"I’ve lost my book”, Richey, the drummer, declares as he piles into the back of the glorified van that is to be home to the band for the duration of their U.K tour. “It was a present from my girlfriend. She gave it to me before she went to Ghana”, he tells the band. Rummaging through layers of detritus, comprised entirely of beer cans and takeaway food wrappers, no book is found and Richey’s mood consquently becomes somewhat downhearted as we speed down the motorway heading for Wolverhampton, the third city in their twelve show whistle-stop tour promoting Or 8?
They are hung over, little is said, many cigarettes are smoked and after a scenic orbit of Birmingham we arrive at the venue. “God, I think I’m going to be sick out of me arse”, bassist Bailey declares as the band lug their gear up the narrow staircase to the small, poster plastered room of the little civic hall.
Hanging around, killing time, isn’t a problem for the Sheffield rockers. They have become experts. A head pops around the dressing room door and a bubbly blond with a grating sloaney accent introduces herself. “Hi, I’m Abby from Virgin Radio. I was wondering if you guys would mind doing an interview?”
“No problem.” Tom, songwriter and front man, gruffly declares. “Can take you to the pub across the road if you like?”, chirps Abby, at which point the rest of the band seem somewhat keener and pile across the road.
“I’m still not feeling well” says Bailey. He suspects guitarist Hugh (a former cook) has poisoned him with a raw sausage the previous night. “Best have a JD and Coke to settle my stomach,” he states without any sense of irony.
The questions the Virgin girls ask are answered with a nicely unpolished edge that suggests interviews still excite them and they display charm and charisma.
A few pints are drunk with a certain lack of rock and roll spirit, “we got very pissed before one gig,” Tom tells me, “it was a mess. We only played three songs and then we had to give in for our sake and the audience’s, we’ve learnt our lesson now.”
Back across the road their set is as tight and polished as ever with the somewhat sparse crowed captivated by Tom’s oozing stage presence.
After the gig the band, in that knackered, endorphin drowned state the rest of us only ever get to experience after a good shag, make headway into their crate of Stella rider.
Joined by the Virgin girls the band swap their trade mark leathers for clean freebee virgin t-shirts. “Don’t take any pictures of me wearing this shit or I’ll break yer legs,” Tom states, in the inoffensive but direct way that is his hall mark. Sloany Abby declares that she is “more into drum and bass than rock,” but, all the same, feels qualified to tell the band that they “must move to London”. Richey’s not amused and takes it upon himself to point out the stupidity of this suggestion. His bluntness increases proportionally with the amount of Stella consumed.
“No thanks I’m fine” Bailey declares, “No cheers” follows Tom, as a joint is passed around. Hugh however tokes away and a wry smile creeps onto the corners of the other’s faces. “I Think you’ve just broken our tour’s no drug policy, Hugh,” laughs Tom. “Tell you what. Give us twenty quid each and we won’t tell the management.” “Piss off” is the succinct reply.
Filling carrier bags with the remainder of their rider they pile back into their beer-stained bus talking excitedly of the future. Tom has just signed a publishing deal in Australia and declares that he is “not so skint anymore.” And the prospect of supporting The Jeevas in Japan fills them all with obvious glee.
They even seem up-beat about less than rave reviews of the album, “we got into this fight in Manchester after a gig. We were throwing water over each other in the bogs and this bloke got soaked, he started on us and our guitar tech kneed him in the bollocks. We’re not sure for certain but the little picture in the N.M.E of the album reviewer looks just like him.”
Richey breaks off the conversation, unbuttons his fly, and pisses into an Evian bottle. His drunken swayings and rocking of the bus affects his aim. “Giz it us here,” says Hugh, “ I can warm me hands on that. It’s freezing in here.”
Longpigs play for the entire duration of the homeward journey. The bands admiration for Richard Hawley repeatedly crops up in conversation. He is, it would appear, a role model, mentor and musical influence all rolled into one.
Sheffield soon appears on the horizon and the band stumble off to their respective homes. Having already supported the White Stripes the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at New York's legendary Mercury lounge their U.K. tour is just another step in the right direction.
Richey never did find his lost book but Hoggboy, as fine a group of blokes as you could ever wish to meet, seem to have stumbled across something quite special, top songs, the right attitude, and the rare ability to enjoy what they do.
Hoggboy bend Jon Enoch over a sink and teach him about rock and roll