Monday, February 26, 2024

The Milk Men go Gabba Gabba Hey!

The Milk Men is a London-based four-piece rock and blues band made up of “the cream of UK blues rock talent”, with their album, Spin The Bottle, recently released, and a new single out now in ‘Gabba Gabba Hey‘.

“As a teenager I had started getting into punk music, predominantly The Sex Pistols and The Clash,” said Lloyd GreenThe Milk Men’s bass guitarist and writer of ‘Gabba Gabba Hey‘. “I taught myself bass by playing along to Never Mind The Bollocks. I loved the energy and that at its essence it was still rock n roll. It wasn’t until several years later that I discovered The Ramones.”

Continuing, he said: “I was watching an old clip from Old Grey Whistle Test of The Ramones performing ‘Rock n Roll High School‘. I thought it was coolest thing I had ever seen or heard. The stance of Joey, the 1-2-3-4 count from Dee Dee, the frantic downstrokes of Johnny – The denim, the leather jackets, the hair. I needed to find out more. I started listening to albums and watched clips and fell in love with them even more.”

“One of my favourite songs of theirs is ‘Pinhead’ and at the end they always use to bring on a sign saying “Gabba Gabba Hey” – it was kind of their calling chant. Sadly, all the original members have now passed away and I never got a chance to see them so the next best thing was to write a song honouring them – with reference to their early CBGB days and I couldn’t resist using their calling chant of Gabba Gabba Hey as the title. Whilst the lyrics are a tribute to them, musically the song is more glam rock/early Bowie than punk, but it works, and we play it loud enough so they can all hear it up there.”

You can check out the video for the new single here at RAMzine and stream/download it here.

Prevous to this, they reeased the single, ‘Cheap Seats‘ concerning which guitarist Adam Norsworthy commeted: “I had a couple of riffs knocking about for a while and thought they might make two decent songs, but when I sat down with Jamie Smy [The Milk Men’s lead singer] to write it was obvious that they should go together in the same song.

“We started piecing it together and Jamie already seemed to have a title, and a lyrical idea in his head. With ‘Cheap Seats’, he was singing all sorts of great ideas, and, once we had the structure, he just took it away and wrote some great lyrics.”

The singer himself explained: “I had the title knocking around for quite a while and Adam and I started writing the song around the it which isn’t usually how we work. It’s got a very ZZ Top feel to it but with a good dollop of Neil Young in there too.

“The subject matter is pure blues. A man feeling very sorry for himself, bemoaning his bad luck and the fact that he was born with a plastic spoon in his mouth. However, as hard as he tries, he can’t get a break and he’s stuck in a rut. Despite all the doom and gloom, he’s optimistic about the future. He’s got a friend who will sort him out. The sun will come out tomorrow.”

Norsworthy added: “Once we got in the studio and started playing it as a band it was so much fun – Mike and Lloyd got the idea and the feel immediately and it really grooves! We all love Stevie Wonder so I couldn’t resist sticking a clavinet over some sections as a nod to ‘Superstition‘. I think it’s a tricky song to listen to without tapping a toe!”

The single is available to stream and buy here and you can also check out the video right here at RAMzine.

With three albums already under their belt, this time The Milk Men enlisted the talents of Wayne Proctor, as producer he having worked with a dazzling array of well-known names from the UK’s music scene, including King King, Ben Poole, and British rock legend Ray Davies from The Kinks.

Proctor co-produced the album with Norsworthy. This team being described as “a match made in heaven, and one that has made a number of critically acclaimed albums together”.

The band’s previous album, Deliverance, was released just as the covid lockdown was enforced, so the band was unable to tour the songs as planned. Instead, they set about building their fan base with videos and single releases that saw their online following increase ten-fold. As a result, Spin The Bottle is sad to be one of the most eagerly anticipated blues rock releases of the year.

“We wanted to really get this one right,” said Norsworthy. “We know a lot of people are keen to hear it, so for it we have used a number of great studios and production talents to help us put it together.”

The album was recorded by James Welch at Masterlink Studiosin Surrey, and then the tracks were handed over to the co-producers who set about creating a tight, exciting live sound that reflected the band’s incredibly dynamic and popular live shows.

“It was important it sounded like us – no frills and tricks,” added singer Jamie Smy. “Our live shows are so well received that we wanted to capture all the things we do best on this album. We have a real momentum behind us. It’s important that we capitalise on that with Spin The Bottle.” 

Smy and Norsworthy are best friends who met at school when they were eleven. They have been in many bands together over the years, but it wasn’t until they both developed a deep love of the blues in their late teens, the idea for a powerful, dynamic blues band playing catchy songs took shape.

Although Norsworthy formed The Mustangs – four-time British Blues award nominees and UK music scene veterans, he and Smy eventually formed The Milk Men and were joined by Mike Roberts, who drummed with the legendary Pirates, and Lloyd Green on bass – son of British R’n’B guitar legend Mick Green.

This mix of talents and personalities has proved irresistible to the band’s ever-growing following. Smy’s husky blues voice is reminiscent of Rod Stewart in his prime, he prances and preens about the stage like a man born to it. Shades of Freddie Mercury, Bon Scott, Lee Brilleaux and Fish all come into his performance, but with Smy’s extra spoonful of humour and wit, there is no one quite like him. 

Roberts’ powerful drumming comes from a jazz background, and he brings with it a loveable, playful personality that comes out in his stage presence. He is also fast-becoming known as the best-dressed player on the circuit – always immaculately dressed from head to toe in fine suits. A homage to Charlie Watts perhaps?

With a music legend as a father, it would be easy for Lloyd Green to shy away from the stage, but with his beautiful bass playing – eloquent, lyrical, funky, and powerful, quite the opposite is true. He is the band’s secret weapon – crafting beautiful bass lines and performing them with an imposing, impressive stage presence.

A well-known veteran of the UK blues rock scene, guitarist Norsworthy is the perfect foil to singer Smy. The pair’s stage dynamic is electric, with Norsworthy firing of live-wire solos you can sing along to, whilst his smooth tenor backing vocals blend perfectly with Smy’s husky voice to create big harmonies in even bigger choruses.

And now, on Spin The Bottle, all the band’s talents come together to create their finest album yet. That’s a big statement, especially as their second album Gold Top was hailed by many as a blues rock classic, and Deliverance reached the national Top 40 and got to number #9 on the UK Blues Chart. The band are confident that Spin The Bottle will eclipse the reputations of their previous three albums.

“This is a blues rock Thriller, or Rumours,” said Green. “There’s no filler on here – the quality is there from the first note to the last. We felt we could have released any number of tracks as singles. It’s great to know that people will be humming along to every track, because the album is just full of hooks.”

The band’s philosophy is to deliver quality music, on stage and off, whilst letting people know you are having fun. That infectious attitude is all over Spin The Bottle from the big beats of first single ‘Go Go Baby’, to the bouncy groove and Elvis-inspired hooks of ‘Fabulous’. The band wears their influences on their sleeve, then rolls them up and gets on with delivering an album and live show that is somehow completely unique and unforgettable. “The best band we have ever had here” or “The most fun night we’ve had in ages” are becoming familiar end-of-the-night tributes at Milk Men gigs.

Tracks featured on Spin The Bottle are ‘Driving It’, ‘Cheap Seats’, ‘Go Go Baby’, ‘Adelaide’, ‘How Do You Think I Feel?’, ‘Sing The Blues’, ‘Gabba Gabba Hey’, ‘Fabulous’, ‘Highway Woman’ and ‘Bad Seed’.

‘Go Go Baby’ was released as a single back in June. Still available to buy/stream here, you can also check out the official video for that one here at RAMzine.

’Go Go Baby’ is pure Milk Men,” said band co-founder and lead guitarist Norsworthy. “We love short, sharp, snappy rock songs that you can sing along to instantly, and the energy and dynamic in the song reflects what we do on stage The song is full of life and energy and fun, and so are we!”

Spin The Bottle is available to pre-order from here.  

Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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