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2024
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2025
UK
29-30 MarScarborough Punk Festival, ScarboroughTickets

Features

Fan Focus – Rich Stevenson

In this fan focus, we quiz Sheffield lad Rich Stevenson about his history with the band. He’s a familiar face at the band’s gigs and also does the techy stuff behind the scenes on their website…

Name?

Rich Stevenson

Date of birth/Age?

55

Hometown?

The People’s Republic of Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Current home?

UK Grid reference SK 32291 80336

How did you hear of The Vapors first?

Around 1981, a friend of mine entered a local radio competition where the winning prize was a random selection of 50 singles. After winning, he invited me over to help sort through the singles, and he allowed me to keep any that he wasn’t interested in. While my friend held onto singles by artists like Queen and Bowie, I ended up with singles from less popular artists such as The Smurfs, Boney M, and the Brotherhood of Man.

It was always going to be a tough choice between The Smurfs or the Vapors

Upon arriving home, I began sorting through the singles, throwing the majority into the bin until I stumbled upon a single by a band I hadn’t heard of before News at Ten by The Vapors.

I decided to listen to the single and was immediately hooked. To my surprise, the b-side featured two more brilliant tracks – Wasted and Talk Talk.

That same afternoon, I took a bus into town to hunt down anything I could find by the Vapors and returned with a copy of Turning Japanese.

Time’s Gonna Make You a Man Someday

When did you first see them live?

The first time I saw the band live was in November 2016 at the Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton.

I wasn’t fortunate enough to see them the first time around but when I did end up seeing them, I was lucky enough to be able to meet the band at the sound check, which made the day even more special.

New Clear Days or Magnets?

Both are excellent albums, but Magents just pips it for me.  The album sleeve artwork always fascinated me and I used to study it for hours while listening to the album on repeat.

Favourite Vapors track?

I have always struggled to choose a favorite Vapors track. In my opinion, the band has never played or recorded a bad song.

I’ve always thought the band was great at crafting songs around memorable hooks, whether through lyrics or catchy guitar or bass riffs.

If I had to choose a track off the top of my head, I would probably go with Civic Hall. It was one of the first songs I learned when I started playing the guitar.

Aftershow in Portmeirion, 2019

Best time you’ve seen them?

Another hard question to answer, it’s hard to pinpoint a specific gig.

Nowadays I tend to listen to the sound levels of the band, rather than the performance, and the overall sound is usually down to the venue’s sound engineer, rather than the band themselves. 

One of the recent gigs that stood out for me was the Aldershot gig, although I did listen to the majority of the gig from the side of the stage rather than from the main hall, I thought the band sounded really good.

Best Vapors moment/memory?

My fondest memory would have to be the trip over to New York where I celebrated my 50th birthday while watching the band live and hanging out with friends.

Hopes for the future of the band?

Hopefully, the band will continue to record more new material and continue touring.  It would be amazing to fly back to the States and see the band headline a few dates while there.

Lunch in Little Italy, NYC with the Vapors and friends, 2018

Other favourite bands?

When I first started listening to music I got quite heavily into Ska, Blue Beat, and 2 Tone. I was listening to artists such as Madness, The Specials, The Selecter, Bad Manners, Prince Buster, as well as a lot of Jamaican Ska and Rocksteady. 

As my music tastes began to diversify and I started to attend gigs more frequently, I started to listen to different genres of music ranging from punk to indie and a lot of electronic music.

Skimming through my vinyl collection I often revisit bands like Midnight Oil, The Smiths, Gene, The Housemartins, and the Primitives to just name a few.

More recently I have been listening to the Lottery Winners, a band I would certainly recommend going to see live.

Thanks to Rich for answering our questions & his ongoing help with the website. Cheers

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