When, where and why did your dream as a musicians begin?
Rio – Ritchie Blackmore, amongst many others, but he was the main reason for wanting to be a musician from when I was a little scamp. I realised from a very young age the impact music had in general and so wanted to pursue in anyway I could, in whatever capacity.
Kit – I’ve always been extremely musical. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been able to pick up any instrument and begin to work out to play it with no instruction. I started my first band at 13, and I think it wasn’t until I was 15 that I said out loud, “I want to be a full time touring musician. This is what I want to do!” My careers adviser at school laughed. Then made me take a personality test, which said the only job suitable for me would be a dog groomer.
Why did you choose to play the instrument you did? Did you ever swap to another?
Rio – I literally got into bass playing cause someone needed a bass player for their band when I was an early teen. Before that, I used to focus on guitar playing. But the moment I picked up bass it was more primal for me, and being more about the groove was what turned me on.
Kit – Pretty much the same situation as Rio. I had initially started playing electric guitar, but the band I formed needed a bassist. So I was a bassist for the first part of my band life. I love it so much. It’s the best instrument. But unfortunately, I’ve ended up playing guitar in the last 5 band I’ve been in!!! The whole point of me starting a new project with Lexi was so I could play bass again. Thanks Rio!
Rio – Distillers are a huge influence to us, as are Juliette and the Licks.
Kit – I grew up on a lot of pop punk, and it remains to this day my favourite thing and biggest influences. Blink-182, Sum41, Green Day, The Fight, Dance Hall Crashers, and more recently Against Me! Billy Talent, Bad Cop/ Bad Cop, Creeper, Alkaline Trio.
Successes and failures along the way?
Kit – The Blazing Rag, near Manchester and The Roundhouse, London. You decide which one is which! Hahaha
Any funny stories – lessons learned?
Kit – One lesson we learnt recently is that Lexi is never going to day drink before a show. In her defence, as well as being drunk, the drum kit did fall apart whilst she was playing it. That gig was such a mess we definitely questioned if we should continue being a band after such a shocking gig.
Recommendations for those wanting to play your instrument or get into the business?
Kit – Don’t waste your time learning songs you have no interest in. You are going to be more excited and more motivated when learning your favourite bands songs rather than Wonderwall or some shit. The secret of “the business” is to be a cis-het, middle class dude with access to money. Which is everything we are not.
Rio – For bass playing it’s not so much about what to play, but what not to play. Its finding your place in the groove and not wanking all over the track. In regards to getting into the business…i’ll let you know if we get there!
Your future plans
Rio – Make 50 odd albums….Zappa did it!
Kit – I guess our future plan at this point in time is to be able to tour further, have our music reach more people. To be taken seriously for our skill, songwriting and performance and not to be seen as some kind of outdated novelty.
The Screech Bats talk instruments:
Rio – I started with guitar and it was a very old Italian acoustic. I have no clue what model it was! In regards to budget/starter guitars/bass guitars, there really aren’t very many shit ones nowadays for beginners. If you’re a beginner these days, you’re pretty lucky with the calibre of ‘cheap’ starter guitars out there.
Kit – I stole a clapped out missing string classical Spanish guitar from my grandparents loft. For years as a child I used to go up there and open the cupboard and stroke its out of tune strings. My uncle was like.. “Don’t touch it, you’ll break it”. So it laid in that cupboard for years until I was 11 and I took it home. My Dad helped me string it for the first time. Neither of us knew what we were doing. My Dad has always been incredibly supportive of my musical endeavours. At 13 he turned to me and said, “I think it’s time to get you a proper electric guitar”. That day changed the course of the rest of my life. My first electric guitar was a second hand Ibanez RX-40. They were made between 1996-1997. It was a very basic great starter guitar. I cannot recommend Ibanez enough for anyone learning to play guitar or bass. I think you can get a decent second hand guitar from between £50-£100.
What do you play now?
Rio – I play a Spector bass, made in Czech Republic. It’s all one piece but it’s really well balanced so it’s not too heavy. Sounds like thunder though, I love it.
Kit – Took me 16 years to get my first Gibson! At the moment I play a 2009 Gibson Melody Maker, the Joan Jett model. It’s honestly, THE best guitar I have ever had. That my main guitar at the moment. I also recently acquired a Squire Jazzmaster, just as a cheap touring guitar. I also have a Schecter C-1 Elite which is a beauty. I had to sell my Epiphone ES-335 studio dot and Les Paul Standard to help fund Joan. They were both tour battered so I sold them for £100 each.
What is your dream instrument/setup and how much?
Kit – I would like someone to build me a custom guitar. I want the CS-336 body, with lightning bolt sound holes, two humbuckers, reverse Fender headstock, ebony fretboard, cool inlays, white body, black hardware. I’m not sure about the neck….. Maybe the same neck as the melody maker, but with 24 frets. If anyone wants to build this for me… get in touch!
Rio – I’m pretty lucky to have the guitars i do, but I’d love a Music Man Sterling bass…that would be next on the list.
Catch Screech Bats on their UK tour starting at end of this month!
27th March -Sticky Mike’s Frog bar – Brighton
30th March – The Bell – Bath
1st April – Lady Luck – Canterbury
3rd April – The Moon – Bishops Stortford
4th April – The Monarch – London
5th April – Boileroom – Guildford
2nd June – Camden Rocks Festival