The Dead 60s: fun without the Beatles

Its not everyday you hear Liverpudlians shouting “Down with the Beatles!”, but the Dead 60s are not an everyday band. Lynette Alcock speaks to Charlie Turner about the alternative soundtrack to Mersey life.

Take the spooky synths of the Specials, add some Clash-esque reggae-style guitar and mix in a bit of 21st century bad-lad Asbo attitude and voila! The Dead 60s.

A Liverpool four-piece with all the front of Hard-Fi and a sound that only teenagers who have spent too long singing and playing air guitar in their bedrooms mimicking Joe Strummer and Terry Hall could produce.

But the Dead 60s are not proud. In fact, according to bass-player Charlie Turner, the band actually like being compared to other bands… as long as they are bands they like that is.

However, the group are sick of hearing from inside their home town “wow, that's dead 60s like” (hence the name) and from outside their hometown: “Wow! Liverpool! The home of the Beatles.”

Now, fuelled by years of aversion therapy to the fab four, living round the corner from Penny Lane and with Beatles-mad parents, the Dead 60s are off on a new crusade, to tell the alternative story of Liverpool, or so they say.

“We are sick of the Beatles' Liverpool associations,” says Charlie.

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“We are not posh. We are more about telling the story from the back streets. It's an alternative soundtrack to Liverpool,” he offers after a moment's thought.

“I mean, we like the Beatles, but there is only so much you can take. I live right by Penny Lane and we have all been force-fed it for years by our parents. And everyone you meet outside of Liverpool always always says 'home of the Beatles'.”

“There have been a lot of bands from Liverpool since the Beatles who have taken their inspiration from them, but we are interested in punk, funk, ska and dub,” he says.

In fact, the only similarity you can really draw between the two bands is they both started their careers with two-minute belters.

Lyrically, the Dead 60s are all about life around them, a country where city centres have become boozy, no-go zones after dark and where new towns breed discontent.

Musically the band are bold and upbeat like many reggae-influenced guitar bands, much like early Madness.

“We were big punk fans when we were younger,” says Charlie. “We liked the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Stranglers, then we got into all that ska and dub stuff.

“We're not bothered if people compare us to bands, we just like good music and we are obviously influenced by good bands.

“Now it's kind of like rediscovery for the younger generation who might hear us and then go and buy a Clash album, it's quite nice really.”

After a year of extensive touring in the UK, Europe, America and Japan, under the capable wings of Morrissey, the Bravery and Garbage, the Liverpool lads are now going it alone on the road with their new self-titled album.

“We're looking forward to it,” says Charlie. “A lot of people have waited a long time for the album, so it's going to be nice to do our third UK tour with people actually being able to sing along,” he says.

t The Dead 60s play the Waterfront, Norwich, on Tuesday, December 6. Doors 7.30pm Tickets: returns only, call 01603 508050.

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