MYBE fact: Living in the fast lane can be bad for petrol consumption. Pete Mella has a chat.
We used to let ourselves be described as humorous punk, or ‘hunk’, for a while”, says Mybe bassist and vocalist Ross Bannister. “It was just so we could call ourselves ‘hunks’,” interrupts guitarist / vocalist Jimmy Pinder.
“And then we were silly punk which was ‘spunk’”.
The chances are, if you’ve been a regular on the gig circuit anywhere in the UK you’ll have seen the hunky, spunky antics of Mybe, self-styled ‘Pop Punk Wankers’, at some point. In the seven years Jimmy, Ross and drummer Jez Dennis have been together, they’ve been wowing audiences across the British Isles with their scatological humour, hilarious onstage banter and infectious punk riffage.
Mybe are our local answer to Blink 182, but given a Derbyshire wit, a good ear for a tune and an finely-tuned show that straddles the line of great songwriting and uproarious between-song comedy. Even if you would rather boil your own testes than listen to Green Day, you could still leave a Mybe show with a big stupid grin on your face.
This constant gigging has left a trail of mayhem as far away as France and Switzerland, where they bizarrely enough played the après-ski circuit, finding themselves forced to play practically acoustic due to noise restrictions, and Jimmy ending up injured after finding his way up a mountain before learning how to get down again.
“I had to walk down a mountain,” explains Jimmy, “I hurt myself pretty badly. I went snowboarding up a mountain, and I hadn’t learnt how to turn or stop. So it was a bit of a problem.”
“It was funny”, interjects Ross, meanly. “It was good fun to watch. You looked like you’d been attacked by a tiger or something”. Plus, of course, there was the language barrier.
“It’s weird really,” says Ross, “In school I got an E in French, and an E in music, and I went over to France with a band”.
Closer to home, the band have enjoyed success winning the Derbyshire Times’ ‘millennium band of the year award’, even though blatantly breaking every rule of the contest.
“We were trying to lose,” says Ross, “no really, how many rules did we break? No drinking. No abusing the audience. And no covers or abusing the other bands, we actually covered one of the other bands’ songs abusing them.”
“And they let us win!,” exclaims Jimmy, “I popped the cork of champagne and instead of spurting it just kinda dribbled down the edge. It reminded me of my sexual reminiscences.”
On their travels, Mybe have supported such punk luminaries as The Damned, John Otway, Stiff Little Fingers, Half Man Half Biscuit and UK Subs. And they even have a fan in the form of “Uncle” Charlie Harper.
“He’s a zombie or something,” says Ross, “He’s been alive for about a million years.”
“He’s fuelled by alcohol, he still drinks about 12 Stella a night,” says Jez. “He’s like the flux capacitor from Back to the Future that’s fuelled by anything.”
“He looks like a grandma as well,” says Jim “Well a grandma who could grow a nice beard,” says Ross. Some grandmas can grow nice beards, Sandman reminds them, “Yeah, but those are silky,” says Jimmy. “His is quite rigid.”
2003 has a lot in store for the Mybe lads, with serious record industry interest meaning this year will more than likely see the band signed with an album (the follow up to 2001’s The Shite Album) released in the summer. They also plan on making a video, and performing at least fifteen gigs a month. The chances are you’ll see them around somewhere, be it down the pub or on MTV2.
Sitting in the pub with Mybe, with the post-interview conversation developing into such topics as Bin Laden’s suitability for a James Bond/Bridget Jones crossover movie, it’s easy to imagine it won’t be too long before their unique brand of bollocks will be gracing the national press, and, if all goes well, their pop-punk mayhem will be making waves in the charts.
So what’s Mybe’s message to the kids of Sheffield?
“Come to our gigs,” says Ross. “Buy our stuff… then come back to our gigs after you’ve bought our stuff. That’s the difficult one.”
The law of averages dictates that Mybe will be playing at a venue near you soon. You’d be wise to take Ross’ advice and check ‘em out.
words: Pete Mella
pics: Matt Mella