Rhythmic slavery and expressive words: exploring the creative world of Dave Barbarossa

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 A potent and swiftly vocal roar for one particular band in the past months has been very noticeable in the London and UK underground scene, an eager buzz which led ourselves and colleagues at Reputation Radio to go check out live Cauldronated, the new band of punk legend Dave Barbarossa. This is a musician who has been the rhythmic driving force and inspiration behind Adam and The Ants, Bow Wow Wow, and…well the list goes on. Certainly those first two bands, and indeed Dave’s unique playing style left a legacy still inspiring artists today, and it is quite easy to suggest his new project with Eva Menon, has the potential to make the same potent impact. So excitedly we got in touch with the man to not only discover more about the band but also to find out about Dave’s acclaimed debut novel Mud Sharks which has just had a revised edition released via New Haven Publishing Ltd. Dave kindly agreed to let us throw a torrent of questions at him, subsequently taking us into the world of Cauldronated, the seeds and landscape to Mudsharks, the linking up with Adam Ant on tour again, and the musical heart of Dave Barbarossa.

Hi Dave and thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

There is so much to, and areas within your career to talk about but with the enjoyment at your recent show at The Unicorn, Camden still rushing through the veins and thoughts, can we look at your latest project Cauldronated first. How would you describe the band and its sound to newcomers?

Thanks for those kind words, mate. It was a pretty good gig, I have to admit. Cauldronated is a blend of quirky synths, a lot of drums, and impassioned vocals. I like the discipline of playing with a digital metronome (clicks/synths). It pushes my playing into places it wouldn’t go if I were just allowed to play as I liked…so the strictness makes me creative, that make sense?…sounds a little masochistic, but I enjoy it.

Was there a particular spark or idea which gave birth to the band?

I was working with David Harman (we were both in Chicane together). We thought we’d try something very drummy with synths and sequences.

How did the initial link up with David and Eva Menon come about; were these musicians you already had in mind to work with on something?

I’d not met Eva in person. I was aware she was a drummer. When I eventually met her, I had one of those ‘McLaren’ moments and immediately asked her to join David and me in a bit of an experiment.

Eva has a presence and drama to her stage presence which has the potential to be, in my mind, one of the most creatively imposing and invigorating vocalist you have worked with. Was it this quality which first captured your attention too?

Yes, her presence and intensity were compelling. I knew she would ‘pull her weight’ with the idea I had.

When I saw the band at The Unicorn, it was just Eva and yourself on stage, is that the usual live set-up?1970901_10152291115742767_350111327_n

At the moment it is…who knows what the future may hold.

The band has a sound and presence which feels as punk in nature and attitude as anything over the past four decades; this was a deliberate or organic essence which emerged?

It was deliberate only in the sense I wanted something uncompromising and challenging. I didn’t want to serve up what people expected. Musically, I feel uncomfortable being comfortable.

Do you still feel that individualistic punk and defiant attitude in your music and creativity as strongly as those first days and years of your career?

That ‘individualistic and defiant attitude’ sustains me. I’d be in a covers band in a pub without it. At the risk of sounding a bit of a knob, I will forever be a punk rocker.

How about in music in general, is it still loud and potent or more of a recurring whisper in modern music for you?

It is still loud and proud. You just have to dig beneath the superficial…it has always been that way.

Cauldronated seems to find you returning to and exploring the more tribalistic rhythms and contagion which marked your time in The Ants and more so Bow Wow Wow. Is this something you feel too or have you not been too far from that side of your adventure over the past years anyway, so it is just part of the current evolution of your ideation?

There are so many drummers (most better than me) playing ‘straight’ beats, ‘serving the song’, being a ‘side man’. I’ve got a trick and I’m gonna play it!

Your first novel Mud Sharks was published in 2012, but I believe it is being republished again very soon?

It is…With added extras; photo, review and a ‘Mud Sharks’ track. (please keep this under your hat until I have a release date – that will be very soon) ta.

What was the trigger to writing a novel? Was it something brewing in your thoughts for a while?

Yeah, I think a lot of us have a novel in them. I simply got mine down. Some emotional events collided with professional ones and out it came. Frankly, I’m a little stunned about how well it has been received.

Mud SharksCan you give a synopsis to the novel?

This is what is says on the cover so it must be right ‘Mud Sharks? Harry Ferdinand is in trouble at home, in trouble at school and now he’s in trouble with the police. He’s battered, bruised and lost until he meets the love of his life: the drums. Things are never to be the same again. Plunged into the world of Punk Rock, Harry finds purpose, adventure and heartbreak as he transforms from boy to man.’

It looks at and confronts racism and violence in its story, within the embrace of the seventies music scene. How much is autobiographical or inspired from experiences you have had or closely come across yourself?

It is a story based on my childhood, schooldays and early career. Not a factual, chronological ‘blow by blow’ of my life. But, all the stuff, good and bad, happened, pretty much.

Do you feel its narrative and observations still represent the current music world and young lives within it now?

It is a story of its time, but perhaps it resonates with people of ‘Harry’s age now. Dunno

Have you plans to write another book in the future?

Yep, finished the second…It is going through the editing and proofing stage. These things take yonks.

Returning to music, what were the inspirations which led you into music predominantly?

I was captivated by the drums, so big and loud. I wanted to master the instrument, on a very basic level. Never dreamed it would be my life.

We have to ask about those heady days, certainly for us fans, when Dirk Wears White Sox was the creative anthem for a great many of us. What are your strongest personal recollections of that time with Adam and the Ants and in the punk scene generally?

Well, it was a while ago and at a time when a young person’s life flashes by. Personally, I was in a perpetual state of astonishment and relief. Both states were euphoric, blissful, magical…how’s that sound?

Next came of course Bow Wow Wow and the highly publicised and still seemingly talked of departure of yourself, bassist Leigh Gorman, and the sadly missed Matthew Ashman from the Ants. What musically enticed the move and how coincidental was it that the two projects pursued the tribal/Burundi sound from that point on?

I really can’t think of why the drums sounded so familiar in both bands – insane coincidence?   I left Adam because Malcolm gave me the opportunity to be my own man. Create my own sound and lead ‘from the back’. With Adam, I was a loyal soldier to a musical genius. I like change.

Probably the last thing fans imagined would be the coming back together of yourself and Leigh with Adam again, something which happened last year when you both joined him in The Ministers 1979117_10151960991666780_7133093067893089771_oOf New Super Heavy Funk Punk and an UK tour. Was this something you would have probably not predicted over the years either or was the supposed ‘animosity’ between all parties a media driven ‘reality’?

Never been any animosity between myself and Adam. I’ve played in his bands off and on down through the decades. We have coffee, talk about our daughters.

How did the link up for the shows come about?

Adam called me and asked if I’d fancy doing the old Dirk numbers live. We’d never done it live, apparently. The minute we got in rehearsals, we knew why. He turned round to me during Animals And Men and said, ‘This is fucking jazz, how did we do it?…

It is fair to say that you helped pioneer the tribal rhythmic temptation which has graced so many bands and still does. Do you offer yourself an inner smile every time you come across another proposition in band and song form obviously inspired by your legacy?

That’s very kind of you mate. I have been lucky to do what I love and what comes naturally.

1888843_10152291116392767_1239021352_oSadly missing out plenty of the other bands and projects you have been involved with, can we turn back to Cauldronated and what is ahead for the band over the coming months?

We’ve got another offering out soon…Ring of Khan, there’ll be gigs and the inevitable quest for world domination…All of it, such a laugh.

What about your solo sounds,; particularly thinking of the Barbarossa Beat two-track download release of last November which teased with a sound reminiscent of a Bow Wow Wow flavouring in songs like I Want Candy but took feet and energies into a new tantalising dance…More to come and any other irons in the fire musically for us to look forward to?

Yes, more to come with Barbarossa Beat, I love changes in direction, challenges. There are a few other things, collaborations popping up too.

My big thanks again Dave for your time.

An absolute pleasure Pete…Thanks you so much for your interest.

Mudsharks is available @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mud-Sharks-Dave-Barbarossa-ebook/dp/B00ULELOP0/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_10 and for more info regarding the book go to https://www.facebook.com/MudSharksNew/

https://www.facebook.com/dave.barbarossa   http://www.cauldronated.net/

The Buy This Thing EP from Cauldronated is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/buy-this-thing/id914978407

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 19/03/2015

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

The Tuesday Club – See You Next Tuesday

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As Christmas approached fast and the tail of 2012 was making its last flurry of wags, UK punk n rollers The Tuesday Club unleashed their single Ain’t Got No Class, our introduction to the miscreants of mischievous and irresistible rock n roll. From the release alone they became engrained in our passions further cemented with a retrospective dive into their earlier 3P EP and tracks. This made the eagerness to hear their debut album See You Next Tuesday as urgent and insatiable as a dog diving upon a bitch in heat. It had a lot to live up to as anticipation had already decided the bar it had to contend with. The eight piece carnival of fun and rioting sounds easily took control of hopes and expectations, turning them into their personal playthings with a release which quite simply leaps ahead of the game whilst igniting sheer devilment within themselves and the listener.

The roll call for the 2011 formed mysterious knavish octet consists of Andreas Vanderbraindrain, The Minx, The Beautiful Wolf, Dave Worm, Fabulous Glaborous, J Rod, Jerry Berry, and Titti Bartelski, a collection of rockers who span the years with birth dates between 1957 & 1984, a fact which seems to be proudly mentioned in all promos and bios we come across, and why not, it certainly offers a wealth of musical pedigree and experience which ensures the tongue in cheek aspect of the band and songs is equipped with superbly crafted and contagious sounds. Hailing from Warmington-On-Sea, the seaside town famed for the setting of UK comedy Dads Army, the band has been tagged as ‘the Dads Army of spacerock’ , but there is nothing old or devoid of energy and youthful devilry with this terrific album.

See You Next Tuesday steps up to the ear with opener Dolly Dynamite and is soon seducing with a fiery brew of hard rock and 10215blues punk, and one suggests the inspiration to the description placed upon the sound of the band, “If Roxy Music were doing the Rocky Horror Show, they’d sound like this”. As it romps with curvy blues whispers from the guitars and show tune like roundness to its breath you can just imagine Tim Curry with his full armour of fishnets and corsets parading the infectious work to the world. The vocals of Andreas Vanderbraindrain aided by the delicious devilry soaked tones of The Minx bring an individual rascality to proceedings, and cross the album they mix things up for a delivery as varied as the great sounds surrounding them.

As great as the song is, it has to be said it pales within the strength of the rest of the album but certainly makes a lead into the release which cannot be refused or left alone. Ain’t Got No Class steps up next to ignite the passions even further, the punk taunt of mischief is a conspirator for reckless engagement from voice and limbs to its cause with a lure of a rolling bassline, teasing honky-tonk lilted keys, and compelling flames of guitar enterprise irresistible. Rife with addictive hooks and syrupy melodic grooves, it is vocally and musically a wanton orgy which brings again those Rocky Horror thoughts as well as those of the likes of Alberto Y Los Trios Paranoias and The Tubes.

Two songs in and the familiarity of the release, certainly for existing fans is great but makes you think ok the passions are hungry but now impress me further, which the band does with ease through Money Means Nothing  and Nanananana. The first song slowly emerges with niggling guitars taunts and droning whispers, beats and bass a resonating post punk seduction with similarly gaited straight faced vocals transfixing attention. All the while the song builds up its suggestive intrigue to then break into a chorus of lighter but no less potent melodic energy. The intertwining of both elements continues throughout for a thrilling ride of light and shadow, both with a feisty ready to quarrel intent in tow. The second of the pair is a pop punk/rock n roller with again impossible to leave alone choruses and simple raw verses and vocals which reminds of TV Personalities.

The variety of the album is in full flow now with the excellent She Splayed My Teeth, a dirty rocker of enveloping keys and boisterous energy guided by the equally punk loaded delivery of the vocals, the slow swing version of New Regime, and the outstanding Replication and Montage, bringing their diverse and unique diablerie to the fore. The second of the trio is a favourite song with the version on the album a hilarious encounter which though certainly not a filler or interlude, makes a break in the riot with its live improv like cheek, though for persona tastes the punked styled version on the previous single is better. The latter of the trio is a Spizz Energi like joy with the finely crafted temptation of Dirk Wear Whites Sox era Adam & The Ants, and simply one irrepressible treat.

The gems keep coming with firstly All You Do Is Wow, another song offering a Spizz inspired repetitive bass persuasion locked to an indie punk depth which is like a cross between Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster and Engerica, whilst the keys bring a Stranglers flavoured heat and air to the thumping prime choice track. The next up New Glamour again is ripe early Adam Ant glory with its own distinctive stance, the song a predatory prowl around the ear with a blaze of addictive virulence at its core and is matched all the way by Wish My Slate Was Cleaner, its swagger a blatant bait to the again epidemic like infectiousness and inducement to partake of the song.

More gems crowd the ear through the likes of the brilliant slowly burning Vinyl As A Manifesto whose Bolanesque charm and stringed driven tempo accelerates with increasing greed and the smouldering Little Miss Attitude, but truthfully every track is a passion feeding pleasure. All really that is left to say is we love See You Next Tuesday and we are sure you will too.

http://thisisthetuesdayclub.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/thisisthetuesdayclub

9/10

RingMaster 19/04/2013

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