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Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Speedways - Just Another Regular Summer

Since the digital release of "Just Another Regular Summer" everybody with the ears in the right place knew that the songs  written by Matt Julian were instant classics. Being the old school type, yours truly was convinced since day one that a physical release was also requested. The wait has been long but is now finally rewarded since the Canadian label God's Candy Records put out some beautiful colored vinyls. Needless to say you should purchase multiple copies of it!

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about The Speedways to introduce yourself? What have you been up to since the demise of The Breakdowns? 

The Speedways are a guitar based pop group from England. The debut album 'Just Another Regular Summer' will be released this month on Gods Candy Records (Canada). It will also be available on Ghost Highway (spain) Beluga (sweden) Crocodile (UK) and Get Hip (USA/worldwide)

With zero contacts and zero effort The Speedways have been played on the radio the world over.
Legendary American DJs Rodney Bingenheimer at Sirius FM and Todd-O-Phonic-Todd at WFMU have lent their support to the band. Mike Rogers has spun The Speedways on InterFM in Tokyo & power-pop Legend Paco Pepe of PlasticoElastico in Madrid has played us many times on his show.
Celebrity fans from the world of Rock n Roll include Protex, The Baby Shakes, Nikki Corvette and Teengenerate to name just a few. There has also been national UK magazine coverage in Vive Le Rock as well as further online radio play across Europe. The songs have only been on bandcamp for 6 months and we've only played 2 gigs, so it's done relatively ok.

2) Why choose a "band" name since this record is mostly you?  Did you not want to release the record under the Matt Julian moniker? Who is playing what instrument in the "live" band?

I felt it would work better if I put it out under a band name. That's all. All the songs are connected - the girl with glitter in her hair is represented by the imagery of Diana Dors and Brigitte Bardot, I'm represented by 'The Speedways' ..that way nobody gets hurt, apart from me. The band name is taken from the Morrissey song 'Speedway'

As luck would have it, 3 of my best pals down in London also happen to be 3 of the best musicians I know. They all liked the Speedways songs so it came together really well. Kris is on drums, Mauro on lead guitar & Adrian on bass. We've had 3 rehearsals and 2 gigs up to this point & are already the best band in England.

3) About the full length record "Just Another Regular Summer",  what can you tell about the recording process? 

I played everything apart from the drums. I double tracked my voice and then harmonized on top of that. It took a few months to get the finished album out for people to hear but the actual recording time was only around 3 days. All the rhythm guitars were recorded first take, every bass guitar part was a full first take. All the keys & percussion were done in a couple of hours.
It was as economical as possible in terms of time & money because there wasn't a full band to share the costs around. I recorded at my mate Tony's studio in Nottingham. He's a lovely chap & we'd usually sit around drinking coffee for the first 2 hours & talk about The Beatles before we actually did any work.

4) Do you consider it should be foolish not to use the nowadays recording technology or do you only work with analog machines in analog studios?

The album was recorded digitally. Fully modern on a laptop and everything. I love the idea of recording to analog but it wouldn't have been practical with what I was doing on this album. I couldn't afford it for a start.

5) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager and does it still influence your today work? What was your favorite band as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today?

I went through 3 teenage music stages - early teens would be Pop/Chart music + whatever I liked in my parents collection, mid teens was the Heavy Metal phase, late teens was when I started to get into some punk & that kinda thing. The one constant from early to late teens was & still is Rock n Roll from 1955 to 65. My favorite band as a teenager probably changed every couple of years, but pound for pound I'd have to say The Ramones. Three bands that still influence my songs today would be The Ramones, The Smiths and The Ronettes.

6) What are your favorite topics to write about or the topics that come "easily" when you write a new song?

I write songs about disappointment & love. They both come very easily. I actually have very strong political & social views but they don't ever inspire me when I pick up my guitar. In another life I reckon I was a Brill Building song writer with Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond, Gerry Goffin and Carole King etc.. I just feel that love songs are timeless & universal. The Ramones wrote fantastic love songs lest we forget.

7) The Speedways is described as a power pop band. Do you agree with this label? Are you proud of it or do you consider there is way more than that?  

I think it's a convenient term of reference & it's probably just about right. The Paul Collins Beat, The Nerves, The Shivvers, Teenage Fanclub, Squeeze, The Exploding Hearts, Phil Seymour, Elvis Costello etc.. were all a big influence on what I was trying to do with The Speedways. I don't have a problem with being called Power Pop at all! ..but I think there's a melancholy & pessimism to The Speedways that makes it a little bit different to a lot of power pop maybe.

 8) Do you have a new video on youtube  featuring a track from the newly released LP?? 

Yes, yes I do! Here's 'Tonight You'll Find Love'

I'm very fond of this video. Those kids had a ball filming it.

9) What can concert goers expect at a The Speedways gig? Are you playing any famous cover songs? Will you play some Breakdowns tunes or is this totally out of the question?

They can expect to have a dance & to have a melody stuck in their head as they walk home later that evening with their faith in love still devout. We've already played 'Back Of My Hand' by The Jags and we've also done 'They Don't Know' by Kirsty MacColl, which is one of my favorite ever songs. It'll only be Speedways stuff + one cover per-show! That's the deal!

10) Are there any bands in the UK today you consider yourself close to?

Lucy and The Rats work to the same premise as me that your records should be well crafted & 'radio friendly' ..and then when you get on stage you can turn it up - which is what The Ramones did too of course. That's not an exact science & doesn't apply to all bands, it's just what I like personally.
My other favorite bands in the UK right now are The Cavemen, Thee Dagger Debs and TV Crime - who are all outstanding.

11) 1 album - 1 gig - The End. Is that for real or are you reconsidering this statement now that the record is out?

Well yeah, I made that statement to add extra mystery to the band! ..but I've tweaked it a little bit since. The Speedways have some pretty cool stuff lined up for 2019 and there are also 2 more gigs to play later this year. I also wanna put out a 7" single or EP.  A companion piece for the album.
After that, I'm not sure.

12) Anything you wanna add?

Yeah! Please buy the record when it comes out! and if you've already bought it on bandcamp or pre-ordered the LP or been to one of the gigs - you're a star, Thank-you!

Up the Brigitte Bardot Punks!



Monday, November 5, 2018


Los Angeles dandy rockers SMASH FASHION recently released their fourth full length, ROMPUS POMPOUS. Once more the band delivers everything you ever wanted from a rock'n'roll band: great vocals, brilliant guitar playing and a rock steady rhythm section.

The songwriting of Roger Deering is at its finest and what you get here is instant Powerpop, Glitter and boogie classics.

Time to talk to the man himself. 

Among other very interesting things, he reveals that the band has a full box of cover songs already recorded. So damn it boys, do NOT hesitate any longer, the next record MUST be this all covers album!!!

1) For of the viewers of this blog who would not know you, what would you tell about smash fashion to introduce yourselves? How long are you guys together as a band? Who is playing what instrument in the band nowadays?

Smash fashion is a high energy rock ‘n’ roll band out of Los Angeles California. Purveyors of decadent psychedelia and atomic power pop with the feather boa!..The beginnings of smash fashion go back to 2004 -2005..With quite a few starts,stops,heartbreaks and broken bones. There’s been a few lineup changes over the years. However the concept and direction remains the same, to be a multi dimensional rock ‘n’ roll band that incorporates 50 years of rock ‘n’ roll into our sound.Classic rock ‘n’ roll with the rocket up its ass!

The lineup on our latest LP “Rompus Pompous “ is myself -lead vocals/rhythm guitars...Lloyd Stuart Casson-Lead /rhythm guitars...Repo Kauppila-Drums/percussion and Scarlet Rowe-Bass

2)About the latest full length record, Rompus Pompous, what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a live in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of over dubs?

It’s actually A little of both. All basic rhythm and drum tracks were recorded live... with a scratch vocal, which we sometimes kept ,well as some lead guitar which we sometimes kept,depending if it caught the vibe of the song. Some songs we put a lot of overdubs on and others we didn’t. Each song was treated differently, as most of the songs on the record have their own vibe and identity...Some went through different incarnations in the overdubbing process to reach their final destination.In other words,some were more torturous and some were as easy and as smooth as a gravy sandwich to track!

3) Do you consider it should be foolish not to use the nowadays recording technology or do you guys only work with analog machines in analogue Studios?

Well there’s a couple of realistic factors that come into play here...1) tape is very hard and expensive to come by now...2) Analog tape machines and studios are getting more and more scarce... 3) it’s much more practical, convenient , and economically feasible to finish tracking using the digital format.There are plenty of plug-ins, so you can strive for a more analog sounding result. Our record is a little bit of both -some analog and digital on top. I believe we achieved our goal, in not having a over compressed ProTools digital sounding record. I personally can’t even listen to a lot of modern records, as the compression takes away any dynamic in the sound. A lot of modern records all sound like they’ve been recorded the same exact way. I think the” Rompus Pompous “ record sounds warm and lush, and it breathes... and no auto tune anywhere in sight! Now, if we had the money, space and time, I’m sure we’d love to make complete analog recordings and records... now if some smart label would put us up in a mansion in the English country side.... hint hint

4) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved one way or another?

I’ve always been the primary songwriter... yet I’m well aware that it's guys individual talents that really help the songs shine. That’s why chemistry and playing with people whose company you enjoy is so important in a band format. We all have respect for each other’s talent and what we’re each capable of bringing to the table. Being in a band is like being married to three other women! It’s a lot of give-and-take and patience from everybody... it’s not always easy, but having 3 other people having your back is nice... as sometimes it really feels like us against the world!

5) About the new record” Rompus Pompous” can you explain the title? And what’s the connection with the artwork on the front cover? 

“ROMPUS POMPOUS “... is a song I had for a bit... it was originally inspired by a story I once read about Michael Jackson attending a party of Freddy Mercury’s and how outrageous it was... and how fame and power can disconnect one from reality and perception... but with the political climate being as such here in the States, it morphed lyrically somewhat into the present. About narcissism and selfie culture...we are in strange times and it’s gonna get even more weird.

The cover has symbols and references to outrageousness hence the bold graphics that just scream-Loud!....

6) Smash fashion as been described by some people as a glam or glitter band. Do you agree with this label? Are you proud of it or do you consider there was way more than that?

This seems to be a never ending dilemma concerning us... it seems nowadays people need to put a tag
on you for marketing reasons.In actuality were just a high-energy rock ‘n’ roll band. Of course glam and glitter are component of what we do. But it certainly doesn’t define who we are sound wise.

Because of the simple reason that glam and glitter mean different things to different people...The stuff that does influence my songwriting comes more from 70's glitter not 80's glam...Bowie, Queen, 
T. Rex, The Sweet , Roxy Music, etc.... in the 80's ,while hair glam was popular, I (and Stuart and Repo) were more involved in the punk scene... I didn’t pay attention to it... I didn’t connect with that scene as I found most of the music too one dimensional... it didn’t swing and wasn’t weird... I found it boring ,a bit too dumbed down... so, are we glitter/glam? Kinda... in the sense that we like dressing cool... but our influences and sound cover a bigger spectrum... and I do feel the tag hurts us at times... it stops some from investigating into us further... they see the “glam” tag and skip over us... glam is not a dirty word goddamn it!!SMASH FASHION IS A ROCK'N'ROLL BAND

7) Do you have a new video on YouTube featuring a Track from the new CD?

We do... “Runs In The Family”... a dity that concerns murder, mayhem and dying loud!

8) What can concert goers expect at a Smash fashion gig? Are you playing any famous covers songs?

First and foremost ,I would hope that anybody attending a gig of ours is there to have a good time... Because that ultimately is what we are about... We’re at the point where we have a pretty deep catalog.. so we can pick and choose from a lot of really good songs...Lots of guitar heroics from Stuart...lots of hats ,scarves and cool guitars!

As far as covers, they come and go out of our set... we’ve covered songs by ABBA, Elton John, The Saints, Dramarama, The Dictators, Rolling Stones, Golden Earring, Nazareth and many others over the years... as a matter of fact... we have a lot of those tracked and in the can for a possible all covers LP... we shall see if we ever decide to put it... and by the way... we do have a new 7 inch single ready to go for record store day 2019... so drop into our Facebook page to stay tuned... and if you dig it , buy our records!

9)Anything you would like to add?

Remember, rock'n'roll is a vicious game... but we like it!Cheers!!!!

Here's the band's homepage :

And the facebook page: