I’ve heard the small gig circuit called the Toilet Circuit, but this is
ridiculous. When I arrive at the Command House in Chatham town, I am greeted with an unpleasant smell and a pool of liquid over the bar. A pipe has burst. The staff insist to the promoter that it is water. It quite blatantly is not. Nevertheless, tonight’s show is going ahead and the band are sound checking.

The Len Price 3 are locals, so are better placed to understand. In spite of this addition to the gig atmosphere, they play a superb headline set later that evening to an appreciative audience, not put off by the smell of urine. Songs from their debut album, a Pennyblackmusic Editor’s Choice, 'Chinese Burn' are joined by newer numbers in a blast of a set, ending with a jubilant cover of “Can’t Buy Me Love”. The band’s melodic garage sound is rocking and catchy on record, but exhilarating played live.

But before the gig, I collar the band for an interview. We consider going upstairs to the main part of the pub (the gig is in a separate room downstairs) but a look at the typical clintele convinces us that a cup of tea at singer/guitarists Glenn Page’s nearby house would be nicer. Glenn is the group’s spokesman, but drummer Neil Fromow and bassist Steve Huggins listened in, adding their comments whenever they felt it necessary. The band were great company, and the tape recording of this interview is drenched in laughter. Nice guys don’t always make good music, but the Len Price 3 certainly do!

PB: First things first, why the Len Price 3?

GP: What, why are we here? Why bother?

PB: Well, I meant why that choice of name, but that can be the second question!

GP: Well, the first one is an easy one. The name Len Price came about because of two separate stories where people got my name wrong. The first was when me and the missus moved into a new house, and we popped into the local boozer and introduced ourselves, “Hi we’re Glenn and Lucy”, and the barmaid whizzed round to the rest of the bar and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Lucy and Len”, so from then onwards that was my name! The Price came from a guy I worked with, who’ll be coming down to the gig tonight actually, who I worked with for three years and thought my surname was Price. Three years, I thought that was pretty good. But I get called all sorts at work, Greg, Gary, Kevin was one. So long as it has one of the right letters! But anyway, that’s where it comes from. So why are we here? I haven’t worked that one out yet!

NF: You’re wasting your time there!

PB: Okay, never mind! So when did you start the group?

GP: I got some songs together and decided I wanted to start a band about 4 years ago, and I did some demos with Neil playing bass and drums. Then we decided to look for a proper bassist, and advertised, but we couldn’t get one so we had to have Steve. Just a joke!That was about six months after that I guess, so yeah, its been about 4 years.

PB: How often do you tour. Is it regular gigs or just weekends?

GP: Well, because the album is out now, since May, we’ve been playing every weekend since then. Because we all have day jobs its hard to play any days that aren’t weekends anyway. Plus, it seems to be quite difficult to make the jump from what were doing before, which was playing to 30 people in London and selling our CD that we’d made ourselves out of suitcase, to ‘real’ gigs seems to be quite difficult. I’ve heard all sorts of rumours about indie bands paying to support the Kings of Leon or whatever. We did play at the Koko, the NME night, which is a pukka venue, with riders and sofas and TVs, and a proper stage, and a 3000 capacity, and it was busy. That’s the closest we’ve come to being real pop stars… oh, and we’ve been on the radio, Radio 6 and Radio 2! Our record refers to us as being ‘on tour’, but that’s using the term quite liberally.

NF: Only at weekends! We party so hard that it takes us a whole weekend to recover!

PB: You’re label, Lauhging Outlaw, is Australian, so how did you end up signing to them?

GP: Well, when we started out, we didn’t make any attempt to get a record deal. We used to record songs at a studio down the road, so our own artwork and mass produce our own CDs, and sell them out of a pervy blue suitcase…

SH: Which you’ll see tonight!

GP: But there’s a mate of ours who had something out on the Laughing Outlaw label, and I can’t remember if he suggested that I sent something or if he did, but either way I had a message on my answer phone one day from Sydney saying, “G’Day mate, just listening to your demo. It’s great, give us a ring!”. It went quiet for a bit, but eventually we signed a contract sent over in the Autumn and were in the studio by October. They have a UK office, and it is distributed here, so them being Australian makes little difference.

PB: So there’s no chance of winging an Aussie tour?

GP: Well, they have threatened to get us down under in October, but we’re still debating if it is worthwhile. It would be fun…

SH: We’d get a tan!

GP: But, it would realistically be the same size venues as we play here, just over there, and the money might be better used going back into the studio, and we would have to take the time off work. But if they pay us…

NF: Yeah, a free holiday in Australia, and getting paid, we won’t turn that down!

PB: How did you go about picking the tracks that went on 'Chinese Burn'

GP: Well, it’s a Len Price 3 greatest hits record to that. Most of the tracks had been on our self released cds, and we re-recorded them. The last self released mini album forms that backbone of the album, you know, 'Christian In The Desert' and 'The Last Hotel'. We did have other stuff, which we recorded at Toe Rag, where the White Stripes did the 'Elephant' album, but they didn’t sound as good as that, so we re-recorded those songs.

PB: Did you know Jim Riley, the producer, before you recorded the album with him?

GP: Well, me and Neil have been playing in bands together since we’d been 16, and he’d always been around in various bands, and we knew he’d started up this studio about six months before we went there the first time. We chanced our arm and it worked out really well. He knew where we were aiming sound-wise, and he’s a bloody nice guy who liked a laugh. Plus, the studio is dirt cheap.

PB: You were only in there for three days. Was this how you wanted it to be?

GP: Pretty much really. It can end up like a job, and you can take the life out of the songs, so we just bashed them out as quickly as we could. The whole thing, including mixing and mastering, was done in 5 days. The one thing that the studio gives us is the chance to focus on the harmonies.

PB: There is a very obvious 60's theme on the artwork, from the layout, to the mock Beatles sleeve notes. Is this an attempt to deflect any accusations of being retro, by embracing it?

GP: As I mentioned, Neil and I had been in bands before, and it was often about getting a deal. This outfit was an attempt to get away from that and say, what music do I like and we’ll only do that, not ride the latest trend. I like the Kinks, early Who, the Beatles and early Clash and that’s what we sound like. In liking that music we like the style and presentation as well. Also, the sleeve notes were a deliberate p*ss take, because if you play in North London you get these bands that spend an inordinate amount of time on their image. It is like, whoosh, haircuts, very thin…

SH: Which we’re not… haha!

GP: Probably been on special diets. All the clothes, hairs cultivating their look but they sound absolute sh*t and there is no substance there. So this was a pop at that approach, of taking yourself way too seriously. And the whole retro thing, you get derided for it, but it is so fickle. We had contact with this guy in Sony (the rest of the band laugh), we didn’t instigate this, his line was that his bosses wouldn’t be interested because we didn’t have an 80's thing, so it seems that its okay to be retro if you are looking back to the 80's but not if you look back to the 60's.

PB: And, of course, the 60's were about 50 million times better…

GP: Exactly, exactly. We got a, not exactly nasty, but a very negative review in 'Classic Rock' magazine the other day, (again the band laugh, this time much louder!) and it had a jibe in it, saying we’d have sounded really good back inthe Mod revival of 1979. From a guy writing in 'Classic Rock', who specialise in Queen and Motley Crue! Some people don’t see the irony in that! Anyway, I wentoff on one there!

PB: Do bad reviews like that get to you?

GP: They don’t upset me, but they are frustrating. If you don’t like it, just say. But instead its, “oh, they sound old”. Well, yeah, tell me something I don’t know. F*king idiots!

PB: Have you had any interest from the mainstream press, the 'NME' in particular?

GP: They reviewed the album, and to be honest it was quite a positive review. We do get a lot of reviews that say it is really good, and then the score is only 7 out of 10. It’s really weird.

NF: The review we had was positive, but it was complete bollocks. It said we sound like the Stooges!

GP: Don’t get me wrong, I like the Stooges, but we ain’t like them at all, apart from, you know, there is guitars, drums and bass.

PB: Perhaps the reviewer remembered liking the CD, but couldn’t remember it that well, so just compared it to his favourite band! Anyway, what are the long term ambitions for the band?

GP: I’m sure, really, the aim is to make a living out of this. But I don’t know how realistic that is. We’re too jaded and cynical! But it seems over the last year, we’ve gone through a ticking box thing. Wouldn’t it be cool to make a record? Done that. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a song on the radio, and not know it was going to happen? Done that. Wouldn’t it be cool to go on the radio and meet Lard? Done that! So this year has been really good, but with this huge industry, without a huge label, its very hard.

PB: So how did the radio appearances come about?

GP: Well, through Geraint Jones! Mr. Laughing Outlaw UK (not the Kent and England wicketkeeper, incidentally). It is all shrouded in mystery, I’m still not sure how he did it, even though he has talked about it. We got some good press, and some radio stuff. The first one was doing the Mark Radcliffe showon the day the album came out. Mark Lamaar was sitting in and we played three songs and had some banter, which was alright, and this Radio 6 thing witb Lard came out of the blue really.

SH: The producer of the show saw we had a gig in Manchester and got us in.

GP: That’s right. We played in Nuneaton, the rock ‘n’ roll epicentre of the world, on Friday and then Manchester on Saturday. That was a great weekend. Nuneaton was good and then we were on the radio with Lard, who is one of the nicest guys you’d ever wish to meet, and the gig was really good. People were really friendly. That’s one of the best things about this, meeting really friendly people.

PB: You also played at the Cavern in Liverpool, yes?

GP: Yes, for the International Pop Overthrow festival. We were the
sub-headline band, one band after us, and that was a brilliant gig. The Stabilisers, another Medway band, played as well. There were a lot of middle-of-the-road bands, and the audience were dying of boredom, and there was a haircut band before us, so when we came on, people sprang into life. The headliner did look slightly perturbed when he came on that we’d been rocking them by the balls!

PB: Finally, I’d like to ask about the Medway scene. Is there one and are you part of it?

GP: People ask about this, and of course there were the Prisoners and Thee Milkshakes in the 80's. There are local bands that we play with, but only the Stablisers are much like us, though more punky. There are the Buff Medways of course but they are nothing to do with us. They’re famous! There was a cool band called the Dirty Backbeats, quite bluesy, but they’ve relocated to Leicester.

PB: On the information on your album , you refer to the Medway Delta. Was this you, or record company madness?

GP: Haha, we did jokingly refer to being from the Medway Delta, and it seems to have stuck. In Liverpool, the poster said, Len Price 3 - Medway Delta! Is Medway even a Delta, I don’t think so.

PB: It does sound cool, the Medway Delta. But then people come here…

SH: Yeah, more a Medway sh*thole really!

GP: But the council seem to have taken it up. There’s posters on the trains, “The Med: It’s Closer Than You Think”, like there is some kind of River Café culture!!

PB: On that note, I think we can finish! Thanks a lot!

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