Teenage Dirtbag stars Wheatus return to The Horn in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 13:45 15 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:45 15 May 2017

Wheatus are coming to The Horn in St Albans [Picture: Meg Skaff]

Wheatus are coming to The Horn in St Albans [Picture: Meg Skaff]

Archant

Those Teenage Dirtbags Wheatus are returning to St Albans for an intimate gig later this month.

The American rockers will play The Horn on Sunday, May 28.

A spokesman for the Victoria Street music venue said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome Wheatus back to The Horn for what is by far the smallest venue you will now see them in.”

Tickets for the gig are on sale now, priced £17.50 in advance.

A statement on The Horn’s website states: “Tickets may be available on the door but we strongly advise you purchase them in advance to avoid disappointment.”

Wheatus frontman Brendan B Brown [Picture: Jane Greenwood]Wheatus frontman Brendan B Brown [Picture: Jane Greenwood]

Tickets will cost £20 on the door.

• To book tickets, visit www.thehorn.co.uk

It’s hard to believe Wheatus’ self-titled debut album is 17 years old this year.

Like so many worldwide hits before and since, Teenage Dirtbag, the New York band’s ode-to-adolescence and inescapable breakthrough, seems timeless.

It’s certainly reached subsequent generations to the one that moshed to it first time around.

“That’s probably the most astonished I’ve ever been on-stage, when those kids sang back to us every night,” says the band’s Brendan B Brown.

He’s referring to his experience on tour with Busted last year, when those old enough to remember the early Noughties sang away with much newer fans.

Wheatus are best know for top 10 hits Teenage Dirtbag and a cover of Erasure's A Little Respect [Picture: Meg Skaff]Wheatus are best know for top 10 hits Teenage Dirtbag and a cover of Erasure's A Little Respect [Picture: Meg Skaff]

Regardless of age, they all knew Teenage Dirtbag.

Brendan said: “I thought it would be good, but I wasn’t prepared for the crazy reception we got. It was extraordinary for a support act to get that kind of love.”

As for the 17 years since the debut album’s release, for Brendan, it seems longer. But simultaneously, not that long ago.

“I keep finding things from that crazy time. I’ve kept a lot of the first album paraphernalia and some of it is as it was.

Wheatus will play The Horn in St Albans [Picture: Meg Skaff]Wheatus will play The Horn in St Albans [Picture: Meg Skaff]

“The reaction to that record has remained pretty fresh, which is both odd and wonderful.”

Now, after spending nine weeks in a van touring the US, Wheatus are playing venues across the UK and Ireland for another tour.

As in more recent years, which have included among other things, sales of equipment on eBay, it’s taken some creative funding to get the show on the road, but it’s a reality of the modern music industry.

The Wheatus frontman said: “I’ve only ever felt the need to plan for the worst. Fortunately, we never got used to having money.

“Our first album was made on a shoestring, and so it goes. We entered the music industry as the money exited.

“Perhaps some new efficiencies will come and make things easier, but, with few exceptions, I think what happened to jazz music has happened to the rest of music – only the people who love it to death can stay in the game.”

There were a couple of mistakes made along the way, such as selling the beautiful, rare snare drum that was used during the recording of Teenage Dirtbag, but for now, it’s really the only way to make Wheatus work – to liquidate and start over with each touring and recording.

Just don’t ever expect to see Brendan’s beloved Martin acoustic on eBay. That, and a handful of other secret talismans, is on a special list of never-sells.

The biggest upside of self-funding in this way is that the days of being ripped off are over.

“That happened to us a few times with third parties involved. And you also wind up learning how to fix your own engine, so to speak. You get to see how the sausage gets made, what’s needed and what’s not.”

Brendan, always singular in his vision, is now also the only original member of the line-up remaining.

It’s nothing new, he says, but also couldn’t be happier with the current situation.

“I spent quite a few years writing and demoing the first album by myself. When I consider the line-up changes over the years it’s 98 per cent positive memories.

“There was only ever one true falling out. Currently, from a musical point of view, we’re greasier with Leo Freire and Matthew T Milligan as the rhythm section than we’ve ever been.”

• For more on the band, visit https://www.wheatus.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/wheatus/

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