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Championship band's fine juggling act

What on earth has sex education theatre and juggling got to do with Caned Unable, the Lancaster rockers who recently triumphed at the Carnforth Battle of the Bands?

GREG LAMBERT spoke to the group's bass player ROB PORTER to find out

[Lancaster Guardian - April 2003]

       (left to right) Aaron, Rob and Kyle

(left to right) Rob Kyle and Aaron
GL - How did Caned Unable start?

RP - 0ur guitarist Johan Perkins and lead singer Aaron are brothers. They started the band about two years ago with a different bass player and drummer but then me and Kyle (Oram) joined about a year-and-a-half ago. We kept the same name and the same songs, with a few new ones.

GL - Where are you all from?

RP - All of us are originally from Lancaster apart from Kyle, but he lives there. I was at school with Johan and worked with him as well. I'd stopped playing since I left school so I had to re-learn the bass to join the band. Kyle is also an actor. He's done all sorts. Stuff like sex education theatre and he's also with the Fairly Famous Family.

GL - Where have you played?

RP - Although we don't have management as such and we're all pretty slack at getting stuff out, we've done quite a few places. We did the Roadhouse in Manchester and there was a great crowd for the last one. We're doing it again on May 10 and taking a coach down there so we need as many people as possible for that. Apart from that we've done just about every venue in Lancaster. The Bobbin have offered us a regular Saturday night slot, and that's pretty much unprecented. The Bobbin's one of our favourite gigs. The last Boxing Day we did was fantastic. We're back there again on May 3 and after that for one Saturday every month. We also play regularly at Paddy Mulligan's on Thursday nights and we're going to do the Keystones in May as well.

GL - I didn't know Keystones had live bands

RP - They do. It's a great place for students.

GL - How big was the crowd at the Roadhouse?

RP - We took about 30 or 40 people down with us but there was a few hundred in there altogether. It's rammed on a Saturday night.

GL - How did you feel about winning the Battle of the Bands at the County Hotel in Carnforth the other week?

RP - We want to get different people to see us live and that's why the Battle of the Bands was good. We also did a live set on Bay Radio and we're about to do the Kirkland Festival in the Lake District on the Glastonbury weekend. And we've got a gig coming up at the Brewery Arts Centre.

GL - So you're keeping busy.

RP - Yeah. It can get a bit disheartening when you reach a certain level but the more we play live the better we get. We're a very good live band. The demo we've got together now is really good because it has a lot of our strong songs that we've had for a while. It's important to keep the momentum and the interest going.

GL - Any funny stories from any of the gigs you've done?

RP - Just us all being far too drunk to play. That's about it really.

GL - For anyone who has never heard Caned Unable before, what songs should they look out for?

RP - 'Eggshells' is our corking big ballard and 'The Game' - a dance cross-over track.

GL - Who are your musical influences?

RP - Being a bass player it has to be Flea out of Red Hot Chili Peppers. I listen to a lot of the American hardcore bassists. The Beastie Boys. I like a lot of dub, reggae, very mixed musical tastes. I'm not really into guitar music anymore although growing up I listened to all the guitar bands, like REM and Nirvana.

GL - What about the rest of the band?

RP - We're all Hendrix freaks. Me and Kyle have similar musical tastes. The other two are ravers. They used to go out raving every week. And they were both really good at juggling. That's why I said to Johan he should learn the guitar and he picked it up in no time. He went on to teach it. But there's no specific influences as such.

GL - So is the sound of Caned Unable quite hard to define?

RP - Yeah. Maybe we're quite similar to some famous bands in certain songs. 'Take Me Under' is a bit like Green Day only a bit harder. But there's a lot of range between the songs. They are all contemporary. We can't really be labelled but that's a good thing, really.

GL - What are your ambitions for the immediate future?

RP - The point we're at now we could easily have been at six months ago but we are all very busy in what we do outside the band, because we work evenings, weekends, nights. But we've got a lot on in May. Getting more gigs in Preston, Manchester and Liverpool would be nice. And we need professional management. If anyone out there can help, that would be great.

You can see Caned Unable live at the Bobbin on Saturday, May 3.

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revised 29 November 2005
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