INTERVIEW: David Lee Burdon (Former Cell Mates)

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I first saw Former Cell Mates when they were on tour with The Gaslight Anthem in 2008, they played the first ever TGA shows in this country in London, Manchester and Nottingham. I went to London and Nottingham, long before I’d moved to Manchester.

After the show, my brother and I waited around to say hi to the guys in TGA as we’d met them a while ago in Berlin. We bumped into a few other dudes hanging around and I was taking a photo of their group and Brian Fallon when this voice told me to jump in the photo and he’d take it, that was the voice of David Lee Burdon from Former Cell Mates. He took a photo of my brother, me, Brian Fallon and four strangers. Those strangers are now the singer in Throwing Stuff, James Hull from Leagues Apart, Sam Hutchings (now in Selmer Thurma) and Simon Butler. Small bloody world.

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It’s been great to see Former Cell Mates back in action recently, what prompted the decision to get things up and running again?
Two reasons really… My Ego and Dan Shannon designed a t-shirt that needed a bands name on it, of course I’m never one to pass up the chance of having my face on someones naval

Are there any plans for a new album?
Yes, hopefully. I have most of another album written but it’s still a bit soon. We’ve only played two gigs since being back together. I still don’t know if we’re any good yet…

You’re playing Manchfester 3.5, when was the last time you played in Manchester?
I can’t remember! I think it’s our first time back in six or seven years… maybe…

You’re from Sunderland, there’s some interesting stuff going on with Pop Recs right now, can you give a little overview on that?
Not really! I was living in another country when Pop Recs took off, I moved back for the last few months of the first incarnation and I really admire what they did (and are about to do again) any comment I could make would be as an outsider on that whole scene. I do look forward to supporting the new venture though.

There’s a lot of great music coming out of the North East at the moment, not so much in terms of football, but what are some bands around that you think people should start listening too?
Again, not really. I’ve was living abroad for the last three or four years and not really paying much attention to North East England music scene. If you’re ever in Athens or Atlanta, Georgia you should try your hardest to see Jeremy Ray, Shehehe, Eureka California, New Junk City, Joseph Lazzari, Squadron, and maybe get your hands on an Anchor Bends ep, they sound like a more country Former Cell Mates.

Former Cell Mates are going to be playing Retro Bar on Saturday 3rd October as part of Manchfester 3.5. You can grab tickets HERE or on the door. They’re on at 7:45pm.

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