The 60s-influenced trio My Drug Hell played regular shows on the London scene between 1996 and 1999.

The group, which initially consisted originally of Tim Briffa on guitar and vocals, Paul Donnelly on bass and Joe Bultitude on drums, released their debut album, ‘This is My Drug Hell’ on Voltone International in 1996. With Bultitude’s departure, they, however, struggled with line-up problems and by the end of the 90s had disappeared.

My Drug Hell are now playing in a new line-up which, as well as Briffa, also consists of Dave Preston on guitar and Sebastian Kellig on drums. They are currently signed to the Leicester-based label For the Sake of the Song, who both re-released ‘This is My Drug Hell’ in late 2007, and have also put out My Drug Hell’s long awaited second album, ‘My Drug Hell’, which came out earlier this year.

Pennyblackmusic spoke to Tim Briffa about his group’s return.


PB : My Drug Hell played a lot of shows in London between 1996 and 1999. Why has there been such a long wait for ‘My Drug Hell 2’ ?

TB : There was a lot of shit that went down after the first one. The line up fell apart slowly and painfully. A second line-up took a while to form and, although we got on, it never really gelled. We kept recording and recording, but it just didn't groove. Luckily this line-up came together quickly, but it still took a bit of time to fully settle in.

PB : Are the songs on it recently written or have you been collecting them, as you had new songs in the set back in the 90s ?

TB : I’ve been accumulating them over time and tweaking here and there.

PB : Why the new line up ? Wasn't Paul Donnelly interested any more?

TB : I don't know if he was ever that interested to be honest. I think it was always more of a hobby for him.

PB : How long did it take to record and write the new album?

TB : In actual recording time maybe four months, but it was spread over a longer period squeezing in sessions where we could.

PB : Reviews so far have been great, especially in ‘NME’. Were you surprised by that ?

TB : I was surprised that ‘NME’ reviewed us at all. They ignored the first one- they were more interested in Menswear.

PB : Were there other bands in between?

TB : Not for me, but Dave Preston has played guitar in a few things and Seb Kellig plays cello and oud for a German/Yemini collective called the Yeah Yeah Men.

PB : You have written a play and a children’s book. Is that your day job now ?

TB : In a way. I’m working on a film script at the moment and I’ve got a few other half-finished things, but it's not a deliberate aim to be a writer. If I have an idea I just try to go with it and not let my lack of experience or ability get in the way.

PB : When did For the Sake of the Song label get involved ?

TB : About a year and a half ago.

PB : Was both the re-master of ‘This is My Drug Hell’ and a new album part of the same deal ?

TB Jenny, the label manager, suggested it and ,as the original was never mastered as such, I said “okay then.”

PB : How have the new gigs been going?

TB : I have a love/hate thing for gigs, mainly because of the sound which is usually way worse than what the audience gets. You're supposed to be up there giving it you're all when all you can hear is backing vocals and kick drum. But if the sound is okay and the planets are in alignment it can be great. We had one like that recently. I came offstage feeling like a golden god.

PB : So when is ‘My Drug Hell 3’ due then ?

TB : We already have two or three full tracks done and basic tracks for another five or six, so we’re not doing too badly. Like I say, getting the line-up to gel is the hard part. Now that’s done we can hopefully make up some lost time.

PB : The 1960s were great. Do you ever wish you were young then ?

TB : I used to, but then it dawned on me that the good part of the 60s was only about four or five years in total and after that no one played that stuff anywhere. Whereas there have been 60's nights going since about 1985, so in a way we're better served now.
PB : What other future plans do you have ?

TB : To record as much as possible and eat more fruit and nuts.

PB : Thank you.













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