If you’ve never heard of THE CONTROLS then you’re far from alone – even those with a healthy interest in Scotland’s music scene know very little, if anything, about them.
At the time of writing, The Controls are so new they have no official band photos and no custom website or MySpace page – so how did this group of four teenagers from Glasgow sign a major record deal with Columbia last month before they’d even played their first gig?
Perhaps the answer lies in their background. Guitarist Andy O’Neill and bass player Johnny Madden are both former members of a much-touted band called Young States (with whom Johnny was the frontman).
However, the ace in The Controls’ pack would appear to be singer/guitarist/lyricist Jack Jones, who is no stranger to the limelight having enjoyed starring roles as an actor under the name of Jack McElhone, appearing in movies such as Young Adam, Dear Frankie (for which he was nominated for a BAFTA Scotland award) and Nowhere Boy. Drummer Connaire McCann completes the line-up.
The Controls’ first ever gig, at Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree on November 15, was one of 17 dates in support to The View on a month-long tour of the UK, during which the rookie group fleshed out their sets by throwing in a cover of 20th Century Boy.
The sound of T.Rex, in fact, is a decent indication of the style of music they play. The one track the Glaswegians have made public, the thoroughly enjoyable retro stomp of Hey Jackie, suggests The Controls have designs on ushering in a revival of Buddy Holly-esque rock ‘n’ roll.
While most new bands face an indefinite slog just trying to get noticed by the music industry, The Controls have had no such trouble, thanks in no small part to the influence of James Endeacott, the man who signed The Strokes and The Libertines.
Frontman Jack told The Pop Cop: “We’ve just been very lucky. James Endeacott is the A&R for The View and he heard us and liked us. Initially, we were only given four dates on The View tour but then they heard us and liked us too, so between The View, their manager Grant Dickson and James we ended up doing basically the full tour, which was fantastic as we couldn’t have asked for a better band or nicer guys to do our first tour with.
“Although The Controls is a new band, and mine and Connaire’s first ever, Johnny and Andy have been in bands together since they were 12, so they already knew a few people and things just went very quickly. Sometimes for some bands that just happens and you just go with it. You don’t stop and think, ‘This is happening too fast’ or anything – you just enjoy it.”
*UPDATE: In March 2011, The Controls changed their name to Jack Townes to avoid conflicts with other bands with the same name.
The Controls – Hey Jackie
January 7, Captain’s Rest, Glasgow