“What’s that for?” Ross asks as he picks up one of the props from our Halloween photo shoot. Aaron looks concerned, “Is that a tail?” he asks. The prop in question is a stuffed red devil’s tail, which if we’re being honest we only bought because it looked slightly rude. I attempt to explain this without branding the entire Flecking team perverts, “I’ll be honest, we bought it because it looks like…” and before for I can finish my sentence Ross finishes it for me, “A cock?”. He’s got it in one. “It looks like a cock with a really weird bellend. If that was my penis I’d be seriously worried, I’d go to the doctor!” Aaron suggests before they finally conclude it must some kind of cock extension, and at that moment I realise Flecking and Just Like You are going to get on very well.
After talking about this for some time while we set up for the interview Aaron turns to us, “This isn’t a gay band!” he assures us. “We started off the band because we’re actually dating.” Ross jokes. Ross still has the tail in his hand. We start talking about pop-punk bands and their love of getting naked at any opportunity. “I’d never get my cock out in an interview” Aaron tells us. “Then again it depends what kind of scene you’re aiming for [to Ross] You wanted to headline Astoria, if we can get GAY…”.
If you’re thinking the two founding members of the band look familiar then you’d be right. Singer Aaron Sidwell played Steve Beale in EastEnders and drummer Ross Rothero-Bourge was in metal band NATO for 3 years. Now with two other members they have started Just Like You. We had a chat with them to find out more.
So you’ve both been involved in bands that have recently split up…
Aaron: We haven’t really split up, we weren’t really anything. We all went to school together, we started out as a 7-piece band, we had two screamers and I just sang. I actually met Ross when my old band played with his old band, so yeah that’s how we met and instantly fell in love.
Ross: Love at first sight.
Aaron: You’re lucky you caught Ross today he’s recently cut his hair. I don’t know if you can tell by just looking at Ross’ face but when he doesn’t have his hair cut it gets really curly and he looks like Frodo Baggins.
Ross: It’s just the hair though, the normal face does not look like Frodo.
Aaron: It does a little bit. We were going to see our sponsors today so I was like ‘Ross, seriously…’
Ross: We had two photo shoots today so I had to sort my life out. I looked like a tramp. I did it with a beard trimmer, it took me ages. Sorry completely off the subject.
Aaron: Just an insight in to how broke life was in Nato [laughs].
Ross: Back to the subject, yeah we were both in band that both recently split up.
Was it quite civilised then? No falling out?
Ross: No no no, I’ve been doing NATO for the last 4 years, since I left school. It was my full time job, we signed a record deal and all that kind of stuff. It was all cool but I suppose we just grew out of it, we probably did too much touring, we played well over 200 shows and maybe took it a little bit too seriously and everyone just wanted to move on and do their own thing.
[noticing Ross is still holding the tail] Sorry, I love that you’re still holding that!
Aaron: Still playing with what we discussed could be a lumpy penis!
Ross: I love playing with cock!
Aaron: Ross loves playing with cock!
Ross: So we’ve just kind of gone our own ways, ones gone to university, ones going in the Royal Marines, and I just didn’t want to do anything else but music, I had loads of sponsors set up and my old band got loads of free stuff and I don’t like paying for stuff any more so I wanna do music and just get more free stuff. So I gave old Aaron a ring here, because we became quite good friends through playing a few shows together in London. We’re from Cornwall so we’d stay at Aaron’s flat and we just got quite friendly through that. Then Aaron’s band finished the same time as mine so I gave him a ring and asked if he wanted to start something up so that’s how it started.
On the Bitter Conflict (Aaron’s old band) MySpace there was a bit about it not being an Aaron fan site, did you have anything to do with that?
Aaron: No, I was never on that MySpace, that was nothing to do with me. We’d been a band for a few years and we were just mates and the thing is people were just like messaging in asking for a signed photo, and they can write to the studio for stuff like that, they don’t have to write it on something that we’re trying to take quite seriously, it made it look a bit like a joke but at the same time the interest helped loads because we were nobody before and it helped us get shows. It was just like so you like our stuff, if you want to come to some shows that’s wicked but if you’re just gonna chat EastEnders then write to EastEnders! People did come to shows, it was wicked and before we would play to 10 people which would be the other bands and our parents, but then people started coming from a distance. We played in Oxford and someone came from Manchester to see us which is a ridiculous journey to make just to come and see us play a 40 minute set.
I can just imagine the other guys stood at the side and you with loads of people crowding around you…
Ross: [to Aaron] When we first met you everyone went towards you and the others just went and sat on the sofa.
Aaron: They kind of got used to it though, we were playing in Reading and we were just sat out on our bus and Charles came in and said [excited] ‘Someone just asked to have their photo taken with us outside’.
Anyway you are the singer you’re supposed to get all the attention.
Aaron: Well yeah!
Ross you seem to embrace it!
Ross: I think obviously it’s going to get annoying for Aaron but at the same time it’s the way you market it. People will be interested because Aaron was on EastEnders but then again I’m the same as Aaron, I don’t particularly want people going on our MySpace and just being like ‘EastEnders EastEnders EastEnders’ but at the same time people will take a massive interest.
Aaron: We’re going in a new direction so we’re reaching out to a different audience to what our bands generated. It was really weird people were like ‘We expected you to be a rapper’.
Ross: People switching off EastEnders and putting on their Slayer albums, it just doesn’t happen does it?
Aaron: With this band it’s not as much of a thing really, to be honest if it helps us brilliant but it’s not like were going to generate the interest through the EastEnders thing and then turn around and go ‘Could you not talk about EastEnders’ because we’ve kind of invited people to do so.
Ross: It’s a bit of a downside because obviously people are going to want to talk about EastEnders all the time but at the same time it’s a massive bonus because people will always check it out and come along to shows. you’ve got to look at both sides.
Aaron: We’ll just be happy that people want to know us.
Ross: It’s got it’s pluses and minuses. I’ve got no problem with people knowing because at the end of the day it will help the band out a lot.
Aaron, have you Googled yourself recently?
Aaron: My mum did when I first came on TV. The funny thing is that there’s an American Christian rock singer called Aaron Sidwell, so when I did it came up with that which was quite funny.
Ross: I Googled you when I found out that we were playing a show with you because I didn’t watch EastEnders.
Aaron: I remember Jay [bandmate] going ‘Stick around later mate, I wanna talk about Stacey’ and I was like that’s just given me a million reasons to fuck off after the show. But we did stick around and Jays not really calmed down much.
We did and one of the first results is a Bebo site. You are apparently ‘gawjuss’.
Aaron: The only thing I know about Bebo is that someone posted that I was a paedophile on it. [lots of laughter in the room] Apparently when I was 16 I touched up some 13 year old girl but the funny thing is I went straight to my boss and said ‘get that the fuck off the internet right now’ and the BBC lawyers went to her house and basically scared the shit out of her and she had to put up a retraction. It was just someone doing it for attention. People I like to call c*nts.
Ross: Gawjuss is a bit better than paedophile..
Aaron: Yes! Gawjus rather than paedophile.
Gorgeous with a J U S as well!
Aaron: Oh yeah! And people are spelling it like jaw, you’re jawgeous, which is even weirder. I don’t get the internet, I just like go on and use the MySpace now, that and book my driving theory. Bebo is more of a 14-year-old kind of thing isn’t it? Having said that are people my age that have a Bebo account.
So do people shout at you in the street and call you Steven?
Aaron: Yeah! It’s really stupid but when I go out where I’m from in Kent people come up to me like ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ and it’s like ‘I lived here for 19 years, my dad still lives up the road, but you’re right, what am I doing here?’. I think people think there’s this celebrity bubble and you walk up to it and we’re like ‘You’re not famous! Fuck off!’ and famous people aren’t allowed out apparently. What really bugs me is when people don’t even call me Steven, the shorten it and play around with it a bit and go “Stevie my man”. Someone called me Steve and its like ‘at least keep it as the characters name, don’t shorten it!’. That’s terrible! And because the character was played by loads of different people someone came up to me in a nightclub and went ‘I met you when I was 7’ and I was like ‘Really?’ and she said ‘Yeah you were in a café in Milton Keynes!’ and I told her I don’t think I ever set foot in Milton Keynes when I was 7 and she asked if I played the part the whole time and it’s like, ‘No you met someone else who was skinny and blonde.’
Ross apparently you’re female?
Ross: On MySpace?
Ross: Why not? No!
Aaron: Really? You’re female?
We though you might be joking...
Ross: Come to your own conclusions about it I guess.
Aaron: I think people might see the name Ross and thing maybe he messed up.
Ross: I didn’t notice to be honest, I must just not have changed it.
Aaron: It is really small, I almost missed it! That would have been really weird for people to think you’re female and ‘going in a new direction’! Tranny rock!
Ross: If you wanna think I’m female I’m cool with that anyway, even if it is wrong!
There’s some lady boys in the square [Leeds] if you want to go and join them?
Aaron: Go and join them! And take that [the tail that Ross is still holding] with you! Are they foreign lady boys then?
They’re the lady boys of Bangkok!
Aaron: They’re not just lady boys who bang cocks?
Ross: I bet they’d love tranny rock. We could go on tour with them! Sorted! Going on tour with trannies, that’d be wicked!
So the female thing was an accident, was the profile song an accident? ‘Cause we were impressed!
Ross: What Go West? That’s an absolute phenomenal tune. It’s still on there from my last tour with Nato, every tour we went on there just happened to be one song of that particular time that we used to listen to a lot, and that came on in the van a lot. While we were packing the van we used to open up the doors and turn it up full blast and dance. So we did that every night for two months.
That’s the most metal story I’ve ever heard!
Ross: I don’t listen to metal!
Aaron: They were pretty much the least metal band I’ve ever met to be honest
Ross: I don’t listen to any of that stuff, I’ve got all Mariah Carey’s videos and DVDs!
Aaron: That’s a bit gay, you’ve not told me that!
Ross: I love Mariah Carey!
Aaron: When you came round you were like “Oh awesome, Incubus DVD” and I was like “yeah cool!” and now you’re saying you’ve got Mariah Carey DVDs! Not even just the CDs. You don’t want to just listen to it you want to watch it as well!
Ross: I’ve downloaded all her CDs but I haven’t bought them. What DVDs have you got?
Aaron: I’ve got J-Lo, my sister had J-Lo DVDs.
Ross: I just genuinely like pop music. When we started Nato I was like 15 which was when I was listening to that kind of stuff and had hair to about my waist. I went and studied pop music at college and then at university so I just listen to pop music, I don’t listen to anything that heavy or with screaming in it.
Aaron: It’s nice to have a break from metal really.
Ross: As well as listening to it to yourself, I went on massive tours with Nato playing the same set list every night and every night you would play with a metal band as well, so we’d hear four other bands screaming their face off and I think it just eventually killed it for me. I don’t wanna listen to that at all any more. Maybe I’ll get sick of pop music? Maybe I’ll go back to playing Slipknot CDs once I’m fed up of pop, that’s what happens, I’ll grow into different things as I get older. I’ve swapped CDs with my mum now, I’ve given her all of mine and taken all of hers because I was looking through and she had like Beyoncé and Sting and Police and all that kind of stuff and then she nicked my CDs.
What about pop music that’s supposedly embarrassing to like, like McFly?
Aaron: I don’ think it is! We went to see Enter Shikari the other week and Ross went to uni with one of the support bands and they’ve just done a support tour with McFly, and they were selling out to thousands and thousands of people.
Ross: I think at the end of the day, what would you rather do, go work in Tesco? I’d prefer to be in McFly!
Do you have any guilty music pleasures?
Aaron: I don’t have any guilty music pleasures! I’ve had dodgy hair cuts…
Ross: It’s like my Mariah Carey DVD’s, it’s not a guilty pleasure, I like that and I’m proud of that.
I don’t consider mine to be that embarrassing, but 90’s boy bands and 80’s rock are supposedly really cringey to like.
Ross: No I like that! That’s wicked, that’s what I’m in to.
Aaron: I listen to a bit of Take That now and again.
Do you guys fancy going on The X-Factor?
Ross: Maybe as a last resort when this has failed. But no, I don’t think so. I’m not exactly Leona Lewis, my nose isn’t big enough.
What about Big Brother?
Ross: [to Aaron] You did Big Brother.
Aaron: No, I did Big Brother’s Big Mouth, that’s not really going on! That’s nothing like that, I wasn’t talking to chickens and stuff. We went out the other night and there was that Luke goon from the last Big Brother doing a PA in the club, and I’ve never done that, I’ve got more pride than that, just getting money to just stand there, what a twat. I hate any reality stuff I just hate it. It takes work away from actors.
Ross: I think fair play to them just make some money out of it, just enjoy the 5 minutes of fame. You’ll look like a bit of a nob but fair play to them. I’d probably be doing the same thing if someone offered me a lump some of money to make a dick of myself in a nightclub. I just do that for free anyway.
What was the first song you ever bought?
Ross: I think it was the first single off the first Stereophonics album, because I’m Welsh. It was The Bartender And The Thief.
Aaron: I think I had Michael Jackson – History bought for me.
Ross: Damn, you’ve out done me!
Aaron: What an album!
Ross: He’s doing a reunion tour isn’t he? He’s doing the o2 arena like 10 nights in a row!
Aaron: I don’t even know how he’d get through a set, he looks like he’d…
Aaron: Keel over!
Ross: I think I’d let him touch me if he wanted…
Aaron: Oh that took me a while, I thought you meant like reaching out to the crowd! That’s wrong!
Ross: I love Michael Jackson I was raised on Michael Jackson.
They’re quite cool choices, what about stuff like PJ and Duncan?
Aaron: PJ and Duncan, what a travesty! That’s like me bringing out an album called “Steven Beale”. What was the show?
Are you sticking with Metal for the new project?
Aaron: No no, nothing like metal. I don’t know how to describe it
Ross: I called Aaron and it was like we’ve both done the metal thing. I had remote success in a metal band, we got on MTV and CDs in HMV and all that stuff and we were still scraping along and it was ridiculous. Aaron had done the whole metal thing and like I said, I’ve grown out of it and stuff. With something as big as EastEnders I said to Aaron “We both like a different type of music, why not do something like that.”
Aaron: The venue that we both played at when we met, it was a pub and the room wasn’t very big. When we were playing shows a lot of EastEnders fans came along to watch and a lot of these venues don’t have backstage areas or anything so I was just getting mobbed. I couldn’t stand with my fiancée or sit and have a chat with the other bands. When I got into that band in the first place I didn’t even listen to metal, it was just to have some fun with my mates. The people who play metal are so ridiculously talented but you need to be big or you don’t get any crowds.
Ross: We played with so many big bands, we supported Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, Coheed and Cambria, we’d done everything and we were still struggling to make ends meet. It was hard because metal compared to more commercial music appeals to a smaller number of people and with Aaron being on Eastenders I said “Look I know you’re in to your cheesy stuff, if we like that kind of music lets do something like that, that would appeal to the people who watch EastEnders”. Being more commercial is going to appeal to more people, so we may as well do something we enjoy.
Aaron: We still don’t know what genre it is.
The next busted?
Aaron: Maybe not that commercial.
Ross: That’s kiddie commercial.
Aaron: Yeah, we’re not aiming at 14-year-olds.
Tell us about the band name.
Ross: Well I’m carrying on my sponsors from my last band, I told them all about Aaron and they’re helping him out with any equipment he needs, so we went there today and we realised we really needed to sort out a band name. We were going to sit down and sort one last night but I ended up going out…
Aaron: You didn’t do anything! You went “Oh I like that one”. I sat there for an hour and a half doing the fucking internet band name generator so we settled on… fuck I’ve forgotten it now. No seriously I’ve forgotten it.
Ross: Just Like You.
Aaron: Just Like You! Don’t anyone ever use a band name generator, no one would ever call their band anything on there. I ended up doing the book thing, opening it up and pointing at random words and luckily it landed on that.
Ross: My old band were called Nato which seemed a bit weird at the time but after a while you just get used to it.
Are there any bands you’d like to support?
Ross: McFly cause that would be massive! Aaron would want to do Lost Prophets.
Aaron: Oh definitely! I love them, they’re a wicked band. Taking Back Sunday, another great band. Anyone who I listen to would be pretty cool.
Ross: I’d just be happy to be out there playing big shows and enjoying myself. If anything came along like that we’d be grateful.
I’ve just realised you are still holding that tail, 45 minutes later.
Aaron: I think he’s going to take it home with him.
Ross: It’s because I’m a drummer and it’s kind of like a drumstick.
Aaron: I’d be a lot more worried if I was using it as a microphone, considering it looks like a penis.
Do you have any interesting tour stories?
Ross: I’ve been arrested…
Aaron: You never told me you got arrested!
Ross: To cut a long story short, to prove I’m not a thug or an idiot – I don’t even drink, I just threw a biscuit in Huddersfield and the police thought I was trying to break some windows at an old cinema, so I got put in a police car and then this guy that watched the show didn’t agree with me getting arrested for throwing biscuits so he bottled the police car and they had like five riot vans out. Our bass player got arrested and we were surrounded by five armed police men because they thought he had a gun, but it was just BB gun, so we spent the night in the cells for that.
Aaron: My band were very good boys , we were nothing like Nato.
No biscuit throwing?
Aaron: No, [laughs] that is hilarious.
Ross: It was a digestive biscuit! It’s true, I had to spend a night in the cells, I had to pay an £80 fine.
Aaron : A night in a cell for a digestive biscuit?
Ross: It probably got out of hand, because when they guy smashed the bottle on the police car he wouldn’t let go of the bars and they had to pepper spray him and beat him up a bit, so I had to be interviewed about that. They took me in and then they were asking me if I was going to kill myself and they ended up taking all my clothes off me, so I was just sat in this cell in my boxers for like five hours. They let me out at six in the morning, in Huddersfield, I didn’t know where I was. We had so many mental stories. When we first started I was 16, so when I was old enough I learnt to drive but I couldn’t get insured to drive a van, so we had a trailer and the roof blew off and hit the top of my car and took the whole top of the car out, so that night I had to sleep in the car, in case someone tried to knick it, and this was in December as well!
Aaron: We were playing in Reading and we had the camper van with us, and we’d all sit out in the camper van with my friend Mark, who is always up for a laugh, and we’d been sitting there tapping our fag ash in to a yoghurt pot and there was still a bit of yoghurt in there and about seven fag butts in there, so we put a bit of beer in it, a bit of milkshake, loads of stuff, I think there was an egg in there and for £35 he drank it.
Have you got any party tricks?
Aaron: I haven’t really got any…
Ross: I can groove!
Aaron: Any kind of dancing! I love how Fes dances in That 70s Show and robot dancing. You haven’t seen my robot yet, they taught us it at college. We don’t drink, so when we go out if I’ve drank enough Coke I’m like “Wooooooo”. People would wonder what kind of Coke I’d had…
You should do Come Dancing!
Aaron: No! I hate that show! Reality TV, I hate it!
Ross: I think all of my talent is just in music, I play guitar, I drum, I sing… I’ve got an extra muscle in my tongue so I can do this [Ross does something freakish with his tongue]
Oh my God!
Aaron: That’s a hidden talent!
Ross: And I’ve got double jointed thumbs [Ross bends his thumb back].
Aaron: Argh! You freak!
Ross: I can do it with my big toes as well.
You guys don’t look like the pierced tattooed type…
Aaron: As an actor I can’t really, if I had ‘fuck’ tattooed down my arm it would really limit what I could do.
Ross: My old band has a tattoo endorsement, so we could just get tattooed for free, but I always find people have really poor excuses for getting them.
Aaron: I met this girl who had the Chinese symbol for dad on her back and I made the mistake of joking “Well it could just say chicken chow mein” and the look on her face, I was like “No why did I say that?”!
Ross: I just think people might regret tattoos down the line somewhere, then again I might regret not getting them.
Have you seen that guy who’s been tattooed all over because he wants to look like a cat?
Aaron: [shocked] What?
[I explain the cat man]
Aaron: What? That’s like on South Park when he wants to look like a dolphin!
Ross: I was once watching Jerry Springer and there was a man that had cut his own legs off! It was this guy dressed up as a woman and he decided to cut his legs off.
[We begin Googling to find a photo of the cat man but the first search result that comes up is ‘Top 25 Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians’.]
Aaron: What did you type in?
Ricky Gervais is one of them!
Aaron: He does look a bit like a lesbian.
Bruce Jenner is number one…
Ross: Let’s have a look.
Aaron: He does look like an old lesbian! You could say that about Rod Stewart though couldn’t you?
Ross: We’ve been having a bitch about Rod.
Aaron: I don’t understand where all his money has come from, he’s shite!
Have ever seen Ringo Starr’s cyber-rant?
Aaron: It’s like, just don’t sign it, don’t make a big deal about it.
Ross: I walked in to Aaron’s apartment last week and he was sat there with his feet up just surrounded by heaps of fan mail, and I was just laughing because unless they had send a self addressed envelope he ignored them!
Aaron: The thing is, if I replied to them all I’d be sat there forever. It didn’t matter so much at EastEnders because they paid for all my stamps and stuff but now I can’t go to the shops and say “Millions of stamps please, here’s a shit load of money”, if they send a SAE I do write back to them!
Ross: To a certain degree I don’t feel like I can comment, with his level of fame, The Beatles were huge so I’m sure he gets a lot of it, but there’s no need to kick off about it!
Aaron: I’ve got friends on the show who don’t answer their fan mail simply because, I don’t want to name the person, but she got a letter through that had been sealed down with cum, so she refused to answer her own fan mail. [sniffs] This one’s come from the seaside! But she still has someone do it for her, why doesn’t he just do that? These people made him what he is! They technically paid for his house and now he’s turning around and saying “Fuck off, I’m too busy!”. What is he busy with?
He does Thomas The Tank voice work...
Aaron: That’s what he’s busy with? Imagine that, The Beatles to fucking Thomas The Tank voice over work! Sponge Bob and I’d be impressed… The thing is now people are going to be like “If you’re going to be a wanker about it we’ll send you more letters!”.
Ross: At the end of the day wankers do make it too, he might have been a lucky wanker.
Aaron: After seeing that I think he might be pissed…
Would you rather be trapped in your house for a year or the new third Cheeky Girl?
Aaron: I think I’d rather stay in my house for a month, would I still be able to get food?
Aaron: OK, yeah!
Ross: I think I’d go for the Cheeky Girl thing, for the experience.
Aaron: I’d just try and watch all of my DVD’s.
Ross: I’d be up for wearing a skirt, forever?
Aaron: You’d always be known as a Cheeky Girl!
Ross: I don’t think I could be in he Cheeky Girls for ever. I’m not that cheeky and I’m not a girl.
What would your Spice names be?
Aaron: I’d be Sexy Spice!
Ross: I’d go for… I have no idea.
Ross: Yes! I’d be Cheeky Spice!
Would you rather fight a lion or a shark?
Ross: You could poke a shark in the eye!
Aaron: I’d like to fight a lion, we could have a boxing match, I’m not a brilliant swimmer.
Ross: With a lion you’re pretty fucked, but it might be one those sharks that don’t eat people.
Aaron: If it was just a fight, no death involved…
The death is probably an unfortunate side effect…
Aaron: Hypothetically, if you could walk away afterwards I would probably…
Ross: It’d be more sexy with a shark, with the water. I’m going for the shark!
Aaron: I’m sticking with lion.
Who would play you in a film of your life?
Ross: Aaron could play me!
Aaron: If I curled my hair I could play you pretty well.
Ross: We’ll do that one day.
Tom or Jerry?
Aaron: They both irritate me, why can’t they just get along? We had a guy called Tom in my last band, and you know the big black lady that used to tell Tom off and go [woman’s voice] “Thomas!”? We used to say that to him all the time, I’ll pick her!
Aaron : She always had a rolling pin didn’t she?
Ross: They need to grow up and make friends.
What would you do if you had a time machine?
Ross: I’ve often thought about going back in time and stealing songs, and releasing them first, like the Thriller album!
Aaron: I’d go back, and go to Seattle, and quickly grab Kurt Cobain’s gun and say “ No!”.
Ross: You could do so much…
Aaron: I’d do it Back To The Future style, just go back and fuck everything up!
Ross: Did anyone watch Bernard’s Watch, where he could stop time?
[Everyone in the room remembers Bernard’s Watch and all get excited]
Aaron: I used to love that! He never stole anything did he? He used his powers for good!
He cheated on his maths test…
Ross: He was never curious about what boobs looked like? At that age you would! That’s what I’d do! I’d just be stopping time and undressing people.
Aaron: To see what boobs looked like? Just go steal a load of porn, don’t embarrass people!