Knavesmire will be jumping to the sounds of ska tomorrow as Buster Bloodvessel brings Bad Manners to York as part of AIR2003. The man mountain singer tells CHARLES HUTCHINSON why he's not about to stop after 27 years.

BAD Manners spent 45 weeks in the British singles chart in 1980, second only to fellow ska revivalists Madness. That may have been the height of Bad Manners - a title later given to their hits compilation - but Buster Bloodvessel's fun-loving London band are still serving up their Special Brew.

Tomorrow they play AIR2003, the York open-air music and arts festival, hopefully Walking In The Sunshine on Knavesmire, in an hour-long set from 5.30pm.

"I really like York," says Buster, or Doug - as the man mountain born Douglas Trendle on September 6, 1958 now prefers to be known. "I remember camping in York when I was 17 and thinking what a beautiful place it was. I know a lot of people say that but it really is true.

"I love the city of York and I like Yorkshire people: I find them to be better than the Lancashire opposition. It's just that Lancashire people aren't quite so honest. There I go, starting the Wars Of The Roses again!"

Bad Manners were once part of the furniture on the festival circuit but had decided to concentrate on smaller club shows until an invitation to play the Guildford Festival two years ago made them think again.

"We blew everyone away that day and thought 'Right, let's do festivals again!'," says Doug.

"Last year we made a concerted effort to play more festivals as we always go down very well. You find that what happens with festivals is that people book acts who've had a few hits but don't really cut the mustard live, whereas we've been around for a long time, we're 27 years down the line and we know how to make people dance and smile."

So much so that Bad Manners have plans for a new touring show, when Buster Bloodvessel goes to the circus.

"We hope to do Buster's Big Top next year, taking it around the country, putting on different bands in different areas to appeal to the people there, and there'll be local bands too," he says. "We would have clowns, tightrope walkers, jugglers, the lot, and then we'd do the finale."

Ideally Buster's Big Top would be on the road from May through to the summer holiday season. "I just want to be advertised in chip shops and shoe shops," says Doug, suddenly feeling nostalgic for the old days of entertainment.

Now 44, Doug has never lost his enthusiasm for performing since his schooldays debut.

"I started singing when I was at Woodberry Down Comprehensive School in North London, playing with some mates who've been in Bad Manners all the way through, and some teachers, which was quite strange," he says.

"But my second gig was even stranger. That was at Stonehenge in front of all these hippies at 12 o'clock, and they didn't really want to hear the music at that time of day. So I sat eating this cheese and pickle sandwich and singing the blues at the same time. It was such a mad sight people came out in their droves."

New experiences still arise.

"We've just done The Wicker Man Festival in Scotland, where they burn the straw man. We were playing the day after that and it was raining, so everyone was in the pub - I don't blame them! - but suddenly 4,000 turned up out of nowhere to watch our set," says Doug. "I walked out on stage and the rain stopped just like that, and then it started again as soon as we stopped."

Buster Bloodvessel was ever the showman, and he still is, and so Bad Manners continue to be in demand. "We still love playing live and while we still enjoy it, the band will always stay together," says Doug.

Bad Manners are still recording too. Last year they put together not one but ten albums and worked on an 11th too. "It's unbelievable. We recorded 11 records and we didn't start recording until June, and then I got meningitis in November and died. We still got the albums done, doing the final mixes in January."

The ten albums form The Ultimate Bad Manners Collection, released through the band's own label, Bad Records, as a box set at £39 or individually at £10 each.

"It's a box set with themes," says Doug, starting to run through the list. "We've done Alcohol, Sex, Skinheads, Fat, Food, Cowboys, Football, Crooners, Rock and er... Girls, that's the other one."

The box set has proved so popular, the initial pressing has sold out, but new stock will be available from September.

"On each record there are loads of cover versions, Bad Manners songs from before and new songs," says Doug. "It became obvious to me we had to do it because we had fat songs and songs that leant themselves to a football theme, and we thought 'Why don't we mix them together on their own albums?'."

Give us an example, Doug.

"On the Fat record we've got things like Lip Up Fatty, You Fat B******, Who Ate All The Pies and 29 Stone Cowboy," he says, bursting into his spoof cover of Rhinestone Cowboy.

In tomorrow's set on Knavesmire, the likes of Lip Up Fatty, Special Bew, Walking In The Sunshine and Ne-Ne-Na-Na-Na-Nu-Nu will be bolstered by Buster Bloodvessel's crooning rendition of Can't Take My Eyes Off You - "It just goes mental when we do the brass bit" - and Deep Purple's Black Night, done the irrepressible Bad Manners ska way.

Doug reckons there is life aplenty in his band. Indeed that 11th album project begun last year could see them branching out into new territory.

"It's a self-written project involving different styles of music but all with ska in them. It's like club ska: today's beats mixed with old-fashioned ska," says Doug. "It's not finished yet as there are lots of artists who want to be on it, which means it won't be out till next year."

What's more, "It doesn't sound like Bad Manners," says Doug. "So we're doing it as a different project where we won't call it a Bad Manners record." After Ne-Ne-Na-Na-Na-Na-Nu-Nu, here's Ne-Ne-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-New-New.

Bad Manners plays AIR2003, Knavesmire, York, tomorrow from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.

Listings for AIR2003


Main Stage

1.40pm-2.10pm: Morgan 4

2.20- 2.50: 5 Finger Discount

3-3.30: Syncrownized

3.40-4.10: Dust Bowl Central

4.30-5: Bodixa

5.30-6.30: Bad Manners

7-7.45: Lynchpin

8.15-9.15: Colour of Fire

9.45-10.45: The Yards


2.40-3.30: Julie Ellison & Guitar Workshop

3.40-4.10: Dave Vermond

4.30-5: Bherman

5.30-6: Just Jon

6.15-6.45: Jessie Gardham

7-8: Dan Webster Band

8.15-9: Ade Spendlow

9.15-10.15: Hall Brothers


Main Stage

1.20-1.50: The Xenith Sound

2-2.30: TBC

2.40-3.10: The Stanleys

3.20-3.50: Hardwired

4-4.30: AKp

4.45-5.15: Gabriel

5.30-6.15: Chunky Butt Funky

6.30-7.30: Huge

7.45-8.45: The Hamsters

9.15-10.15: The Animals and Friends


1.10-1.40: Five Small Ponies

1.50-2.20: The Beatniks

2.30-3: Dean St John

3.10-3.40: Patrick Smith

4-4.30: Dom Loone

4.45-5.30: Andy Curry

5.45-6.15: Dan Webster

6.30-7.15: Mike Newsham

7.30-8.15: Becky Mills

8.30-9.30: Baz Warne

Updated: 10:13 Friday, July 25, 2003