Interview with Lee, Austin and Nathan from The Hip Priests
Austin: From Lincolnshire originally but lived in Nottingham for last 12 years. Been in numerous bands since I was 17 but the Priests are the only one most people would have heard of. As well as the Priests me and Lee have done two EPs with Motherfuckin Motherfuckers which also features Mel and Harry of Bitch Queens and I also play in Scene Killers which features Jesse Luscious from Blatz, The Criminals etc and two members of TV Crime.
Lee: As regards the band as a whole, I’d left London for various reasons (Family, lifestyle, etc.) and had pretty much decided that I wouldn’t play in bands any more. Id been in a band called The Divine Brown who had done a few bits and played alongside bands like the Hives and the Datsuns etc (our singer, Loud can now be found in Randy Savages and guitarist Gaz plays now with Tyla).
It was a thankless task that I’d spent years on to no real avail or payback and I’d decided that London was a increasingly gentrified hole full of posers. I’d gotten to know a few people from Nottingham and was asked to get something together by Jimmy/James (initial guitarist) who had roped in Gary X-Ray.
They’re now both long gone and so, for years it’s been the nucleus of me, Austin and Nathan as drummers and second guitarist have died, left, burnt out or been handed their cards haha.
To cut a very long and horrible story short, against my better judgement I allowed myself to get dragged back in but, without an agenda or plan to get anywhere or shit like that, it worked out better than any band I had ever done - and here we bloody are 14 years later...
1. First Punk Rock band you ever saw Live? Where/when?
Austin: Either Mega City Four in London or Senseless Things in
Nottingham but I’m not sure which was first cos I saw them both so
many times. Both were early 91.
Nathan: The Cure were the first band I saw live, 1989 Disintegration
tour, dunno whether they were classed as punk, post punk, goth or
pop at that stage.
Lee: First band I’d call punk were maybe the Banshees in London
– or maybe it was Killing Joke (too long ago) .
2. First Punk Rock Record you bought? What made you buy it?
Austin: When I was 8 or 9 I bought two Exploited 7”s (Dead Cities and
Attack) cos some of my older brothers mates were punks and
I wanted to know what it was all about. I thought they were terrible
though and managed to talk one of his mates into swapping them
both for Suburban Studs – I Hate School 7” which I loved. Still got
that record too.
Nathan: Probably Sex Pistols “Great Rock N Roll Swindle”
3. Favourite Venue to play in? UK or abroad
Austin: Probably The Chameleon in Nottingham cos the sound is
always amazing and it’s run by great people.
Nathan: Abroad – Freak Show in Essen, Café du Jack in Eindhoven
have always been good to us as have the SJOCK and Helldorado
Festivals, I know they aren’t specifically venues but they take place in
the same spot each year and have always been great fun.
Austin: Personally, I guess my biggest would be The Hellacopters, The Replacements, The Hard-Ons and New Bomb Turks cos my favourite guitarists are in those bands. Plus Rory Gallagher!
Nathan: Iggy Pop, The Stooges, Sex Pistols, Bowie – all have to have a mention as they definitely affected and influenced me wanting to be in band and love music. Hearing bands like Teengenerate, Make Up and Lord High Fixers and seeing bands like the X-rays and Rocket From The Crypt made me get on and do it.
Lee: Musically ? Northern soul, The Who, The Action, The Eyes, The Stooges, Rocket from the Crypt, Turbonegro, The Candy Snatchers, MC4, New Bomb Turks, The Hellacopters, The Sex Pistols, etc. Life, Pissy warm Lager, Rum Whisky, Cheap brands of Coke, Cheap wraps of Coke, Love, Hate, Bile, Loud noise and the complete boredom of everyday life.
5. Any new bands impressed you and worth a shout out?
Austin: The one band I really wanna see when gigs can finally happen again is Ratso from New Zealand.
Nathan: During lockdown I’ve been mainly rediscovering old gems in my record collection, mainly bands from late
90s and early 00s that have been forgotten and lost.
One rediscovery is a band from DC called The Apes – well worth checking out. Regarding new bands – I was looking forward
to playing with Fantazmaz from London, but covid cancelled that Black Heart gig.
8. What is the craziest, most memorable thing which happened on Tour?
Lee: To be honest after so many years there’s too any horrible messed up stories. It ranges from one tour in Slovenia where on the first night someone was so pissed in sound check he couldn’t play, I lost it ‘n’ kicked all his gear at him and went apeshit and we had to sober him up enough to play the gig!!
Way too many seedy stories that can’t be printed, most of which were probably hilarious at the time but now seem pretty tragic. People blacking out face first into their food, pissing in the middle of the hostel room floor, trying to climb out third floor windows, kicking in hotel room doors, just a real horrible mess at times.
9. If 2020 was a person?
Lee: Fuck – that’s hard. How about a poisonous hybrid
of Fred West and Jimmy Saville wearing a Conservative
rosette – about as horrible person as I can imagine.
Or for simplicity – let’s just say Boris
‘The Butcher of Brexit Britain’ Johnson (spits).
10. Favourite Punk Rock album?
Austin: Ramones – It’s Alive for the simple fact that a friend at school gave me a tape of it when I was 14 and it changed my life.
Nathan: Probably Never Mind The Bollocks or The Stooges Funhouse.
Lee: Raw Power. Best album ever!
6. What’s the future look like for you and The Hip Priests?
Austin: Pretty grim at the moment regarding playing live but we
managed to record some new tracks a couple months ago so
got a split 7” with Supersuckers coming out any
day now and then two more 7”s lined up for early next year.
Nathan: 2021 will mark 15 years of The Hip Priests!!! It will be
shame if we cant have a knees up and do a non socially distanced
gig. Im trying to stay focussed and keep my PMA and am hopeful
that we will be able to play some gigs by the end of year.
But in the meantime, as Austin has said, more 7”s.
7. Where does the name The Hip Priests come from?
Lee - I’d read some article or book about the American 60s Acid
evangelist and writer, Timothy Leary and it had coined the phrase.
The penny didn’t even drop about the Fall song and it was only
after the it had used the term – I’ve always really liked that
connection of Rock/Roll and pseudo religious connotations – it’s always seemed just cool and made perfect sense to me.
The penny never even dropped with the Fall song (despite having a few Fall albums) and it was only after the first single (I think) that someone mentioned the little-known Berlin based band (The Hippriests). I/we didn’t really worry about it as the plan was only really to do a couple of gigs for fun and to hang out. Had I known we’d still be dragging our sorry arses around 13 years later I might have gone back to the proverbial drawing board.
11. If God was a Punk Rocker?
Austin: He was, his name was Joey
Nathan: Nah– Joey might be Jesus – but Iggy is the True Lord on High!
Lee: If ‘God’ was a punk rocker then I’d say Corinne
(Third degree Burns) from the Fabulous Stains (as in a work of fiction Haha).