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A Chat With That Cat (Eric Baconstrip) From King Salami & The Cumberland Three

  • Written by  Debbie Sheringham

I caught up with drummer Eric Baconstrip (good grief!), from sizzling sausage 'n' roll garage goons King Salami & The Cumberland Three. Through the wonders of modern technology I ask such deep and meaningful questions such as 'has it really all gone a bit chicken oriental since last years appearance on BBC4's 'UK's Best Part-Time Band?'. We also take a wee trip down memory lane to the best garage club ever, and generally talk shop.

Debbie: Earth calling Eric ...

Eric: Debbie!! I just arrived I’m all ears or eyes.

D: You've been together as a band for 10 years, is that right? How did you meet and what have been the biggest changes over the years?

E: Yep we started in 2006, with this same line-up. I was in a punk rock band with Kamikaze UT the bass player before that, called CHINESE LUNGS, and when our singer Jasper left to go to live in Berlin to do a band with King Khan (the Black Jaspers), we thought "let's do a new band, some sixties garage Back from the Grave style!". My flatmate at the time T-Bone Sanchez said he played guitar so we went jamming on some old covers, and that's how it started.

D: Okay, so were you into garage beforehand, or was that a new discovery for you?

E: We had a few songs going and at some point we needed a singer, and I thought about this crazy guy that can dance great and dresses like Huggy Bear in Starsky & Hutch, I knew him from the Wild Weekend festival, so I thought let's try him, if he can sing a little bit that could work. We all always liked all sorts of music, but mainly punk! Sixties punk, seventies punk!

D: Aha! I was going to ask if you were a Frat Shack regular? 

E: Ha ha! Debbie those were the days! I moved to London in '96, and I met Josh & Babz straight away, and started playing in a band with Josh, so we played a few Frat Shack parties ...

D: Interesting! What was the band called? I probably saw you play ...

E: Josh & Babz, who were doing the Frat Shack...as you know. It was a big mess, called first the Potato Heads, and later the Sidekicks. We even played in Scotland once. Drove all the way from London for one only gig in Aberdeen and back! 

D: Oh my giddy goodness!

E: That's us in Aberdeen.. 

D: So how do you feel the 'scene' is faring these days? After the Frat Shack / Wild Weekend stopped there seemed to be a lull. 

E: From my point of view, here in North London, I think things got quiet after the Frat Shack, but recently, since the last few years it looks like there are many more interesting bands and more venues/clubs.

D: Agreed. Dirty Water Records have certainly rocketed.

D: How do you feel the reaction has been from your regular fan base since your appearance on TV (which I have to admit I haven't seen)?

E: Since the TV show, things have changed! My local fishmonger recognised me after seeing the show, he didn't know I was in the band, which he loved, so now I got free fish every now & then!

D: Really? 

E: Really!!

D: Ha-ha!

E: And it's great fish! And I love fish, so that's all good! And also, we have a few more people at the shows, but that is secondary.

D: Do you find that you're open to a wider audience now that you have an agent?

E: Oh, you know our secrets! This mysterious agent offered us to book a few UK shows after he saw the TV show. We never used anyone before, and we thought we would give it a go and see how it goes. So the tour started at the beginning of March and ends the 1st of April.

D: I did notice that the tour was mainly weekend dates.

E: And our problem is that we all have full time jobs, and only a few weekends available for gigs each month, and we have lots of offers in Europe, like Spain, Italy etc. so we are more tempted to take those ... no offence to the lovely UK people.

D: Which festivals  are you playing this year?

E: We have been booked for a few already. In the UK, I think only one so far, the Red Rooster festival, in Euston Hall. We have some in Canada in June,

one in Croatia end of June, the great Sjock festival in Belgium in July ... 

D: Excellent, so is it safe to say that this has been your busiest year?

E: ... A few Spanish festivals in the July & August, and some in Switzerland and Portugal.

D: Okay, you're just showing off now! 

E: Ha ha ha!!! Actually it’s not really different this year, we are very lucky because we have been busy like that for years.

D: Are these all 'garage' type festivals?

E: Most of them, but not only. Some are eclectic festivals, which we really enjoy as opposed to play with similar type of bands all the time.

D: Yes, it must be a breath of fresh air I imagine!

E: We love garage festivals but it’s great to see something else

D: Yes exactly. So ... anything on the horizon recording wise?

E: We just finished a new album!  

D: Excellent. Is that on Dirty Water Records?

E: Yes, Dirty Water for Europe, Off The Hip in Australia, and Disk Union in Japan, and we started writing a few songs for the next album. But we will release an EP with Folc Records soon. Our new album is called Goin' Back To Wurstville, recorded at Gizzard studios in East London, produced by us and Ed Deegan, Gizzard's owner (and Holly Golightly's guitar player). Recorded and mixed over 4 weekends in mid 2016, mastered by Mike Mariconda (Crypt Records producer).

D: Impressive. Okay, final question, just for fun, if you could be in any band, past or present, who would it be?

E: That's a hard one Debbie, I would have liked to play in the Nipple Erectors back in the days and many other bands I guess.

D: As a drummer? or do you play other instruments?

E: In The Kids (Belgian band), in The Sonics, DMZ ... I can only (hardly) play drums.

D: Well who's being modest!

E: Peter Greenberg (The Lyres) plays on one song on our new album! The legend!!

D: Aah, doesn't he play with Barrence Whitfield these days?

E: Yep, that's him. I would have liked to play in the Lyres too then and The Fleshtones back in the day and The Cramps and 2 million times more ... but I'll stop here. Also Barrence Whitfield is a huge influence on us. I love the 1st two albums, and I wish I could have seen them at that time. 

Merci, arigatou and huge thanks to Eric for taking the time out to chat with us. You can catch King Salami And The Cumberland Three tonight at the Think Tank in Newcastle, details here, supported by the no-less-than-legendary Los Coyote Men! An after sausage party will also take place just along the road, with (on a very tight) budget rockers The Moron-O-Phonics, high-class lo-fi girls in the garage Thee Girl Fridays and surfin' birds from outer-space (via Japan) The X Ray Cat Trio. Music 'till 3am, spun by the infamous Jim Spence. Details here.    

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