Skinhead legends The Templars have long been renowned for their boot- stomping, skull crushing lo- fi sound. I caught up with integral member and drummer Phil Templar to talk about his career in The Templars and his views on the Skinhead scene!
BBM: Ok, firstly, why did you choose to name your band after a group of Christian mercenaries?
Phil: The Templars were warriors fighting to protect those wanting to head to the holy land, basically crossing- guards with weapons and with more power than the Pope or the Church! Jealousy was the reason for the Church’s treachery and the suppression the Templars faced... they were pawns used by organized religion. Simple answer: We were history buffs!
BBM: You've been known to cover a couple of hits by the controversial and divisive band Skrewdriver. Have you ever come under fire for this? Is this something you worry about?
Phil: Haha! That didn't take long! We've covered a lot of "hits" by bands; Red Alert, Cockney Rejects, Major Accident, Angelic Upstarts, The Oppressed e.t.c. We took two songs and added the word "black" to it ‘coz we have two black members (myself being one of ‘em!) and I guess that totally erased all the good we've done in the past like playing anti-racist shows, AIDS benefits and having antiracist lyrics and other songs about vital social issues in our country! It's ok for bands like Jew Driver to get away with playing entire sets of Ian Stuart Donaldson’s music but making it kosher! Good for them though. Worry about it? Nah... that was in the past- some people get the joke and know we don't do that anymore. Obviously some didn't get the joke or memo or whatever... I'll state it again for the mentally challenged out there: we've always been antiracist in our music and message! Just guilty of making some bad choices of cover songs!
BBM: Why do you think people are so sensitive about the whole Skrewdriver issue – even regarding their pre- Nazi career?
Phil: Skeletons in the closet maybe? Bad personal experiences with National Front or British Movement types? Couldn't tell you. What I think is that if people had more control of their scene instead of backstabbing each other White Power idiots wouldn't be so nonchalant in displaying their racist ideals at concerts... I mean get serious; I'm walking around Rebellion in Blackpool, UK and there’s people just walking around without a care in the world wearing White Law shirts and you wanna harp on about a Yank band with two black members that did "Black With A Bang" years ago? Sounds like pussy shit to me!
BBM: What do you think about politics in punk in general?
Phil: Love Music, Hate Politics, Hate Racism! Personal politics are exactly that; personal! So keep it to yourself and out of music and there shouldn't be a problem!
BBM: Do you hold any political persuasion outside the band?
Phil: I hate the news- I hate politics in general- there’s no one you can trust! To be a politician you have to be lower than the belly of a snake! You have to do what it takes to get into office and if that means lie, they will and do lie to people. In voting you’re basically picking the lesser of two or three evils depending upon the number of people running!
BBM: The Templars have long been characterised by their low- budget sound but in recent years, notably on albums such as "Outremer", this hasn't been as much of a focus. Why the change?
Phil: The Last Resort's first record was recorded on a four track... most of the stuff recorded on “Raw”, “Chiswick” and similar labels and all the old bands we listened to used lo-fi style recordings. We choose that sound on purpose, we've done hi-production styled recordings before- anyone can do that! But when they play live they can't incorporate all the special effects they used to beef up their sound! We just keep it real. If you want the thirty- two or sixty- four track sound for Oi! music then chuck all your records out and listen to Slayer!
BBM: Which bands have influenced your sound the most?
Phil: Cock Sparrer, The Clash, The Last Resort, The Jam, The Who, Menace, 4- Skins, Count Bishops, Small Faces, Angelic Upstarts, Red Alert and many others- quite a lot of French & Italian Oi!/Punk bands too.
BBM: If you could summarise the Skinhead lifestyle in five words what would they be?
Phil: Street-Smart, Music, Style, Violence, Friendship.
BBM: Why is the Skinhead scene so paramount to your life?
Phil: Probably ‘coz I've been doing it more than half my life!
BBM: What do you dislike about the Skinhead scene?
Phil: The shit going on now- especially on the inter-nerd. Witch-Hunts conducted by scared pussies who don't go to gigs, just click away at keyboards spreading lies and rehashing a band’s past while totally ignoring the message they spread today, blowing shit out of proportion based on exaggerated lies or half- truths. These people need to go see a concert, get some fresh air and leave their Mum's basement for once and make decisions about a band from seeing them first hand! If you don't like something, do something! Some folks even run to the police and cause more problems! Running to the police is the worst shit you can do ‘coz they're just another enemy! A.C.A.B !
BBM: How do you feel about the way the media has portrayed "your kind"?
Phil: I don't give a fuck- they're gonna lie no matter what! My true friends and our fans know what we are about.
BBM: I read somewhere that there is a correlation between The Templars as a project and your academic interests. Is there any truth in this?
Phil: Nope. No correlation... we were in the band before pursuing our career goals. We were musicians- in- hiding until we mustered up enough courage to overcome stage fright!
BBM: Obviously, with a name like The Templars, the iconography you utilise is very crusade- centred. Are you religious, out of interest?
Phil: I was brought up religious but as with most people finding hypocrisy in organized religion made me turn away from it. I was brought up a Roman Catholic, the same denomination that hides and protects paedophiles by relocating them to another city so they can victimize other kids! No thanks. History buffs is what we are!
BBM: Are there any plans to crusade any time soon in the UK?
Phil: Hopefully- if the right promoter steps up. We've been talking to someone over there so stay tuned, folks!
BBM: If there was anything about the Punk/Skinhead scene you could change today what would it be?
Phil: Better pay & catering for the bands! Haha! Seriously? Less backstabbing and more people being men instead of hiding behind avatars on a social network. If you want your scene back from the idiots then take it back by force if you have to! The "enemy" has no problem speaking with fists and feet, so why should you? Deus Vult 1992-2012.