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The Nuns on stage

The Nuns on stage

Nun better!

The Nuns are an all-lady band paying tribute to The Monks. The drummer, Bongo Debbie, lives in St Leonards and has lured her bandmates down to play at The Royal Standard on Easter Saturday evening. Ian Greensmith tried to find out more and got the habit…

The Monks were American GIs based in Germany in the mid/late 1960s – they released one album ‘Black Monk Time’. They are great! It’s a nihilistic kraut-rocking, glam-punk, mischievously anarchistic drum-whomping, organ-fidgeting, guitar-whamming, banjo-spranging behemoth of a record with menacing vocals to boot. The Nuns make some attempt to emulate the sheer power of The Monks’ songs with their own ladylike added touch. The Nuns are Banjo Debbie nun (sprightly banjo), Bongo Debbie Nun (jungle drums), Granny Andrea O’ Saintly Bells (skippity organ), Sister Lolo Of The Five Wounds (lead vocals), Kate Kannnibal (But Only Of The Saved) (menacing crawling bass), Delia Divinity (nasty fuzz guitar), Stunt Nun Charlegmagne (cheeky bass, perky banjo or leaping organ as necessary) – Holy Saviour Of The Barbarians, Marauders and Infidels. The colour-coding on the names shows who has answered the interview questions below.

The Nuns were formulated by Andrea and Banjo Debbie in the bowels of Intoxica Record Shop (rest in peace dear record shop victim to the greed of landlords…) and the rest of the Nuns were recruited to make the dream come true.

Here is how the conversation goes…
‘Oh I’m in an all-girl tribute to The Monks’
‘Oh I thought of doing that’
‘BUT YOU DIDN’T!’…

Tell me about a record that you think is amazing – can be relevant to Nuns or not.
Currently Frank Sinatra and Count Basie – The best is yet to come.  It sounds fabulous on vinyl.
I am getting excited about Kay Rai  “I want some of that” at the moment. Everyone should want a big coconut hat.
The Five Blobs – The Blob – it’s on every compilation I’ve made at the moment – I have an interpretative dance to it that my cats very much appreciate.

What’s your favourite Monks song?
I Hate You, because it’s pure bile and snot. The anti Wanna Hold Your Hand
I hate you – it lollops along brilliantly
I Hate You. Genius.
Shut Up or I Hate You. Mainly for the titles which were pretty far out for the time.
Boys Are Boys – it sounds normal at first (sly devil!) then throws in some of the usual random crazed greatness.

What outfit would you ideally have all The Nuns wear?
Speedos and crowns.
Don’t really mind as long as we all match – our Christmas red and white outfits were rather fab.
I’d be nice if we all had enough bottle to do proper tonsures, but only Banjo Debbie has ever done it and hats off to her.
Full on Nuns outfits but for added relgiousity include a big Papal hat thingy and a staff to hit people who stand at the front and talk during songs.

What bands would you like to play with ideally (as in The Nuns play with not you play in)?
The Woggles. The Fall. Black Sabbath.
The Mummies
The Mummies, and we already have.
Suicide, The Fall, The 5678s, anyone nice.

What bands would you like to play with (as in join, not play with as another band…)?
The Who.
The Mummies
None, I need some sleep.
Mud or Sweet or Nancy & Lee (bags Nancy).

If you were going to be in another tribute band what band would it be covering?
The Nuns.
Lambchop
Monks’ songs or Douglas Byng songs
An all female Devo tribute group called ‘Are We Not Men’.
I would definitely join Banjo’s band but also would love to be in a Count Five tribute band.

Tell me about your other (current) bands?
The Hare and Hoofe – garage punk folk psyche telling tales of olde.
The Would-be-Goods – indie pop outfit – play about twice a year – preferably out of the country somewhere exotic.
I’m in a band called Blindness and another called The London Dirthole Company. They are both quite loud but in different ways.
Romeo Challenger – it’s an all-girl glam-rock band. It’s slightly conceptual at the moment but one day…also The Werewandas (actually real with records out and everything!) they are an indie garage-a-billy band. Luckily we have quite a googleable name.
Also – Lolo is in an all-girl tribute band to Duran Duran called Joanne Joanne and also synth-pop band The Advanced Plastics Group. She also sings in Dirthole. Charley is also in Joanne Joanne and plays guitar with Keith TOTP & His Minor Indie Celebrity Band and probably lots of other bands too…it’s hard to keep up!

Tell me some of your favourite all-girl bands?
The A-Lines, Thee Headcoatees, Joanne Joanne, The Go-Gos, The Shaggs.
Skinny Girl Diet
Elvie Thomas and Geechie Wiley, Shirley and Dolly Collins, The Shirelles, Dixiecups, The Raincoats, Coon Creek Girls etc.
Too many to name really – The Luvd Ones, Ronettes, Le Tigre, The Slits, Raincoats, Headcoatees, Shirelles, lots, really.
As above and also The Shangri-Las, The Pleasure Seekers, The GTOS, The Trashwomen, Liliput/Kleenex, Bikini Kill, Huggy Bear, Carrie Nations, The Feminie Complex, Pussy Riot, Telepathe, Erase Errata, Cobra Killer, The Marine Girls – there may be some token boys in that list…

What’s your favourite garage song?
Action Woman by The Litter.
Gone – Plastic Blues Band – 60’s Florida garage Punk
That’s tough. I mean life would be a little bit worse without Louie, Louie, but do you want some less known gem? I am sure the others will do that.
Boy What’ll You Do Then by Denise and The Puppets
Mouse & The Traps – Public Execution, The Barbarians – Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?

Tell me any (real) Nun connections you might have?
I was taught by them from age 4 to about 13 – I don’t recommend it.
I like the anachronistic element of Nuns on transport and escalators.
Lolo’s mum was a nun. True story.
Nuns are funny. Apparently when we wear our habits I look most Nun-like. I think it’s the slightly dazed look I sometimes have…

What’s your favourite Nuns gig you’ve played so far?
Any in Brighton.
Paris with the Mummies.
We’ve had many a pleasant experience. Usually out of London there is that extra frisson that keeps it memorable.
Brighton always seems to go down well. We played one gig in Brighton (at The Hope) that was great but it was so hot we were all gasping at the end and had to take our tops off (this is not getting frisky – it was the most unfrisky thing ever – it was just boiling to deathness). Also The Green Door in Brighton was good. Bath was good when we got double-booked with a Tits’n’Tux party.

Do you have any affinity to the seaside?
I comes from Folkestone, home of cockles and the Hooden Horse.
Always wanted to live by it and now doing so.
I like a nice lobster memento.
I love the sea (and water in general) but I also find it very scary and start getting tilting world feelings and think I’m going to drown.

If you were going to re-enact the Battle Of Hastings who would get the arrow in the eye?
The Hastings road builders who are tearing up the countryside for an unwanted road.
Don’t get me started. Could we have a high powered one that could take out more than one eye by going through several heads? We could start with the current government cabinet and work on from there… the list is LONG!

The Nuns are playing at the Royal Standard in Hastings Old Town this Saturday night, supported by the Neasden Bees (who sing songs about Bees…) Discs from 7pm, Bands from 9pm – and it is all FREE!

If you want to find out more about The Nuns, read this.
If you want to find out more about The Monks, visit their website!

Posted 12:10 Wednesday, Mar 27, 2013 In: Music & Sound

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