Stomping Grounds: Gallows (London, England)
Gallows is a band that has been described as ‘The best British punk band since The Clash’ and ‘The British music industry’s biggest mistake.’ They debuted their ferocious 2006 Orchestra Of Wolves which offered a dissection of suburban mores and peeks at desperation rarely seen since punk’s heyday. Its follow-up, 2009’s apocalyptic Grey Britain, was another striking state of the nation address. When Gallows parted company with vocalist Frank Carter, many feared that the band would hang it up. However, on December 2011 the band released the Death Is Birth EP, which heralded the arrival of a new Gallows. Joined by former Alexisonfire member Wade MacNeil the EP was just as feral and unapologetic as anything the band had ever done.
Since, the band has joined the Bridge Nine roster and are rebooting with a self-titled album, which will be released September 11, 2012. Ghettoblaster caught up with Gallows bassist/vocalist Stuart “Stu” Gili-Ross, who we expected to be a pretty grim dude considering the band’s output. Instead, he told us about the best jukebox in England, the zoo, and where to get smokes and booze. Here’s what he had to say about his jolly ‘ol Stomping Grounds…
What’s your town’s nickname?
The Black Snot.
What’s your nickname for your town?
Why do you live there?
It’s where I was born and I live here because California won’t have me…yet.
Did you grow up there? If not, what brought you there?
I grew up going to shows here, as did most of the band. I went to school in Watford, a small town to the north of London, but all the good shows, good shops and best parties were in the city. So, I spent every holiday and a huge chunk of my youth on the streets of London.
What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there?
Weird things seem to happen to me in London regularly. There is such a mix of people from all over the world. There is also a high crime rate and a lot of drug use. One of the weirdest things I’ve seen in London was a guy with a fake leg try and run for a taxi. He snapped his leg in half and landed on his face on the pavement. When it happened, it took me a second to realize it was a fake leg and that he hadn’t just broken his leg in the most disgusting way. Being London, nobody ran over to help the guy, and the taxi driver just kinda shouted for him to get the fuck out of the road.
What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)?
I recently fell back in love with the London Zoo. I could watch the lions and gorillas all day. It’s fascinating to be that close to such amazing animals in the centre of the city.
What is your favorite local event or festival?
I tend to stay away from the big main local events like Notting Hill Carnival and Camden Crawl. I guess the big thing this year is going to be the Olympic Games in London. We will be on tour when that is happening I think, but it would have been cool to have check out some of the football games. The big event that happens every year closest to my house is probably the F.A. Cup Final at Wembley.
What is the best time of year to be there?
I love London in the Summer. It is the only time when the weather is OK and people are happy to be outside. Those long days with pubs open and everyone just being in a good mood make it a good time to be there. The rest of the year everyone is pretty miserable.
Who is your favorite local celebrity?
Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour?
I’d recommend any newcomers to London (if they like metal/rock/punk) have a drink at Crobar in Soho. Their specialty is that they are a bar that has a lot of classical metal and hardcore on the jukebox, and they pour very stiff drinks. No dress code, no attitude, just good times. It’s very well known among touring bands I’m sure.
Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)?
Crobar. Lots of Slayer, Down, Pantera, Danzig, Life Of Agony. Makes me happy!.
Do you play music there? If so, where is your favorite place to play?
There are a few classic venues in London town. Our best shows have probably been at The Underworld in Camden, The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch, and more recently at The Sailor Jerry Bar in Soho.
Does where you live influence your music?
Of course. I think every artist is influenced by their environment. I would go so far as to say that all artists are nothing if not a product of their environment. If they say they aren’t, they’re faking it. That’s why you don’t get good country bands from London.
What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there?
I’d say The Underworld in London just because I have so many good memories from shows there. The best show I ever saw there was The Dillinger Escape Plan and Botch around 10 years ago.
What is your favorite local band?
What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish?
The rib eye steak at No.20 Restaurant at the Sanctum Hotel, Soho.
What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?
Rough Trade Records, London. My best find there was a first pressing of Jane Doe by Converge. I also found a first pressing of Start Today by Gorilla Biscuits and We Are The Romans by Botch. Good shit!
What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine,website or blog)?
What is your favorite local shop?
My Local Newsagent! He stocks all my favourite cigarettes, snacks and alcohol. His name is Kamal and he rules.
If you could live anywhere else, where would that be?
San Clemente, California, USA.