NHC MUSIC Talks With Heavy Drapes - Alex Main

Heavy Drapes. They want the world, and they want it sooner rather than later. The clock is ticking and they aren’t planning on sitting around waiting for your approval either.
Is the world ready?
Well you can be the judge of that.

New Hellfire Club speaks to Garry Borland about world domination.

New Hellfire Club - Heavy Drapes in some ways have been very quick out of the starting gate, but you have a rather impressive back story that some may not be aware of. Do you want to fill us in on Baby's Got a Gun until now?

Garry - I've been out the game for over a decade, swore I wouldn't return but this band were too much of a good thing to ignore. Baby's Got A Gun, Well we were a Ramones type punk band who learned to play and became a gleaming LA rock machine.
The idea was to make an album and see where it went.
We signed to Warner Bros USA and watched it all go down to the toilet.
A management company who should have been looking after young guys, spent all our cash; and we're not talking pennies.

Was this bruising experience of the music business why you dropped out for ten years?

I left the band because the lifestyle nearly killed me. I was hospitalised for a while.
Then when I came out we did a UK tour and then it all fell to pieces.
There were other factors, like being lost as a band, not getting on with each other.
All the usual stuff bands go through. It's not funny when you're living it.
We signed for £250,000 and I was skint and hungry.

When described in this way it sounds like a warning.
A big red do not pass go warning, but you have come back to it.
Was the premise of Heavy Drapes just too much to pass on?

Don't get me wrong we had a laugh but we ran out of steam.
We've done the lot, played with everyone from David Bowie to Zodiac Mindwarp.
We lived on the edge for a decade and we all survived.
That’s an achievement in itself.
Heavy Drapes? Well we are a very different prospect.
We're experienced, confident, we have a plan and we have a big bag of tunes.
Everything is just much more direct than anything else I've been involved in.

You have all been pushing the band as one that is bringing punk back. Some will claim it never went anywhere, others will say it is dead.
So what is it you mean about bringing it back?

I've never said that. I may not deny it but I've never said it.
Journalists say it, but I'm alright with anything that gets peoples attention.
We're a rock band. We're a rock band made up of punk rockers. We're no different from the Pistols in that they were a rock band but were called punk.
We went out and did gigs and people who like their punk rock came to see us, it's all been really natural.
But I will say this, since we did land in the punk scene at the start of the year, it's been an eye opener. It's not the punk rock we like, the scene has rules, it's full of shit bands and it looks like Halloween.

I suspect the people who would disagree with you are the very ones who would prove the point you are making.
As it was revolutionary the first time around is it time that it is accepted that it was absorbed by the mainstream and should now be the focus of yet another revolution to take it from the hands of those who cling too tightly to it all?

I saw Green Day on the Euro awards, well 2mins of it. There are many people who believe they are punk rock, maybe they are because that's what it's turned into, a big pile of nonsense.
Heavy Drapes exist to show that it doesn't need to be like Green Day or any of the other American rubbish.
It doesn't need to be Angelic Upstarts and Discharge.
Fuck sake, god help us if that's what we've got.
Where's the rock n roll, where's the fun and why is it all the same? We love some 1977/78 punk bands but other stuff has happened since, you just can't ignore it and pretend it didn't happen.
I listen to Stone Roses as much as I listen to the Damned and I'm assuming this all comes through in our approach to the music.
To us, Iggy & the Stooges, MC5, Sex Pistols mean more than anything in the punk scene now. I've been all over the UK this year and I haven't seen 1 band with any danger about them.
I can't explain it, it's quite sad.

We are probably singing from the same hymn sheet in many ways, but when do you think a disconnect kicked in and the dangerous rock and roll was lost, and why did that happen?
In some ways the torch was passed to the rock acts I suppose.
Especially the glam rock bands pre hair metal that were the natural progression from the Dolls and such.
In short what the fuck happened?

I was being interviewed by a journalist for Vive Le Rock and we were talking the same stuff.
I was saying Guns n Roses 1st album was the last great US punk album.
I have my own theory and I'll share. No drugs. The UK scene is fuelled on alcohol, I see it backstage, it's all drink.
No drugs and then there’s those who care about people liking them too much.
It may sound ridiculous but I like to observe and that's what I see. Clean cut bands who want to be loved, or manky bands that drink cider. Haha, I'm laughing but it's the way it is.

I've nothing against beards or shorts but when did they sneak into punk rock.
It's like no ones willing to stand up and say this is all shite and it's all wrong and we're all fucked. Haha, laughing again - Stiv Bators with a beard and shorts singing 'Caught With The Meat In My Mouth' just doesn't work for me. Dress up, shout loud, ruffle feathers, have fun and write some tunes, that's all we need to do and punk will be saved.

But isn't that the promotion of rules again. Just different ones?
I often think that is someone perceives something else as punk then it is due to the freedom of expression angle, the no rules attitude.
It may not be my cup of tea, or even line of speed, but it doesn't have to be.
I just seen Lars of Rancid sharing with pride a photo of him and Tim meeting Paul and Gene of Kiss and for me that is punk as he isn't giving a toss what others thinks about the genre clash.

Yeah, I get that. And I would hang out with Kiss no bother. Seriously, there's room for everyone, we just want our bit thank you very much.
I can't sit back and watch the same old punk bands getting the same good gigs and opportunities without challenging them.
I have no problem with a band calling themselves punk, looking the polar opposite of what I think it should look like because at the end of the day, it will come down to the songs.
There is no band in the UK punk scene with any cross over capability apart from Heavy Drapes (correct me if I'm wrong).
Also, HD are kept out of certain venues and attacked by other bands that see us as a threat to their little empire.
I'm talking Glasgow and Edinburgh. I like some bands in Glasgow but I'm not convinced we're cut from the same cloth.
When Rebellion festival announced its line up for 2016, it was mainly American bands, not because Darren wanted his fest to be all USA, it's because we have no UK bands stepping up to the plate.
We have Sham 69 who are a great band now, but they weren't always in my eyes, Pursey is a dynamic frontman now though, complete respect for him.
UK Subs at Skegness this year was like watching a modern rock band, apart from that, we have very little.
Heavy Drapes are fighting to change that.
I did expect others to join in for the fight but only REACTION from Airdrie have given themselves a shake and pushed forward with us.
HD are making good ground and I see us as a big UK punk band going forward,
I'd like to see others grab the opportunity. The people I meet at gigs want change, they say they want us, they say they're fed up with the same old same old; that's in England though, maybe Scotland feels different.

I personally wouldn't disagree with that assessment. I wrote an article on the lack of unity in the Scottish punk scene and unsurprisingly while people were vocal in their agreement privately it was tumbleweed city publicly.
Would it be fair to say that bands should just look to the bigger picture and aim higher than to be big fish in the small pond?

It would be a great moment if we all stood together as one but it's not going to happen in Glasgow/Edinburgh, I know this, I've tried to get bands on board but they back off and hide away. Fair enough, battling with the big boys ain't for everyone.
We've nothing to lose, you either go for it or you don't.
There's no room for being half hearted.
Now, this could be all talk, and it is but I know HD need to deliver an album which will blow people away.
We have set ourselves some really challenging goals this year and we have exceeded the lot. Next year we will really stretch ourselves and we will either implode or we'll break America.
We want to deliver an international album, we have no plans to hang around on the bottom rung of the ladder.
So yeah, forget about being big fish in small ponds.

Is this why your first release was on a US label? Was that a conscious decision to build a foundation stateside?

It just happened that way although the demos went stateside before anywhere else.
Like I said earlier, we're a rock band, the USA loves rock, they like big tunes and they like a bit of punk spirit, it's really natural to look over there.
We're delighted to be working with Tarbeach Records in NY, it works for us and it's helped elevate the band.
I'd like to see us do well on our own island first though and the way it's going, it looks like England has really taken to us.
Our following is in London, they helped us take the roof off a few venues this year, Blank Generation festival in North London was the most explosive reaction I have ever witnessed while being in a band.
The place went absolutely mental.
The promoter said we were the band of the weekend by a distance; we were only 6 months old at the time.
It's all there for the taking, people have bought into it, we need to deliver. John Robb (Louder Than War), Eugene Butcher (Vive Le Rock), Gus Ironside (i94bar/VLR) are all shouting that we're the New Wave of Punk, I'll take that, it separates us from the rubbish.
And we wouldn't have Glen Matlock championing us if weren't worth it, I'm sure he has better things to be doing. So, yeah, US of A please.

So timeframes for the debut album. Have you got it all set in stone yet?

We started recording with Mark Freegard (Manic St Preachers/Clash). We nailed two tracks and we'll continue to record through Dec/Jan.
We have a better idea of how we want the album to come across.
We always knew what we should sound like, as in the actual noise we make but it's become clearer what type of tunes we want on it.
There won't be any soft moments, it's gonna be full on.
Never Mind The Bollocks and Raw Power are the templates, we'll start with that vibe in mind then see where it goes. I'd like to see it released before summer.

And once it is released what is the game plan? Tour buy-ons are still going strong and presumably that wont be an option.
So how do you think they next stage can be secured that would traditionally come from promoting a band on the back of a global phenomenon.

We need to sign a deal that gives us solid financial backing. Rikki Stiv (guitar) and I have a back catalogue sitting with Warner Bros, we know if you write the songs, publishers will get involved. Without financial backing, we'd be unable to continue.
People will say that there's no money in it, well I say look at Offspring.
We won't, under any circumstances, be plodding along playing local gigs and hoping something happens.
We'll make it happen, and if it doesn't, we'll go out in a blaze of glory.

As someone that has been there and bought the t-shirt what advice would you give younger artists who are at the start of their career?

Shout loud about your band coz no one else will. Don't be spending all your time and money on merchandise, spend it on writing and recording. Write as much as you can, it only takes one song to conquer the world, aim to write THE song. Play gigs, as many as you can, it gets you gig tight and it's the audience in a live situation who give you instant feedback. There's nothing better than a good, tight live band who write big tunes. WRITE THE SONG.


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