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Army Navy Tweets Their Way Through UK Fueled Only by Pints

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Army NavyFollowers of Justin Kennedy’s Twitter stream the past few months got a nice indie-2.0 treat: a ride through the backstreets, pubs and record shops of the UK on the coattails of Los Angeles-based indie outfit Army Navy. Fans tweeted and gabbed with the band as they toured in support of their self-titled debut album, released in October 2008.

Sending Twitter updates from the road, from motel rooms, and from wherever they could find free WiFi, front man Kennedy kept followers posted on the band’s crazy, rowdy and sometimes grueling tour through the angled country with pics, jokes and commentary. One tweet spoke of “living off very little sleep, lots of pints, and walking miles every day with all our gear,” evoking images of the band trudging through narrow, rain-soaked alleys, amps hoisted above heads like Vietnam grunts. In reality, it wasn’t far from the truth.

“It was pretty brutal,” Kennedy said through a recent email interview. “The tube is great and gets you all over, it’s just lugging all the gear into the tube and trying to find the clubs was a bit stressful … Next time we are hiring a helicopter.”

At least the beer was good.

“There have been lots of amazing shows, and we’ve met some great people along the way as well,” Kennedy said. “So it all balances out.”

The band played pubs, record shops and festivals for a week straight in July, even hitting two places on one day. Surprisingly, each location seemed to find them in front of familiar ears.

“We find we have a few fans in towns all over… I guess it’s the power of the internet,” Kennedy said. “People can really come across music wherever they are now, even if the local record shop doesn’t have the album.”

And the UK isn’t the only new soil on which the band has trodden. Among Kennedy’s Twitter pics they can also be spotted setting up to play on the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. The band hung out with Conan himself and performed “My Thin Sides” in front of the comedian and a live studio (and Internet) audience.

army navy at pure groove

The band setting up at Pure Groove Records, London

“We are all massive Conan fans, so it was a really exciting and scary opportunity,” Kennedy said.

Of course, with good fortune always comes shitty luck. The band managed to get almost all of their gear stolen during a Seattle tour stop in May, losing several vintage guitars, drums, amps and other equipment. It happened in the oddest of places – out in front of Kennedy’s parents’ house.

“We always bring our gear in on tour, but we thought we would be fine out in Port Orchard, Washington,” Kennedy said. “But we were wrong. We have no idea if people knew we had gear or they just lucked out.” Among the lifted items was Louie’s dead grandfather’s ’76 Telecaster. “It really sucks,” Kennedy said.

Fans and online music publications rallied to the band’s support, calling for the lynching of equipment thieves everywhere, and alerts went out to keep an eye on area pawn shops. The band posted a blog entry on Myspace, and are patiently waiting for any word.

But for now, they’re concentrating on better things — like the next record, and the next tour.

“We are in pre-production … we’re getting really close,” Kennedy said. “Also we’re about to put our debut album out in the UK and follow it with another, bigger tour this fall. Then releasing the next album early next year is the plan.” (Namewise, Kennedy is torn between Living Poor With Style and The Last Place I Want to Be is in My Head. We’ll see.)

If all goes well, Army Navy will be another solid entry on the list of indie bands the rest of the world worships, that most of the U.S. still doesn’t know about. Which would make them as good as any great indie band out there. But hopefully it will be better than that.

Check out the band’s Myspace page and latest video for “Saints.” The debut album is available on Amazon.

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Written by Peter Kimmich

August 26, 2009 at 11:43 am

Posted in Interviews

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