Members of the guitar-drenched rock band Fretblanket love to visit the states. And it’s easy to see why.
“Every time we come here,” says bassist Dave Allsopp, “we get a lot of attention. And it’s really refreshing, because, well … to be honest, we don’t do all that well in England.”
Why such a chilly reception in their homeland?
“I think it’s got something to do with the English press, really,” Allsopp says. “They’ve decided we’re not a cool band, so therefore they won’t write about us.”
England’s loss is America’s gain.
Allsopp and his “three best friends” from Stourbridge – singer-guitarist Will Copley, guitarist Clive Powell and drummer Matt Carey – teamed in 1989, and within two years, they went from doing covers of the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy to their own raucous material.
Later, a four-song EP was greeted favorably by the British music press, but they were quickly brushed off – in “build them up, knock them down” fashion, Allsopp says, “which is typically British.”
Not ones to be written off, Fretblanket has fired back with its debut Atlas/A&M album, “Junkfuel,” blending in well with American noisy-pop groups. One Gavin Report reviewer likened the first single, “Twisted,” to “early Replacements meets Nirvana.”
Through it all, Allsopp says, the music hasn’t interfered with the band members’ friendship.
“It’s quite an experience to be able to come over to America with three of your best mates,” he says. “We’re all doing something we enjoy anyway, so it’s like a vacation for us really. Not that we’re not working hard …”
BWF (before we forget): Fretblanket’s follow-up album, “Home Truths From Abroad,” was released in February 1998.
More updates: Joe Henry, Marcus King, Lily Kershaw, Poliça, Sarah Brightman, Jerry Leger, Simple Minds, Grateful Dead, etc