“We’re going to upset a few people,” says Donny Tourette, lead singer for The Towers of London. “But,” he adds, “it will be good for people to see what its all about”. He is speaking; of course of the band’s three upcoming shows at South By Southwest. The five-day music extravaganza is indie-rock’s answer to Woodstock (just replace hippies with hipsters). Some fans in Austin might be intimidated by The Tower’s fast music and loud image. Nevertheless, the band has been revamping their set list and rehearsing like crazy for the shows. Guitarist, Dirk Tourette confidently adds, “We’re going there to blow some people away.”
The London based punk rockers also feature The Rev (lead guitar), Tommy Brunette (bass) and Snell (drums). The five members have created a buzz in the London underground circuit and are ready to take The States by storm. They will be playing SXSW for MTV2, Vice and their label, TVT Records. The brothers are confident they will be the best band among a cast of hundreds, but were not quite sure exactly who else was on the bill. All egos aside, with their 70’s style punk rock, The Towers will undoubtedly stand out among the mellow line up. When asked how they think they will fare, Dirk responded, “I don’t want to fit in, don’t want to be part of the crowd. I hope we are in a different league, in a different world.” He adds, “I doubt there are many bands around like us” and is quite correct in this assumption.
Their debut album, “Blood Sweat and Towers” will be released through TVT this coming June. With little else to dwell on, the lack of an album can explain the media’s focus on their haircuts and tight pants. Any time ToL are mentioned, names like Motley Crue and Poison are sure to follow. The Towers might look a bit like The Crue at first glance, but they are a lot more punk rock than any 80’s hair band. Dirk laughingly admits that there is definitely a problem if everyone is still talking about their image following the album’s release. Donny is confident the media will soon tire of the image gossip. Dirk agrees, “Some people take us seriously and some people don’t, but I think that people who like punk rock music or rock music take us seriously. Then people who like Bloc Party don’t take us seriously, but I don’t take them seriously either.”
The brothers were first influenced by Oasis, the band both Donny and Dirk first saw live. Dirk remembers accidentally getting tickets to this concert, which would change his life. From there, they got into harder bands: The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The New York Dolls and Iggy Pop, just to name a few. The brothers are not like some of their predecessors in that they are not a politically charged band, not yet anyway. Dirk says, “It’s all about letting loose… it might be a different thing for the next album, it might be a soundtrack to our lives [and] maybe a little bit more descriptive than what this is going to be. This one is just about fucking playing in a band. No big meaning to it.”
Rumor has it that the Towers are the most hated band in Britain, they’re also notorious for their violent antics. The brothers Tourette are just in it to have a good time, and play some killer music along the way. When asked to clear up any misconceptions about their reputation, Donny Tourette offers his own explanation, There have been some incidents. When we first started playing, we would get a lot of shit from people in clubs. People would come stand in the front shout abuse at you, throw fucking things at you. I’ve had glasses thrown in my face, people try to punch me in the face, and it’s a reaction. Imagine what your reaction would be if someone did that to you. In the early days, you had to defend yourself from fucking assholes.
Guitarist Dirk Tourette agreed, There are a lot of people who take shit in the world, people like to go around, especially in England, people like to give out shit to kids with long hair or because they look a bit differently. They don’t ever say anything back, they just take it and that’s one thing that really infuriates me. I’ve decided if anyone gives me shit, I’m going to really give them shit right back. I guess… people think it’s violent or dangerous it’s just actually we’re on the good side…but some people don’t see that.
He continues, and offers insight about the media’s injustice, They see it as if you [hit] someone, someone will only talk about you [hitting] someone, and they won’t talk about the guy spitting in your face before hand, trying to trip you up or trying to throw a drink all over you when you’re just trying to walk down the street. So I guess that’s where the reputation has come from I think the music is a bit dangerous… I’m a lover and so is [Donny]. But if you have to, you got to defend yourself I don’t think there’s enough of that shit going on. It just spread from there.
Disappointed in the current scene, the Towers of London front men strive to create what has been missing in music for a while, a purely gritty punk sound. Their debut album is a perfect example of necessity being the mother in invention. With a lack of anything better to listen to, Dirk decided to start playing what he wanted to hear himself, “If there’s nothing new,” he says, “It sort of makes you kick yourself in the ass to produce a record that other people want to listen to who love all that sort of stuff. I think that’s the reason we started the band anyway, because there wasn’t anything out there that I was getting excited about. So, we were just like, well we’ll do it ourselves if no one else is going to do it, we’ll take on the challenge.”
The Towers of London feel they are more welcomed in The States than at home. The band looks forward to playing their upcoming SXSW dates as well as New York city shows. They will be supporting The Pogues at the Nokia Theatre March 19th and also playing the ‘Live From London’ Show at the Bowery Ballroom March 21. With the album’s release date quickly approaching, The Towers of London will be turning some heads and making some hopefully music-based headlines. Their listener-friendly aggressive punk is not overwhelming, but it is hard, fast and good enough to give the current scene a run for its money. In recent years filled with a plethora of ‘The (insert word s here) bands’ The Towers offer a fresh sound and attitude that are long overdue.