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Viki Vortex and the Cumshots talk music

Viki Vortex and the Cumshots are a trio formed in Girona, Spain in 2008, by Steve who was previously in the 70s punk band The Spurts, Viki Vortex, and Theo from The Long Tall Texans.  They combine the fast and furiousness of punk with the rhythm and cool of rockabilly to form their own unique, 77’ punk rock and roll band!  Always a lot of fun, I spoke with the colourful trio over Skype one evening after they had just gotten back from a weekend of partying in Barcelona.

Erin: When, where and why did your dream as musicians begin?

Theo: Peacehaven, 1980-81.  Had to learn Wipeout!

Steve: In 1977, I bought my first guitar in Woolworths (I still have it!) and started a band with schoolmates; we played our first gig as The Spurts at a house party in Essex.  The Spurts’ guitarist went on to play for The Cure and our drummer Paul was in the early version of Depeche Mode.  I went on to get involved in a few other bands over the years, mostly as a roadie or t-shirt printer, including the Long Tall Texans where I first met Theo.

Viki: Can’t really claim that I’ve been in some amazing band in my youth, unless you count the Los Gatos High School marching band (which you shouldn’t,) where I was part of the Drum Corps playing vibraphone and marimba. (There were too many flute players and I didn’t want to have to learn the marching routines!).

Erin: When and why did you choose the instrument you did?  At what age did you start playing?  Do you play any other instruments?

Theo: Wanted to start a band and already had a guitarist and bass player, so ended up on drums.

Viki: See above about marimba, vibraphone and flute. I still have a marimba, but apparently it has no place in a punk band! (Violent Femmes would totally disagree!) I started playing bass about 3 weeks before the first time I played live with The Spurts. They had been asked to get back together for a reunion gig and had a few rehearsals – I think back in 2007. I expressed an interest in learning bass (I’d say guitar, but bass seemed easier!) so I bought a cheap pink thing off eBay and taught myself the songs. So, when the Spurts’ original bass player lost interest in the reunion thing (quickly), I stepped in. The first gig with The Spurts was down in Brighton with The Machines. I hid behind a speaker stack the entire time I was so nervous!  I’d only been playing for 3 weeks!

Steve: Saw Wilko Johnson in 1976 with Dr. Feelgood and was amazed. Although I loved the front man, I realized the guitarist was the sound of the band.

Erin: Who are your major influences?  What or who inspires you?

Theo: Elvis, The Ramones, The Clash, Showaddywaddy.

Steve: Ziggy era Bowie, ’77 punk bands mainly, but also current bands like The Muffs, The Queers.

Viki: I’m a big fan of bands like the Violent Femmes, All, The Briefs, Rattled Roosters, El Vez, Dead Milkmen.

Erin: Where do you draw inspiration for your lyrics?

Theo: Life’s stupidities, alcohol, games and Steve on the piss.

Steve: Usually when pissed off in a dead end job. Stupid people in power, whether a boss or a politician. Shit that life throws at you.  And the occasional good times.

Viki: Same really. Shit life throws at you mostly, good and bad. (Although I love love love my job!) People who come into and out of your life usually make an impact and shape things. Sometimes just watching the news inspires me.  Herding the cats (Steve and Theo) also helps oil the lyric writing.  “Five to Five” is certainly about weekends in Brighton. Or Spain. Or anywhere that the 3 of us are together.

Erin: What about successes and failures along the way?

Viki: Successes are managing to play in France, Spain, Germany and England, but the highlight is definitely playing Rebellion and the fantastic people behind the scenes running the show.

Failures, we released a limited edition cassette “Countdown to a Breakdown” which didn’t go down that great.  Apparently no one has cassette players anymore!  Who knew!

Erin: Do you guys have any funny stories, lessons learned?

Theo: Lessons learnt – none. Funny stories; Going to Spain to see the Toy Dolls and then Steve and I being mistaken for them everywhere we went.  Even when Olga and the crew were walking past us, they thought we were the Toy Dolls!

Viki: A friend of ours in LA created the miniCumshots for us, which are little characters of us made out of Fimo (colored clay) that fit into a matchbox. #AdventuresofMiniCumshots We carry them around and get people to pose for photos with them which makes for silly pictures and even sillier captions. They’ve been through a lot in the last couple of years including falling into cocktails, swimming in pints of beer, up people’s noses and in beards… they have mostly survived. Surprisingly.

Also, we never learn.

Erin: What are your future plans?  Any upcoming tours, new albums, new videos?

Viki: We’re playing Watford Punk Collectives Two Night Stand on May 6th, Ramsgate on June 30th and Rebellion on the Friday, August 3rd.  Working on new tunes as usual.  Theo is pretty busy with his other band, the Long Tall Texans, so we have to slot in around that. We talk a lot about making a video, usually over drinks… so that never really gets off the ground.

Erin : Vinyl, cassette, CD or digital? Which do you prefer and why?

Theo: Prefer vinyl but for ease, CD.  Saves scratching all your records when having a few drinkies!

Steve: Vinyl is the best but more expensive and more fragile. Definitely prefer CD’s to digital as it’s always nice to have something to hold and read the small print. Viki designs all our stuff, plus is very involved with re-issues for a number of bands so rates artwork and design pretty highly! (Look out for her name on Cherry Red and Captain Oi! releases!)

Erin: What’s the best thing that you feel comes out of your music/playing music?

Theo: Energy, fun, silliness and not politics.

Viki: The friendships we make are amazing and music has allowed us to cross paths with interesting people we might never have met otherwise. It’s also a buzz to play up on stage and see people bouncing along to tunes you’ve written, even more awesome when they sing along-especially when I forget the words!

Erin: What’s the band’s favorite song to play live?

Viki: Grab Your Life, Thank You and Hypocrite.

http://www.21dots.com/

http://www.facebook.com/VikiVortexAndTheCumshots

http://www.youtube.com/user/VikiVortex

Twitter: MsVikiVortex

Instagram: VikiVortex

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