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THE YOUNG ONES
(Interview by Gareth Postans aka Girth, introduction by Mano)

When you already have a reunion under your belt, it's easy to conclude that you're not that young anymore. Agewise that is, because the lads of The Young Ones are still young hearted, just with a shitton of experience this time around - and it shows! Because especially the band's last two releases, "Greatest Hits Vol. II" and "Cream Of The Crop" simply rip! And with a new release just around the corner it was time for a little chat with Merijn, thanks to Gareth!

First of all, how did you big bunch of bastards form? What's the story?
Elmer and Marlon founded the band when they were around 13/14 years old and met at a Close Combat rehearsal. Elmer and Larn, the original bass-player, both had older brothers in Maastricht Oi! band Close Combat so they more or less grew up with Oi! music. They knew Marlon through MVV matches and original drummer Jasper lived around the corner from Elmer. That’s how the original line-up got started.

Who are your influences? Any unusual ones? What's your favourite Culture Club song?
Well, originally our influences were only Cockney Rejects, the 4 Skins, The Ejected, The Business. You know the list. And more contemporary Hard Skin. Lately we are listening a lot to The Chisel, Chubby and the Gang, Crown Court, Rixe, Brutal Bravo, Noi!se and The New York Hounds so maybe you will hear a little bit of that in the new record.

 

We decided unanimously “Do you really want to hurt me” as our favorite Culture Club song, but we’re more into Wham!

You're well known for your live performances - any faves? How much are you missing playing live?
We have a lot of favorite shows. Oi! This is Tegelen is definitely in the top. Also Beach, Beer and Chaos in Badelona. Our shows at Endless Summer and the show we did at club Famu in Prague are also among our best memories. Not to forget to mention our support show with Perkele at Conne Island!

 

We miss playing a fucking lot!!! Our previous album was released during the first lockdown and all the cool promotional shows we had planned were cancelled. It sucks big time not being able to support a new release by playing the songs live!

How much does your love of football tie into your love of music or do you all like cricket or something weird now?
The love of football is present in the general atmosphere of the songs with their anthemic qualities. The vibe of us vs. them, the love for our city/region and the sense of chauvinism that comes with that love. Not everyone in the band is a huge football fan and the part we like most about it is the naughtiness surrounding it. Hahaha. But don’t worry, we don’t give a fuck about any other sports.

Can you please tell us what happened to 'Tony the Top Geezer' please? How's he finding lockdown life?
Tony the Top Geezer is unaffected by petty things like lockdowns, restrictions, curfews or actually anything men in suits write down on paper and call “law”. He is above those things.
 

You're from Maastricht (Limburg region) - any recommended bands from that area? How's your beef with your Belgian cousins?
Nope, nothing going on here. There is absolutely no scene and no interesting bands. The only cool band from the Limburg region is an old school hardcore band called Hometown Crew. They kick ass. But they’re from the north of Limburg which isn’t really Limburg so, that doesn’t count. Just like Evil Conduct.

 

Also in Belgium there isn’t anyone around to have a beef with. And usually we don’t do beefs. We try to support each other, not cause bullshit beefs. Unless the people are total assholes, but we are nice guys and we usually get along with everyone.

You're known for your love of 'Hard Skin'. Are you surprised so many people dislike this band?
Not really. It is not a secret that the guys in Hard Skin also like a lot of other kinds of music and make bit of fun of the Oi! Scene in some of their songs. Also they are not a bunch of heavily tattooed, badass skinheads, but just a bunch of blokes playing Oi! Music. To us, music is what matters, not the way you look or how “dedicated” you are by listening to nothing but aggressive Oi! Core Punk from morning ‘till night. Fuck that. We like all kinds of music, but we love playing Oi!, just like Hard Skin.

I heard you had a really dangerous run in with the infamous 'Swansea Youth Crew' - what happened there?
That was a misunderstanding. We were hanging out in the McDonald’s playground and Marlon wanted to go down the slide. He didn’t see that there was a waiting line occupied by what appeared to be members of the SYW. So they accused him of skipping the queue. Some names were called, insults hurled, but then our parents stepped in and made every one say “sorry” and shake hands. After that we had a jolly good time together and ate lots of ice cream.

I hear you have a new line-up and some sort of new record coming out - what's all that about? When is it available?
We have a new drummer (once again). The rest of the line-up is still the same since we reformed five years ago. Lenno is the new kid behind the drumkit and a welcome addition to the band. He is young and hungry and (still) thinks we could become bonafide rockstars. We just watch his youthful naivety and wait until he realizes this is not going to happen and become a cynical cunt like the rest of us. It’s amusing to see someone who has not yet had all his hopes and dreams kicked into a pile of shit.


Our new full length record will be released this summer by our dear friends at Contra records and LSM Vinyl once again. The lockdowns have given Elmer enough spare time to write nine new kickass songs and we recorded a version of one of our favorite classics from the 80-ies. It will be a classic TYO record, but maybe with a bit more aggro and a bit faster at times. 

 

I know you've only played Newcastle Under Lyme in the UK - how was that? Brexit is a bit of a shitter (plus Covid) - any plans to come back to the UK?
Newcastle Under Lyme was great! It was a cool show and we got to hang out with the cool guys in Midnight Tattoo. Our flight back was cancelled two days in a row, because of bad weather so we got to spend two extra nights in Manchester which resulted in a song on our new album called Wetherspoons Warrior. The title is pretty self-explanatory I think.
We were supposed to play at Forever Young Fest, but it was cancelled because of Covid. We hope to be able to go back as soon as possible!

Do you have any beef with any bands/singers? I heard Funeral Dress from Belgium think you're a bunch of clogg wearing, tulip lickers - is this true?

It is true that we are clogg-wearing tulip lockers so I don’t see why that would be offending to us. We don’t do beefs, we are not 16 years old anymore.

I know Lando was in a couple of other bands - any other side projects the band have on the go?
Except for Marlon, all of us have been in shitloads of other bands. At the moment only our drummer Lenno is still active in two other bands I think. Lando and I are still messing around with Sparrow Falls but it’s very, very low key.

Will Close Combat ever come back?
No idea. They split up and started over a few times before. So who knows what will happen in the future.

How you been coping with lockdown? Masturbation and daytime tv?

Most of us have just continued working, albeit more from home in Marlon and Lando’s case. We just hang around each other’s houses more instead of in the pub, but there wasn’t a huge difference apart from not being able to rehearse and play shows. I just used the time to finish my tattoo shop at home and work in and around my house on projects that would have taken years to finish if I had kept on working so it was actually quite good.

Any final words?
Thanks for the interview and stay tuned for our upcoming release Stanley Boulevard on Contra Records and LSM Vinyl sometime early this summer.