Does the world really need yet another ‘unique’ pop-punk band?

After seeing the sonic diarrhoea that is the public schoolboy-led Son of Dork on CDUK, I would rather be at home performing a DIY castration on myself as a bet than have to sit through a interview with some 20 something band more obsessed with their hair and putting on their worst American accent. No more radio friendly unit shifters please.

And it’s not that I hate pop punk either, I am from the country that gave the world the Stiff Little Fingers and the Undertones. I just don’t like the idea of someone from Buckinghamshire who is rich telling me about being alone with no girlfriend through the process of song.

But on entering the Manchester Academy, balls and all, I’m pleasantly surprised by getAmped not being one of "those groups".

Consisting of brothers Tim and Rick Parkhouse and drummer, Chris ‘Dougal’ Leredde, and hailing from Bournemouth, they are unashamedly pop punk adding big, bad and clever riffs with a DIY ethic to ensure their survival on the music scene.

And confident they should be. The surf obsessed brothers, to pardon the pun, have been making waves in the rock music press for a few years now and have just finished a second stint on tour in China. And with a soon to be released second album, 'Postcards From Hell' they are sure to make a splash, the mighty pun again.

"We’re brothers so ever since we were three years old we have been playing music together. I was a bit of a harsh taskmaster growing up. I pretty much taught him guitar" older brother Rick says quite honestly about Tim, before admitting that af first he never really wanted his younger sibling in his band when he was younger because he didn’t think he was good enough. Brotherly love, eh !

But on waking up one morning he discovered his brother had become shit hot and decided to give him a break and to start a band together. And the rest as they say is history.

PB : I been reading your biography. You guys have travelled extensively, everywhere in fact. How did you get the gigs in China ?

RP : Not exactly everywhere but we’ve toured pretty extensively in Asia. Our first international tour was over in China and that was an absolutely amazing experience. We were on the Radio One Unsigned chart website and these Chinese promoters found us and sent us an email asking if we would like to play a festival in Shanghai.

The band understandably were a bit apprehensive at first as most people are about emails from anonymous strangers offering once in a life time deals. The promoters asked them to Fed-Ex a press pack in as soon as possible.Not hearing anything immediately the band thinking it was a scam just went about their business. But sure enough two months later they got a phone call asking if they could appear at the festival in three weeks time.

RP : It was just amazing. The country is really only beginning to open up now so we were some of the first Westerners to play there. We played some really odd gigs outside KFCs over there.

Even though the band was unsigned, for ten days they were treated like utter rock gods.

"After the shows we would end up signing up autographs for 45 minutes" Rick says with untold glee. "Even before they even heard us play we went to a music shop and they got us to sign guitars and drums. No one seemedI to care that we might sound shit. It was just the fact that we were a Western band and we were playing there.It was totally new to them. We felt really privileged to be there. We were invited back in October to play at another city."

Their influences and ideas come from a lot of different mediums.

"I’ve always like the heavier stuff while Rick, when we were growing up, was more into Led Zeppelin" Tim says. "I was more into the Chilli Peppers and Jane’s Addiction. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of stadium rock like Van Halen. We don’t really have particular preferences as such.”

PB : With a love of stadium rock that is of course how your music has evolved into a kind of pop punk mixed with the power chords of American rock.

TP : We grew up listening to the Police a lot. That was the kind of bridge for me between pop punk and the stadium sound. I think the Police did that so well. They were the pop punks of their generation. They were something special. So we try and blend the two really.”(The band does an interesting cover of 'Walking on the Moon').

Because of their surfing connections in the early days the band got sponsorship from Rip Curl gaining valuable exposure appearing on several surfing videos. But understandingly the band try to steer clear of being labeled a ‘surfer band’ as people always seem to compare them to a Beach Boys outfit decked out in Hawaiian shirts and singing about sunshine and girls.

“I don’t want people thinking we are jumping on the Jack Johnson bandwagon by saying it’s really trendy to be a surfer" Rick says. "In fact music has nearly killed out surfing as we’re on tour all the time."

PB : It’s not a bad way of gaining exposure if you consider the Offspring got their break on skater videos.

RP : In the early days I suppose the exposure was important in getting the band established. I was mates with a few pro-surfers who were friends with a few magazine editors. When you’re younger as a band, you need to use any avenue available to you so we went with that. Getting mainstream music press reviews in Kerrang is hard but getting one in a surf magazine is easier

Having friends in struggling bands trying to break the music scene I turn the topic of the interview towards the current state of the British/ Irish music scene. The band mull over the question for a few seconds and reply with some blunt answers. Being a struggling pop punk act the conversation soon turns to the white noise that is Emo

RP : It’s style over substance, looking good and having the right hair straighteners. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic that rock music is being revitalized and loud is coming up in any form, whether it’s Emo or whatever, but I just can’t help but think of Emo as a selfish style of music.

By its very nature self-centred I mean, it’s like "look at me, I’m so heart broken, I’m depressed."

What we try to do with getAmped is not take ourselves too seriously. We try hard to sing about topics without trying to, this sounds really fucking arrogant, that actually means something to other people.

We try to write about social/political issues. I mean we’re skating a fine line between singing a preaching, no ones wants to hear us preaching, and sometimes we get it right.

As a final question I ask them where they see themselves in five years time. Rick thinks it over for a few seconds before give a confident sincere answer.

"I’m not trying to sound like arrogant tosser, but I’d like to see us as a well established stadium rock band."

Excellent. New album, 'Postcards From Hell', is out in March.

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