Having spoken to Dave Twist about musical projects that are linked to his past, it is a delight to bring his story right up to date and talk about the present. Dave is now the drumming with (mostly), Birmingham-based Black Bombers, who cite Chiswick era Motorhead, The Stooges, Blue Oyster Cult, and Magazine as influences on their rock 'n' roll racket.
Furthermore, the band has just released their first new material since their swaggering 'Vol. 4' EP in early 2019. The single 'Last Bite' is a swirling epic and, as the picture of the skeletal Britannia on the front cover suggests, they are far from pleased about the current state of the nation...
OUTSIDELEFT: Dave, the new single, it's a fairly angry number isn't it?
DAVE TWIST: Yeah, it was written pre-pandemic, but then everything froze so we didn't actually record it until after the first lockdown...
OL: It's a political songs and, as Billy Bragg will admit, political songs can lose their relevance quite quickly, did you worry that may happen...
DT: At the time, it felt incredibly topical. Those lyrics were fairly angry at a lot of things but particularly the idiocy of Brexit.
And yes, as with so much pop culture, you start to worry that by the time we released the song that it would have lost its potency and its relevance. But, of course, as we should have trusted, the ruling party has only doubled down on its awfulness.
As you see everything is unfolding now, it just seems more relevant now than then. So... great luck for the relevance of our single, terrible luck for the nation.
OL: There's the line "All hail the Commander in Chief" is that directed towards our beloved Prime Minister?
DT: You’d have to ask Al (Alan Byron - Guitar / Vocals) for the absolute specifics, but I guess that may be Johnson, or whomever it is behind Johnson?
There's that fear of falling into what feels like fascism, which sounds like the sort of easy clichéd response of The Guardian's below-the-line commentary, but sometimes clichés are clichés because they're true.
OL: The video is quite striking isn't it? There are lots of old, seemingly quite patriotic scenes? What's the film in the background?
DT: It's from it's from multiple sources, I think it's just sort of impressionistic. It's how foolish the country used to be. And how maybe, although we thought that we'd moved on from that, through the hard-won victories of the 60s and 70s. It's kind of shocking, we think that we've left that kind of idiocy behind but... But, here we are with people arranging their Platinum Jubilee street parties...
OL:. There are some clips of 'The Last Night of the Proms' in there...
DT: Yes, back in the 80s when Sloane Rangers first arrived…and how that they're all still there. And then there’s the symbolic ending with the folding of the flag…
OL: You've also had a line-up change since you last played live?
DT: Yes, the Birmingham gig was only the second show with Steve (Crittall) our new guitar player. Having that extra member on stage really has freed Alan up. It’s much more exciting!
When we were a three-piece, I felt that responsibility as the drummer of really holding it down, now we’ve got a little bit of freedom to be expressive and stray off a little...as if we're a jazz band (laughs).
OL: …which leads me to – how would you describe the Black Bombers sound?
DT: Some people say sound post-punk, others that we're proto-punk...whatever we are, we fall either side of the of the obvious article!
OL: The last time we spoke you’d just got back from playing a gig in a place that I used to know so well: Middlesbrough! Where else have you been off to…
DT: We always enjoy playing London, there’s always a great night at the Hope and Anchor…
OL: (rudely interrupts but clearly impressed) …The Hope and Anchor? Do you feel the history when you play in a place like that?
DT: It’s still the same. You can stand on the stage and say ‘That's where the video for The Damned’s ‘New Rose’ was filmed and you recognise it. It’s great, I just hope that it can hold out.
(Enthusiastically) As an undying fanboy, I feel the history in these places. When we played the 100 Club I thought ‘This is where the 100 Club Punk Festival took place.
OL: Having spent so long being involved with project that were so linked the past, how does it feel to be working in the present.
DT: I’ve never been happier with a group of people as I am with the Black Bombers. Although we can eulogise those other bands from the safety of forty years distance, there was a lot of teenage hotheadedness and a lot of falling out, as there is with these things! This is such a nice fit!
OL: After the delays caused by the pandemic and now that you’ve got the single out, what’s next for Black Bombers?
DT: We need to do some more writing! That can be a bit complicated as Steve the guitarist lives in London so that needs to be more carefully arranged and managed than before. But it's great playing together so there are more benefits than problems?
And we’ve got people asking us for material for a new album too.
OL: Before the end of the year?
DT: Yeah, hopefully.
And with that glorious news, Outsideleft bids farewell to Dave Twist, excited by the prospect of more music from Black Bombers, knowing that their visceral noise is exactly what we need in these unprecedented times. Welcome back!
Order 'Last Bite' here: https://easyaction.co.uk/
Black Bombers Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/BlackBombers150/
Jay Lewis is a Birmingham based poet. He's also a music, movie and arts obsessive. Jay's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.
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