There wasn’t really much chance that Misfortune Cookie weren’t going to play Youth Anthems at some point. Not only made up of members of some of the greatest bands to come from the UK (Bear Trade, Blocko, Southport, The Mingers and of course Helen Chambers herself) they’re also some fantastic friends of mine (neoptism isn’t dead!). They’re a real inspirational bunch and whereas on one hand Youth Anthems is about showing young people they can be in a band (see Backspace!) it’s also about showing Parents they can be in a band too. Here’s some wise words from my old pal and Misfortune Cookie bassist Lloyd Chambers (and Pete when talking about puddings!).
How did the band come together?
So, Bear Trade ended. No real drama, Greg really wanted to stay closer to home with his wife and newborn, so as a band our time ended. It’s fair to say we sat on it for quite a while, letting time run it’s course, but at the end of last year we decided to ‘officially’ time. Peter, Callum and I had already decided we wanted to keep playing together as our friendship and shared experiences are driven by a band dynamic. So we’d thought of a couple of people who might be interested, but then we simply realised there was someone much closer to home (pun fully intended) who was like us. Helen said she’d always wanted to be in a band and play in a band, so with an electric guitar and plectrum we gave it a go…!
Any plans to put any music out?
We don’t get a lot of time to get together or play together, and so our first aim was to get some songs together and play gigs. We were lucky enough to get a chance to play with RVIVR, mainly in Europe, and we purposefully decided to not just sling something out on the internet but go old school and be a completely new unheard band and see how those songs were received by those who came to listen. Since then, we’ve been a bit quiet, but we’ve booked up time in March to record an LP, so the ‘net won’t have to much longer.
How does the logistics of having a a couple in the band who have two Children work with practices and gigs?
For Helen and I, when Bear Trade was going and she was doing a lot of her solo gigs, it was simply a case of managing it between us with a little help from my mother in law. Now we do have a bigger reliance on her assistance as it’s both of us but so far so good! We’ve had some writing evenings in our kitchen (the first mainly pub drinking tbh) and that has been great too. Peter has a son and Callum lives in Newcastle so we all have logistics to deal with…the one thing we share is a desire to be in a band together, and that overrides everything else…so we make it work to the best of our collective ability.
How does that dynamic work when writing songs? Do you find natural divides in the band on terms of decision making?
Songwriting is always a band effort, but most recently i’ve found my Friday’s off work have been spent often cobbling together some of my usual “dirty hardcore” (according to Peter) riffs into some song frameworks and sharing via WhatsApp. Helen then comes up with some vocal idea(s) and between the two of us we finish the lyrics. Band practice brings in Peter and Callum and we shape them from there. It’s all very open and I guess we all bring a certain something to the band party which we are all very comfortable with…decisions are made very easily as we all know our collective band so well.
Top three puddings of band members?
Puddings I like (but are not limited to) include bread and butter pudding and custard, my late nan’s Russian Tipsy cake, and rice pudding.
Pete – Chocolate and peanut butter vegan cheesecake that I once had in Dubrovnik.
What advice would you give to young people starting in bands (anything extra for dealing with the end of bands as I know you’ve all been in a good few now).
I always think you have to want to do it, and it is more of a social activity with a gang of close friends. If you have that, you’re a band. Also, don’t have any aims other than playing your songs together and having fun…if anything else happens it comes from that. I’ve been really lucky that i’ve managed to do as much as I have been able to from those simple frameworks. And I can’t read a note of music. So just do it because you want to. I think the end of a band is the start of another…like us. We still love the excitement of those first songs forming, first gig, first meeting people who listen and enjoy your songs, meeting new friends and old. Whilst the fire still burns, we’ll keep giving it 100% within our collective life situations…it remains as important to me as ever.
What are you all currently listening to?
Today I listened to Happy Accidents, yesterday a playlist on the bus with 80s classics (The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, New Order, Yazoo, OMD) and I have recently downloaded the Debt Neglector LP. The first song off the new Molar record sounds great. And always always always The Wedding Present early records.
I know Lloyd and Helen are well into their 80s indie music, give us a few bangers we might not know about?
Of the more C86 era stuff (i.e. when I was a 6th former), i’d definitely suggest McCarthy “Frans Hals”, The Wolfhounds “Anti Midas Touch” and I always loved the twee pop rush of Talulah Gosh. I also really loved Bogshed – have a listen to Fat Lad Exam Failure – and for something a bit more angular and fierce Big Flame always thrilled me.
Anything else you want to add?
Youth Anthems both in concept and reality is such a great thing and it is genuinely an honour to get a chance to play in that environment. It’s obviously close to us as we are at one with that demographic…and we should all feel free and able to be the people we are whilst introducing children into an environment which we are so connected with and invested it. Youth Anthems is inspiring and I only hope we can feed into that in our own way.
Thanks Toby ?