The UK indie band exploded onto the scene with their debut album What Did You Expect from the Vaccines. We chat to drummer, and closet Phil Collins fan, Pete…
What are you up to at the moment?
Oh, I’m just strolling around, kind of freezing, in basically the least rock and roll town of England – a little town called Eastbourne, just outside of Brighton, basically where everyone goes to retire. We have a show here tomorrow, I don’t know if there’s any young people in this town but apparently we sold some tickets.
Prefer festivals or intimate shows?
It’s good to mix it up really, I love to get sweaty in a club but the festival season is a whole different animal. We’ve been on tour for the past few months so I think by the time the festivals come around we’ll be looking forward to it.
You get a lot of praise from the critics, is that a lot of pressure?
Well yeah, I think we’ve got as much good as we get bad and I think because we’ve been around for a bit, you sort of learn to take it all with a pinch of salt. It’s the people that come to your shows that matter and the people that buy your records. We play with them in mind.
Ever read anything that’s untrue?
We don’t read any reviews or anything. Not interested. Obviously there is a part of me that is curious but I don’t think it’s healthy. If you believe the good stuff you have to believe the bad. Every so often we get asked about stuff in an interview that they have read that we have no idea about. But we tend to steer clear.
What did I read about Kate Moss…
Yeah, we did an ad for Rimmel makeup. The whole premise was that we were supposed to be recording a music video and she sort of storms in, grabs the guitar and gets involved.
Can she actually play guitar?
Noooo! She had a go and she booted me off the drums at one point and had a go at that too.
What’s she like?
Very nice. She’s into her music so we sort of got along really well and talked music.
Who were your influences growing up?
I guess Nirvana probably was the band that got me into music. Dave Grohl is obviously an incredible drummer and they’re a very inspiring band. After that, it opened the doors to like Blur and the Brit Pop thing and then going further back, I was into The Police, Blondie and then back further to The Velvet Underground, The Clash. Oh, and I guess The Strokes when they came out, they were a big influence.
Very cool stuff, anything embarrassing?
Yeah, well, I mean I’m not embarrassed, it is just the thing isn’t it. I think I inherited some pretty dodgy stuff – my Mum had an unbelievable love for Phil Collins which really rubbed off. He is actually an incredible drummer, but it’s just not really my usual cup of tea.
You get compared to The Ramones a lot. Is that a comparison you agree with?
I like that comparison. I’m not sure that I agree with it. I think that it happened – well a few things happened – the first thing was that we released our first single that just happened to be three chords in the space of a minute and a half. We like doing that stuff but I think our album has more to it than that, and is influenced by a lot of different eras. But I think that the important thing about The Ramones, that compares to us, is that they sort of took their love of pop music and the girl groups of the 60s, they took that blueprint and reinvented it. Which is sort of what we try to do. I don’t know though, we get compared to a lot of people.
Like, say, The Inbetweeners?
Because there’s four of us? Yeah, we have the really geeky dude and someone that is really crude… no we haven’t been compared to The Inbetweeners! And I’d like to keep it that way.
True you used to be “the Red Indians”?
We did two gigs as the Red Indians. We had kind of written most of our record before we had a name. The name was the hardest part. It can be with bands. We went through like eight before we decided.
Is your song called “Tiger Blood” a Charlie Sheen reference?
I had no idea about Charlie Sheen. Justin didn’t either, it was a complete coincidence. Weird.
The Vaccines play http://bigdayout.com/[Big Day Out] 2012. It hits Auckland (Jan 20), Gold Coast (Jan 22), Sydney (Jan 26), Melbourne (Jan 29), Adelaide (Feb 3), Perth (Feb 5). They are also supporting Kasabian as their sideshows in Sydney (Jan 24) and Melbourne (Jan 28).