We caught up with Wille and the Bandits in their tour van before they headed straight back home to Cornwall, after finishing their set at the 12th London Tattoo Convention at Tobacco Docks. Specifically, I was sat with Wille himself, drummer Andy and Matt the bassist.
What made you guys decide to do the London Tattoo Convention?
Matt: because Big Chris told us too….
Wille: Big Chris is big and scary and he told us to play, so we were like… alright. It’s a great vibe in there. We probably are the least tattooed people in there. I mean there’s one tattoo between the three of us.
Which one of you guys has the Tattoo?
Andy: That would be me, it’s a barcode (on left wrist)
Wille: But, Andy, what is the barcode for?
Andy: It’s the second Mr Bungle album, Disco Volante. On vinyl with the Secret Chiefs 3 7”.
It’s a great tattoo to have, proper old school barcode tattoo for the hardcore Mr Bungle fans. Do you know if you can scan it?
Andy: I don’t think it will scan any more you know, it’s a bit old now.
Matt: Well you could still type the numbers in.
If you could get a tattoo while you’re here. What would you get?
Andy: (Adam’s mum) around my groin area. Adam’s our sound man by the way. I don’t know why I said that, hahahaha! You all want to get tattoos of Adam’s mum as well. Admit it.
Matt: I did consider getting a bass clef related thing, but It didn’t come off really. I had a few designed, but never got it done.
Wille: You wanted a bass clef? That’s it a terrible thing to put on your body.
Matt: If I was a guitarist then yeah.
Andrew: I wanted to get the giant squid attacking fisherman in a boat. Who try to harpoon it. I wanted it be a full on back piece. But I didn’t.
Wille: If I got tattoos the problem is I’d just cover myself.
Andrew: You’re too tight to do that.
Wille: I haven’t got enough money anyway. I couldn’t just have one, I’d want a whole piece… of a darkness and light, good and evil… the battle of it. As in greed and all that. Mmmm, I didn’t really think about that. I really just know I’m just a stingy bastard.
Matt: The tattoos in there look amazing, some of the artists in there are geniuses.
This was obviously a great venue to play at, but what is your favourite venue to play?
Andrew: We have played some mental places. But the 100 Club is a great place to play. oh and yeah, we are there soon, in fact October the 28th I think.
Wille: There’s a place in Belgium called Ferme de Madelonne, it’s right in the countryside in Gouvy. It’s an old barn that has a well in the middle. It’s in the middle of nowhere and people just rock up in their cars from all over.
Andrew: People from everywhere come there. People from Switzerland…
Matt: Luxembourg, Germany, an amazing place to be at and play as well.
Wille: It just stays open all night and the well became a fire pit in the middle of the venue. Such a great vibe there.
You have a new album coming out, Steal. How would you compare that to your previous three albums?
Wille: Definitely a lot heavier. Has a heavier vibe. With Grow, that’s a lot more acoustic. There isn’t really any of that on this one. There’s still ballads. It’s been recorded analogue as well, it’s more of rawer live sound to it.
Andrew: We have Don Airey also who’s Deep Purple’s keyboard player guesting on it.
Wille: Because of it being analogue it is all played as one take, no cutting up therefore it gives the sound of how it is when we play.
Matt: It’s basically studio quality live performance, and is out Jan 20th.
Andrew: We are touring it and giving the fans the opportunity to hear it before its release.
Have you guys had any Spinal Tap moments?
Wille: We have got locked out of our own gig before. We had to get out of the fire escape and then convince the door staff we were in the band to get back in. Then walk through the crowd, guitars in hand, to get on stage.
I first heard you guys when Grow was released, and for me the album got me straight away, which doesn’t happen that often. Is there an album you can listen to over and over again and still give you that tingle?
Wille: I’m really pleased that you said that, we are so happy with how that record came out. Grow was the first album we had full control over as well. I do think Steal will be another step up. Oh yeah, the album.
Andrew: The album, it would have to be Mr Bungle’s Disco Volanta of course. King for a Day by Faith No More, that gets the tingling going.
Wille: Mine has to be out of two. It is a cliché but it does do it to me – Dark Side of the Moon. I love Dark Side of the Moon, I remember the first time I heard it, it was incredible. John Martyn’s Solid Air...
Matt: Michael Jackson’s Bad, that’s probably one of mine – love it. I was going to say Bon Jovi but that’s not quite there. Dire Straits’ On the Night. That’s up there.
[They all agree on Dire Straits’ On the Night]
Today, 23rd September, is Bruce Springsteen’s birthday. What gift would you get him?
Wille: I’m sure there is nothing that we could afford that he needs. Probably just make him a card. More personal than buying one.
Last question. You guys are going out on a UK tour…want to name a few places?
Matt: There’s a good amount we’re heading off to. 100 club, Bristol 29th October, Birmingham Hare and Hounds… But, if you check out our brand new website Willeandthebandits.com all the dates will be on there. You can buy the tickets off the site.