I am seated in the cockpit of the tour bus that will continue to transport *Vex Red *and their support act, Halo, across the UK for the next few days. It is milder than what I am used to today and prising the majority of the band away from the Mike Patton's *Tomahawk *soundchecking downstairs proves a struggle. Talking to energetic Vex Red singer, and sometime guitarist, *Terry Abbott *and guitarist *Ant Forbes *warms the cockles somewhat. The puerile, yet mainly highly amusing, interjections from the Vex Red frontman hinders progress yet some of it chances at making some sense…
Vex Red *are in beginnings of a nationwide tour which will see them performing in promotion of their annoyingly titled debut album, ‘_Start With A Strong And Persistent Desire_’. The band have been working hard and touring harder, though, having just completed a stint supporting *Staind *on their circuit of Europe. “_It went really well. We went all around Europe with them and they were really nice. Their tour was about a month but we shared the support with *Puddle Of Mudd, so we did half each._” Terry seems enthusiastic with his response to warming up the crowd for the American nu-grunge giants.
The pair had little to say on the subject of the current headlining tour having played just the one date already, but this gave ample excuse for early degeneration of the conversation. Implications were made of both their guitarist and tour support’s sexuality, “Graeme blew our guitarist Nick...and swallowed.” And so forth.
It all seemed to be going alright again while on the subject of America. Vex Red are under no illusions – they know what they are capable of; they understand they’ve been done a massive favour with the album being produced by Ross Robinson. Terry plans to make the most of it, “We want to do really well. It would be silly not to. As long as we play alright we should be happy. We haven’t really played a show over there yet. We were going to go and tour with** Glassjaw **– 31 days across the US. It was a headline tour of theirs, but they’ve cancelled that. We’ll be over there pretty soon.”
The maybe slightly immature behaviour displayed here has its consequences while on tour, as Ant duly explains, “I've got a bit of a penchant for stealing pot plants. I stole one from where the bus was parked up for a day. We went to the pub and stayed there the whole day and came back pretty pissed. We thought it would be a good idea to take the pot plant with us. It was a massive plant in a little pot. We called it Frank. I was going to look after it as if it was my own but we got to Dover and we got stopped by loads of police. We just thought it was a drugs check. This guy comes on flashing his ID _[Terry: “And his cock!”] _and said “I think you’ve got something on the bus that doesn’t belong to you”. Apparently the guy rang the police. We missed our ferry.”
From this point on the interview goes down-hill rapidly. I can see I have almost entirely _lost the attention of Terry, while Ant wanders in and out. I ask them about fan mail. Ant proceeds to answer, with a reason attached “Ben [Calvert, drummer]. He gets a lot of mail from men with beards. Just respect for having a beard._” They proceed to talk about beards for a little while. It probably wasn’t the ideal time to ask a potentially sensitive question.
Despite the drummer's apparent popularity with the fans, he was notable for his absence *from the album. Terry decides to give me a 30 second spiel of nonsense, while Ant gives a history of Calvert’s replacement, *Ashley Soam, “He started playing for us in Cornwall as a session musician because the drummer we had then was shite. Not Ben – before him. He joined the band for three or four months and realised that he was too round the block to be able to stay with it.” Terry decides to join in this answer adding, “He was about **30 **and he didn’t have a beard. He played with Celine Dion and Des’Ree.” Alas, all this information was not summed up into a real answer as to Ben’s no show. It can only be inferred that they *preferred *Ashley Soam’s sound when it came to recording.
Upon the mention of a second album, again we get the tomfoolery from Terry. He decides that a concept album detailing…oh it really doesn’t matter. At this point Terry has burst into song *several times, and continues to do so at random intervals throughout the remainder of the interview. Despite these distractions I could not fail to notice, the man is a *lyrical genius! His rhyming skills are creative and oft inspired by recent events. I’m not joking.
It gets serious again. Well as serious as you’re going to get here. I ask them about future collaborations and after jesting about which film stars ‘need it’, Terry obliges, “A serious answer here! I’d like to collaborate with Emiliana Torrini. She’s got the best voice – she’s fantastic. We should get her on the next album because Ross knows her. He said that she wanted to work with us. Her or **Daniel Johns **or Adam Durritz. We almost had Cedric and Omar from **At The Drive-In **on the instrumental but it didn’t happen. They were too busy.”
What is your favourite cheese?
Ant: Don’t like cheese. I used to like Canadian cheddar…smoked Canadian cheddar.
Terry: Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Metallica, the cheese that goes with Dairylea lunchables
Terry: YEAH!! That makes sense! Tesco value cheddar.
In unison: Smell my cheese, you mother. [A quote from TV’s Alan Partridge]
They proceed to go off on one. A really, really long one. As expected.
Well, I leave the bus a nervous wreck. I’ve been accused of being “obsessed with shit and cheese” and I’ve been listening to various rhymes and snippets of re-worded pop songs courtesy of Terry. *Vex Red *will continue to wow their audiences with their scintillating live performance, especially if they keep covering *Christina Aguilera *mid-set. If you’re ever stuck in a small room with these guys though, enjoy it – don’t try to interview them!