A campus security guard has got a band and they’re playing at The Waterfront

They even write songs about UEA

You might be familiar seeing Davey Whales around campus or at the LCR – he’s one of our security guards, so looking after us is his job. 

What you might not know however is that he’s in a band called Mammal Not Fish – and they’ve written a song about UEA.

The band’s four members are Davey Whales, 40, lead vocalist and rhythm guitar; Benji Parker, 25, bass guitar and backing vocals, James ‘Peach’ Maas, 22, lead guitar andJoe Greenacre, 23, drums.

Their YouTube page describe their genre as “Indie Rock with undertones of Funk and Reggae”.


We sat down to have a chat with the band and find out about their first EP.

Hi guys. What’s it like working at UEA but being in a band as well? Does it influence the stuff you create?

Davey: I get my influences from all aspects of life and yes, the UEA does influence my songwriting to a degree – I love working at the UEA, the staff and students are great and I’m proud to say that I work here.

I work a shift pattern so sometimes it is hard to fit in gigs and rehearsals as I often work weekends and nights but we manage to do it. We are dedicated and love music, so it’s amazing to do something we love when we can.

James (aka ‘Peach’): I’m a UEA Business Management graduate and work at UEA’s Music Centre. Music is a big part of my life and in my time as a student (2011-2014) picked up quite a few influences and developed my musical taste and experiences in attending quite a few gigs at The LCR!

Do you think students will relate to your music?

Davey: Yes, I think they will. There are a couple of tracks on the EP – “Fake Tan” and also “Wake up” – which are based on experiences I had, which I’m sure students will definitely be able to relate to and have more than likely experienced themselves.

Peach:  UEA Students might appreciate the Prince of Wales Road link with Fake Tan and the story behind it by listening to the lyrics.

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Will your music get played in the LCR?

Davey: I hope so! I’m gonna give a copy to the LCR and you never know – you could be dancing to our tunes on a Tuesday and a Saturday night. We are of course already playing live at the Waterfront on the 3rd June and tickets are available at the UEA Box Office. And you never know, in the future you may be one of the 2,000 people hopefully watching us at a future sell-out LCR gig.

Can you explain what your first EP “Dreaming of the Sea” is about?

Davey: Before I started at the UEA I worked for a company which was very sales based and target driven. I was chained to facts and figures and how much stuff we could sell – budgets set by people who lived by the code of buzzwords such as “at the end of the day” and “going forward” and “sales projections” – it all seemed like a false reality.

I used to sit in meetings listening to the same drivel being churned out day after day. I used to dream about giving it all up and moving to the coast and spending my days surfing and seeing the real world and appreciating what is out there – that is Dreaming of the Sea! I do give a little nod to the UEA in the first verse though with a reference to the “concrete jungle”. The EP has been released as a digital download and will also be available as a CD – check our website for tickets and links to the single and lots of other cool stuff.

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How did you meet?

Davey: We’ve been together since September last year as a band but have all known each other for a number of years on the local music scene and have gigged at many events in different bands and as solo artists, but we only formed over a beer at a local music festival, Ferryfest. I wanted to record my songs as an EP and I enlisted Benji, Joe and James. Mammal Not Fish was born on a September morning in a field at the Reedham Ferry at Ferryfest.

What’s the weirdest gig you’ve ever played?

Davey:  I got asked to play a birthday party once – when I turned up it was for a 6-year-old girl and her friends! I should have checked that detail before I showed up! My songs are not really relatable to children so I had to play Counting Stars and Frozen a few times!

James: I’ve gigged around the region in various bands over the last few years. Not technically weird but it was a great laugh was completing 24 gigs in 24 hours for charity around West Norfolk – some of the 24 were gigs in McDonald’s, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, King’s Lynn Police Station and a kebab shop!

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What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen as a security guard? 

Davey: Every LCR night seems to bring some weird and wonderful costumes but the best I ever saw was a group of Smurfs. They must have spent ages painting themselves and it was hilarious watching them walk on the walkway as it was raining, leaving a trail of blue paint in their wake. It’s great when students make an effort. My favourite is Pimp My Barrow – so much time and effort is put in.

Do you have many creepy fans?

Davey:  We have a few people who follow us and I personally have had a few weirdos at gigs. I had a guy once who decided he wanted to dance with me so got behind me and started grinding up against me mid song – I went with it. To be fair, I was singing “Call Me Maybe” at the time.

Benji: Not yet, although I’m open to anything!

At what point would you stop working for security and start doing this full time?

Davey: The day you see us being supported by Ed Sheeran.

Benji: When you see us playing Glastonbury!

You can listen to Mammal Not Fish’s EP here.