This band has experienced it's own life through the common thread of friendship. No one has ever really fell out over anything, having had several changes in lineup through the years — "If anyone moved on, it was because their own paths were being carved from the road MVPs were truckin' down. People grow and change and want different things out of life." they told us, but it doesn't change the fact that the people who have played in this band were some of the most excellent, enthusiastic, caring and dedicated people the band has ever had the pleasure of working with.
This well known garage/punk band from England wanted to release a single on the Austrian label, Bachelor Records. 2017 has been a very busy year for THEE MVPs. After touring coast to coast across America in a van, (including 16 shows at SXSW with the Meatbodies, Dead Meadow, and the Night Beats), they then flew back to the UK, for another van tour with Pulled Apart By Horses, and TIGERCUB. Thee MVPs have a new 45 out on Bachelor Records.
They've produced two summer pop/punk hits running a little less than 6 minutes.
The first two cuts are new originals written by guitarists Alex and Charlie, respectively. The opening number 'Big Pussy', is a song dedicated to a certain character from the hit TV show, the Sopranos. This two minute power hit (pun intended) has a Parquet Courtsstyle verse, a Harlem chorus, and an At the Drive-in bridge. It ends with a wall of Big Muff Fuzz Box noise. The noise bleeds into 'ELH', a song about Charlie missing a flight home from Berlin because he was drunk. This track echoes 90’s indie, such as Superchunk or today’s Royal Headache, and the Stevens.
On the flip side, Thee MVPs do a couple of covers by bands that are close to their hearts. The first one is a copy of Billy Childish's classic 'Lie Detector'. They recorded it with Billy's engineer, Jim Riley, because they could. The last cut is their cover - version of The Damned’s 1976 hit, 'Neat Neat Neat', complete with late MC5 era guitar crunching. Thee MVPs call this the 'Thames Pop Sound’. They claim all the past’s great songs, that were once lost at sea, have washed up on the toxic shores of the River Thames, ready for Charlie, Alex, Jo, and George to wash them off, and claim them as their own. Kind of like Led Zeppelin, without the lawsuits…The band has been fortunate enough to get different labels to back them, and give their music release opportunities. It would be almost foolish not to. It’s even more important now, as people have such short attention spans. It keeps you on your toes, though. In London, it often seems like no-one is ever impressed with bands. It’s more of an achievement to get a reaction in London.
Have these lineup changes added any diversity to your song writing, recordings and performances?
We're a lot faster and louder, and slower and heavier now. Tastes change whether you roll with new people or age by yourself. When we started out, it was all about sounding like Black Lips. I love that band, but I wouldn't want to make 5 years worth of records that sounded like them. Any step is good, so long as it's a step forward.
Was this your first trip to the US?
This was our 2nd trip. We love playing there. The crowd reactions; fellow bands; venues; equipment; hangouts and landscapes, are all finely tuned to exactly how we see ourselves fitting in the music world. We played in a basement in Virginia to like 50 college kids. It was how we imagined every basement show from bands like Unwound, Modest Mouse, and At the Drive in would have looked like from the 90's on Youtube.
If you could change anything about the way people listen to music, what change would you implement?
I don't think I'm very well equipped to answer that question. In all honestly, I think the best way to listen to music is to give it the mutual respect that the artist is laying out for you, by spending the time, money and resources making the record. If someone truly has put in the hard work to make a piece of art, do it a service and listen to it on a high quality stereo with speakers, that make the drums sound like cannons and the guitars sound like swords. Failing that, at least get some decent headphones and a high quality wav.
Did you listen to local radio stations while driving across the US?
There's too many adverts on the radio out there, though Austin has a rad metal station that played stuff like Code Orange, Nails, and Messhuggah in the middle of the day that I was pretty stoked on.
Speaking of radio, far too many great artists have died over the past two years..
Chris Cornell's death was very sad and unexpected. We saw the Mystery Lights dedicate their set to Chuck Berry in Austin when everyone got the news. My mum loves George Michael so that hit home. My personal one was MCA from Beastie Boys. What he did for music, on my own personal level, was unprecedented.
So what’s next?
Tour lots and record more.