My taste in music is pretty scattered, but the one thing I just can't get my head round is dance. Whether it be House, Techno, Garage, Speed Garage or whatever the fuck else they call it, I don't like it. End of.’ It is apparent by this point that Michael is also not one to mince his words. The arrival of Barefoot Confessor is pretty much the ‘usual story’ Michael explains. ‘Three of us started a band in school..Brit pop wannabes… thought I was a thirteen year old Liam Gallagher.
I wasn't’. They played a few gigs, (‘under various awful names’) in tennis clubs, scout huts and basically anywhere else where underage drinking could be achieved. ‘We weren't really any good’ continues Michael ‘but due to there being nothing else for thirteen year old boys and girls to do on a Saturday night we drew quite big crowds’. On leaving school, the then bassist had left the band to get ‘a proper job’ and the rest of them didn’t.
After they had found a suitable replacement, an unused art room at the local youth centre became home to sweaty practice sessions and they began to write some ‘quite decent material’. From this point onwards, known as Red Eye Banquet, they started playing most of the ‘public toilets’ around Hounslow and the surrounding areas and built up quite a loyal following. After a brief inter-band bust up, R.E.B resumed service and decided to take what they were doing more seriously. The new sound was to prove very popular with pretty much everyone that heard it and led to them being approached by two strangers at a BBC training day where they were performing, who gave them the chance to record 5 tracks, completely at their expense at the Earth Terminal Studios in Hampshire.
These recordings later became the Young, Gifted and Broke EP. Now armed with an arsenal of songs and loyal fans REB played the London circuits and embarked on a brief tour of the country. However, there was again to be another change in line-up as the bassist who was then involved with an Australian Sheila, whose visa was soon to expire, emigrated to Australia. After the disbandment of REB, Michael played a few gigs here and there showcasing his solo material, and began to get a bit of interest from a few bods in the industry.
However, used to the comfort of playing as a band and the sound that a whole unit could produce, he felt ‘lost’ without his comrades. Reenlisting the help of James Towers and Chris Rees, two thirds of the original line-up then sought the help of REB’s ‘fifth member’ Erol Yurdagul. ‘We have been friends with Erol for years; and he was always playing our tunes to us and would always come to watch us practice and play, so he was the obvious replacement’ says lead guitarist James. So that brings us up to speed with the line-up.
Now they just needed a new name. ‘We decided we needed a new name as so much had changed with us, not only the songs we were writing but the attitude we had as well’ says Chris Rees, drummer. Originally wanting to be called Barefoot Contessa, (after the film starring Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart), the boys found that there was already a band with that name and also a female American chef going under the same banner. Trying to stay as close the original idea as possible as it took ‘so long to come up with someone we all liked’ they had a little play on words and Barefoot Confessor was born.
‘We liked it because a lot of the time it’s kinda what Michael is doing in his lyrics sometimes; confessing his feelings’ says Chris. Michael has a different take on it saying that it conjures an image of a down beaten man, ‘a terrorist or something’ who has been tortured so much that he has confessed all he knows and ‘maybe some things that he hasn’t even done’. Barefoot Confessor don’t have a ‘specific sound’- and their songs easily span different genres. This is probably due to the fact that Michael cites his song writing influences as anything from Morrissey to Jeff Buckley to Michael Jackson to Wet, Wet, Wet (yes, Wet, Wet, Wet!!).
Michael’s writing style is simple, he writes about what he sees and feels at one particular time. Take ‘Camden Road, an observation song and insight into a pocket of North London, taking in the ‘happy slapping’ on the silverlink train and ‘militant fists’ along the way. Others such as ‘Urgency’ and ‘The Shape That I’m In’ reference feelings from past relationships that everyone can relate to, as does live favourite ‘He Doesn’t Love You’, which sounds like a 21st century Beatles hit. It is clear that Barefoot Confessor want to be huge and have the charisma and, more importantly, the songs with which to do so.
They have the passion and the desire to be playing the likes of Wembley to massive audiences and they want to be ‘true stars’ that every person in the audience wants to be but, ‘We don’t want to be one of those bands that you see and think “I could do that”, it’s just disappointing when you go to see a band and think that. That’s what the stage is there for, to separate performer from audience, from those with talent, to those with…erm, a different talent’. Although critics are likely to draw comparisons to those ‘Indie Schmindy’ bands that the boys show such distaste for, Barefoot Confessor have somewhat of an edge to them, an urban eloquence almost. You won’t find them in the usual skinny jeans attire that is so prevalent these days and they certainly didn’t attend a performing arts or drama college. They are just 4 average blokes from West London with a not so average talent for writing great songs.
They come across as being very jovial but also slightly angsty, not in an emo way, more like they have a working class chip on their shoulder. Link to Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Barefoot-Confessor/11764534770 www.myspace.com/barefootconfessor Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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