The Collectable Few


Written by Don't Panic
Photos and illustrations by Matthew Hass
12 Wednesday 12th August 2009

It's fifteen minutes from showtime and I am standing in a rather over-crowded cloakroom with The Collectable Few. "I'd have preferred the hotel over the road," opines chief crooner Tarek, but nonetheless here we are. Drawn from a range of exotic locations from Philadelphia to Oxford, the band are comprised of seasoned pros who have been gigging for the best part of a decade. Their current incarnation, formed in 2007, is bringing their raffishly raucous riffs to hotspots all over the capital. We were able to collect them all for some pre-show chat.

DP: What kind of noise do you make?
Tom: Guitar based. You could call it post punk, slightly Cure-esque darkness.
Matt: Punk without the message. We're big on harmonies and choruses.
DP: Our current issue is themed around nature. How do you become one with the environment?
Alex: Tarek's a nudist.
Tarek: Oh yeah I whip it out every chance I get. There used to be a lot of places I could go to expose myself, but it's quietened down now because I get in trouble. Sadly dogging is all I can get away with now.
DP: Right... Does it help you to write your music?
Tarek: I find it helps to be in the grip of an extreme emotion; if something really pisses you off, or you're feeling particularly strongly about something. The writing isn't the be all and end all. It's one phase of several, so a song can get a lot better or worse from that point.

DP: Have you ever had an on-stage disaster?

Tarek: Nothing too embarrassing but a few years ago I passed out on stage. Let's just say I'd been having too much of a good thing.

DP: Are you guys natural born musicians?
Tarek: Well you can be other things at the same time - actor, porn star, philanthropist. I don't believe there's such a thing as a natural musician.
DP: Is this a natural look?
Tarek: Unfortunately yeah. I walk around my area like this and kids abuse me; "Get a haircut you weirdo" and so on. I met Gordon Ramsey and he told me to get my haircut. I told him he was lucky to be on TV.
Tom: Yeah, now that he's in America he's swearing in American too, saying ‘jerk off' and stuff. What a sell-out.
Tarek: I prefer Gary Rhodes.
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