Introducing: Blue Stragglers

Horsham-based trio Blue Stragglers play a heady brand of fuzzed up, grooved out, hook-laden Alt Rock. New single Reactor’ has just been released and guitarist/vocalist Lee Martin drew the short straw and stepped forward to fill in the blanks on our introduction to Blue Stragglers:

What are the origins of Blue Stragglers, how long have you been playing together?

Lee – The three of us have been best mates and played together for several years in various bands and formats, but this band is as fresh as a daisy.

What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe Blue Stragglers?

Lee – Expect to hear a bunch of balls-to-the-wall songs hand-crafted by three music-loving fellas that live and breathe the craft. I’d describe it as a fuzzy wall of noise that’s been put through the blender by a chef who loves a three-minute banger as much as an outro that could fell a building!

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band, and how was it?!

Lee – Much like a golfer, it feels like we are constantly vying for the perfect game. The moments you don’t expect are better than anything in the world I’ve come across. That first time is like a gateway drug, but it stays just as good the more you do it.

New single ‘Reactor’ has just been released, what are the lyrical themes behind it? And what made you choose it as a single?

Lee – A selfish rebellion at lesser-minded people’s views of one’s lifestyle choices when no one asked them in the first place is kinda the gist of the tune. It’s the most unabashedly loud tune on the record, so figured we’d deafen people early on.

Would you say that ‘Reactor’ is indicative of what the forthcoming debut album ‘Cautionary Tales of Excess’ sounds like?

Lee – I would say it’s a key ingredient in the cocktail – definitely one of the more harsher, immediate flavours of the tasty drink as a whole – but the more you dive in the subtle notes of chaos elsewhere will trickle out.

When you talk about “Tales of Excess” are you referring to the pub within your house; The Denne Horse? [All three band members were working together at a local pub, The Dunn Horse, when the pub had to close its doors, the band managed to strip the place before it was converted into apartments, transporting the entire pub interior into Lee’s house]

Lee – Haha many moments of excess have occurred in there! As time goes on people seem to approach the bar with less caution as opposed to more, maybe I need to give them a lyric book to pay more attention!

How was your Download Festival experience last year?

Lee – Pretty nuts to be honest. Having all been to the festival as punters it’s hilarious walking round thinking you are actually playing there! But then you have to act on the drunken chats at the bar from the previous year of ‘if we played here we should definitely play this, ra ra ra’ – so it was nice to put your money where your mouth is with that kind of chat, so to speak.

In terms of a similar audience, which band out there at the minute do you feel Blue Stragglers would be best suited to open for?

Lee – There’s some slamming bands out there that are killer live that would be great to play with – Tigercub, Bad Nerves, Kid Kapichi, Demob Happy, Beach Riot: Any or all of them are keeping the rock flag well and truly flying.

Excluding yourself, which new band would you like to see break out and become a success?

Any of the above! Throw in there some Hastings mentionables in the form of Al Mitchell & The New Born Sinners, and Wytch Pycknyck too for good measure, check em all out!

What are your own first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

Lee – A staple diet of sniffing out every secret gig from peak-era Foos, Janes Addiction, QOTSA, and Beck certainly didn’t do any harm. For me, seeing the Black Crowes in 2006 completely re-wired my brain as to how good a live band can be.

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

Lee – Mogwai at the Brighton Dome last week, a pretty solid bar setter for the rest of the year.

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

Lee – I listen to a heap of mellow stuff – which isn’t the most shocking thing in the world – but Andy Shauf’s new album ‘Norm’ is my album of the year so far, not a guitar break or fuzz pedal in sight on that thing!

Although 2022 was another year to forget in many ways, there were some amazing new albums released, what would be your album of last year? And what new music have you been enjoying so far this year?

Lee – Personal Trainers debut Big Love Blanket stole the sacred crown of 2022 at the dying seconds from ‘Lucifer On The Sofa’ by Spoon. Early days this year but Gaz Coombes and Corey Hanson have kicked the year off nicely for some banger-filled releases.

What does 2023 hold for Blue Stragglers?

Lee – Plugging ‘Reactor’ with a jaunt around the country this month, followed by another single and the aforementioned album, so busy busy – rocking, drinking, smoking and joking all being well!

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

If we have something to say you’ll find it on our mailing list first, briefly followed by the usual sites, which are listed below. No pointless prattle in-between mind you ! If it ain’t about the rock we won’t let ya know!

Photo Credit: Derek Bremner

Forthcoming live dates:

Mar 04: Sussex Arms – Tunbridge Wells, UK
Mar 09: The Nest – Hastings, UK
Mar 11: Bear’s Bar & Venue – Bournemouth, UK
Mar 18: The Pipeline – Brighton, UK
Mar 22: The Hope & Anchor, Islington – London, UK
Mar 31: The Brass, Hastings – Hastings, UK
Apr 01: The Gryphon – Bristol, UK
Apr 07: The Star Inn – Guildford, UK

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