Glaswegian punk rock stalwarts Hateful keep it pedal to the metal. Louder Than War’s Joe Whyte investigates.
Hateful are a little bit of a mystery in these parts. They don’t play that very often in Glasgow despite all being locals. They’ve a fair bit of pedigree, too, with bassist Mekon Meechan previously a Revillo and currently also playing with one of Scotland’s longest serving punk bands Fire Exit. New boy and frontman Alex Aiken was in the much-missed and highly regarded get-in-the-van touring machine Ex-Cathedra. Guitarist Alex K was in The Straight Men whilst drummer Kev was in Distorted Truth and briefly, Oi Polloi. With a neat line in powerful songs that keep it clever and melodic, they’re not another typical, dull punk band. Much of the strength of Hateful is in their melodic nous and grasp of classic songwriting; Inside Out from the album Kilbowie Road (2009) (which is the main drag through faded shipbuilding town Clydebank) shows just what they have in their locker.
Kev chips in with little bit of the band’s history;
“We began in 2002 when Alex and myself decided to put the band together and since then we have had a few line up changes. We took our name from The Clash song which I went off very soon after. We’re stuck with it now! So far, we have released four studio albums and a live album and did a split album with German band The Uppercuts which on our side of the record was us doing covers but nothing obvious (Billy Connolly, Andy Cameron and others!) and one single. What we were/are doing is not shouting at people over the top of old GBH/Exploited riffs; I got that 30 years ago don’t need to hear it now done just the same way in 2016!”
The band are currently in the studio recording their fifth album. They’re certainly prolific as regards releases and are highly regarded in Europe as well as at home. The new album promises to be a cracker and Kev gives LTW a taste of what to expect;
“We are currently recording out fifth album called “ Noise From The Streets”; a cliché of a title, but less so when seen alongside the artwork. It will be out later in the year on both Contra Records and Rebellion Records. We’re then off to Germany later in the year for some shows to promote the new release. All the new material for our new album had been written before Alex (Aitken ) joined. Alex (one of them has to get a nickname soon!) and myself write most of the songs either together or separately on this album. Mekon brought in three of the tunes which we kindly let him do (ha!) and we turned them into Hateful songs.“
The band are scene veterans to an extent, and that shows in the myriad of influences evident on their records. Kev takes up the tale as regards who moves them musically and lyrically;
“Off the top of my head, influences include The Who (we make no secret of the fact that what most consider to be one of our finest moments, the song “Killbowie Road”, structure wise the template was “ A Quick One” although it’s nothing like it musically. Slade, Mott The Hoople, Kinks, Bowie, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Oasis and many others which brings me to your other part of the question. On a lyrical front we try not to be too obvious most of the time in the writing. I like ambiguity in lyrics; musically there is definitely an art in the “borrowing” of parts, Mr Gallagher being one of the masters of it and certainly showed me a different way! Ha! Current listening for me is an album called “All Of Our Tomorrows” by Church Of Eon which is Nic Austin out of Chelsea’s other band. I bought it a few weeks ago having heard a few tracks and its great.”
As mentioned, the band are all great musicians and the songs speak for themselves. This was made very evident when they put down the electric guitars and recorded and filmed an acoustic session which showed the strength of their songwriting. Get a load of this;
I asked Kev about his thoughts on the UK punk scene (and the local one) and the differences in European touring. He’s got a few tales to tell;
“The UK (as with Scotland) we haven’t played as much as we could over the years; we have played Rebellion three times I think and a few other places, but not much elsewhere. When we started my mind was very much on abroad having seen how much better it was compared to here and having experience of that with one of my previous bands. I concentrated on getting a release for our material there rather than here. Glasgow has definitely been better for us in recent years. I can honestly say from the first time we went abroad we have loved every show we have done, be it festivals or on our own, particularly Germany. I know a lot of bands sing the same tune when referring to Germany but it is a wonderful place and not just for the music scene alone. I loved playing a place called the KVU where we recorded a live album although its closed now. Currently, in Glasgow, Audio is a great venue. We’ve seen some odd things, over the years, too. The band taken to a night club in Germany and playing is a country and western version of a Cock Sparrer song! There is TVs round the walls showing what looked like 1930’s porn. Very odd!”
With the album (and hopefully some dates) imminent, it looks like a good year ahead for Hateful. Remember the name.
All words by Joe Whyte. You can find more from Joe in his author archive.