Features

Whipping Post: Leeds Band Takes You on a Manic Ride

Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat — Whipping Post carry a heavy dose of Black Flag in their sound. It’s not in the “carbon copy but falling short of the mark” way that so many so many bands feebly attempt. Their sound is a graceful amalgamation of their influences. Interpretation is the key. They take the churning a-tonal Black Flag caterwaul and shape it into a sound that is truly their own.

Track by track, Spurn Point is a force. Every song stands on its own as essential to the whole piece. The album opens with two straight ahead meat and potatoes hardcore tracks before giving way to the mid-tempo “Broken Dog.” Mid-tempo without a hint of Oi!? I know, it’s rare these days. “R. Thumb” and “Fool’s Gold” stand together as mid-album highlights, paired perfectly. Have you ever wondered what a Laughing Hyenas/Black Flag collaboration would have sounded like? Check “Too Much” for the answer.

The album closes with an epic, the nearly six minute “Who Will Laugh At Hiroshima?” It opens with a swift stride, minute by minute slowing to its eventual collapse. The perfect ending to an intense ride.

It’s safe to assume you’ve heard the New Wave of British Hardcore tagline? As the term’s been bandied about for years, it seems that it’s more of a Constant Wave of British Hardcore. Spurn Point is a diamond in a pile of diamonds that manages to shine brighter. Without further ado, the lads from Leeds, Whipping Post.

How did the band come about? 
 
Paul Steere (bass): Previous bands came to an end but there was still an itch to scratch. 
 
Rob Tyers (guitar): We were already friends which was important, at least to me. At this point I can’t really imagine playing in a band with strangers.
 
What was you initial aim as far as sound and ambition (i.e. touring and recording)?
 
Paul Steere (bass): Not wildly different from any previous bands; find interesting people to play with, get them in a room and submit to the process. Avoid second guessing and take everything else as it comes.
 
Andy Jones (vocals): I think starting a band with an ambition is fucked, 'We're going to do ____ because of _____' implies some kind of doctrine, and Crass already did that to no avail. So I'd say we didn't really have an ambition to do anything more than make some music and see what happens. 

What are members' past and present bands?
 
Andy Jones (vocals): Present bands: The Flex, Beta Blockers, Infernal Body, Thick Syrup. Past bands are in the past.
 
Where does the name come from?
 
Andy Jones (vocals): The Arthur G. Walker sculpture 'Christ at the Whipping Post,' not (as some people will have you believe) the Allman Brothers song. 
 
You're obviously going to get some Black Flag comparisons. What do you add to the mix that keeps Whipping Post from being a tribute act?

Paul Steere (bass): Black Flag are a huge band for me, without doubt, but they're also the terminus point of an unbroken continuity that runs from Son House and his group in 1941, through the Jimi Hendrix Experience to Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, the Stooges and the Ramones. And that's not mentioning all different groups that caught the spores from that particular evolution and took them somewhere else; King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, AC/DC, the Alice Cooper Group. To love Black Flag is to reckon with all of it. To be influenced by Black Flag means drawing from it all. 

Andy Jones (vocals): I don't have a string vest and I'm afraid that if I take my shoes off while we perform I'll get glass in my feet, so I don't do that. 
 
Rob Tyers (guitar): It’s an alphabetical miracle that the three best bands of all time begin with the letter B, the others being Black Sabbath and Bad Brains. The fact that The Fall doesn't begin with B is a so-far under-examined phenomenon.

 

Do you feel the band has an aesthetic?
 
Paul Steere (bass): I think every band has an aesthetic, it's just some are more consciously conceived than others. I'm not sure where we sit on that spectrum. 
 
Rob Tyers (guitar): I like that we more or less look like a band, but not necessarily one I would want to listen to.
 
Andy Jones (vocals): Yes.
 
What informs the lyrics?
 
Andy Jones (vocals): A range from problems I have with my thumbs to the Global Nuclear Crisis and everything in between. I'd say just 'The News' is a common theme.

 
How has songwriting, or just your approach in general, evolved from writing the demo to writing the LP?
 
Andy Jones (vocals): My approach is that I have a lot more to write about as I take in more and more information and a lot more time to present it in. Which is great.
 
Rob Tyers (guitar): Discipline with practicing is the goal. 
 
Paul Steere (bass): I don't think it has particularly. This band's process is less verbal than previous ones I've been in; an idea is brought in, it's played and through the playing it eventually presents itself in a final form.
 
Why did you go straight to an LP and not a 7"?
 
Paul Steere (bass): We had enough good material to warrant it.
 
Rob Tyers (guitar): As much as I like the format, at this point I listen to LPs daily and 7”s hardly ever.
 
Andy Jones (vocals): Bigger is better. 

 
The record was recorded almost two years ago, what kind of setbacks have you encountered in getting it out?

Rob Tyers (guitar): Not to labour the point about these bands as influences…But in the space of two years Black Sabbath managed to release four of the best albums of all time. Black Flag’s productivity was even higher. So whilst we have achieved very little in the same length of time, I’m sure there’s a historical reason (or excuse) for this. How about… the climate of uncertainty and anxiety of post-referendum Britain?

Paul Steere (bass): Not really knowing what we were doing, and not caring enough to learn were pretty big issues. The whole thing made me incredibly glad that there are people with the requite aptitude and enthusiasm to get it done. Which leads us to...
 
How did Boss Tuneage get involved? Was it originally going to be self released?
 
Paul Steere (bass): They re-pressed our demo on a flexi a couple of years ago which was an investment in a band and a format that are anything but 'sure things'. This suggested they may be willing to take a further punt. They were and we're most grateful to them.
 
With the time it's taken to get the record out, are you sitting on a new batch of unreleased songs?
 
Paul Steere (bass): Yep, a whole albums worth!
 
Future plans? Any more releases or tours planned?
 
Paul Steere (bass): Get this next album done, and play as many gigs as necessary to meet the demand.

Rob Tyers (guitar): Get around to fulfilling a shared ambition of covering “Black Juju” by the Alice Cooper Group.

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Spurn Point is out now via Boss Tuneage and available on both vinyl and digital. For the latest Whipping Post info, click here.

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