Steve Lee's bio
The 5:15's charismatic frontman and knitwear model flatly refused to tell us whether he actually has shares in Woolite washing liquid.
But he did gallop us through his musical journey, including a 'spiritual' experience with 70,000 men in a field. Discover his fetish for Victorian debauchery and sympathise when you hear that he suffers from a serious illness: bone-idle-itis.
What made you a mod?
Pure and utter happenstance. I've always loved listening to music - my first musical memory is probably being about six and listening to Graceland by Paul Simon in the car and absolutely loving it!
My next big memory of falling in love with music was when I was about 11. My mam told me to watch an old black and white film on the telly. It was A Hard Day's Night.
I still remember in one of the early scenes; The Beatles are all in the luggage compartment of a train surrounded by girls and they sing I Should've Known Better. I was hooked.
I wanted to be in a band! That’s what I want to do for the rest of my life!
I soaked up my parent's record collection of Motown, The Jam, The Beatles, The Who et al before I was put on to grunge in the early 90s. (To this day, Pearl Jam are one of my favourite ever bands.)
But when I heard Rock and Roll Star open Definitely Maybe it blew my freaking mind!
I couldn’t believe it! A band that meant something - in my generation.
Then the Britpop scene exploded and I got my hair cut. I started to hear the likes of Noel Gallagher and Steve Craddock referencing The Small Faces or The Kinks - and this was music I was already listening to. It made me love the sound and the style even more.
When I started going out into town drinking, we used to go to The Gallery on a Thursday and they used to play Northern Soul. I never knew what Northern Soul was but I remember hearing The Snake by Al Wilson and asking the DJ who it was.
This opened the door to so much great soul music and when I went to Liverpool for uni I couldn’t believe how many people were into it and we used to go to Northern Soul nights every weekend.
When I realised mods were into this music too, it was just perfection. Everything I loved: the 60s, The Jam, soul, ska - it was all mod!
I knew I'd stumbled upon pure gold and that's why its pure happenstance and that’s why I’m a mod.
What do you love about mod?
Everything - the music, the clothes, the attitude and the scooters! But it's the music and the complete open-mindedness to music from all over the world from all eras. It just shows so much to my already open mind. There's just not enough time to listen to all the music I'd like to.
What do you love about The 5:15's?
Well, it's the first band I've ever joined that are established and I don’t have to faff about with getting it off the ground. I’ve been able to walk into a band that is loved and followed by amazing passionate fans without even having to lift a finger. It appeals to my bone-idle-itis!
That said though, I couldn’t wish for a better band to be in. The most important thing for any band is chemistry. Whether it's sitting around pre-gig, chatting away, or working hard in practice or giving both barrels on stage, chemistry makes a band and we've got it, in bundles!
Awesome musicians and top drawer lads, it would be harder to not make it work. We play great modernist anthems with oodles of energy and we love every moment. That's really why I love The 5:15's.
What is your fave 5:15s cover?
Very difficult. I once read an interview with Mark Moriss from The Bluetones and he was asked what his favourite Beatles' song was and he simply answered, “The one that's playing”.
I think that's my answer.
What track would you like The 5:15's to cover?
If I Could Only Be Sure, The Letter, Ghost in my House, Strange Town, Wham Bam Thank You Mam, The Night, Da-a-a-a-ance, But I'm Different Now, Riverboat Song, Last of the Steam Powered Trains, I'm One, 96 Tears, 007 (Shanty Town), To Be Someone, Anyway Anyhow Anywhere, Gonna Fix You Good, Heatwave, Red Balloon, It's My Life, Got My Mojo Working, The Snake, Man in the Corner Shop, The Circle, Don't Burst My Bubble, If I Could Only Be Sure ....
What is your fave fashion outfit?
Anything knitwear. Next question...
What are your three fave tunes of all time?
Aaaarrghhhh! So hard and it changes daily. Today it is:
What do you drive - either two or four wheels?
If you asked me this 10 years ago, I'd be buzzing to tell you a sweet peacocking Mini Cooper. But that got set on fire - by my own father.
Now I drive a BMW but don’t judge me: the Jones got one.
Who are your three major musical influences?
Difficult to call but I'd have to say The Beatles because if you could ever write a melody nearly quite as good as The Beatles, you’ve probably written a hit. Soooo much music and in the time a band nowadays would do two albums. Unbelievable creativity and they're the benchmark - they've got to be.
I'd also have to say Steve Marriott, be it The Small Faces or Humble Pie. The guy's voice is another benchmark I foolish put myself up against but to sound even a fraction as good as him would make me content.
Finally, I'm probably going to say Oasis. They made me think, "You know what?, I'm going to be in a band!". It made it feel possible and they had anthemic tunes and an attitude that hadn't been seen in such a long time, it was refreshing.
Who is your favourite artist of all time?
Hogarth. Scenes of Victorian debauchery turn me on. Ohh...musical artist, lol!!!
What's the best gig you've ever been too?
I've been to some top gigs, big and small, but because saw 70,000 grown men cry in a field, it has to be The Stone Roses at Heaton Park. When I Wanna Be Adored started, it was the closest thing I'll ever get to a spiritual experience.
Who would you love to (or have loved to) work with musically?
So many difficult questions!
I could say Neil Young because I’d love to just be there while he's working through the song-writing process and see how a genius works. But I could say that about so many other great songwriters.
Thinking of someone to collaborate with, I’d have to go with someone who would be great fun to work with... It has to be the nicest guy in music, Ronnie Wood. You just know he would be enthusiastic about everything and you’d have the best time in the world.
What do you see as the future of The 5:15's?
Keep gigging, keep loving it, keep getting to work and collaborating with amazing, talented people. And keeping the faith!