REIGNITE: New album from The Fauves

The album was due to be released last year but due to Covid we had to hold back, we couldn’t get back in the studio to finish the recording as we were in lockdown. We had recorded four tracks then everything stopped. It was July this year when we went back into the studio to finish the album – over a whole year wasted really.

The album was recorded at the Garage studios in South Shields as we like working with Kyle Martin the engineer because he has some good ideas said Bri Smith, bassist with The Fauves.

The first album we recorded Routine Kills, wasn’t really us at our best, to be honest we were disappointed in it, it was a bit too smooth. We brought Mick in on vocals and re-recorded six or seven tracks off the first album along with four new ones and brought out the Back Off World album.

Mick made those songs much more powerful with his aggressive vocals and that was the sound we were looking for. Then Chris left so we brought in Allen on guitar he had a more rockier sound, the new album Reignite is sounding raw, a bit rockier and ballsy. We like it.

How did the songs come together ?

When lockdown was on we sent songs to each other online – myself or Allen would send a riff to Mick, he would add his bit with lyrics, Bob would also work on it– it came together like that and by the time we got back rehearsing the songs came together pretty quick.

We deal with all sorts of themes in the songs – betrayal, struggle, finding sanctuary, damaged personalities and staying strong through difficult emotional times. We’re not afraid to highlight the problems we all have in our daily lives. Mick works really hard on the lyrics.  

We booked the studio for two days in July and recorded the rest of the album with Kyle as he knows what kind of sound we like. We were going to add a few extra tracks but we wanted to get the album out quick so we went with mastering ten tracks.

Bri points out one of the pix on the album sleeve. It’s a picture of someone with a gas mask on…

It’s Cainy a lad from South Shields – when Covid was settling down a bit and bands started to play live again he turned up at one of our gigs with a gas mask on with The Fauves written across it – crazy (laughs). We had up to fifteen gigs arranged last year and unfortunately had to cancel every one bar one at Aycliffe and that was outdoors.

The scene has really picked up in the North East its probably one of the best places for punk gigs at the moment. There is some really good bands up here.

Why do you think the North East is one of the better places ?

Probably because people are more angry up here, it’s a punk thing (laughs).

There’s some good punk venues Black Bull in Gateshead, Trillians which is mainly a rock venue are starting to put on punk bands, The Unionist club in Shields, The Ivy House and The Peacock in Sunderland – yes the North East is really picking up.

The only gig we played last year was outdoors at Newton Aycliffe it was organised by Gaz and Alby who run a punk show on Aycliffe radio. Brilliant gig, big PA, big stage – it was really well organised. XSLF were headlining, Snide Remarks, Loudmouth The Logoz there was about ten bands in all. It was a great day.

We’ve played with some great North East bands lately – Zero Tolerance, Boilermaker, Force Fed Lies, The Carpettes, The Logoz, Kickback Generation, Loudmouth, The Proles, The Sadistic Slobs and more – they’re all doing really well at the moment.

We’ve also travelled a lot lately to gigs down to Derby, Manchester, we take our guitars, amps, drum breakables, the promoters normally supply the heavy stuff of back line drums and PA so we don’t need to carry a lot with us as we use our cars.

We’ve met some great people travelling around. Some of the Manchester crowd took us round the city after the gig we had a great laugh we really enjoyed the day. Great venue The Star and Garter, it steadily built up during the day and by night it was packed.

We take some merch with us, cd’s t shirts etc to make some cash. We get a fee for playing so that covers petrol and expenses so you’re not out of pocket. If it’s a fair distance away we normally stay overnight so we can watch the other bands and have a few drinks.

The venues are not the same before Covid – they were absolutely packed but now people are still wary of Covid as it’s not going away and people are dying. Some of the older folks are thinking if we catch it, it could kill us or pass it on to others. Its going to take time we just have to live with it.

The Fauves originally formed in 1977 after an infamous Angelic Upstarts gig at Jarrow Civic Hall. Full story at: 

GROUND ZERO – in conversation with Bri Smith & Bob Rowland from Tyneside punks THE FAUVES | ALIKIVI : NORTH EAST UK (garyalikivi.com)

Around 1979 we used to get a lot of the Upstarts crowd coming to see us play as the Upstarts moved down south and got signed, they were really good times. In the early days The Fauves recorded a few songs on tape and planned to go down to London and take copies of the recordings to record companies but we only managed to get 70 miles down the road when the car broke down.

As we sat waiting for the recovery vehicle, Hodge (original singer) had brought a cassette player with him and pressed record without us knowing. We cracked a few cans open, sat and talked about the old times – a load of shite really (laughs).

Six months later we recorded three tracks and sent them to Garry Bushell at the Sounds not realising on the b side of the tape was the recording of us in the car pissed. Garry was always putting bits and pieces in the Sounds for us – gig dates etc. He wrote an article about these three tracks saying we were like the Upstarts, who he was a big fan of.

He also added that he turned the cassette over and couldn’t believe what he was hearing – three pissed Geordies talking absolute rubbish which he could hardly understand. His heading was ‘Nice band shame about the accents’ (laughs).

Along with releasing the new album have The Fauves got anything planned for the rest of the year ?

We’ve got a gig in Workington in November on the 27th and on 4th December we’ve got the Riverside Rebellion in Middlesbrough. The headliners were going to be The Vibrators but they’ve pulled so XSLF are headlining now. Also on the bill is Black Bombers, Boilermaker, The Gakk, Slalom D and a few others, it’s an all-dayer. Looking forward to that one.

Back in ‘79 we were planning a single but didn’t go through with it – such a big regret for us. So we’re looking to get a single out on vinyl. Phil Rowland is sorting that out at the moment it’s something we’ve always wanted to do. We would of liked to put out Reignite on vinyl but it’s really expensive and takes so long. If you’re not a big name you could be waiting from six to eight months to get it pressed on vinyl.

We use social media to promote our music and gigs also Northumberland radio with Keith and Paul. Aycliffe radio also promote local bands on their radio stations so keep an eye out.

REIGNITE cd release date 21 October 2021 available from:

Facebook pages: The Fauves punk band, or Brian Bassman

or email unclebrian1959@live.co.uk

You should be able to listen to the album on spotify, bandcamp etc and purchase online after October 21st.

The Fauves are: Mick Smith (lead vocals), Allen Hughes (lead guitar/backing vocals)

Bri Smith (bass/backing vocals), Bob Rowland (drums/backing vocals).

Interview by Gary Alikivi  October 2021

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