An interview with all of Five Knuckle (Dan, Shaun, JoJo, Edd, and Saul) when they played the Barfly in October 2002.
RN: Are you happy with how ‘Lost for words far from Speechless’ has been received?
Ed: Yeah we’re still not really sure how it’s been received though.
Dan: It’s hard to say. Like people have given us good responses. Generally all the responses we’ve had have been good- which has made us happy!
E: We don’t really see the bad reviews though!
D: Yeah people tend to keep it to themselves.
RN: Are you happy with the album in terms of representing you as a band?
D: The songs have been written mostly over a period of 2 years but there are also some other older ones so – I don’t know – it does represent the whole period that we’ve been together, pretty much. Which is a goof thing, wheras the new album is going to all be songs written from here on. So yeah it represents that period in our life.
E: There’s a big step from being 16 to being 20…
D: There was some of the older stuff that we changed just to make it slightly more up to date.
RN: What do you hope that people take away from Five Knuckle either from the album or from the live show?
D: I guess we just want them to enjoy it really. The main thing is that really….we’re not that pushy in influencing people…
D: With the live gigs it’s just generally everyone having a good time basically. We really enjoyed playing live so we’re having a good time most of the time. With the new record, if they want to get into the lyrics then fair dos to them – I hope they do – but it’s not the most important thing. That’s that the music appeals to them.
RN: Why the name change?
J: From (Five Knuckle) Shuffle?
D: (laughing) It speaks for itself really (laughter) I mean basically if you hear the name Five Knuckle Shuffle what do you think of?…like a pop sort of thing. It’s hard to say.
B: I think it sounds like a ska band.
RN: Yeah I think that’s what it’d make me think of.
D: And like Five Knuckle just puts a bit more serious a note on the whole thing. We still do get people us – yeah like Trailer Park Trash – they’re a band from just outside of Bristol, and they’re still calling us Five Knuckle Shuffle. So yeah it just generally adds a bit of a serious note to the whole thing!
RN: What’s Bristol like as a scene?
E: Much better than it was.
J: Getting better.
D: Yeah definetly getting better. Like a year or two ago we wouldn’t have been very positive about it at all. But now like Sal’s (Five Knuckle guitarist) putting on shows and getting some British bands to play, and yeah it’s picking up. Other people are starting to get into it.
Saul: They also have some punk clubs running in Bristol and stuff…
J:…and yeah two years ago you wouldn’t have got a punk club in Bristol…
S:…but now they’re just popping up everywhere!
D: It’s not quite there yet, but it’s getting there – slowly.
E: It was voted like the 8th worst thing in punk rock in Fracture, but that was like 2 or 3 years ago, but it’s not like that anymore. On the way up!
RN: Hasn’t the Fleece and Firkin just closed though?
D: No – they’ve just changed management or something.
S: Yeah they now have a strict over 18s only policy and they now just turn away loads and loads of kids.
J: Yeah but that venue tends to only have American, or bigger kind of band’s playing.
D: We haven’t played the Fleece for a couple of years now and we don’t really like have much to do with it anymore. I mean Sal would never do a gig at the Fleece. We’ve done a couple of gigs at the Fleece with Big D [and the kids table] and Link80, but that was like someone else organizing it and it didn’t really work.
S: There’s just so much to hire out, it’s like 400 or 500 quid…
D: Yeah if you’re wanting to put on a show, you’re looking at, just to have a show, £300…
E:…and all that extra money could be going to the bands playing so it’s not alot of point.
D: It’s good for the bigger gigs though. I’ve seen some great gigs there. But when it’s packed it’s wicked, when it’s not it lacks atmostphere really.
RN: Alot of UK bands who I’ve spoken to always complain that Bristol only reacts to American bands – do you think that’s fair?
E: It’s true.
D: Yeah, it definetly used to be true, but like we said it’s getting alot better. He (pointing to Saul) put on an all dayer a couple of weeks ago, and that was all British bands except for that Manifesto Jukebox, who are from Finland, and like it was totally wicked. All the band’s got watched by loads of people.
J: Yeah there’s now British band’s that headline over American bands that come and play.
D: I think that over the past couple of years, I think the british bands have begun to appeal to the british public again.
RN: What celebrity would you most like to have a fight with?
D: It’s gotta be George Bush I guess – just cause it’d be funny.
E: Ohh…what are the dudes names – uh fucking Gareth Gates and Will.
D: No that’s harsh! (laughs)
E: Gareth Gates definetly!
RN: How did you end up on Household Name records?
D: Basically we sent them the demo, which was the ‘All Ages EP’ before it was the ‘All Ages EP’, and they replied and said like that they thought it was alright and we played at the Underworld with Mustard Plug, it was like an all dayer and umm Lil and Kafren were there and said that they were well into it, and it just went from there.
J: It was because we were the only band that didn’t have brass.
E: Yeah there were like seven bands with brass!
D: Yeah it was the lack of brass that did it for us! And yeah since then we’ve been with the label.
RN: What are your ambitions with the band?
E: Go to Europe.
D: We just want to gig like as much as possible. It’d be nice to do like, I don’t know – it’s hard to say numbers – but as much as possible, get more people to listen to us, just simple things like that. Definetly want to get to Europe at some point, it’s something we really want to do – and that’s about it really.
S: Do another record!
D: Yeah do that at some point. That won’t be out for a long time though. We’ll do a split with another band, some friends or something, first. But the main mission is to gig as much as possible.
RN: Would you say that you’re a political band – or do you not want to get that tag attached to you?
D: I’d rather not have a tag but to be honest it’s kind of hard. When the album first came out people said that it was really political, but I never though of it that way. I’d rather not be labelled with anything though but I’d say we weer more socially aware than political.
E: Yeah that’s more our point of view!
D: The whole album, the whole lyrics were written between 16 and 20 and there’s alot of growing up that happens during that time. I think you should just look at it as a kid’s reflection of living in the UK from the age of 16 to 20, so yeah it’s only a reflection on things. But call it what you want I guess!
RN: Do you as a band agree on all the issues in the lyrics?
E: Yeah I’d tell him if I didn’t.
D: But you’ve never actually said…oh no that’s not true actually! (laughter) I’m sure they would tell me.
RN: Where’s the best place to play?
E: London, Scotland – the Underworld’s pretty good.
D: Yeah London and Scotland are good. But I’ll tell you – because I got asked this question the other day – Portsmouth. For some reason Portsmouth has always been wicked for us.
J: It’s because we get a huge meal before the gig.
D: That’s true as well but people seem to be really into us there.
S: People seem to be really getting into us in Bristol as well.
E: Leicesters always good.
D: London, Portsmouth and Leicester if I had to say three!
RN: Who would you most like to play with who you haven’t played with already?
D: We’ve got favourite bands who, because we really like the bands I guess it would be great to play with, but I don’t know. (looking at band) Help!
J: If Refused were still around I’d definetly want to play with them.
D: It’d be wicked to play with someone like Propaghandi.
S: Dillenger Four!
E: Guns N Roses!
D: I can’t see that happening…
RN: Do you have anything you want to add to the interview?
S: Listen to us! (laughs)
D: No what we should do at th end of interviews, I thought is name some books that we thing people should read (looking at everyone else) You think that’s a good idea? (nodding of heads around room) Like that book that I’m reading at the moment ‘Captive State’ by George Monbiot. Suggest that people should read that and that ‘Last hours of ancient sunlight’ by Thomas Hartner, if you wanna suggest some reading!
S: ‘The new rulers of the world’ by John Pilger.
J: And Harry Potter as well! (laughs)
D: The Beach is pretty good as well.
E: Are you still going on about that book! I got half way through and got bored.
D: It’s a cult classic. The films fucking awful but the book’s wicked.