'The Dead Royals' is a punk influenced band started by Al James, a fine Aussie fella who I met drinking one night at the Cock Tavern, Oxford Circus. I used to spend many a night there, chewing his ear off over vodka and sodas, and on some occasions woke up on his bedroom floor, feeling a deep hatred for myself.
Anyway, this guy has a passion for music. Hailing from Cairns, Australia, a relatively sleepy town, the man decided to sail the seven seas and come back to his spiritual home, England. I count him as a true Londoner. Talk about music, he'll know his shit. And with a love for the legend Iggy Pop, and a talent for strumming the guitar, I knew he'd eventually form a band that would make more than ripples on the music scene.
So it all happened about a year ago at a Stooges gig. Al met a guy called Keiran, they chatted, they drank, and they decided to write some songs together. A band had to be created. A friend called Gregg joined the party on drums and Nick plucked the bass. They were ready to hit the studio, and last August began rehearsing a few things they had written. They cut a demo, 'Broke,' last November, and have been furiously playing gigs around our great city for the last few months. Nick went missing in action, didn't answer his phone, maybe made it big in Hollywood, no one knows. So Tom came in. And the 'Dead Royals' as we know it were born.
Harping back to the raw guitar playing of the punk era, and dynamic presence of Iggy Pop's stage performances, the 'Dead Royals' are an explosion of energy, owning the room and its audience. For such a laid back fella, Al attacks his guitar with ferocity and immerses himself into all that he has written. The first verse of the track titled 'Strong' focuses on the struggle to be noticed and how your background can dictate what you will achieve in life. 'Take from me, what you will, take it, I don't care........... I was raised into tenancy, education made a fool of me, cause I'm from a broken family.' Describing all his lyrics as 'meaningful and equally powerful,' there is an obvious confidence in Al's words.
Kieran, with his flowing black hair, and a strut that even Mick Jagger would be proud of, delivers each line with determination and clarity. As a foursome, this tight unit, with music running through their veins, live and breathe their craft. A night with the 'Dead Royals' will both stimulate and exhaust you at the same time.