We caught up with frontman Al Kershaw of ace five-piece rock & roll outfit The Computers to talk nice wristwear, Suedehead style and Little Richard...

Words By Harry Harris

We have to admit that we're at that stage in life where, when we go to gigs, we either turn up late to avoid the support acts or arrive on time, ignore 'em and head for the bar instead. It's bad practice, we know, but with some support acts they sound like they're just a mate of the roadie or some blokes that just happened to turn up with a drum-kit and some rubbish guitars.

However, recently we saw The Computers opening for another rock and roll band, and though we’d never heard of them prior to the show, we came out total converts.

Five blokes from Exeter in burgundy suits, with matching quiffs that’d make Elvis blush, hollering at the audience like a Gospel revival and playing intense, energetic, brilliantly crafted rock and roll.

At the fulcrum of this experience (and it was an experience) was front man Al Kershaw, one of the best band leaders we’ve seen in a long time. We caught up with him to talk Suedeheads, rock and roll and why Britpop is still as important as ever.

So Al, The Computers’ sound used to be a lot heavier, why the change to rock and roll?
The music we make now is the music we want to make, this is the band we always wanted to be, but when we started I didn’t really know how to write those songs y’know? So we made music that was like the music we were surrounded by, which was really hardcore. Now we’re essentially a rhythm & blues/soul band, but still with those hardcore elements. If you came to see us opening for a soul band, we’d probably seem really intense and really different, but if you saw us opening for a proper hardcore band, we’d seem pretty tame by comparison!

And which front men have inspired your style on stage?
I’m channelling the spirit of Little Richard! Funnily enough, every night I tell myself I’m going to take it easy, but it never comes out that way on stage.

So who were the first band you listened to?
Well you gotta remember I’m pre-internet, so the first music we listened to was our parents’ music in the car y’know? But the first band that I really felt was mine was, weirdly, Oasis, and that whole Britpop scene. It all felt like it was meant for me, and made me wanna drink copious cans of Stella, which I promptly started doing!

And how about what you’re listening to now?
I listen to music everyday man, I consider it my job to know what’s out there. I’ve been really into the latest album by The Roots, who’re a great hip-hop band. I like Sam Smith too, the sound of 2014 nominee, but he’s been around for a while now, I remember hearing his stuff a while back and thinking he sounded great. That’s good management though, they musta kept him back until he could make the biggest impact, which could be this year.

How would you describe your look?
We kinda style ourselves as 70s Suedeheads, which is kinda like skinhead fashion – like This Is England – but with longer hair and big quiffs. Even This Is England, the style in that era, was a resurgence, rather than the original incarnation of it. But yeah, our look is quite formal, coloured socks weirdly, tie pins, big quiffs, that sorta thing.

Who do you think married style and music best?
Punk did it the best, it was a fashion scene as much as it was a music scene, those kinda things always go hand in hand. People forget The Clash never used to dress like that before they were in The Clash, they were incredible.

And how about now, can you still have that marriage of style and music on a large scale?
Now it’s harder to have the marriage because there’s so much out there, so it’s like, because of the internet, all this music and all this fashion all at once. It’s kinda annoying because you get things you’re into appropriated on a really surface level y’know? But at the same time, at least those kinda things are being talked about...and anyway you can always spot the fakes.

What’s your favourite item of clothing?
I’ve got a 1943 Rolex that I love. It’s totally not bling, it’s really understated, and it goes with everything. It’s hard to explain, but you wear it, and you feel powerful. I love that. I’ve got a lot of rare Fred Perry gear too, a white monkey jacket that’s somewhere between a Harrington and a Boating jacket, which was really hard to find.

The Computers album “Love Triangles, Hate Squares” is out now

Get yourself a nice berry-colour suit like The Computers boys here!