Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell

Based in the picturesque fishing town of Hastings (“a drinking town with a fishing problem”) on the sleepy South Coast of England, old school good-times rockers Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell have ripped into the hearts, skulls and nightmares of the heavy rock populous since their inception way back in 2006.
 
Initially starting life as a hard-rock covers band, the Shovell rapidly replaced the incessant riffing of numerous golden-age hits (and misses) with their own tunes, heavily influenced by whatever was on the turntable at the time (Bang, Buffalo, Groundhogs, Sir Lord Baltimore, Crushed Butler and Hard Stuff provide a brief insight of what to expect). Signing to Lee Dorrian’s (him of Napalm Death and Cathedral fame) Rise Above Records in 2010 for an initial single, but sticking around (like a bad smell) for a handful of albums, the Shovell have become an unavoidable presence at festivals, both large and small (Desertfests London and Antwerp, Roadburn, Freak Valley and Hard Rock Hell for starters), as well as support slots a-plenty. Being personally “headhunted” for a number of main supporting shows with Orange Goblin, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Blood Ceremony, Church of Misery and Danko Jones has cemented the Shovell’s standing as a “band’s band” and they now have the reputation for being a consistently dynamic headlining act.
 
Labelled as “grease-rockers” (a throwback to the band’s diet, hygiene routines, and skin problems) the Shovell’s sound is predominantly an influence of old-fashioned hard-rock (from that golden age of 1968 to 1973) focussing on hammering riffs, but with the “can do” essence of NWOBHM. Loud as you want and sometimes louder, singer and guitarist Johnny Gorilla is forged of purloined riffs, sweat and denim, just don’t approach him during one of his mid-solo trances as he wields that axe like a whirlwind, and you’ll end up worse-off than a victim of Pete Townsend’s onstage rage. The Shovell’s newest arrival is their drummer, the enigmatic Serra Petale (all the way from Perth, Australia “g’day”) who’d sooner rip a 3-piece kit to splinters than to eat, sleep, breathe etc – “the Perth pulveriser” is the band’s heartbeat, albeit beating somewhat erratically and dangerously heavy most of the time. Louis Wiggett plays lead bass, spends more time in the air and provides a deep growl to underpin the Shovell onslaught.
 
Following 2019’s prophetic Very Uncertain Times album and a European tour with Japanese doomrockers Church of Misery, the Shovell was effectively moth-balled in a mass of greasy “lockdown” cotton wool, but will re-emerge in 2021 with a track on a forthcoming tribute album (a tribute to Alice Cooper’s Killer album on Pale Wizard Records, no doubt).
 

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