Robin Black and the Intergalactic Rockstars & The Sneakers @ The Kings Head, Fulham 16/2/03

Good Robin Black for opting to play a totally free show tonight. A low-key farewell date to conclude their debut British tour with Pretty Boy Floyd its the last that will be seen of them on these shores, save a cover of The Sweet’s ‘Hellrasier’ to be recorded over the next few days in Nottingham, til an April return with The Wildhearts.
Certainly they seem to have made their mark though judging by the impressive turnout for a chilly Sunday night. The explosive edge is somewhat taken off their exit by the proposed pyro show for the night being scraped, by still they promise to go out with a bang, or several, as Robin proclaims they will fuck some of you later tonight.
Before we find out if Mr Black got any hot action though The Sneakers have come to crash and burn and warm us up from the February freeze outside, or at least to half-arsedly flick the switch on the electric fire.
Sounding like the Quireboys or The Black Crowes topped with the bloody stupid Afro of Toploader, as sported by the guitarist stage right, they knock out smooth keyboard-led blues rock. Its pleasant enough fare but so polished for radio it loses the very dirty, bleeding heart rawness this genre derives its whole whisky soaked charm from.
Flanked by hordes of fishnet and glitter clad squealing beauties from as far afield as Sweden, Canada and London and fortified by a domino line of Becks bottles by the drumriser, each of which Robin cracks open with his teeth and downs in turn the Intergalactic Rockstars look every inch the rock’n’roll cliché and they’re on a mission to rock you.
Armed with only a Planet Fame sized ego and a neatly-applied coating of eyeliner they launch an initial attack in the shape of Cheap Trick-esque album opener ‘T.V Trash’ – the first strike in their campaign to ensure they Will be your favourite new band by the end of the evening. Continuing the assault with ‘Suburban Sci-Fi’ ‘Time Travel Tonite’ and some deadly hip-shakin moves they halt battle only long enough to swig some more beer and flirt with the front rows in underhand attempt to sleep with the enemy.
A whole lot more fun to watch than the other kind of Star Wars the Intergalactic Rockstars finish up victorious, the audience captive for closer ‘So Sick Of You’. Mission accomplished they return for an encore of the modest ‘Better Than You’. Combine a charm like that with the collective powers of Amen and the Wildhearts and the next time we see them if could be footing one of the best bills in rock history. All hail. /Alison.

Robin Black & The IRS (2003)

ROBIN BLACK & The IRS played their very first show in Italy at the Slam! party which was taking place on a boat in Venice. That sounded fun to us so we decided to drive down to hot Italy. Since you can often read about the band on these pages, we thought that an interview would be more than welcome…

So, Did you come especially for this show?
Robin Fucking Black: Yes, we’re here for 3 days in total and we’re just gonna rock this shit out of this boat, it’s our first show ever in Italy and we’re just gonna leave this country with people talking non-stop about seeing Robin Black & the Intergalactic Rockstars.

You’re working on the new album now?
Yeah, we take a break just to come for this show and then we have a couple of shows in Canada and otherwise we’re mainly working on the new record ’til Christmas. We have Bob Ezrin as a producer who produced “The Wall” (Pink Floyd), “Destroyer”(Kiss), etc. He’s a brilliant man and he’s pushing us really hard to make an incredible record, we’re really excited.

And you have an English record label now…
Yeah, TB Records. Mark, one of the owners of the label was on a holiday in a Northern State and he saw our video on MTV and before the end of the video he decided that he wanted to sign our band. We love them, they’re great and we’ve been touring England, Scotland and Whales which was very cool. It was very good. As a band, what we do is really special, we know that there are not other bands as exciting live as we are so we knew it was going to be good and we know that every show will always be good. We play, we kick the shit out of the place and when we leave people talk about that show for a long time.

Can we expect to see you in France some day?
I believe we’re gonna be in France playing with Enuff’Z’Nuff in late October/early November. My father is French and Ky is from French Canada, Quebec and it’s really important for us to go and play France. We’re really excited by the idea of playing in Paris and around France, that would be really cool. By the time the next record comes out after Christmas, we’re going to tour all over Europe and Japan and bring the shit that we do to as many people on earth as we possibly can. People need rock’n’roll right now, there’s not many people around that really make good rock records and really put on a special rock show, so they need us to go everywhere, France needs us too.

What’s your opinion on the rock scene nowadays?
Great rock’n’roll bands almost don’t exist anymore, rock’n’roll bands that put on exciting shows, that really rock out like it means something to them almost don’t exist. We feel like we’re all alone in the world making great rock’n’roll right now. You know, it happens from time to time to hear a good song from Sweden, Germany… but, to have a rock’n’roll band of five exciting rock’n’roll guys who are gonna kick the shit out of you when you see them at night, that doesn’t exist except for us right now. But…That’s why we’re here.

What about what the media call the “new rock” scene?
I went to see The Vines and it was absolutely one of the worse pieces of shit shows I’ve ever seen in my life, they looked like they didn’t give a shit to be Toronto playing for all these people that were so exciting to see music, they looked like they didn’t give a fuck and the singer looked like he’d watch every shitty Kurt Cobain video… All these bands sound the fucking same to me, they’re all guys with nice haircuts. The Hives seem actually kinda cool and that first single of The White Stripes record, that’s a really cool fucking riff but are they a great band? Some guy and his sister pretending to have sex or whatever the fuck they do, that would bore the shit out of me. But there’s some rock’n’roll in the world and it’s good to see that people pick up a guitar, have a few drinks and rock like it means something.

Do you think that you can bring something new?
What we bring, whether it is new or not is something that is true honest passion for rock’n’roll as an important thing, as something that matters to people, to teenagers… people always ask us if we’re bringing something back, a certain attitude in rock’n’roll. If what we’re bringing back is exciting rock shows, over the top fucking excitement, catchy hooky rock’n’roll, if we’re bringing that back, if that’s something from the past, then, that it is pretty sad about the present, if you have to look for a band to “bring back” excitement, you know?

Do you think that it is because of the record industry, the major labels or something?
It’s not the fault of the major labels any more than it’s the fault of people buying records. It’s the fault of the bands who go through the motions and pretend to be in a rock’n’roll band or do it because they saw something on TV and thought that it would be really fun. Unless a band of 4 people, 5 people, 6 girls or whatever the band is altogether make something that matters, somethign that special… It doesn’t matter who the fuck some major label signs because there isn’t enough good music in the world, the have to sign shit…
Starboy: What’s the last great band you’ve heard on a major label?
Robin Fucking Black: Yeah, but even not on a major label, what’s the last great band I’ve seen? What’s the last great show you’ve seen? I can’t fucking think of it… There’s a band in Canada called Bionic,they fucking rock because what they do, they do it with honesty and passion and are committed to what they do. They believe that their music and the fact that they’re playing tonight in some club in Rome is important to some people. But most fucking band out there really could not give a shit. They want to be on the cover of Rolling Stone and they want to get rich and they want the orgasm sisters to blow them….
Starboy: but the last great show I saw was AC/DC.
Robin Fucking Black: Yeah, but why do we have to look at a band that’s been around for 25 years to point a great rock’n’roll band? The reason why AC/DC is so great is because what they do is so honest, so driven and so exciting.. why isn’t every band like that?

Have you heard The Darkness?
You know what? We like The Darkness, but we’ve never seen them live.
Killer Ky: I think that what they do is very refreshing in today’s musical climate.
Robin Fucking Black: Whether or not it’s gonna work in France, Italy or Canada, I don’t know… But, to hear a record that sounds like a bunch of guys are really fucking exciting to make a rock’n’roll record is very cool and I don’t have very much good to say about very many things but we heard that Darkness record the last time we were in England and we all really liked it.

Does the word “glam” mean anything today?
Nothing… Whatever it means, it probably doesn’t really apply to us in any meaningful way. I love glamour, I love glamourous women or parties, I’d like to be a glamourous guy.. If what we do is glam or is rock’n’roll, that’s fucking cool with me but the word “glam” means all kinds of things, all kinds of people, we’re a rock’n’roll band. The fact that we like to be pretty, be the centre of the party.. Whether we’re a glam band or not, I don’t think we care.
Killer Ky: The media usually put this thing on us.
Robin Fucking Black: There’s no such thing as glam rock in Canada, at all. I don’t know if there ever has been, maybe Platinum Blonde in the 80s, whatever that was. We’re very much left alone in Canada. Despite the fact that we are so different that the stuff that they would normally put on television, the stuff they play on the radio, are sheer force of will and the force of will of our fans in Canada made them have to play us on MTV or radio, made them write about us ’cause there’s no wuch thing as a glam scene in Canada. We’ve been able to do things ’cause what we do, we do it so well… that made us become successful at home. And that’s all we’re gona do in Italy, in France and whether “glam” is in or out or a certain kind of rock’n’roll is irelevant.. we are the best at what we do and when you do something that well people will care. To us, as long as people give a shit when we play, and after this boat is done, when they pour every fucking liquored-up fucker from out of this boat, they’re gonna walk, stumble all the way home talking about how they saw the greatest fucking band thay’ve seen in 10 years. As long as we do that, I don’t care what the fuck is in or not in.

It seems like your audience in Canada is getting bigger and bigger.
Our first record “Planet:Fame” did exceptionally well in Canada. and it got us really started. It will be almost two years by the time our next record comes out and during that period, more and more people have come across our record and more and more people got into our band. I’m very proud of our record, I think we made a really great first record. It’s brand new in England and it only comes out in Italy and it’s not yet available in France, it’s so exciting to me that people get to hear our record and really like it. We worked really hard on it and it was really important to us. And then you hear that guys in other bands like this guy from The Wildhearts or that guy from The Darkness like the record, it’s cool because you know, we know that we made a good record.