Twisted Wheel opens for Paul Weller. Discover them, Part one.

This is my very special serie, the bands Paul Weller Rang. Soon, a song by song interview With Connett

First things first...Twisted Wheel are not named after the legendary Northern Soul club of the same name (though they are aware of it), are encyclopedic about their musical heroes and recoil at the thought of being pigeon-holed as a 'northern band'. They are, however, the most exciting young British guitar band to emerge in recent years. Don't take our word for it. With a fan club already including Noel & Liam Gallagher (how often do they agree on anything?), Ian Brown, Kasabian and Paul Weller they've been attracting the attention of the great and the good from their earliest incarnation.

Rewind. As kids growing up in Oldham singer-guitarist Jonny Brown and bassist Rick Lees absorbed the sounds of their mum and dad’s record collection, paying particular heed to the Beatles 'blue' album. By seventeen they'd formed The Children with friends from college. Obsessed with the (Loog Oldham era) Stones and the flamboyant psych-pop of The Small Faces, the band were soon selling out 600 capacity venues and wreaking havoc wherever they went. “Those gigs with The Children were wild” laughs Jonny (Modish good looks; cheekbones to take your eye out). “There would be naked people on stage, the works.” Following a gig at the Night & Day in Manchester the band gave Clint Boon a demo, who in turn passed it on to Paul Weller.
“Paul rang us up and asked if we wanted to record at (the Modfather's own studio) Black Barn” explains Rick (firm handshake; impressive blonde wedge). “Afterwards he asked us to support him at Manchester Academy. That was the biggest thing ever for us. Someone of that stature thinking we had something told us we must be on the right lines. The trouble was, the band was burning itself out”

Recruiting octopus-like drummer Adam Clarke (aka Clarky), the newly formed trio embarked on an intense period of rehearsal. “Straight away the sound was much tighter and more focused” explains Jonny. “I had an acoustic gig booked at The Late Rooms and we turned up as a three piece band and that was it. We were Twisted Wheel.” Intent on circumnavigating the pitfalls of being a My Space 'buzz-band', the band set about doing things the old fashioned way: playing gigs wherever anyone would have them and handing out CDs outside other band's gigs, complete with a sleeve depicting a close up of a Victorian slot machine and the words: “Pay £1 for the Mega Ride” (now changing hands for £40 on eBay). Duly signed to Columbia following keen interest from several labels post an appearance at In The City in October '07, they have toured relentlessly ever since- propping up everyone from Oasis & The View through Kasabian to The Enemy, and will be Special Guest on Paul Weller’s outdoor shows this summer. “Being a support band is great” smiles Jonny. “You get to play to two thousand or more people a night, there's a massive rider in the dressing room and you get to hang out with musicians you respect. What could be better?”

Such carpe diem high spirits course through the band's self-titled debut album (released April 13th). Recorded with producer Dave Sardy (Marilyn Manson, Oasis, Cold War Kids) at LA's Sunset Sound studios over a month last summer, it's a raucous celebration of life on the margins. If the musical template is a kaleidoscopic mix ranging from The 13th Floor Elevators via The Buzzcocks to Hank Williams, lyrically it's staffed by a roll call of characters straight from the pen of Ray Davies. Opener 'Lucy The Castle' is a pulverizing blast of energy about a lysergic utopia (Jonny:”It's a metaphor for a special place, where you go in depressed and come out shining”). 'Strife' finds us acquainted with characters ranging from Sheila the Dealer to a rifle toting antiques expert called Henry. A feral 'One Night On The Street', meanwhile, is the sound of SLF after a long, strange night on the tiles in Camden. ”We were out one night at this club and I lost everyone” explains Jonny. “I got talking to this woman who was living on the streets. In the end I stayed out with her until eight o'clock in the morning.”

Those doubting Twisted Wheel's capacity to slow things down, meanwhile, should head to the sublime 'Bouncing Bomb'. An acoustic lament in the spirit of The Jam's 'That's Entertainment' or The Kinks 'Dead End Street' Add in the anthemic 'Let Them Have It All' and it's obvious the next generation of British rock is in safe hands. Tune into these poignant tales of Night Bus traumas and late night epiphanies and you'll tap into a world which is paranoiac and uplifting all at once: call it urban psychedelia if you like. “We're the last people to tell anyone what to do, but I guess we’re the other side of the coin to bands like Glasvegas and White Lies.” says Jonny.

“We know that these days there's a temptation to go out and get drunk and become maudlin. We're saying; let's make the most of it. Don't let the world get on top of you. Get on top of the world.” You heard the man. This wheel's on fire. (Paul Moody March 2009)

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