Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The British Invasion: Interview With The Cavern Club Beatles

2014 is the 50 year anniversary of when The Beatles first took America by storm. The Cavern Club, Liverpool sent their house Beatle band to re-enact the scene, exactly 50 years later to the day. Of course they needed some new Beatle Boots for that - and they knew where to come! We caught up with Paul Jones, who plays George in The Cavern Club Beatles for a quick chat.

Up&Atom - How did you become - not just a Beatle - but a Cavern Club Beatle?

Paul Jones - Me and some friends started a band in high school, when I was 14, and we decided we’d learn some Beatles songs. The next year, when I was 15 years old, we entered ITV’s ‘Stars In Their Eyes Kids’ and we were successful! So through The Beatles I (very early in life) entered the world of music and performing! From there it just grew from strength to strength to strength. I spent about 4 years playing all over the world on a cruise ship as a ‘John’, then after a while I wanted to come back home. The Cavern Club were auditioning for a ‘George’, so I learned a few songs and went for it and got the gig! This was about 2 years ago, and since then the band is the best thing I’ve been a part of. We’re all great friends who have a good laugh daily, but more to the point everyone is very good at their jobs and has a genuine love for performing, Liverpool as a city and The Beatles.

U&A - You recently went to the States to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles American invasion. What was that like?

PJ - Our trip to the USA was amazing. From the moment we arrived at Heathrow on the morning of the flight it was non-stop interviews, media and all sorts of attention! We even spent the whole flight in costume, which the air hostess’ loved! Arriving in the same terminal 50 years later to screaming fans and camera flashes was incredible, and what’s more frightening is what we experienced wasn’t even 1/100th of what The Beatles did! It was humbling because everyone was there to celebrate and just marvel at what The Beatles were. The audience and fans were having just as much fun as we were experiencing the ‘hype’ around us.

The performances were some of the most important I have ever has the privilege to be part of. Having your name in Times Square was so special and knowing you were on the same stage, playing the same songs, in the same clothes as they did was just surreal. Cavern City Tours who arranged it all were fantastic. We stayed in a suite in The Plaza, overlooking Central Park. We travelled in limousines, played iconic venues like The Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square (formally The Paramount Theatre), The Deaville Hotel (where the Miami episode of The Ed Sullivan Show was recorded) as well as an open air beach gig! Also supporting us every step of the was was Julia Baird, John Lennon’s sister. We would be driving around Miami with her telling us stories about John - very surreal! I’m sure any tribute band will tell you that attention to detail is paramount, and having John’s sister describe you as ‘the best Beatles tribute band’ she’s ever seen is just amazing, and only makes you want to try new things and develop the show.

Looking back, it couldn’t have gone any better. We loved the excitement when we were there, but now a few weeks have passed and we’ve seen all the coverage I think we’ve all realised how lucky and fortunate we were to be part of such an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime anniversary!

U&A - What’s been your most memorable moment as a Cavern Beatle?

PJ - America was such an amazing trip. Me, Tony Coburn [who plays Paul in The Cavern Club Beatles] and Paul Laverick (our keyboard player) all got our first tattoos in South Beach, Miami at 4am to remember the occasion!

U&A - Which Beatles era is your favourite to perform?

PJ - The best section of the show for me is the Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour section. This reflects the band circa 1967, when they were experimenting a lot in the studio with effects, orchestration, arrangements, lyrics, etc. This is why it’s so good to play live, because essentially some of it is difficult and challenging. The early stuff is great and lively, real rock n roll, but the Pepper stuff is intricate and really takes some time getting right, so when it works it’s great and very rewarding!

Catch The Cavern Club Beatles at The Cavern Club, Liverpool every Saturday night at 8.00pm
and find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheCavernClubBeatles

This interview was originally printed in Up&Atom magazine, Issue 3 (May 2014). 
Images used by permission, © The Cavern Club Beatles & The Cavern Club, Liverpool. 
Big thanks to The Cavern Club Beatles and Nick Robinson from The Cavern Club, Liverpool. 

Find Chelsea Beatle Boots here -
The boots worn by The Cavern Club Beatles are Madcap England OutlawCasbah and Lightfoot Boots and Delicious Junction Beatle Boots.

Friday, 10 April 2015

A Pocket Full of Pretty Green: Interview with Pretty Green's Dean West

A Pocket Full Of

There are a lot of people out there who would give anything to be the head of wholesale at Pretty Green. The affiliation between music and fashion, and working with one of the UK’s biggest rock icons, make it one of the most desirable vocations going... but there can only be one man for the job - Dean West... and he knows his stuff...!

Up&Atom: I’m sure everyone knows, but can you humour us and tell us the Pretty Green story? How did it come about?

Dean West: It had been a dream of Liam’s for sometime, to create a clothing brand that reflected his personal style. He always knew what it would be called (the name, taken from the track on The Jam’s Sound Affects, means money), designed the logo, taking his inspiration from The Beatles Rubber Soul album and set about gathering a team of like minded people together to help make it happen.
We started with a small collection based on the outfits worn by the kids in Ethan Russell’s photo book from The Who’s Quadrophenia album; a parka, a striped boating blazer, a Harrington, the target t-shirt. So with a core of traditional British street clothes, still at the heart of every collection, we’ve developed and grown those same looks into the broader brand offer you see today.

U&A: There’s several elements to the Pretty Green range, including limited edition collections. What’s the inspiration behind these ranges? Can you give us some inside info on future ranges?!

DW: We’re an extremely music obsessed bunch at Pretty Green and music is always at the heart of every collection. Pretty much every piece you see can be tracked back to an authentic link with the world of rock and roll. Our eponymous Lennon Jacket is based on the ones worn by The Beatles at their Shea Stadium gig in America, ’65. A print based on the embroidery on George Harrison’s kaftan in ’68, that jacket Keith Richards was wearing in the photo of him in a scuffle outside the Speakeasy in ’70, the graphic from the t-shirt Keith Moon was wearing in his incredible solo at Hammersmith Odeon in ’72. There’s so much we draw from. The embroidery on next seasons desert boots for instance is John Lennon’s guitar strap from The Beatles last live performance on the roof of Apple in Savile Row in ’69.

U&A: Pretty Green is a complete menswear brand with clothing, footwear and accessories in it’s range. What exciting pieces can we expect to see added to the range going forward?

DW: Well, we’ve really expanded the footwear offer, from 9 styles to about 50, so that’s very exciting. The tailoring collection is coming along very nicely thank you. The Theme collection next season is all about Abbey Road and the album cover artwork of Storm Thorgerson. We’ve taken the giant pig seen floating above the Battersea Power Station on the cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals album and used it as the collection motif, but we’ve embellished it with black and white stripes representing the famous zebra crossing outside Abbey Road studios.

U&A: You’ve been with Pretty Green from it’s inception, but what did you do before tackling this project?

DW: I’ve been working in fashion since I was very young. My Nan was a seamstress in Soho and my Dad, who trained at Simpsons of Piccadilly, made leather jackets and was proud to include Apple, the Beatles’ clothes store in Baker Street amongst his customers. I’ve had many roles over a long and happy career, from an international buying director for a key independent to creating and opening stores for brands in Tokyo, taking in retailer of the year, export manager at Ted Baker and working in a tannery in Mumbai along the way. Pretty Green feels like the role I was working towards the whole time though, to be honest. I love every minute!

U&A: What’s your favourite Pretty Green piece? Is there anything you’d like to add to the range?

DW: My personal favourite is the Fool On The Hill Overcoat from the second collection. It was a beautiful re-imagining of a British military coat from the mid 1800’s. We made it in the original fabric, a 900 gram cavalry twill, so dense it could apparently stop a musket ball at 100 yards and had a domed Pretty Green logo brass button specially cast for it. The half belt at the back and inverted vent gave it a striking flared-out silhouette. Really cool and very 70s rock star!

I’d quite like to do a version of the traditional Perfecto leather jacket. The double breasted, zip front, cinched biker jacket as sported by Brando, Iggy, Sid, etc but as it’s the jacket most associated with the Rockers of the 60s I’m not sure how well it would be embraced by our loyal mod followers!

U&A: What’s your personal style?

DW: I dress to fit my mood really, but I have a real passion for Japanese raw selvedge denim and only ever wear dark jeans, with a t-shirt and leather jacket ideally, but even to weddings, funerals and events with a tailored jacket. Now I’m an older gentleman, I would love to have a Savile Row made to measure suit and a Crombie overcoat, one day!

U&A: What’s next for Pretty Green?

DW: We have a few stores opening over the next few months and a really exciting collaboration launching later this year. (If I tell you, I’d have to kill you though!) Personally I’ll be concentrating on taking the brand a little further afield and into the global market place as my next step. Onwards and upwards!

U&A: Now for a question we always like to ask. Do you have an all-time favourite album and/or film?

DW: Soooo hard! Probably Quadrophenia and Clockwork Orange. Or Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and Goodfellas. Or...

U&A: Finally, we’ve got to sneak this one in before we let you go... What’s it like working with Liam Gallagher?

DW: As Liam once described the original Pretty Green 12 colour paisley... ‘It’s fuckin’ Biblical, man!’

Big thanks to Dean! 

This interview was originally printed in Up&Atom magazine, Issue 4 (Winter 2014). 
Image of Dean and Liam used by permission, © Dean West. 

Look out for the Pretty Green Storm Thorgeson & Abbey Road collection arriving soon. Check out the current range of Pretty Green at Atom Retro here.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Up&Atom - Issue 5!

Issue 5 of Up&Atom is out! Out now and free with all orders of clothing and/or shoes!
The fab new issue features:

  • This Art 2-Tone: Exclusive interview with 2-Tone graphic artist, John 'Teflon' Sims
  • Jonny Owen: A chat with Svengali director and star, Jonny Owen.
  • A Very British Phenomenon: Author Terry Rawlings on books, Brian Jones and The Small Faces
  • A Well Dressed Man About Town: Interview with tailor and designer, Mark Powell
  • Black Noire: Darron J Connett's new experimental musical adventure 
  • The Famous and Fascinating History of Peckham Rye
  • Atom is 10! The pics! 
  • The Sounds of The Sixties show.
  • A Pint With... DJ Dan Nolan
  • Plus: Star Wars Vintage Tees, Lyle & Scott, Lee Jeans and more! 
Want to get your mitts on a copy? Simply place an order at www.atomretro.com! Up&Atom is free with all orders of clothing and/or shoes, until stocks run out. (Some of the articles will also be featured on the Up&Atom blog - right here!)

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A Crazy Gospel of Chance: LAMBERT & STAMP

James D. Cooper's Lambert & Stamp is documentary film that tells the story of an unlikely partnership. A duo that couldn't be more different, Lambert, the son of a classical composer and Stamp, the son of a tug-boat captain and their key role in launching and producing one of the most formidable rock bands the world will ever see. 

Originally setting out to make a documentary that would tell a tale of discontented youth, Lambert & Stamp would instead become perpetually and permanently side-tracked by the band we all know and love, The Who. From discovery, nurturing and evolution, Lambert & Stamp helped formulate the rise of a legend. 

The film is packed with gossip, stories and archive footage and was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Lambert & Stamp is slated for general release in April (USA) and May 15th  (UK). 

Friday, 27 February 2015

Preview: Friday On My Mind's Cyclone!

The new Friday On My Mind Collection for Spring 2015 will be arriving soon, so here's a quick sneak preview to whet your appetite!

Friday On My Mind's collection centres around a cycling theme this summer, with a vintage cycle motif appearing throughout. In addition, some select piece are Made in England, adding a twist of something a little special.

All your faves are still here, the shirt dress, the prom dress and the sailor top, but these new designs lift and refresh the collection and give it a Retro Vintage inspired lift for Summer.

Read on below for a preview.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Preview: Mademoiselle Yéyé Spring 2015 collection

Fresh and fruity is the order of the day for Mademoiselle Yéyé's Spring and Summer 2015 collection!

A move on from last winters 'Cookie' collection which saw inspiration from all your fave tasty treats, this seasons collection features dresses and tops with a fresh, colourful vintage 1960s look.

All Mademoiselle Yéyé clothing is fair trade and vegan, and they're also Peta approved! 

Read more underneath for a sneak peek!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Baracuta for Autumn/Winter 2014 - in stock now

Baracuta's new collection for Autumn and Winter 2015 is arriving now, and looks to be one of the best yet! 

The original Harrington Jacket draws on it's British rainwear heritage this season with new colour ways and new styles in trench coats, parkas and of course the Harrington Jacket. 

The new colletion is available online here, but you can also check below for a quick preview of some of the key styles.