Heralded as one of the UK’s best new bands, Shame are ready for their biggest tour so far. JOELY MCEWAN spoke to guitarist Sean Coyle-Smith

LIKE a lot of the most exciting punk bands, Shame formed out of restlessness and a simple desire to have something to do.

After finishing their A-levels, schoolfriends Charlie Steen, Sean Coyle-Smith, Eddie Green, Josh Finerty and Charlie Forbes were all left wondering how to fill their time.

The band starting practising in The Queen’s Head in Brixton (the base of rock rabble-rousers Fat White Family) where they met a man who inspired a dark, sad song – Angie. The track would later appear on their debut album Songs Of Praise.

“We were told a story by one of the regulars about a girl he had been intimate with who sadly committed suicide,” guitarist Sean Coyle-Smith explains. Their songs aren’t all sad, however, with Visa Vulture poking fun at then Home Secretary Theresa May.

While playing The Great Escape festival in Brighton in 2016, the band were threatened with a £700 fine when lead singer Steen hung on to a chandelier which eventually crashed to the floor.

As they gear up for a show at The Haunt, Steen must be wary of getting in trouble again – although Coyle-Smith explains that they’re a lot more “conscious and respectful of venues now”. It’s not only the venues that the band are respectful about – they are also more mindful of their loyal fans.

“We want people to have fun at our shows but not too much fun that it’s going to ruin someone else’s night,” says Coyle-Smith. He and his bandmates are always on the lookout for any wrongdoing and recently had someone removed from a show in Austin, Texas for groping people.

When Shame released Songs Of Praise, it broke the top 40 album chart – a huge surprise to everyone in the band. Coyle-Smith was worried that the record might fall under the radar but admits “it felt good to reach the Top 40”. Songs Of Praise also received a five-star review from NME.

In just three years Shame have accomplished a lot. They recently returned from a US and Australian tour and are about to embark on two UK tours and play the main stage of Reading and Leeds Festival.

“We did the usual thing of going to Reading after finishing our GCSEs,” says Coyle-Smith, “so going back will be pretty special but terrifying.”

Fans who missed out on tickets for the tour have been scouring social media for spares, with the help of Shame themselves. The band have been retweeting the desperate pleas. One punter said a ticket would “save a life”.

Recently, a fan called out website StubHub for seeling a ticket for £30 instead of face value price (£9), a cost Shame criticised as “outrageous” on Twitter. “We have young fans and don’t agree with charging extortionate booking fees,” says Coyle-Smith.

Given the amount of fans Shame garnered from sharing a stage Slaves and Warpaint on tour, the five-piece are hoping to give their support act Gurr some vital exposure when they head out on the road with the Berlin-based rockers.

“We supported them on tour in Germany and got the feeling their fans are quite similar to ours,” says Coyle-Smith. This is the first headline tour that Shame have performed since the release of Songs Of Praise, and Coyle-Smith is excited about the prospect of crowds knowing the words to the songs.

He also reveals that they have been writing new music already and that “we’ll be playing two new songs on the tour”.

The guitarist jokes that he expects Shame to survive another three years. Instead of a five-year plan, he says that “they’ll see how long we can do without killing ourselves”.

Judging by the success they’ve had so far, however, it seems as though Shame will outlive Coyle-Smith’s doomy prediction.

Joely McEwan

Shame The Haunt, Brighton, April 20, thehauntbrighton.co.uk