For those who favour their rock ‘n’ roll rough, ready and sprinked with hints of the legends; meet Dexters. The East London five-piece (Frontman Tom, guitarists Chris & Ben, bass player Jamie and Chris on drums) formed in 2011, during which time they’ve released two singles and supported numerous acts – The Twang, The Courteeners and Reverend And The Makers to name a few. (Read on to see a few more…) With their debut album ‘Shimmer Gold’ released in March, and a 15 date UK tour kicking off around the same time, 2014 may well be Dexters year.
Will they hit the heights of their influences Oasis, The Strokes or The Jam? Hopefully, and very possibly. Don’t call it back-to-basics, though. And definitely don’t mention them in the same breath as Kaiser Chiefs! We caught up with Tom inbetween rehearsals:
Hi Tom, how are you?
Very good thanks mate.
Good week so far?
Yep, all good, rehearsing. Getting ready for a big year, you know.
Your music is unashamedly, back-to-basics British rock ‘n’ roll, yet surprisingly there’s not a great deal of it around at the minute. Why do you think that is?
Well I wouldn’t say it was basic, our album has a lot of different styles and themes throughout but you’re right – we are and always will be British rock ‘n’ roll; that’s our core. There are a lot of bands who’d probably be big in the mid 90’s – we see some great British rock n roll bands up and down the country when we are playing gigs. The industry just seems more interested in bleepy music that posh kids are making on their laptops, or singer/song”writers” who have an army of people writing their songs for ’em. We ain’t doing this for the money though; we’re doing it cos this is what we do. And anyway, I feel our album is too good for them to ignore…
You seem to be influenced by The Buzzcocks, The Kinks, The Who – some of Britain’s biggest and boldest rock acts – but are there any obscure influences in there too? Some not so obvious ones that I picked up on are Madness (particularly for the shades and a certain move during the Recover video), Joy Division (for the intro to Oceans) and Employment-era Kaiser Chiefs, particularly on Why Seal Your Fate. Would you agree with those?
We do love Madness and Joy Division, proper iconic bands and iconic people in those bands. I’m really into The Replacements. They’re not too obscure but they’re not to well know over here and they are fucking mega!
A lot of Great British rock acts are still together, or have gotten back together recently. Are there any who you think should have called it a day a while back?
No names spring to mind but any band that wear leather trousers need to take a good hard look at themselves…
Can you imagine still playing ‘Start To Run’ in 50 years?
If someone will listen then yeah! I’ll be in my 70’s so the tempo may suffer a bit but I’ll still be having it!
Having never written a rock song with a band, is that something that ever enters your head?
Not really when I write a song it’s all about being in the moment.
Is there a general procedure for writing a Dexters song? Is everyone involved or does it differ?
I will do the lyrics, melody and basic structure then we all work on it together and the boys will add their magic to it
You’re heading off on a pretty lengthy headlining tour in March, including a date at Manchester’s Night & Day – which is facing closure due to noise complaints. What are your thoughts on this?
Really looking forward to the tour. It would be a real shame if it was closed, it seems more and more venues are shutting down or literally falling apart. The government should be protecting and supporting these venues, music’s a massive part of our heritage; we’d be fucked without it so why don’t they support it more? And if people don’t like noise don’t move next door to a world famous live music venue, dick heads!
Are you planning on giving them a reason to keep it open?
We will do what we do best… Smash the gig, put on a great party vibe and drink the bar dry!
You’ve opened for some big names over the last couple of years, including The Enemy, Happy Mondays, The View and Glasvegas. What’s the most important lesson you learned from any of the bands?
It’s been mind blowing how sound everyone is. Many a time the headline bands have gone out of their way to help us out, sorting us out drinks and food, making sure we get a good soundcheck, all that stuff, so that’s something I’ll make sure we do when we are packing out the big venues. You gotta look after your own in this game now more than ever.
Other than your own, what albums are you looking forward to this year?
Kasabian never disappoint so really, really looking forward to their album. They’re one of the best live bands around, really sound and love a party; they’re our dream tour support and a band we look up to.
You walk into a pub and someone’s left one credit on the jukebox, what song do you put on?
I Am The Resurrection by the Stone Roses. And two sambucas.
We’re right at the start of 2014, where would you like to be at the end of it? (…Other than December.)
Had a great year under our belt selling out gigs in the UK & Europe, doing the festivals and be in a studio working on album number two.
Last but not least, where did the name come from? Is there a Dexter out there who played a big part in the band coming together?
Haha! Yes mate. I used to go to a club and the main bouncer was called Dexter. I got launched once for being, shall we say, a bit naughty so I told him that if he would let me back in I would name my band after him. He let me back in, I named my band after him, the rest is history!
Thanks very much and best of luck with the tour and the album. I’ve got a feeling Gigslutz are going to love both.
Thank you been great speaking to you and see you soon mate.