I’m The Daddy Now! The Phil Templar Interview


Photo by Khaki Bedford (c)

To me, The Templars are, simply put, the best American oi! band to date. There are certainly many classic groups to choose from, but in my opinion, The Templars deliver on all fronts – an esoteric sound influenced by a variety of my favorite bands, from Snix and The Strike, to The Who and The Small Faces, they have a near cinematic style, with well done lyrics and top notch musicianship. They have carved out a 100% original niche and have continued to release classic after classic. The number one spot is deservedly theirs. Reigned and Conquered! Beausant!

Their drummer, Phil Templar, has done more for the oi! scene than nearly any other figure I can think of; he plays shows, travels the world to DJ, drums in several different outfits (Stomper 98 to name but one other) and in general, has remained true to the cause.

(This interview is around a year and a half old, so if some of the answers seem dated, the blame is entirely on me. )

Thanks again, Phil,  for doing this. Here we go.

Saturday: Before we hit the Templars stuff, tell me about SPQR, your DJ-ing thing. Who is directly involved and what are the goals?  How did it come to be “officially” SPQR? How did you come up with the moniker?

PHIL: Special People, Quality Records… also the whole Roman Legionnaire imagery was fucking hard as hell looking too… the Romans were everywhere as well, just like what i’d like to do with this music for the masses idea i have… i had been DJing for years before that so why not give it a special name instead of going by all these aliases etc etc… and also bring along some friends for the ride…

Saturday: The anti-Ipod brigade slogan is one I can get behind 100%, but are there times when you *will* play  CD’s if you just don’t wanna risk taking the vinyl out, or is it vinyl only, all the time?

PHIL: vinyl all the time, if DJing at a certain place is going to be a risk then i just won’t do it

Saturday: I know you’re a serious record collector but how did you become one?

PHIL: i grew up around a family that listened to loads of music, my parents are west indian so that meant alot of jazz, caribbean music as well as soul and R & B. Also playing the drums also made me listen to lots of other types of music… my dad had an enormous record collection so i thought that was the norm.

Saturday: I know in the days before the internet, for me, getting ahold of certain records was sometimes near impossible, even in the city. How did you track down rare Euro stuff back in the day?  (I did once hear you played a show in Europe and as payment, accepted a rare record. Skin Deep maybe? Never was sure if it was true….)

PHIL: luck & contacts is how we acquired records back then, before ebay made it easy & expensive to be a record collector… back then it was possible to walk in and buy French rarities. I know one guy who bought the first Snix record in a used record bin. I once used to buy punk singles from a bummy guy that used to show up at CBGB’s matinees. As far as that urban legend is concerned… it’s true.

Saturday: Along thse lines, are there a few titles out there that are Holy Grails for you? What are you on the lookout for? Is it mainly oi!/reggae or do you also collect glam/mod, etc?

PHIL: alot of the older reggae/rocksteady and Northern titles, as far as Oi/punk goes i’ve got just about everything under the sun that’s British & French, shitloads of Italian & German and other hard to get titles. I’m buying alot more Glam these days… good shit!!

Saturday: Generic, but gimmie ten titles you are currently playing non-stop?


-indecent exposure “matter of time”
-straw dogs “rock N roll disgrace”
-the optimists “plumber’s song”
-left side “locomotive”
-frankie valli & 4 seasons “the night”
-marsha gee “peanut duck”
-the jook “aggravation place”
-the stranglers “the raven”
-the samples “rabies”
-depressions “street kids”

Saturday: So when you’re not DJ-ing or playing shows with your various outfits, how do you pay your bills? You’re in the medical community, aren’t you? How important is this to you? I personally think an education is to be admired vs. turning your nose up at the educated, crying “sell out.” How important is your education and your schooling to who you are?

PHIL: it makes me… me! an individual… not sticking to the norms, for me this is a hobby that pays, a childhood passion… when it becomes a full time job and you’re required to rely on that sole gig to pay the bills then you’ll stoop to whatever it takes necessary to pay those bills… that my friend, leads to selling out. I have my own income, that way i can do what i do with SPQR without compromising what it was intentionally was designed for

Saturday: Along these lines, does being in a band, or the scene ever get you questions or looks at work? Have your two worlds ever collided or is it pretty uneventful?

PHIL: sometimes but i try to keep them apart… i do a pretty decent job at that.

Saturday: So how is the band these days? What is the line-up? I see Perry is back on bass?

PHIL: Perry is back from his hiatus, I think he needed a long time-out to assess his life. It’s good to have him back.

Saturday: Any future releases coming up? Any word on a possible DVD release?

PHIL: yup… stay tuned, can’t really get into specifics

Saturday: How do you and Carl go about creating a song? These days, there seem to be more influences at play than ever, while still keeping it completely Templars. As far as Outremer goes, it may be my favorite Templars release. The variety is pretty amazing: from the brickwall stuff like True to the Cause to stuff like Alone in a Crowd to On My Own, it all seems really individual, yet still under The Templars banner. Was this a conscious effort? How does the songwriting go?

PHIL: recycle old songs, using our creativity, putting together different song parts and changing it a bit here & there… we try not to sound monotonous & boring and also keep our trademark sound. we’ve been working together so long it just happens automatically now.

Saturday: How about side projects? It seems that you guys often branch out into other things, which is cool. I know I definitely dig what I’ve heard from Stamford Bridge and the band’s Small Faces cover is great.  I take it you and Carl are fans of the mod/mod revivial/power pop stuff?

PHIL: yup… big fan. We just don’t listen to Oi thats for sure.

Saturday: What is Templecombe Records? A subsidiary of TKO? What does the future hold for it?

PHIL: it’s a seperate entity working with TKO Records to do what Secret, Syndicate Records did in the past… quality music, no garbage!!

Saturday: One thing I was excited about hearing about was Waterloo Shirts, but have not heard much about that for some time. Is that still on the backburner? (EDITOR: Since this interview, WATERLOO have started putting out some *nice* shirts. Check them out.)

PHIL: Still in the works, waiting for some funds bt that seems to be getting worked out so stay tuned.

Saturday: As of late, are there any NYC bands or bands in general to keep an eye out for? Anyone impress you guys lately?
PHIL: nah not really… look out for Straight Laced, ATF, Vanguard, the new release by the Reducers is shit hot.

Saturday: It seems like good bands and good people leave the scene failry frequently these days. What keeps you guys going? Should I be worried about you hanging it up anytime soon?

PHIL: if the band hangs it up then it does, we’ll keep playing & recording until the fans/friends stay stop… then i guess we’ll stand in the background working with up & coming bands if they want the help.

Saturday: Did you guys ever think that being in a abnd would give you so much oppurtunity as far as travel, meeting people, going to Europe, hanging out there, etc? Do you have any favorite stories about this kind of thing where you just thought “damn, playing in an oi! band made this all possible?”

PHIL: i remember telling Carl before our first gig, “Let’s take this shit as far as we can go with it”, we haven’t looked back since.

Saturday: I dig alot of the film imagery you guys use on flyers, your MySpace page, etc (like Ray W from “Scum”) and you guys seem to be fans of alot of the genres I really dig (horror/exploitation/spaghetti westers/English gangster/subculture shit) what are some faves with you? Any new flicks that you would recommend to the readers?


PHIL:: the Descent is a new good flick… as far as classics go…
-Scum, Get Carter, I.D., the Firm, The Long Good Friday, Once Upon A Time In the West, Django, Sexy Beast, The Business, Hellraiser 1 & 2, Xtro, Rawhead Rex, Blacula, Hell Up In Harlem, BuckTown, the Godfather etc etc etc

Saturday: What do you think of the whole Casual thing that seems to be semi-popular these days? I know alot people who are digging it and some of the gear is defo nice, and I dig some of it it myself, but what do you think of the crossover?

PHIL: it’s ok… good style but nothing to do with skinhead

Saturday: Speaking of, are you guys fans of football? I see alot of WHUFC stuff out there….are they your favorite team then?

PHIL: the Hammers, L.U.F.C., French National Team

Saturday: So how is NYC these days? Shows and bands and stuff to do? How’s record shopping?
PHIL: the well has gone dry in NYC for records, the few spots that i know that still spurt up some good titles will remain a secret my friend, hahahahah!!! Prowler is an up & coming band that will do well… lookout for them!


There it is, short and sweet. Thanks to Phil for the interview! Support The Templars!


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