Words and Photography by Em Marcovecchio
As I sit down to write this I’ve just returned from 3 nights on the road with Tugboat Captain. This ever-changing family of musicians departed on the silliest of tours, lasting 18 days and spreading far and wide across the UK; when I mean far and wide, they’ve been to Glasgow and down to Cornwall, quite literally as far and wide as the UK gets. I first met the band at their Bournemouth show where I proceeded to be thrown in the van (at my own will) and departed on the homeward stretch of this hilarious journey. Despite my adventure being short, I felt like these human beings were some of the most welcoming that I’ve ever met, opening their arms to me with warmth and tenderness. I felt like I’d known each member for months, despite the time we’d spent together being so short.
I proposed an interview with them whilst travelling; to set the scene we were rammed in a splitter van (half luggage/gear, half seats) surrounded by suitcases, bags, sleeping mats and way too many oranges, on the final leg from Ipswich to London. The band currently comprises of four members, Alex Sokolow (better known as Soks) on main vocals and guitar, Joshua Cobb on bass, Buddy Caderni on keys and bassoon (an absolute treat live) and their newest member Georgia Mancey on drums. Their driver Rob Humm is also one of the kindest and fun people and get’s a full on recommendation from me. Anyone who can drive a van smooth enough to edit photos whilst on the road with is a fat 10/10.
Here is the typed audio file which we recorded, I warn you, is something else.
Em: So I’m sat in a van, this obviously won’t be a podcast but here we go. Buddy wants to come up with the questions, so Buddy, what’s question no.1 for an interview with Tugboat Captain?
Buddy: Every time you go away on holiday, how many vacuum bags is the ideal amount to bring?
Em: *absolute laughter*
Soks: Am I answering this?? I like to bring, minimum three vacuum bags.
Soks: No!! Empty and large, to collect dead skin, I get a lot of dead skin.
Em: How have you guys found tour?
Soks: Fucking awesome, all my best friends are in the van.
Buddy: My best friend is the van.
Soks: I’ve made so many new friends and usually people don’t want to be friends with me unless I’m in a band, so being on tour means I make LOADS of new pals.
Buddy: Georgia has really enjoyed the babes.
Gee: I love the babes!!
Soks: Yeah tour is all about the babes.
Em: That’s obviously why you ordered four strippers last night.
Buddy: Ipswich escorts.
Soks: Are not the ones…
For context; the previous night we had stayed in Ipswich in an EasyHotel, which is one of the most strange hotel experiences I’ve ever had. There are no windows in the rooms, so you could be anywhere in the world and genuinely have no idea. We all overslept and missed checkout because of the lack of natural window light, however the beds were extremely comfortable.
Em: What has been your fave show?
Soks: Bristol was pretty rad.
Buddy: I really liked Hawaii.
Gee: I loved playing the coconuts.
Soks: Staithes, a tiny Yorkshire fishing village, that was pretty rad. I enjoyed Newcastle, you know what, I enjoyed all of them.
Buddy: You know London was popping, like we had this guy come on stage in a crab costume with the maracas, just like shaking away to these groovy samba rhythms. It was pretty fucking nuts.
Em: *wheezes* – Anything else you guys would like to add?
Josh: I want to make it clear that I am not a Copper.
Soks: I want you to ask us which member of the band is a cop, we’ve been wondering since the beginning. There is someone wearing a wire. Someone is a rat.
Em: Why do you think that?
Soks: I’m just convinced, someone in this van is wearing a wire. I think it is Buddy.
Josh: I want a call out for information.
Soks: I want to shout out how awesome Rob is really.
Gee: Can we start a chant for Rob?
TC: ROB ROB ROB ROB ROBBBBBBB!!!
This got pretty rowdy pretty quickly it has to be said. But anyone who can handle 4 of the largest but fun personalities for three weeks with no breaks deserves 3 million people chanting their name.
Soks: Rob is the man who drives our van and is so handsome and beautiful and so talented. He’s an angel.
Buddy: He plays in the band Rooskin which are also awesome.
Sox: He also has great dress sense.
Buddy: He is also great to cuddle.
Gee: And do not get me started on his socks.
So that’s what it’s like to spend three days in the back of a Ford Transit with Tugboat Captain. The conversation ebbs and flows between when the next service station is, to what fizzy drink and chocolate combination is the best. I remain firm that a Diet Coke and a Dairy Milk Crunchie can fix any long term problem. Thanks for having me TC and I look forward to more service station adventures soon.