2018 was a huge year for us, we packed in so much than we had before or have since, so i’m not going to try and cram all of it into just one post. You’ll just get bored!
Towards the end of 2017 I was miserable. I obviously tried not to show it as everyone does, but it was tough and my family bore the brunt of it (I’m sorry!) I wont go into load of details but basically, I had no confidence in my work, I was unhappy in a relationship, the loss of my lovely dog Cosmo and the general ups and downs I’ve always had took their toll a bit. This band was the one thing I was able to prove to myself that I was doing ok with. But we needed a drummer.
Luke was the first person to respond to a Facebook post I’d made about needing a drummer. I have been friends with his older siblings Dean & Jemma for most of my life and remember Luke hiding upstairs when parties happened in the Scarman house, so having someone I sort of knew already was a good start. He came in for a jam and played the songs and got along with everyone. Job done. I was so relieved that it was simple finding a drummer as I don’t think I could have coped with a drawn out search and audition process.
So we had our drummer, and I had a plan to make 2018 a big year. It started with Bowling For Soup announcing a “Drunk Enough To Dance” Anniversary tour. Myself and George Donoghue discussed putting together a cover of a popular BFS song and promote it whilst a lot of people are talking about them, hijack their promo a little bit. So we chose 1985 as it was relatively simple and one of their most popular songs.
Now before you start…..YES WE KNOW IT’S AN SR-71 SONG.
I didn’t want the hassle of having to rehearse this with the band, while also trying to get Luke up to speed on our other songs so I just drove down to see George, recorded the guitar parts and some vocals. With the joy of modern studio magic we then stole the drum parts from Friday the 19th and with a bit of editing, had drums sorted too. We were never planning on playing the song live so Luke didn’t need to know it. We wrote some lovely midi horn and bass lines as a guide for the rest of the band to learn for the following week and went for burritos. Successful day. The following week Mewis, Sam and Snowy recorded their parts and we finished the vocals. We then discussed the idea of a video and decided on a low budget interpretation of the Bowling For Soup video. We sent the track of for mastering and got to work on a plan for the video.
The first weekend of 2018, was absolutely freezing. Lovely and sunny but freezing. And that was when we chose to shoot this video. The rest of the band stood on Mew’s driveway, in whatever black dresses they could find in 0 degree weather was definitely something! We shot the first half of the video on Saturday morning and then headed round any Watford charity and fancy dress shops to find our Glam rock/hair metal outfits for the final scene. Sunday was a little bit warmer and we shot the rest of the video in the back garden. This was absolutely brilliant to do and if we do any more covers in future we will definitely be adopting the “Low Budget Rip Off” Approach again. Whilst Mewis edited all his GoPro footage together, I started putting plans together for another video.
I had an idea for an animated video, for a song on our Outgunned EP.I found a guy who worked as Hot Frog Animations who quoted me £120 for a fully animated video. Way cheaper than I expected but I rolled with it thinking that, if it’s no good, it’s not a huge loss.
So I let him crack on and we released the 1985 video to the world. It mostly went down as planned. Lots of people liked it, it got us a few hundred more online followers and quickly gained alot of YouTube views. It also got SO MANY comments (and still does two years later) from people informing us that it was an SR-71 song, which we were fully aware of. So let’s clear that up. Yes the song was written by Mitch Allan, who has written songs for god knows how many other artists, that is his job. Yes it was on Sr-71’s very unheard third album (which was only released in Japan until very recently). It was an album track by a band that had pretty much split up. It however was a hit single for Bowling For Soup. We were playing a promotional game revolving around Bowling For Soup’s UK Tour. So it would not make sense for us to list it as an SR-71 cover. And for the record, Sr-71’s very unheard of third album has been one of my favourite albums since it’s original release as i’m one of those nerds that find out everything possible about a band I like.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfUJGHeNXFo – 1985 Video
So the video went down well and we started playing shows. By this point i’d stuck very well to my new years resolutions of giving up smoking, meat & dairy, losing weight and making this band as good as I could. So I was in a better state. Absolutely nothing could have prepared me for our show at The Chelsea Inn down in Bristol. I’ve talked about this gig a few times before but for those that don’t know, we had never been to Bristol, and thought that we were opening. We arrived, all suited up looking sharp as usual, to a pub full of punks. Mohecans and dreadlocks everywhere. The first two bands, Bandits & Ill gotten Gains (who we thought we’d be playing before) are a lot more punk than we are and the crowds loved them. I spent all of Bandits set stood with my Mum panicking thinking they were going to hate us, as to me, we’re a pop band. I write mostly pop rock ska songs and I don’t consider myself punk. Iain patted me on the shoulder before we started telling me it will be fine and that we’ll win them over.
We didn’t need to win anyone over. We opened with the intro to the Final Countdown and by the time that was done the place was packed. We blasted through our set and for the first time we had people who weren’t our friends and family singing along to our own songs. In a place we’d never played. If you play in a band you know that first time feeling, if you don’t I will tell you now, there is very few things in life that will match that feeling. It is absolutely nothing like that awkward first time sex feeling. We drove home that night at 35MPH along the M4 through a snowstorm listening to Meat Loafs Bat Out of Hell and couldn’t have been happier about it.
So the animated video! So just before this show in Bristol we had been sent the final cut of the video for Declan. It was awkward and clunky and brilliant. The style absolutely wouldn’t have worked for any other song but for a song about me mistaking my friend for a girl in the street, spot on. So we released it just after the Bristol show and it went down a treat. The year was going exactly to plan and exceeding our expectations by miles.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kY37MlsPmxg – Declan Video
And then we got the email to say we had made a Five band shortlist for what was essentially a big online battle of the bands….