Hal Stokes, Sam Stokes, & Jamie Dawson - The Thieves

December 14, 2005

Photo Credit: Angela Monger

Tell me about your band and where you guys are from.

Hal: Our band is one of the finest bands in rock and roll music at the moment. We're called The Thieves and we're three English lads from Oxford. We're all school mates. Me and Sam are brothers and Jamie and I are old mates from Oxford. We just played in bands in Oxford for a long time together and somehow ended up in a band called The Thieves. In fact, we ended up in The Thieves because of Spinal Tap.

Oh no.

Jamie: We're going to blame this one on Spinal Tap. The story is actually very Spinal Tap. All of us guys were kicking around in different bands around Oxford and it's a very small town so everyone knows everyone. It's a lot like Austin, TX. A lot of musicians are there.

Hal: No cowboys.

Jamie: No cowboys.

Hal: Just somewhat punked out.

Jamie: They were in a band and they went through like what, seven drummers. None exploded on themselves.

Hal: They just couldn't keep up so they exploded.

Jamie: They had no drummer and there was a famous club in Oxford closing down and they wanted us to headline the last ever show. It was something called Your Song which is something where all the bands get together and they do cover songs in interesting ways or like funny ways.

Hal: One band did "Feed The World". It wasn't even Christmas.

Jamie: We thought it would be funny to get together as a three, actually it was a four piece with our guitar friend, as Spinal Tap and do it in wigs and spandex and the whole lot. Cucumbers down our pants.

Hal: I didn't need any.

Jamie: That's what he tells us. So we got together and it was an awesome night. It was really good fun. We had the crowd like "it's your fucking five minutes." We'd be saying all these lines from Spinal Tap. After that one of our mates in Oxford, he's a sound guy, he was running the club and said that we should get together and play music.

Hal: Then we moved to America six months after that and we kept on going through drummers.

Jamie: Another four or five ones probably.

Hal: We had another three drummers and then finally Jamie came back to America and joined the mission.

Where do you guys live?

Hal: Where we live now, pretty much in a van. Straight up, we do. We've got a house in Los Angeles. We haven't been home in about six months back where we live so mainly right now in a van but we're going back for Christmas. For three days we're back in L.A. and then we fly back to England. We're doing a show in Oxford on the 23rd and that will be our last one of the year.

Jamie: Then we come back to the States in February and do the whole thing over again the next year. There are some other little bits in the pipeline that sound really cool like maybe going to Japan and possibly Asia.

Hal: We might tour at that one place where we were in May if they get it booked.

Jamie: That would be awesome for us to do that. We met up with them in Toronto and had a very debauched night of rock and roll. It was great. We always party and get really fucked up. The club that we played at was called The Bovine Sex Club and they've got the record for the most Jaegar drank in North America. We know why. It's because they give bands like us bottles of it. We down them in a night. We were absolutely wasted. We had a good time.

I'm glad you guys have fun like that. Some bands I talk to tell me they don't do this, that, or the other. I ask them what they do for fun then.

Jamie: The only reason I'm sober is because I didn't get drunk last night.

Do you guys have a record out?

Hal: We have a record that came out on October 4th which is called Tales From The White Line which is out on Liquor and Poker Records. It's one of the best rock records out.

Jamie: Apparently it was given a 9 out 10 and it was called the best blues rock album of the year.

Hal: It got 9 out of 10 stars in the Alternative Press. We beat the maximum stars.

Jamie: That's what someone was telling us. We haven't seen it really.

Hal: We did the record with Chris Brown and we spent about six weeks with him. They're good songs.

Jamie: We did a lot of it at home. There's actually one track that we actually produced and recorded on our own completely in our own house. You wouldn't know the difference.

Hal: You don't have to spend thousands on a studio.

If you know what you're doing and you know what you want it to sound like.

Jamie: I think all of the vocals were done in our own house. Our own rehearsal studio in the garage.

Hal: Another great thing about the album even though it sounds pretty silly is the artwork. It's absolutely stunning. We got this Japanese artist. It's called Tales From The White Line so you can still picture the road and the white line on the road being ripped up and then under it, it says Alice In Wonderland. It's really neat.

One of the things I like about CDs is the artwork. I always check that out.

Jamie: I think that's right. That's one of the things we wanted to do with this record. It was kind of back to the basics. Back to the vinyl kind of artwork. Even though it's released on CD, it would give a vinyl feel. Me and Hal definitely love vinyl albums.

Hal: My dad had a big record collection. My dad would go "have you heard this song? Have you heard this song?"

I was listening to music before they came out with CDs so I have a lot of vinyl. Matter of fact I have Motley Crue's Shout At The Devil vinyl with the original pentagram artwork that they banned here because it had the pentagram on it.

Jamie: To stay up in the night for the past few days, we've been listening to conservative Christian radio.

Oh my God, is that a trip or what.

Hal: At five o'clock in the morning when you can't keep your eyes open, you turn that on and you're like what the hell? What are they so angry about?

Oh those people are so fucking insane. They say anything.

Jamie: There were these school shootings and they were blaming that on the fact that they didn't go to Sunday school anymore. That kids didn't go to Sunday school. They said they shouldn't ban guns from schools because the teachers won't be able to retaliate and shoot the guys who are shooting the kids.

Oh yeah, let's have gun fights in the classroom.

Jamie: That's really good logic right there. Don't ban guns from schools. Give more guns to people. We've had this discussion so many times with people.

Well, you know that's called population control.

Jamie: In the rest of the civilized world you have gun control. They've banned handguns.

Hal: America is the only civilized country in the western world that allows the general population to carry guns. There is no other country in the civilized world that allows that. I think that says something, right? It's only in this country where the average person carries a gun.

We also have the highest crime rate in the world. Any time someone gets pissed off at the neighbor or someone who committed a crime or Saddam Hussein, we just go off and kill people. That's our solution for everything. I personally think if people had more sex and smoked more pot, we'd be all right. World peace right there.

Hal: We've gotten political here.

That's all right. That seems to be the mainstay of most of my interviews. We have that crazy motherfucker in office.

Jamie: That Texan.

Actually he isn't a Texan. His family is from Connecticut and I'd like to send them back there.

Jamie: That's why I said it. We did a radio interview today and in the radio station there was big sticker saying "George W. Bush isn't a Texan."

His family is from New England. I'd like to send them back and build a big wall so they can't get back out.

Jamie: His family is very good business partners with the Bin Ladens. That was the only plane allowed out of America on September 11. That is fucked up.

I know. That was fucked up. They probably took Sammy Bin Laden with them if he was even alive at the time. The guy had kidney failure and was on dialysis. Can you imagine someone on dialysis hanging out in a cave? I guess caves in Afghanistan are wired for dialysis machines. Something else that gets me is he has 50 million fucking dollars and he lives in a cave? I wouldn't live in a fucking cave.

Jamie: Well, I don't know. The Bat cave is pretty fucking cool.

Yeah, things are pretty screwy. Welcome to America. Do you have a gun?

Hal: No, but I'm thinking of getting one. This place is weird. We heard this really weird story where these two guys were packing up their van after a show and one of them went indoors. The other one was packing it and this guy came up to him and shot him in the stomach about 10 times and the other guy came out and ran toward him. Now whenever we're packing up and someone comes up to us, we're always ready for the worst. We carry some weapons. Jamie has an air gun.

Yeah, I have that Club they came out with a long time ago to lock your steering wheel up with except I keep it to crack someone in the skull with if they think of fucking with me. That's what I have it for. You definitely have to have an equalizer under the seat because you never know. We've covered everything from records to politics to equalizers. Any other thoughts or comments?

Hal: I think everyone should have our record. Not that we'll make any money because we won't. The record company will make it. It's just so we get more rock and roll out there. We've got Destiny's Child and bloody 50 Cent to put up with. If people went out and bought more rock, don't steal it. Go buy it for Christ sake. We could get rid of 50 Cent and all that bullshit.

Smoke pot and have sex.

Hal: You could have sex and smoke pot to our record.

Jamie: That would make me a lot happier than I am right now.

Hal: Or if you're really sexy, you could have sex with me while smoking pot and listening to our record. If you're not that sexy, you can have sex with Jamie smoking pot and listening to our record.

In case people wonder why Sam didn't say much, he was nursing a violent hangover.

The Thieves