Dirty Water Records

Taking Music Backwards Into Tomorrow

The Vipers are the real fang

The Vipers' rehearsal room is, by their own admission, something of a 'rotten filth pit'. 

Located on the outskirts of Failsworth, behind a tile factory, the Manchester rockers' secret HQ is a grimy, grubby shoebox-sized den, with only one concession to rock star indulgence. 

"We now have a functioning kettle," sighs the band's mop-topped vocalist/lyricist Nathan Whittle. "Making brews is our one big luxury! Our last rehearsal place didn't even have windows, so this current place is palatial by comparison." 

Nevertheless, this unwelcoming pit seems a fitting environment for these bedraggled Manc rockers. Described by the NME as 'Manchester's grimiest garage rock b******s', The Vipers are a band with filth, decay and squalor firmly etched on their minds. 

While the rest of Manchester music gorges itself on kitchen sink drama and frilly pop escapism, The Vipers would much rather speak of 'Dystopian nightmares' and 'Orwellian visions of the future'. The Vipers choose to challenge their listeners with swathes of discordant, feedback-splattered garage rock noise with lyrical themes relating to the ugly, unsettling and psychotic. 

Manchester might be currently bathed in sparkling summer sunshine, but inside The Vipers' HQ, it's always an eternal winter of discontent. 

"I don't think there's enough anger in bands anymore," snarls bassist Johnny Brown. 

"There's too much happiness in bands these days. If you're in a band, I think you have a duty to comment on the real world around you. 

"Right now, it's almost like the whole world is being taken over by bands like The Hoosiers. It's awful. 

Celebration 

"Of course, music should be about celebration. But right now, there really isn't that much to celebrate in the world." 

But for all their tough talking, The Vipers are far from being insular miserablists. The band's (always packed out) clubnight, Disco Apocalypse at Ruby Lounge, has become a real magnet for the REAL Manc music underground, firmly proving that DIY punk values and old-fashioned guitar noise still have a place on the local music scene. 

The Vipers might speak of death, decay and apocalypse, but that doesn't mean you can't party hard at the same time. 

They're the band who can bring the apocalypse to the rock 'n' roll party. 

"We're most comfortable when we're performing," insists Nathan. "We're a serious band, but the entertaining side is very important to this band. Whether it's the clubnight that we do or the fact that we play random places like Hartlepool or Bradford, it's very important for us to pay our dues and do things on our own terms. It's like that old-fashioned DIY ethic punk thing, which doesn't exist anymore. 

Bands are so careerist these days, getting signed up to major record labels after two minutes just 'cos they sound a bit like Arctic Monkeys. They are so naive." 

As a student, Nathan plied his trade in covers bands, at a time when he was so poverty-stricken he would have to `sing for my supper. "I was so poor, I'd play cover versions in pubs and they would pay me with a meal and a bed for the night. The most popular cover version I did was Ricky Martin's Livin' La Vida Loca. It got always audiences going." 

After numerous line-up changes which earned Nathan the nickname, `the Mark E Smith of the Manchester garage scene', The Vipers have now settled into a clinical line-up. With newly recruited drummer Kyle Larkin, and twin bassists Johnny Brown and Scott Tyson (yes - TWO bassists), The Vipers are firmly paving the comeback for old-fashioned filth-rock. 

Horrors 

Like a more compact Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster or The Horrors without the arty fashion pretence, The Vipers summon up brilliant garage rock snarling and spitting with political dogma. 

Recent single Satellite Boys (on Dirty Water Records) lambasts Britain's rampant drinking culture, whilst standout track Rats is a withering comment on Manchester city centre's plush redevelopment. 

Nathan explains: "Rats has quite a dystopian feel to it. It's me commenting on areas like New Islington in Ancoats, which is currently being redeveloped. But why the hell are they developing these posh flats in one of the poorest areas in Manchester? It's a total insult to those people who live in that area. Manchester council should be putting money into these poor areas rather than endorsing posh flats for yuppies to buy. I mean, does Manchester need more s**t like the Hilton Hotel?" 

Obsessed with dystopia and apocalypse, but still determined to party hard and raise smiles, The Vipers are a genuine oddity in Manchester music. But they're also a vital one. 

"We put everything into this band," concludes Nathan. 

"Whether we fail or succeed, we know that we've put absolutely everything into this band. We've been truthful and committed all the way." 

Dirty Water Records London