The Beatles remain at the top of the tree for Mike Wilton, guitarist and vocalist with The Standard Lamps who play Chichester’s Chichester Inn on Saturday, May 9 at 8.30pm.
“It’s difficult to describe our music,” says Mike. “It’s a mish-mash of all the music that we love. I am the writer, and I love all sorts of different music.
“But The Beatles have always been big for me. When I was a small kid, about five years old, I was obsessed with The Beatles and Stevie Wonder.
“With The Beatles, it’s the fact their melodies are very sing-able. I started off listening to the early Beatles, and it’s just classic pop. Some of the melodies are so irresistible, but when you get on to the later stuff, you just think ‘Wow!’ You start listening to something like Sgt Pepper, and it is still really sing-able, but you just know there is something really special going on here. It’s just always pushing the boundaries, but at the same time it is very accessible.”
The appeal with The Beatles is they always leave you wondering where they are going to go next, which is something Mike is keen to build in as The Standard Lamps start to contemplate their second album.
“I always like to have a new direction, but at the end of the day, I am the only writer at the moment, so it is whatever I come up with. But I definitely don’t like repeating myself. I have done the next album as an acoustic demo, and they are rock songs, blues, pop songs – though I would say it has got more of a bluesy front than before. That’s what people have always reacted to in the past, and I am really grateful to our fan base, but I always like to do something new.
“And I always like to think of an album as having two sides. You have got to be playing with the right intensity in the right places. I grew up on records. You take something like The Dark Side of the Moon, the way the first side ends, the way the second side starts. I love that, and that’s the kind of thing I want to apply.”
And the same with the final track. Mike cites The Beatles’ Revolver album.
“Who would have known they would finish with something like Tomorrow Never Knows? You hear that, and you are already thinking ‘What are they going to do next?’ The Beatles were always a different kettle of fish, but that’s the kind of thinking I like.”
In January 2014 The Standard Lamps supported the Wilko Johnson Band at their local venue, The Forum in Tunbridge Wells, which lead to supporting Wilko and Roger Daltrey at a one-off gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
Since then the band have been heavily in demand, supporting – among others –Norman Watt-Roy, Doña Oxford, Mark Morriss of The Bluetones, and Brother Strut at The Chichester Inn last November. Their biggest coup, however, was opening the first four dates of the British leg of The Who Hits 50 tour.
Joining Mike in the band are James Livett on bass and Matt Bennie on drums. Mike and James had been together in a band called The Reveals. Then in 2008 Mike took the decision that if he was going to get anywhere in the business, he had to start writing. He did a series of EPs under different names. One of them was called The Standard Lamps – a name they have now picked up for the band.
More details on thestandardlamps.com. Tickets on 01243 783185.