New Artist of the Day: The Law Abiding Citizens

Law Abiding Citizens have just finished making the video for ‘Borstal Boy’, their latest & soon to be released single. Bez & Pete Doherty are both fans of the band so things are looking good for them. LTW decided it was time we caught up with singer songwriter and band frontman Mike Davis to get the low¬down on the coming single as well as the bands journey so far.

The story told in the lyrics of The Law Abiding Citizens upcoming new single ‘Borstal Boy’ is the heartfelt recollections of front-man Mike Davis. It’s a dark tale told in words leaden with meaning & delivered by Davis in a soulful, peaceful & hushed tone.

This is the first outing for Law Abiding Citizens since signing to Warner’s last year. ‘Borstal Boy’ is going to be released in mid March with an album to follow. Debuting with this effortless acoustic song sees the group showing their quieter side as LAC are just as much known for their more energetic pinked-out numbers, like the cheeky streetwise ‘Prangin’ or the power-charged Pistol influenced ‘When I’m Around’. Whats more they have the attitude and charm to match their energy, they’re a real band armed with a live wire set & they’re ready to turn it up for 2013.

You’re due to release your new single, Borstal Boys. It’s a great single…whats the story behind the song, is a personal story?? 

It came from a bad experience when I was 15. I was put in Feltham young offenders institute, when I realised they weren’t going to just let me out if I kicked up a fuss I got down and did my time and used music as a Savior. The music teacher Phil Jones said about me possibly writing a poem to go up in the halls of Feltham, I didn’t think much at the time but September 19th 2001 the prisoner in the next cell who I’d become good friends with hung himself over his girlfriend cheating, he only had 3 weeks left. As for the video I didn’t want to do a graphic version of the events so Warner came up with an idea that has a real 90’s sort of this is England vibe with a few actors.

Whats the story behind the band, I know you’re from Oxford and last year signed to Warner’s but how did the group initially come together?

Well the band started in 2005, we rehearsed for nearly 2 years but its taken me up until now to find the right players who are solid musically, have chemistry and timekeeping, all paying their way. That, for me, in the past made it not fun to be in a band but now I have the right members I can honestly say its fun and stress free to be in L.A..C. On the down side though, originally we were a 4 piece with my brother in the group but he left because of family commitments, i.e a baby. He’s doing a bit of playing still, small tiny gigs etc, if he takes it further that’s up to him but we will stay as a three piece because it sounds great and looks great, I often look left playing expecting to see Simon but life moves on.

It must be great to know people like Bez really dig what your doing, as well as being a great learning curve…

Me and Bez are solid, I mean most of the time we don’t even talk about music. The last time I saw him we just sat and got stoned listening to loads of Zep and Lennon. He’s been supportive of me from the word go and that’s great because I used to watch him on top of the pops, and I have always been a fan of the Mondays and Black Grape.

Signing to Warner’s is a great achievement, how did it all come about?

it was really weird for me when I got signed, I was living in a caravan and couldn’t even afford milk. I’d been good friends with Rob Mcvey of Longview and had been doing acoustic demo’s at his studio, I’d never seen someone so excited about my songs before. The next thing I knew Rob called and said he had a meeting that day can and could I come to London the next day, normally I wouldn’t of gone but I just had a gut feeling about it all. I met with rob and a guy called David Donald who discovered the Strokes and the first thing he said was “I cant stop listening to the demos and I want to make you an offer”, that was on the 1st of November. We signed the deal outside Westminster on the 5th Guy Faulks night and suddenly I was rich. That was hard for me because we had been playing for years and no one was signing us and it just went bang at the best time.even peter Doherty said to me the way it had happened was so unheard of in these days.

I love the tune ‘Prangin’, got a great energy to it, almost a mix between the pistols and newer groups like The Libertines and The Arctic Monkeys, fair description? 

Yes definitely, I love ‘pranging’ it seems to have a bounce about it. We played the O2 just over a year ago supporting Pete Doherty, we opened with that and the whole crowd just bounced along in time, fucking amazing. People love it and its real, every word is about someone you love letting you down and pranging out these lines I think says enough haha.

In fact I guess maybe you get this a bit, but you kinda share that same spirit and sound as Pete Doherty himself? 

Yes I get that all the time, Peter is a top friend and I don’t do it purposely, in my eyes he copies me ha ha. He is often seen round my mums for a cup of tea or me and him go on a mad road trip. Lately I’ve been off the radar a bit, but yes there the band I’ve always tried to maintain a true signature too, like when you listen to an Oasis or Stones record you know its them from the first note.

There’s a real ‘working class’ vibe to the group as well, I notice you cite the ‘Job Centre’ as 1 of the groups influences, do you find a lot of your writing ideas comes from that side of life?

Definitely, if I started writing about things that weren’t real to me and my world I’m sure that would be the end of me writing, I’d have to stop. There’s a lot of things I write about and I always try to have content in the words, otherwise what would be the point.

Whats a Law Abiding Citizen’s show like then, I’m thinking probably pretty full on, loud and energetic, what’s been the highlights so far gig wise, any plans for playing the fests this year?

We headlined Sheffield O2 I and though it wasn’t the best gig we’d ever played it was the most important because when we turned up the venue we arrived seeing our name up in massive letters, which was great. As for festivals there’s been a lot of new band stages at reading Leeds etc.

Lastly Mike, is 2013 looking a good year for the group, we’re kinda short of a group who really speaks to that Libertines, Oasis type of crowd, working class anthems full of melody and energy…

I do believe there is a gap that we are going to fill. I know that I used to get so excited about new bands and lately there hasn’t been one decent band that ticks the boxes. Oasis had split, Lib’s had split, no one’s doing anything much so I’ve had to go and do it myself . I’m not interested in breaking barriers, I’ll leave that to Radiohead and Floyd but it will definitely progress and mature maybe. On the second record we will have some string sections and things. The first album is out this year and I’m not sure how well it will do, all I know is that we’ve done the best we can.

Law Abiding Citizens can be found on Facebook or Mayspace.

All words by Carl Stanley. More features by Carl on Louder Than War can be found here.

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  1. Criminal Justice Act 1982 abolished the borstal system in the UK. Not sure about Oxford, I know they like their traditions down there. I’ll look into it.

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