There is no better place to browse records, listen to whatever James has on the turntable and sit, chat and drink coffee than The Vinyl Café. Naturally this is the place that Jonny and I meet up for a natter about Hardwicke Circus life. It’s a busy time for the band, having just finished 19 gigs in 21 days down on the south coast, taking in Brighton, Margate, Ramsgate, Whitstable amongst others. As Jonny explains when I mention that there are gigs throughout the year ‘it’s a never ending tour, we’ve been down at the seaside fora month. We’ve been playing in London every month for the last couple of years so we have a good strong base there but we had never really been further south much.’ So how does the band get around? ‘We have a driver, the legendary Jason Randall, we would be totally scuppered without him. We travel round in a police riot van, it’s got all the guards on and it’s totally bullet proof, it’s a force to be reckoned with! We have a trailer on the back and disaster struck early into the tour. It got stuck, instead of reversing gently off the kerb like any normal person he goes forward as fast as possible and snaps the axle on the trailer. We got it fixed in Dover after searching for the best behind the pub mechanic. The van still survives, it still has some life and has seen us around the UK for the last 2 years. There’s sometimes ten of us in the back.’ However it seems that Hardwicke Circus are about to enter a new chapter in the touring experience, as Jonny throws light on a new venture ‘we’ve just bought ourselves another bus, a double decker. We plan to kit it out with beds, a recording studio on the top floor, a kitchen and we can live in it, sleep in it, record in it when on the road. It’s so expensive when we are staying in hotels. The recording studio is essential to speed things up, we can get out of a gig, straight onto the bus and record the next hit!’ Jonny is clearly grateful for the support from home town Carlisle. They have no intention of moving away. They love to come home after being away, the signs of home coming up the M6.
A new EP is due for release soon. It’s a four track cd going by the name of The Jug EP. Jonny loves the cover, six individual photos of each band member ‘you can see all the faces, the different personalities. We’re all best mates, went to school together, grew up together. I started jamming with my brother Tom to Led Zeppelin and the Small Faces. We would play stuff like Teenage Kicks at the end of school, then we went to Secondary and met up with the boys. We are a live band and it blows my mind that we are all best mates playing incredible music together. We all listen to different music, making playlists on the road, and everyone is bringing something to what we are.’ Inevitably I ask Jonny whether he can remember the first song that he wrote ‘Yeah, it was a song called My Intentions. I was about 11. I can’t remember my intentions. I keep all my songbooks, I’m writing in an old ledger at the moment. So, we never shelve an idea and forget about it. We keep it and maybe it will be used at some time.’ So, why the EP title of The Jug? ‘At this place we play in London, The Cavern Freehouse, there’s a wonderful lady called Sue. We have a very expensive Kiwi driver to look after. Every penny counts and at this venue this lady, Sue, goes around with this jug, heckling. So, we thought we need our own jug to take round with us, you know, to try and make ends meet with petrol and everything else, it gets us from A to B. In honour of Sue and you emptying your pockets our new EP is called The Jug.’
Now, dear reader, you may be going to see Hardwicke Circus over the next few months and you may be one of those, like myself, that likes to splash out on a tee shirt or a record or whatever may take your fancy. On the merchandise stall at a Hardwicke Circus gig you will find the usual plus……..their very own coffee blend. Over to Jonny ‘Just down the road, Bruce & Luke have their own coffee business. We are always drinking their coffee and we said let’s have our own, high caffeinated, rough around the edges blend. I think we’re drinking it now actually!’ We check, a quick shout across the Vinyl Café to get the attention of James. He confirms that we are drinking the Hardwicke Circus blend coffee and describes it as being strong and to the core.
On that happy note we part ways. Cheers Jonny and thanks for chatting with Clunk. See you at the Old Fire Station on the 24th of May. Copies of the new EP jug will be available at the gig. Jug review and gig review coming soon on Clunk!