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Ten Questions with...


Thanks to Batttttty for this one!

1. What are you currently up to?

Currently the band are playing festivals in Europe, as well as writing songs for the next album, which we aim to release in September. Along with this, our singer Jeff Turner will be releasing his autobiography (co written with our old mate Garry Bushell) so well be undertaking a full UK tour in September to promote both.

2. Give us a brief history of the band.

We formed after the original punk explosion in 1979, and got a deal relatively quickly with a small indie label who released our debut 'Flares n Slippers' EP, which stayed in the indie charts for months, and got us headhunted by majors such as Warner Bros and EMI.

Being Queen fans, of course we fancied seeing our debut album on the same hallowed label, so we plumped for a 5 album deal with them. Life in the East End of London was never quite the same after that...

3. Who was/is are the biggest influences on the band and on the music you play?

Way before punk, myself, Jeff and our then bass player Vince were dyed in the wool rock fans. I bought Led Zep 2 when I was 11, and was brought up on a steady diet of Nazareth, Queen, Purple, Aerosmith and early ZZ Top.

When punk exploded, I still thought that apart from the vocals it was just great rock n roll, the same went for The Clash and Generation X. There were still great hooks and stuff there, not like the punk that came years later when most bands didnt know the difference between a hook line and a fishing line. That's why the Rejects were very keen to explore our rock roots later in our career. Bands that still influence us are the aforementioned, as well as such stalwarts as UFO, The Damned, and The Gonads (hic)

4. Do you see the interest in the Cockney Rejects' style of music growing in the UK and Europe at the moment? And worldwide?

What happened there was that in the US bands who had grown up being influenced by us such as Green Day and Rancid started flying the flag, thereby getting their own generation of fans to check us out. This had a sort of kick-back effect in Europe, which led to a widespread revival of interest in the Rejects, which is still growing to this day, thankfully!

5. What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your own career to date?

Oh, numerous of both. I suppose that the bad lows include the Birmingham riot of 1980, where many people got hurt, including me! I guess that was our Altamont, so to speak, but then Keith Richards didn't end up with half his face hanging off and a GBH charge hanging over him as I did that night!

In gentler times, I was especially proud of playing the Royal Festival Hall as special guests to Morrisey at his Meltdown show last June. At least it made me mum proud!

6. What would you like to achieve ideally by the end of 2005?

Ideally I would like to have the new album and the book, all co- ordinated to run alongside our UK tour in September. It'll take some doing, but we're getting there.

7. How important do you feel the internet is for promoting your music?

I could bash myself for under-estimating the importance of the net years ago. I feel sort of left on the sidelines for not fully understanding it, but better late than never I suppose. Of course now I really appreciate that it's absolutely essential for the promotion of the band's music. As I say, we're getting there!

8. Is your audience the same people who have followed the band since its early days, or are you picking up a new era of fans? And if so, did they know what to expect?

It's a great mix at our shows these days. Of course, you still get the 40-somethings who come along hoping to regain their youth, but also as I mentioned earlier, the younger element is there in force, such as the Blink 182/Rancid/Green Day kids and the grungers. We also pick up some of the Slipknot crowd, and you know what? They know every single f*cking word (which is more than I do!)

9. What's the most rock 'n' roll moment you've had so far?

Oh, there's a few of those too, but I suppose that the one that springs to mind is the night out for Ozzy's 35th birthday where I overheard Sharon complaining that me and Pete Way were bad influences on the old git! Well at that time I guess that she was probably right!!

10. Message to your fans?

I'd like to thank fans old and new for sticking by us, and I know that it may sound cliche'd, but I hope that we never let you down. You are everything. Thanks!

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Interview © 2005 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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