JD & the FDCs interview – British punk rock band talk about their music, the Midlands music scene and sobriety

April 4, 2011

JD & the FDC's

“Bands these days seem to be more concerned with what other bands are doing instead of concentrating on their own business. It’s downright bizarre! It’s not a race or a competition, so let’s all just chill out, work together and enjoy ourselves ok?!”

Midlands, UK punk rock band JD & The FDCs are the new band led by punk rock vet Jamie Delerict (The Dangerfields/Teenage Casket Club/Panic as well as spots playing with the Misfits and Marky Ramone). I previously interviewed JD in 2007 while he was touring as a member of The Dangerfields, which was an honest and memorable interview. I caught up with Jamie and FDC’s bass player Joey Strange to find out about their new band.

So how did JD and the FDC’s start up?

Strange: After Jamie left Teenage Casket Company in late 2009 he was working on some ‘solo’ stuff that he’d had half-written for a while. Originally he wanted me to play bass on the tracks he’d done and when he sent them I suggested the idea of starting a band to play the stuff, which was something I don’t think he’d even considered at that point. He said yes to the idea and then The Gunn and Dazmondo jumped on board almost straight away.
Delerict: Yeah, I’d been working with a producer in Manchester on-and-off for about a year with the idea of throwing the songs out there and seeing if we could make some money on licensing, selling songs to other artists, soundtracks and things like that. That may not sound very “punk”, but having seen how the live circuit has taken such a nosedive in recent years and also how the music business has deteriorated into its shambolic present state, I felt the need to re-strategise my attack and have a rethink on how I can keep on surviving whilst making music. A few months removed from leaving TCC and about a week into a six week long Dangerfields European tour, I’d decided that Joey was probably right and that starting a new band was in fact a great idea. I started making calls, booking gigs and designing logos immediately. Although we started that Dangerfields tour in March 2010 with the best intentions, it quickly became one of the most gruelling, challenging and at times downright miserable ones we’d ever done. Because of many different factors, the Dangerfields were really treading water and had stopped moving forward and I was desperate for a new challenge. It was time to press the reset button you know? We were in the studio recording our EP after about three rehearsals and were playing our debut gig after about five. I just thought “Hey, at this stage, I’m too damn old to be wasting any more time!”

Where are you at right now in terms of recording and touring plans?

Strange: At the minute we’re working on new material and plan to record it for a full-length throughout the year. As far as touring goes there are a couple of things in the pipeline but nothing concrete. We’re just gonna see what comes up for now I think.
Delerict: Actually, we’ve just finished our very first tour. It was with The Erotics from Albany, NY. It was a short one, but a good one! I’ve got some good friends in some very good bands, so depending on how much control they end up having with regards to their tours, we could very well be part of some pretty cool things this year. We’re not the type of guys to sit around waiting for something to happen though, so yeah, we’re going to be putting our debut album together piece by piece throughout 2011. No rush, no deadline. And if no label wants to help us put it out, we’ll do it ourselves.

What’s the scene like in the Midlands right now?

Delerict: Competitive!
Strange: ‘The Midlands’ is quite a broad term. Certain parts of the Midlands have a pretty healthy scene and other parts have an almost non-existent scene. Even then the places that do have a good scene often only do well concerning a particular genre or style. On the whole, though, I’d say it’s pretty good. Nottingham has always been good and generally embraces everything although a lot of venues are struggling to stay afloat at the minute, mostly due to people either not having the money to go to gigs as often as they used to or just not wanting to. It’s sad but that’s the way it’s going in a lot of places at the minute.
Delerict: Bands these days seem to be more concerned with what other bands are doing instead of concentrating on their own business. It’s downright bizarre! It’s not a race or a competition, so let’s all just chill out, work together and enjoy ourselves ok?! Back in the 90s, I used to think that the punk scene was really fragmented, but these days it’s a genre, within a genre, within a sub-genre. And for a band that musically slips between the cracks like ourselves, it’s pretty tough to catch a break. That’s ok though. I’m at my happiest when I know that I’m doing something different to what’s deemed “cool” by Kerrang or whatever.

Any other local bands we should know about?

Strange: The Charm Offensive, When A Train Hits A Truck….
Delerict: Metal bands seem to be taking over the Midlands right now actually. Illuminatus, NG26 and Isolysis are leading the way. For punk rock, The Hip Priests remain the local champs. There hasn’t really been a big breakout band from around these parts for a long time.

Last time I spoke to you you we’re playing bass for The Dangerfields. Now you’re the front man on guitar and vocals – is this your first time as a frontman? Is this your preferred role?

Delerict: Oh no…. It ain’t my first rodeo! Funnily enough, when I joined the Dangerfields in early 2007, it was my first time NOT being the front man in a band since around 1992. I was the lead singer and guitarist in Panic from 1994-2004 and also in Teenage Casket Company from 2004-2009. It was a calculated decision to join the Dangerfields as “just” the bass player in 2007. I’d been sober for about a month at that time and was desperate to see if I was still able to perform and tour without alcohol as my crutch. Not being the main focal point was a big plus for me, as indeed was the singer being sober too. 2007 actually ended up being the best year of my life and despite it’s many obstacles, frustrations and its revolving door of lead guitarists, the Dangerfields was on the whole a very postive experience for me.

As the frontman you bring years of touring experience as a punk rock journeyman while the rest of the band are younger – do you find yourself being a mentor for the rest of the group?

Delerict: Ha ha!
Strange: We all have years of touring experience and JD learns just as much from us as we do from him. Actually, he learns way more, because we generally don’t listen to him!
Delerict: That’s so true…. I’m definitely the most experienced and well-travelled of the FDCs, but on the other hand I’m also technically the shittest musician too. These guys leave me in the dust! I’ve seen Joey and Danny turn from quiet, gangly teenagers into touring machines over the last six years or so first-hand and I couldn’t be prouder of them. If I’ve played even the tiniest part in their musical evolution, then I’m stoked. Dazmondo is actually older than me and has been around the block too. What he may lack in road-dog points, he more than makes up for in his shredding capabilities!

JD, you mentioned about being sober when you joined The Dangerfields and I know you’ve had some battles with alcohol… are you still on the wagon?

Delerict: Yes, yes I’m still sober. Four years and four months of keeping the demons at bay now. I ain’t gonna lie, it’s not easy, but one day at a time and all that! The hardest, yet the best decision I EVER made.

What’s it like being straight edge in a lifestyle surrounded by all the cliches of rock and roll excess?

Delerict: Most fellow musicians are understanding and I’m definitely running into more and more rockers in their thirties and forties who are alcohol and/or drug free these days. I’m really passionate about my sobriety, so anytime I can have an interesting conversation with a like minded individual is fantastic. Promoters, tour managers etc. LOVE it because it makes their jobs a lot easier doesn’t it?! Usually it’s just the younger ones that don’t understand or “get it”. That’s okay though. After all, we’ve all been lead to believe that it’s the norm for a guy in a rock n’ roll band to get hammered, fuck anything that moves and then smash a hotel room up or something. The truth is, that that kind of thing gets very boring eventually when you realise that it’s a big world out there full of much more satisfying things to experience. That’s not something you can teach though, you have to experience it and live through it. I should know, I was young, drunk and dumb for a much longer period than most!

This interview is for MV- are there any vices other than music that you’d like to admit to?

Delerict: Well being a professional wrestling fan is something that I’m SUPPOSED to be embarrassed about according to some people, but it’s been twenty years now so you’d think that people would leave me alone and stop busting my balls about it by now wouldn’t you?! But I guess the main vice that has taken the place of booze in my life is coffee. I can’t function very well in the morning without two pints of good coffee in me. In fact, don’t even bother talking to me before 12pm unless you can smell gingerbread latte on my breath…. Recognise.

© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice

JD & the FDCs video for “Never Gonna Stop”:

Related links:
Official website – JD & the FDCs

Brian Banks

Editor and Founder, Music Vice Magazine. Writer. Photographer. Poet. From Scotland. Not Ireland. Proudly based in Toronto, Canada. Rock N' Roll Don't Pay The Rent... 

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