Gig preview: The Jack Tars at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

The Jack Tars
The Jack Tars
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SUPER-GROUPS have been cropping up throughout the decades, with Cream, The Move, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Asia and The Travelling Wilburys all being formed from other big name groups.

In all that time, we have never had a ‘punk’ super-group – until now.

The Jack Tars, who are about to set out on their first UK tour is such a group.

“You could perhaps call us a ‘cut-price, punk rock version of The Travelling Wilburys’,” quips bassist Captain Sensible.

The band is made up of a quartet of punk rock veterans: Captain Sensible comes from The Damned, who had the first ever punk rock hit with New Rose.

The band had other hits with Smash It Up and Eloise and still tour today.

“As well as me, there’s Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats (Rock This Town, Stray Cat Strut) on drums; Mike Peters from The Alarm (68 Guns, A New South Wales) on guitar and vocals; plus Chris Cheney on guitar,” explains the beret-wearing punk legend.

Cheney is the lead singer and guitarist from Australian rock band The Living End who have won many music awards down under as well as having a quintuple-platinum album, two platinum albums and five gold records under their belt.

“He’s a phenomenal punk, rockabilly guitarist,” says Sensible. “And it’s fun to hear him play the songs like ‘Smash It Up’ and ‘New Rose’.”

According to ‘Cap’ (as he is known), the band have known each other for some time, as he tells me.

“We’ve known each other for decades,” he laughs. “We bumped into each other on tour and we always got on and jammed together.

“The idea of a band just crept up on us but we’ve kinda formalised the line-up now.”

Does the name commemorate the British naval supremacy and colonisation of the US and Australia?

Cap laughs again and says: “That’s the way I like to see it, but Slim Jim and Chris have something to say about that.

“No, it came about from us emailing each other, we kept saying ‘Ahoy’ and ‘Aye-aye’ and it just developed naturally from there.

“Plus, there was the swash-buckling, piratical punk thing of playing one nighters. We’d sneak into town, drink all the beer and run off. Nautical but nice.”

The band have played a few dates in America already.

“We tried it out about four or five months ago in the States for about two and a half weeks. We got nice crowds and it is a pleasing concept.”

And what will they be playing?

“Well, we’ll be playing the very best from our respective careers, so expect ‘the best of punk’.”

Another difference in this group is the way they perform.

“we all sing and contribute and so we just stand in a line rather than have the drummer at the back like other bands,” Cap explains.

“We don’t like to blast the audience with volume and I like to get some banter going. I may even do Happy Talk,” he says, referring to his solo chart-topper.

And Cap is keen to point out that this isn’t the end of The Damned.

“No, I love The Damned, and it is my ‘day job’. We all have interesting day jobs with our respective bands and there’s no egos.

“It’s been a roller-coaster career,” he says. “Never a dull moment. Also, we’re trying to get some original material together for an album.”

The Jack Tars will be appearing at the Brudenell Social Club, Leeds on Sunday November 29 and Holmfirth Picturedrome on Friday December 4. For details visit http://www.thejacktars.com/

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