Desperate Measures: Scars And Memories
(Easy Action Records)
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Desperate Measures release their third single, Scars And Memories, from their recent mini-album as they dust themselves down following their 13-date UK tour with The Professionals. So if you want to find some rock’n’roll respite from the musical void often created by the bland and saturated Christmas musical airwaves, look no further than this.
Desperate Measures have wasted no time in finding their new normal in these post-lockdown times in the UK, although that phrase does come with caveats given recent events. Following the release in September of their mini album Rinsed, we are now treated to a new single and video of Scars And Memories, the first track on that album. And there is no doubt this one will grab you by the throat and get you hammering that air guitar like you have never done before, not that you would ever admit it of course.
Desperate Measures have already established themselves as a class act in the world of punk-infused old-school rock’n’roll and Scars And Memories goes a long way towards confirming that status. It’s another blast of incendiary rock’n’roll very much in the vein of the likes of Michael Monroe, the Black Halos and the Dead Boys. With a driving rhythm, gritty vocals and roaring guitars this is the ultimate foot-stomper and perfect antidote to the usual bland Christmas offerings.
As a tale of a reckless life lived out of control, addiction, and regrets, this is the story of a long-lost friend who is now on the run from criminal gangs. You might well not see this story played out on Christmas afternoon TV, but the video directed by Craig Temple of Racketeer Pictures perfectly captures the frenetic and furious spirit within the song, filmed during a short break in the recent tour with The Professionals.
And just as 2021 comes to a close, Louder Than War caught up with vocalist Eugene Butcher and drummer James Sherry to re-evaluate the events of 2021 for both themselves and the wider music industry, especially given their own significant standing within the music media, and see what the future holds for Desperate Measures.
Louder Than War: How was your own personal experience of lockdown and what were your coping strategies for getting through the difficult times?
Eugene: I did a lot of walking around the neighbourhood like everyone else but was also writing songs with our guitarist Gaff. We actually wrote about six during lockdown, three of which are on our mini album Rinsed.
James: Being able to rehearse and write with Desperate Measures throughout that period was a lifeline. Honestly, when the gigs stopped it felt like someone had switched the lights and power off. That had been our whole lives and suddenly it stopped. Yeah, it was certainly a very strange period. Seeing London so normally full of diverse life, absolutely silent, was very very strange. I spent a lot of time listening to music and wondering if the world would ever return to normal. It hasn’t has it, but at least we have some rock’n’roll back!
You emerged from lockdown by releasing your mini album in September, but how did you cope as a band through the periods of isolation and how did you manage to keep being productive musically?
Eugene: Gaff and I demoed the new songs on an iPad, sent them to the rest of the band, and then when we could we went and rehearsed. We were one of the few bands still rehearsing. It was weird but we had a few beers and got together and jammed and it was brilliant!
James: Those few rehearsals we did after that first three months of lockdown were so good, to be able to get together with friends and make some noise was very much needed. We went off like coiled springs!
Working as you do with many bands in a media capacity, what is your impression as to how the music industry as a whole coped through these difficult times?
James: For me, when the gigs stopped, the soul was ripped right out of it. That’s where the fun and spirit is. Everything else is just sat behind a laptop. Bands/media tried their best to be as creative as they could digitally, but nothing can replace the live human experience.
Do you think that the music industry has changed in any significant ways as a result of the events of the past couple of years, thinking particularly in terms of the way artists make a living and also the relationship between artists and fans?
James: It’s certainly had to adapt. There were times in the lockdown where we seriously thought how is any of this going to survive? How are any of the venues going to stay open? But somehow, they did. I went to a few ‘socially-distant’ gigs in that period and although strange, they were at least something and they kept it going. In South London, the New Cross Inn were particularly good at keeping gigs going and I saw some great seated gigs there by Ruts DC, Steve Ignorant, Riskee and the Ridicule etc.
Have the events surrounding the pandemic and lockdown in any way influenced the band’s song writing and, if so, how?
Eugene: Quite a few of the songs revolved around the lockdown. Flowers At Your Door is a lockdown breakup song – I couldn’t see my girlfriend for three months which wasn’t ideal. Ghost Train is about that weird zombie feeling when we went into Sainsburys at the start of the pandemic, and there was this dystopian type of vibe. You can’t go through a war and not write about it.
How was the experience of touring with a band having a pedigree such as The Professionals and what were some of the highlights?
James: The Professionals were great to us. I mean, Paul Cook let me use his drum-kit for the whole tour. If someone had told me when I was a 16-year-old Pistols obsessive that when I was 50 I’d be touring with one of the band and playing his gear, I’d have thought they were seriously deluded. It was great. And after the last couple of years, it was amazing to get around the country and meet so many people. Desperate Measures went down great with The Professionals crowd – I think our style really suited the tour. We had so much fun. The London gig at The Garage was a big highlight as there’s always a lot of nervous anticipation with London gigs, playing in front of family and friends etc. But it went great. My daughter came and she said, “that rocked, dad.” So that’s enough for me! Ha.
What are the plans for the future for Desperate Measures both in terms of recording and touring?
Eugene: We will record and release a new album in 2022. The songs are really progressing in a big fuck off rock/punk kind of way. We have some great gigs and a couple of festivals lined up. It’s looking good!
And as a footnote, the bands final gig of 2021 takes place at Nambucca in London on 16 December. Branded as Christmas On Earth On Holloway, the gig also features support from The Blue Carpet Band, the Duel and Los Santos. You can get tickets here.
You can buy or stream Rinsed here.
You can find Desperate Measures on Facebook and Bandcamp.
All words by Ian Corbridge. You can find more of his writing at his author profile.