Imagine the scenario. You’re on a night out and you see a drunken guy dancing on a table. What would you do?
Well if you’re Rich or Jody from Coventry group Linear you ask him to be in a band of course!
|Ben from Linear|
Three years on from that fateful night Linear have been signed to Indie label Grace Records and released their first single Twisted Eyes earlier his year.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon I found them chilling out backstage at the Coventry Godiva Festival, in a dome-shaped tent which resembled a section of the Eden Project. The band - made up of 23 year-old guitarists Rich and Ben, 21 year-old drummer Jody and 19 year-old Holly on bass - looked reasonably pleased with themselves. After being given an early performance time of 12.40pm they had managed to fill an empty marquee with people. Things had certainly changed a lot since Linear joined Grace Records.
“Getting signed is defiantly a morale booster for the band,” said Ben. Rich nodded in agreement. “There was a time when we wondered if we’d ever get signed” he added. “We sent out loads of CD’s but nothing ever came of it.”
It was the ever popular web-monster myspace which gave Linear the exposure they longed for.
|"Once a guy was leaning his arm on the stage and flicking his cigarette over us. I stood on his arm and played right in his face"|
|Ben from Linear|
“We were asked to release a limited edition seven inch,” said Rich. “Grace are brilliant with us.”
“The best thing about it is that we can be more selective with what gigs we play” said Ben. “Last summer we did nothing but play gigs, gigs, gigs. It was fun, but now we can look at a gig and decide if it’s really worth it.”
Travelling the country for small slots wasn’t all fun, as members of the band could still remember all too well.
“We once did a gig in Hastings and travelled down in a Fiat Punto with all our equipment. We had an amp each on our laps and it took seven hours!” said Rich. “It was for a video promotion, there was a big crowd but when the video finished and we came on stage most people left. We had nowhere to stay and ended up sleeping in a children’s playground.”
Linear admitted that the experience was light-years away from their recent sell-out gig supporting The Departure at The Barfly.
|Linear on stage at Godiva Festival|
Ben said: “We like to play for people whose fans will instantly be interested in us, so we can steal their fans.
“We’ve been compared to bands like Bloc Party but our vocals sound nothing like them. There are other influences underneath.”
“It all dates back to Henry the eighth and Greensleeves!” chipped in Rich.
I asked if they'd had any rough crowds?
Ben laughed and said: “Once a guy was leaning his arm on the stage and flicking his cigarette over us. I stood on his arm and played right in his face.”
|Holly from Linear|
Did they have any pre-gig rituals?
“Well five minutes before we go onstage we realise we haven’t written the set list!” said the drummer Jody. “Some bands have theirs laminated but ours are usually scribbled on the back of anything we can find… bank statements… cigarette packets.”
Linear were asked to play the Godiva Festival by a promoter from the Colly. But with their growing success I wanted to know why they accepted such a small slot?
“We always come to the Godiva festival, so it’s nice to get a chance to play.” said Ben. “We didn’t want to get involved with the battle of the bands and compete for a place. A lot of bands wind up getting stuck in Coventry that way.”
“It’s nice to be asked to play,” added Jody. “Plus we’re not playing alongside a metal band of 14 year-olds.”
Linear seemed genuinely happy to be in their surroundings, sat on plastic chairs and drinking bottled beer. Around the tent there were mini fridges stocked with food and drink for bands appearing later in the day. Would Linear ever make any demands?
“Girls maybe?” said Ben, then laughed and shook his head.
“As long as our travel expenses are covered we’re happy” said Rich.
So where do Linear hope to be by the end of 2006?
“Our next single has been pushed forward to be released in November,” said Rich. “I’d love us to get a record deal, or even have a video on MTV2. But ideally a record deal with our label would be nice.”
Well, if all else fails, at least Rich can fall back on his hobby of magic tricks.