Yes, aging punk bands do occasionally get sidetracked by day jobs, families, other bands, but the good ones—the ones that can still draw a crowd and bring along a whole new generation of fans—always seem to find their way back to the stage or the recording studio.
In the case of U.K. greats Snuff, thankfully, they’ve managed to find their way back to both places, with a brand new full-length album just released and some summer festival dates lined up later this year.
It’s been almost a decade since we last had a complete album of new studio tracks from these often eclectic, always brilliant punk rockers, but schedules have finally cleared up enough to allow the lads to get together once more to record their latest, 5-4-3-2-1-Perhaps?
Singer/drummer Duncan Redmonds put down the ping pong paddle (sorry, table tennis paddle) long enough to answer some questions via e-mail.
Innocent Words: What have you guys been up to between the last album and this one?
Duncan Redmonds: Since the last album the chaps have been busy with jobs, family and music. My family has grown to a very noisy four kid’s house, and I’ve been constantly busy with music. I’ve been working on various solo projects, “Bubble and Squeak,” where I collaborated with friends I’d met through playing with Snuff, also “Billy no mates”, where I’ve recorded four albums and played live with bands made of local musicians around the world (Global Billy mwuuuuuuuuaahahahaha!). I have done two covers albums as Duncan’s Divas, doing a mixture of Japanese and Western covers of female artists. Since 2007 I started doing acoustic gigs and have recorded a bunch of songs. I have a techno weird thing called Bonzer and a folk/punk/nonsense bad called 5 Shitty Fingers where I play fiddle badly. I’ve started doing sing-along gigs too as Barry’s Band. Everyone loves a singsong! Not to mention drumming in the Toy Dolls since 2006 and recently recording a new album with them. Music, music, music and table tennis.
IW: Did the band break up, or did you always intend to write and record a new record?
Redmonds: We never properly split. It just got to a point in 2004 where we had to take a break. That break stretched to four years. Really, we came back to do it for fun; we never really had any long term goals. We did work on new songs and in 2011 recorded again for the first time in seven years, first with Japanese artist Tamurapan on one of her songs, then a tour EP for Japan with four new originals and four covers. We were planning to re-record the originals for release with one or two more as an EP, but at the last moment it filled up to an album, so we were happily surprised.
IW: Any new members with this outing?
Redmonds: In 2008 we got back together as the 1997 line up: a five-piece with me, Loz, Lee Erinmez, Lee Murphy and David Redmonds on trombone. Sadly, Dave had to bail out in early 2011, and we got new boy Oli in since then. We have recorded some songs with Lee Murphy on second guitar, and also, one song from the album was Lee E. on drums, Lee M. on bass, Loz on guitar and me on vocals, and we do this live, so it’s moved on a bit.
IW: When you were working on this new record, any doubts that it might not be as great as it turned out to be?
Redmonds: To be honest, we didn’t think that deeply about anything other than trying to make it as good as possible. We recorded the album with money from a Japanese tour and never really expected it to have a proper release. It was for us. With the way things are on the industry side you have to expect to lose money on a recording, the fact CR Japan and Fat [Wreck Chords] picked it up was a lovely bonus.
IW: How easy was the writing and recording process for this one? Did you have a lot of pent up songs ready to go, or were you starting from scratch?
Redmonds: The recording process was easy for this album and a joy. We all had a few ideas, put in plenty of time on sofa rehearsals, then rehearsed the songs up loud, then recorded as live as possible, put vocals on after, then mixed in a few days.
IW: Since you started touring again after that Fest appearance, have you noticed a new generation of fans?
Redmonds: We started touring again in 2008, but it is always part time, never full time these days, so we don’t get to play everywhere we want to. Yes, there are plenty of middle aged, grey, tubby, non-voluntary skinheads at gigs these days, but also plenty of new young faces coming through. And some of them are babies we knew decades ago. That is always the most shocking, “You remember that baby, well, here he is and he needs an XL t-shirt, please!”
IW: What’s next for the band?
Redmonds: Schedules don’t allow us to get back to Snuff full time, but we plan to carry on as is doing gigs and record where we can. We have a few festivals lined up for the summer and will get some other gigs in if we can. And we plan to record another EP. We have a few new songs already on the go and are planning sofa bashes and rehearsals as we speak. Who knows, maybe it will grow to an album? In fact I’m off to Loz’s for some mini pong and some work on the ‘Bra’ Bob’ song now. Oi! Oi!
IW: Well, that’s all the questions I have. Want to add anything?
Redmonds: The only other thing to say is to throw down a table tennis challenge. If you want us to come to your town you will have an advantage if you try to lure us in with a table tennis tournament, at which time Snuff will destroy you. Just saying!