Proper Charlies: Andy Roberts catches up with Charly Six prior to their Royal Park gig...
There have always been hard luck stories when it comes to music biz. This band or that band could have gone onto greater things - be it playing that big gig at Joseph's Well or Madison Square Gardens six nights on the trot if only something or other hadn't have happened. At whatever level Lady Luck decides to withdraw her credit facilities it can hit a band hard and put the best laid plans on ice - sometimes for years. Take the example of Charly Six:
"Basically anything that could go wrong did." Explains drummer Mike Quarry. "We were just getting our songs together, getting happy with the set and we had some good gigs lined up. Then Danny (Carr, vocals and guitar) knocked his teeth out."
Ouch, bit of a blow for a singer. How did you do that? Surely not brawling with The Mafia like Liam Gallagher?
"I was playing football." Confides Danny. "I tend to get injured playing football and after that I couldn't really sing or do much so we had to have time off for that. Then I hurt myself again - it was my ankle that time. It's mainly my fault"
Mike: "We were just getting back from that and re-learning the set when the bass player at the time decided she wanted to leave. That was last summer. Then we hooked up with Mike (Lott, the band's new bassist) it was a chance drunken conversation one night when he offered his services."
"After about ten pints or so I er kind of volunteered." Mike L offers kind of sheepishly. "I'd never played bass before because I'm a guitarist - but I'm getting alright at it now!"
"It was one of those things where it kind of clicks in and it's not about how good someone is on an instrument - more about how it contributes to the four of you working as a unit." Says Mike Q.
"Are you saying I'm rubbish on bass?!" Quizzes Mike L. "I'm alright on the bass." He reassures.
The layoff and the new personnel contributed to an overhaul in the Charly Six set and sound in general.
"Of all of the songs we're playing now, only two are reincarnations of previous material. So the time practising and learning the new songs explains some of the layoff." Says Danny.
"We just decided we wanted to change around the sound a bit." Continues Mike Q. "We had good songs but they were quite slow and melodic. We thought that we'd work on something a little more immediate and catchy. Jamie (Gill, lead guitars) prefers things a bit louder allowing him to crack out some good guitar lines. It's a lot heavier than our former reputation of doing acoustic gigs - which was going down well but we decided that we wanted a something that was going to hook people in with some great rock n' roll."
So with these kind of changes, plus the lengthy layoff do the lads feel as though they have to re-establish themselves again?
Danny: "Compared to last year we've got a much harder-edged sound. People can love us or hate us but at the moment we're really enjoying playing the songs we've got. People have built up a picture in their minds of what Charly Six do and they've got it in their minds that we're all about acoustic introspection. The music is very different now. It is much more rock edged."
"It's not to be analysed in great detail or anything. It's fun stuff. It's good catchy tunes that people can jump about to." Says Mike Q. "We have got something to prove. We need to go out there and impress people. We've all been in bands on the scene in the past, we know the promoters and they all know us, so getting gigs isn't a problem plus we've got friends and fans of our old bands who will come and see us. But you can only rest on that past reputation for so long."
Over last weekend The 'Six have been in the studio and the results will be on sale for a bargain £2 at their gig at The Royal Park tonight thanks to the joys of CD burning technology. Promising to be "hard-edged punky rock songs" the lead track goes by the delightful name 'Get Drunk, Screw, Get High'.
"My lyrics tend to come from my warped head. As the title might suggest, it's about depraved nights out - things that none of us would do, that we would recommend people try out." Explains Danny.
So are there some depraved nights out to be had in Leeds then?
"Er yeah, I've seen some! As the title says, it's all about having a good time. About the sorts of people you meet around the city. That's what I tend to write lyrics about - people, situations and things that I see. The strongest song lyrically we play is one we play last live, called 'Eighth Floor, 6am'.
"I usually avoid stories but this one has gone a story. It's about when I was on the bus one morning and news was filtering through about this guy on top of the car park at Woodhouse Lane, threatening to jump off. I walked up and saw him stood on the side of the car park, then watched him all morning as I worked near there. I put into song what I thought was going on in his head at the time."
"When I heard that song for the first time it really blew me away and even though all of the changes we've been through I've fought to keep it in the set. It's one of the best songs I've heard from the local scene ever." Says Mike.
You can catch the band playing that very song on Friday 2nd May at Joseph's Well. As well as getting your copy of the new CD, there's the promise of free badges and support from Ripon's highly-regarded four-piece, The Call.