Police And Thieves – Fair Cop
I first caught Police And Thieves supporting The Star Spangles in Oxford last year. Sadly, Id already missed most of their set by the time I arrived – but that didnt stop me considering the implications of their name for a while: surely, any group who name (pressure) drop The Clash are worth checking out? Damn right. Maybe Im just showing my age by worrying what a group calls itself – but Ive always believed that: crap name = crap group.
Obviously, Police And Thieves are NOT crap – in fact theyre the exact opposite – very, very good indeed! Thats why Howard Thompson (The Star Spangles manager) has taken them under his umbrella. Thats why were telling you lot about them.
Police And Thieves are part Mod, part Punk & part Power Pop (thankfully there are no chimps involved). The singer (Sharpy) has eaten some large chunks of Jello Biafra, which he regurgitates occasionally whilst spitting out P&Ts razor sliced melodies with engaging self-belief. The guitars (Chris) are all present & correct – theyve learnt many of the lessons of the last 25 years off by heart – inventive, convincing & affecting. The bass (Warren) & drums (Wulfman) ride shotgun at the back, covering their brothers with rapid-fire rhythm & rocket-fuelled propulsion.
Police And Thieves current demo was recorded nearly 12 months ago at Southern Studios. The group claim to have moved on considerably in the interim but the results are impressive, nonetheless. Featuring stage favourites, ‘Time For Was’, ‘Study Of Terror’, ‘On & On’ & ‘She Sounded Frightened On The Phone’, the recordings have all the hallmarks of a combo destined to hang around for more that a while.
Marquee Smith, knowing a good thing when he hears one, sought out Police And Thieves for your exclusive benefit & brings you the chat below with love:
trakMARX - How & when did it all kick off for Police And Thieves?
Ha we weren't aware it had. We'd appreciate it if you let us know when it has!
trakMARX - What's in a name: homage - relevance by association. Something entirely different?
All that and more i guess. We had the name police and thieves long before we had a full 'band', before we moved to london even. Remember, this was pre joe strummers death when no one gave a fuck about the clash.
Yeah, i think we wanted to be associated with something we thought stood for
greatness. Now there's a million and one clash rip-offs, we were the first clash rip-offs of our generation ha ha!
trakMARX - A unsubtle blend of Mod & Punk - is how one hack has described you - how would you describe yourselves?
Four lovely young boys - thats what my nan calls us, too.
trakMARX - You played out with the mighty Star Spangles last year - how did that come off/go down?
Well obviously it was nice to show off in front of our my buddies. They knew us before they'd ever heard us or seen us play you see, so they probably thought we were gonna suck, but let us play anyway 'cause we were cool. Turns out that we're pretty good, and now they love us forever. We're one big happy family. It’s like a cartoon hanging out with them, they're such characters. They're totally misunderstood in the press - but then the press dont really like the real deal do they? It scares 'em.
trakMARX - The Spangles manager (living legend, Mr Howard Thompson) was so impressed he's now your manager – how does THAT feel?
All i can say is how the mighty have fallen.
trakMARX - We've heard rumours of a debut 45 before the year is out. Who are you talking to & when will it happen?
Your guess is better than ours.
trakMARX - You were personally invited to play Leee Black Childers/Jayne County's birthday party in NYC in 2003. That's some booking - what went down?
Tommy Volume Probably Instigated This One, I Think. He Put Warrren On The Phone To Leee Last Year, And They Got Talking About The Spangles' First Gig (Which Was At Leeee&Rsquo;S Party About 6 Years Ago). Anyway, It Turns Out That Leeeee&Rsquo;S Birthday Is The Same Day As Warrrren&Rsquo;S - 24th July So Leeeeee Says We Should Go Out For The Party, And Warrrrren Says We'll Play It, And We Did! Daniel Rey Did Our Sound That Night Too, So Fucking Cool.
trakMARX - How important is Old Skool recognition to Police And Thieves?
Well its nice an all that, but its more important for us to convert new disciples to the church of rock and roll than to preach to the converted.
trakMARX - Are there any decent teachers currently working in the New Skool?
A few, more than there were a few years ago at any rate. You know who they are: the parkinsons, the libertines, the star spangles. Check out the exploding hearts - tragic story, great fucking power pop punk.
trakMARX - How do Police And Thieves apply the legacy of the Old Skool to the new sounds they create?
Ha, they rip everyone off like every other fucker in history! No,seriously, we just try and write stuff thats as good as the stuff we listen to really - we'll get there soon
trakMARX - Who would be in Police And Thieves 'FantasyPunk Rock Group' (for this):
The singer names the singer, the gtr player names the gtr player, the bass player names the bass player... and the drummer foams at the mouth speaking in tongues whilst we name Rat Scabies the drummer de facto! You then collectively & democratically chose a 'Team Name' & we're away with the mixer (to make up the rules as we go along).
SINGER - ELVIS COSTELLO
GUITAR - JOHN LEE HOOKER
BASS - BRUCE FOXTON
DRUMS - TOPPER (SORRY RAT)
They'd be a really fast blues band, not that punk, but theyd be cool, and theyd be called 'elvis and the hookers'
trakMARX - Do you think most groups today are trying to talk it before they can walk it?
We wouldnt know about that - they're all fucking fakes though, but if you cant see they're fake then i guess you get what you deserve.
trakMARX - Have Police And Thieves served their apprenticeship yet?
Warrens brother did one of them. He's a chef now. Thats not what they're on about is it? Sharpys dads a pannel beater. Rippers a wife beater. Ha ha.
trakMARX - Is there a place for politics in rock n roll?
There is, but not here, we've got enough fuking politics of our own!
trakMARX - Any particular issues you'd collectively like to flag up?
Kleenex? Wulfman says they dont stick to you like other tissues.
trakMARX - With the debut 45 coming along, what would be the ideal label scenario scam for the debut LP to appear on (wish list)?
We dont understand the question. Yeah we do, i like stiff records. What about sire, we could be the replacement replacements!
trakMARX - What's happening in the near future?
All our gigs are on our website:
ITS ALL THATS UP AT THE MOMENT, BUT IT SHOULD BE FINISHED SOON. YOU CAN ALWAYS E MAIL US AT:
Marquee Smith – tMx 14 – 04/04