Room Thirteen catch up with Strawberry Blondes main man Mickie Stabbs who was happy to tell us a little bit more about the Welsh Punk Rockers and their outlook on life.

R13: You’ve been touring with the likes of The Rainman Suite, Street Dogs and currently The Buzzcocks, so how is it all going?
Mickie Stabbs: Things are going well. We’ve just recently released our second album Fight Back and the response has been great. The reviews coming back have all been great and it’s picking up a lot of radio play so for us it’s just case of getting back out there on the road after the Christmas break and touring the album hard. Before Christmas we did a headline tour of the UK and we took our friends The Rainman Suite from California out with us. Then we joined The Briggs on their UK tour. After that Street Dogs took us out on their UK tour along with Civet and then we headed straight to mainland Europe for our headline tour. We heading back out to Europe for Another headline tour in February. So we’re really looking forward to that one.

R13: I always think that you guys live and breathe everything that is punk. Is that right, or is it just about the music?
Mickie Stabbs: For us, as i’m sure a lot of other people out there Punk is about more than just the music. It’s a DIY subculture, a celebration of all things loud, fast and angular. A rallying call to the disenfranchised, the freaks and the rebels. It’s a way of life. A DIY search for the soul.

R13: Are you guys into politics, or do you leave that to others?
Mickie Stabbs: We’re strongly interested in politics. We’re kind of none for left-leaning politics. We tend to think of punk rock as a political genre in general. Punk politics tend to cover the entire political spectrum but the ideologies that mostly concern us are individual freedom and justice.

R13: I see like me, you guys love tattoos. What’s your favourite and why?
Mickie Stabbs: Jason loves his new Bouncing Souls tattoo, he worships that band. I’m planning on getting the ‘Know Your Right’s’ star off the back of The Clash’s Combat Rock album. It’s one of those tattoo’s I’ve wanted for ages. It doesn’t really need any explaining why!

R13: It’s easy to say what your musical influences might be, however are there any that we might not expect?
Mickie Stabbs: Loads of Reggae, folk, hip hop. Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Public Enemy. Reggae, folk and hip hop are noted for their tradition of social criticism. Just like punk, reggae, folk and hip hop deal with subjects, like, religion, peace, poverty, injustice and other social and political issues. Reggae, folk, hip-hop punk . . . . They’re all forms of protest music. Punk is folk music with electric guitars.

R13: Is there any venue that you’ve not played, but would love to?
Mickie Stabbs: I think for us the one venue in the entire world that we wanted to play and never got the chance to play before it, closed its doors was CBGB’s in New York. It might have been a bit of a shithole like 95% of the worlds punk rock venues but that place had the heritage.

R13: Outside of music, what else do you guys like doing?
Mickie Stabbs: Between the band and the usual succession of shit jobs, there’s not really much time for other interests. Politics is definitely important to us and we tend to turn up at a lot of demonstrations. When we're not touring or rehearsing, I spend a lot of my time songwriting or designing our artwork, tour flyers, posters and merch. I love listening to music and watching live shows. So pretty much every aspect of my life is centred around music and punk rock in particular.

R13: You’ve collaborated with the likes of King Django and Joey La Rocca (The Briggs). You’ve toured with The Briggs, but how did you hook up with King Django? Is there anyone else you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Mickie Stabbs: Django is someone who we’ve been fans of and friends with for a few years now. He’s such a nice guy and he makes amazing music. I’ve chatted with Django and we plan to write and record together soon. As for future collaborations there’s loads of people I’d love to have on our records, some more obvious than others; Mike Ness, Tim Armstrong, Chuck D, Damian Marley and Pink as well.

R13: I’ve noticed you helping out upcoming Bristol Punkers, Criminal Mind, are there any bands that helped you out a while back, or even now?
Mickie Stabbs: Criminal Mind are a great band if you haven’t checked them out, do it now! I’m going to head into the studio with them and sing on their debut album. As for us, Goldblade and Rancid helped us early on when not a lot of other people were willing to help.
R13: I can confirm that Room Thirteen are indeed aware of Criminal Mind and have recently reviewed their EP. Lead singer Josh has been giving us regular updates on how their new album is coming on.

R13: Your music mixes the great Punk Rock attitude with a musical raw edge, and speaks the language of the man-on-the-street. Is this all about catching the current mood of a nation; something always are the forefront of your mind; or because sex and fart jokes have been done to death?
Mickie Stabbs: Being one of those bands that are “funny” just doesn’t interest. As a band it’s important to us that are lyrics actually mean something. We don’t write fucking love songs. You turn on the telly and all that’s on the news is stories about the victims of war, poverty, famine, unemployment. What do love songs mean to those people? Nothing! All governments are happy that working class people reduce themselves to a self-sufficient unit of two, completely obsessed by each other. Not enough bands write about the issues that are important because they just think they’re going to be trodden on. Which they rightly kind of feel. They’re the hardest subjects to write about but the most important, so it’s vital that there are bands like us who are tackling the hardest subjects.

R13: If the Strawberry Blondes was a car then what car would it be, and why? And would you prefer it to be something else?
Mickie Stabbs: I guess we’d be a Ford Focus. It’s been the most popular car in the UK for the last 10 years. It’s an every-man’s car and that’s what we want this band to be. A band for the people.

R13: So many bands and artists seem to be relocating to America. Any plans to follow suit, or are you happy to stay in old Blighty?
Mickie Stabbs: We’re looking forward to getting out and touring America but we’ve got no plans to relocate. For us we’re firmly rooted in the UK.