The Velcro Teddybears
Outside, it’s raining. Inside, acoustic guitars intermingle with the sound of brews being stirred and empty Stella cans being discarded; it’s a stripped back blend of greyness and grit that provides the perfect setting for creating some good old northern rock ‘n’ roll.
That’s exactly what you get with The Velcro Teddybears. Their no frills, no gimmicks approach to band-life relies purely on their classic sound to do all the attention grabbing. It’s a sound that has seen them crowned Yorkshire Unplugged Best Band, with jocular frontman Chaddy ensuring they certainly don’t lack in personality. Bassist Josh possesses an aura of effortless cool which makes him the most likely rockstar in the room, whilst the introspective Griff is a former pharmaceutical scientist and also manages The Royal Standard pub. All that’s left is the “laziest drummer in the world,” although to be fair to Cajon player Mike, he couldn’t get a word in edgeways to stick up for himself.
You have a rather unique name – where did that come from?
Chaddy: Long periods of inebriation! What it is, when you’re younger you have a comfort blanket, or a soft toy or something. But then as you get older you change and age dictates you have to get rid of that – so instead you attach to yourself your own comforts – phones and fashion etc, and they’re like your Velcro Teddybears, your adult comfort blankets. So we are attached to you!
Josh: He thought of that afterwards.
How did the band come together?
C: Me and Griff played together for about a year writing songs, then we pinched Josh out of another band who weren’t very good – we kidnapped Mike, took him to Milton Keynes and he hasn’t left since…
Griff: He’s got Stockholm Syndrome.
What are you playing for us today?
C: The first one is ‘Lady off London Road’. It’s about a crazy Jamaican woman who’s always sat outside her house on London Road – she smiles and waves to everyone, she’s an absolute character.
How about the other songs?
C: They’re two new songs – one’s called ‘Life on Gas’, because in Barnsley, where we’re from, ‘gassing’ is like drinking, so we’ve wrote a song about… not being sober most of the time. And ‘Bottled in Blues’, about being trapped at the bottom of a whisky bottle…
J: … It’s about Mike being a p*ssy with a girl.
How did you feel about winning Yorkshire Unplugged?
C: It was smashing! The fact it was audience voted was a nice affirmation that people like what we do.
Were you always going to be an acoustic act?
C: Well we had to fit in the back of a Corsa, so we could never have amps.
Do you have any plans to record soon?
J: Yes, part of our Yorkshire Unplugged prize was a thousand pounds worth of studio time with Dan Worrall in August – we’re hoping to squeeze about four albums out of that.
Will that be resulting in an EP in the near future then?
C: We’ll hopefully manage an album. We’ve plenty of songs we’re just in the process of sorting out which ones we want to put out first.
Will you still be finding the time to play live?
C: We’re playing Shindig Festival, which is 12th-14th of August. We’re sharing the stage with Ocean Colour Scene. And every Thursday we hold an acoustic open-mic night (‘The Velcro Teddybear’s Acoustic Picnic’) down at The Royal Standard pub.