Six Of The Best: Pink Poison | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle garage punk-rockers, Pink Poison put out their debut EP, Return To Infancy, a rough and ready garage blues piece released Friday 10th July (via local indie label Kitchen Practice Records) and recorded just four months into the band’s existence. Drenched in the blood, sweat and beer of a deep south roadhouse and with lead singer, Tyler Allan, sounding like a bourbon possessed Tom Waits this slide-alicious offering is available via all good streaming platforms.

Here, the band tell us all about their six favourite albums…

Tyler (singer)

Son House – Father of Folk Blues
I love the blues. Howlin’ Wolf, Tommy McClennan, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Blind Willie Johnson, etc. But I was somehow only aware of Son House in relation to the Robert Johnson story. He’d slipped me by.

This all changed when I listened to ‘Father of Folk Blues’, produced by John Hammond. I put it on and was immediately blown away by the raw emotional power on display. His vocals, influenced by his time as a Preacher, are so raw. It feels like the plea of a man at the end of his rope rather than simply a performance.

The standout, for me, was the song Grinnin’ In Your Face, performed a cappella. It hit me in the way only the blues can. The simplicity of it is inimitable but a great jumping off point for reinterpretation, so I brought it to the guys, knowing it would be a perfect song for us as a three-piece. That’s how this whole EP got started.

Keith Carter – From Uncertain To Blue 
I’m a firm believer in taking inspiration from all mediums, not just the one you’re working in.
Each photograph in this book is of a different “town” in Texas, each with a bizarre name (like Diddy Waw Diddy). The images range from portraits of the town folk, buildings, insides of churches/hotels/theatres/stores, and roadkill, naturally.
Not only does the book show the incredible vastness of Texas and encapsulate the beauty of the American South, it’s also great storytelling. Each image gives you just enough information for your imagination to run wild with interpretation. I like stories that are “incomplete”, where you can imprint yourself onto them. I don’t want to know everything, leave some mystery, let us speculate.

Jack (guitarist)

ATM by Coachwhips
We’d been talking about starting a band for months, but we lacked the kick in the arse required to book a room and start practicing. That was until this song collided with my backside like a steel cap boot out of a cannon. It’s an unbelievably basic, yet ridiculously energising shot of garage rock from the band led by my musical hero, John Dwyer (still melting faces in Oh Sees). This song is a fairly deep cut in the already-pretty-obscure band’s discog, but it stood out to me instantly upon first listen as exactly the type of music I wanted to make. The blueprint for Pink Poison. Like the Gories before them, and, ideally, Pink Poison after them, Coachwhips set a precedent for music making that denies virtuosity in favour of SPEED!!! and NOISE!!! and proves that you don’t even need to know an instrument to be in a great band if you play with enough vigour.

A Flash in the Pan by Aweful Kanawful and his Rubber Husband’s Band 
I wish I could say I stumbled across this album buried in a chest somewhere in Canada, because it really feels like that sort of buried treasure. Unfortunately for this narrative, it was algorithmically sorted into my Spotify recommended section and I was enticed (as I’m sure anyone would be) by that ridiculous name. There’s precious little information about Aweful Kanawful on the internet, but from what I can gather, it’s the pseudonym of Canadian musician/stuntman Austin Lake. Nom-de-plume notwithstanding, this album instantaneously fired off the creative synapses (or whatever – I’m a guitarist, not a biologist) in my brain, its sweet blend of rock ‘n’ roll, funk, soul and sheer quirkiness kicking the part of me that does the music stuff into action. The most appealing and inspirational thing about this is the way the DIY attitude shines through. First off, the music sounds like it was recorded in a room while the band played in an adjacent garage. Secondly, a quick YouTube search will reveal that Austin (Aweful?) makes his own music videos, which are clearly amateurish home videos he’s made with his mates, but – as with the music itself – are made with such vivacity and personality that it doesn’t matter. Much like the aforementioned Coachwhips, it gives me the sort of get-up-and-go to just go out and make stuff. Aesthetic quality doesn’t matter if you’ve got a great idea! And that’s the Pink Poison way.

Louis, (drummer)

The Clash – The Clash (1977 Album)
Probably one of my favourite punk albums, closely followed up by ‘The Day the Country Died’, by the Subhumans. The politics expressed in the album is especially important to me and is something the band wishes to express in our own music. The mix of fast paced playing and political frustration gives the album an intense force of energy, which makes you want to listen to what is being said. The lyrics are barked out with meaning behind them. Every time I listen to the album or in fact most songs by the Clash, it inspires me to try and create meaningful lyrics. The album has also taught me to write specifically how politics affects me, as a personal insight is always better, as it is close to reality and the truth. Personally, from a drummer’s point of view, Terry Chimes’ drumming is brilliant for giving off a feeling of stomping out the rhythm. The drumming is not always advanced patterns, because it does not need to be. Its meant to be about giving off a sense of anger, which corresponds with the politics. Personally, it helped me to understand that my playing does not have to be perfect if what I am doing means something (especially considering, I have not been a drummer for an extensive amount of time). Finally, I love this album because it seems to me to sum up the ideology of UK punk, the attitude of trying to provoke change and to get your points heard through loud out-busts. “Punk rock isn’t something you grow out of Punk rock is an attitude, and the essence of that attitude is ‘give us some truth’” – Joe Strummer. 

Rush – 2112 (1976)
2112 is a progressive rock masterpiece in my opinion. The first track is about 21 minutes long, taking up the first side of the record. The song tells a sci-fi story about a young man who discovers a guitar in a world run by the Priests of the Temple of Syrinx, who ban old music and censors anything that might undermine their rule. All elements of this album inspire me. Firstly, the use of music to tell a story. Prog-rock bands use this form called concept songs/albums to create long sagas, usually divided up into sub chapters in the song, created through riff changes, or sometimes just dead silence. One of our songs, in our upcoming EP, is called ‘Coolest Man in Greggs’. The song’s lyrics were written like a prog-rock concept song, giving it a narrative, but from a comical point of view. It was meant to be a parody on the idea of concept albums, to use the form to create a silly story. It was a lot of fun to make, but the idea would not have come to me, unless I had come across prog-rock concept albums like 2112. Also, as a drummer, I am heavily influenced by this album. Neil Peart is someone I aspire to be. I consider him to be one of the greatest drummers of all time, with an immense amount of ability and superhuman speed. He also wrote the lyrics for most of Rush’s albums, including 2112, which inspires me to be more than just the guy that sits behind the kit. 

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