Editor’s Note: We thought to welcome The Mantles back to San Francisco, fresh from their UK tour with Nodzzz, with a short interview. Big things happened abroad — as you’ll read below — and the band plays their homecoming gig Friday at the Knockout with Wrong Words, LENZ and Wet Illustrated to celebrate their “Raspberry Thighs” 7-inch out now (more on that release here). Read on for a fun conversation between drummer Virginia Weatherby and guitarist Mike Oliveres giving details on their upcoming LP, favorite UK tour moments, and bands that they recommend from across the pond.
Overall, how was the UK trip with Nodzzz? Any particularly silly, fearful or awesome moments?
Virginia: It was a total dream tour! Nodzzz were the perfect accompaniment, putting on an amazing show every single night, and good dudes to be stuck in a van with.
Mike: Yeah it was fantastique! The most fearful was prolly when we first met our driver and van. The driver ( Ricky) showed up with this sprinter van and a very drunk friend of his. There weren’t enough seats so he sat on this spare tire in the middle of the van, cracked jokes, gave VERY extended hugs, and barked out orders to the people in the front to reach under their seats and locate bottles of booze for him. I was like “oh great, is this really how the next two weeks are going to be. Are we going to survive?” Luckily Jim stayed in London, and the driver Ricky ended up being as responsible and trustworthy as they get.
V: That didn’t come close to as scary as when our bassist, Matt, convinced our weary driver to take us on a tour of the “troubled zone” in Belfast and our van got approached by the most intimating crew of South Belfast loyalist thugs that you can imagine! But I’m more into awesome moments, which was definitely when Dan Treacy from Television Personalities joined us on stage during our first night in London. Our pal, Josh Alper, in my other band Art Museums is a huge TVPs fan and has put out a single by Dan, so he emailed Dan convincing him it would be worth his while to come to our show because we would buy him beers! We heard this the night before we left, so we decided to learn his song “I Remember Bridget Riley” JUST in case we could get him to join us on stage. Lo and behold, the man showed up, I bought him 4 beers and last song of our set, he jumped on stage, took Michael’s guitar and totally killed it. There is footage of the whole thing, and I am beaming like a kid in the candy store. Pretty amazing way to start the tour off….
San Francisco has been repeatedly recognized on a national level as a garage rock haven, but what is the UK scene like? How were The Mantles and Nodzzz received?
V: Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm of people that came up to us after the shows to say how much they enjoyed us or were big fans. Same for Nodzzz, looking around in the audience and seeing people singing along to their songs, pretty magical. It varied from town to town, with our London shows being the most packed and insane, and then others where there weren’t that many people, but I was just stoked that every place we went there were at least a couple of huge Mantles fans. We had a guy fly from Israel (hi David!) and a couple of other shows some kids flew from Germany to see us….blew my mind!
What European garage/pop bands should people in the states check out?
V: My favorite band we played with was the Sea Pinks. They are from Belfast, and are basically the same people that are in Girls Names, who are putting out a record on Slumberland later this month. Check out both bands, super good, and really nice people.
We heard about a certain pair of Mantles getting engaged. First off, congratulations! (If it’s not too personal), is there a story behind the proposal?
V: Yes, ladies, the truth is out…Michael is officially taken!
M: Well I thought I’d ask for Vee’s hand among some rolling misty green hills or with some cool castle in the background. I was thinking it would happen in Scotland for sure, because we were going to have three days there. But alas it was in Belfast on St Patrick’s Day. Basically we were having the time of our lives and I convinced Virginia that it could be like this all the time if we got married.
V: Just with less green.
What show abroad did you enjoy most?
V: Both London shows were amazing, but I think our show in Belfast on St Patty’s Day has to take the cake. When in the hell do you get to play in Belfast on St Patty’s Day? I also was happy to return and play Glasgow, as I lived there for a while years back but wasn’t playing music then. It was awesome to come back and play a show in a place I used to hang out in front of a bunch of my old pals. A little surreal even!
M: Yeah I’d repeat what she said plus add that both South End and Brighton were whomping good times….
You’re releasing the Raspberry Thighs 7″ Friday — will this single be featured on an upcoming release? What’s on the horizon for The Mantles this spring and summer?
M: Yes, Raspberry will be on our upcoming album as well. Hopefully we’ll start recording in June. The title of the album so far is “Hairy Coo Petting Zoo” hopefully your readers know what a hairy coo is. They’re really cute. They kinda look like beach bum hunks but from Scotland.
V: They kind of look like Michael.