Suffolk punk band set for stardom

PUNK band Thee Vicars look destined for stardom.

Will Clarke

PUNK band Thee Vicars look destined for stardom.

Despite failing to win a Suffolk battle of the bands contest and hiring a manager with no experience the group of Bury St Edmunds teenagers have their sights set on becoming the next Sex Pistols or Buzzcocks after clinching a record deal and a national music prize.

Lee Sullivan became manager of the Thee Vicars - Mike Whittaker, 18, 16-year-old Reuben Kemp, Marcus Volkert and Will Pattenden, both 17, - after he saw them at the BurySound band competition last year.

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And within a year they are being compared to early Buzzcocks and are playing Camden's Barfly tomorrow.

The 33-year-old novice manager, also from Bury, said: “I asked them whether they'd got a manager and if not could I have the job? I'd never done anything like it before but I thought they were good and they needed to get more gigs.

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“I had kept an eye on them for some time and I thought they needed to get to London. Since then it has been really busy and they are booked up all over the country right up until May and we just keep adding dates.

“It has been quite a surprise - some bands take five years to reach this stage. I am really lucky to be there manager and I have been going to some great gigs.”

The busy band's workload is currently being juggled with A-levels.

In March, the band released a limited edition vinyl, Let Us Play, closely followed by signing up to Dirty Water Records and the release of their song Don't Try to Tell Me.

In April, they won Best Punk Ska act at the Indy Music Awards, where they supported and were presented with their prize by the band. They followed that success by joining the summer festival circuit.

October brought their first album release, Back on the Streets. Their latest video was filmed on location at Moreton Hall, Bury, and the band is set to make appearances on MTV and Sky over the next few weeks.

Guitarist Marcus Volkert said: “It has been great fun - I never thought it would become as big as this. I am not packing in my studies just yet but it is very exciting.

“We never even thought we would turn up for practice but we just did and the songs came out.”

Click here to hear the band in action

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