'Sew Up Yer Pockets, The Tea-Leafs Are Comin'!
What better feeling is there when you discover a band early on. Before they get signed to the big label, before they have management, before they even have a full length CD?
Well, now you can as a new rock band called The Thieves are close to releasing their debut EP White Line on Liquor and Poker in March ... just in time for their tour with Electric Eel Shock which will be taking them across the country.
The Thieves are originally from the U.K. but have called LA their home for the last couple of years. And they are already recording their full length which they hope to release around June. Chatting recently with Limerick, Ireland-born lead singer and guitarist Hal Stokes, we began the Q&A:
Although a generic question, but interesting to those that don't know, why name your band The Thieves? "We used to play under a different name back in England: then we were Vade Mecum. When we came to LA people said we looked like The Police, our standard response was "nah, we're more like The Thieves mate". When Vade Mecum proved too difficult a chat-up line for the birds in California, it seemed wholly appropriate to become The Thieves ... it's a life of crime y'know?!"
What other band names could so easily have been chosen? "We were going to call ourselves 'Blow', but our management insisted that we'd get too much grief over it and probably suffer when our Visas came up for renewal. Me and the boys were going to do it anyway (for that that reason entirely - not the visas, but the fact that didn't want us to), but then The Thieves landed right in front of us. I think we're better Thieves than, well y'know;-)"
Is the name of the EP (and the band!) symbolic of a mis-spent youth, perhaps? "Ahmm, no comment;-)"
Hailing from England, but now living in CA, what have been the biggest cultural changes to your lifestyles? "Pubs. Everyone has their 'local' in England and it's kind of like your living room away from the house. I miss the feeling of a British Pub; and whilst you do have pubs in the US, it's just not the same - you'll have to go to the UK to see what I mean. And maybe a few of the essentials like HP Sauce and proper Bacon ... but we stock up on most of it and whenever a friend comes to see us they get a shopping list. We're never short of PG Tips tea or Glenmorangie Scotch - both essential for a balanced and healthy lifestyle;-) But we've been here a while now and I think it's safe to say that we're somewhat Californified. We're like an English Ex-Pats club; all Brits living in an American club house, mixing up the best of what California's got with all that is quintessentially British. Wearing a T-shirt everyday is far superior to a winter coat though, I think;-)"
Do you see this move to CA as the only move you could have made to get your name out there to the listening masses? "Pretty much. California is what the Brits think about when you say 'America'. At least it was for me. I always dreamed of coming to Los Angeles and never knew why. When I first came here it just felt right, sure I missed home and it was a little unnerving as I'd risked everything (which in reality was a whole lot of nothing!) to take the chance and make the move. I know the lads feel the same. But, we're truly lucky as we get to go back to the UK a lot and we still manage to sell-out our shows back home in Oxford which is always a nice booster in terms of knowing that whilst we're gone, we never really left ... if you see what I mean?! And I still get to go to my local where they know what I'm drinking as soon as I walk through the door;-)"
What's going to stop you guys falling between the cracks of the industry like @ 95% of the new bands announced every single month? "Absolutely nothing! We've been doing it a while now though and to be honest we can make enough money just doing things ourselves; playing shows and selling merch and music. We do OK and live to record and tour. so I guess if there is a crack, we may be in it and loving it anyway!"
If life really does imitate art, then what piece of art would The Thieves be? "Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll - does that count? I'm not sure that life does imitate art. I always thought that art imitated life, or at least tried to express life. But, I don't really know too much about 'art', especially what 'pieces' are out there and represent my band - so I'd be a fool to mention Sharaku and his Ukiyoe painting ;-)... but if pushed to answer, I would hope we're something like 'If' by Kippling."
Lastly, is being up on stage better than a fit bout of masturbation? Come on, be honest!! "I went blind last year from too much of it ... so I'm not sure! I like to do both, sometimes at the same time ... but you know what, I'm so lazy that I usually prefer someone else to do it for me!"
Take care guys and great job on the EP - your music is fantastic! "Why thank ya Sir ... viva la rok!"
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