Young Rebel Set
When kids fantasise of a life in rock'n'roll, it's normally the glitz and the glamour that sets pulses racing - the adulation, the fame, the gold records, and the guitar shaped pool. When you're dreaming of a way out, hard graft and sacrifice aren't normally the things that inspire you. But that's what you, dear listener, have got in front of you now, the result of three years hard fucking graft.
Three years of schlepping across the country in the back of a van. Three years of missing home. Three years of relationships gone belly up because of the band. Three years of non-stop writing, playing, recording, gigging. Three years of packing crates, plastering ceilings, clocking in and working any job you can just to keep the band going.
Three years of an unshakable belief that the record you're currently holding - Young Rebel Set's debut album, 'Curse Our Love' - is worth sacrificing everything for.
The Young Rebel Set story starts in the northeast town of Stockton On Tees with Matty Chipchase, a singer and songwriter disillusioned with the posturing of post-Libertines, landfill indie - bands more concerned with getting wasted and the width of their trouser leg than saying something that can truly resonate.
"Music's timeless, you know," explains Matty. "You shouldn't need a glo stick or a fashion or a sense of identity to get into it. When you hear a good tune it shouldn't be a guilty pleasure. That's what Springsteen's got, Dylan, The Clash - everybody's into them, whether you're a mod, rocker, whatever. It doesn't matter."
Quitting the group he was in, Matty set about writing songs on his own, "doing a Johnny Cash" with an acoustic guitar and putting into words the things that normally go unsaid - the heartbreak, love, dreams and fears that follow all of us through our lives - and turning them into songs that can outlive a generation. "If you don't write a song from the heart how are you ever going to touch anyone else's heart?" He says matter-of-factly.
The more Matty tinkered with his demos, adding layer upon layer of instruments, the more Young Rebel Set's explosive mix of rock'n'roll, soul, folk and conviction came into shape. "If you play a club up in Stockton with just an acoustic guitar no one is going to just sit there and listen to you, all they're there to do is drink. So I said, Right lads, can you help us out with this show?"
Like with all great bands, the "lads" in question were Matty's mates. Friends from other bands, people who got chatting to each other after shows, friendships born from the simple combination of sharing a love of each other's company and a genuine love of music.
The gang was assembled. Paddy Jordan on guitar/keyboard, Dave Coombe on Harmonica and two sets of brothers - Andy and Chris Parmley on guitar and bass, plus Mark and Luke Evans on mandolin and Drums respectively.
Only problem was, the "show" in question was happening at the end of the week, leaving them only four days to sort out a set, and in Mark's case, to learn to play his instrument. "The way we dealt with it was to get absolutely plastered," remembers Matty, "it was just like the after party had been brought forwards a couple of hours."
The band nailed it. As anyone who has seen Young Rebel Set live can attest, it's not an experience you forget in hurry. The party's right there up on stage. The band are playing with everything they've got and having the time of the lives. The audience are part of the fun but you get the feeling that even if there was no one watching, the festivities would carry on regardless.
The word was out and within days the band were being bombarded with calls. After just one gig it seemed overnight success was knocking on the door. Something didn't feel right though. You only get out of something what you put in, surely? So the band did the unthinkable, they took the phone off the hook and locked themselves away to write and rehearse, spending the next three years touring the country and amassing enough songs to fill five albums, all the while holding down a string of soul destroying, dead end jobs just to survive.
"That's the hardest thing for us, to try and maintain this band," explains Matty. "Because we can't earn a penny on tour, as soon as we get off tour we have to fucking graft. Everyone grafts just to be in this band, it means that much to us. Once you've started you can't walk away from it. You sacrifice that much and it's done that much harm. I can't get a proper job, a woman - she's going to walk away because I'm away all the time, you never have any money... but you've just got to set yourself to it because all you've got at the end of the day is that 30 minutes on stage and that's why we do it, that's what it's all about."
It's a life compromised for art chronicled in the wistful lament of their debut single, 'If I Was', back in August 2009, and now the full fruits of the band's labour are here for all to see.
From 'Won't Get Up Again's tale of love that won't take no for an answer ("my girlfriend used to warn me before I was seeing her that her then boyfriend was going to stove my head in") to 'Billy Died', written after a heartbroken Chipchase went on a bender so severe he ended up in hospital following a minor heart attack, they've come out with an album that celebrates the highs and lows that - for better or worse - make us who we are.
They're there in the in sweeping crescendos of 'Red Bricks' bittersweet farewell, they're there in the defiant two-fingered salute of 'Walk On' and they're there in between the rolling punches of 'Lions Mouth', the first song Matty wrote without drawing on his own experience that tells the tale of a soldier committing suicide after returning home from war.
On 'Curse Our Love', Young Rebel Set have delivered a set of songs that make the sacrifice and hard work worthwhile. Songs that give you hope when you're standing on your own at three in the morning wondering where it all went wrong. Songs that make you walk up and tell her you love her regardless of whether her boyfriend's going to kick your teeth in. Songs that - put simply - make life worth living.