INTERVIEW: Dexy & The Hand Me Downs


London based ‘country punk’ four piece Dexy & The Hand Me Downs are led by 28 year old Dexy, progressing initially from an Eliot Smith inspired solo project into a fully fledged band evolving sonically into a full on ‘country punk’ rattle. Their sound is still infused with Dexy’s intensely personal lyrics and raw heart on his sleeve delivery but now it’s noiser and more vital. Bittersweet tracks like ’20 Years of Dischord’, ‘Fool for the Future’ and ‘Tear It Down’ bleed with a siezing of the moment set to some stompingly whiskey-soaked tunes, that demand to be heard. This Friday Dexy & The Hand Me Downs play the 100 club in London, they plan a UK tour for March and hope that their record will eventually see the light of day!

How are you?!
Cold, achy and very very well.

Who are Dexy & The Hand Me Downs?

We’re a country punk band from London. I’m Dexy and I sing and play guitar, Jamie plays guitar, Andy plays the drums and Stax plays bass.


When did this current line up of the band emerge?

Well The Hand Me Downs were originally an idea I’d had just as a way of making my songs noisier. I never really thought I’d get a full time line up so I was just happy borrowing musicians from friends bands. But as soon as Jamie came along and pushed me as a writer and musician I knew I had to find other guys that’d do the same. We’ve definitely got that now with Stax and Andy in the band too, we really kick the shit out of each and every idea that comes along and everyone plays with a fearlessness that can only come from making the music that you know you need to make.

You’ve referred to your sound as country punk how has it evolved over time?

Well there seems to be this tendancy with a lot of British artists to think that country music is just about beards and lumberjack shirts and writing a hundred songs about some girl who left you when you were 16. There’s so much intensity and sheer brutality in great country music that to me really puts it next to punk rock and gets my heart pounding in the same way. I love bands that can soundtrack both getting your heart or your nose broken! Just seemed natural that it’s where we found ourselves musically…
Can you name five artists that have informed you most as a band?
Just five will be tough, we devour as much music as we can but the stuff we listened to most when writing this latest bunch of songs was Alex Chilton, Gun Club, George Jones, The Stooges and The Replacements
Songwriting wise are the lyrics intensely personal or narratives or a mixture of the two?

I don’t really set out with the notion of “Right, I shall write a love song” or “Lets do a big radio hit” cos then it’s not natural. I tend to let whatever wants to fall out fall out and if the words feel right to sing then they’re the right words. Then I’ll look back at them and see what I’ve written about. Sometimes I’ve got no idea where they’ve come from though – we’ve got a song called Summer Heist that I just couldn’t fathom. Then one day whilst singing it in rehearsal it dawned on me that it seemed to be about a disillusioned bear pulling a bank job. Which as you can imagine was a surprise.
Which of your songs are you most happy with so far?
The Lonesome Death Of The One-Man Cabaret Act, Honesty Is Comedy, Broken Fixtures and Your Fucking Move are all songs I’d stand and sing if I only had 15mins left to live.

I note you haven’t rushed into releasing an album or signing to a label.Does your prior experiences in music influence that or is it just a case of waiting for the right time and opportunity?

I just don’t see the point in signing with someone for the sake of it. I’d rather be penniless and in control of what we do than have a deal with someone completely inept and we’ve come across our fair share of people that struggle to even tie their boots let alone put together a record release. We want our music to be heard by as many people as possible and when we find the right people that we trust to do that then we’ll make a move. Until then we’ll do it ourselves. I think bands are now seeing that it’s really not that hard.

Fans will receive a goody bag for your 100club show is it important to you to make your peformances special& memorable?
Yeah definitely. To me a live gig is a show, not a recital. You don’t just sling a bunch of songs in any old order and play them, you need to take people somewhere. If you made a movie you wouldn’t throw the scenes in any old order and think it didn’t matter so that’s what a gig is to me. Also it’s our last show of the year and our fans have been amazing so we wanted to give them a Christmas present! The party bags have got amongst other things a CD that we’ll never be releasing anywhere else.

You have a track on an alcopop compilation next year how did that come about?

The Alcopop folks are some of my favourite folks out there. Jack has signed some of my favourite artists around at the moment, like Stagecoach, Jumping Ships and Katie Malco and I just really like the way the label works. We’ve played lots of shows with Alcopop bands and woken up with many a hangover as a result. It was a bit special to be asked to contribute a track so we’re looking forward to it. The record should be out in the spring.

What are your future plans ?Do you plan to tour the UK anytime soon??
We’re back in the studio in January to do some more work on the record, then we’re touring the UK in March. We have loads of big plans and ideas but we don’t want to spoil the surprise just yet!


Dexy & The Hand Me Downs Headline London 100 Club This Friday


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