On Friday, Hey Bulldog will support the wonderfully idiosyncratic BC Camplight at the Jabez Clegg. I caught up with them fresh from their excellent ‘In the City’ gig last week to find out what they think of the Manchester scene, what they have planned for the future and what’s in the boot of Bobby’s car.
Rob Spencer: So how did you lot come to be Hey Bulldog then?
Rob Manton: I did the first demo, the New York City Blues EP, myself. That was about a year ago and then started advertising for people in, maybe, December of last year. I met Matt through that and we got a drummer straight away too. The EP was selling in a few places like Piccadilly Records and other places around Christmas and it got some good reviews, but none of the drummers ever really fitted in.
Matt Parry: Yeah, they would turn up for a couple of weeks and then leave and then another would turn up for a couple of weeks and then leave.
RM: Yeah, some of them couldn’t really play or some would be agree to practice twice a week and then tell us they can only make once a week or whatever. And then we had another guy, just like a session guy who was a bit older. Really nice fella, but probably never going to be a full time member of the band cos he had a full time job and stuff.
MP: Then he hurt the tendons in his elbow and could never play again! (Sarcastically)
Bobby Shanks Jnr: Then I joined!
MP: Then we got good! (Laughter)
RM: We were actually only without a drummer for a day!
BSJ: Was it a day, fucking hell! I saw the advert on Myspace and…
MP: Bobby missed his first practice cos he couldn’t find the place and he’d lost his mobile!
BSJ: I had to drive home and then drive back again. 140 miles.
MP: We were all pretty impressed by that! (Sarcastically)
RS: You had no pants on was the irony.
BSJ: I had to steal a car. (Laughing)
RS: And there was a corpse in the boot, who fucking knew.
BSJ: Now I’ve got a court case. (Laughing)
RS: In terms of In the City, and especially in light of the recent death of Tony Wilson, what do you think about the whole thing?
MP: It means a lot to us, you know, because he set it up and he means so much to Manchester music. But in terms of thinking about the suits and the deals…
RM: It’s a myth really, unless you know you have someone coming down to see you then it’s just like a normal gig.
MP: It’s fun. We just wanna play.
BSJ: We played the Cavern the other week, and also the Aftershow thing with Badly Drawn Boy.
MP: I mean, not to sound big headed but we were one of the best bands on there.
RM: The last thing we felt was out of place.
MP: It was really great. It was the first time that we were looking out into the crowd and not being able to recognise people, which was a strange feeling but a good feeling too.
RM: But the vibe of In the City is great, it’s like a zoo of bands. You can see something and you won’t really be too sure about it and the next minute, you’re watching something totally amazing. It’s good that it isn’t just the Manchester bands too, there are bands from Brighton, Scotland, all over.
RS: What do you think of the Manchester scene at the moment? Do you associate yourself with it?
MP: Yeah you have to, being from Manchester. Not in the Oasis kind of overblown way but there are so many fantastic up and coming bands coming through at the moment it’s a great thing.
RM: Instant credibility. There aren’t many places that are instantly recognisable in terms of music in the way that Manchester is. It’s good to be a part of that scene.
RS: Who do you look up to in terms of bands?
MP: A Friend of mine said he loves the way we are a power trio like Hendrix. And I’m not saying were anything like Hendrix or anything like that. But we definitely have that power-trio thing going on; the bassist who is like a guitarist, Rob who is an amazing player and Bob who, I’m not just saying this, but he is one of the best drummers I’ve ever met.
RS: Look at Bobby, he’s got a massive rock on! Start the car!
RM: No, that’s all I really wanted: three guys who look pretty cool and can play.
RS: What for the future? Festivals?
RM: We have gigs lined up for a while and we can’t wait to play at Jabez with BC Camplight, which should be good. I think festivals definitely for next year and hopefully get the recording done too.
BSJ: We have some contacts in London looking to get us a few gigs as well
MP: We have a lot of support on the internet and people have started to get behind us.
RM: We want to be a featured band and for people to say that they want to come and see us.
Hey Bulldog are:
Rob Manton (guitar/vocals)
Matt Parry (bass)
Bobby Shanks jnr (drums)
Check them out for yourselves on Friday at Jabez Clegg or go to myspace.com/heybulldogmusic
Pictures by Amanda Glasspell. Check them out at Myspace.com/aegphotos