An Introduction To and Interview With
Some readers may have noticed during my short time so far with The Songbird HQ, that I only write about musicians that I’ve met or gigged with before! That’s because I want to provide honest feedback and autobiographic storytelling about my random ventures and exploits in the UK music scene. The next “review” is a bit of a personal one, me and Jack Sharp, the bassist of Cheap Teeth go back quite a few years to the rainy North of England in the city of Manchester. Needing a rhythm guitarist for a gig at Night People (formerly the famous Twisted Wheel club from which the band of the same name are influenced), Jack Sharp had contacted me through the glorious internet. I learnt the songs in a few weeks time, and next thing I know this lad from Halifax, who had a massive leg brace with screws and wires holding his leg bones together, due to him being involved in an awful hit and run accident near Fallowfield, is jumping around on stage as if nothing’s wrong! This outfit was a different band from the one I’m reviewing today, now he’s a bassist and contributing songwriter to the Edinburgh based group Cheap Teeth. For a brief stint Jack joined my own group, The North by South, on live bass and backing vocals for a few gigs in Manchester at Night People and my regular music nights at The Old Abbey Taphouse in Hulme. His energy on stage is astonishing, jumping, swinging, almost knocking me out a few times with his bass guitar, yet playing in time with enthusiasm and sprinkled chaos. Cheap Teeth’s tracks border on doom-punk with raspy vocals that could be reminiscent of artists like Tom Waits and Iggy Pop. With their relevant dystopian lyrics abound, I can’t wait to see these lads live on stage again. They give off an old school vibe of a smoky dive bar with a garage rock band playing amongst dimmed lights and candlelit bar tables, with whiskey included, of course.
I spoke to Jack last week and here’s what he has to say about their new track “Animal Fat!”
Where/when did you record your recent single?
“We recorded the track last year at Chem 19 in Hamilton (Glasgow). It was recorded by our dear friend and Catholic Action front man Chris McCrory. He recorded our last EP and we just have a really good working relationship. Everything we’ve recorded with him since has been completely analogue, including animal fat, which was recorded August 2020.”
When did you join the group?
“I joined Cheap Teeth in 2018, I think!”
How’s the lockdown affected the band and your creative output?
“Lockdown has had its ups and downs. I suppose we were lucky in the sense that we had the EP recorded and ready to release when the pandemic initially hit last year. It’s also been lucky that we have been able to practice a fair bit and get in the studio during the past year to record animal fat. We obviously count our blessings that we’re (relatively) fit and healthy all things considered as well.”
Any live gigs coming up that we can expect in the next few months?
“We have been in the process of booking live shows again finally. It’s been a sad year of watching live arts suffer from our sofas, but even though it’s hard to get our hopes up, it’s looking like that could all be behind us by the summer. That said I’m not sure which our first gig back will be, but you can definitely expect to see us in the summer. We’re hoping to book a fair few dates around the time that we’re playing city festivals like Stag and Dagger. I am also happy to say we’re playing Halifax, as it will be nice for me and Joe to play our hometown.”
New releases fans and the music scene should be aware of?
“Yeah, we have a nice backlog of tape that we’ve accumulated now, which takes the pressure off a tad because we know it’s there. We have a loose plan which is to make sure it’s all released this year; it will be exciting to see what form that ends up taking.”
Your recent single “Animal Fat”, I was really intrigued by its title, what is it exactly referring to?
“When me and Joe were playing with the lyrics, I remember just straight up asking him what the song is about. He replied, “I think it’s about a guy who wants to turn into a computer”. I remember being very happy with his answer. From there we made the lyrics that didn’t fit that profile do so. We just thought it was a really solid and relevant subject, so there’s a lot of references to technology and reclusiveness, starvation etc… It’s all a third person narrative though. None of us fancy ditching our animal fat for keypads and microchips.”
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Words by Chris Humphries