1. Insane Society - give us a brief history, discography etc so far?
We're a relatively new band made up of mature (ie. elderly) musicians who've been round the block a few times so the history of the band is brief. We were all young in the 1970s when punk first came out and we loved it. We've all played in loads of bands before; punk, ska, roackabilly and straight rock. Our drummer Steve Dangerous played for Chelsea for a while (the punk band not the football club!). We got together in 2004 and started gigging in 2005. We've gigged a lot in the Brighton and south coast area and are putting together a tour of the country for late August/early September including SAS in Stockport on 2nd (and hopefully 1st) September and Peterborough Punk Festival on 8th September. The tour will be part of the promotion effort for our album, Upside Down, which will be released in a couple of months and distributed through Plastic Head.
2. Describe your fellow band members in 4 degrading words apiece?
Its a challenge to describe such a bunch of morons in so few words but “complete fuckin' piss heads” just about sums them all up.
3. Quintin Shrub - the worlds first half man half bicycle received his first rectal puncture this week and bike enthusiasts all over the world have failed to solve the problem. Mr Shrub has had various problems over the years such as rusty bell disease, obscure valve viruses and inflammation of the handlebars but all have been treated successfully. Have you any thoughts on the subject and would you ever indulge in penny farthing porn?
As the only one in the band who knows what a bicycle is its a good job that I'm doing this interview. Mr Quintin's condition – half man half bicycle - is not hereditary, it is the result of excessive cycling and extended periods of wearing of tight lycra shorts. As a keen cyclist I've known many a good man succumb to this dreadful ailment and the horrendous symptoms which often accompany it. The first signs are usually a narrowing of both feet and ankles as they slowly become forks. Then a steel tube grows out of the anus gradually sprouting the rear fork and crossbar. Finally the pedals and then the wheels emerge. This can be a long drawn out and very painful process. I've seen grown men-bicycles cry in agony and beg for their mummies. But sadly it is an irreversible process. However, many of the symptoms can be eased with judicious use of a combination of WD40, Kurust and a spanner and I'm glad to hear that Mr Quintin's previous problems have been treated successfully. Rectal punctures are common and present a particular challenge. Treatment involves inserting rubber patches and a bicycle pump into the anus. It is an extremely delicate operation requiring a qualified specialist.
On the matter of penny farthing porn, I am as broad minded as the next man-bicycle and as a keen cyclist I admit that I subscribe to Playbike (found on the top shelves at Halfords, Bike Hut and all good local cycling shops) and there's nothing better to get the chain oil flowing than looking at some lovely sleek and slim new road racers or even more chunky mountain bikes. But the idea of seeing such old bicyles cavorting on the centrefold is just perverted. There's a lot of this stuff on the Internet and its disgusting.
4. Give us a brief overview of yourself as regards your punk life. Where did it start, the reason for being in to punk and what keeps that passion burning?
In my very young days I was into heavy rock and then glam rock because that's what was around, but when punk came along it just seemed so exciting, rebellious, anarchic and relevant to the time – the miners' strike, the Queen's jubilee, rioting in inner cities. It spoke to me in a powerful way. The same is true for the other band members. Sheldon grew up on a council estate. For him hearing Sham 69 for the first time was a crucial moment, the songs spoke to him personally and told the truth about the reality of his life, they told it like it was for him. Steve has always been a rebel without a brain, for him the Pistols and Clash made him into a rebel with a cause (but still without a brain) and offered a way of having a say, of being heard. Wag just likes music, he is a brilliant songwriter and can turn his hand to any style but, coming from a similar background to Sheldon, punk is closest to his heart.
5. Heroes and zeroes in life and music please?
Wow, where to start? So many. Here I've consulted with the other band members (and for once they made a reasonably sensible contribution).
Heroes: Joe Strummer, John Lydon, Stinkey Turner, Iggy Pop, Sean Bean, Winston Churchill, 95th Rifles, the Duke of Wellington, Queen Elizabeth I, Chris Bailey, Malcolm Owen, our families
Zeroes: Oasis, Towers of London, all emo pseudo punk bands, prog rock, jazz, disco, all R&B, hip hop, rap & garage musicians, politicians, communists, nazis, Americans
6. Politics and punk - what is Insane Society's angle on this and what is the main inspiration for their songs?
We aim to tell the truth from a working class male perspective. To talk about the issues and events which affect our daily lives from the immediate and mundane (drink, women, money, football etc) to the global (wars, the environment, globalisation etc). It is not always politically correct, but it's also not offensive to anyone. We don't preach and we are not propounding any particular agenda or ideology. We are political but we are also anti-politics, i.e we find politics as currently practised by our political elite boring, corrupt and largely irrelevant to most people. We write and perform with a passion which comes from pride in who we are and from pride in our country, which can be misunderstood and misconstrued as insular nationalism but it is not the same thing. There is nothing wrong with loving your country and showing it.
7. Insane Society - an old Menace song eh? What are the main influences that the band has and how do you think that comes across in your own music?
Our main influences are some of the original 1970s and 1980s punk bands, many of which are still doing the rounds. Among them we include the very well known and the less well known. The obvious influences are The Pistols, Clash, The Damned, The Ruts, UK Subs, 999, Angelic Upstarts, the 4 Skins, but include Resistance 77, Bad Religion, The Business, Conflict, Argy Bargy, Cock Sparrer, Cockney Rejects, Last Resort, Slaughter & The Dogs, Chaos UK, Disorder, Anti Pasti, Condemned 84, amongst others.
Like a lot of these bands we want to describe the world as we see it. We are passionate about our music. We write about the things which make us happy, those which make us angry and the achievements and disasters in our lives. We don't play love songs. We believe in having a good time and expressing our feelings.
Basically PUNK FUCKIN' RULES OI! OI!
8. Fibreglass thongs - very sturdy and easily cleaned but can cause perineum pain if worn too tightly. This is an invention by patent-pleb Peter Table - the man who is obsessed with creating the obscure and collecting gravel. Is Table a nut and would you wear one of these underwear items?
When consulted on this my band colleagues helpfully said “What a load of bollocks. Fuck off!!”. But I think that whilst Table may well be a nut, he is onto something here. Adultery (amongst women of course) is a huge and growing problem and something not to be condoned, particularly if your girl or wife is at it. There may well be a future for his invention as a modern form of chastity belt for when you're away on business trips and having it off with your secretary. I think it might just catch on.
Whereas I do wear thongs and bras (only at the weekends you understand – well usually), I don't think the fibreglass thong is for me. I think the problem is the damage it would cause to the male genitalia, too awful to contemplate. I am considering “the operation” but not just yet.
9. Best gig to date, where, why, who else was on the bill and what made it so special?
Strangely a small gig in a local pub in aid of a young man who lost a leg as a result of cancer which then spread to other parts of his body. The aim was to raise money for him to go to Spain on holiday, probably for the last time. It was not a punk venue but Steve our drummer knows the landlady. We were worried that the clientèle would hate us. Some of them said before we played “ I don't like punk”. But when we played the place erupted and people were dancing on the chairs! Quite amazing. We were asked to come back and play again and a young lad asked us to play at his 21st birthday. It made us wonder whether we were really hardcore enough and whether we had lost our edge and become too “poppy” in our dotage. Listen to the tracks on our MySpace and judge for yourselves. If you are moved to please leave comments.
10. Best and worst things about punk rock?
Best: Individuals rule. A committed punk fraternity which produces things like Fungal Punk.
Worst: Fuckin' Yankee poser pseudo punk bands!
11. Norman Nautilus is planning to break the deep sea diving record by using nothing more than a drinking straw and his wife's inflated left tit. A dangerous quest but since Mr Nautilus broke the 'head up the anus' championship last year he knows no fear. Any advice though would be most welcome and what's the worst place you have ever stuck your head?
When looking to my band colleagues for some help in answering this question, after giving it due consideration, they said “No advice. The man's a twat”. Maybe so but I admire Mr Nautilus and I'm worried that if he takes an inflated tit, left or right, he will not achieve his objective. According to Archimedes' Principle the magnitude of upthrust on a submerged object is equal to the weight of the displaced fluid. So the buoyancy of an object depends on the object's volume and the density of the surrounding fluid. The greater the object's volume and surrounding density of the fluid, the more buoyant force it will experience. If the buoyancy of an object exceeds its weight, it will tend to rise. So taking an inflated tit will increase his volume and therefore his buoyancy and he will not be able to descend very far. I therefore strongly advise that he doesn't take the tit and leaves it with his wife instead, who I'm very sure will be greatly relieved. If he does that I'm sure he'll break the record, especially if he takes the straw.
I remember seeing the Head Up The Anus championships on Sky Sports last year. His was a truly incredible performance. How does he hold his breath for so long and come out smiling, albeit slightly darker than when he went in? I think that if he survives his diving record attempt he should be selected for the England Head Up The Anus team. Our dismal performance in the the HUTA world cup in 2004 suggest that we need to bring in fresh players. I believe the EHUTAB selectors were impressed with his performance.
The worst place I have ever stuck my head? Well this is tricky as my head has been in some pretty weird places I can tell you, but probably attempting cunnilingus and finding skid marks on the knickers - but too late.
I can also privately share with you that some of the other band members have put their heads in some pretty stupid places. Sheldon very cleverly stuck his head out of the window of a train in London to have a polite conversation with some Millwall supporters who happened to be on the platform. For some reason they clobbered him. He also stuck his head into a police station door whilst pissing on the station doorstep. A very kind policeman came up behind him and arrested him. Steve actually put his head up Captain Sensible's arse at a Damned gig – perhaps he should consider entering the HUTA championships next year.
12. Lastly - promote Insane Society and tell us all why we should check you out?
'Cos were fuckin' brilliant and the greatest band the world has ever seen. 'Coz we fuckin' BELIEVE! AND 'COZ WE FUCKIN' SAID SO!