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Updated: Mar 4, 2021

By Stephen Pennell ©

If I had to put money on a band exploding with sheer, pent-up frustration due to lockdown restrictions, I’d bet the farm on it being Y!KES. A supercharged live performance I witnessed at a Birmingham Music Awards showcase way back in normal times reminded me of the New York Dolls and suggested an energy that must be damn near impossible to suppress. But lo and behold, an email just flooded in telling me that the band are not only still intact, but back with a new single, Long Gone Silver. Boasting the usual bombastic drums, riddled with monumental riffs and topped with terrific vocals, it captures perfectly what Y!KES are all about - Maximum Rock and Roll.

I caught up with frontman Oli Long (remotely of course) and asked him to explain himself.

What’s the title all about? Has the family silver all gone?

To be honest, there was never any family silver to begin with. But yes, even the pot we piss in has been moved. The actual reference though, for those who care, is actually a play on words of John Lennon’s pirate name from his Sergeant Pepper days - Long John Silver. Obviously he’s long gone, so....

Ah, gotcha. Are you a Lennon fan then?

In the words of Liam Gallagher “I am John Lennon”. But no I’m not a fan of any one. I do however appreciate the timing of his right hand, his style of writing and his overall attitude.

I love the video. You look like some kind of Kurt Cobain/Courtney Love hybrid, while.Liam looks like he turned up for a Twilight audition.

Yes, some say I’m their ethereal love child. TJ turned up after falling head first into Dulux’s new neon range and Rob looks like he just walked in off the Milan catwalk. He’s such a looker.

Indeed. Send some more pics over. You can’t have too many of such a gorgeous band.

Ahahaha yes matey I’ll send you an extra 2/3 photos right now.

I was in Chelmsley Wood Poundland the other day and there was a guy working there with ‘TJ’ on his name badge. I asked him “Are you TJ from Yikes?”

That’s interesting, I would have thought TJ would get a nose bleed up there. He’s getting a bit big time now. Sponsorships, online lessons, the whole nine yards. He’s a man that Poundland could no longer afford.

The guy looked round at the empty battery racks which were his responsibility and said “I’m TJ but I’m not in Y!kes. I WISH I was in Y!kes”.

Yeah, that’s becoming a thing now. I stumble around watching people scream in frustration that they are not in the band. I was watching some lads play a bit of football in the park, reminiscing a past life, when a thunderous strike hit the crossbar, followed by “I wish I was in Y!kes”.

Is it fun?

There are aspects of fun that creep through, but it’s actually quite intense. Especially without the live front! I see this as my life’s work & I get a bit upset if we're not taken seriously.

I wish I was in Yikes.

(By the way, for anyone who’s suspicious about the correlation of interviews with bands that have been awarded the Brum Radio track of the week, Oli assures me that I just have a good ear and confirms we started talking on Friday!)

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