The Chisel have been making waves in the UK and all around the world with their no nonsense punk rock since their inception. The band’s 2021 debut album “Retaliation” is a non-stop riot of punk, hardcore and Oi! influences and the band’s forthcoming follow up is highly anticipated. In the wait for the new record, The Chisel have just brought out a cover of Elton Johns “Saturday Nights Alright (For Fighting)”, done in their own inimitable style and features a brilliant video to boot. Earlier this year The Chisel released the first single for their new album in “Cry Your Eyes Out” (again with another cracking video) and both are perfect examples of how good a band The Chisel are. In Effect’s Gavin Brown had the pleasure of catching up with The Chisel's vocalist Cal to hear all about the bands recent tour of the U.S, their appearance at the UK's Rebellion Festival, the next album and all manner of The Chisel related topics in a very entertaining interview that took place in August. Lead photo by: Adam Degros. Graphics by: Paul Turano.
IE: The Chisel have just finished a US tour. How did it go and what were the highlights?
Cal: I'd say going to Vegas and playing Punk Rock Bowling was definitely the highlight, Vegas is another world when compared to England and I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be the way it was. Punk Rock Bowling was unreal, got really looked after and got to play with some of my favourite bands. What's not to love? In general the best thing about America was the food, as we started to get into Texas onwards we were eating BBQ every night and it was fucking amazing.
IE: You played a few dates on the tour with GBH. How was it sharing a stage with a legendary band like them?
Cal: It was nothing short of amazing… getting to see them smash it out every night then drink frozen margaritas with them before and after each show was quite surreal. Just normal geezers and a proper laugh, they couldn’t have made us more welcome, think we've made some friends for life.
IE: How was the experience of playing the Punk Rock Bowling event in Las Vegas that you mentioned, and playing on the same day as The Exploited and Agnostic Front to boot?
Cal: As I said, it was just amazing, everyone was proper welcoming and to share the stage with both those bands was perfect. It was an amazing experience and I hope we get to go back.
IE: Are there many similarities between Vegas and your Blackpool hometown and what are the main ones you noticed?
Cal: Even though Blackpool is known as the Vegas of the North, there's fuck all in terms of similarities. I was expecting it to be an extreme version of Blackpool but it's so much more than that. Proper knocked me for six that it never really feels like night time, the artificial lighting between casinos is mental. Absolutely loved it.
IE: What are some of the main differences between touring the UK and touring the US besides the obvious things like more driving?
Cal: Touring the UK, you don't have easy access to cheap hotels, it's cheap as fuck to sleep in motels and they're generally quite comfortable. It is a lot harder to eat healthy on the road in America cos it seems everything is full of sugar, but maybe I am not looking hard enough or maybe I didn't want to as I was smashing In And Out Burger on the West Coast and Waffle House and Cookout daily in the South.
THE CHISEL @ THE MEADOWS, BROOKLYN, NY JANUARY, 2023. PHOTO BY: TIM DALEY
IE: What do you miss most about the UK and your home life when you’re on tour?
Cal: Laying on the couch doing fuck all. I can be a proper lazy fucker and I love doing absolutely nothing.
IE: How did your recent UK tour with The Chats go and how did The Chisel go down?
Cal: It was probably some of the wildest shows we've ever played to be honest, kids were going off every night and it was definitely a completely new audience to what we are used to. We are mainly used to playing to older skins and punks and the average age on these shows was half the age of what we're used to. Haha!
IE: What have been some of your most memorable touring experiences since the band started and what made them stand out?
Cal: I’d say going to America within the first year of the band playing live was the biggest. We had quite a few sold out shows on that run which took us by surprise. Just being able to get out to different countries and play to people all over has been the most memorable part of it all. I had not really left England much before this so just being able to do it is great.
IE: You’ve stated that The Chisel are about a good time rather than being a good band. Can you tell us about some of the best and craziest shows or times that have happened with The Chisel?
Cal: I think we used to say that to cover up any shitty live shows we’ve done. In the early days I had a tendency to get proper pissed up before each and every show and usually this would be fine but on the odd occasion I’d fucking ruin it. I laugh about it now but I try and kerb the heavy drinking til after we play. Will still have a few before I go on just I’m refraining from drinking a bottle of whiskey before I go on stage. I’d say one of the craziest shows that’s from that era was the first New York show. It was an absolute disaster at times but I think the raw fucked off energy translated into the crowd because bodies were piling up everywhere.
CLICK BELOW TO STREAM OR DOWNLOAD "RETALIATION" BY THE CHISEL
IE: What are your touring plans for the rest of the year once this current tour finishes and do you have plans to do extensive touring constantly?
Cal: Nothing set in stone yet, we’ve got a huge European tour February next year with one of the greatest New York hardcore bands of all time so we are fucking excited for that. Of course we would love to do it constantly but we all work full time and working in construction means you can’t just jump off and on projects when you want or you’ll be out of work.
IE: Which places around the globe have you loved playing in and where would you love to play that you haven’t yet and will there be a chance to play there in the future?
Cal: My favourite place to play and we’ve only done it once is Basque Country. We’ve got a lot of friends over there and their hospitality is on another level. Plus they love to get fucked up so that helps. In the future definitely Japan and Mexico (hopefully with our brothers Mess).
IE: How do you kill time on tour when you’re not travelling?
Cal: Sit in the green room, drink and try to find some food.
IE: You’ve just released a video for your latest single “Cry Your Eyes Out”. Can you tell us about it and the story behind the video and the significance of where it was filmed?
Cal: It’s a proper personal song where I don’t really want to go into the details. Absolutely no significance in the video, just pubs we frequent round North London. (Click HERE to check out the "Cry Your Eyes Out" video).
IE: During the filming of the video, did you garner any attention from people in the neighbourhood?
Cal: Yeah, I find it fucking embarrassing to be honest, if I saw some dickheads filming for a video on the streets I’d just think you silly little bastards.
PHOTO BY: CALLxMExKILLER
IE: When the band started did you always want to combine punk, Oi!, anarcho, UK-82 and hardcore influences into your music?
Cal: Nah, we never set out to do any of that. I think we definitely intended to be for the most part an Oi band, think this comes across on the first release other than the tune “Blackpool 2020”. When we did “Retaliation” it just kind of naturally went in other directions. We don’t regret any of it but think some of the people who originally liked the band don’t like it haha.
IE: Can you tell us the origin of the band’s name and who came up with it and did you consider any other names for the band?
Cal: We were originally gonna be called English Chisel, I still think it would’ve been a great name but we went with The Chisel. Not sure on where it really came from, I am a carpenter by trade so could be that. Could also be slang for drugs, who knows.
IE: Can you tell us about the status of your new album? How has the recording been going and when we can expect it?
Cal: Albums done, was due to be announced but we scrapped the artwork last minute, delayed the whole thing by about 4 more months. Looking at around February next year I reckon. For what to expect, more of the same, hard songs are harder, melodic songs are more melodic, fast songs are faster etc. Haven’t reinvented the wheel or changed the sound but I’d say it does sound maybe a bit more ambitious.
IE: Did you feel any pressure following up your debut album “Retaliation” with this new record?
Cal: Nah, not at all! I am not really bothered, I like the album and if people fucking hate it then so be it. We will just take all the criticism on board and see how we feel when we do the next one. I want people to like it of course but we write for ourselves and not to appease anyone, which is why I think we genre mash a bit which some people aren’t into but FUCK EM.
PHOTO BY: CALLxMExKILLER
IE: You just played at the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool. You must have been looking forward to that especially since you were playing on a bigger stage this year and how did your show go?
Cal: Yeah, Blackpool is my hometown and I’ve been going to the festival my whole life. Rebellion was fucking amazing if not quite chaotic at times, we played to a packed out room and that packed out room saw me nearly fall off the stage at one point.
IE: If you could put on your own festival, who would you want to play if you could choose anybody?
Cal: Just gonna brainstorm some of my favourite old and new bands here, all bands in their heyday… The Exploited, Conflict, 4skins, Infa Riot, Claimed Choice, DAF, Zounds, Cuero, Ogro, Mess, Nitzer Ebb, Beton Arme, Clock DVA, Violent Way, The Chisel.
IE: You recorded a cover of the classic The Business anthem “Harry May” a couple of years ago on the “Enough Said” single. What other songs would you love to do a version of in the future?
Cal: We’ve got an Elton John cover out now which will surprise a lot of people. An upbeat rock and roll number.
Click HERE to watch the music video for "Saturday Nights Alright (For Fighting).
IE: Whose idea was it to feature the classic Weetabix skinheads on the cover of the single?
Cal: As it was for Oi! The Black Book which celebrates all things Oi from a graffiti perspective we thought we’d keep it going with the cover of the record with some of the most infamous skinhead cartoons ever created.
IE: How much of an influence are bands like The Business and fellow classic punk/Oi! bands like Cockney Rejects and Cock Sparrer on The Chisel and the attitude of the band?
Cal: I wouldn’t say that much to be honest, I am a working class lad from South Shore Blackpool and like those bands having a certain type of attitude just comes with the territory when you’re from the bottom, it is the places I am from that have influenced me and not the bands.
IE: Aside from punk/Oi! etc, what are you currently listening to the most and what bands/artists do you love that are maybe the most surprising?
Cal: I love a lot of electronic music, but the more post punk leaning side of it. Anything from the early 80’s whether it be synth pop or proper hard electronic EBM I cannot get enough of also.
IE: What are your favourite ever pubs and what makes a boozer special to you?
Cal: Royal Oak, South Shore… still open now and it hasn’t changed much, you go in there and you can expect a bit of trouble but that’s what I love about it. Gallant Pioneer in Blackpool… Blackpool has always had Rangers bars but this is the longest standing, I didn’t grow up with this one but love it there when I am back. I don’t like that we are seeing people’s locals close left right and centre for some fancy gastro shit with no soul. What makes a pub a pub is slowly dying and when its gone it won’t come back. Local community are what make these places what they are and I think people find it hard to be able to even afford to drink in a pub these days due to the price of booze. It’s a dying breed and the ones that are still open need to be nurtured.
IE: What are you currently loving the most when it comes to drinking?
Cal: What I drink: Lager, double whiskey diet coke when I’m feeling healthy, tequila, a cheeky Jagerbomb now and again.
IE: What are your all-time favourite snacks?
Cal: Salt and vinegar crisps (chips to Americans) with a nice dip. Love a Snickers or if I am feeling posh a Ferrero Rocher. Love a Snickers ice cream on a hot day.
THE CHISEL @ THE MEADOWS, BROOKLYN, NY JANUARY, 2023. PHOTO BY: TIM DALEY