Caimbo : One to watch


By Ben Rimmer

Caimbo can’t spell. By their own admission they “couldn’t spell door between us. Anything with two valves gets us.” Well you could be picky; a valve here, a vowel there but really their fans couldn’t give a shit. They may never be ‘song writing geniuses like Leonard Cohen’ but it’s all about classic pop songs and energy. Leo’s got it in droves. Whatever you need to be a front man he has it. He is nonchalant – almost dismissive – but everyone chases him. His presence is such in the dressing room and on stage you’d think we were with rock royalty but they have no record label, no releases and gigs have barely broken the boundaries of their beloved Cambridge (Caimbo). Yet. This is not a band for the small time. Over 25,000 plays on Myspace and they’re moving fast.

I spoke with the band before their headline spot at the Junction Fiver gig, following a week of hard recording. Led though the crowd towards their dressing room the whole place was stuffed with young punks. You needed a Zimmer frame to get a drink without ID. As the night wore on the bands got older, right up to the main event. These lads have hit a heady 19. Their cupboard of a dressing room was full. An even younger band, friends and later a crazy crack addict and their mystery manager. But we’ll come to that.

How has the Recording gone this week?

PIERS: “We’re bloody knackered. It’s been crazy, recording at all hours since Wednesday. I’ve never been so tired as this.”

LEO: “The Studio was mint. I sat on the same loo as Robert Smith from the Cure! I was wiping my bum all over it!”

What did you record? Is there a label interested who will release the material?

PIERS: “Hopefully. We recorded ‘Let Yourself Down’ – one of the songs on our Myspace and we want that as our first single. At the moment it’s part of our demo to send out everywhere. “

DAVE: “There is label interest. Our manager will be here soon. He’s a bit of a mystery man you know. He’s always flying round the world. We haven’t seen him for ages as he’s been in New York.”

LEO: “Yer, he’s a right character. There’s interest from a few labels but he won’t tell us about it yet.”

Isn’t that a bit dodgy? Do you think you’re going to make it?

PIERS: “We have to make it. It’s all we have and all we care about. We’re leaving things in the hands of our manager and just getting on with the recording, the gigs and the madness.”

How did you come together?

LEO: “Me and Piers met at Prep school just outside Cambridge. So why the fuck did we call ourselves Caimbo?! We’ve been playing together since 14. Now we’re four delinquents.”

We’re not getting many answers from bassist Ali. As cool as they come, he just sits without a care. White jeans and cowboy boots.

ALI: “I just go on and play bass – pretty much. Me and Piers got into cowboy boots. Do you know the thing that pisses me off about white jeans? Two hours and they’re fucked.”

The thing that pisses me off about white jeans is that they’re not cool. Look at Johnny Borrell. Caimbo look the business though. That won’t hold them back,. The name might but the songs, the looks, the cowboy boots, the desire and energy will push them forward.

You play a lot of local gigs at the moment, will you play further away soon to expand?

PIERS: “We’re cutting back the Cambridge gigs. One a month from now on. We will pick and choose the best ones and start playing gigs to a wider audience.”

DAVE: “We’ve played as far as Hertfordshire so far and have gigs in the new year in Colchester and Hoddesdon, and hopefully London after that.”

On January 12th they play Club Goo again. Having supported Rumble Strips in November, Cambridge’s coolest club is having them back. They might want to stick with this scene. Goo played host to the Arctic Monkeys and the Kooks in 2005.

PIERS: “We aim to be a grade C band on Radio 1 soon. That guarantees us a few plays a week. We’re getting airplay on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and on internet radio.”

Tonight they are still only getting two quid from each fiver entry. Having sold 200 odd tickets they are easily the best supported band on the bill. The Paddingtons played here not too long ago and there wasn’t nearly as much anticipation or the numbers Caimbo have pulled in.

Leo went missing for some of the interview but when he returned he was serving up some great quotes. While he was out the mystery manager appeared with Caimbo entourage in toe, dishing out drinks and well done handshakes to the band following their recording marathon. Then came the crack addict.

Do you know her? I asked after she’d barged in talked crazy and asked them to play a gig, which they quickly turned down.

LEO: “No. She’s a fucking idiot. We hate her the…a disgraceful swearing rant!…she walked in took a can of Red Stripe and went and took some more crack the…more bleeps!”

I guess their beer supply is still an expensive commodity.

Their influences are pretty well in keeping with their fast, punky attitude.

What are they?

CAIMBO: “We all have different influences. They change all the time. Stuff like the Red Hot Chillis, Kings of Leon, Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things, Kooks, Razorlight.”

LEO: “Rolling Stones for their presence. Fat Boy Slim is a lucky bastard ‘Fucking in heaven’. Say fuck as many times as you can in a song.”

Brilliant. We wished them well for the Christmas shindig and Leo promised to throw us his Santa hat. As they emerged onto stage at Cambridge’s second largest venue, The Junction, there was no sign of the 24 hour recording fatigue, but they’re only 19 for God’s sake. The show was a quick but perfect live performance in front of an audience who have already turned their Myspace tunes, especially ‘Inside Outside Anyway’ and Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’, into classics. Leo howls his tunes down in a spiky soul filled vocal and the band is already tight and ready for more ears.

We didn’t get that Santa hat; no chance. Caimbo have some hot groupies.

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