Paint it Black(burn), on Ruby Tuesdays
“We definitely care more about putting on a memorable live gig and releasing quality records than filming ourselves on TikTok and wearing someone else’s personality.”Tucker, The Ruby Tuesdays
You know when you’re trying to explain a musical obsession and all you can say is “You’ve just got to see them live!”? Well, I think we’ve found the latest band to embody it. Recorded The Ruby Tuesday’s sound fab, their latest release “Man of the People” is high energy with the kind of sound that transforms your late-night run to the corner shop into a very high octane music video. It begins with what can only be described as a hefty riff from guitarist Josh that is aptly punctuated by drummer Baird and further deepened by bassist Matty. Listeners are then launched with speed enough to give you whiplash into a huge chorus wherein vocalist Tucker delivers us artfully simple lyrics about the state of the world. However, that being said, nothing quite prepared me for the absolute wall of atmosphere they produced in the back room of Crofters Rights on an unassuming Thursday in November. For at least the first song, which was their 2020 release “Rivers of Gold”, I don’t think the crowd quite knew what to do with the rock n rollers that stood before them. However, in the words of the band themselves, I’m glad to report that “Bristol didn’t disappoint”.
As someone who was raised on primarily Northern Britpop, I couldn’t help but feel this was the gig that I’d missed growing up. As much as I wish to avoid the comparison to a certain Britpop idol or two, purely because I feel it’s a cliche, I cannot help but draw the likeness when frontman Tucker, in all his shaggy-haired glory, whipped out a half-moon tambourine and sang soulfully into the mic at a 45 degree angle.
The whole experience was absolutely electrifying and truly took me elsewhere, to that mythical Knebworth even. And I don’t mention a giant gig like Knebworth for nothing either as, despite Crofters being only teeny tiny, this brilliant band from Blackburn truly built the energy of a gargantuan event like that with the sheer force and depth of their sound.
I think the thing that will stick with me the most about The Tuesdays is not just the quality of their tunes, but the fact that they all genuinely appear to be having a ball and how their commitment to crowd participation is off the charts. For example, as it was their bassist Matty’s birthday we all sang a very off-key rendition of that well-known birthday tune, which has got to be one of the more wholesome things I’ve experienced at a live event. Plus a guest appearance from their former guitarist George Barnes launched them into a very energetic cover of that Stones classic “Jumping Jack Flash” that sent the crowd into one of the many mini-mosh pits of the evening. Quality.
As they have no merch yet (hint, hint) at the end of the gig I was graciously handed a setlist, and I have to say as I was absolutely floored by the number of new tracks. The Tuesdays currently have 4 totally excellent singles out on Spotify, go have a listen if you haven’t already, but I would highly encourage all of you to keep tabs on their pages as there is so much more coming soon and my god is it good.
Now then, I’ll conclude this rambling bout of praise with the simple phrase, see them live, and leave you to read on!
Alright gents first things first, thank you for taking the time to join us today!
As I was reading through a couple of previous interviews you’ve done in the past, I saw you mention a bit of a change in your sound since your bassist Matty joined, and that your most recent singles feel more representative of where you’d like your sound to be. Tucker, you’re also quoted as having said “the music market is being drowned with the same old rubbish, and it’s harder for bands with real passion, like Ruby Tuesdays, to reach a wider audience” (Lancashire Telegraph, 2018) – Could you speak a little bit more about that, and also what you feel gives you an edge over your contemporaries?
It’s taken us a while but we’ve definitely found our feet sound-wise now and have a very powerful set of songs to back that up. The changing lineup has certainly been a pivotal element of this. That quote is somewhat of an embellishment from The Telegraph but I think what I was getting at is that the way music is consumed by the masses currently has resulted in the main factor of a band’s initial success being built on hype which can be very easily falsified by labels and marketing managers resulting often in subpar acts gaining a lot of traction. That’s not to say that every band that makes it should be tarnished with the same brush there’s plenty of up-and-coming acts that are really pushing themselves without anyone’s input, Strange Bones and Kid Kapichi both come to mind. I think what sets us apart is that we’re all about the music and all the bullshit that usually comes along with being in a band we aren’t interested in which could ultimately be why we’ve not moved further in the industry. We definitely care more about putting on a memorable live gig and releasing quality records than filming ourselves on TikTok and wearing someone else’s personality.
After listening to the “relaxed” version of “Who You Running From?” which you recorded at The Grand Studio in Clitheroe. It’s obviously very different to the ‘in your face’ singles you’ve put out on Spotify, and I was totally enamoured! You got this echoey, smooth, laid back, almost Black Key’s “Turn Blue” sound down. What sparked this version of the track, and are you thinking about creating more like this in the future?
Coming out of lockdown, we had a set of very aggressive alternative-rock tunes and put together a setlist that is very energetic and leaves little breathing space for the crowd. It’s been great playing gigs where the crowd go mental start to finish and it’s worked really well for this tour. However, we want to show a different side to our sound and our versatility as musicians and we’ll certainly be playing similar sounding tracks on our next tour.
I think I read somewhere that when it comes to writing music you all get involved with the process, which sounds very civilised and democratic. Could you talk us through how you guys put together your latest release “Man of the People”, like – how do you approach the process of writing a new track together, and what inspired such a high-energy dystopic anthem?
Man of the People was a very interesting track because it came together really easily, I wrote the backbone of the song whilst we were in the process of Josh joining the band and sent him a demo version to which he wrote a lead line and sent it back for the rest of us to listen to – this was before we had even played together as a full band. From there we got into the practice room, played it for the first time and it came together with such ease it cemented Josh’s position in the group. Baird and Matty helped put the finishing touches and made it to the track it is.
You have a reputation as being an explosive, energetic live band, and having “ripped up (your) hometown of Blackburn”, you’re now looking to conquer the rest of the country. Now that the country is kind of opening up again, and live music is making comeback, how have you guys found your return to touring thus far? Can you tell us a little bit about how it feels to be playing to a live audience again, and maybe share some of the highlights (and lowlights, if there’s been any)?
To be honest, this tour has been the best set of gigs we’ve ever played, this is the first time we’ve sold out several venues in advance of the date. At every single gig, the crowds have been insane from start to finish. I can’t express how grateful we are to everyone that comes to see us and we certainly deliver a quality show.
Speaking of gigs, you guys played the ‘This Feeling Stage’ at the Isle of Wight Festival this year, how was that for an experience?
It was absolutely quality, the tent was overflowing with people and we gained a lot of fresh support off the back of it. We spent a lot of time watching other bands at the This Feeling stage, Rats were a particular highlight. IOW is definitely an experience regardless of playing it, it’s definitely a more civilised festival than most we’ve been to – maybe that’s due to its geographical position!
I’d interviewed FLOWVERS recently in Manchester, (they’d actually played at the Isle of Wight Festival when you were there too -I think the Friday evening) and they mentioned that where they’re from (‘down south’), there are not so many bands, but ‘up north’ you’re practically tripping over them. Whilst you obviously can’t choose where you’re born – what does it mean to you to be part of the culturally and musically rich Northern scene?
They must not be looking in the right places because there are some great bands from the South! The North is definitely the heart of the UK’s music scene and I think the underestimation that often shadows Northerners, generally not just in the industry, pushes us to work harder and creates a certain amount of anger which we reflect in our music.
I found that you guys kind of have this contrasting aesthetic, where your single covers are a stark, clean, black and red, totally heavy, and very 2000s Rock ‘n Roll. But then you also have this kind of 60s or 70s psychedelia reference through the funky kaleidoscope effect on some of your Instagram posts, (and also through the very cool paisley and leopard print shirts you are sporting in a couple of photos)… I was just wondering if you could speak a little about what informs your image and your style choices?
I’m not too sure, to be honest! In terms of how we present ourselves through social media and music videos etc that’s down to me and my vision for us, I’m a designer by trade so I’m extremely precious about that. In terms of how we dress, we just wear what we usually wear, I find it insulting when bands care more about a mullet and their shoes than they do about the actual music!
As a massive Fred Perry fan I have to ask… your 2019 single “Who You Running From” was featured by on the Fred Perry in-store playlist! Can you tell us how that came about – what did it feel like to get that kind of coverage and.. did any of you wander in store just to hear yourselves coming through the speaks?
It was mad, really mad. We keep pushing to do the next thing but when I look back at what we’ve achieved I’m really proud. We were contacted by a team member of Imagesound called Zoe Fearn who takes care of the playlisting for loads of companies and were asked if she could pitch our single, and has since pitched the rest of our catalogue successfully! We’ve wandered in every time we pass but no success yet, I think they’ve definitely got a lot of tracks on that list.
Maybe a bit of a weird one, but I’ve noticed a lot of little snake images popping up on a lot of your social media, as emojis or illustrations. I also saw a few that pop up in the intro to the music video for your latest release “Man of the People”, coupled with a quote from Orwell’s “1984” which fit the dystopic nature of the lyrics so well, and I was just wondering what’s the deal with those the little reptiles?
We just wanted something other than a typographical logo for our branding, so much like the stones have their tongue we’ve got our snake!
Last question from me, and that is… what’s on the horizon for the band, and is there an album expected to drop any time soon?
We’re releasing “Who You Running From? (Dryden Sessions)” next month on December 10th! So keep an eye out for that. Plans are in the works to produce an album ourselves and use external sources for mixing and mastering so a Tuesdays album could be closer than we thought!
Awesome stuff from The Ruby Tuesdays and if the opportunity does arise, wherever you are, get down to see this band live… meanwhile, they can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and all the usual music streaming platforms.