You may have heard about London’s lo-fi/no-fi/DIY scene. It’s basically a bunch of new bands that all get on really well. Common traits include: gnarled and gnarly sound, ramshackle, funny songs about werewolves, pirates and getting high in the cinema, an appreciation of ’80s and ’90s pop culture, limited run cassettes and t-shirts designed by band members, mariachi bands, 7-inch vinyl, beer, ornately designed flyers and lots and lots of rad parties.
Punk poppets Male Bonding sit in the middle of it all, running their label Paradise Vendors Inc, obsessing over Travis Barker, and continuing a lineage of scuzzy rock that runs something like The Wipers - Nirvana - M___ B______. I spoke to the band’s John Arthur Webb about slogans, fighting and The Monkees.
Download: Male Bonding, "Dino" (Baby Gecko cover)
Male Bonding is a great name. Have you heard of The Male Bonding Band from the First Church of Bridgewater?
Yeah. I think they are getting some of our show offers. Saw that they are down to support Wavves and play at The Wipers reunion show in 2011.
They have an excellent logo and a great slogan: "we put the harm into harmony". You should borrow that. Or do you have your own slogan?
Our slogan is "what a burger." That's enough questions about The Male Bonding Band now...
Okay. They are a covers band, what covers do you guys play?
When we first started playing together we tried out a few different covers. We kicked the shit out of "Slip It In" by Black Flag and attempted an equally disappointing cover of "Academy" by Mission Of Burma. We nailed "Advert" by Blur pretty good. The only cover that we continue to play live is this song called "Dino" by this band from some years back called Baby Gecko from Flagstaff, Arizona. Baby Gecko are one of my favourite bands ever. I've only got four tracks by them, but they are the four best songs ever written.
My least favourite new word is
"bromance" which is I guess a new way of saying male bonding. Who would you like to have a bromance with?
The Vivian Girls.
What do you think of this lo-fi/no-fi scene talk? You guys are right in the middle of it.
Yeah, I was talking about this to a friend last night. I guess it's a positive thing. There is definitely a core group of bands in London at the moment that above anything are friends and are into helping each other out. I’d say "Community" rather than "scene." You lend me your copy of Revenge Of The Nerds 1 and 2, and I'll lend you my PA kinda thing. Actually i got into a massive fight with someone the other day at one of our shows over "the scene." He got the wrong end of my stick—quite literally.
Do all these bands get together and design cassette sleeves and record tracks for each other’s labels? Is it like The Monkees but on a citywide scale?
Male Bonding is like The Monkees. We live together. It's sick. There are always bands at our house. Over the last month we've had HEALTH, Abe Vigoda, The Mae Shi, Vivian Girls, Fuck Buttons, Graffiti Island, Cold Pumas, Cheatahs, Nirvana, The Police, Scritti Politti...The toilet gets blocked quite a lot...
Pete from Graffiti Island came into the shop I work at yesterday and asked me if I could use my staff discount to buy him a banana milkshake. He got 50 pence off. THAT right there is "community." He loves his milkshakes.
Who would win a fight out of you, PENS and Graffiti Island?
The last 2 people standing would be Amelia from PENS and Conan from Graffiti Island. It would be hard to call it from there...
Travis Barker. Discuss.
Some kid posted this on Mark from Blink's MySpace page. it made me LOL...
MARK I LOVE YOU BUT YOU RUINED THIS BLINK TOUR. I KNOW THAT TOM AND TRAVIS COULD HAVE THOUGHT OF A MILLION OTHER BANDS TO TAKE ON TOUR. WHY GAY "FOB" THEY BLOW, PETE WENTZ IS A USED TAMPON. NOW BEFORE WE LISTEN TO BLINK WE SUFFER THROUGH "DANCE DANCE..." WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU MAN?
Male Bonding feature on a forthcoming GG Alllin covers project with Thee Fair-Ohs, Graffiti Island and Pens, a split 7-inch with Cold Pumas, another with Vivian Girls and a split tape with Meth Teeth and Mazes. They are currently touring the UK with Vivian Girls. See them at Radfest on Sat 23rd May with PENS, A Grave With No Name and a ton of others.