XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows, or announcements?
Hello XSROCKERS, Pete the Riff from Ugly Clinic here answering your questions. I’m afraid that the great plague of 2020 put a stop to all of our live shows, but we will continue to release
songs from our first album throughout the rest of the year, and maybe press up some vinyl copies too.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
We started the band about a year ago. Bass player Davie X and Rhythm Guitarist Pete the Riff already knew one another from playing in a punk rock covers band. Richard (lead Guitar), Jed (drums) and Chloe (vocals) were recruited specially for Ugly Clinic because they are great musicians and they have the required rock n’roll attitude!
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
For me, at around age 15, it was listening to two albums that a friend of mine’s older brother had in his collection. The Ramones ‘’It’s Alive’’ and The Damned ‘’Machine Gun Etiquette’’. One live album, one studio. Both brilliant in their own way. We played them to death, and formed our own band soon after – and I’ve been playing in bands ever since!
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
We don’t copy anybody, or any specific era or genre, but as a group of individuals, our personal tastes tend towards the Punk/Metal/Classic Rock/Goth side of music. That’s where our influences mostly come from. With some weird left-field stuff thrown in sometimes for good measure.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
The name Ugly Clinic comes from an old Judge Dredd story in 2000AD comic. It’s the opposite of a beauty parlor, people go there to deliberately get ugly! As we generally despise all forms of bland, manufactured pretty-boy pop music, the name resonated with us. We’re a punk rock band.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Every band wants to be the next big thing, don’t they? But if we’re not famous by next year, we’ll just have to become even better at what we do and impress more people.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Personally, I prefer working in the studio. I find building up the tracks into their finished form the most satisfying aspect of being in a band. But playing live is always a big thrill too. Richard our lead guitarist, is exactly the opposite – he hates studio work but loves playing live.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Anything – and nothing. We don’t sit down together and decide to write specifically about a particular subject. All the band members write songs and lyrics, so you’ll get a different answer depending on who you ask. For example, ‘’Hot Knife’’ is about a woman I once knew who did too much, too soon, and always took things a little bit too far! We’re not an overtly political band, but what’s happening in the wider world affects us all personally in different ways, and that comes out in the songs and lyrics. We aren’t so influenced by whatever the music industry decides to push as the latest trend – we tend to pick our own style and stick with it.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
The fans who come see us play. A band without fans is just someone’s hobby. All the best bands make their fans feel like part of a gang like they’re part of something that not everyone else can just buy off the shelf. For anyone who performs in public, it should be all about the fans, not you as an individual. Okay, playing live is a rush and it’s great for the ego when people like you – but you have to give the audience a good show, and that means being well-rehearsed and professional. It doesn’t matter if you only play two chords the whole night – play them right and play them tight!
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
As a band, we’ve only been going for a few months, so we haven’t got any great stories from the road yet. But many moons ago I used to work on the stage crew at a theatre in Aberdeen. On one occasion Meat Loaf was playing there, and during ‘’Bat out of Hell,’’ I had to crawl across the stage on my stomach behind the drum riser, towing a 10-foot high polystyrene gravestone behind me! It’s not quite Stonehenge and dwarves, but everyone else on the crew called me ‘’Gravedigger’’ for a while after that.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Most of my friends are musicians, so yes.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Never copy. If you want to copy other people, join a covers band. Do your own thing and if other people happen to like it too, that’s a bonus. Bands who follow their own paths regardless are true artists, and bandwagon-jumpers aren’t.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
‘’Pink Speed and Tequila’’. It’s so simple and dumb that when we wrote it we thought that surely it must have been done before by someone else. That’s normally a sign that you’re on to a good riff.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Our biggest influences are bands like The Damned, The Clash, Motorhead, AC/DC, Blondie, Pink, Buzzcocks, New York Dolls. Because even though there is a big difference between someone who can genuinely be described as an artist and someone who just manages to sell a few records, all of the above bands managed to both. The creation of original art has an inherent value all of itself, regardless of commercial success or failure. And conversely, commercial success by itself is no guarantee of either talent or originality.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
I assume we can have anyone from any era? In that case – The Clash from 1977, Ziggy-period Bowie, Late ’70s/early 80’s-era Motorhead, Late 60’s vintage Who.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Getting the first album recorded and issued. It’s not easy doing everything yourself when you’re just starting out as a band.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
We still have careers! At our stage of development, being in a band does not generate enough income for us to pay the bills, so we all have to work day jobs too.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Pete the Riff (Guitar) – Gibson Les Paul Deluxe/Gibson Explorer through Marshall 100w.
Richard (Guitar) – Gibson Les Paul through EVH5150 head and EVH Cabinet
Davie X (Bass) – Fender Precision and Aria Pro2 IGB-SPT, Trace Elliot amp.
Chloe (Vocals) – Sennheiser Microphones
Jed (Drums) – Premier drums and Zildjian cymbals
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
The music scene has splintered into sub-genres, but that’s just part of the wider overall atomization of society away from the collectivist and towards the individualistic. That trend has been ascendant since the 1950s. Nobody watches the same TV programs at the same time anymore for the same reason. I think that’s why music festivals are so popular these days – they are one of the ways that disparate individuals are encouraged to feel comfortable getting together in a communal atmosphere. I think that some bands make themselves far too genre-specific, which may help when they first start out, but if they last for any length of time they will inevitably become trapped into repeating themselves over and over again. And I also think that serving up the same formula every time is doing your fans a disservice. Most rock music fans are broad-minded enough to be able to deal with a little variety.
I can’t stand most mainstream pop music, 99% of it is terrible. Personally, I’m not a fan of streaming either (unless it’s Ugly Clinic, of course) but then I come from a generation that bought LP’s and listened to them all the way through.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
We’re a multi-generational band. Our drummer Jed is only 19. Whereas I’m….well, if we’re being kind, let’s just say ‘’ more experienced’’!
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Our new single ‘’Hot Knife’’ is out now, available from all good digital distribution and streaming sites. Hopefully, we’ll be hitting the road again at some point his year, assuming we are allowed out of our isolation cages, of course. We will be releasing more songs from our debut album on an ongoing basis – check our Facebook page for regular updates on all things Ugly. We’ve already started making demos for Album number 2, so back in the studio again soon. When all this Coronavirus shit is over, come visit Scotland. Drink whiskey. See Ugly Clinic live. You’ll love it.
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
Our pleasure. Anytime.