Ready Steady Go - November 2004
Web Site: www.ready-steady-go.org.uk
Loudmouth Soup hail from Leeds, West Yorkshire, which lies due
east of Nashville, Tennessee and North of Muswell Hill, London.
They are Ben Hall (guitar/vox), Guy LaGrange (drums), Marvin
Riley (bass/banjo), Martin Horton (keyboards) and Jonny Backwater (guitar/pedal
steel). Their influences range from The Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The
Kinks, The Stones right thru' to Kings of Leon, and ZZ Top.
They are a rock'n'roll band and they've got a pedal steel and
they are not afraid to use it. Taking the laid-back, cool as f**k, good time
vibes of the Flying Burrito Brothers and Exile era Stones, the Soup are bringing
authentic country'n'roll to the masses. Check out the sound samples at the
bottom of this page and prepare to drift away to another time and place courtesy
of Yorkshire's finest country soul quintet.
RSG! Caught up with singer Ben to find out more about what makes the Soup tick and why the band are determined to do it on their own terms.
RSG: What's on the menu for the Soup?
Ben: "What the soup have got that others have not I think is a disregard for trends etc. I think that we are not self-conscious in the sense of following fads/fashions etc. We play whatever we like, in whatever style, on whatever instruments - and hope for the best when it comes to reaction from an audience".
"Our (sort of) manifesto has always been to be true to ourselves as if what we are doing is genuinely class, however unfashionable, people will come to us rather than us changing track. This seems to be happening now, since April/May and our first single release we've had great press, very busy gigs, management, a prospective single deal etc.. The fashion-conscious indie public's coming round to country rock n' roll - they've even started dancing at our gigs!! We're rescuing them from the bandwagon".
RSG : How did you first get into country?
Ben : "My interest in country was initially down to one man only - the mighty Keith Richards.. Being a stones fan I read about him talking about Hank Williams, Jim Reeves, etc and especially Gram Parsons. So I bought GP/Grievous Angel, and I was initially disappointed because it was so country & western - I just couldn't accept the style, but I was eventually seduced by the voice and put away my prejudices. From this I got into other country stuff like Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams etc.."
RSG: What's your take on GP?
Ben : "Gram Parsons was/is the perfect Country Rock n' Roll star. Tearful voice, looked great, beautiful songs and died young. Bit of a cliché but we will never see him get old and make bad records. His conservative/religious upbringing versus his sixties lifestyle also made for an inner turmoil that I think came through as guilt/regret in his songs. There's hardly any footage of him either which I think adds to the mystery. However, I do find the pedestal on which he's now put a bit silly - he didn't invent anything, he just made great records that didn't sell, was great looking and had the ultimate rock start death"
RSG: Tell us about some of your other favourite bands?
Ben: "The most underrated country rock band - the Kinks!! I take as much pleasure from Village Green or Muswell Hillbillies as from the more obvious country rock stuff - it's Anglified country music, I'm English, perfect".
"Other cool records? First two albums by The Band - faultless country/soul, can't touch them, three ripped up voices like that in one band, not fair!!"
"'Rum, Sodomy and the Lash' by the Pogues - Folk/punk, rescuing the eighties, two Irish fingers up at Thatcher's Britain. Great songwriting too".
"Blonde on Blonde by Dylan - So stark, sharp and cunning you could cut yourself on it".
"Maroon by the Webb Brothers - I think they have the same starting point as the Soup (apart from my Dad worked in a bank) but they obviously have a very cool record collection". "'Exile' by the Stones, 'Powerage' by AC/DC - Rock and Roll! I could go on for ever, also love the Stones, Woody Guthrie, Sly Stone, the Faces, Michael Nesmith (solo), James Yorkston, Curtis Mayfield, Blur etc etc"