ANARCHISTS/sell-outs. Hippies/Folkies. Fashionable/unfashionable. Brilliant/F*****g terrible.
These are just some of the compliments/insults that have been levelled at folk-punk band The Levellers over the years.
This lot have always divided the music press right down the middle, which is just fine by them, according to frontman Mark Chadwick.
“Who cares about their opinions?” says the singer. “At the time we started out the triumvirate of Sounds, NME and Melody Maker were very powerful. I saw too many bands created and then destroyed by them.
“We still keep them at arm’s length,” he adds. “It’s a poisonous business and false.
Formed in a Brighton boozer in 1988, the band hooked up through a mutual love of beer and left-wing politics. Their raucous, alcohol-fuelled, fiddle-led, hedonistic attitude towards music quickly won them an army of admirers. And it wasn’t long before the band, whose hits include One Way, 15 Years and Far From Home, were headlining Glastonbury stages and festivals around the world.
Eventually, their debut album – 1990’s A Weapon Called The Word – would achieve platinum status and come the mid-Nineties, the term ‘crusty’ had changed from something you’d associate with bread, to describing the band’s scruffy-looking aesthetic.
But, as musical trends come and go, The Levellers are still packing in the crowds – as will be evidenced when they celebrate 25 years in the music business at the Liquid Room tomorrow night.
“The music industry has changed, but we’ve stayed the same,” muses Chadwick. “We’ve stuck to our guns and always will do.
“We’re like Marmite; people seem to love us or hate us.”
The Levellers, Liquid Room, Victoria Street, tomorrow, 7pm, £22, 0131-225 2564