The Twang are an indie rock band from Birmingham, England, formed in 2001. The band garnered national acclaim when the influential NME magazine produced an article on music acts (which also featured fellow Midlanders Ripchord and The Enemy) in the West Midlands, and has led to band coming fourth in the BBC News website’s Sound of 2007 poll.
The band’s debut single, “Wide Awake”, was released March 19, 2007, with their debut album Love It When I Feel Like This, released on June 4, 2007, and being produced by the band’s long term collaborator Gavin Monaghan. “Wide Awake” was produced at The Magic Garden Studio, in Wolverhampton, assisted by Gazz Rogers. “Wide Awake” has had lots of play across national and local radio Stations.
The band was formed in Quinton, Birmingham by Phil Etheridge and Jon Watkin. They are signed to the B-Unique label, home to Kaiser Chiefs, The Automatic and The Ordinary Boys. Their debut single release, Wide Awake was released in both CD and 7″ format on the 19th of March 2007. The record reached number 15 in the UK singles charts.
The band managed to win the Phillip Hall Radar Award at the 2007 NME Awards.
The Twang originally performed in and around Birmingham under the name “Neon Twang”. However, this was allegedly changed due to numerous scuffles between the band’s fans and punters in various Pubs. These events prevented them booking gigs in some venues, hence the need for the name change. The band have been quoted saying that they don’t promote violence at their performances and have criticised the lack of doormen and security at local Venues.
In the early days before Stuart Hartland and drummer Matty Clinton joined the group, lead singer Phil Etheridge and bass player Jon Watkin swapped instruments on numerous “Neon Twang” tracks (“Cloudy Room”, “Push The Ghost” and “Aimless With An Aim” being surviving tracks from this period). Etheridge frequently played bass guitar and sang, whilst Watkin played lead guitar. The addition of Hartland in late 2005 enabled Watkin to take over Bass duties permanently and allowed Etheridge to perform songs live with much more enthusiasm, although the frontman’s trademark dancing was still evident whilst playing Bass.
During the “Neon Twang” period the band’s sound was very similar to how it is now, some very early track names being: “See It Thru”, “Big Day Out”, live favourite “Shoot To Kill”, “Time Waits”, “Push The Ghost”, “Aimless With An Aim” and the reggae influenced “Fake ID”. “Aimless With An Aim” and “Fancy That” later turned up as the B-Side’s to the bands first single “Wide Awake”.
Lead singer Phil Etheridge is an Aston Villa supporter, Saunders is a Birmingham City supporter whilst the rest are West Bromwich Albion supporters as stated in a Live Lounge session on BBC Radio 1 presented by Jo Whiley.
The band recently worked with The Streets on a Remix of their hit single “Either Way”. The remix also featured up-and-coming rapper Professor Green. In April 2007, they had their first NME cover and two months later they were the subject of a BBC Radio 1 documentary.
In February 2008, The Twang had their University of Surrey gig filmed and later broadcast on Channelbee.
* “Wide Awake” (March 19, 2007) UK #15
* “Either Way” (May 28, 2007) UK #8
* “Two Lovers” (August 27, 2007) UK #34
* “Push the Ghosts / Drinking In L.A” (November, 2007)
Special thanks to Keith Law at unsignedcity.com for content.