How it happened, why it happened and when it happened we're not quite sure but from the extraordinary events which unfolded somewhere deep within the Earth's crust The Crocketts were spawned. Dragging themselves Gollum-like out of the darkness, bringing with them a control of the elements; they lurk on the fringe of civilisation slightly hunched, ready to pounce or just anticipating the need for a quick foray into the mainstream world. I for my part needed to make my way to the edge of civilisation to understand the concept, a concept which The Crocketts and I explored with a mutual acquaintance and one of the most successful groupies of all time - "Mary-Jane".
The Band - Davey Crockett, Owen Cash, Dan Boone and Rich Wurzel, look seriously bolloxed, 26 gigs in 27 days ain't easy, and only two more gigs left to play. They introduce themselves and I reciprocate with my mission statement while I wonder if these guys are suffering a latent case of GWS (Gulf War Syndrome).
"Every night of the tour has been brilliant, it's a bit of a blur but it's all been really good, something gets smashed up every night, tonight we reckon they'll trash the toilets because that's what happened last time we were here. They said we'd never play here again but I guess they didn't mean it!"
Are The Crocketts capable of whipping the crowd into a frenzy and through telepathy encouraging this to happen for a second time, or did the crowd trash the bogs previously because The Crocketts performance was not one of their best? Chances are that it was probably just some oik who couldn't handle his lager but you get people like that in every town.
"Having a day off was the worst thing we could do, it wrecked us, no routine and we're still recovering."
A fish out of water you could say so would they prefer to be 'a big fish in a little pond or a little fish in a big pond?' in terms of the Guildford and Reading festivals. Davey is adamant that the little fish in the big pond scenario is best: "To play to as many people as possible is the aim" So how was Reading? "Fucking ace. We've been trying to play the festival for a couple of years and at last we had an opportunity, however we were given a shit slot so we did a rain dance before we went on, and just as we started our set it started raining and everyone rushed into the tent to see us. We smashed everything up and rocked it, we blew all those Yankee bands away!" I've noticed that two recent interviews refer to Davey ending up with some of his guitar protruding out of his forehead . RESPECT! If you're going to smash a guitar up don't pussy around like Pete Townshend, do it in your own unique style.
And Guildford? Despite all the negative press the band say "It was brilliant, Rolf Harris was awesome." The weather had been pretty bad, but once again The Crocketts controlled the elements and the rain stopped and the clouds cleared to reveal a beautiful sunset. "A bit like Ibiza?" I ask "No- [sharp intake of breath] Skegness or Yarmouth" comes the reply. Later on I notice some Crocketts fans wearing T-shirts bearing the words 'Nuke Ibiza'. Whoops.
Onstage The Crocketts like to rip it up but what about off stage? Do they lig with the best of them or behave like NIN and keep themselves to themselves? "We party the hardest, drink the most, take the most drugs, no-one can beat us . And we talk the most shit and piss on the most celebs!". No names are mentioned but even I wouldn't be prepared to have a golden shower at a festival no matter how dirty I was. I sense a challenge; the gauntlet has been thrown down. Which band is going to accept it and will eFestivals be promoting and sponsoring the event selling the TV rights to a worldwide audience on a pay per view basis? It would make MTV Celebrity Death Match look as interesting as a WWF wrestling bout.
Okay, before we get carried away here.... The Crocketts recently played for the Channel 4 Barfly programme, thumbs up or down? "Fuckin' awful" is the unanimous opinion. But, being present at that gig and watching it being aired since, I feel that through the wonders of TV and skills of the VT Editor, the casual observer would have witnessed a slick enough performance. Definitely not their best, playing to a majority of Pitchshifter and My Vitriol fans.
There's no middle ground with The Crocketts, you either love them or hate them. Look at the disappointment of the fan who turned up 2 minutes after The Crocketts had finished their set, and realising his mistake turned around and disappeared into the night from whence he came without even bothering to watch My Vitriol. On the reverse side, take the comment of "They're just a bunch of fucking hippies" from another audience member. When I posed these observations to the guys they said that their fans were really fanatical and as for the hippie comment a resounding cheer and a "Yesssssss!"
So what other reasons are we here for? Ah yes - an album to promote: 'The Great Brain Robbery' and a new single being released '1939 Returning'.
"How are the
album sales going?"
"Ticking over" says Davey.
"Could be better considering the quality" chips in Rich.
And which great mind came up with the title? Step forward Rich Wurzel to take the applause before I'm told that the original title '1939 Returning' was overruled by the record company as being a hindrance to any German release, but the third album will be most definitely be called 'Où est le Beast'.
So what's the subliminal message contained in Lucifer? (if you listen carefully it's 2 minutes 11 seconds into the track). They smirk and ask me what I think it says, I feel my cheeks redden and confess that my humble hi-fi of Technics separates & Goodmans speakers doesn't deliver the quality I deserve as a lover of music. Sensing my embarrassment they tell me the hidden words. However having been invited in to the inner sanctum that is Crockettsville and with no time to submit to an initiation ceremony (damn! - it's normally the best bit), I have to respect their wishes and promise never to reveal said verse. I was just about to question what might happen if I should err when I noticed a strange mist rolling across the floor and Dan and Owen levitating off of their chairs, looking directly at me. In unison they placed their right index fingers to their lips and with their left hand mimicked a throat being cut. I am forbidden to repeat them. I bluff it and decide to carry on as if nothing has happened Davey and Rich seem unfazed. "So the Album is only 43 minutes long, not the 60 odd minutes I'd like for my money?" " 43 minutes is too long for that album it was one song too long, it should have been shorter but we had to compromise." At the end of the day I wonder if maybe the powers that be are slowly realising that they are not grooming The Crocketts as a future boy band. When they were spawned they didn't quite get the ingredients right, threw in a bit too much anarchy, a good pinch of artistic licence and not enough humility.
I decide to call it a day and let them prepare for tonight's performance, my trip to the edge of civilisation ends at midnight, I need to prepare myself and witness the explosion of music and the madness of the mosh pit from my vantage point. Without room to swing a cat and with sweat dripping off of everything the chance of any good pictures is minimal, I give up and slowly fade towards civilisation.
around the UK with special guest Billy Bragg
playing in Hyde Park on Saturday 14th July 2018 with Khalid
playing stadium shows in Manchester and London