Delightfully serving oxygen times two
Birmingham’s brotherhood The Twang deliver

By Michael Lara

“Never been so far away... Just lost the last thought in my head… What happens now?” RIDE’s mesmerizing buoyant swirl “OX4,” first majestically sprawled on 1992’s ‘Going Blank Again,’ resplendently continues today in The Twang’s ‘Love It When I Feel Like This.’ Riding their own intoxicating pour for all of 2007, Phil Etheridge (lead vocals), Martin Saunders (vocals), Stu Hartland (guitar), Jon Watkin (bass) and Matty Clinton (drums) delve deliciously into burgers and more upon christening their press day post their plentiful Shibuya nocturnal offerings.

Ah, I hear them coming…

Hello mate, I’m Jon.
I’m Phil, you alright?
Hello, I’m Marty.

Oh, I’m very good. You?

Phil-Good. What’s your name again?

Mike, Mick, Michael, I get ‘em all.

Phil-Where’s the other pair?
Jon-Who knows?
Phil-They’re fucking probably wandering around and fell off somewhere (rolling eyes at Jon and back to Marty).
Martin-The other two are somewhere (looking out the door)?

You gotta like the iPod (pointing to it) and this mic (attached), but it’s super delicate.

Phil-Yeah man. Did you just get this? Is it new?

Well no.

Phil-How much is this?

I got it at the Apple store in Shibuya…

Phil-Ah we could’ve just done that. We were in front of there.

Maybe like 8000 yen. That’s like $70 American.

Phil-That’s brilliant.

Yeah and so was last night. I was there. He saw me (pointing to Stu). I was sitting off the post in the hat and vest.

Stu-Ah yeah (eyes wide).
Phil-You were at the show last night? You enjoy it?

Ah yeah man. I was worried at first cuz’ the first band just had peeps only mulling about…

Phil-Yeah, we had a TV in the dressing room and just everyone just standing there for about an hour (as Matty and Stu turn up). You couldn’t get fucking any farther from the fuckin mic Matt could ya? “I think that uh…(blaring it as all laugh and Matt reseats himself).”

So you guys, I already have strict orders in my behaviour, but do know I and others would like to see you at Fuji Rock next year. You’ve done Summer Sonic so now it’s time to do the other. Thus, I have 3 kinds of beers for you guys. This is from Echigo-Yuzawa Brewery where Fuji Rock Festival is held. Go ahead and sample it all.

Phil-Oh okay (eyebrows up).
Jon-What’s the difference between the cans?
Phil-Yeah, what’s the difference between the colours of the cans?

This one’s a pilsener. That one’s a lager and...

Jon-Matthew will be like, nevermind here (big grin).

But I figure you all are going to go to Fuji Rock (5 cans consecutively crisply crack open) so have a taste of it now…

Martin-Ah, that’s a nice beer man.
Phil-Uh…you gonna join us?

Well, I was gonna give this one to the sound engineer or your tour manager…

Martin-Forget ‘em.
Phil-Ah…Fuck ‘em (all laughing-hence another crack)

Last night was great because of the way it started-The opening band… The bassist was good, but the vocals were…

Martin-Crap (chuckling, all following).

But there are Japanese bands that are great.

Phil-Oh, we watched them last night.

Where did you guys go?

Martin-We went to the uh, Red Shoe. The first band was on (looking at everyone)… They were amazing now weren’t they?

Who were they?

Martin-I have no clue.
Jon-Kind of a jazz band.
Martin-They were a bit like Moloko cuz’ they’re really dancy as well weren’t they?
Jon-A Rapture-y too weren’t they (looking at his mates)?
Martin-Keyboards, bass, drums, no guitar-female singer…I’ve never seen anything like it.

Right on. Solid. Again, back to last night, it warmed up so fast. It was your cave. It was the den of The Twang.

(all wide smiles)

I was thinking, were you all in charge of playing the music. You had Bowie “The Man Who Sold The World” and then you go into Johnny Cash “Personal Jesus.” Was that your doing?

Phil-Think that was our tour manager.
Martin-Yeah. That’s our tour manager. We’re all too lazy. We were going to sort out a CD on our first tour we wrotes to play too, but we never been bothered. We just leave it to them (grinning).

Well, I was thinking, with Christmas around the corner, who’s answering your prayers? Or who has? You have all had a crazy year.

Martin-Yeah, it’s been good. It’s been a great year man you know. It’s just one of them ain’t it man.
Jon-As I just said to Phil this morning... Sorry Saun.
Martin-Go on. I was only gonna talk crap.
Jon-I’ve done more in a year than I’ve done in me fuckin’ life. I’ve been to more places, more countries ever in my life.
Jon-Probably the only thing we haven’t ever done is America, ain’t it?
Phil-Well, I don’t think we really have even had a chance. I know this sounds like a mad cliché or whatever because everyone probably says it, but I don’t think we’ve even ever had the chance to stop to realize how much we’ve done. Do you know what I mean?


Phil-You kind of take it for granted. Not like to be rude about it, like, but you kind of like, fuckin’ it’s amazing really…Japan. I mean some people never get to come here in their life.
Martin-And yeah, we’ve done in twice in a few months.
Phil-Yeah and standing at the big massive crossroads (Shibuya crossing off Hachiko exit) thinkin’ “What the fuck?” You know what I mean? Going into HMV Tokyo and your album’s there.

Were people onto you?

Martin-Yeah, a few.
Phil-It’s… mad ain’t it? We couldn’t believe the Summer Sonic (festival) reaction we got. I don’t think we realized the album had just come out.

And you know, you’ll find, although greater Tokyo is over 20 million, it’s really a tight community here. You’ll always see the regulars at each show.

Martin-What the hell is that man (referring to an ‘Every Burger’ toasted snack package pulled out to them)?

Well, now, this is…(bringing out a burger-shaped salty snack)

Martin-What the hell is that? (all eyes huge along with the others)
Phil-Oh my God, what’s that?

Just one of the interesting snacks you’ll find here in Japan. Now, every burger… What does every burger need? Top to bottom, if you were to make the …

Martin-The ultimate burger…

What would it be?

Martin-Ah, it’s gotta be plain and simple.
Phil-It’s gotta have cheese. It’s gotta have cheese. Bacon.
Jon-No bacon man.
Phil-Ah they put too much tomato often. The sauce gets too thick.

And then it gets soggy.

Martin-Exactly, or the tomato comes out.
Matty-Cheese, ketchup, onions, bacon.
Phil-Bacon…It’s got to have bacon.
Martin-We’ll never agree on this shit (laughing).

Every house has its chef right?

Jon-Shut up! I was only joking (to Stu).
Phil-I don’t know know-everyone’s got their own dish. I know Jon’s a big pasta fan.
Stu-You’ve never had my cooking!
Phil-Fucking hell… Stu, Stu, you are a fucking shit cook.
Jon-I used to live with Stu…(fighting for all’s attention). I used to live with Stu and remember when you cooked a curry that one day. Remember? Put the oil and the chicken the pan and smoking and…
Phil-We had a posh fucking meal the other day.
Stu-A posh meal?!
Phil-It was a nice traditional Japanese meal. And he sat there and said, “I prefer tea and buffalo wings.”
(all laughing minus Stu’s silence and eyes rolling)
Phil-I mean, how the fuck do you prefer frozen fuckin’ buffalo wings in a fast food restaurant than the fuckin’ cooked chicken in…
Martin-Where it’s their delicacy.
Phil-I couldn’t believe my fuckin’ ears man.
Stu-Ah fuck off, I don’t care.
Martin-Alright, I reckon that we all can cook. There is a certain standard that were we can eat it, but to go that one step further where we can cook to where we like it...
Phil-Well, one question for you mate: On a bacon sandwich-how many rashes (slices of back bacon)?

Ah, I’m familiar with back bacon, my ex-girlfriend is Canadian and she loved it and me too. I’m a pork fiend… (all laughing heartily). It’s 3.

Phil-I rest my case. It’s a 3 rashes sandwich ain’t it? I rest my case. Stu?
Stu-What (all laughing)?!
Phil-And would you would the sauce on the sandwiches…of course you would. He doesn’t (pointing to Stu). He fuckin’ puts it on a side plate and then dips it in (in disbelief).
Martin-Do you put butter on your sandwiches?

At times... I’m not looking for a diet (all laughing).


No matter whose head chef or how many rashes, this Brummie kitchen is heartily afire whenever open. It’s pointing to the big time with their menu.




All opinions expressed by Michael Lara are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.


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