Classic street-punkers the lovable RAW POO have been making their glorious racket since 1996. Their genre has been described variously as everything from ‘Snot Pop Punk’ and ‘Junior Oi,’ to ‘Hardcore drunk arse bitch.’ A recent revival of typically raucous and hilarious gigs has been met with the usual appreciation, bewilderment and astonishment.
And now, the ultimate announcement that they will at last be playing the next Wonkfest has the punters trembling in anticipation! In their own words, “No they have not split up and never will! but they did get old and get married and have kids and get divorced and all types of other boring shit.”
Teddy Fourlegs caught up with them to discuss future recordings and a look back on the mayhem of the past 24 years of good, non-clean fun…
For the unenlightened tossers out there, introduce the band members and what they (attempt to) do?
Poo Boys: Granny Magnet Vocals, Steve Hoota Guitar, James Hippy Bass, Mooty Licious Drums.
What’s the reason for all your nicknames? Someone told me it was Granny as you have a fetish for old ladies?
Poo Boys: That is correct, that’s what our song ‘Cold and Grey’ is about. Nah, actually Granny comes from his surname, “Its fuckin retarded, I have been granny since I was 6. Not even sure where it came from!” Hoota has a big nose, Hippy has long hair and flairs and Mooty has a delicious round bum.
You started out in your school days. What inspired you to inflict this noise on the world and who were the early musical influences?
Poo Boys: Our group of mates at school were into the whole skate punk thing, so when we first started we wanted to be like NOFX and all those other kind of epifat bands. We wanted to be comical, obnoxious, offensive but in a tongue in cheek kind of way. In other words, we just wanted an excuse to get drunk and behave like idiots, I think the name pretty much says it all! But then as we got older and started listening to other stuff it went a bit all over the place. We all listen to different music from each other, which is why our tunes can be quite random at times. Stuff like Narcocorrido, Nintendocore, Porn Groove, Witch House, Electric Bungalow, Bagpipe & Bass and Crack Step are just some of the genres that have influenced us.
What were those gigs like back in the day?
Poo Boys: Our first gig we played was so bad that the guitarist at the time, AZA left through embarrassment! We lost granny about 15 minutes before we were about to play and found him passed out behind a bench! We trashed the stage at the end of the gig and broke a few hundred pounds worth of mikes and got shouted at but was so much fun.
We were way sloppier with the musical side of things back then but we didn’t care about anything other than getting drunk and having a laugh. We always tried to make the gig feel like a party with a bit of dressing up or messing about with cover versions. Some of the hardcore punk bands we played with were a bit moody and serious so we could play against that a bit and often stood like a sore thumb cos we would just be pissing about.
Were any of you in other bands previously or since?
Poo Boys: We have all been in a few bands over the years. Hoot did a hardcore band called Diction from about ’99 who are now on a bit of a hiatus. Hippy has been in loads of bands that write proper music because he can actually play! He’s recently recorded an EP with his latest band Beneath the Dirt, and did Tears of Aske with Granny. Mooty played with them for a bit too and also played in a band called the Giros. Grannys currently shouting with BKS who are playing a fair bit and just put a 7’ album out. He also did Wake which was a ‘deathstep’ type of thing, electronic bleak sounding shit plus a load of other crap bands in between!
You once characterised the band’s sound as ‘Junior Oi’ amongst other things. Now you are all old and fat would you care to reappraise this definition? What is the Raw Poo sound?
Poo Boys: Replace “Junior” with “Senior” and “Oi” with the sound of a pensioner farting as they struggle to get out of an armchair.
Ian Glasper at Terrorizer magazine gave you your ultimate review, “Raw Poo are not as awful as the name suggests.” Then again, a random pub bloke once claimed you’re “probably the best band to come out of south London.” What have been the funniest, best and worst reactions to a Raw Poo gig or song?
Poo Boys: We would say that 50% of our gigs have been terrible! We’re used to getting a silent room when we play, I think we have genuinely emptied venues in the past. This is mostly due to 1 or more of us being far too pissed to play, and our songs being shit! Sometimes I swear people get confused by us because we don’t look or sound like your usual ‘Punk Band’. These days I’d say we are much better and drink a lot less.
We have had some pretty good reactions over the years like when we got the crowd to do a conga line with us in the middle of our set at a Christmas show at The Fox. Everybody was having a really good time, think we took it out onto Lewisham high street and then jumped back on stage and finished or set.
Hearing the crowd shouting out ‘BIG BOOBS’ always makes us laugh too.
We got a great reaction when we played our mate Zak’s birthday in Hartlepool but I think that was mostly down to the burlesque performer doing her stuff onstage during big boobs and pouring absinth down Zak’s throat!
Another funny time was when we played a party at a mate’s caravan site in Cornwall and Hippy was so drunk he fell asleep mid set and Jay from IT freestyled bass for us for the last couple of tunes. Granny ended up staying at that traveller site for a week and fucked up ain’t the word!
More recently we did a festival in a mates back garden in front of loads of families with young kids and some of them looked a bit baffled. We had changed all the swear words in our songs to say ‘fiddlesticks’ so we didn’t upset anyone. We changed ‘You are a fucking cunt. Cunt Cunt, Cunt, Cunt!’ to ‘You are a silly sausage. Sausage, Sausage, Sausage, Sausage!’
The best reaction in terms of numbers was our youtube video for our song ‘Big Boobs’ which got tens of thousands of hits in a few days but that was probably mainly down to a load of teenage boys wanking to the boobs rather than wanking to our music. It got taken down in the end cos some porn stars complained about the copywrite.
Let’s get in to the classic discography. Tell the fans a bit about the early EP recordings like ‘Raw Punk From The Arse End Of England’ in 2001. What’s the story?
Poo Boys: This is going way back, I think we recorded at Scream Studios in Croydon and had booked up two days recording for a 4 track demo and got to the studio at 9am or something and the guy doing the recording didn’t turn up until midday and was basically stoned the whole time. We were never happy with that recording cos it was way too clean sounding but it was our first proper attempt and was fun even though it was a bit doomed form the start. We also had an extra guitarist/vocalist called James in the band at the time who came up with our genius name. He used to just blag his way through everything and I think we had to cut some of his guitar out cos it was so messy even for us! He left a year or 2 later to concentrate on catching STD’s at university.
You sang back then about boozing days and then giving it up. Has the music world been good therapy in tackling these issues?
Granny: I’d say so, It’s given me more to sing about rather than just beer and tits like it used to be all the time! I’m a bit more proactive now that I don’t drink but I’m grumpy as fuck! I missed out on a lot when I was all drunk and dribbley but now I’m a more focused on friends and music ….and tits still! Big ones!
What other topics do the band most like to write and sing about?
Poo Boys: Usually it all just comes from random conversations we have – some of our chats are fucking weird! When we try to make songs about specific subjects they often go off on one in a totally different direction and end up being about spunk hats, arse bogeys and ugly babies!
Then you did the ‘Unemployment’ EP which came with a job (non)seeker dole card. How did the band come to be released by Pumpkin Records for that classic?
Poo Boys: Granny got to know Martin from Pumpkin after playing a gig with his band The Something Somethings. I think we were one of the early releases on pumpkin and also put tracks on their UK Punks Vol.1 and Sampler Vol.1 compilations. Hoota used to spend absolutely hours on end making those fucking Job Nonseeker CDs, all the printing, cutting, folding, it was a real pain in the arse but it was worth it cos it looked great. Most people commented more on the artwork than the actual music though! After spending ages making a hundred or so copies, we played a gig at the Grosvenor in Brixton and Hoota and Granny were shit faced and left a big bag full of copies in the pub never to be seen again! Fucking useless!
Your epic ‘Raw Poo Sings Christmas’ EP is also criminally overlooked, especially the Mamma Mia cover (way better than the Smokey Bastard one and they’re a great band too). Will you ever do it live?
Poo Boys: Yeah, we used to play Mamma Mia all the time years ago but have started playing it again a couple of times recently and it went down well so why not? We used to play a Christmas piss up show every year (usually at The Fox in Lewisham) doing various festive covers and they were always loads a fun and we thought we may as well record some of them.
You’ve played alongside some classic bands over the years like The Flying Medallions, ANL, The Warriors, Restarts, Wonk & Moosehawk to name a few. Describe some of the highlights for you and have you had any nightmare scenarios?
Poo Boys: Like we said earlier we have had many nightmares, more than we have time to mention. We have way less highlights though so we’ll concentrate on them.
One of our favourite early gigs was when we were playing a fundraiser at our school (unfortunately we spent all the money we raised on Newcastle brown ale.) We had a custard pie fight with the crowd during the set, but we used shaving foam instead of custard and it went it everyone’s eyes and was burning and itching! The headmaster wasn’t impressed and he escorted us off the premises.
We used to arrange some of our own gigs back in the day which were usually pretty good cos a lot of our mates would turn up and it would be a good chance to have a drink and a laugh with everyone. Usually at the Cartoon in Croydon or the Fox in Lewisham but when the headline band’s asked for their money we realised it wasn’t a good move to put our light-fingered mates on the door with the takings. Most of the bands money was usually spent on Bombay mix and Stella from the off licence opposite the venue! The Cartoon was a shit venue but still gave us some good memories. Think that was where Granny discovered you could get a bit high by sniffing a urinal cake after its been pissed on! Think the singer from The ‘Tone walked in and looked at Granny and said ‘Wow! Drugs in Croydon must be bad!’ and shook his head in disbelief! Christmas shows at the Fox were always great and usually got quite messey!
More recently playing the Bogus Gasman 20 year show at the birds nest not long back was really good, great vibe and lots of old faces turned up. Just generally getting to play gigs with other bands we liked and became mates with over the years like The Apostates, KADT, The Scaredy Cats and Wonk Unit were good times.
How is the punk circuit in South London these days? Recommend the best bands out there and what are your favourite venues?
Poo Boys: Its mad at the moment, everyone is in a band or 2. It’s great. I’m mean there are a load of proper shit ones but at least they are trying haha. Venues wise there will be a squat pop up in Depford every so often but they seem to be getting closed down quite quickly but other than that you have the Birds Nest and New Cross Inn which is now considered a proper London venue and gets some big names.
Your other band the hardcore outfit BKS played up Blackpool last year. Would there ever be the chance of Raw Poo at the festival, or are you too Raw for their taste? Would they be able to hack it?
Poo Boys: This year we got a firm NO! But we get that from most promoters ha! Give us DIY fests like AWOD and Fuck Redding any day. Was told that people do ask for us so if people want us and we are free, we will come …and empty the venue.
In 2011 you released a limited edition split ‘Bollox To The Wedding’ with Crimewave and Surgery Without Research. How did this collaboration come about?
Poo Boys: Hoota used to work with Andy from SWR a few years back. Andy suggested doing the split on his label (Research and Destroy) and as it happened to be around the time of Prince William and Kates wedding, it seemed like a good excuse to take the piss out of it. The photos we did for our part of the booklet came out pretty funny.
Your latest EP was the instantly legendary SUBZERO BALLBAG CD back in 2015. Describe a bit about it for the uninitiated and how have things developed musically over the years?
Poo Boys: We try to vary our songs a bit more and keep it interesting with different rhythms. We are all better ‘musicians’ than we were 20 years ago and the music does show that, even if it still sounds like shouty noise to the untrained ear. ‘Ballbag’ came out pretty good, especially considering we did most of it in under a day. The tunes are good too, funny, a bit quirky in places and there’s even a couple of cheesy solos with a bit of a mixture of styles going on. Recording the title track was well funny, Granny couldn’t keep a straight face and believe it or not it actually took several takes to err… get it ‘right’. We’d say over the years our music has become slightly less shit, which I suppose you can call some form of development.
Are there any other artists you would you love to play with?
Poo Boys: If you could wave a magic wand, there are hundreds. Melt Banana would be good, we all love them.
Do you have concrete future touring and recording plans once this pandemic dies down?
Poo Boys: We definitely are going to record soon, we have loads of songs we need to get down before we get even older. Was planning on recording a new 7 or 8 track EP ‘Purple Protein Maraca’ (working title) as we speak, but corona virus put a halt to that (well that’s our excuse, we would never have got round to it anyway). And then hopefully find the time to play a bit more, but yeah… new toxic tit attack music coming your way all you cats and kittens at some point this year! Or maybe next year if we are all still in lockdown!
If Wonkfest does go ahead this year, what can the public expect from your long-awaited performance?
Poo Boys: Sadly it’s been cancelled, but when we play you can always expect the usual mixture of professionalism and daft mayhem:
Expect Mooty Licious to be wearing an old man jumper.
Depending on what time we play you can usually expect Hoota and Hippy to be reasonably pissed.
And expect some nastiness from Granny…like jizz, that’s pretty nasty.
Any words of wisdom to finish off?
MOOTY LICIOUS: The people who mind don’t matter and the people who matter don’t mind. Also if anyone offers you a cake decorated with salt-flavoured icing on top, say no thank you.
HOOTA: PURPLE PROTEIN MARACA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GRANNY: Never trust anything that isn’t strangely brown.
HIPPY: Candy is Dandy but Sex Won’t Rot Your Teeth (but maybe your cock). Peace out!