Shatner first emerged in 2004 and has popped in and out of existence ever since. The current line-up has been together since 2015 and are Jim Bower (guitars, singing, song writing), Rick Bower (bass, occasional singing), Paul Morricone (guitar), Anthony Sargeant (drums and singing) and Sarah Niven (singing and percussion).

Jim was kind enough to answer a few questions, here’s what he had to say. 

How did you all meet?
Me and Rick are brothers, so we have known each other for many years, we were part of the original Shatner back in 2003.
We met Sarah and Paul during the heady days of the Leeds music scene in the noughties.
Sarah became a fan of the band and offered her services as backing vocalist around 2006. I was a fan of Paul’s band The Scaramanga Six, turns out the feeling was mutual so in 2014 Paul volunteered his services on turbo guitar. The most recent recruit was drummer Ant, who was a former Scaramanga Six drummer recruited by Paul.
We all live in West Yorkshire and consider ourselves natives of the area, though none of us were actually born here!
It’s not a very exciting answer, if you want a daft and more entertaining response, why not say that we all beamed down to earth by accident

Who were your musical influences growing up?
I am old – I was a kid in the 1970s! The first bands that really excited me were the glam rock bands, Sweet, Slade, T Rex and Sparks. Punk was a major era, I loved the Pistols and Clash but more so the melodic punks especially the Buzzcocks, Jam and Magazine.

What made you want to be in a band?
In the 1970s and 80s it was the coolest thing anyone could do – maybe it still is. Even so, I don’t think I would have picked up a guitar without punk – the whole DIY ethos was inspirational. Suddenly you didn’t need to be a virtuoso musician to get up on a stage and do something – you only needed a couple of chords and enough nerve.

What has been your best/worst gig?
Shatner’s best gigs are usually our album launch nights where we go the extra mile and put on extra visuals and so on.
Most bands who have been around a bit have many terrible gig experiences. Usually a terrible gig means you have travelled a long way or put a lot of effort in only to find the venue is awful and there’s nobody there. This has happened more times than I care to mention!

Can you tell us a bit about your music?
This year we released our fourth album “Enlightenmental” via a pledge campaign. It felt like a bit of a risk crowdfunding it but the pledge was oversubscribed, which was great! We chose two tracks to make videos for, “Heterosapien” and “We Go Woo”.
We are hard to categorise, which works against us in a world divided up into genres. I guess we have most in common with the more musical punk and post-punk bands and I’m always careful to tread a line on intelligence, meaning we don’t dumb down but we don’t preach or over intellectualise. We are also a serious band but we can’t resist the occasional joke. We’re relatively old but we’ve got
more ideals and integrity than many young bands who are careerist. I guess we’re a mass of
contradictions!

Describe your music in 3 words.
Genius – that’s it.

What makes your band stand out from others?
I honestly think we have better songs than most other bands I hear – although I am of course biased, and I write according to my own tastes. In my opinion we have better tunes and more interesting lyrics – at least, that’s the plan!

What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
We’ve just had a period of relatively high activity with the album launch. For the immediate future we will do sporadic gigs here and there, and various side projects. During the ‘Enlightenmental’ recording sessions we recorded a load of live tracks which may see the light of day. Also there are plans for more videos, and we’ve got some behind the scenes stuff happening, we now have representation of sorts, various opportunities being discussed. Then we start the next album cycle rehearsing new songs. It never ends!

If your band had to be remembered for one thing apart from your music what would you want it to be?
My lyrics.

Any gig’s coming up?
At the moment just one, we are playing an Oxjam event at Sowerby Bridge on 13th October.

By Siân Parker

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