? Does each band member bring different stuff to the table based on their personal influences?
Yes, we all have different experiences and musical influences so when I show the guys an idea and melody I have for a song, we try it out and then it takes shape with everyone’s different styles.
Like I said at the beginning of this, we don’t really sit in any one musical box when it comes to best describing Control, and long may that continue as let’s be honest, there are hundreds of bands who sound very similar to one another, it’s all good, but we want to be a bit different.
Although Control isn’t a "skinhead band" you seem to have a strong connection to that culture, i.e. "He’s A Skinhead" and others, and your audience at the livegigs seem to consist of just as many skins as punks. Are they more or less the same tribe in different clothes, after 35 years listening to the same music?
Yes, I think it doesn’t matter what you look like at all, it is the person below the clothes, that is what the song ‘He’s a Skinhead’ is all about. People being automatically labelled as violent or a drunk or a racist just because they have a particular image, It is all bullshit made up by the media who simply haven’t got a clue. It is scandalous but they get away with it and have done for so long that it is nice to get the chance to put your own opinions across from time to time.
There are so many great people in the scene, but like any other scene, there are a few idiots, but everyone knows who they are, that my friend is life.
If you look at our line-up, we don’t have a single guy who looks like a traditional skinhead, it’s what is in your heart and soul that counts.
The last couple times I’ve seen you, you’ve dedicated the song "Rebellion In My Blood" to the organizers of the Rebellion Festival, what do you think they’ve done the scene? Seems like a lot of bands, old and new, have them to thank for getting "out there"?
Darren and Jennie and Team Rebellion have done so much for the scene it is almost impossible to measure, especially in the UK where almost no promoters were interested in putting on Punk Festivals. Rebellion is now a worldwide brand with people coming from all over the world to attend each year with the numbers constantly rising.
Mainland Europe has a far bigger scene and a lot more festivals, and some a lot bigger than Rebellion, but together it just all helps keep the scene alive and well. Rebellion in my Blood, like High Time I Hung Up My Boots is actually about myself. I wrote about what I know and could be about Shifty our bassist or almost everyone who attends our shows in one way or other.
Speaking of which, are there any up-and-coming bands you feel are worth mentioning that people should look out for?
There are bands everywhere worth mentioning but at the moment I would have to say Stranglehold and Plan of Attack, both from Australia stand out for me, and would be a welcome addition to the many great established bands on the scene.
I can’t really say I follow politics much, at least not foreign politics, but it seems like the conditions in England has to be pretty bad at the moment to spawn the monster of discontent that Control is?
The UK is an absolute mess right now. They have sold off all our industry, destroyed our education and health services and seem more worried about trying to target motorists for driving 5 miles an hour over the speed limit, than tackling the massively increasing murder rate, knife culture and drug culture on our streets. They have embraced this new PC way of thinking and by being lenient on serious, repeat offending criminals, instead of punishing them properly, and they have made our country twenty times worse. They have without doubt made things much, much worse, so in an ironic way, the do-gooders, have actually caused the most damage. The latest absolute nonsense is they are trying to give violent criminals serving time in prison voting rights. You simply could not make it up. It is like a terrible 1960’s B movie of a Britain of the future which is way too mad to be real. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the UK today, thanks to 12 years or so of Tony B Liar’s utter imcompetence. So he tells the nation lies about a country having nuclear arms, so he can justify sending our troops to war, then becomes the middle eastern peace envoy! If you can tell me why any of this makes any sense whatsoever, , you are a better man than I.
Is politics still a driving force of Punk? Say what you will about both Reagan and Thatcher, I doubt that Punk would be what it is today if they weren’t around in those days…
Two complete bastards but we have to thank them as they spawned a thousand fantastic protest punk songs and made the western world’s youth angry, so many went out and started bands! Those two charlatans started the credit card nonsense to kick start two dying economies, that’s a fact and look at the mess now!
Is politics a problem in the scene today/anymore? Seems like there’s a growing number of so-called "dodgy" bands doing there own thing and putting on alternative gigs, I.e. the alternative gigs being arranged in Blackpool during Rebellion weekend…
Politics has always been a big part of the scene and as people become more and more people’s lives are being ruined by the people who run our world today bringing unemployment, homelessness, poverty and long gone diseases are now making a come back it is a natural thing for politics to raise it’s ugly head. Let’s be perfectly honest, religion and politics start just about every war known to man.
Personally I write songs that affect our ever day lives as to me more or less politicians on every side are absolutely unfit for purpose and are self serving hypocrites, you only have to look at the gravy train that is the EU.
How old are you guys really?! Seems like a couple of you have been into the scene for quite a while? What took you so long now to start Control? And how do you make the band work with family, work and everything else that comes along with age?
Control have guys in our 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Perhaps this is why we keep being told by people our music really stands out from the crowd, as we have all sorts of different experiences as well as the older guys, me included, having more experience in life which helps with song writing enormously and music is not like playing sport where you have to stop at 30, your experience and musical ability just gets better and better, but in punk this is sometimes seen as bad if you play when yuo are older but compared to many of the bands on the scene today, we really are just out of kindergarten and long may it continue.
It is difficult trying to juggle family, work and paying the bills but we all do it for the love of the music and I now only do the band and run my little online punk store which supplies bands with their merchandise for their shows. It is called Mainstage Merch and doesn’t pay the bills yet but I totally love working in the scene full time.
In what way did Punk Rock ruin your life?
It didn’t in any way, it is all we know and we wouldn’t change a thing. Not for us well paid jobs and a life of offices and boredom, give us hours in a dodgy old van driving to play shows to 50 kids in the middle of nowhere, that is real life and we love it.
As I’m running out of reasonable questions and we’re approaching the holidays, what are your plans for Christmas?
I will be busy rehearsing the new song ideas with the guys as well as making sure my 7 girls( mother, two sisters, Mrs and 3 kids all have a lovely.relaxing Christmas, they deserve it) Stitch our drummer, gets out of jail on Boxing Day too so we can rehearse with a drummer again. He and our bass player are always on the look out for some dodgy deal and are always being collared by the local police, but they are both great guys. Stitch and Shifty.
That’s it, I’m out. Thanks for the interview! Any last words, shoutouts or fuckoffs?
If you are reading this and haven’t checked Control out yet, go to www.hooliganrocknroll.com and listen to a few of our songs, if you like them and want to get any of our albums or merch, come to a poor guys site at www.mainstagemerch.com where among other bands you will be able to get official merch for Rancid, Control, UK SUBS, The Business, Last Resort, Old Firm Casuals, Lars Frederiksen & The Bastards, you name it. Sorry for the advert but I need people to know we are out there as times are very tough.
Keep up the great work and thanks for the interview.