Long Good Fridays – Coventry’s Mafia Punks

Long Good Fridays kick off our mini-series of pieces about the Coventry alternative scene and tell us how they went from being an acoustic duo to a full on four piece punk outfit.

We’ve been quite grabbed by the Alternative Sounds compilation albums coming out of Coventry over the last few years. With their inspiration coming from a 70s punk Fanzine of the same name, it’s right up our street.

We introduced the project with a chat with Martin Bowes, the man behind it all, the other day.

But we also wanted to hear from some of the bands to find out their take on what’s what.

First up in this mini series is Long Good Fridays, which is as good a place to start as any.

So we caught up with guitarist and singer Jatinder Heer for a chat over Zoom.

P3dro: Where are you and what are you doing?

Jati: We’re based in Coventry. We’re a 4 piece. We’re a post punk sort of sound, I’d say.

Each of us in the band all have massively different influences.

P3dro: Yeah, well we came across the band on the Alternative Sounds compilation. How did you get involved with that?

Jati: That was through Nigel Meffen, who we met at one of our gigs. He was on the line up [with Del Chronics]. It was a festival in Coventry called Godiva in one of the small tents. We got chatting, exchanged a few demos and, I think, that’s how we got onto Alternative Sounds.

P3dro: Tell us a bit about the band. How did you meet? When did you form?

Jati: Long Good Fridays was a recreational activity between me and a guy called Mark [Payne], back in 2014. It was basically the two of us playing acoustic guitars, but then we moved up to an electric six string and a bass. Then Mark left and one of his buddies, Nathan [Jessup], who also plays bass, started jamming with us and we then became a four piece with some other friends in about 2016, and that’s the current line up. We’ve had various drummers throughout – our current drummer [James Taylor] joined about 2 years ago.

P3dro: Ha! Lots of bands say that about drummers.

Jati: Yeah, it’s always hard to get a drummer. I think any idiot can play a guitar, but getting a good drummer is really hard. We even toyed with a drum machine for a while, but it just wasn’t right for our sort of music. It didn’t work for us.

P3dro: How have the last few months been? Have you been recording any music?

Jati: A little bit. Between us, we’ve electronically been sending demos, adding our bits. We’ve got about two demos from the year, whereas normally, in normal circumstances, we’d rehearse every week and knock out something, even if it’s a live demo.

We’re itching to play live, but I know that’s a long way off yet.

P3dro: Yeah, we think most people are. But even if you could play live, it would probably be all seated …

Jati: Yeah. Not the sort of drinking holes we’re used to playing in.

P3dro: Does that have any kind of appeal?

Jati: Well … It’s better than nothing.

P3dro: Any plans for new releases next year?

Jati: We’ve got quite a lot of songs that we’ve been rehearsing. We’ll probably pick two or three to make another demo. We’d been talking about doing that just before lockdown. There’s a couple of local studios we can easily use, so that would be the next step for us.

Nathan is the front man. He’s very keen on recording. I’m on guitar and and I’m very keen on live stuff. But Nathan writes good songs.

P3dro: That’s quite an interesting tension. I’ve had a few conversations about album, EPs, singles and what format a band prefers to release. But you’re digging into the live gigs?

Jati: That’s me, personally. But the others in the band would be more into recording. I’m usually the one who makes a jackass of himself on stage, anyway! But we have a good line up at the moment. It’s a good mixture.

P3dro: As a band, you’re quite quiet on social media. There isn’t a great deal about you.

Jati: I think that’s because out of all of the band, I’m the only one who does anything [like that]. I asked Nathan if he wanted to do this interview, because speaking to me is a bit like interviewing Mot├Ârhead without speaking to Lemmy. And I say this with a lot of love, but he’s a relic from a bygone time. But that’s his advantage as well. But, yeah, we are quite quiet. There are a couple of live recordings on YouTube. But, yeah, we’re a bit behind on social media!

P3dro: Where does the band name come from?

Jati: It was a bit of a joke to start with. And I said, with the original line up, we should form our own style and call it ‘Mafia Punks‘, as a sort of London Gangland style. And The Long Good Friday is one of the cooler movies, so yeah, it’s a direct rip off from the film.

P3dro: Describe a Long Good Fridays gig to us. What would it normally look like?

Jati: Erm. A Friday night, 1970s, a few pints and not taking ourselves too seriously but with a definite punk presence. And, hopefully playing with some other decent bands as well. Yeah, that would be us.

Long Good Fridays at The Arches, Coventry

P3dro: How is the music scene in Coventry?

Jati: I think it’s pretty difficult to get a gig, and that’s only going to get harder. There’s no real live music scene and once you’ve played the two or three venues then you’re just going round the same cycle. Pubs would always be better because people will go anyway and then maybe there would be a band on.

To get people specifically to turn up somewhere for a gig is a problem, I think.

P3dro: We think those types of smaller venues, whenever it may be next year, could do quite well because we just don’t see 1,000 people turning up [in the same place anytime soon].

Jati: Unless you’re a band with a name and a following it’s very difficult to just get on and play. I always preferred little pub gigs, myself. When you’re that close to a guy standing there with a pint in his hand.

P3dro: Who would you cite as your influences? You mentioned the band have a wide range [of influences].

Jati: Mine are quite varied. I do like a lot of the Oi bands, the street punk sort of sound. Early 90s grunge as well. Traditional punk stuff – The Clash, Sex Pistols.

Our bass player, Nathan and the other guitarist, Richard, are very much into Shoegaze – a 90s sort of thing. And then our drummer is more of a Slipknot kind of power drummer. He’s very aggressive, but I think that’s great and having a great drummer adds so much power to the thing.

P3dro: Recommend a band or an album we should be listening to right now.

Jati: Swervedriver: Raise. I’ve just heard that again about a week or so ago. I’d been listening to some old CDs and I’d forgotten how good these guys really are. A number of their songs just press a button in your mind, somewhere.

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