THE BRONX


BIO: The Bronx may come from the opposite coast to the New York borough of their name, but the LA four-piece share a grittiness with that famous neigbourhood. We caught up with them in the Camden venue, The Barfly, to chat about tough times, whether fashion has a place in music and a certain, bodybuilding Californian Governor... In southern California, the hour and a half drive from The Valley to Orange County has an abundance of around 250 clubs which just happen to be in the backyards of the world's biggest record labels. The result - an influx of hundreds of bands performing like circus monkeys to bait the well-dentured moneymen, forcing the community of local bands to join the bottleneck to book a show. This is the "myth of the Hollywood Dream" as The Bronx frontman Joby Ford describes grimly. His band have managed to clamber out of the Los Angeles hive and realise their own dream, with their intense street-punk earning praise from the likes of Rolling Stone along the way. Yet that doesn't mean they forget where they come from, or why they're here, lugging their equipment about in Camden. It's early evening and police have been combing the half-mile stretch of Camden High Street for Yardies for the last few hours. The usual array of tramps, pushers, goths and chic Camdenites dot about. The odd commuter speeds by, while couples stop and stare for a good bar or restaurant in which to curl up on this cold November night. Upstairs in the Barfly venue, singer Matt Caughthran is tacking posters and merchandise to the wall. Ford is fiddling with his transparent guitar, drummer Jorma Vik is behind his kit setting up, while bassist James Tweedy is pulling out gear from large equipment cases. This is as real as it gets Matt tells me. The amiable bear-shaped singer is in a good mood. It's the last night of their first European tour, which has seen them support The Distillers, Jorma tear a muscle just a week ago, and the band get banned from their hotel bar after trashing it with fellow bill sharers The Cribs last night. In the depths of the Barfly's ladies room Ford stares blankly at the pixel-tiled floor when I ask him to talk about the overdoses. "When you have no money to begin with things just get worse and worse," he explains. "Matt got evicted from his apartment. It got to the stage where he had to try and talk people into letting him live with them. You get a ticket out there and you don't pay it, you're f**ked - they will come find you and take your licence plates. When things are going rough it's human nature to turn to those things, which is always stupid," he says clearing his throat, possibly with an ache of hurt and regret. "We've had friends pass away from overdoses and we've had overdoses in the band."

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