Interview with psychedelic power pop trio The Lemontops
The Lemontops are a sweet fusion of psychedelic power pop hailing from Middlesbrough consisting of Mark Sells (Guitars/Vocals), Mark Robson (Bass/Vocals) and Mick Christon (Drums)
They have been together for several years, released two albums and performed at almost every city in the UK. They’re also considered veterans when it comes to performing at March Of The Mods events having been confirmed as having the most performances at the events across the country. We are honoured to welcome them to our March Of The Mods event in Stoke 2022. Read More below
Introduce the band and tell us how you formed and when?
Myself and Mark Robson have known each other for over 40 years as we were both bass players in bands in the early 80s and my brother introduced us as he thought we were both from different planets haha. As we both can play various instruments we did some stuff together throughout the 80s which led to us experimenting with recording in the 90s. I had by this time stopped playing in bands due to work commitments but Robbo was still in various bands most notably Jarvis Humby. By the early 2000’s we were recording again and did a lot of demos which formed the basis of our first EP Girl and album Listen To Me. The band really formed by accident in 2009 as Robbo was still playing live in club bands and one of his bands which were due to rehearse who were already called The Lemontops ( a name I really dislike actually) did not turn up apart from the drummer and Robbo. A quick phone call to me to ask me to come down to use the rehearsal space as it was already paid for and we did some songs we had already demo’d. and it took off from there. We were going to swap instruments between bass and guitar but we decided it would be easier if I played guitar and Robbo stuck to bass.
Biggest musical Influence and inspiration?
I was always into music as a little child even according to my mum. She said i was content just listening to the radio in the mid 60’s where most of my influences lie. However my biggest influences are The Beatles, Paul Weller, and The Sex Pistols. It was the Pistols at 14 in 1977 that made me get off my arse and learn to play an instrument.
The album “Listen To Me” was released in 2014 and your most recent “Pop Art” in 2018. When can we expect more releases?
We had changed drummers just before the pandemic hit and I have had a few health issues so it has set us back a little. However we intend to start recording later on this year for a new album which will hopefully be released next year
Biggest achievement as a band to date and what do you hope to achieve moving forward?
Biggest achievement for me was receiving a silver disc in regards to our contributions to the Peter Quaife Foundation and the fact that The Lemontops as an originals band have played more MOTMs gigs than any other band. A fact recognised by Eddie Penny when we were asked to play the celebratory gig at the 100 Club a few years ago.
If you were to compare your sound and style to another band past or present who would it be?
I don’t really compare us with anyone. We have been described by others as a cross between 79 revival to Teenage Fan Club. A comparison I find bizarre.
pick two songs from the bands collective and give us an insight into the story and inspiration behind it?
The Girl Like You off Pop Art. I wrote that at 17/18 and I had demo’d it years ago. When we were looking at putting together Pop Art Robbo said he had always liked this song so we worked on it and hey presto!
Listen to Me from the Listen to Me Album – I wrote this in the mid 90’s brit pop era whilst in my flat in London whilst watching a bootleg video of the Beatles Let It Be. On this particular bootleg John Lennon was working out Ive Got A Feeling on guitar and I based the riff from Listen to Me around this.
What’s a typical performance like and what can people expect when seeing the you perform for the first time?
A typical performance is one which shows we are well rehearsed and tight and thats what we always aim for. Hopefully this gig will highlight that fact.
The band have performed at various March Of The Mod events across the country over the years. Why has is been an important event for the band to be part of?
Cancer is an awful illness that blights so many peoples lives in one form or another. I think it is particularly awful when it affects young people and amongst other very worthy causes too this one for me stands out.
What’s the Story behind the bands name and who came up with it?
You would have to get the answer to this question from Robbo. I personally do not like the name and never have. If asked how did we get it I usually answer that myself and the drummer are the tops and Robbo’s a lemon!
lastly and the most important question, do you prefer kebabs or a parmos?
I eat little of either actually as its heart attack food. Robbo I think has even had a kebab parmo!