Knitwear Slag meets the punk blues band from Sheffield Alabama, DEEP South Yorks.
Hi, Wet Nuns. Welcome. Here, I even bought you a spittoon to make you feel more at home. Now, are you both sitting comfortably? No? Good.
Being a Knitwear Slag and all that jazz, I thought I was pretty clued up on all things naughty. Wet Nuns sounds like something my mother wouldn’t approve of. Tell me: who and what the hell are you?
WE: Well, people call me Wired Earp. I play the skins. That’s drums to you folks. And I make grunting noises.
TTBD: And folks call me Terrance Trent B’arndance. I sing and play the geeee-tar. We’re a pair of Satan-worshippin’ red necks and we sing songs about gettin’ drunk, women and death. That ain’t in any particular order.
WE: We met two years ago on the street, I’d just been sick in my boots…
TTBD: We fell off a bridge and met the Devil himself. On Gawd’s day of rest he snuck in and made his own version of Adam and Eve. That’s us y’all.
And where do you two fine specimens come from, tell me, are there more like you?
WE: We hail from Sheffield, Alabama – Deep South Yorkshire. We play Blues, Rock’n’Roll, Americana and Black Metal. And no, ma’am, we’re two of a kind.
So does that mean you’re influenced by sounds that originated from the Deep South? It’s all sweaty and hot. And people seem to like getting down and goddamn dirty there, so I can see the appeal. Are the streets of the Deep South Yorkshire mean enough for you?
WE: No, that’s part of the joke. Sheffield couldn’t be further away from life in the real Deep South.
TTBD:We started out together in a band called Eternal Stench, playing punk. But then it all fell apart and we formed the Wet Nuns.
WE: We just were foolin’ around with the songs and slowed ‘em right down and made ‘em all bluesy and the like.
TTBD: It seemed to work and we began talkin’ with these Southern drawls, which y’all can hear. Our characters were born and the rest is what they call history. We can’t stop talkin’ like this now.
WE: We’ve both always been heavily influenced by the blues and find the iconography that goes along with it – the religion, the poverty, the drinking and music – very interesting.
TTBD: It’s not just modern blues, we like it all.
WE: People like Robert Johnson. They say he met the devil, who tuned his guitar for him and played a few songs, giving Johnson mastery of his instrument. Also, that he sold his soul for the ability to play the blues which made him so famous.
TTBD: But we also like current bands too, like CW Stoneking, The Jim Jones Revue, Black Diamond Heavies. I could name more..?
No, but thanks. Moving on, what’s a girl like me to expect from a Wet Nuns gig? I saw pictures of Terrance crowd surfing on two people. Tell me you have more fans than that. What’s your congregation like?
TTBD: (laughs) It’s true. That picture was taken at a gig we did at the S1 Artspace after-party during Tramlines. I was so wasted I couldn’t sing, see or stand but thankfully I could just about play. I vaguely remember swimming around in a puddle of beer on the floor.
WE: That’s what most of our gigs are like. Although we would like to appeal to people reading this to heckle us more when we play.
TTBD: We’ve got a weird following. We play with a lot of indie bands but we also play with punk bands too. When the fans meet, it’s a weird fusing of the two. They get freaked out by each other but the punks get everyone going. We like that.
I’ve heard the word ‘cabaret’ banded around in connection with the pair of you. You got nipple tassels and a feather fan you’re not telling me about?
WE: I wouldn’t call it cabaret. But, putting on a show is a big part of what we do. I hate going to gigs where bands you love just go through the motions and don’t offer any interaction with the crowd. In another lifetime I used to do performance art. I once wore a pair of cardboard boxer shorts with fake pubes pouring out the legs. I was naked underneath.
WE: I mean, I like performing in character. It’s easier for me.
TTBD: We’re mainly about the music. I’d say 75 percent. The rest is about giving people something a little bit different. Drink is a big part of what we do; before we go on stage we ask each other if we are both drunk enough.
And if one of you says you’re not?
BOTH: We drink more.
And what’s your poison?
BOTH: Whatever we can get our hands on.
Thought so. Should I keep my eyes peeled for Wet Nuns home brew?”
WE: We’re already on it.
What tips have you got to all the freshers about to arrive, wanting to get the most out of the city, musically, sexually and otherwise?
WE: Don’t do the whole student crawl thing. Go to the most horrible, dark, damp and dirty old man’s drinking hole you can find.
TTBD: Yeah. Give yourself a good scare instead of trawling West Street or Ecclesall Road.
WE: Or come to all of our gigs, we’ll give ‘em a rootin’ tootin’ time and a Wet Nuns baptism of fire. But, on a serious note, it’s a real shame places like the Stockroom and Shakespeare have closed.
TTBD: We prefer to play in small, sweaty, dirty places rather than venues like the O2 Academy which zaps the spirit of a gig. There should never be a barrier between the musicians and the fans.
WE: In fact, I’ve been working on a project with some other like minded folk, trying to book good bands in small, struggling venues to help keep them open.
Good for you, boys. It’s reassuring that Wet Nuns are watching over us. What other local bands do you rate?
WE: We like Electric Tape Recorder, the Violet May, the Death Rays Of Ardilla. There are a lot of good punk bands around.
I never really thought of Sheffield having a big punk scene.
TTBD: There’s always been a good turnout at punk gigs. It’s a relatively small scene but it’s tight.
WE: Everybody knows each other. It’s healthy and well alive. I’d like to see something like Kabal, but for bands, pop up. Something organic like that would be really good. Wild even.
If someone was to play KS in a film it would be a cross between Calamity Jane in Deadwood and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Who would play you?
WE: Sam Elliot – he played ‘The Stranger’ in The Big Lebowski.
TTBD: Yeah. He’d play us both – you know the one with the white hair and big moustache – as an entity rather than two separate people. Actually, I’d have Steve Buscemi dressed as a woman, dressed as a man. People say I’m quite effeminate you know.
My column is usually about sex, taking advantage of people and sometimes breaking the law; but there are days when I just want to write about sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. What are your songs, about and do you mean it or is it just for show?
TTBD: The songs tend to be about women or death or women and death. Some are based on real experience and others are complete nonsense. The song ‘Been Wondering’ is about travelling on top of freight trains.
WE: Neither of us have done that.
TTBD: But we have travelled by train before.
WE: Some are of personal experiences but we use allegory to give them a sense of being from another time or someone else’s point of view.
I love having a pseudonym – it allows me to get up to all sorts of naughtiness. How bad have you been lately? I do hope you’ve been going to church.
TTBD: We like performing in character. When you’re not yourself it’s easier to lose your inhibitions and say things you wouldn’t dream of saying normally.
TTBD: I told everyone in the crowd to fuck themselves once.
How did it go down? Did they try and lynch you?
TTBD: No, they loved it and went wild. I would never have said it normally but I was having a really bad gig and a string had gone on my guitar. Another time I asked everyone to drink a toast to death. Oops.
WE: Our songs aren’t dark really, it’s the delivery that is.
You’ve got a spoken word song called Crazy Guy, Lazy Eye. I’m a sucker for a spoken word song. Leader of the Pack by the Shangri Las works for me. What’s your favourite?
WE: Woody Guthrie’s Mean talking Blues. It’s about hating everyone and being happy when they are miserable. The best line in it is when he says, ‘I hated union ever’where, ‘Cause God likes unions. And I hate God.’
TTBD: I hate Tom Waits but I love it when he does spoken word. He’s got a great speaking voice. There’s a really good one on his album, Swordfishtrombones. It’s really hard to keep our accents up when we are drunk. We perfected them by watching a lot of Westerns.
WE: Some people actually think we are American. Two cowboys walked out of a recent gig at the Frog and Parrot.Why?
WE: Because we were “Yankee cunts”, they said.
I don’t get paid for all this nonsense (…ed?) I even had to supply my own rope for the shoot. Are you boys making any money from this gig yet or do you do it for the love of the music and easy women?”
TTBD: We don’t make any money or women from it. We do it for the prospect of women and money.
WE: Don’t tell my wench that… In all seriousness, we’re not signed and we won’t go looking for it. If it comes to us then it does. Hopefully, if we concentrate on what’s important – good music, good shows and having fun – then someone will pick up on that.
TTBD: We don’t want to lose focus on what we’re doing by becoming obsessed with getting signed. The moment it stops being fun and natural is the moment we stop doing this.”
And finally… any last words?
WE: We’ve got a self titled EP which we released online last month. Y’all can download it for free from our blawg www.wetnuns.blog.com.
TTBD: Or buy the cd from one of our hoedowns.
WE: I’ve been working on some designs for T-shirts and we will be announcing some very special gigs in the near future so keep checking out pages on MySpace and Facebook.
Thanks for your time Wet Nuns. It was a pleasure meeting you.
I spent the whole time imagining if TTBD dressed to the right or left and how it would feel to lick WE’s shiny bald head.( I asked him during the interview. He politely declined.)
Until next time…KS
END OF TEXT.