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Rad Pitt at the John Peel Centre

“We want to apologise to everybody first, because this might come across as a bit raucous,” warns singer Nicholas Smith before Rad Pitt launch themselves at some volume into Old Rope, the opening track on their self-titled debut album. Already, this has become my favourite night of the year so far. Rad Pitt are a 5 piece band from Suffolk and Essex. Tonight they are at the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket and have arrived armed with beards, tattoos, t-shirts, CD’s and a most devastatingly excellent and ‘rad’ live set.

The album boasts 9 songs and comes in at just under 18 minutes. The set boasts some new material, along with an Eagles of Death Metal cover, and comes in at 26 and a half minutes. Signature tunes such as Lead for Brains and Sink, Ship, Sink! are present along with Thanks, but it was a dead end, and the Twin Peaks inspired Cooper’s Damn Fine Coffee. “That came about after David Lynch confirmed a new series,” explains Nick. “Me and Matt got very excited.” There is also a song tonight about Piers Morgan, and it isn’t a love song.

I liken the origins of the Piers Morgan tune to my initial displeasure at Julianne Moore replacing Jodie Foster as FBI agent Clarice Starling in the Hannibal movie. Foster had put in the performance of her life in the Silence of the Lambs, and her presence in the follow up was essential as far as I was concerned. However, as the years have passed, I have more than warmed to Moore. I think she is an incredible actor, and I now wish she had played the role of Starling from the outset.

I fear that the passing of hundreds of years, centuries and millenia though will not change Rad Pitt guitarist Christopher Richard Smith’s mindset on Morgan: “Good Morning Britain is an excellent tv programme, but one morning I had the misfortune to wake up to Piers Morgan presenting it. It ruined my day. I didn’t get any warning. I just turned on the tv and he was there.”

(Just going back to Silence of the Lambs, the banner that Rad Pitt bring with them to the John Peel Centre on the night is like something you might find in the home of Buffalo Bill. Black gaffa tape spells out the band name on a canvas of cardboard. Matt’s head can be seen peering over the top in the picture that accompanies this text)

Rad Pitt is an amalgamation of members of bands who have known each other and gigged with each other for a number of years.

“Me, Chris and Sean were in Jornetta Stream. Chris played in another band called Gulls and Matt was in Origami Noise,” informs drummer Jim.

“Chris went down a route of writing some noisy, heavy riffs, and after about 8 months we got it together as Rad Pitt and started gigging and recorded an album.”

“It is really hard work being in a band and I just wanted to get on stage and not care about what I was doing. I just wanted to have fun and play some riffs,” Chris confesses. But on watching Rad Pitt and listening back again (and again), it becomes clear that this is a band that does care about what they are doing and can captivate an audience of all kinds of age groups. In my opinion they are one of the most important and special bands to have graced our county in recent years.

“I think we do care,” Jim continues. “But we don’t question things. If someone in the band has an idea, we just tend to go with it.”

On playing this wonderful Stowmarket venue on it’s 3rd anniversary, the band are humble and full of gratitude.

“The name John Peel Centre says it all really,” smiles Nick. “Bands like us would never have had the opportunity if it wasn’t for him. We really appreciate this.”

So what’s next for Rad Pitt? Well, more gigs hopefully and they are recording another album. “Let’s go for 21 minutes and 18 tracks with this one,” enthuses Matt. For a rad time check the band out on the usual social media mediums. You will find an excellent live set for Paper Champion and a Merry Radmas card among other delights. On our very own podcast page you can also download highlights from the first of our 4 nights this year at the John Peel centre, along with full sets from all the bands who made it such a great one.

Graeme