DANNY & The Champions Of The World, who recently released their new album ‘Hearts & Arrows’, have confirmed a date at the Brudenell Social Club on September 27.
"I’m so fucking bored of ‘new folk’, and the trendiness that surrounds it, everyone pretending that it’s 1971 again."
“On the back sleeve of the new record, I’m holding a Stratocaster,” says Danny Wilson. “A friend saw it and said, ‘Woah, a Strat… controversial. Yeah, too fuckin’ right. I wanna play a Strat, and I wanna plug it into a valve amp, and I wanna play music with my friends, and we’ve got a sax in the band, so let’s have a party. We can play all night, if you want. That’s what I love.”
The choice of guitar signals a number of profound changes for Danny and his Champions with their third album.
First off, the current line-up of the Champs is very different from the line-up that recorded their 2008 eponymous debut album and its 2010 follow-up, ‘Streets Of Our Time’.
The Champions Of The World were originally a loose and chaotic collective of like-minded souls – so loose and so chaotic that, at any given gig or session, you couldn’t accurately predict who exactly would be performing alongside Wilson. This new incarnation is a 'proper rock’n’roll band', according to Wilson.
“I love folk music, I always have,” he says. “But I’m so fucking bored of ‘new folk’, and the trendiness that surrounds it, everyone pretending that it’s 1971 again.
"I wanted to make a totally un-bearded record. My reference points were Black Flag and Bad Brains, Tom Petty and Thin Lizzy, not Nick Drake and Sweetheart Of The Rodeo. Forget 1971, this is 1976: Dr Feelgood, Nick Lowe, just great rock’n’roll.”
Hearts & Arrows sounds much more like Tom Petty than Black Flag - who are name-checked on ‘Can’t Hold Back' - but it is also the most rock-orientated waxing the Champs have delivered.
The album was produced with Tony Poole, once guitarist with Starry Eyed And Laughing, mid-70s rockers of a kin with Nick Lowe and Brinsley Schwartz, and a man Wilson describes as a 'genius guitarist, who comes from a time when the Hippy-ness of music was coming to an end and punk rock was rising up. I went back to the source of the sound I was after with Tony.'
The album was mixed by Ted Hutt, former member of Flogging Molly now better known as one of LA’s most in-demand producers, and his CV including key releases by Lucero and Gaslight Anthem.
“Ted’s a punk-rock guy who’s well into his Springsteen and his Tom Petty,” grins Danny. “He brought an edge, and an urgency, to the record.”