When Iggy Pop growls, sage-like on national radio, that your fully DIY, two-fingers-up-at-the-music-industry-punk-band-just-doing-it-for-the-fucking-love-of-it is “really amazing”, face it: you’re onto something.
The Lovely Eggs – psychedelic Lancaster-based rip-roarers and BBC 6 Music beloveds, with a cult following of Eggheads built over five records – are finally learning to bottle up these moments. Lately there’s been plenty to keep them topped up. The Eggs return to Bristol this October to perform one of their last UK shows for a while.
With their crowds now having outgrown The Exchange, who hosted The Eggs’ last three Bristol shows, you can catch them at The Fleece on 26 October. The Bristol date comes at the close of a madcap few months of heavy, raucous play touring their fifth studio album This Is Eggland, produced by Flaming Lips prodigy Dave Fridmann.
Comprising punks-in-arms husband and wife Holly Ross and David Blackwell, The Lovely Eggs formed in 2006 with Holly on vocals and guitar, and David on drums. Twelve years on, The Lovely Eggs’ summer has been spent at full festival throttle, playing to swathes of fans and new converts everywhere from Nozstock to Green Man. The couple have clearly had a ball, even through pneumonia and tech jeopardy, driving themselves from stage to stage in their trusty tour transit van.
Comprising punks-in-arms husband and wife Holly Ross and David Blackwell, The Lovely Eggs formed in 2006 with Holly on vocals and guitar, and David on drum
‘We’ve been non-stop, we’re dickheads really’ says Holly, from home in Lancashire. ‘We run everything ourselves, so we run the label and book all our own gigs and tours, so everything is entirely our own fault. It’s been a really busy time, busier than we ever thought it could be.’
As ‘joyous’ (a word oft-used by Holly), energetic and authentic as its creators, This Is Eggland flings the door wide open to Holly and David’s universe. Put it on and you’ll find your attention grabbed roughly by the scruff of the neck. Between Holly’s glorious Lancastrian sing-chants; David’s tireless drum battle; the distorted glow of raging guitar; psychedelically-turned fists of sound, and yes, a kazoo – you don’t stand a chance. Consider your ears commanded and spun around.
In Holly’ words, This Is Eggland looks at ‘big themes in small things, looking at the bigger picture through your very small, own world’ and distilling it down. Singles Wiggy Giggy and the cackling Witchcraft are among two to have enjoyed airtime on BBC 6 Music of late. The latter, in particular, capturing the discord of feeling outside the mainstream, of wanting to blast out all the bullshit and clear those thick old cobwebs from your mind. Wiggy Giggy, meanwhile, ‘is about the isolation of living in a place like this, but at the same time, it’s joyous.’
capturing the discord of feeling outside the mainstream, of wanting to blast out all the bullshit and clear those thick old cobwebs from your mind
And of course, The Lovely Eggs’ ‘fuck it’ philosophy radiates out, as with everything in their trunket. This punkish sentiment comes nuanced: the music striking out its territory between living through the right-royal interrobang of existence and taking life as it comes, while swimming against the tide. It plays a big part in why the Eggheads love them so.
Holly says: ‘More people are understanding us and getting where we’re coming from. It’s just nice, innit? When you feel like you’ve been banging on about something for ages and then people finally get it … The joyousness of abandoning yourself, not being uptight and just going along with it became our philosophy.
The joyousness of abandoning yourself, not being uptight and just going along with it became our philosophy
‘A parallel thing that goes along with it is that I like to philosophise a lot about different scenarios and what ifs, which can send you quite mad. You could think your way several hours down a certain path, but if you’re thinking about space and eternity, your existence… Why not just say fuck it and save yourself all of that brain-ache and anxiety? That’s a personal struggle, aside from the art side. You’ve just got to go with the flow, you can’t fight things all the time, it’s exhausting. So ‘fuck it’ is the only way of just letting go, really.’
This Is Eggland is the heaviest of The Lovely Eggs’ records to date, its sonic clout literally amplified through collaboration with heavyweight US producer Dave Fridmann, whose multiple credits span The Flaming Lips, Mogwai and Wolf Alice, naming a few, and ’an absolute dream come true’ says Holly.
This Is Eggland is the heaviest of The Lovely Eggs’ records to date, its sonic clout literally amplified through collaboration with heavyweight US producer Dave Fridmann
It’s something that would never have happened if it wasn’t for some late-night drunken idea mongering around the kitchen table, a few months back. Holly recollects: ‘We never thought in a million years Fridmann would actually do it. I said to David, “Well I’m going to write to him, I’m going to ask him if he will, ‘cos you you never know, he might.’ David was like, “Don’t be so fucking crazy, he will never touch a band like us, we’re DIY, we’re in England, no record label, we don’t have any influence, we don’t know anyone, we don’t have friends or rich family, we’re on our own in Lancaster”.’
But after some digging, Holly got hold of a phone number. With some Dutch courage, she got through first to a Chinese takeaway and then a garage in the US, finally leaving a garbled message on Fridmann’s studio answer machine. Nothing happened for a year and the Eggs put it down to ‘just another drunken antic’.
it’s like whitewater rafting life
So when the email dropped in from Fridmann himself, saying he wanted to work with them, ‘It was like, shit, it’s game on then isn’t it? I guess we’re doing it,’ says Holly. ‘You can’t back out of something like that. We just love really weird obscure stuff happening, almost like fate, then riding the course of the river it goes down… it’s like whitewater rafting life. It was brilliant.’
It’s a world apart from where Holly imagined she’d be, after her industry experience fronting nineties’ punk girl group Angelica left her so disenchanted she didn’t pick up a guitar for two years.
‘I thought if you were in a band you have to be part of the music industry, and the music industry was so rotten I didn’t want to be in a band. But then one day I just had this epiphany moment that, actually, playing music can be as pure as that. The music industry and playing in a band are two different things.
I thought if you were in a band you have to be part of the music industry, and the music industry was so rotten I didn’t want to be in a band
‘So we started our own band and said we’re not going to sign a record deal, we’re not going to be on a label, and anything that we think is bullshit, is bullshit, and we won’t do it.’
Being a band outside of the industry has seen them living on ‘fuck-all money’, working out how many gigs the couple had to play ‘to pay our rent and eat (…) just what was the breadline… a bit like the hardcore bands in the eighties’ says Holly.
Needless to say, The Lovely Eggs are enjoying where’re they’re at; 100% on their terms. Holly says: ‘Good reviews are nice but we try not to concentrate too much on them, because you start believing them and that’s always a dangerous thing to do. We’ve been written off in the past as a bit of a jokey band, and we were never a jokey band. We see life through different glasses, but that doesn’t mean to say that we’re fucking clowns. So it’s always nice to be recognised for our music. Just to hear people say, “yeah, sounds like a good album” – that’s one of the things that makes me proudest.’
Words by Daisy Blacklock