Pete Bentham is a hard man to miss on the Liverpool music scene. Promoting music night and gigs, publishing CDs, printing fanzines and even fronting his own band – Pete Bentham and the Dinnerladies.
It was about time SevenStreets caught up with Pete for a chat: Free Rock and Roll; Inner City Sumo; The Dinnerladies. And we asked him to make a Spotify playlist too, since music forms such an important part of Pete’ outlook and philosophy.
You can listen to it below if you’re on Spotify or track them down yourself if you’re so inclined.
Kitchencore – What is it?
Kitchencore is a genre that we invented for the Dinner Ladies, partly for a laugh and partly to take the mickey out of scenesters always putting things into genres; hardcore, post-hardcore, hardcore-post-hardcore etc.
The funny thing is, some people have actually adopted it, especially abroad. We’ve just been to Germany and Czech Republic on tour and some of the venues had posters saying ‘Kitchencore from Liverpool!’. There’s probably some trendy somewhere googling kitchencore thinking “Shit, I really need to be into this stuff”.
What are you serving up at the moment?
We are still promoting our second album ‘Hip Potater’ and practising songs for our next record which is gonna be a 7” vinyl 4 track EP. Like I said we have just been to Europe for the third time and they love us out there. In Berlin, we bumped into some people we know who do merchandise for some big bands and they said “We really like your band but we don’t think they will get the irony and sense of humour in the lyrics out here”.
But they were wrong, I think partly because we play basic raw rock and roll that translates anywhere. Some bands just seem to play Liverpool all the time but we are going to travel as much as we can because in the end, music’s all about the people you meet along the way. Plus it’s such a great laugh obviously.
What ingredients have you served up?
The ingredients to the Dinner Ladies is quite an unusual blend really. I like the fact that we don’t look like we belong in a band together. We’re all different types, ages, sexes, races and it means we all bring really different musical influences to it, plus lyrically we always sing about stuff that we believe in. That may sound like an obvious thing to say but outside the punk scene, there’s so many that don’t.
My view of the world was formed not by teachers or books but by The Specials, The Clash and Billy Bragg. Do kids get that today from The Killers, Kaiser Cheifs etc? I’m not sure that they do. Our second album is really musically eclectic and we try to use the Bill Hicks thing of using humour to make a serious point. So people who wouldn’t review it like Bido Lito or whoever and maybe dismiss us as bog standard punk are missing the point.
What’s a Hip Potater anyway?
Hip Potater means ‘Make Doherty History’.
Inner City Sumo – discuss
Inner City Sumo were music events I used to run at The Masque between about 2002 and 2006. In 2002, the bandwagon thing was happening at The Zanzibar with The Coral, The Zutons and so on and that scene became famous, but I preferred going to little DIY gigs at places like The Slaughterhouse and The Monroe watching bands like Grampus 8, Flamingo 50 and Tokyo Adventures.
I loved the bands but hated the venues with crap PAs and no stages and I wondered why the punky stuff couldn’t happen in a proper venue. At that time I got introduced to one of the owners of the Masque who showed me the downstairs which, at the time, was seated like a proper theatre and asked me what I thought he should do with it.
The main venue in town at the time The Lomax had just closed so I suggested taking the seats out and making it a rock and roll venue and that’s how I ended up putting gigs on there. We had some great gigs and we were also the first since the Eric’s days to do under age gigs, which of course loads of people do now.
Plus some of the bands are still around; Voo, Zombina & The Skeletones, Hot Club De Paris. Eventually the scene moved on and there were loads of venues and things became too corporate. Hence my Free Rock & Roll nights which are just about the music.
What is the Pete Bentham potted biography?
Born Widnes – school – fishing – rugby league – learning guitar – crap office job – punk rock – drinking – first band – two tone – marriage – more bands – more crap jobs – college – arts jobs – separation – liverpool – inner city sumo – crohnes disease – hospital – dinner ladies – free rock & roll – love music hate racism – writing this article.
What do you think of the current Liverpool music scene?
I think it’s pretty great. Well the part I know is. There’s so many good bands like Lovecraft, Apaat, El Toro, Emily & The Faves, the Dead Class, too many to mention. Plus venues like Mello Mello, The Kazimier and promoters like Psycho Motel, Class A Audio etc. All good.
Tell us about your playlist – what does it say about you; your beliefs and influences.
People say that music doesn’t change a thing, but the music changes the people and they go and change things. I know that’s true because it’s happened to me. Did I sound like a fuckin’ hippy then? Maybe I am. Beliefs and influences? OK then I’m gonna pick half Liverpool bands for belief and half non Liverpool bands for influences.
Pete Bentham’s Spotify playlist
Hear Pete’s Spotify playlist here
a.p.a.t.t. – Holy Toad
Lovecraft – Royal Jelly
Zombina & The Skeletones – Nobody Likes You When You’re Dead
The Lees – Don’t Fuck With The Law (we couldn’t find this one on Spotify – listen to it here
Half Man Half Biscuit – Joy Division Oven Gloves
Roadrunner (Twice) – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
The Moldy Peaches – New York City’s Like A Graveyard (hear it here )
Althea & Donna – Uptown Top Rankin’
The Specials – It Doesn’t Make It Alright
Elvis Costello – What’s So Funny About Peace, Love & Understanding?
Pete Bentham & The Dinner Ladies headline the Oxjam 2011 Launch Night at Mello Mello, Slater Street on Friday 21 October, 8pm, £3
Free Rock & Roll events are every other Thursday at Mello Mello.