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(added May 2007)
INTERVIEW WITH KENNY MITCHELL
( FRONT MAN OF THE TERMITES )
made by Wildhank
Firstly tell us something about The Termites. When and how was the band formed?
We were school friends bored with working class life in a working class town
with nothing to do. We met thru being in the psycho scene. A whole new world
opened up to us. We were too young for punk, bored of 80's crap music.
Psychobilly was OUR punk. A new music scene that we could experience fresh from day one. We liked it and wanted to make our own version of it. We all lived near each other and simply decided to start a band. We rehearsed in my
parents garage, even after we had a record deal. All the kids we knew would come round, drink beer and cheap wine, hang out and listen to us. Never any chicks tho. We didnīt get chicks till later on. Everyone was always scared of us, hah! We were a rowdy bunch with a bad rep. Still canīt shake it off till this day, hah! Once we set our bass player on
fire to cheer ourselves up. We hung him as well. We set fire to a lot of people back then! Allegedly....?
Is there a special story about the band name? Where did it come from?
The Termite is the most destructive creature on earth! It destroys everything
in its path. Seemed to fit the way we were living at the time and somewhat still
do to this day, well for some of us its exactly the same. the anger never burns
out, not in this world we live in.
Wanky musician answer would be that we want to destroy the music scene as it is and rebuild it our way! Or we love Buddy Holly but the "Crickets" didn't sound tough enough! LOL, we hate the Beatles! Termites eat Beatles!.....Do they? Yeah...shut it!
The first record appearances were on the compilation albums Gypsy Girl and Psycho Tendencies. How did that happen?
We simply sent demos in and the companies liked them. We had a good reputation from live shows and they were released. We were 14,15 and 16 years old when we did those songs!
The band released a four track EP on Raucous in 1989 and received much more attention with the release of Overload about a year later. All of a sudden it was all over. Why did the band split up?
We ended up not being able to be in the same room without a fight breaking
out! We are all best of friends now. The original guys back together without the
ego's or teenage hang ups. It was different back then tho, in my opinion we were
young and naive. We were troubled kids with real bad tempers and quite violent.
There was actual punch ups quite often with blood being spilled. We were all
starting to hate each other.
The band was my life. I wanted us to travel the world, do all the rock n roll things you dream of as a kid. Escape working class life and being unemployed and pretty much unemployable. We were doing it on a small scale but that wasn't enough for me. Some members obviously saw it as more of a hobby, quite safe. Once we got the record deal and got all the offers to go around the world, it was no longer "safe" for them, this was the real deal. They bailed out one by one, just as we were exactly where I always wanted to be, I felt they had taken it away from me, spoiled my dream. I wanted to kill them and probably would have but we never met for years. They had their reasons, but we could've done it all if they had just stayed. So here I am with all these gig offers and no band, right after the album "overload" came out! It took a while to get new members and learn the whole set, by which time the interest in the band was dying down, obviously because we released an album then disappeared. We got back up there tho and had a good following and good gigs. But by this time we all had succumbed to the excesses of rock n roll. Members would come and go and at one point I was the only original member. There was more in band fights. Eventually it all fell apart due to members being too wasted to play live or even rehearse. There would be arguments and punch ups at every rehearsal. I couldn't find any
replacements. I tried to keep it going but it was a half assed version of a real good band, so it ended beyond my control and it killed me.
The Termites finally reformed in 2005. How did you guys reconvene? Please introduce the lineup.
Itīs the original line up: Kenny, Bally, Ewin
and now Matt on slap bass and Johnny fiiddles on
fiddle on some songs!
We were all in the same part of the world for the 1st time since we split. Time is a great healer and we no longer held grudges. we started meeting up again for beers etc. It seemed stupid not to start the band again. We like to call it a relapse rather than a reform as there never was a real split, just everyone going off on there own journey for a while and some of us were out of the country and some out of there minds for a few years!
The band also signed a new record deal with Crazy Love Records. Can you tell us something about the new album?
Itīs all original songs. A few were written right after Overload but most are brand new, written in the last year. Itīs an amazing album and the songs are all powerful, no fillers. We still have the violent angry sound but have progressed as musicians so its so much better quality. We don't sing about zombies or horror. Our songs are about stuff that happens to us, everyday stuff, life! I vent my anger thru the band. Some songs are pure fictional short stories from the scary parts of my mind, other songs are autobiographical. Let the people decide which is which. Itīs not a million miles from Overload! Real old school but in the present day, you cant ask for more than that! Can you? NO! Should be finished recording it July 2007.
The Termites were/ are one of a handful of popular Psychobilly related outfits that hailed from Scotland. Please tell us a little bit more about the Scottish scene.
It thrived in the 80's. You couldn't walk 3 feet without seeing a Psychobilly. Gigs were always well attended. The bands didn't communicate much with each other tho. Seemed more like rivalry to be honest. It was a very violent music scene up here. All the big names would play on a regular basis. We played alongside all the bands. You could put on a gig on a Monday afternoon and it would still be filled with a great crowd always wreckin to the end. best days off my life!
Speaking of the Scottish scene. How did you get into the " Psychobilly " thing?
Cos of the Meteors!
What are your Top 5 bands ?
Don't have top bands. Like too much stuff to categorize it! Like everything from old yodel/country, thru to original rockabilly, rock n roll right to new USA psycho bands! And all in between.
And whatīs your favourite brand of beer?
We are Scottish! We drink "ALL" types of beer....and whiskey and vodka and rum and tequila and wine and turpentine and gasoline and...........................................
You and Ewin also had an appearance on the documentary Psychobilly- Behind The Music. How did it happen?
Bally was on it as well. that was us in the tough part of town where we grew
up and right outside the shops where we used to hang out and get into trouble
etc. That's right where a lot of the songs on Overload were written
about. It was very strange goin back there. We got on the DVD thru being on Cherry
Red and I had been talkin to Alan Wilson a lot at the time. So
we did a bit for it thru him.
We will be touring to support the release of our new album. we are in talks right now about goin to the USA. We are doin Callela this year. Any promoters etc want to contact us.... TERMITES.
THE TERMITES MYSPACE