Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No Doves interviews The Mob!

Okay so it's not everyone in The Mob but there's Mark, and the photo's too good not to use.


Here is an interview with The Mob, whose original run was from 1977 until 1983. Obviously our twice-per-month event night is named after the Mob song and EP "No Doves Fly Here." As a longtime Mob fan, I'm very excited to present this interview. The Mob, a power trio (heh) fronted by guitarist and vocalist Mark Mob, have recently been playing together again, and are coming to Austin, Texas, on May 31.

I'll let the late Lance Hahn, also of Austin, TX -- who was a writer as well as the frontman and songwriter of the band J-Church (who did a cover of The Mob's "No Doves Fly Here") -- introduce The Mob for me:

“No Doves Fly Here” is one of the most powerful musical statements to come out of what we’re calling anarcho punk and if you didn’t know any better you would have it all wrong. By traditional standards, it’s barely a punk song at all, dead slow in tempo with repetitive, hypnotic bass lines. In some ways, the music is gothic with roots in songs like “Hollow Hills” by Bauhaus. Lyrically, it’s poetic. [...] The Mob were hippie punks. But there was something dark and ominous about a lot of their music. They were death hippies, tripping on the apocalypse. (SOURCE.)

Mark Mob interviewed by Oliver in late March, 2012.





Mark Wilson, vocalist and guitarist of The Mob.









NO DOVES FLY HERE: You all have the reputation of being a gloomy and apocalyptic band, even mopey. Do you feel this reputation is earned, and is this a mindset of band members outside of the songwriting process?




MARK MOB: I think our overriding message of is one of hope even in the darkest of times, which we all suffer from at times. An amazing amount of people have told me over the years how our music has helped them through really difficult times.




NDFH: When did the Mob start? Who was in it then, and who is in the band now?




MOB: We started at school in 1977. Me, Graham (Fallows, dums), and Curtis (You’e, bass). When we moved to London a few years later we had Josef Porter on drums for a few years, and now we’ve reformed. It is the original line-up


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NDFH: Why choose the name "The Mob"? (Confusingly, there was a New York hardcore band in the 80s with that same name). Who chose it and why?




MOB: It seemed to describe the group of us that were living and working together at the time. It’s a lousy name, but it’s ours. And the NYC band of the same name came along after us.









NDFH: I have always felt like you all had an unfair reputation as "a Crass Records band." Not that there is anything wrong with that, per se -- it's just that to many people that signifies a certain sound (thrashy and/or atonal), which I do not think you all necessarily have. That is, you all are a mid- to slower tempo, almost a gothy and postpunk-sounding band (to me). Have you ever felt the Crass Records affiliation has limited your appeal in any way, or unfairly stigmatized you all?




MOB: I’m glad you picked up on that, because we were never “a Crass band.” We did one single on Crass and that was after we had released 2 singles on our own label, "All the Madmen.”

Don’t get me wrong, we liked the people and we lived with members of Crass at times -- but we always felt we didn’t belong in that somewhat monochrome and, as you say, "atonal" world. As many have said before, there is not much point to being an Anarchist if you have to all look/dress/sound/act/believe the same things. On the other hand, the exposure on Crass probably helped a lot of people get to hear us






NDFH: What were your primary influences? Folks listening to you might think Killing Joke, some of the early Factory Records bands like Joy Division, or UK Decay, etc. Is that accurate?




MOB: It’s funny you should say that, but I keep noticing Killing Joke elements in our music, and Joy Division have never been far from the turntable. We were big Clash and Damned fans back in the day -- and all early punk music, really. We were lucky: We left school in 1977 just as punk took off. It was a great time

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NDFH: In the 20 or so years that The Mob were NOT together, what were you all doing? Were you all in various bands, just working jobs, etc.? What was going on?




MOB: We’ve just been working, raising kids, and all that. Curtis played on for a few years with Blyth Power and Graham has been playing music all his life. I hardly touched a guitar in 20 years. I would see Curtis once every few years or so, and we hadn’t seen Graham since about 1979. I run and live in what you people call a "junkyard" in the woods. Curtis is a chef, and Graham does fire and flood remediation (I think)

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NDFH: Do you feel your ideals have changed since being in The Mob? What were The Mob's ideals, anyway, and what are your ideals now?




MOB: I can only speak for myself here, but mine haven’t changed much. A bit less na├»ve, but not much. I still like to think we can change the world, that it needs changing, and that it needs radical ideas in order to achieve any of that. Anyone who listens to our music probably feels our ideals better than I can express them in words. It’s Love and Hope and Despair and the need to help each other through it all. I know we get a bit of flack for being "hippies," but I couldn’t give a fuck. We are ourselves and I don’t need a label, thanks. That was what being a punk was all about.







NDFH: What prompted The Mob to get back together, and play out again?




MOB: My partner Leah was planning a surprise party for my birthday and she was getting all these bands to play and do the odd Mob cover. Anyway, I found out and thought, "Fuck that, I want to do it myself.” So me and Curtis got together and played a few songs and thought, “Yeah, we can do this.” We spent about 2 minutes thinking what to do about a drummer and both said, ”Graham.” About a day later Graham knocked on my mum and dad’s door completely out of the blue, and that was that. We did my birthday and sold it out in days. We couldn’t believe it. And the atmosphere was immense. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. It’s been a very emotional ride ever since.







NDFH: Are there any new songs in the works?




MOB: Were trying. It’s hard ‘cos I stopped writing and I thought I didn’t have anything else to say. And it’s really important to me that the words mean something, that it’s good. And I can’t just write a load of shit about governments or nuclear power. It has to come from the heart. I’m hopeful we will manage something soon, and I hope it’s good enough

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NDFH: Do you all have any memories of playing with the likes of Poison Girls, Rudimentary Peni, Part 1, etc.? What are your best memories of playing with those bands?





MOB: I used to sit at the side of the stage when the Poison Girls were playing and gaze in awe. I loved to hear Francis (Vi Subversa, Poison Girls singer) and she wrote some brilliant lyrics. I still can’t listen to "Cry No More" without crying some more. But for the most part, back then we would miss most of the bands ‘cos we were busy getting wasted or waylaid.






NDFH: Last question: Where are you all playing in the US this year? And where can folks buy your records, CDs, mp3s, etc.?





MOB: As well as Austin (May 31 in Austin at Chaos in Tejas at the Mohawk - Oliver), we are planning to play New York and Boston this time and then hopefully come back later in the year and do some on the West Coast. It’s quite a difficult thing to organise with work and family but we would love to do more. Right now we’re taking it one step at a time. I’m pretty sure you can get most of our stuff on itunes. We’ve got CDs and tshirts, etc., here at ours. We are just setting up http://letthetribeincrease.com so we can sell stuff direct. And if anyone checks out http://killyourpetpuppy.co.uk there is plenty of our music to download.






Note: Most photos above are from the All the Madmen Records Myspace page at: http://www.myspace.com/allthemadmenrecords/

Two other very good web resources about the Mob are Mark Splatter's write-up at Deathrock.com as well as the page at Kill From the Heart.


Also, the late Lance Hahn of J-Church was working on a book called Let The Tribe Increase, which included a 10,000 word section on The Mob, which you can read here:  http://greengalloway.blogspot.com/2007/10/lance-hahn-on-mob.html


A lot of Mob audio in mp3 format can be found at the Kill Your Pet Puppy zine/collective website.

2 comments:

  1. That is a great interview Oliver. I hope Mark can come up with some new songs. It was difficult back in 1982/3 because the 'anarcho-punk consensus'had become pretty fixed, limiting the scope of songs to a few politically acceptable themes which stifled creativity. That era is long gone so a more creative and imaginative approach to song writing is possible.

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  2. Browsers wanting to know more on The Mob and the scene and other bands around the era should read the information here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Mob-All-The-Madmen-Records-official-site/116214235115351?sk=info This info stream also has many more links of interest throughout the piece.

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