Interview: Bad Manners

Words: Rich Higton
Photos: Sonic PR
Friday 25 November 2022
reading time: min, words

We had a short but sweet phone call with the legendary lead singer of Bad Manners, Buster Bloodvessel, ahead of their Christmas tour which will be coming to Rock City on the 22 December…


Bad Manners have been together since 1975, can you tell us a little about the formation of the group?
We all got together at school, it was an idea of mine because we were such a talented bunch, I said you should really learn an instrument. We should get together, play some gigs, get a few beers, get a few girls to talk to us and enjoy our social life. That’s what Bad Manners was for, we had fun the whole way through and that was the main aim.

Although Bad Manners never signed to 2Tone, the band were closely associated with the movement at the time. Did you associate a lot with the other bands of the era, like The Specials, The Beat, and The Bodysnatchers?
People called us bandwagon jumpers, but we were before all those other bands. We all got on well together, and we all played millions of gigs together. It was a 2Tone thing at the time, of course we did do a record on the 2Tone label, the Dance Craze album.

There was such a vibrant scene in the mid-70s to the early 80s, with punk and ska becoming popular. Looking at the time now it seemed like a true coming together of different races and cultures, what was it like during those days?
Well, it was quite electric at the gigs, because there was a lot of disagreement with people on what angles we should be coming from, and where our political alliance should lie. But with us being Bad Manners, we didn’t have any political statements or sides to join. We were all anti-racists, but the tension was that there was a lot of people coming to our gigs that were racists.

That’s what Bad Manners was for, we had fun the whole way through and that was the main aim

There were people who associated the boots and braces of the skinhead culture with the hooligans and racists which adopted that look too.
Yes, and Oi music became associated with them too, and it was never about that. Skinhead was a reggae look, for the want of a better word.

It’s been 21 years since the last Bad Manners studio album, Stupidity. Is there any chance of us getting another Bad Manners record?
Well, there has been other albums since then, but they’ve just been sold at Bad Manners gigs. There is a good chance of a new album for next year, we said we have to have something ready for fifty years of Bad Manners. It feels kind of weird getting to fifty years, I remember when the Stones got to 50 years. I was like f*cking hell! That’s a long way off for us, but I thought if they can do it, we can do it.

Apart from music you have ventured into the hotel business, setting up Fatty Towers in 1996. How did the idea for a hotel for people with huge appetites come about?
Well, it probably had something to do with my size, I was pretty big myself back then. The idea leaned off Faulty Towers, that’s where the name came from. Between me and the chef we had at the time, we created some of the most amazing meals.


Bad Manners have been banned from both Top of the Pops and Italian TV for your antics, was your behaviour really that bad?
No, it wasn’t that bad at all. We have been back since to Italy, and they do forgive us. It was quite a shock; at the time we were playing a festival called Sanremo and we had the opportunity to go on just before Barry White. I thought to myself, I’ve got to take advantage of this situation, he was also a large person so there was a certain amount of competition going on. So, I’m on stage and we aren’t doing that great and the crowd aren’t really getting into us, they were all very middle-class and middle-aged.

I could see that Barry would be going down really well with this crowd, so I’ve got to do something. So, I dropped my trousers on telly and there was this most nerve-racking silence for a second, but they liked us after that! However, when I came off the stage, I could see the record company guy’s face dropping to the ground. He comes up to me and says “you don’t realise what you’ve done. This is the only show that the Pope watches!” so that was an instant ban then.

Bad Manners are on a Christmas tour, coming to Nottingham’s Rock City on 22 December. What can the uninitiated expect from a Bad Manners show?
Wow if you’ve never been you’ve really got a surprise coming! Most people who have never seen us before do love us, because they aren’t used to the electric response from the crowd. The band itself is quite a crazy band and we keep the crowd rocking, and of course that creates its own electric. We are going all the way through to 3 January and I believe I’ve even given them Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off!

I’m definitely not going to be known as Scrooge this year.

Bad Manners will be playing at Rock City on 22 December 2022

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