Five Minutes with The Rifles

HOLLY STEVENSON has a quickie with Jam-lovers (of the Paul Weller variety), THE RIFLES.

Cambridge Christmas fashion groupies Holly Stevenson interviews mafia Music Paul weller the rifles

The Rifles were formed on the basis of a single gig: Oasis at Knebworth in 2003. They seem to have taken a few lessons from the Gallagher brothers; not least a cocksure swagger and a slight sexual obsession with Paul Weller. Now having just released their third album, The Freedom Run, the boys from Chingford may have the songs to match their bluster. However, they do seem to be suspicious of me. First they cancelled their phone interview with me; then when I sent them over questions, three barely literate answers came back. I think their press agents may have had to chain them down the second time around. And now they claim that they prefer to ‘watch Friends’ instead of get off with groupies. I know I’m from Cambridge, boys, but I’m not as thick as all that.

Holly Stevenson: Surely you’ve had a better gig experience since Knebworth 2003?

Joel Stoker: Well, we’ve had gig experiences of our own. When we saw them we hadn’t even played a gig before.

Luke Crowther: Yeah, we’ve had some really good experiences live – Paul Weller coming on and playing one of our songs and then playing Eton Rifles for the first time in twenty years – that was a big moment.

HS: Googling your band name, I get a lot of pages about the British Army. Why did you call yourself the Rifles and cause yourself a lot of Google-related ambiguity?

JS: I don’t even know if Google was about when we come up with the name. We just liked the sound of it – we just thought it sounded good.

HS: You hail from Chingford, home of, amongst other people, David Beckham and Blazin’ Squad. What does this tell you about the place?

Dean Mumford: We’re good at rapping and football.

HS: Paul Weller also decked you out in his new clothing range, ‘Pretty Green’. Are you purists when it comes to music, or can fashion play a part?

DM: I suppose so, it’s like anything. When you’re on stage and stuff, you’re in people’s eye – better to look good than look like a tramp.


Tangled Up in Love

HS: Perhaps the most notorious story around about you is that you had to cut the Italy leg of your tour short because you got into trouble with the Mafia. What actually happened?

JS: That was pretty weird. The promoter who was out there had it in his head that one of the band members was trying to put it on his wife and he went berserk at everyone. I don’t know if he was a member of the Mafia – I’d like to think he was. He was just a bit of a weird character really. We didn’t really stick around for too long after that to find out. The last night we played the gig and quickly went home.

HS: You seem to have had so much experience with groupies you wrote a song about them, She’s Got Standards. Any experiences you would care to tell us about?

(laughs from the band)

DM: I couldn’t honestly tell you. We’re not really into groupies – we’re quite polite. We just go home and watch Friends.

HS: The new album, Freedom Run, is the first one with the fresh line-up. Is the sound still recognizably The Rifles’?

JS:  The style of the new songs are different anyway regardless of the line-up – the old stuff sounds like The Rifles because obviously it is – but the style of the new songs is different.

HS: Are you looking forward to playing in Cambridge?

LC: Yeah, it’s the first one.

Kenton Shinn: They’ve got the best groupies.

HS: What next for the Rifles?

LC: Christmas. Sleep. Oh and the tour – we’ve got to do that little thing.

The Rifles play the Junction on the 26th October. Visit The Junction for tickets