guilfest

BORED TEENAGERS – The Adverts formed in 1976 but only made two albums before splitting

BORED TEENAGERS – The Adverts formed in 1976 but only made two albums before splitting

THE ADVERTS played regularly at London’s legendary punk club, The Roxy, and took Top Of The Pops by storm in 1977 with their anthem Gary Gilmore’s Eyes – but frontman TV Smith prefers the solo life today.

Armed with just an acoustic guitar, he plays around 120 gigs all over the world each year and says he’s ­happier now, although he still keeps old classics like One Chord Wonders and Bored Teenagers in his set.

He says: “Top Of The Pops was exciting at the time because it was a childhood dream to be on it, but what’s exciting to me now is playing a gig in front of people who are thrilled by what I do. That’s the real aim of what I was looking for – not to be on some crummy TV programme. That was a brief fulfilment of a childhood fantasy. Long term, I like giving people what they appreciate.

“I get a lot of people coming up and saying ‘I’m full of energy and inspiration after that gig’. What more could I ask for than to have someone leaving the concert with a smile on their face?”

The Adverts formed in 1976 at the dawn of punk and now appear on compilation albums alongside the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned, but they made just two albums – Crossing The Red Sea and Cast Of Thousands – before splitting up.

TV – or Tim – went on to form The Explorers and then TV Smith’s Cheap before returning from a period in the wilderness as a solo artist.

“I didn’t actually stop,” he says. “In the 1980s after The Explorers had died a death I didn’t have a manager or a publisher or a band. I didn’t have anyone on my side but I was still writing – that was key.”

The subject of a recent one-hour TV special on the BBC’s Punk Brittania theme, Tim is now a popular draw again, especially across Europe.

He says: “Now I’m doing so many gigs. Britain is one of the smallest countries for me – I do much better in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Finland and so on.”

But although he’s happy with his current career, he does recall the punk days fondly.

He and bass player Gaye Advert (still his partner) moved to London from Dorset at just the right time.

“There was nothing happening in Dorset,” says Tim. “Living in a ­backwater as a teenager, it was just dead. We had aspirations to see bands and be in a band.”

The 100 Club punk festival in the summer of 1976 was when the pair realised there was more than one band that had the same attitude as them.

The line-up included the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Buzzcocks and The Damned.

By January 1977 The Adverts were ready to join in and played at The Roxy twice in a week.

“I phoned the manager, Andy Czezowki, and asked if we could have a gig and he said ‘What’s the name of the band?’ I said ‘The Adverts’ and he said ‘OK’. He didn’t even want to hear a tape or anything!” recalls Tim.

Was he aware of the significance of the punk explosion at the time?

“I’m not sure if I realise the significance of it now!” he says. “We just wanted to be in a band and do our thing and there seemed to be loads of other bands wanting to do the same thing.

“I didn’t think about smashing the music business but the music business wouldn’t accept us so we had to do something different.”

TV Smith will play the Vive Le Rock stage at GuilFest on Friday, July 13 and will be joined by fellow punk veterans Buzzcocks – and you can expect a bit of nostalgia.

“There’s always going to be a mix of new and old in my set, including a few Adverts songs,” he says. “Absolutely! That was part of me, they’re as much a part of me as the new ones.

“I always play Gary Gilmore’s Eyes, Bored Teenagers, One Chord Wonders and probably No Time To Be 21 as well.”

GuilFest will take place in Stoke Park, Guildford, from Friday, July 13 until Sunday, July 15. There are 200 other acts including Olly Murs, Tulisa, Jools Holland, Bryan Ferry, Chic, Gary Numan, Ash, Skindred, Young Guns, The Undertones and Andy C.

Full details on www.guilfest.co.uk

BIG FANS WILL LOVE OLLY – pop star Mr Murs will be performing at this year’s GuilFest

BIG FANS WILL LOVE OLLY – pop star Mr Murs will be performing at this year’s GuilFest

IT MAY be called GuilFest, it may be staged in Guildford, but the famous summer event has its roots firmly in Woking.

Founder and organiser Tony Scott is a former pupil of St John the Baptist School and would love his old home town to be the theme of a future event.

“As a Woking lad, I’m really pleased we’ve had Paul Weller and Bruce Foxton in the past, and we had Status Quo – and Rick Parfitt’s from Woking,” he says, with the enthusiasm that makes it easy to see how he’s turned a tiny one-day event into a must-have ticket on the UK festival circuit.

“I’d love to do a Woking-themed festival,” he adds. “Get Paul and Bruce back together for a one-off Jam revival, have Status Quo back – and get Eric Clapton as well.

“He comes from Ripley, which is basically Woking, so I’d have Eric headlining on the Friday, the Jam on Saturday and then a party to finish it off on Sunday with Status Quo.

“Seriously, though, Eric Clapton is the one act we’ve never had that I’d love to get in the future – I’m a big fan and he’s local so it would be ideal.”

There can be very few ‘name’ acts that haven’t featured on the bill since the festival started in 1992, with Peter ‘Where Do You Go To My Lovely?’ Sarstedt and John ‘Really Free’ Otway as the main attractions.

Madness, The Stranglers, Blondie, Rolf Harris, Alice Cooper, Billy Bragg, Ian Dury, Jethro Tull, Brian Wilson, Happy Mondays, the Charlatans… the list of previous attractions goes on.

But it was a slow start. “We hit on the idea of starting a festival after a few drinks in the pub,” says Tony. “I run Abinger Marquee Hire so we had the tents and knew people who could provide the rest of the infrastructure.”

The first GuilFest had to be on a bank holiday as Guildford Borough Council didn’t want it to clash with Saturday shopping and Sunday was still considered a day of rest.

“So we did it on the August bank holiday,” recalls Tony. “And we had to start at midday and finish by 7pm because the next day was a working day.”

But 500 people came along and Tony says: “Everyone enjoyed it so we thought we’d do it again.

Then it just got bigger and bigger and it has grown to this three-day festival with camping and now has more than 200 acts and 40,000 in the audience.

“There were few festivals in the UK when we started – Glastonbury and Reading…only a handful. So we had people coming from all over the country. Because we were early we rode the wave of popularity. It would be difficult to get started now because there’s so much competition.”

And the reason for carrying on today remains the same as it was 20 years ago.

“We just want to put on a really good festival in our own backyard,” says Tony, who’s extremely proud of the event’s reputation for eclectic line-ups.

“There’s such a wide range of acts at GuilFest that anybody can come,” he says. “A 16-year-old punk could quite easily bump into their granny at the bar without even knowing each other was going.

“This year we’ve got legends like Bryan Ferry and Jools Holland but we’ve also got Olly Murs and Tulisa for young pop fans – plus there’s Skindred and Rolo Tomassi for those who like things a bit heavier, and Andy C and Sub Focus providing cutting-edge dance music.

“We’ve got comedy from Tim Minchin, a bit of nostalgia from the likes of ABC and Heaven 17, and guitar music from Ash and Dodgy. We’ve even got The Wurzels, although I’m not quite sure how they fit in.”

In the past festival-goers have even been able to enjoy the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as a host of acts way down the bill but who have since gone on to great things.

The Darkness, David Gray and Jamie Cullum all played GuilFest before most people had heard of them, while James Blunt made his first festival appearance in Guildford – and then came back last year and headlined.

After attending and organising so many festivals, Tony still sees this year’s bill through the eyes of a fan.

“The one I’m really looking forward to is Chic with Nile Rodgers,” he enthuses. “He was the main producer for so many acts and one of the most respected musical entities in the world – he’s ‘Mr Disco’ basically.

“I just love festivals – my favourite is Glastonbury, although I went to Stonehenge when I was 15 in the mid 1970s and that’s what set me off. Here & Now were the main act.

“I went to Reading the same year and saw Bob Dylan at Blackbushe in 1978. That was huge and there were no big screens so everyone’s looking towards this pinprick in the distance and presuming it’s Dylan, but I got down the front and it was fantastic.”

Tony’s ambition of a festival ‘in our own backyard’ has long been fulfilled and he is confident GuilFest 2012 – at Stoke Park, Guildford from July 13 to 15 – will live up to its reputation. Tickets on www.guilfest.co.uk

BUSY BUNCH - Ash will headline the Good Time stage at Guilfest on Sunday, July 15

BUSY BUNCH - Ash will headline the Good Time stage at Guilfest on Sunday, July 15

IT’S ABOUT this time of year – at the height of summer – that Tim Wheeler’s thoughts turn to, er…Christmas.

Or at least they did last year. It was 12 months ago that the Ash frontman and London singer-songwriter Emmy The Great recorded an album of seasonal songs called This Is Christmas.

“It was surreal playing songs like Sleigh Me, Jesus The Reindeer and Zombie Christmas when the sun was shining,” admits Tim.

“But we’d started the whole thing months before. We got snowed in together in West Sussex.

“Emmy was meant to be flying to Hong Kong for Christmas and I was meant to be going home to Belfast but we were stuck for three days and she missed Christmas with her parents.

“We wrote a few songs and later in the spring we realised they were really good and we should do more and recorded them properly in the summer.

We might do a video for some songs that didn’t get a video the first time. We did a really fun Christmas show in London and we could do that again

“It was strange but it kind of worked because we had started it with proper Christmas inspiration. I love Christmas, it breaks up the bleak winter months and it’s a good family time, and I always loved all the old songs – I think my favourite is I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day by Wizzard.”

Even though he’s set for a summer of festival appearances, Tim adds: “Recording that album means I’m really looking forward to Christmas again and I’m hoping it will get re-released or people will get out the songs and play them again.

“We might do a video for some songs that didn’t get a video the first time. We did a really fun Christmas show in London and we could do that again.”

In the meantime, he’s busy with Ash, the band behind 18 Top 40 hits including Girl From Mars, Oh Yeah, Shining Light and Burn Baby Burn.

The Northern Irish indie outfit have not released an album since 2007’s Twilight Of The Innocents, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been busy.

A little matter of 26 singles in one year, a collaborative song with We Are Scientists, and the small feat of a major film soundtrack suggest otherwise.

Tim is unsure whether there will ever be another Ash album, adding: “We haven’t really planned our next move but it’s not like we’re short of material.

“When we did 26 singles in one year (2010), we wrote about 50 songs and it was a crazy amount of work but great fun. Once we got into the swing we just kept going.”

Their single with We Are Scientists was another oddity. A cover version of Robert Manning’s song, Washington Parks, it was recorded to raise money for multiple sclerosis charities.

“We both recorded separately but it sounds like one band,” explains Tim. “However, their song comes out of the left-hand speaker and ours comes out of the right, so if you listen on your iPod and take out one earphone, they sound completely different…”

Tim has also been working on the soundtrack for a timely film called Spike Island, which is a coming-of-age tale about a gang of lads without tickets trying to get into The Stone Roses’ famous 1992 gig. It’s out this summer– just in time for a series of shows by the reformed Roses.

“I love The Stone Roses, so hopefully I can get along to at least one of the gigs,” says Tim.

Meanwhile, Ash will be headlining the Good Time stage at GuilFest on Sunday, July 15.