Strange Bones are a four-piece from Blackpool consisting of Bobby (guitar and vocals), Jack (guitar), Will (bass)
and Spud (drums).
As Strange Bones, they have been together for two years but all have been involved in music and been in one form of band or another for ten years. When growing up, they were all raised on a diet primarily consisting of punk rock with their parents having been really big in the punk scene. You could argue that Bobby, Jack and Will, all of whom are brothers, have THE coolest parents: Bobby is armed with one of his mum’s old cameras that takes four pictures at once and their dad was one of the first blokes to film punk bands on VHS.
The band all argue that social media has been a really good platform for many bands as it is easy to get their music out there. The discussion then heads somewhat political – I say somewhat – highly political more like. I ask them about ‘Big Sister is Watching’ and the image that they’ve created of Theresa May dressed up to the nines in bondage gear and armed with strap-ons. Bobby says “Well yeah, Theresa May is pegging us all in one way or another… as the 18th century bourgeois put it, ‘The bewildered herd needs to be tamed’ and that’s what propaganda does – for example, the destruction of the NHS, the BBC won’t tell you what the Tories are actually doing… Like the whole ideology of a Conservative is their pure hatred of the idea of a welfare state – they all argue that the welfare state was a ‘60 year kerfuffle that should never happened’. It’s evident, Jeremy Hunt voted in 2009 for the NHS to be dismantled and now he’s the Health Secretary… How did that happen?”
I state the bleeding obvious at this point and ask if we can expect more anarchic and anti-monarchy tracks and, well, of course we can. It’s in their blood and that’s what they’re passionate about so it’s always going to be the backbone of their music.
Strange Bones are a rabble-rousing band for sure and this is by no-means a criticism. Their catchy chorus in ‘We the Rats’ goes down a treat every time they perform and it sparks moshpits, stage invasions, crowd-surfing and they mould the audience like some kind of punky play-doh. “Audience participation is definitely a big deal for us because live music is a shared moment between band and audience” they say. “Some people do look like they’re gonna nut me though if we are in a city we haven’t been before and I’m getting in their faces and sweating all over em”. Their stage presence is intense and, in my opinion, that’s important for bands to be able to present themselves in a way that’s so different from the norm and conventional ‘stand-around’ performances.
The band have played various sized gigs over the last year – from the Jack Rocks This Feeling stage to Download in both the UK and France, but I’m intrigued to know what they prefer more. “Oh definitely smaller, I like to be able to smell people” laughs Bobby. “It’s always mint playing a huge festival but we hate it when the crowd are well far away from the stage.. Bobby’s knees are too bad now he can’t jump into the ten feet gap between the audience and the stage… We are thinking of getting him a trampoline”. So how does Spud feel about Bobby always crashing into his drumkit? “Well most of the time it ain’t even my kit so it’s absolutely fine, gotta just take the hits man, although more often than not I’ve nearly taken a guitar to the face!” Bobby laughs and says “I was initially going for the cymbals but got Spud’s face in the process”.
Strange Bones were also the first British band to be invited to record at the Foo Fighters legendary 606 Studio in LA by guitarist Chris Shiflett; one hell of a big deal for any musician, whether you like the Foo Fighters or not. But I was curious as to whether this had affected their sound at all, because essentially they’re still a raw, modern punk band and it seems as though the Foo Fighters studio hasn’t taken away from that. “It was amazing man, next level experience. There were over 600 guitars to choose from and Nirvana recorded Nevermind on the same system”, one hell of a big deal for one band from Blackpool. “He was proper sound, just into getting the best out of us”.
As sung by the Foo Fighters themselves, ‘Is someone getting the best of you?’, well, Chris Shiflett certainly got the best of the Strange Bones because they are one band kicking up a storm in their Dr Martens.