Just in case you don’t have enough stoner punk rock in your lives, today we introduce you to Widows…
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
James Kidd (guitars) – Nottingham. Although we both grew up in East Yorkshire before moving here in 2005.
Adam Jolliffe (vocals) – We’ve known each other since we were little kids, grew up together in the same dull village for what felt like an eternity, listening to each other’s record collections and always talking about playing in bands when we got older. We had played in a few bands around Nottingham between 2005 and 2008 but we met Steve through a friend of ours who did Muay Thai with him a few weeks after we had started writing the first Widows songs. We played him the demos and we all clicked the first time we jammed and it was obvious he was the right man for the job.
We found a bass player soon after, got off our feet and did the first EP and a load of gigs but he left as we started writing Death Valley Duchess. We had a few bass players over the years but Phil joined us in mid-2015 just as we were about to begin writing Oh Deer God. Steve had known him for a few years through being tattooed at Bodycraft in Nottingham, where Phil worked. He impressed us with the speed he learned all our songs and he immediately got on our wavelength with our sick sense of humour so he fits right in.
How long have you been playing as a band?
AJ – The very first stirrings of Widows came about in March 2008 but we didn’t become a full band until later that year. The current line up with Phil is about 18 months old now, but in total we’ve been playing together nearly nine years.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
JK – The name Widows came from Adam’s idea of wanting the band name to consist of just one word, to give it a sense of weight and timelessness . We settled on Widows as it was a reaction and reflection of all the loss of family and close friends that we experienced and made us into who we are today. A way to respect and remember , but also artistically create an identity for the band that would suit well in the world of stoner rock and doom.
What are your influences?
AJ – We are influenced by a spectrum of music personally, collectively we are influenced by bands like Clutch, Black Sabbath, Iron Monkey, Cursed, Kyuss, and many more.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
JK – I think it’s hard to describe your own music objectively but we’ve been described a lot as stoner punk rock, which seems to suit the sound we have pretty well. Straddling that line between old school stoner rock riffs, punk drumming, and bluesy, bellowing vocals with hardcore sensibilities. We try and keep you guessing with our riffs so you’re not sure what’s coming next or when it’s coming, throwing in an odd time signature for a bar or two or a change in an unexpected place. The whole idea is to keep your ears interested and not give them a chance to get bored.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
AJ – Women, drugs, booze, gambling, and religion. All things that are bad for you basically. Whilst we may visit the same subjects from time to time, each song remains its own story so there’s no real over arching theme linking the lyrics across all the songs. We like to pull ideas from history, literature, and film/TV for inspiration and expand on those ideas to create the lyrics.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
AJ – We’re loud and intense live, we don’t do quiet shows. Powerful aggressive grooves and beats that you can dance and bang your head to. Small venues are our favourite as you’re up close with the crowd, we love feeding off their energy and seeing people singing and crowd surfing, the more raucous the better. Definitely a good soundtrack for drunk nights and partying. Our drummer Steve is a brute and always a good watch, he really beats the shit out of his kit. As for how many shows we’ve played honestly we couldn’t say, we’ve been gigging regularly since 2010 so we’ve got plenty of shows under our belt but we lost count a while back.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
JK – Probably Adam crowd surfing at Riff Fest in Bolton last year whilst chugging a bottle of whiskey. Various half naked (and some about 90% naked) dudes invading the crowd on more than one occasion. Stringer, our old bassist, playing slide guitar on his bass with a bottle of wine he was drinking. Being able to burn some “beneficial herbs” whilst onstage in Holland. And on a birthday gig for Adam a few years back, someone tried to pull James’ shorts down mid solo whilst someone else distracted him by pouring rum in his mouth.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
JK – Matamp guitar head and cab, Ampeg bass head and cab, Pearl Export kit. Various effects pedals, mainly fuzz and wah. We love that valve sound and few things capture that tone better than that combo we have there. James uses a Gibson SG and Phil a Warwick bass. Adam uses a TC Helicon vocal effects pedal for delays, flange, and distortion.
What are your plans for 2017?
JK – Release the new album Oh Deer God on 14th April on CD, LP, and MP3. We’re having a launch night show at Rough Trade Nottingham with Regulus and Mastiff in support. We will be releasing a ‘making of’ video of our time recording in Skyhammer Studio very soon. There will be a video for album opener “Oh Deer God”, plus one or two others later in the year. We have a few shows coming up in March and April with Regulus, Alunah, Battalions, Barbarian Hermit, Pig Witch, and Mastiff., plus more around the UK and Europe to be announced soon.
AJ – We’d really like to play some festivals this year too.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
AJ – For the headline it’d have to be either Iron Monkey or Clutch, and the opener would be Boss Keloid from Wigan/Bolton. They’re bringing something really different and original to the scene at the moment and are lovely dudes and gigging buddies from the last few years. Plus, Paul’s guitar rig is fucking astounding!