This year England is celebrating the origins of punk after 40 years of it still going strong, and this year it is going even stronger, the buzz is in the air and it has almost made punk a bit trendy…but these things happen and the originators of this music culture should be honoured.
They have inspired thousands of bands all over the world to also share their message and add their own influences to punk culture. I am not saying that bands inspired by other bands from the past aren’t creating original music, but their inspiration and influences have to come from somewhere right?
One band who has been doing this for a few years and certainly are not a “trendy” punk band are The Youth Within from Ledbury in Herefordshire. They know their punk and it shows in their musical style, image and performances. These guys are destined for great things with their baby-faced old skool punk and skate punk influences, and the mash up ingredient…metal…Nice!
These four members are made up of two punks, Benji Boughton and Steve John Crews, and two metal heads, Matt Morris and Scott Vernall. They make beautiful music together, and the Underground Revolution have been the fortunate ones to share them with Hereford for the first time.
They played a magnificent gig for us last month and we loved them so much we had to put them on again immediately…a sort of ceremonial send off on their way to Rebellion. I found it rather endearing that they were so pleased to be playing Hereford for the first time after having already played around the country, even in Ireland and now living every UK punk bands dream of playing Rebellion on the same day as The Descendents, The Dickies and T.S.O.L. Omg! All very last minute and complete punk rock luck!
There has never been a lot of support for these more obscure bands in Hereford, but thanks to venues like The Booth Hall, The Underground Revolution and events like Club Dead who have a similar ethos, The Youth Within can finally play the “big city” in their home county of Herefordshire. It is more about winning over your own people before taking over the world. Anything is possible. Luckily we gave them the opportunity and they really are grateful. We are too. Ok enough of the mushy stuff.
I met up with Ben and Steve at the newly opened, and particularly cool Firefly pub on King Street brought to us by two awesome dudes, Ray Velasquez and Matt Pugh. Matt Morris and Scott Vernall couldn’t make it, they had to work. Go figure. Not very punk rock but someone has to pay the bills. Good job boys, bring home that bacon. Speaking of bacon, it was pretty hard interviewing them with the beautiful smell of Tacos and Beer Can Chicken wafting past my nose. Somehow I managed and this is how it went.
All original songs are written about the band’s own experiences and sticking one up to authority! These guys have fantastic stage presence and emanate a lot of energy from their performances.
Benji Boughton – Vocals/Guitar
Steve John Crews -Vocals/Bass
Matt Morris – Drums
Scott Vernall – Guitar
HCC/UR: How chuffed are you guys about getting on the Rebellion bill and how on earth is this possible?
Steve: We were playing Itchfest in Birmingham and some of the Rebellion promoters approached us. It pretty much took off from there.
HCC/UR: Nice one guys! Congratulations. What day and time are you actually playing?
Ben: We are on the Thursday bill and will be playing the New Bands stage, but times will be released later in the year. We will keep you posted.
HCC/UR: That will be much appreciated. Please tell me you are staying all weekend at Rebellion. You can’t miss all those epic bands.
TYW: OH we are definitely staying all four days and are going to drink a lot of beer. It will be an expensive weekend in beer money but worth it.
HCC/UR: Yes! It has to be done, even if you are skint when you return home from spending all your money on beer and festival food. It is the British way.
In honour of 40 Years of Punk can you tell us how you both got into Punk?
Ben: My good friend Jak Raven who is pretty well known around town as a musician introduced me to the whole punk/ska music thing. He had been living in Canada and brought back a lot of punk influences which rubbed off on me, including North American ones. We started a band together called Crimson Playdough. I think we were about 14.
Steve: My introduction into punk came from our drummer Matt Morris just through hanging out and talking about bands and listening to albums.
HCC/UR: What do you consider your style of Punk? Who are you main musical influences?
Steve: Well we are two punks and two metal heads, so you have both influences in the mix. Scott contributes some really nice guitar riffs. We really like early punk from about ’77. GBH and Stiff Little Fingers are definitely our main musical influences.
Ben: You could say our musical style is a mash up of Punk and Grunge.
HCC/UR: Oh Mash Up Punk! What are The Youth Within’s favourite songs to cover?
HCC/UR: Way cool! I will be looking out for those tunes when you play them. Any new Ep’s or LP’s to look out for?
TYW: You can pick up one of our self-titled CD’s at our gigs along with our merchandise. Nicola Jedrzejczak who does all our logos and PR has designed some pretty cool merchandise. (If you haven’t heard about Nicola yet, she is getting a lot of press these days for her beautiful book sculptures and has had several of her exhibits reviewed lately)
HCC/UR: Ok here comes that usual band interview question you have to ask…where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
TYW: Playing Rebellion of course and hopefully touring America, Amsterdam, etc.
HCC/UR: Ah yes…good goals. Now time for some random questions…as you do. BMX or Skateboarding?
Steve: I tried skateboarding, but I could never pick it up, so definitely BMX.
HCC/UR: Jazz or Hip Hop?
TYW: Jazz! It is real music!
HCC/UR: I have known a lot of punks over the years who have evolved into excellent jazz musicians so good choice boys. But hey, ya never know.
Marilyn Monroe or Katy Perry?
TYW: (another unanimous answer) Marilyn Monroe! A real woman with curves of course.
Ben: I actually have started a Marilyn Monroe tattoo on my hip that is a Misfits style Marilyn skull.
HCC/UR: Whoah Cool! Custard Cremes or Bourbons with your cuppa tea boys?
Steve: Custard Cremes (Ben rolls eyes haha)
HCC/UR: What up and coming band do you recommend people look out for?
TYW: UK’s Lowest!!!! They are an amazing band from Bristol. They are the youngest punk band we know and a lot of people are buzzing about them…they are definitely the type of band that will make it on the Rebellion bill one day.
Well it was certainly fun hanging out with these two hella cool blokes and getting to know them more. I really wish Matt and Scott could have made it. Life’s a bitch but hey catch them on Saturday May 28 at the Booth Hall and they will certainly all be there.