Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The Cut Ups Interview. Sorta out there.

The mysterious Cornish liquor had made my brain loose and untrustworthy. Was Jon Curtis, foreskin of The Cut Ups really spilling the beans on their rad band, or was he being really boring and reserved. I just couldn't tell. I could barely see straight. In hindsight, it was me being the boring shithead and Jon was being interesting and very tolerant! Who woulda thought it?! Obviously I have edited this in my favour so I look quick witted and cool like all those sexy art students you see walking around your town in those strange clothes that can't be bought in shops. Jon, Ted, Jack, and Reza are in The Cut Ups, they're down to earth punk rock, with deep lyrics which can be interpretted however you want, but essentially boil down to a love of a small town in Mid Devon. Check out their split with the Arteries. "Torches" is a rabble rouser. To celebrate this split a month or two too late, I've got interviews from both bands (and ssssnakes!) which I conducted back in May on the Virgins tour. I was drunk and I apologise to Jon for being a cunt. The Arteries interview will follow soon! (Or I might offer it to my friend who has started a magazine in Cornwall. My profile in my home county needs to be raised so I can get the fuck out of this boner graveyard and start hanging out with lotsa fuckable little grungettes like I rightly deserve. Priorities!)


Name and true age?

Jon Curtis, 26

Yeah right and the rest. And Ted?

James Reynolds, 29.


Or…Ted, 29.

From The Cut Ups?

Yes, The Cut Ups. We have to be careful when saying the name of our band. I’m prone to saying “the cuhups” People think we’re called The Carps. Honestly, our friend Aaron thought we were The Carps for about three months.

Basically, how many odes to mid Devon do you think you have left in you?

I’m always torn between calling my home town mid or East Devon. I have currently conducted, officially, two odes to my hometown of Collumpton. You will know these songs as “I may be a mong from collumpton, but at least I ain’t a Cully-mong” and “The further I get from Collumpton the more my powers decrease”. Both good songs, however in the Cut Ups ALL songs are informed by my hometown Collumpton. But in answer to your question, I reckon this band has two more records.

Ted: Then we’ll have to move to Dorset.

Or something will have to happen in Collumpton, like a Civil War or racism. Sorry, even more racism.

Aside from Jon Shoe and the Fascists eh?

Jon Shoe and the Fascist Regime was the name of my solo project.

When hometown pride goes wrong.

Yeah, that’s right. Check ‘em out on myspace. Do you know Ted’s also from Mid Devon? South Molton. It’s as crappy as Collumpton.

What’s the PUNK SCENE like in South Molton?

Ted: Non-existent. It probably was just me and then I moved to Exeter. Now the Exeter punk scene has grown by…doubled the amount of punk people.

I’d like to ask specifically about the Exeter punk scene. There’s a lot of people you see about who have that “Exeter look”. Tight jeans, denim jacket, hood out the back. What’s your views on the current scene?

Ted: Well as for style I guess we don’t really fit in. We all wear large trousers.

I remember listening to Pennywise…

Was that yesterday or something?

Actually it was! Infact, I was listening to Bro Hymn. They were playing it in the club yesterday and I was singing along. I think that the Exeter punk scene look comes from one man… his name is Nicholas Heron (of The Computers). He’s a good looking man, he’s got slim legs, a trim backside, high cheek bones and a firm sense of what looks good. He thought it was a good look to wear denim jackets and it caught on. He also has a sailor hat, which didn’t catch on unfortunately. We as The Cut Ups have nothing to do with that look, although we don’t disapprove of it perse, we wouldn’t do it ourselves. Frankly, the problem is big arses. Too fat. Also Reza has a lot of hair and I don’t think it would look right.

Ted: We have a lot of hair in the band. Jack’s quite hairy, I’ve got a lot of bodily hair, but Jon…I think he’s totally bald.

Can I confirm I’m not totally bald. I have some hair. Where? There on the stair.

You mean on your crab ladder?

No, no come on let’s not be vulgar. Basically in Exeter I think there’s a strange crossover between, indie, electro kids, and punk kids. And people who were into The Computers early on were a mixture of indie kids and punk kids and they got into this look. Only like five people, but you know what kids are like, they see one guy and just go for it. But it’s funny, I’ve seen it spreading.

Ted: Alex (singer of The Computers) was in on the tight trouser game early on. I’ve seen those Best of Enemies promo shots. But they were no role models for any man.

Jon Curtis, the man who knows exactly what to say at the right moment, any moment can you explain the song “I Asked the Wrong Question” off your new album because I don’t believe there was anyway you could of asked the wrong question.

When we started The Cut Ups, if I’m honest the reason for starting was A: the last band I was in had stopped doing stuff and B: my friend Adam Searle (first Cut Ups bassist) really wanted to be in a band. So asked him “Shall we do a band?” So we did do that band and that’s now The Cut Ups. So we asked Rez to drum, but we didn’t really know him, Adam knew his twin sister.

Does she have a monobrow too?

No, they don’t really have any similarities at all, just hair colour. Rosie’s a very good looking young lady. So… anyway we asked Rez to do the band. So we started a band, the question was “will you be in the band with us?” The song “I Asked the Wrong Question” was specifically about Adam Searle because…

It better be interesting.

I know, it’s a long answer.

Did I ask the wrong question?

Yeah pretty much. No, instead of asking “Shall we be in a band?” I should have asked “Should we basically start this new life together?” It changed so much that we done before, and we were practically…

Ted: Married.

As much as a plutonic male relationship can be. Married. And we supported each other through a lot of difficult stuff.

Hetrosexual life brothers.

So when he left the band recently to move to Brighton it was a really hard thing to cope with, I really miss him. A real strong personality, such an influence on me and my life. I’m kind of at a loss when I remember he’s not around. So that’s what it is, “I Asked the Wrong Question.” Does that make sense?

Well kind of, I guess.

Explain why it doesn’t make sense then.

We’ll come back to that, I’ll find a new question.

Alright. Cheers.

Is your new album title a reference to smoking weed?
No. I do not smoke marijuana, nor have smoked anything infact.

Smoked a cock?


Sorry, that was quite a crass question. I’ve been drinking.

Ted: Smoked any fools?

No, nor have I ever shot anyone. The high and mighty, it’s nothing to do with drugs, it’s nothing to do with God specifically, it’s nothing to do with the people we might consider in our society to be high and mighty. Everything’s quite confused these days, like in the 1920’s the high and mighty might have been the king or the lords and ladies, and maybe perhaps politicians. Nowadays the high and mighty might be seen by lots of people as the Beckhams, or Jade Goody, you know literally people who think like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have something to say about life and what it means. So the high and mighty the record is specifically about people who have influenced me in my life. There’s no politician alive today that I think has been a role model to me, the aim was with those eleven songs was to make them about eleven role models to me, who I consider my high and mighty. Some of them smoke weed, but that’s not why they’re my heros. Dave the Growler [who is the subject of The King of Exwick] that man is extremely annoying, in the extreme, but I love him, and he’s taught me a lot not always on purpose sometimes…….I find it hard to cope with how the world is prepared for one sort of person an generally they are white, male, and educated and when people come along who don’t fit into that category they find it really hard. Growler is a lazy clown at best, but! He wants something and he can’t get it and I don’t necessarily think that’s his fault.
Am I being a poor interviewee?

No, I just always believed you had something to say…….and you do.


Would The Cut Ups play weddings?

Yeah, we’re playing Ted’s sister’s wedding next summer Noestone village hall. We’re playing Tom Petty songs and others.

Ok, there’s a lot of kids in the PUNK ROCK SCENE who I feel don’t know that much about getting married. How did you propose? What’s The Cut Ups technique?

My current wife, my former girlfriend Beth Hamilton, now Curtis, we went to Branscombe beach in Sidmouth where my Gran and Granddad always took me. This place had become special to us and we went there quite a lot, and we’d often talked about it and we’d never had much money, so we went and bought fish and chips. Sidmouth’s an old folk’s town in Devon and everything closes at about half past three in the afternoon, so I said to myself “if we manage to get fish and chips on that day, then that was the sign that I should definitely propose to her.” But for unknown reasons we were late, but the shop was open longer than it should have been. So we had fish and chips, well I don’t eat fish I’m a vegetarian I had a mushy pea fritter and chips. Beth had cod and chips, she’s a pescatarian. Then we drove to Branscombe beach, sat down, it was this kind of twilight scene, I lit a fire, we ate our chips, my mushy pea fritter, which was excellent. I got down on two knees, because I had bad knees at the time…

That’s a groveling way to propose, “Pleeease marry me!”

I knew my place you see. And I proposed to Miss Beth Hamilton and she agreed. This was September 3rd 2007, we got married 11th April 2008 in St Andrew’s Church Collumpton. Witnessed by many well wishers and some jealous people.

Jealous? Is your wife uh, hot?

There was a boy she used to go out with there. He had a yellow convertible. He still has that yellow convertible, but not my wife. She’s mine, hands off.

Ok, but the question was, any tips? [nope, it wasn’t!]

Yes! Don’t go mental. We’re punks, the world is impoverished enough. My friend took out a £3000 loan to get an engagement ring for his girlfriend. Don’t do that, that’s ridiculous. I didn’t have a ring, nor could I afford one.

Did you go down Argos?

No, we got a nice ring and it wasn’t extravagant.

An onion ring?

I offered her the choice of an onion ring or a beef hula hoop. No, another tip – choose who you’re asking wisely. If you choose the wrong person you could wind up in a right old pickle.

Right let’s get back to The Cut Ups.


The Cut Ups – punk rock you can believe in?

Sure. I see us more as radio rock these days, that’s only because I like radio rock more than I like punk rock.

Do you feel The Cut Ups could be considered as role models?

Oh crikey, I hope not. In towns like Exeter people who go on about liking punk rock all the time either give up a week later and go down to the nearest nightclub, or move away to London or Bristol. Simply by chance I’ve been the longest standing, and I have a big mouth. My first show was The Bluetones at Exeter Lemon Grove when I was 12 years old. It was rubbish. My first punk rock show was either jets to Brazil or Samiam. UK bands I guess would have been Symposium and A, so I have just of stuck with it. But I’d be worried if people were to think of us as role models.

Do you think people can relate to the Mid Devon scene?

The thing about punk rock and the reason I never got into, say The Bluetones style music is that anyone can do it. The reason I sing about Exeter so much is that it’s a crap town, in a crap part of the world, and I’m a crap person from it. If you take that scale then there’s no reason that I could ever be Eddie van Halen, but I do like the way I can be in a punk rock band. So the aim is I suppose to show people that anyone can do anything, you just gotta put some elbow grease in there, and if people can learn that from us it’d be amazing. I mean we’re just four chumps from round about and we have a good time. I’m sure you’ve sometimes wondered if those massive drives to play to 10 people are really worth it and of course it’s worth it, it’s not about what other people think it’s about what you yourself feel about it, and punk rock for me and The Cut Ups for me is about doing something that I enjoy and that I feel is worthwhile. I suppose.

Is Rory Matthews the new Jon Curtis?

Yes. Rory will bury us all, and I welcome that. Rory Matthews plays solo folk stuff in Some Sort of Threat, he’s in a band too called The False Arrests which I think are even better than Some Sort of Threat. Their drummer is called Luke Ellis and I value him very highly as a human being. Rory will go far, and he’s got something that we’ve always lacked, and that’s talent.

Oh, and youth is on his side.

Yes, I once had youth. It’s now a distant memory, as is hair. Rory how hairy are you?

Rory: Pretty hairy.

Ted: See, he’s got it all going for him.

I’m going to speak to you Ted, I think we’ve heard enough of Jon.

Ted: You need to speak to Jack, he has a degree in world cinema. It taught him how to be an excellent lover.

Jon: Jack could tell you why you should watch Amelie, which is basically what he learnt at university.

Jon, you have a notoriously sweet job as a RE teacher, Cut Ups or your sweet job?

I wouldn’t want to be in a band all the time. It’s boring, I only like it because it’s a fun thing to do.

Eh, I can’t hear you?

I said, I’d rather have a just job.

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