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Nerves Of Steel: Shooting The Shit With Bad Guys
Mat Colegate , June 13th, 2013 05:07

Mat Colegate heads out with the iron men of Bad Guys for a day of clay pigeon shooting. But how will he fare when pitted against London's premier scuzz rockers?

All pictures courtesy of Kingsley Ifill

Dave: "We got booked to play this squat on Oxford Street by this bunch of rich kids. There was this guest book we were asked to sign and it was filled with the most pretentious crap, so I got my dick out and pissed all over it. Meanwhile, my mate - I won't mention his name - he had a Marigold on and was around the corner wanking some guy off because this guy wouldn't leave him alone. The Marigold was a weird touch, the bloke was like, "it hurts a bit, can you take it off?" Our mate was like "No!" Then he stole the fire extinguisher, filled the room and we all had to leave really quickly."

PJ: "Then they booked us again."

It starts bad and gets worse, an arc of events that suits Bad Guys perfectly. I arrive at guitarist PJ's house in the morning to find out that his van keys have gone missing, crippling us at the first hurdle. We're going on a jaunt, you see, a country getaway to where men can be free and the air is clear except for the smell of cordite and the heavy boom of weaponry. The Quietus has decided it's a good idea to give your intrepid scribe and London's premier scuzz rockers shotguns and see how we fare during a day of clay pigeon shooting. Bad Guys have been up most of the previous night. What can possibly go wrong?

One by one Bad Guys arrive at the house and assist in the slightly listless search for the missing keys. I'm introduced to singer Stuart, chatty second guitarist Dave and drumming, black-clad lord of Hungarian brood Thomas. Eventually we give up and book a Heart FM-soundtracked taxi ride (PJ: "This music is definitely making me want to kill things") before arriving at the location of the day's shooting.

Bad Guys and guns are a good mix. Their music is the kind of growly shit-kicking rock that suggests a moonshine-addled meeting between early ZZ Top and a mescaline-crazed circus strongman. Obscenities are barked over crunching riffs, train track rhythms wobble and lurch and the whole racket constantly threatens to leave the rails entirely and plunge off into oblivion. It's the kind of rock music that has a thousand yard stare. The kind that threatens you with a decommissioned Kalashnikov when it asks you to get off its land. Their new self-titled album is the most fearsome outpouring the foursome have come up with yet. But what drives these hard-rocking yahoos? What of the gentle souls behind the granite countenances? Um...

PJ: A couple of people have wanted to play tracks on the radio, and so they've asked which tracks don't have swearing in them.

Dave: We said 'My Love Is Disgusting' was fine. But there's a line in there about putting a petrol pump up your ass.

Stuart: Thematically that's the most disgusting and offensive song, it just doesn't have any swear words in it.

I see, you slipped it under the radar of the censors...

Stuart: We were going to get those 'Parental Advisory' stickers, but they're a bit expensive.

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On arrival at the shooting club, busy with families and day trippers all sublimating their psychopathic lusts into the obliteration of small flying objects, we're ushered into the clubhouse, which is reassuringly plastered with pictures of John Wayne in all his Stetson-wearing-let's-kick-the-VCs-outuv-their-own-darn-country glory. PJ points out a poster behind the counter where we pick up our two boxes of shells. It reads --

WE DON'T DIAL 911
WE USE COLT REVOLVERS

  • and I make a silent vow not to talk to any of our instructors about politics.

Dave: Thomas does some good cursing when he drives. When someone cuts him off you get a slew of amazing cusses.

Care to enlighten us, Thomas?

Thomas: It's always traffic related. Harmless curses but very evil. Y'know, "God will fuck you in your arse while your mother is watching", "Fuck your whore mother in the mouth..."

[Thomas is on a roll now]

Thomas: "Why don't you fuck your mother in the mouth and let God shit on your head?", "monkey face", "monkey head", "monkey dick", "dick bag", "twattery", "land of twats", "land of the dick heads..." Harmless things, but when everybody is driving badly it is unacceptable.

Dave: Some of your driving on the motorway is pretty scary. You like getting close to trucks.

Thomas: But I have been driving a long time, so I know what is going to happen.

Yes, because it's not like anything unpredictable ever happened on a motorway, is it?

Thomas: I wish I had a car with a roll cage inside.

I'm rather glad you don't...

We are escorted to the range by Gary, the man in charge. Gary, it transpires, is a bit of a card. The sort of guy who would be your favourite uncle when you were five, due to his fart-based humour and impressive range of magic tricks, but who by the time you reached puberty would probably have appalled you with one too many jokes about your mum's "knockers".

Our first instructor, who I shall call Snow-mane, on account of his thick white barnet, which makes him resemble a rotund, grumpy eagle, is a man of few words and his majestic presence inspires a terrific run of shooting from the assembled Bad Guys and an unbelievably fucking bad one from yours truly. It becomes apparent very quickly that, despite having dressed in my best Boyd-Rice-visits-the-Spahn-Ranch finery, I couldn't hit a barn door with a banjo, and that pumping ten pence pieces into Operation Wolf as a youth, far from preparing me to deal with any armed uprisings, was a complete waste of time. Operation Wolf, you lied to me. What I wasn't prepared for is the adrenaline rush. I'm twitching like Gibby Haynes' eyeballs after just one shot and finding it very hard to keep my hands steady. Even from behind his thick aviator sunglasses I can read Snow-mane's disapproving stare. I am clearly the kind of guy that he would use as a toilet roll holder should he ever find himself at Her Majesty's pleasure.

In contrast Bad Guys make a pretty good fist of it, getting their eyes in quickly and notching up some impressive kills. Men of iron, with nerves of steel. Here's how the scores looked at the end of the first round:

THOMAS – 10
DAVE – 12
STUART – 11
PJ – 13
THE QUIETUS – 5

Still everything to play for, eh?

Who are your favourite fictional Bad Guys?

PJ: Biff from Back To The Future. Or the hunter that kills Bambi's mother.

Ouch, traumatic...

Stuart: General Zod from Superman.

There's a Godzilla element to your music, I would say. Mind you, he's not really a bad guy...

Dave: I don't know, he was pretty bad...

He was a product of science gone wrong!

Thomas: He was upset! "Why are you doing this to me?!"

PJ: I've got a super 8 Godzilla movie. It's got a kid in it who I swear they've blacked up. They've just painted him. It's like... what's that film where...? No... No, I'm thinking of Teen Wolf.

Stuart: That's not really blacking up, PJ.

PJ: Dean Rooney from Ferris Bueller's Day Off has got that little moustache that makes you want to hate him. Or Cruella DeVille. She's a puppy murderer!

Stuart: It's not that hard to kill puppies, though. Maybe emotionally it's difficult, but it's actually pretty easy... I'd imagine.

So into round two of the shoot-the-shit-out-of-shit-athon and what promises to be a testing round. This time, instead of being propelled in front of us, our targets are going to be lobbed high in the air across our line of sight. Believe me, this is a lot more difficult and again, I blow most wretchedly, failing to hit a single target, to the mocking laughter of the assembled Bad Guys behind me. I can tell that our new instructor, who I shall call The Soft-Voiced Killer on account of his mellifluous tone, is a bit befuddled by my ineptitude, as he goes from gently instructing me in how best to optimise my shots to simply cooing "It's really very difficult. Very very difficult" every time I miss, like one would to a sick old person who has failed to get to the toilet on time. To my relief the other Bad Guys appear to be having a bit of a problem with the target as well, with only Dave really distinguishing himself with a very respectable eight.

However, credit where it's due, our previous high-scorer PJ is having his chances sabotaged by the re-arrival of Gary and his helpful words of advice, which he insists on bellowing into PJ's ear like a deaf club-comedian, completely ruining his chances.

"POINT IT HIGHER! HIGHER! NAH YOU MISSED BY A MILE! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!"

["Jesus, I bet that guy has really angry wanks" grumbles Dave.]

"WHAT DO YOU CALL THAT?! YOU GOT HAIR IN YOUR EYES OR SOMETHING?! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!"

PJ, who I suspect behind his amenable countenance is actually somewhat competitive, looks pissed off to the point of turning the gun on Gary and opening fire, but thankfully he resists and is left with a score of 2. So where does that leave our final scores?

THOMAS – 13
DAVE – 20
STUART – 13
PJ – 15
THE QUIETUS – 5

Thomas: Scouting for Girls? I stab them in the neck! Now who's scouting for girls?

So Dave is the clear winner and the drinks are on the Quietus then, but not before a sobering denouement to the afternoon's events. The lads pose for some photos, causing an instructor who I'm not going to come up with an amusing name for, because quite frankly he looks fucking terrifying and can probably track me by his sense of smell, to ask whether we're in a band...

"Yes," we reply.

At which point a roar of delight is heard from Gary, who suddenly reveals himself to be a bit of a celebrity spotter.

"A BAND EH? OH, I'VE 'AD 'EM ALL DOWN 'ERE. I'VE 'AD YOUR EASTENDERS, YOUR LONDON'S BURNINGS, THAT MICHAEL WINNER..."

The list is extensive, but Gary is not content to merely list past glories. No, Gary wants another trophy for his mantelpiece (figuratively speaking), and Bad Guys are it.

"FREDDIE! FREDDIE! COME OVER 'ERE!"

Freddie, it transpires, is the six-year-old son of the family party behind us, and Gary has lined him up for his big moment.

"FREDDIE, COME AND 'AVE YOUR PICTURE TAKEN WITH THE BAD BOYS! THEY'RE JUST ABOUT TO BECOME FAMOUS! HAHAHAHAHA!!!"

Though his parents seem delighted with this turn of events, and start happily snapping away at the sight of their tiny son holding an offensive weapon and surrounded by swirly eyed rockers, Freddie, to the credit of his four senses, looks absolutely terrified. Whether this is due to Gary's rhino-lunged cockney bellow or the four shifty-looking bog men he's being asked to pose with is unclear. Whatever, Freddie, you've got the shotgun. Choose wisely, little man.

There's a track on the album called 'Witness A New Low'. What's the lowest you've ever sunk to as a band?

Dave: Me trying to have sex with Stuart in my sleep was pretty fucking bad.

PJ: The lyrics to that song are all about wondering why women put up with men being such arseholes, but my girlfriend pointed out that there's no retribution. In the video which I'm making for the song, we all get to form a band and go into space.

Stuart: That really wasn't the intention with the lyrics.

PJ: It was meant to be a feminist song. But we were making it up as we went along so...

Stuart: A lot of the time there's a whole narrative to a song to start with. I think it'll have a good beginning, middle and end, but then the song is a certain length and there's only a certain amount of lyrics you can fit in, so sometimes it ends halfway through the story, or the middle section gets cut out and the lyrics aren't altered to reflect that... and the point's lost.

[Long pause]

Stuart: I presume people can fill in the gaps... or just not listen to the lyrics...

PJ: We need to put in a disclaimer - "read between the lines".

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