Pop: Clean and mean

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Jennifer Herrema and Neil Hagerty have known each other since they were 13. After Neil had a stint in Pussy Galore, they formed Royal Trux, releasing their first album 10 years ago. Their wasted, fuzzed-up, and sometimes impenetrable brand of rock attracted a smallish band of loyal followers but the column inches they attained usually focused more on the couple's junk addiction.

Now they've not only cleaned up, they have made a record that will ensure broader appeal. Jennifer is on the phone from Royal Trux's homebase, which is "just a big 'ole house up on a mountain in Virginia. It's just farms round here. No town or city around."

It's a contrast from the inner-city heroin years and the comfort, style and solitude they exist in is largely down to their former record company and a good lawyer. "We had a three- album deal with Virgin. We did two of the them but we were not happy with the way they handled Sweet Sixteen. Basically, they had to pay us for a third record so we gave them the alternative, that we can give you that record and there'll be the same shit all over again, or, you can just give us the money and let us walk. So, having a good lawyer, as we did, we got what we wanted. When we signed with Virgin, we bought this house and then, two years ago, we built our studio here. They gave us a lot of money," she laughs.

What makes that an even better rock'n'roll blag is that the third album that Virgin would have taken delivery of is their current release, Accelerator (on Domino records). When it's suggested to Herrema that this set of simply effective rock tunes with all sorts of unusual knobs stuck on will probably sell stacks more than either of their Virgin discs, she drawls, "Yeah, well, that's their problem."

While critical opinion is almost unanimous in claiming Accelerator as the band's best-ever effort, she still sticks up for the back catalogue, claiming, "It was just that there was a plan behind the record, just as there was a plan for every Royal Trux record. It just happened that some people think that Accelerator is more commercially viable but it's just a totally different thing, with different ideas, and I guess that happened by default or maybe even it's a little bit more in step with the times."

Royal Trux are arriving in Britain by sea, as there is no way that Hagerty will step onto an aeroplane. Their band this time features Dave Pajo from Aerial M. Often staggered and deliberately disjointed, Royal Trux rarely disappoint when it comes to delivering an electric in-your-face show. If you like your rock shows to be an unpredictable spectacle, then Trux, headed by former Calvin Klein model Herrema, will be one of the shows that shouldn't be missed this spring.

The Garage, N5 (0171-344 0044). 14 May

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