Mark Goldsworthy assumes you are familiar with his band, Eagulls because of the rather controversial letter frontman George Mitchell posted on the band’s website earlier this year. Oh, you haven’t heard about the letter?
Back in January, Mitchell wrote an open letter—which has since been taken down, but is still very much available through Google —addressed to “all beach bands,” that in no uncertain terms lets them know he isn’t a fan. This sentiment is probably most clear in the line, “F*** you and all your mums and dad that pay for you to ‘do the band full time.'”
While many revel in calling out those assumed to be privileged bands who are partial to afro beats, many on the Internet had a bone to pick with one of Mitchell’s comments, which seemed to imply that female musicians have it easier than male ones. The line in question being, “You become known to the music industry heads due to the fact that you are girls or have girls in your band. If you can’t have a girl in your band (your golden ticket/head start) then you will just dress one of your members up as one.”
Goldsworthy, who founded the band with drummer Henry Ruddel in 2009, says he was there when Mitchell wrote it. “It wasn’t a contrived thing,” he explained to Radio.com. “We were just at work and really bored, and he just started saying ‘I’m going to write this manifesto.’ I was like, ‘Oh whatever.’ He’s a bit weird and always doing stuff like that.”
After Mitchell was done writing, Goldsworthy, who goes by the nickname “Goldy,” read it over and says he agreed with some of the sentiments, but not enough to put his name on it. In fact, his name appears on the handwritten note with a very large X drawn through it. “I don’t think he explained himself very well so I can understand why people would misinterpret it,” Goldsworthy said. “He left it too open to judgment.”
Goldsworthy wasn’t surprised by the attention it got, but wishes people would have just come right out and asked Mitchell to explain himself instead of blogging about it. “People just made the assumptions that he’s a chauvinist or a classist because it’s easier to just have an opinion then get the truth,” he said.
The truth is, Eagulls are a five-piece based in Leeds, England that make melodic, but rather angry post-punk rock that is fueled by their current lot in life. “When we were just kids attending university we were writing more optimistic songs. We all had high hopes,” Goldsworthy explained. “And now we’re all sort of in the real world, going to jobs that we hate. We’re a lot more cynical now.”
All five guys work full-time at local bars and shops to make enough money to get by since music currently isn’t paying the bills. Their work schedules don’t make it easy to tour, but it is possible. “You have to keep on good terms with your manager,” Goldsworthy said. Their appearance at this year’s SXSW actually ended up being a bidding war between several record companies. The band ended up signing with the indie label Partisan Records, home to Deer Tick and the Dismemberment Plan.
Cynics, they may be, but their music is becoming a battle cry for those who also hate working their terrible minimum wage jobs. Their upcoming self-titled debut, out March 14, was written nearly a year ago and addresses their real life experience growing up working class and living in an industrial town that time hasn’t been too kind to.
“When you’re in Leeds, you know you’re in Leeds,” Goldsworthy said, very matter-of-factly. “The area’s been sort of forgotten about and it doesn’t get any money so there’s just this harshness to it.”
The first song they ever released, “Council Flat Blues,” tackled the seedier side of where they live, and the first single off their debut, “Tough Luck,” sort of picks up where that one left off with Mitchell drunkenly slurring that everything isn’t going to be alright–probably, ever.
But even though Goldsworthy doesn’t see any love songs in their future, he swears they’re really not a band of misanthropes.
“If you meet us and speak to us, then we’re pleasant people,” he explained. “We write when we just finish work, everyone’s a bit pissed off and that is sort of how the songs start out. But we’re happy we have music to help get us through our s*** jobs.”