- - Sunday, October 2, 2016

Formed in 1988, the English rock band The Levellers has been rocking for decades with a blend of folk, punk and traditional rock — all delivered with high energy and deeply personal lyrics. Their 1991 album, “Levelling the Land,” broke the band worldwide on the strength on the singles “One Way” and “Fifteen Years.”

To mark the 25th anniversary of that landmark album, The Levellers are hitting the road for an extensive U.S. tour that brings them to the U Street Music Hall Monday. Lead singer Mark Chadwick checked in from the street outside his favorite pub in the U.K. to talk about what keeps the band together and where you’ll find them on their off time in D.C. (Hint: Drinking is involved.)

Question: Where does this morning find you?

Answer: Well this morning for you is this evening for me, and it finds me outside of my local pub. Home in England. It’s lovely outside here.

Q: After 25 years of playing together, do you still enjoy it?

A: Yeah, we do. We’re good at it. [laughs] We like it.

Q: Did you ever imagine when you started it would go this far?

A: The idea of longevity in a band is a good thing. It was always part of our mission when we started off, to stick around as long as possible.

Q:What is the best part of being The Levellers now as opposed to then?

A: The freedom we have now to do what we wanna do. Back in the day it was quite an ordered thing [due to] record companies, publishers, management and people like that directing it.

In the old days, you had to work a lot harder at it. We worked hard but didn’t have as much money as we do now. We work less hard these days. We’re smarter because we do it all ourselves now. The internet has really helped us in that respect.

Q: Has the full lineup stayed intact?

A: It’s exactly the same lineup since the start. All we have done is add one — a keyboard player.

Q: How do you keep the band together?

A: I dunno. Because we’re not even healthy. [laughs] I don’t really know how. Luck. And we’re nice to each other, kind to each other, look after each other.

And we share everything equally, so there is not really any brooding animosity anywhere. And we share the workload. Everyone is getting on well. We’re quite lucky. A happy marriage.

Q: Has there ever been a time the band was inactive?

A: No. We have always been an active unit. The longest period of timing we went without touring was nine months. But during that period we were writing anyway. We’ve always been doing something. We’ve never said, “Let’s take a couple years off.” Always been active. Yeah.

Q: What can people expect when they come out to see this tour?

A: We’ve got a good reputation as a live band, which is quite a rare thing for a British band in the States. But we’re a good live band. We’ll be playing “Levelling the Land” the album. We’ll also be playing all the other hits — and misses, from the past as well. It’s a good bunch of songs really. The best stuff.

Q: Why do you think that you album “Levelling the Land” sticks with people more so than anything the band has done before or since?

A: I think it was a question of timing. I think when we released that record, it chimed with a lot of people’s sensibilities at that time in the early ‘90s. The way people felt about the environment. The way they felt about authority. The way they felt about their own personal history. I think we kind of collided with that. They identified with those songs.

And the fact that they are kind of timeless songs. They haven’t dated in some respects. I think that still works for us.

Q: What’s the one comfort item you need to have with you on the road?

A: An Apple iPhone. We’ve all got one. It’s the new brain. All entertainment is provided.

Q: Do you get any downtime on tour. and how will you be spending it in D.C.?

A: We drink. We find the best pubs in town. And go drinking a lot. That’s what we like to do really.

Q: Is the band working on an new music?

A: We are. We’ve been working on a new album for a year. It’s coming together as well, thank you. We’ll be recording that as soon as we finish this tour.

When we come back from tour in January, we go straight into the studio to record it. We cover a lot of subject because we’re a political band. I’m sure you’re aware there are a lot of politics in the world at the moment. [laughs] We cover a lot of those issues in an inelegant and less obvious way. We’re not just stating facts and being angry covering stories with these world events. We hope we will move people to action rather than just piss them off.

The Levellers play U Music Hall in the District Monday evening. Tickets are $25 by going to Ticketfly.com.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide