When it comes to fun and spontaneity, Ricky Spontane certainly know how to do both. If you have ever seen them live or met them , you won't disagree.

The sci-fi rock ‘n’ roll punk band’s line-up has gone through many changes, and especially bass guitarists and keyboardists. The present line up consists of Talya Davies (drums), Stephen Wood (guitar), Richard Batchelor (vocals, guitar) and Paul Kearney (bass). The London-Liverpool based band has released 2 albums, 'Spontane Time' and 'Hit The Town', and also some singles.

As well as Ricky Spontane, its members are also involved in other projects. Richard has his own solo project, Richard the First . Paul runs his own record label Guided Missile (the Country Teasers, the Male Nurse, the Yummy Fur). All four members are all too always happy to contribute a song, voice, tambourine, etc. to compilations or to their friends' bands’ recordings.

I met up with Talya and Stephen in a Camden Town pub one Wednesday evening. The pub was very busy and we had as company at the table an older man who enthusiastically read his newpaper, spreading it out in front of him so he didn’t have to face us.

Ricky Spontane was formed ““sometime in the 90's”, as Stephen defines it, after we have all got a drink and when I ask my first question.

"Talya and I weren't in the band at the beginning ,but we were at the first gig." Stephen says. "Ricky Spontane was only 2 people at first. It was just Mark on drums, and Richard on guitar and singing. I really liked them. I think that night I helped them carry their guitars and amps back home. Everyone sort of lives in the same street in Liverpool ,so every one knows each other."

A few days passed and Stephen saw Richard again. "He came round to my house one Sunday afternoon with a pint of milk" he laughs. "And asked me if I wanted to join the band."

"And then I joined” continues Talya. “They were going to go on a tour, but everyone was leaving the band so I stepped in."

Stephen came up with the band's name at one of Richard's solo gigs. "Rich got drunk at one of his shows and just started singing about Ricky Spontane, this ideal rock n' roller” he explains. “He looked really rock n' roll. He had silver star on his trousers and things like that, and that made me first think of using the name for the band."

Although the band has been through many changes in its personnel, and the numbers in its line-up has fluctuated, Richard, Stephen and Talya have remained members pretty much since near the beginning . Richard writes the majority of the lyrics , but Stephen also contributes a fewe as well.

While Richard still lives in Liverpool, the rest of the band are now based in London. That must make rehearsing quite difficult. "We don't really rehearse." says Stephen when I ask him about it. "No, no," disagrees Talya. "We rehearse once before each gig."

"Yeah," admits Stephen, "it's enough usually. It's enough time to do a new song. Someone just says 'this is a new one.' And  then we just start rehearsing it and somehow it always works. Touch wood."

Ricky Spontane have toured extensively throughout the UK. Stephen did not hesitate to share some of the funny storries that happened to them while touring.

"We are always getting stopped by the police" he says sourly. "The worst time was in London when we had done a gig and on the way back stopped to get some kebabs. We got in the shop and there were 2 policemen in front of us. And then our bassist and keyboardist came in behind shouting ' Hey lads, better watch out because there are some cops outside.!' We all laugh, but then Stephen continues.

"It was quite nasty actually. They flicked a coin to decide whether to arrest our driver or not."

There are many ways in which to get a record deal but in the case of Ricky Spontane 's first one with Old Eagle, who released ‘Spontane Time’, it happened in a very original way.

"Rich is always breaking microphones and we needed a new one" Stephen recalls. "And then there was this competition in the papers 'The best demo wins a microphone.' And we won!

“Someone then saw a review of us at the microphone competion and they came to a gig and signed us" Stephen continues. "Things just kind of happen. We should do more competitions, shouldn't we ?"

Stephen, who used to design covers for the Creation label group the Boo Radleys, takes care of all of Ricky Spontane’s albums and singles sleeves.

"Paul was a fan of the band" he recollects, explaining how the band’s most recent bassist joined the group. "He had all our singles and all of a sudden…"

"We needed a bass player" says Talya, finishing off his sentence for him.

"Yeah " Stephen continues. "Most fans of Ricky Spontane end up in Ricky S. really. We have had a lot of bass players. We have had about 7 or 8 now and the same number of keyboard players ."

The band is at the moment considering releasing a new album ,and is working on new material.

"We have got some new songs" Stephen reveals. "We have about 5 or 6 songs to put on the album. Talya and I have also started up meeting up on Sundays to play new songs."

"Well,… Once!" laughs Talya.

"But, it's a start!" argues Stephen.

"We really ought to do another album, but really fast" Stephen all of a sudden decides.

"Yeah, okay. How fast?" asks Talya.

"Before June 2003" Stephen says, not wasting a second in answering.

"Yeah, okay" agrees Talya.

It’s that easy to decide to make an album. Now it's out in the open, the band will really have to work hard to fulfil their decision.

In the meantime Ricky Spontane will be appearing at Bull & Gate in London on the 14th December this year.

"All girls will get in for free before 8:15!" Stephen explains. "That was Paul's idea, and there will be a raffle and disco and stuff."

Stpehen and Talya seem very happy with the way things have been going recently, and are pleased with their audience’s reaction.

."I have not come off the stage in the last 2 years, thinking that we have done bad gig" says Stephen. "I always think it was really good. …but maybe it was a good gig because we had really good fishandchips beforehand" he concludes laughing.

"Rubbish!" Talya says, joining in his laughter. "It's the crowd that makes a good gig. You can't have a good gig without the audience. A lot of our fans actually end up in the band!"

Finally here is a message for you, Ricky Spontane fans, from the band:

Talya : "Hang in there!"

Stephen : "Our next album will be red."

That finishes the interview off with a question mark. This was the very first time that I met the band, but I think their character came across very clearly.

They are totally spontaneous.

Ricky Spontane will appear at the Penny Black Music night at the Spitz on the 11th January along with Baptiste and Silver Surfer and Saint Joan.

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