For London ‘lads’, Gorgeous George, it’s not about the name, it’s about the music (although, yes, they’re named after someone they know called ‘George’). While fans hail them as ‘purely exciting’, the band describe their style as ‘Gypsy-Jewish-Cockney-Chav Extravaganza’. But they don’t believe in genres. They do believe in having fun and staying as original as possible, despite being repeatedly compared to The Clash. They also can’t stress enough how much they would like you listen to their SoundCloud page. And you should, because their music is hilariously good.
Their website doesn’t give much away, except links to their music and tour dates, as well as a few flattering promo photographs. Songs such as ‘When I Go Out On Saturday’ and ‘Peckham Princess’ recall rib-tickling tales of glorious personal experiences and eccentric characters, as well as displaying an uncanny ability to illustrate the imagination. Call them human ecologists, with instruments. Their new track, ‘John Wayne Enterprise’, an ode to cowboy builders, features a video cameo from former English footballer Jimmy Bullard and a comedic, disenchanted take on the construction industry. Refreshingly, the band don’t take themselves too seriously, even though their fans really, really do.
We recently met Gorgeous George for the first time, just before they played in a negligible South London establishment to an affluent East London crowd, on a summer’s evening in July. As the first band on stage, GG strummed, drummed and tooted to the anticipation of a somewhat empty floor – for the first few moments. Then, as the non too conventional resonance of guitars, a trumpet and a bongo travelled along the airwaves, bewildered punters scurried in from the tealight-lit beer garden, undoubtedly agog, and rather unsure what to expect. Not that it mattered; they were captivated instantly. It’s certainly safe to say that Gorgeous George are main-act material.
They’re currently very busy doing band-type things, such as touring popular British festivals and promoting their debut EP: ‘Prick Tease‘, but the band’s front man and co-executive lyricist, Chris, took a generous amount of time to partake in an e-chat with us, over [probably] a beer or two:
After our brief meeting on that warm, sparkly night in Lewisham in mid July, what have you been up to since?
Well, we went to Secret Garden Party on the Thursday morning, played the Crossroads, the Forum and the Smallworld stage on the Friday and Saturday. I think I remember getting chucked off the SGP radio station but those are the dangers of trying to interview a band at 2 A.M. We then left SGP at 6.30 A.M. to get to Nozstock, a festival in a land very far away, where we played the main stage before Chas and Dave, our f*cking idols. Me and Charlie have been meeting up to work on new songs and stuff. We are also getting ready for the rest of the gigs and festivals still to come.
Did you get a positive response from the crowd at SGP?
Always. We had loads of fun, they had loads of fun!
How would you describe your sound to a person without ears?
Like being at the circus on drugs.
How do you usually prepare for a show?
We know our songs inside out, so before a show we harass the promoter for some beers and food instead of practice. It’s a bit of a boys club being in this band because as well as the seven or eight members, we have the rest of the GG unit tagging along for the free ride and the good times so we are pretty much having fun all the time.
Where do your lyrical inspirations come from?
Me and Charlie write the lyrics. I look at myself or people around me in my life. Without speaking for Charlie, I think I can say he is the same. We both try to be pretty honest and have a laugh about it.
Your band features an impressive array of instruments; how did this come about?
When the band started it was me, Charlie and Charlie’s brother, Danny, on bass. We then, through friends and friends of friends, found the rest of them. Charlie and I have been in bands together for years and after doing that for so long we really tried not to be another two electric guitar/ bass/ drums type of band. It also gives us so many opinions when writing songs and riffs; the dynamics of old songs of ours were completely changed and kind of rewrote themselves. Unfortunately, at the moment we don’t have a full time clarinet player; the last one left to do other things, so if anyone is interested…
You previously stated that you don’t want to be compared to bands like The Clash or Buzzcocks, or categorised into a particular genre. Do you think categorisation is irrelevant in music right now?
I personally just dont believe in genres. It helps you find a record in a shop but as for the actual music – what is ‘world music’ for example? I’m from the world, so are all of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. People can (and do) catagorise us and it’s fine. I suppose the day I hear two people describe us as the same, then we’re doing it wrong.
Since coming together, what’s been your most positive experience?
The positives are being able to write songs, play them to big crowds, having fun, having a laugh with all the others. The negatives are things like seven hour motorway drives, sleeping in very uncomfortable positions. I can’t complain about anything really; I know I would have a lot more negatives in life if I wasn’t in this band.
Who influences you?
Influences, aside from the obvious musical geniuses: The Beatles, The Kinks, Ian Dury… An endless list of brilliant talent… I suppose the other real influence is just our social environment. I am a believer that people become a product of their environment; we drink beers, crack jokes, watch football and they are the influences.
What’s helped Gorgeous George get to where they are now?
We’ve met a lot of boyhood heroes along the way and they are really encouraging. Kevin Rowland of Dexys was the first to say he thought what we were doing is great and at the moment we’re working with Chris from Madness. Just having people like your status on Facebook is encouraging; at least people care, innit.
Lastly, [can you say] what does the future hold for Gorgeous George? We know you’ve got some big dates coming up at Wilderness and Bestival; after that? What are your views on ‘breaking America’?
Lots in the pipeline, stay tuned for official announcements! We are very excited but don’t want to say too much just yet. As for America, if they book us, we will come. I’m more into breaking here first.
Gorgeous George are playing at a variety of drinking establishments and festivals this summer, such as Wilderness (Aug 9-11), Oxjam Dalston (Aug 28) and Bestival (Sep 28). Tickets can be bought from their website.
In the meantime, and to make the band super happy, be sure to check out their SoundCloud page for demos and EP tracks.