So, I got to interview Parlour Flames’ Vinny Peculiar and Bonehead! Being a fan of Vinny’s writing as well as Bonehead’s work, I was really excited. Well I finally get to share it with all of you so… here it is. Enjoy!
First off… a little bit about the band’s formation…
Bonehead and Vinny met through Mike Joyce [The Smiths], who was drumming in Vinny’s band a few years ago. Bonehead ended up joining the band on bass for European and UK tour dates. They always planned on doing something together. In 2011 Bonehead played some guitars on the VP album Other People Like Me. Early in 2012, they started working on songs in Bonehead’s home studio, it started off as an EP project but soon grew into an album.
What inspired the name ‘Parlour Flames’?
The name just drifted into consciousness. Vinny was watching a television program on Victorian House Restoration, and there was some talk of the Parlour as a hub of old school performance and creativity. We liked the idea and that was that.
There’s a very peaceful, contented vibe to your melodies. Is this the direction you’re headed with your overall sound?
We like a good melody yes but the album also has moments of angst and extreme noise terror,
hah, well perhaps not that extreme but certainly a harder rock edge is in evidence on several of the tracks…
How have gigs been so far?
Gigs have been going well; we’ve added a new keyboard player [Rob Steadman] so there are now five of us. We’ve only played four gigs to date so we’re still evolving…
What’s your outlook/attitude on your careers at this point? Is there any pressure of setting goals, etc…?
We have goals yes, primarily they are based in making music we can be truly proud of, it’s hard to predict exactly how people will react to it but we’re confident in the record and growing as a band…I think people will be pleasantly surprised.
What made you decide to go with Cherry Red Records?
We liked them as people, which was important, they are one of the oldest British independent labels, [and] they also put out records by Go Kart Mozart, Bill Nelson and The House of Love.
How do you know when a band is right for you?
VINNY: for me it’s all about musical connectivity, like you can read where mGusicians are heading, follow them into different places. We like to free form up to a point, and if you’re with the right players it’s effortless and can lead to places you wouldn’t necessarily have planned outside the moment…those are the moments that determine any band’s rightness for me…
BONEHEAD: It’s instinctive, you know when it feels right
Is there anything you’d redo or like to relive in your musical careers?
VINNY: I relive the past constantly, it’s a blessing and a curse…it finds its way into a lot of songs…
BONEHEAD: there’s nothing I’d like to relive or redo, but I would like to capture the essence of what I had, with the new Parlour Flames project
What is the least rock’n’roll thing about you? (I saw your floral tea set haha… )
VINNY: hah tea, yes we drink a lot of tea, and eat a lot of cakes. Dave our studio engineer brings cakes to the sessions daily, it’s a wonder we’re not twenty stone lard arses. I also like to watch the Cricket…
My haircut and my silk-cut pyjamas
If only 3 records existed in the world, which would you want them to be?
VINNY: Bookends by Simon & Garfunkel, Marquee Moon by Television, Hunky Dory – David Bowie
BONEHEAD: Ooh La La by the Faces, The Las by The Las and the soundtrack to Midnight Cowboy
What is a song you wish you wrote, a song you feel should’ve gone to number 1 (but didn’t), and the most overrated song in your opinion?
BONEHEAD: I wish I’d written ‘God Knows I Love You’ by Nancy Sinatra…
‘Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You’ by The Bee Gees
[and] ‘She Loves You’ by The Beatles is the most overrated song
VINNY: I wish I’d written ‘When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease’ by Roy Harper – its so beautiful,
‘Lenny Valentino’ by The Auteurs should have been a number 1
Duran Duran …Oh dear, I was never a fan.
You’ve both been making music for quite some time. What fuels your fire for music and why is it so important to you? Has there ever been a point where you felt like doing something else?
VINNY: I think writers and musicians have an innate need to express themselves, it’s an artist thing, and it doesn’t really go away, it’s an organic thing…most musicians nowadays need to maintain other income sources as well as music. I worked as a nurse for a number of years to make ends meet…it had its own rewards, but I was never totally comfortable with it.
BONEHEAD: Music fuels my fire for music, from church choirs to symphonic orchestras to a bunch of people making a racket on stage… I’ve never considered doing anything else
Alright, now, questions to Vinny…
Why the name ‘Vinny Peculiar’?
It came from the expression Funny Peculiar and seemed like a memorable name…I’ve had it awhile now, even my closest friends call me Vinny – ‘A Most Peculiar Man’ by Simon and Garfunkel is also one of my favorite songs, another reason I became peculiar, hah
You’re a poet… How does this play a role in the way you write lyrics?
Poems and lyrics start out much the same, as words on a page, I like to write in different places, on planes, in libraries and in the park.
I scribble away in cafes and bars writing suicide notes to the world…hah
Words to songs sometimes come at the same time as the chords/melody but often I’ll have the basic lyric/idea and modify to fit any lines that need rewriting…
Your words seem to flow so beautifully and effortlessly in your songs. What advice would you give to aspiring songwriters?
Thanks for that, no one has ever said before!
(I don’t believe that!)
The best advice I ever got was keep it simple and be yourself…I try and do that, even when the words are in danger of getting carried away with themselves.
It’s been said that Oasis was a generation. Does that surprise you, with albums like Definitely Maybe and What’s the Story Morning Glory still having such a strong impact today?
No it doesn’t surprise me, especially Definitely Maybe because listening today to DM I still get the same feeling as I got when we recorded it all those years ago. It’s still fresh to me 20 years on, the subject matter that Noel is writing about remains relevant today…
When a band is the size of Oasis, the artists tend to have it tacked onto their name for a long time afterwards. Does this grow tiresome to you, the way it does to so many others? (I’d think it’s something to be proud of…)
I was part of OASIS from the start and an original founding member and enjoyed huge success, I‘m always happy to talk about it and remain truly proud of what we achieved.
Are you in touch with any of the Oasis members you played with?
Yes I’m still in touch, I still see and speak regularly to Liam, also to Alan White. I caught up with Noel at a concert last year in Scotland. Guigs is happy and busily tending his garden at home in London where we are playing this weekend, I might get in touch with him to come see us play…
And finally, to the both of you, what can we expect from Parlour Flames this year?
We’re not expecting world denomination, but we are hoping for critical acclaim and to promote and share with the world and hope people like it as much as we do
We hope our album is well received and our shows continue to inspire not only ourselves but others…we’re especially looking forward to playing festivals.
That’s it! Huge thanks to Vinny and Bonehead for the great answers. I can’t wait for the album! (Listen to some of their monitor mixes on Soundcloud). If you’re not following them already, what are you waiting for? They’re on Twitter: @ParlourFlames and on Facebook.
Also check out their website for extra information. I’ll be updating the blog with gigs and hopefully more Parlour Flames news in the future so…
Be there from the start of something new, spread the word!