Press release pranks
On Saturday, I had the pleasure of heading to Newcastle to teach a day of workshops about music journalism to a terrifically inspiring and inspired group of young people, thanks to New Writing North. As part of an exercise about writing features, I made up this press release and asked them to come up with an angle that they’d pitch to an editor - Barry’s Bad Knife are the biggest band in the world, you must understand, so every journalist in Christendom wants to interview them hence the need for a well good pitch - and at least five questions that they would ask band frontman Barry Gribble.
Their ideas were super, some of them picking up on things that I hadn’t even laid as contradictory traps - like the notion that releasing their album on November 5 (there was no thought on my part behind that date) could be a potentially subversive mood, given Barry’s (very vague) anti-government sentiment. I had tons of fun writing this (and did it frighteningly quickly, I’ve read too many of these things) and thought I’d share it here.
BARRY’S BAD KNIFE TO RELEASE FIFTH ALBUM, BLUNT
Band start their own record label, parting ways with international major, Bucks Brothers
On November 5, Doncaster band Barry’s Bad Knife are to release their fifth album, Blunt, via BDK Recordings. Following the excoriating violence of their last record, You’re Gonna Get It, Blunt marks a move for the four-piece that nobody could have predicted: an eloquently carved sense of maturity and consideration. Frontman and accordionist Barry Gribble said of the record, “Since You’re Gonna Get It, I’ve brought a child into the world. I can’t go on making records full of violence and threat with young Blarry in the world. I don’t want him to hear that. So on Blunt, I’ve taken a more humanitarian stance, thinking about how the government wear down the little people, and how by coming together, we can be stronger. I thought, what’s the point of being intimidating when there’s so much intimidation in the world already?”
Blunt was partially inspired by a trip to a former Russian prison camp, which Gribble charted on his own private propeller plane, flying the rest of the band out with him following their lavish, totally sold-out world tour. “The oppression… It’s so sad, isn’t it? So, so sad. Made me pleased to be where I’m from.” So Barry’s Bad Knife headed back to England, and set to work recording Blunt in London’s famed Abbey Road studios, employing both the London Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, at great expense. The results are astounding: gone are the breakneck riffs and throat-tangling screams, in their place gorgeous melodies, and lyrics imploring the government to act now.
“We had some good times in that studio,” recalls Barry, chuckling. “There were many late nights spent poring over the engineering desk, and I found that a little bit of what you fancy does wonders for my lyric writing.” Barry’s been further emboldened by wresting control of the band’s affairs from Bucks Brothers, their former label, who he decries as “a bunch of shysters and crooks.” Despite going to this tremendous effort to write Blunt, however, Gribble insists that they’re still the same four born and bred Doncaster men who started the band ten years ago (minus former bassist Alf Bothwell, with whom the band are still locked in an acrimonious legal battle). “You know what, I love this record and I think it’s definitely our best work. That’s all that matters to me. If anyone else likes it, that’s a bonus.”