Monkeying around

Mention the name Duffmonkeys to any local Leicester citizen, and they will almost always break into a grin and mention their fondest moments of the last time they saw them live – whether it be when Jay had sliced off his finger with a kitchen knife just before a gig, or the time that Loz was so pissed off with the previous band he threatened to take them all outside, but ended up sitting alone at a sparse table. Perhaps you remember the gig where the band took the stage in large white Y-fronts, or the one where, unbeknown to the five piece, they had been booked to play a bikers pub. And nobody turned up. Good job too, by the sound of it. Clint Friskney, the band’s lead guitarist / vocalist – also known as “The Guv” spared me a few minutes to talk about the future.

AD: What exactly are Duffmonkeys all about?

CF: Duffmonkeys are all about having fun. Whenever we are on stage, we really gel towards that and anyone who sees us live will remember us and enjoy the show that we put on.

AD: You’ve got a new album coming out shortly. What can we expect and why should we buy it?

CF: I feel the next CD will be somewhat more mellow for a start, and then build up to a great rocking peak! You should buy it before we get a deal, and then it’ll be a collectors item. It’s £14.99 by the way, ha ha!

AD: Anyone who has seen the band live will know that your keyboard player, Jason Coates, gets rather humiliated regularly by the other band members. Why do you pick on him so much?

CF: Don’t get us wrong – Jay is a great guy, and I feel privileged to have known him as a band mate, but more as a friend for the last 12 years or so. Let’s face it though, it is so easy to humiliate him – I mean just look at his hair (or the lack of it!!!). At school he was nicknamed Pogo Patterson after the character from Grange Hill. They were separated at birth.

AD: You appeared on ITV’s “Oblivious” in 2001 with Davina McCall. How was the experience?

CF: Appearing with Davina was the highlight of 2001 for me (she wanted me, I could tell!). The exposure it gave the band was fantastic, and according to viewing figures, “What’s Stopping Us?” was heard by 5.5 million people. How many unsigned bands can say that?

AD: What exactly is “better than being bored”?

CF: Anything really. It’s like sitting at home watching TV, when your missus says “Let’s go shopping”, and you are thinking “Well at least it would be better than being bored”.

AD: Hmm…I’m not convinced on that one. I think I’d rather be bored! Anyway, the band include a rather rocky version of “I Will Survive” in their live set. What on earth made you choose that particular song?

CF: On a personal level, I always wanted to cover a really well known song, but in the Duffmonkeys style, and as luck would have it this is one of Loz’s most hated tracks, so that was a bonus really! But the response we have had has been amazing. Can’t beat our Kylie cover though ha ha.

AD: Which animal would you compare each band member to and why?

CF: Jay – A turtle because he’s always faffing about and he’s so slow, Loz – a camel, as he is so laid back he is almost horizontal (you wish – ed), Paul – a gorilla, as he is a BIG man (take note ladies!), Carl – a bulldog, as sometimes he looks like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders, and me – a beaver, as I’m always organising my “house” and am calm in a crisis. And I like building my own bridges…

AD: Where are the band heading, and what are the short and long term goals for the band?

CF: Short term we’re hoping to play the 2002 Abbey Park Festival. This has been my personal goal for a few years as it represents a certain milestone in the history of Duffmonkeys. Long term, what all bands want, - not so much fame and fortune, but for record companies or publishers to recognise the potential as performers and songwriters and give us the chance we feel we deserve to have.

AD: Did you cry when the Queen Mum finally fell off the plank? If not, why not. If so, why?

CF: Er…no not at all. The passing was sad but I am not now, nor have I ever been a great fan of the Royal Family, although I did take part in the 2 minutes silence as a mark of respect. I mean I am not a TOTAL heathen. Well, not on weekdays anyway!

AD: Tch tch. Anything to get out of two minutes work, eh? Anyway, finally – what’s the next thing on the agenda for Duffmonkeys?

CF: The next thing in the immediate future is a gig at The Fountain, Shepherd’s Bush, London on Saturday 20th April (plug plug). After that, we’re doing the new CD, and some more gigs locally, and then we shall have to see. Watch this space and in the words of Shaun Peel from BBC’s Crimewatch, “Keep ‘em peeled”.

What can he mean exactly? Are we now to expect Duffmonkeys to kidnap Richard Branson, maybe? Perhaps they’re intending to steal the crown jewels…after all what better way to gain publicity? Or maybe…just maybe…it will be an assault not on another living being, but on the nation’s hideous charts. Fingers crossed, eh?

Interview and transcript by Tone E
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