Interview: Mark Plunkett, Little Angels


Scarborough's LITTLE ANGELS have had to grow up in public almost as fast as the unsurpassable BEATLES did way back in the 60s. And almost certainly, with the possible exception of THUNDER, they are Britain's numero uno standard bearers for well-crafted, brassy, commercial hard rock.

Springtime '93 saw the Yorshire lads trail around Europa with the legendary and lumbering VAN HALEN tour beast. The tour should've consolidated their growing popularity, which was borne out by the number one success of Jam in the UK.

I had a little chinwag with one of the Angels, their very enthusiastic bassist, Mark Plunkett. First question had to be about the impact of Jam. Were they surprised at its success?
"Yeah, it was brilliant," he raves, his Yorkshire accent as undiluted as ever. "Obviously we'd been doing well with the singles in the charts, but you hoped that the albums were going to do well. But the way I think of it is that 6/7 years ago, when we started, if someone said to us that we were going to have a number one album in Britain, I would have told them to fuck off! So, when you look at it on the grand scale of things, it is amazing."


Plunkett also acknowledges the loyal support of their fans, garnered through years of touring the Brit club circuit, and the importance of playing in the BRYAN ADAMS tour last year, as vital to their current popularity. As a result this has given the band confidence about winning over the Continent.
"You've got that affirmation, if you like, from the British people," reasons Mark, "and everywhere we go in Europe, they're all going 'Wow, this album was number one in the UK.' The rest of Europe really does still look to Britain to see what's happening on the rock scene. It's really important."
Needless to say, the band were as happy as pigs in shit when Van Halen visited their dressing room, after the Angels had finished a soundcheck for the first gig of their tour in Munich, what with Mark owning the whole VH back catalogue. But, as Mark points out, there's mutual respect and admiration, something that benefits both sides.
"Van Halen were really into the album. A lot of people had put a lot of hard work to get us on tour, but I think Van Halen seeing that it was number one in Britain really confirmed it for them too."

Getting back to the success thing, I wondered if they'd found it difficult to keep sight of their common, salt-of-the-earth origins?
"No, not really," he answers. "In fact, everyone took the piss 'cos we came from Scarborough, but for me that's our strongest asset and that sort of small town vibe that we all have inside us really does give you an urge to get out and see the world, and it also does keep your feet on the ground cos there's no bullshit up there."
His former point about seeing the world has certainly come to fruition, and a song like Sail Away from Jam does seem to indirectly touch upon the band's on-the-road lifestyle.
"It was originally written by Toby with that in mind," says Mark, "cos with the Young Gods album we did manage to get right the way around the world, including Japan and America. I mean I won't tell you all the details, but there's certainly some parallels between the sailing lifestyle and the band's on-the-road lifestyle."
The Angels have usually been portrayed as a wholesome rock n' roll band, with many of them being involved in stable relationships, but Mark admits that it was probably a mistake to project that whiter-than-white image, that basically he's like "any other red-bloodied 24-year-old male," and they're certainly "not like little angels on the road."


These comments shouldn't be confused with sexism. In fact, songs like Womenkind and the Colour of Love don't just show a different side to the band musically but emotionally, the former song displaying rare sensitivity and appreciation towards women, whilst the latter deals with racism, Toby having gone out with a coloured girl in his youth.

But it's songs like Too Much Too Young that essentially capture the spirit of the band, reckons Mark.
"Yeah, we still like to be a good time rock n' roll band."
And on final flourish, Mark's plan for continuing success is quite simple.
"What I want this band to do now is get round the world and play to every fucker we can do, 'cos that's the way forward for us."

Mark Liddell
Riff Raff
June 1993
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  1. Plunkett is now the manager of Boyzone and Ronan Keating - very un-rock'n'roll.