In Rehearsal With the Duel

Know Your Product

In Rehearsal With the Duel

Walking down Denmark Street on a cold January Morning, I get to thinking that 30 years ago I may have crossed paths with 4 young London lads known as the Sex Pistols. Today I am going into the Studio with another London band, who may not of even got together if it wasn't for those lads 30 years ago. This band is called the Duel and they have invited me into their Rehearsals as they prepare for their upcoming tour.

Like many rehearsal rooms this is no different. Smokey, well used and has obviously seen better days. This is in complete opposition to what this room is witnessing today, a band at the peak of their powers preparing to bring their take on Punk to England and Europe. Peppe (guitarist) tells me how he enjoys playing with the Duel "of all the bands I have played in, it is the Duel that really is the only band I wanna play in", Jas (guitarist) agrees "it always amazes me, no matter how long we are apart from playing together, as soon as we start playing we are the Duel."

This is not news to Tara and Andy who have been the core of the band since they began playing together since 1998 (?) Tara (vocals / lyrics): "within the first hour of meeting we were sitting down making music /writing songs" Andy (bass / music) "usually with a bottle of vodka i will come out with a baseline or somethin, Tara will start scribbling." The manner in which they write, whether it is unusual or not is of less importance then what results, and that is what makes the Duel unique in todayís throw away world of the instantly forgettable product of the current music business. Punk was never about business, production values or even technical aptitude it is about substance. Tara "punk means freedom to me, an attitude - donít have to try and be anyone but myself." Andy adds "punk is all those bands that had their totally unique sound and message usually very personal to the people making the music." A stand out track for me is "Camden Town", on the face of it this song is talking about the band's backyard, Camden Town, London. But in reality this song could be named after any big city anywhere in the world Jas: "Camden Town relates to everyone pretty much, just makes more sense to sing Camden Town and not Toronto". Tara continues "this world is in a mess, and it really saddens me that we made it that way. My writing reflects how I feel." But Punk as well as anything else has to develop in order to maintain it's relevance Tara "I LOVE the fact too that it has evolved, this and a lot of other things wouldnít have changed or began if it werenít for punk."

In a recent comment on the Duel's MySpace, Jeff Magnum (Bass Player from the Dead Boys) was very complementary of the Duel's cover of the Dead Boys "Aint it Fun" on their self produced album "Let's Finish What We Started". He actually commented that it was the best version he had heard. You can't argue with that, and listening to them doing it live in rehearsal I was in no doubt that this is a song they have made their own, especially Tara's added lyric, which actually makes the whole track so personal to the band as if they had written it themselves. Tara "Jeff loving our version meant a lot, we love Stiv, love the Dead Boys - total respect."

The sound on their album owes a lot to the contribution made by Paul Laventhol (founder member of King Kurt), in fact it is the contribution of the whole band on the album that is special to Tara "all had an important contribution to make" she continued "when Paul was no longer able to do live shows we were gutted...but we had a happy accident hooking up with Jas - he's been a mate for a while and am glad that he is now part of us." So it is this line-up Tara (vocals / lyrics), Andy (Bass / music), Peppe (guitars), Jas (guitars) and Ed (Drums) that the Duel are taking on the road. They take all the ingredients that we call Punk and add their special take on it. This is what makes the Duel special and relevant to 2007 and why venues are so keen to put them on, they, like me, know something special is going to happen this year, the 30th anniversary of Punk and at the heart of it are the Duel - London based Punk Rock n Roll at it's best.

CD available via the Duel website:

FFRUK: Online punk record label promoting music, selling CDs and merchandise for electronic and punk rock music:

Tara supports the work of Release, an independent drugs charity providing services to meet the needs of drug users:

OldPunkGit -

  • Duel Dates:
  • Feb 9 The Man On The Moon Cambridge
  • Feb 10 The Racehorse Northampton, Midlands
  • Feb 21 - Feb 24 Finland Tour
  • Mar 9 Fiddlers Elbow, London
  • Mar 11 The Railway Inn Winchester
  • Mar 15 Rockers Live, Taunton
  • Mar 17 1 in 12 bar Bradford, Northwest
  • Mar 20-Apr 2 Peppe Away - No Gigs
  • Mar 23 Red Room @ Comedy Pub
  • Apr 6 Irish Centre Milton keynes
  • Apr 11 Hope and Anchor, London
  • Apr 13 The Axe & Cleaver Lincolnshire
  • Apr 28 Old Kings Head London
  • May 5 1 day festival tba
  • May 17 - 27 Holland tour tbc
  • Jun 8 Zulus @ the Kings Head London
  • Aug 3 Snooty Fox Wakefield Yorkshire
  • Aug 9 2007 REBELLION UK 2007 FESTIVAL
Old Punk Git – tMx 28 – 01/07
Contact: - Writing About Music Is Like Dancing To Architecture