Punk folk rockers Crazy Arm return on Sunday, December 9th with a live show at Lincoln venue The Scene. The Linc caught up with singer and guitarist Darren Johns, as the band return from overseas to start the UK leg of their new tour.
Fresh back from touring Europe and ready for their UK tour dates, it’s been a mad few months for Crazy Arm. Having previously toured with Frank Turner, who also recently played Lincoln, Against Me! and Sonic Boom Six, the band are pretty much veterans of the punk-rock music scene.
With a series of European and UK tour dates that see them end up in their hometown of Plymouth and a third album on the cards, it’s a world away from their debut in 2009 with “Born To Ruin”.
Guitarist and vocalist Darren Johns says the group were already old hands at the music scene before forming: “We were a trio at first. I was in The Once Over Twice and the other two were in NoComply. We were always hanging out together so thought we’d have a bash at playing music together. The rest, with a few chops and changes, is history.”
With a mix of punk rock and folk, it’s notoriously hard to put your finger on the band’s ‘sound’. Johns says there is a mix of influences: “I’m pretty old so I’ve grown up listening to a lot of music.
“My dad introduced me to ’50s rock ‘n roll when I was eight years old, then I got into punk rock in the late ’70s, followed by ’80s anarcho-punk, through to folk roots and everything else when the time was right. So we just threw it all at the wall to see what stuck. Apparently it all stuck.”
Crazy Arm certainly aren’t afraid to play on their punk-rock roots and spread some light-hearted anarchy. Much of the band’s lyrics behind songs such as “Bandalito” and lead single “Tribes” (from second album “Union City Breath”) have a real message behind them.
Johns explains: “I blame it all on Crass. They opened my eyes to the grim underbelly of society and I’ve not been able to think straight ever since. I think all the best music is imbued with words that have some integrity, even if it’s just another radio-friendly heterosexual love song. As long as the author is honest and true it’ll resonate with someone!”
It seems Crazy Arm want to shout their grass-roots political views just as loudly as they like their music. While Frank Turner, who recently spoke to The Linc, said he now feels put off about speaking on his views because of some press coverage, Johns says political opinion in music is about simply being true to yourself: “It’s important to me. It’s not important in general. If you’re not a politicised person then don’t sing about politics.
“The Frank Turner thing is interesting. He’s made an effort to distance himself from the broad left so has a tendency to say things that will alienate himself from them. I think it backfired. But I think if he, or anyone else, believes in certain things then they should throw those ideas into the ring and battle them out.”
With a third album on the way and recognition from Kerrang and the BBC Radio 1 Punk show, it seems Crazy Arm are storming their way onto the music scene. Yet Johns doesn’t want to look too far ahead into the future: “I try not to think about where we should be in terms of success as it detracts from the music and tends to depress me.
“We’re busy working on our acoustic album at the moment – something that arose from how well our acoustic shows were received. And then we get to work on the third album proper in Spring 2013. So in a few months’ time we’ll be neck-deep in all that stuff. I’m sure we’ll be out on the road too.”
However, for the moment they are back in Lincoln for one night as part of a huge set of UK dates. The city is actually a regular stop for the band: “We love playing Lincoln. We’ve played here a bunch of times and it’s always a blast. The last time was at the amazing Crash Doubt festival.”
He continued: “We think there’s something in the water up there because people seem a little more, how to put it, unhinged. Just as it should be. I expect nothing but I hope for the usual drunken merriment!”
Johns says the latest tour will be more of the usual for Crazy Arms, although it’s not necessarily a bad thing: “Bickering, sweat, tiredness, sweat, hoarseness, sweat, whisky, stinking clothes and music that will always be too loud. Well, that’s what I expect. You should pretty much expect the same.”
And for anyone not sure of what to expect on the night: “Please come along. If you haven’t seen us before you’ve got nothing to lose. Except your dignity perhaps!”
Crazy Arm will be playing alongside The Living Daylights and Bad Ideas, as part of an extensive Crash Doubt Lincoln line-up at The Scene. Tickets are available on the door, priced at £5 each. Doors open at 7pm.Tweet