If nothing else, XX Teens certainly possess an impressive knack to make one feel as though they’re single-handedly leading music journalism into ruin. A bunch of comedians in disguise, it’s either that or they’re a couple of crisps short of a full packet. Backstage at the Concorde 2, where the London based five-piece are opening for The Kills on the final date of their UK tour, the band pick at a modest banquet of grapes, Coca-Cola and Kronenbourg – and spare a few minutes to offer The Badger some alternative answers to questions they’re probably bored of answering.
“A friend of ours was kidnapped years ago, and the kidnappers said if we didn’t pick the name XX Teens for the band, they’d kill him,” Antony Silvester responds to my perhaps banal enquiry about the band’s choice of name. I half expect him to burst into uncontrollable laughter, but he continues, undeterred and completely deadpan. “So we flew deep into Afghanistan and rescued him. But we still took the name, because it reminds us of friendship.” I nod, my pursed lips now stretching into a nervous smile, and contemplate the best route of reply. I needn’t have bothered. “If you forget, you’re destined to repeat,” Silvester volunteers suddenly, either sincerely or sarcastically (though I’d be willing to wager a hefty sum of money on it being the latter), interrupting my thoughts in the process. I inadvertently fall back in my chair and exhale exasperatedly. “Are you sure you don’t want a beer?” vocalist Rich Cash pipes up beside me, and in that split second it’s as though he just read my mind.
“A friend of ours was kidnapped years ago, and the kidnappers said if we didn’t pick the name XX Teens for the band, they’d kill him”
Like most (or maybe it is just me), I’m curious to hear if XX Teens are aware of any humorous stories of followers searching for them on Google and stumbling across something quite different and, well… inappropriate. “Absolutely not,” Silvester retorts, a small grin spreading across his face. “Have you?” Cash quizzes, also smiling and supping from his beer simultaneously. I suggest I don’t crawl the Internet for them frequently enough to have happened across any misguided search engine results. “Big fan, are you?” Cash teases. “The Kills are next door if you’d rather interview them,” Silvester chirps up, throwing his head gently backwards towards the dressing room door.
A sweet offer, but I decline all the same – because for whatever they lack in personal presence, XX Teens certainly make up for in music. Accompanying indie duo Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince on a string of dates around Britain, the post-punks far supersede the headlining act and more than adequately justify their presence – not only on the tour, but also within music in general. With this support stint in mind, I wonder if the band harbours any lifelong dreams of touring alongside any other bands. Pausing only to consider the question briefly, Cash almost immediately provides his answer. “Bjorn Again,” he replies from behind a pair of extraordinary sunglasses. “The ABBA tribute band Kurt Cobain was obsessed with?” I clarify. “Maybe,” he fires back.
“Have you seen that really shit Kurt Cobain documentary?” Silvester queries blankly. “It’s just images of Seattle with Kurt talking over the top…” I explain that I haven’t, regrettably, but I have seen Gus Van Sant’s embarrassing interpretation of the Nirvana frontman’s last days. “Isn’t that Closer?” Cash speculates, possibly attempting irony. Needless to say, I figure this is as good a time to leave as any, make my excuses and leave XX Teens to ready themselves for tonight’s show – most likely with a whole host of mental scars in tow.