Duncan Reid is no stranger to Camden having been told he was the worst thing in the borough almost two decades before Skarlett Riot’s band members were even born. That’s not to say that Skarlett Riot are new to all this, 2017 will be the third Camden Rocks Festival for the female fronted rock/metal act while Duncan Reid has been trying to get his band The Big Heads onto the festival circuit for almost as long. Both are looking forward to Camden in June so we chatted to them for you.
When did your relationship with Camden start?
(DR) From the moment I moved to London, Camden was pivotal to me. I lived in Maida Vale where the whole punk scene started but it was only a short bus ride to Camden. My girlfriend (now my wife) had a vintage clothes store in the market and our flatmate ended up running the whole place. And then there was Dingwalls. It was a very important venue for the punk scene and we went there a lot. At one show a young lad tried to pick my girlfriend up by saying he was me. She brought him over and introduced us. I said”So you are Duncan Reid? That’s a coincidence because so am I”. I’ve never seen anyone leave a place so quick. Poor sod. What were the chances of that? I definitely wouldn’t follow his betting tips.
(SR) We first played camden rocks in 2014, then 2015, & now back again this year. The festival caught my eye back in 2014 , I saw the blackout were on the line up amongst loads of other amazing bands and I thought ‘ we need to be a part of this!’ I didn’t know about the festival until then!
Have you played in Camden before?
(DR) In 1976 my band at the time, The Boys, were at the vanguard of the whole punk movement which caused such anger among die hard traditionalists. We played our second gig at Dingwalls supporting some horrible funk band. As we came off the long haired DJ announced to the audience that we were the worst band ever to have played the place. The manager told us never to darken their doors again. A little later on our single, First Time, was record of the week in “Sounds” and our first album had entered the charts. Dingwalls started ringing all the time begging us to play. In the 2000s, after not playing London for 17 years we decided to play a come back gig at the Barfly. We were worried that no one would show up so said it would be our last show in London. Even without that fib the gig caused a stampede and demand was so great we could have played for a fortnight and touts were selling tickets for about hundreds of pounds outside.
What was your reaction when you knew you would be playing there this year?
(DR) Huge delight. It’s topped off a great summer for us. We’ve been trying for our three years of existence to get on festival bills and been ignored. Its so important for us because when we get in front of people who haven’t seen us, we are so damn good they all become fans. This year we have gone over a tipping point and Camden Rocks represents one of five festivals we will be playing. We are on the march!
(SR) We’re so stoked to be a part of this awesome festival again this year and at a venue we’ve never been to! Can’t wait!
From the announcement of bands so far who are you looking forward to seeing and who would you hope may yet make it on?
(SR) I’m looking forward to seeing hands off gretel & aaron buchanan & the cult classics. I think our buddies in sumo cyco and devilskin should join the bill ( girl power!) Halestorm too?!
(DR) I’m a huge fan of the Urban Voodoo Machine and The Damned. My favourite band of the moment are Cyanide Pills who I’d like to see at Camden Rocks.
Have you been to Camden Market, what did you buy?
(DR) Many times as I’ve said. At one point I think my entire wardrobe came from there including a pair of yellow Beatle boots which I loved.
(SR) Yes! Pizza and a very sour home made lemonade .. didn’t realise how sour it would be until I put it to my lips..
Which Camden venue is the best to play at?
(DR) The Big Heads have played a few venues in London but never Camden. Now we are playing at the Black Heart in April and Camden Rocks in June. A bit like buses. Wait for years and two come along! We have a new album out in May so it’ll be great to bring a few new songs to Camden.
(SR) Well we played the stillery /camden rock venue which was a great intimate venue.. I’d love to play the underworld as part of camden rocks sometime. Love that venue! There’s just a awesome atmosphere.
Do you know any Camden trivia?
(DR) Did you know that Proud Camden used to be a horse hospital? I could think of a few jokes about that but I’d get into trouble!
Why should I as a gig goer make an effort to see you guys at Camden this year?
(SR) We are definitely a live band.. a band who puts plenty of energy, passion and fun into our set.. I’d say there’s something for everyone ! If you like a head bang, a sing along & some metal riffage come join us 😉
(DR) Apart from the fact that we look great, we sound great, we move great, have great songs, are one of the best live bands in the country and have a knack of making our audiences better looking and more intelligent, there isn’t any reason at all why anyone should come and see us.