In Bristol's oldest pub, The Hatchet, R13 meets up with Sean Stanley[vocals], Steve Ward [guitar], Dave Briggs [keys], Pete Dalton [bass] and Rich Swatton [drums] collectively known as the Shmir to find out a bit about the band and the upcoming Sleazefest.

R13:Hello. Please introduce yourselves and explain how the band came to be...
PD:I'm Pete, I'm the bass man. I met this muppet [Dave] in Croydon and we started doing a bit of music together.
DB:I'm Dave. Keyboard, backing vocals and general sort of mayhem. Moved here and met up with Sean and we started kicking things off. Pete joined us and the everybody just joined in.

R13:Has the line up been stable or have there been many changes?
SS:We've had a few.
RS:The four of us have been together for about five years, Steve's been with us for about two and a half.
SW:Found an ad in the back of the Sport! Nah, found an ad in the paper and joined up. We've been gigging for about two years.
SS:Two years? [looks surprised]

R13:What motivates you to keep the band going?
SS:Determination, I suppose.
DB:Yeah it is, isn't it.
SS:We thought wouldn't it be cool to have a band and someone one day made the mistake of telling us we were quite good.
PD:It first started because Dave's brother was putting on a charity show in London. He asked Dave to get a band together to play and that was our debut gig.
RS:We took a step back and recorded a studio album that had eight or nine people recording on it. Then Steve came in and we started it as a live band.
SW:There was a gig booked at the Academy [Bristol] the week I joined but I couldn't learn it all in that time. We booked another gig in Swindon and that was still fuck all time, about six weeks. So I had to learn everything and we wrote a couple of new songs as well. We kind of got noticed then by people who were there to see other bands and it basically went from strength to strength. We gigged Bristol hard for about a year.
DB:Too bloody hard.
PD:You get a lot of cover bands in Bristol and most pubs are not expecting your own music. We come out with our own songs and it's taken a while to build up a fan base.
SW:We did a few gigs around the UK, coinciding our tour with a massive cock rock scene. We teamed up with a promotion company called The Riot. We're trying not to play Bristol too much as we could put in half the effort of doing a Bristol gig on about half a dozen gigs and have them twice as packed round the country. At the moment a couple of people are interested in backing the band, financially interested and pushing us to tour more, possibly some dates in the States. We've also got a really well known name that's offered...[looks to Sean] Well have they offered the endorsement deal yet or are we still in talks with them?
SS:We're looking like we've got a big backer for our tour next year but we can't say much.
SW:But it suits me down to the ground being a guitarist.
RS:I'm not going to get anything. I can have 'The rest of the guys got sponsored and all I got was this lousy t-shirt'.

R13:Who do you style yourselves on?
SW:I'm gonna be brutally honest and say Slash. Sean's into Motley Crue and stuff.
R13:He does look a bit like Vince...
SW:He hasn't got enough tattoos.
SS:It's a hard balance being entertaining, standing out and to be taken seriously as musicians. When we first started out we were very sort of 'glam' and we've worn some atrocious outfits on stage.
DB:It's called a learning curve.
SW:Gold biker boots!!
[laughter as Dave looks embarrassed]
SW:The band are always close together, if there's one in a room when others walk in we kinda magnetise together, but on that instance...[more laughter] I was ready to beat him up.
DB:We've got a bit of a reputation.

R13:Who's would you accuse of being the craziest one in the band?
SS:I'm the sensible one.
SW:The two 'tarts' of the band are Sean and I but looking back at the last fifteen to twenty gigs I'd say we were tying.
DB:There's a lot of playing up and trying to 'out-tart' each other.
SW:Rich has been the straightest of the lot of us. I've been known to wear silver and pink spandex and you [Sean] wore the gold spandex jumpsuit.
SS:I've been known to wear chaps and matching thong. Like Halloween I had red leather chaps and matching thong.
DB:Ones with white fur for Christmas.
SS:A bunny one for Easter with matching ears.
R13:Seasonal then?
SW:He had a sailor outfit as well.
SS:It got to a point where they didn't care about the music, what songs we played as long as I got my arse out, they don't mind and we get our money.
SW:We've just kinda relaxed on the image now.

R13:How did the Sleazefest come about?
ALL:We organised it.
RS:All the time in Bristol we've played gigs where we've paired up with bands that are like Coldplay and emo punk. We've found it so hard to find bands that are similar. So we've gone further afield: Spit Like This from Surrey, Renegade Playboys from London. We played with the latter on tour in Leicester and they're playing with us on Sunday at the Astoria for the Emergenza competition.

R13:There's been word of a Shmir documentry?
SW:In the process.
DB:We've got a lot of film from the tour and the idea was to do a Spinal Tap II.
SW:It's basically life on the road with the band and it's mad! All I can remember of the tour was waking up on the big luxury tour bus, that was fun.
RS:We got sponsorship from Starline Coaches.
SW:It was an association type deal and sponsorship from Cadburys so we had shelter and food, it was great.
RS:Living on chocolate for a week and a half.
SW:The funny thing is everyone said we'd kill ourselves on that tour but it was actually a piece of piss.
RS:You body kind of acclimatises to playing everyday. Basically going on five hours of sleep, it's just wierd.

R13:Which were the best and worst gigs?
SW:Blackpool was the funniest, amazing lighting.
RS:The guy that did the lighting is coming down to do Sleazefest.
SW:We were told that if the crowd hate you they'll throw chairs, tables and bottles. The lighting rig was so powerful you couldn't see a thing and you're playing thinking 'shit a pint glass could come at me at any minute' and that was strange. It turned from being a scary gig to the best we'd ever played.
RS:About two years ago we played the Croft [Bristol] and we all got absolutely bolloxed before going on stage and we were shocking.
DB:We thought we were alright.
RS:We had to calm our drinking down before we went on stage after that.

R13:Has there been trouble at gigs, anyone been arrested?
SW:I've been in a bit of trouble with women.
RS:In Weymouth some squaddies had just come off a navy ship. There was some trouble at soundcheck then it kicked off big time during the support band. Punches going left, right and centre. One guy rugby tackled another guy straight over Steve's set up. We were worried the equipment was going to get out in one piece as this was only the second gig of the tour. Three riot vans were outside in about thirty seconds.
SW:But our fucking big tour bus was in the way and nobody could get through [laughter]. It was one of the highlights of the tour but we had a lot of girls taking the gear in and out and we had to get them out and onto the bus so they didn't get hurt, Rach was seven months pregnant. So we had to get serious for once which was a bit of a shame.

R13:What's been the band's greatest achievement?
SW:Having the place singing back was good.
SS:Especially when you can't remember the words.
RS:I don't know the words anyway I can't hear anything over my kit.
PD:We did a couple of sets the other day, they wanted more and we said okay but all we can do is the same thing again. Once we finished we were having a drink and they put it on the jukebox.
SS:Some people never learn.