Friday, 16 May 2014

Mr Shiraz (Interview)

Awesome punk rock and metal from a lovely bunch of idiots called Mr Shiraz.

I've known these guys (and girl) a while now, some of my very early bands played with them almost 15 years ago, and they've always been rad people to know and hang out with. I'd lost touch with them over the last couple of years, so it was a pleasent suprise to find vocalist Mikey Shiraz as ring announcer for Tidal Wrestling, and he told me to check out their latest EP 'God Hates Mr Shiraz' on Bandcamp - totally glad I did. Four tracks of blistering, angry, energetic punk rock/metal crossover, with lyrics poking at religion, and praising classic 80s action films (my favourite type of movie), the title track alone ('Good Ol Jack Burton') just makes me want to watch Big Trouble In Little China for the millionth time... Really well produced, and meaty as fuck, headbanging riffs and full throttle beats collide on this EP, and after the first two tracks have whipped you into a frenzy thats made you smash your room up, they slow things down for track 3 ('I Like It') but still manage to encompass the energy & urgency of the earlier tracks, but with a more steady pace and a more complex structure. The final track flips back to their skateboard thrashing, headbanging, beer drinking mayhem and rounds off the EP nicely. And to top it all off, it's free too (or pay as much as you want when you download it) and its available right here on their Bandcamp page to download or stream - Mr Shiraz Bandcamp

1: You’ve been on the go for a long time (I’m pretty sure you played with my first band The Write Offs back in the 90s), when did you first start up the band, and why the hell haven't you given up yet?
The first ever Mr Shiraz gig was December 1st 1999 at Josephs Well in Leeds. The reason we are still doing this? I just love it, I truly adore just getting in a van going to somewhere different and playing these songs, with these people. Being in a band is rad! I guess we maybe should have changed our name many times over the years what with the changes in line-up and sound but thats only a minor thing.

2: When you first started you were a straight up ska-punk band, now your sound has evolved into that of straight up metal. Did this come by accident with the numerous line-up changes, or was it a concious decision? Who are the original members of the band, and who’s joined since then? Is the new sound a fun poke at metal, or is it something you want to continue with?
I wouldn't say we were ever really straight-up ska/punk and I still think we are a long way from 'metal', I like to say we are a punk rock band who likes to throw in big riffs. In the ska days we always had a little schizophrenic edge, songs would go off on a tangent into something really off kilter, I like to think we still do that.
It was never a straight up conscious decision to change sound either. A lot has to do with members leaving I guess, that and getting older your music tastes change. From the very original line-up there is only me and Tori left standing which is cool with me as it was us two who started this. Tim joined 9 years ago. Iain(drummer) and Sam (rhythm guitar). both joined at different parts of last year.
With members coming and going there was a steady evolution taking part but last year there was a big change. Rob, our original drummer, had to leave due to illness which gutted us, also we lost Karl the guitarist who had taken over original guitarist Fonts (although Fonts came back for a few months when Karl left haha). We felt it would be wrong to keep playing these same songs we played with those guys. We didn't want the new members to feel like they were there as like session musicians so we decided to hit the reset button. Drop all our old songs and write a whole new set.
It was the best thing we have ever done. It lifted a great weight of our shoulders and for the first time in many, many years we felt like a band again. All writing together, listening to each others ideas and this created a new hunger to start going out and playing again and showing people that we are pretty fucking rad! haha. I honestly believe we are now creating the best tunes we have ever done.

3: What have Mr Shiraz got up their sleeves for the next year or so?
I just love gigging man. Surely that is the reason people join bands. Fuck fame, money and all that shit. I want to gig and hopefully people come watch and enjoy us. So lots of gigs, we just released a new EP - 'God Hates Mr Shiraz'. Now we are off back in to record the follow up. It was 7 years between the release of our first and second albums so now i want a constant barrage of stuff coming out. Like I said I think these are the best tunes we've ever done and we have a shit-ton to let people here so expect a lot more of these EPs.

4: The classic ‘My God Can Beat Up Your God’ question: With which people would you like to drink, fight & fuck?
Now that is a question. I'm gonna say Ryan Reynolds for all three. I mean have you seen those eyes! They are so kind and friendly. My girlfriend doesn't understand this weird obsession I have with the dude, I think he just seems like a good, genuine dude. So i'd drink with Van Wilder Ryan reynolds, have a fight with him so I can say I had battled with 'Deadpool' and then fuck him like he fucked the Green Lantern. Did you see that film? Such bollocks. That CGI suit was an embarrassment. The only thing that got me through were his kind eyes.

5: If you had a time machine, where would you go, and what would you do?
These questions just got hard. I could be all deep and gallant and say something about stopping a war or some terrible historical event but that would be bullshit. I'd prefer to mess about with people. Go way back and be some Nostradamus type, predict all this stuff that will actually happen and then say the second coming will arrive on a certain date, dressed in a certain way, people will see that this historical figure predicted all these future events with such accuracy so they begin to believe this second coming prediction. The day they arrive at the place they see me stood dressed exactly how was predicted, with my left bollock hanging out. Awesome.

6: You (Mikey) also promote shows, how long have you been doing that, and how did you get into it? Who’ve been your favourite bands, or gigs you’ve put on? What would be your dream line up?
I've been doing this for 9 years now, totally fell into it, I was working in a rock bar and friends in bands would get hold of me asking me to put their band on, I thought what the hell. I knew how shitty bands in the UK got treated so I decided i wanted to do it different and treat the bands well. It worked well as I have been able to get some ridiculous bands who are far too big for the tiny place I book for. Some of my favourites have been Voodoo Glow Skulls, Agent Orange, MDC, Wheatus (not because they were good just to see everyone shocked that they were gonna play, they weren't great haha), Souls Of Mischief, Akil from Jurassic 5. So so so so many, i've somehow just booked The Bronx to play their smallest gig ever! Which is amazing as they are the best band in the world right now.
Dream line-up would be Faith No More, Deftones, The Bronx, NWA, Fugazi, Suicidal Tendencies, Mr Shiraz, i'll also put Write Offs and Mafia Vs Ninja in there haha.

7: And you’re also the ring announcer for Tidal Wrestling. Who’s your favourite wrestlers, and what would be your dream match? Who’s been impressing you at Tidal so far?
Tidal is amazing! Wrestling wise i've been a WWF/WWE fan since I was a kid and was always a Warrior fan + Bret Hart + Stone Cold. CM Punk, love the Shield and the Wyatts at the moment Tidal though, jesus! these guys can go. I've been to a lot of WWE events, my girlfriend and I even went to Wrestlemania last year but what happens in the ring, nothing touches the Tidal guys. Just unbelievable. I hope the promotion just grows and grows. Favourite match I think was Rampage Brown Vs Dave Mastiff. It wasn't the most technical fight ever but it was just brutal. It was a fight!

8: Any last words, shout outs, death threats or parting words of wisdom? And to finish - What are your 5 favourite, most played, influential or current records you play at home?
Yeah! Please come see us play, listen to us, etc, we are good people. Never anger KISS fans they are fucking mental, go see Tidal Wrestling.

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