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Vee VV were a key part of fervent Blackpool post punk scene. Their inventive punk funk should have seen them break out to the bigger world but they imploded before enough people were seduced by their angular grooves. They were are seriously great band who were born out of two other local bands, Factory Records signing Tunnelvision and lost local heroes Zyklon B who were a perfect snapshot of the times and have reformed to see if they can finally get the recognition for their talent.

1. Its great to have you back…why did you decide to reform.

Ian
Several incidents occurred that got the band communicating again, prompted by talk of EDILS Recordings intention to release a compilation of our back catalogue. Personally, I didn’t leave the band under a bad cloud, so there was no problem in talking to everyone again…Also, after playing guitar in Section 25 for several years, I started to miss the thrill of playing live with a unique front-man like Larry Cassidy..(RIP) The only other person that could match him, was Mark, so when he boarded the good-ship Vee V V, I was more than happy…Things progressed socially and the next thing was that we found ourselves in a practice room together !  After the third practice, the cobwebs had been removed and it began sounded exciting, edgy and powerful. We then collectively decided to get a live-set together and do it justice
Mark
Err…..I was the last to “get on board” but it was never an issue.
Martin
There is a sense of unfinished business.

2. How different is the musical and cultural landscape than it was.

Mark
Culturally we seem a million miles away from the early 80’s, and maybe the Internet has led to this “polarization” of opinions. The one thing I have noticed is that ,what once were seen as “extreme” right-wing views, are now more mainstream than ever….(the old trope “no-one ever gave me a handout” type bullshit one reads even in the Guardian comments but that may be down to the other papers having an on-line paywall). Musically, the old networks have gone (NME, Sounds, John Peel etc) so in that way it’s more difficult to capture a new audience…..that is the challenge!
Martin
The musical landscape has changed.  Authenticity is gold dust in the current copycat cattleyard of the music biz. In the early eighties the ‘punk ethic’ was struggling to keep it’s head above water; many bands still swam  valiantly against the tide until, as sure as night follows day, the spirit was assimilated into the mainstream cesspool.  Culturally things have changed for the worse; economic hardship,equals lack of opportunity for aspiring artists. The old partners divide and rule have marched back and grown up, grown stronger-seemingly insurmountable. Result? Lack of hope, energy, diversity.
Ian
In the intervening 30 years, the music industry has undergone a sea-change. The Internet helped slay the big record labels and that can only be a good thing. I was always disheartened when I heard young bands saying that they wanted a record deal, as if that was the answer to everything…The Independent labels were like feeders to the major labels who would, like predators, lure their starry-eyed talent away, which was fine and dandy, as long as you sold ‘product’. Failing that, if you didn’t, they would ultimately drop you like a stone, and, more likely than not, you would be left in crippling debt…..and also broken in spirit. That never happened to Vee V V, thankfully. We all managed to avoid the ignomony of playing cabaret bars to pay back any record company debt.

3. How does a band built on hunger and intensity maintain that year’s later

Martin
Hunger and intensity? We have never lost either and that is clearly evident from the new material we are working on and from the reactions to our recent live performances.
Ian
I can’t speak for the others, but the minute that I pick up my guitar and it feels like I am going through the motions and I sadly realise that I have lost the spirit and the passion to play music, I will stop. Simple….I can’t fake it.
Mark
By not subscribing to the myth that is “ageing gracefully”, the shit that stirred your coffee all those years ago…..is still the shit that gets those creaking bones up on stage again. The desire to tell the truth never diminishes….if anything it burns brighter

4 .Will  there be new songs

Ian
Definitely. From day-one we all agreed to perform our old songs live and then gradually introduce new songs into the set. I’m genuinely excited about creating new songs. Lyric-wise, I hope Mark has enough ink in his biro ! He could be rather busy.
Mark
Yes
Martin
Yes

5.does getting older change creativity

Mark
You have a wider palate of influences to work from, you’re no longer restricted by ideas of “cool”…..
Martin
Creativity is something which can be illusive at any age but, like riding a bike, when you get back on, the sensation you felt that first time, the balance, the speed, the hurtling forward into who knows what, returns and  you wonder why you stopped peddling in the first place. As you age you spend time listening and your ‘bank’ of aural experience expands giving you more to draw on.
Ian
Getting older means that I have to rely on my instincts when writing music and not over-complicate things. It can be the hardest thing in the world to keep something simple…I now record melodies on my phone, so I’m using that as my archive for future Vee V V songs…I couldn’t do that back in the day, we had to rely on memory. Luckily, age hasn’t worn away my creativity gene, I know I would still make up little tunes on the guitar even if I wasn’t in a band. I can’t stop, even if I wanted to.

6. Did punk rock change the world.

Martin
Punk rock was a fault line that smashed the musical landscape. It was the end of careers and the start of ideas. It gave ordinary people power  and hope when wider society seemed to say,”You’re worthless”. It tapped into a rich vein of latent anger, passionately felt beliefs, unbridled energy and a bumper-kaleidoscope of musical strands. Sadly, by the late eighties,  DJs those latter day Pied Pipers, coaxed the youth, an-E-sthetized them from the real world, and the blast furnace of ‘Punk’ was doused forever. It changed the world for some people …
Ian
No.
‘Punk’, to me, was a green-light of personal empowerment. A DIY bomb-blast of creativity. Be yourself or be whoever you want to be. Music and art were the things that got to me, from childhood onward. Let your imagination run riot and create, create, create….No-one can stop that. Ever.
Mark
Personally I think it did…….but like most “revolutions” it was commandeered/watered down/mis-represented in order to repackage and redistribute. Who remembers the Jags these days…..? The Motors….? (Both bands labelled “Punk/New Wave” at the time..

1 COMMENT

  1. What of anger and youthful jest ? A great band and I aim to catch them live pretty soon. Probably saw them the most of the Blackpool bands in early 80’s. We had some great bands in the town, The Fits, The Membranes and Vee VV being the pick of them . Gigs at church halls, fanzines, Music Mania…What a jammy time to grow up in

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