The Cherry Reds – Cry Havoc
The Cherry Reds – Cry Havoc

When the latest Cherry Reds EP (‘Cry Havoc’ – Sneetch 003) dropped onto my desk the other week I was suddenly beside myself with unbridled joy. ‘Last Show On Earth’, ‘Little England’ & ‘Future Inc’ were among the best guitar drenched shots at greatness I’d personally heard from a British rock n roll group for – mmm - hours. Days, possibly. Taught, sinewy & doused in promise, The Cherry Reds have it all in spades (the power of The Clash, the angular anger of early Theatre Of Hate, the moral conviction of Crass & the backing vocals of your average football crowd).

Now, as regular readers will know, I don’t stick my head up above trench level & shout ‘The New Clash’ quite as often as some periodicals shout ‘best new band in Britain’ (Hello, NME) or ‘the new Bob Dylan’ (Wotcha, Mojo) – but The Cherry Reds, & ‘Cry Havoc’ particularly, is the fucking business. MAKE. NO. MISTAKE.

The Cherry Reds are out there NOW - treading the boards of London Town & beyond - along with the likes of The Phobics, Police And Thieves & The Priscillas. I want to see you lot down there in the front row supporting this wave instead of surfing it. Burn baby, burn. Burn with conviction!

trakMARX - The Cherry Reds formed in London Town 6 years ago. How did it all come together?

It's probably been 7-odd years seriously and gigging, but Dan and Paul originally formed the band at school in a science class. The first lyrics were written in RE, and the music on pots and pans. Some might say we have not developed much over the years ..! Neil joined in early '98 and current bassist, Nick, last year. We have been slogging away gigging and recording ever since.

trakMARX - 6 years is way longer than most two bit groups last these days. Are The Cherry Reds in it for the long haul?

We're still enjoying it, so see no reason to stop ... the world still throws up stuff to write about and we remain confident that we will get the chance to stick a boot back into the world ... and there's always someone willing to put us on!

trakMARX - I presume the group name is a Doc Martin reference. Are you 9, 12, 18 or 48 hole boys?

Dan was 12 - now 9, Neil was 18 - now comfy slippers. Paul like Dr. Marten shoes. Nick likes Dr. Scholl sandals.

trakMARX - How have you felt watching the rest of the world grabbing at the kind of music you've loved for years & actually getting paid for it?

Fair play if they do it justice and they mean it ... but fake or punk-by-numbers stuff really turns our stomachs.

trakMARX - Who inspires The Cherry Reds?

The Clash (obviously!) .... loads of bands. A brief straw poll suggested -

Dan: Who, Kinks, Carter, Rolling Stones, Smiths, Therapy?

Neil: Operation Ivy, Spermbirds, Pixies, Jam.

Paul: Nirvana, Aerosmith, Eminem, Green Day, Duran Duran.

(STOP PRESS: Another straw poll suggests you shouldn't believe a word Paul says)

trakMARX - You sound like you care very much. What do you care about?

All: Football

Neil: Ladeez

Nick: I believe that children are the future.

Danny: Finding your own path, making your own mind up. Not being swayed by reactionary press, or by image and no substance.

trakMARX - You already released a raft of stuff on Sneetch Records? Is the independent path the way of The Cherry Reds?

Lacking any alternative, we proudly cling to our independence!

trakMARX - Your press so far has nailed suspects as divergent as S*M*A*S*H, These Animal Men, Culture Shock, Carter USM (??), The Pistols & The Clash as templates for that Cherry Red sound. Any substance to these claims?

Our influences are fairly diverse (as illustrated above – continuity Ed).... and certainly half of us do really like Carter! Political, social, great lyrics and blatant musical thievery - we can all aspire to that (except the shit haircuts, with which we are already cursed!)! We realised a while back that our continual common ground is the Clash. They looked cool, sounded hard, wrote top lyrics, were politically spot on and were probably one of the best live bands ever seen.

trakMARX - "Little England" reminded me of The Pack. Are you admirers of Kirk Brandon's work?

Sorry for our ignorance, but we're not really knowledgeable of his stuff.

trakMARX - You've played out extensively throughout the UK for the last few years. What's been the highlight so far?

Being appreciated. Covering petrol costs occasionally! Reclaim the Streets in '98 was fun (loads of crustys storming Brixton High street with flags and bongos, and us tagging along in our suits and spikey haircuts) ... and playing with The Phobics in dodgy SE London boozers.

trakMARX - The Cherry Reds, Police And Thieves, The Phobics, The Priscillas - London is in danger of becoming exciting again. Do you think it will catch on?

There are always exciting bands .. every where, in every town. People just need to look for them themselves rather than waiting to be told what to listen to, or what the next big thing is. If we can be a part of something...a movement or sound, whatever...that would be cool - but bands like Police and Thieves/The Priscillas/The Phobics are good in their own right without anybody tagging along. Hype and all that shite leads to record companies signing up any old shit. Having said that, it is nice to play with people on the same wavelength as you rather than going on between an acoustic folk duo and a funk junk 10-piece load of bollocks.

trakMARX - What plans have The Cherry Reds got for the next couple of months & what's the best route for punters to take for some serious Cherry Red action?

We have actually taken a few weeks off to write and practice tracks for (hopefully) a new single soon. We are back playing regularly as from May.

Jean Encoule – tMx 14 – 04/04

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